9/4/2021

Wsop 2018

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Ashley Adams

The 2018 World Series of Poker will be here sooner than you think, with the first bracelet events starting May 30 — check out the full schedule here.

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Perhaps my article on 'winnable' poker tournaments in Las Vegas intrigued you. Perhaps you've toyed with the idea of getting off the beaten poker room path and seeking out other rooms where those visiting Sin City don't usually tread.

The following is the list of World Series of Poker Main Event champions.The World Series of Poker (WSOP) is 'the oldest, largest, most prestigious, and most media-hyped gaming competition in the. Event #74: Big Blind Antes $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em 6-Handed Championship Recap July 11-12, 2018 Event #75: $1,500 The Closer No-Limit Hold'em (30 minute levels) - $1 Million Guarantee Recap July. Nothing could separate John Cynn and Tony Miles at the WSOP Main Event final table, until this tournament deciding pot played out. Miles couldn't force Cynn.

In any event, with this article I'd like to shine a light on some good places to play poker in Vegas that you might not know about — some lesser-known rooms those out for the World Series of Poker might find worth their while.

Club Fortune

Club Fortune is my favorite room in Las Vegas for small action. It's about six miles off the strip on Boulder Highway in Henderson. It's on the site of what once was the only dog track in Las Vegas, but the heat got to the dogs and they had to close up the track. The little casino remained, and within is a great little poker room.

The five-table room opens at 12 noon and lasts as long as there are players, typically until at least 1-2 a.m., but often much later. Their steady games are $0.50/$1.00 no-limit hold'em with a $20 minimum and $200 maximum buy-in. They also often have $1-$6 spread-limit hold'em.

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To get the games going before the 2 p.m. tournament, Club Fortune has what I believe is the best comp rate in the nation — $5 an hour from 12 to 2 p.m. The room is also extremely generous with free food, bringing it out in the evening for all seated players. Their rake is extremely competitive, too — $3 plus a $2 promo drop for high hands, pot splashing, and the like.

But as good as the comps, cash games, and tournaments are, the best part of the room is the friendly, helpful, 'everybody knows your name' management who keep the games fun and the players happy. Happy players make good games, hence, my recommendation.

Silver Sevens

Where should you go in Las Vegas for some of the softest competition in a limit poker game? There is only one place, and few if any tourists know of it. It's the Silver Sevens over on the East Side of the strip near the Sheraton Four Points, formerly known as the 'Terribles' Casino.

They typically spread only one game — $2/$4 limit hold'em, played with white $1 chips and the reckless abandon of a bunch of teenagers having fun in their basement. Don't expect a carefully run game with a lot of oversight. Count on a lot of drinking, dirty chips, and a whole lot of ambient noise from the slot machines that surround these worn out tables.

As far as the play goes, don't expect too much in the way of solid play, but you will certainly meet some interesting people, not to mention have a chance at some profit. Oh, and they still comp players the old-fashioned way — no hourly amount, just a free buffet dinner after playing for a couple of hours. But before you eat, make sure to wash your hands!

Santa Fe Station

At Sante Fe Station you'll find a surprising large, brightly-lit, fairly busy room on the north side of Las Vegas, north of downtown. They always have a $2/$4 or $3/$6 limit game, and they get a no-limit game going by 3 p.m. daily (sometimes it runs earlier).

The games are reasonably raked at 10 percent up to a maximum of $4, with an additional $1 drop to fund a whole host of promotions like flopped quads, hourly high hands, and the like. Players also earn $1 an hour comps.

There's a nice mix of young and old, and male and female regulars who fill up the tables, and a friendly atmosphere pervades the place. Maybe it's because they start things off right in the morning with a couple of boxes of donuts and the self-serve coffee machine. Few tourists make it up there, though I've played there several times and enjoyed it.

Sam's Town

Sam's Town, located on Boulder Highway at the southern border of Las Vegas, caters to the older, local, low-roller crowd, and as a result tends to appeal to folks who like things a little slower, a little friendlier, and a little less glitzy than what appears on the Strip these days.

Accordingly, the poker room at Sam's Town, in addition to spreading limit hold'em, also spreads a regular limit Omaha high-low 8-or-better game as well as a weekly $2-$10 spread-limit seven-card stud game on Saturday mornings.

The rake is still very low, with a $3 maximum, although they take $2 out for many different promotions like high hands bonuses. Players earn $1 or $1.25 an hour in comps, depending on the time of day. The food is extremely inexpensive, and the buffet pretty good.

Green Valley Ranch

The locals who live in and around the southern part of Las Vegas and in Henderson know the Green Valley Ranch to be the major poker room in the area, although few tourists visit unless their convention happens to be on site.

It's a large room, comfortably accommodating 22 tables. Unlike the other rooms mentioned in this article, Green Valley Ranch consistently spreads a wide variety of games — that is, not just $1/2 no-limit and $2/$4 limit, but also a $4/$8 limit game and a $5/$10 no-limit game. As the poker room manager stated to me, they provide 'Strip action off the Strip,' with a very strong local base that creates consistently great games.

Like Santa Fe Station, Green Valley Ranch is part of the network of Station Casinos with frequent, well funded promotions. They rake 10 percent up to $4 with an additional $1 taken to fund those promotions. They have a daily tournament at 10:00 a.m., plus a 6:30 p.m. tournament on Mondays and Wednesdays.

Players earn 1,000 points for each hour of live play, which translates to about $1 an hour. As an off-strip property, parking is free, and there's a really terrific and very modestly-priced buffet.

Conclusion

Don't get me wrong. There's nothing keeping you from the constant poker action at the Rio, the Bellagio, the Wynn, the Venetian, the Aria, the Orleans, the Golden Nugget or any of the other poker rooms you've heard of in Las Vegas.

But if variety is the spice of life, these rooms should add some flavor to your trip.

Ashley Adams has been playing poker for 50 years and writing about it since 2000. He is the author of hundreds of articles and two books, Winning 7-Card Stud (Kensington 2003) and Winning No-Limit Hold'em (Lighthouse 2012). He is also the host of poker radio show House of Cards. See www.houseofcardsradio.com for broadcast times, stations, and podcasts.

Photo: Santa Fe Station Hotel & Casino.

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Ashley Adams

The 2018 World Series of Poker will be here sooner than you think, with the first bracelet events starting May 30 — check out the full schedule here.

* * * * *

Poker players visit Las Vegas chiefly for one reason — to play poker. Even so, from time to time, especially if you are traveling with others who do not share your enthusiasm for poker, it's sometimes worthwhile to get away from the felt, leave the heat and action of Las Vegas behind, and take a trip to a nearby but very different destination.

Toward that end — and with the 2018 World Series of Poker rapidly approaching on the horizon — I've compiled a list of five different day trips you might go on during your next visit to Las Vegas.

1. The Grand Canyon

Considered one of the five natural wonders of the world, the Grand Canyon in Arizona is accessible to Las Vegas visitors willing to spend a day visiting the site.

Realize that the Grand Canyon itself is immense. You could easily spend a week exploring the area and still not see all of it. Even so, there are many ways to 'see' it in a day. Depending on what part of the Grand Canyon you visit, the trip by car from Las Vegas takes between two hours (to the South Rim) and four hours (to the entrance to the Grand Canyon National Park).

You can also choose from a myriad of options at many price points ranging from $80 for some bare-bones bus excursions up to $500-plus for a full luxury helicopter trip. Other options include mule rides down into the canyon, helicopter tours of the site, helicopter rides to the canyon, and many hiking options in and around Grand Canyon National Park.

A very popular option is the Grand Canyon Skywalk on the South Rim. Built, owned, and operated by the Hualapai Tribe, this artificial glass overhang of the canyon is an engineering marvel that allows visitors to walk out over the Grand Canyon and peer down through a glass floor. It is controversial, with some praising it immensely because of the extraordinary views, and others considering it a tourist rip-off. It is also not cheap, with tours of it available for $80-plus per person, plus extra charges for photographs and videos as cameras and recorders are not allowed.

But no matter how you go or what you do when you get there, the Grand Canyon is an amazing way to spend a day outside of Las Vegas.

2. Hoover Dam

I often visit Hoover Dam when I visit Las Vegas. It's a traditional tourist venue, and for good reason. It's a fascinating piece of history, engineering, and design. The views are amazing. and the government-run tours inside the dam are informative and worthwhile.

You can do even do it as part of an all-day trip to the Grand Canyon, though I prefer taking my time, stopping in some shops and casinos in Boulder City that I might not normally visit, and making a day out of it.

I recommend getting the full interior tour (a shorter exterior tour is also available). There are restrictions for those with certain medical conditions that make it inaccessible to some, so make sure to check ahead of time if you have any physical limitations.

If you're so inclined you can also boat and fish on the artificial lake, Lake Mead, that was created by the dam.

3. Mt. Charleston

Mt. Charleston is just about an hour's drive northwest from the Strip. Even though it isn't that far away, it has an entirely different climate, with temperatures usually 20 or more degrees below those of Las Vegas proper.

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With an elevation of nearly 12,000 feet, it is among the highest peaks in Nevada. It remains snow-peaked into June, with snow beginning as early as September. There are trails to the summit, and it is a beautiful windy drive up to the highest trails.

There is a ski lodge for all sorts of snow sports, including skiing, that stays fully operational until the first weekend in April (when temperatures in Las Vegas can hit 90). Hiking up to the summit is not for the weak of heart or out of shape, though there are many trails for every level of physical fitness.

About three quarters of the way up, on the road leading to the summit, there's a lovely hotel, the Mt. Charleston Lodge, with a great restaurant. It's a nice place to stop for a fine dinner or just drinks. You can even stay there overnight if you're worn out from all of your hiking!

4. Death Valley

The lowest point of elevation in the Western Hemisphere, Death Valley is also the hottest. It's a little more than two hours west of Las Vegas.

Though the route to Death Valley National Park (our nation's largest national park) is a largely plain and boring highway drive, there are many scenic spots in and around the park once you get there. Zabriskie Point, Badwater Basin, Furnace Creek, and the Artist's Drive/Artist's Palette are some of the best known within the park. There's also a ghost town at the entrance to the National Park.

You can do the day trip to and around Death Valley in style with a guided tour that will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel, or you can do it on your own. The tours range from $175 to $300 or so (including entrance to the park and lunch) and generally start with a 7:00 a.m. pick up and drop off at 4 or 5 p.m.

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If you do it on your own you'll have to pay the admission fee yourself (and the car rental and gas, of course). The fee schedule for all national parks is as follows:

  • $25 per carload for 7 days
  • $50 for the year
  • $80 for all parks all year
  • $20 annual senior pass (62+)
  • $80 lifetime senior pass (62+)

If you go, get a map and bring plenty of water!

5. St. George, Utah; Mesquite, Nevada; Valley of Fire State Park

Finally, one of the most beautiful drives in the United States is to take Interstate 15 heading northeast out of Las Vegas. The drive takes you to Mesquite, Nevada and St. George, Utah.

The beauty is in the form of sandstone formations that have been carved by the wind over the last few million years. The formations are fully visible on the side of the road, and they are simply spectacular.

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There is a beautiful national park along the way called the Valley of Fire (about an hour from LV). The park features trails for walking, biking, or driving. Mesquite is roughly 80 minutes outside of Las Vegas, and is a small city with a couple of hotel-casinos, a few restaurants, and some of great golf courses.

St. George — about two hours away — is a little bigger, with a walkable downtown, some stores, and restaurants. If you want the most scenic drive, time it so the sun will be setting when you arrive in St. George. Have dinner there and then return to Las Vegas with a black night sky punctuated by the brilliant lights of the city.

Ashley Adams has been playing poker for 50 years and writing about it since 2000. He is the author of hundreds of articles and two books, Winning 7-Card Stud (Kensington 2003) and Winning No-Limit Hold'em (Lighthouse 2012). He is also the host of poker radio show House of Cards. See www.houseofcardsradio.com for broadcast times, stations, and podcasts.

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Photo: 'Grand Canyon Evening 2' (adapted), Tony Hisgett, CC BY 2.0.

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