The Aria poker room in Las Vegas is finally bringing back daily poker tournaments for the first time since the global health pandemic struck. Just up the road a couple blocks on Las Vegas Boulevard, the Venetian’s card room is already in the midst of a major-ish event.
Aria and Venetian boast two of the most popular poker rooms in the world, not just in Las Vegas. Many of the top pros in the game, and some talented local grinders, compete in these card rooms regularly.
Both have also long been considered two of the best places in town for daily tournaments. At Aria, prior to COVID-19, two daily tournaments ran at buy-ins ranging from $140 to $240. Whereas at Venetian, daily tournaments ranged from $125 to $200, along with regular DeepStack series events that guaranteed hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash prizes.
Speaking of the DeepStack series, the first one since COVID-19 returns to the Venetian this week. The Sheldon Adelson-owned casino is guaranteeing at least $400,000 in cash prizes across 32 events until September 27. That includes the series highlight event, a $400 buy-in no-limit hold’em Main Event with $100,000 guaranteed, beginning September 23.
Bringing the action back to Aria
Aria Resort and Casino, an MGM Resorts property on the Strip, is finally bringing back poker tournaments. It took the casino nearly a month to reopen after the initial June reopening weekend in Las Vegas. And the poker room was open for business right away. But card room manager Sean McCormack and his tournament director, Paul Campbell, decided the time wasn’t right to bring back its popular daily tournaments.
On Thursday, however, Campbell finally announced the good news on Twitter. Starting September 18, Aria will host daily $140 buy-in tournaments at 11 am. Each tournament will have a guaranteed $3,000 prize pool. The tournament will be similar to the pre-COVID daily 7 pm tournaments, with players starting with 20,000 chips and the blinds increasing every 20 minutes.
The big blind ante tournament will have six-handed tables, the same as Aria’s cash game limits. Bellagio, Aria’s sister poker room, is also limited to six-handed play.
If you’re more interested in playing in poker rooms that allow more players per table, Venetian’s poker room is currently eight-handed with plexiglass dividers in place. Aria’s poker room doesn’t have plexiglass dividers at the tables — part of the reason they’re limited by the Nevada Gaming Control Board (GCB) to six-handed play.
Aria and Venetian aren’t the only card rooms in town with poker tournaments, although daily events are limited compared to pre-coronavirus. South Point, Caesars Palace, The Orleans, Poker Palace Casino, and Sahara are also offering low buy-in daily tournaments.
As for cash games, there are currently 15 poker rooms in Las Vegas open, with Westgate this week being the most recent. That leaves 16 more that were open pre-COVID to return to action. A few of them, such as Harrah’s and Mirage, have already removed the poker tables and replaced them with slot machines.
But on the whole, the Las Vegas poker scene is slowly beginning to resemble its old self, with card rooms reopening every couple of weeks and daily tournaments popping back up.
Featured image source: Poker.org