The annual WSOP in Las Vegas traditionally sees other major poker rooms running parallel series. This will also be the case in 2021, albeit with some notable absences from the schedule. Below, we summarize where poker players can find major tournaments outside of the Rio.
Whether the Aria’s twin fall series genuinely compete with the WSOP depends mostly on your bankroll. Billed as the “2021 Aria October High Roller Series,” the first event consists of three $10k tournaments commencing on October 1st, 13th and 28th. These tournaments constitute part of PokerGO’s ongoing high roller tour.
The November Aria High Roller Series offers a bit more action, with eleven $10k tournaments and a $25k capstone event on the schedule. However, the total number of tournaments scheduled by Aria during the WSOP is markedly lower than the last iteration in 2019.
Popular with both tourists and locals, the Golden Nugget has been offering a lower-cost alternative to the WSOP for many years. The 2021 Grand Poker Series will run from September 28th through October 18th, with most buy-ins in the $120 to $250 range. The series also features a $600 multi-flight championship event with a $500k guaranteed prize pool.
In total, the series features fifty events, and includes an admirable selection of non-NLHE tournaments. Also embedded in the series is the Bar Poker Open Championship.
As in previous years, the Venetian one-ups the WSOP by running a longer series. In 2021 the DeepStack Championship begins on September 21st and does not conclude until November 28th. At which point we confidently predict another Venetian series will take its place.
Rounding out these high-profile events is the Wynn Fall Classic. Billed by the casino as their largest series ever, 37 events will be held between September 30th and November 21st. Included on the schedule is a $3,500 entry fee main event featuring a $3 million prize pool.
Also included on the schedule are two events listed as “Mystery Bounty”, the first with a $2,200 buy-in, the second weighing in at $1,600. At the time of publication, the nature of these mystery bounties remains mysterious.
Compared to previous years, there are some notable absences to the WSOP-coincident poker tournament schedules.
The Orleans traditionally runs a budget version of the WSOP, but so far seems content to mop up cash-game action this year, along with its regularly-scheduled daily tournaments.
Daily tournaments at the Bellagio have been indefinitely postponed, with “updates coming soon” on the Bravo app being the only information for the past several months. It’s therefore perhaps unsurprising that the self-described “premier poker room in Las Vegas” has no plans to run a tournament series this fall.
The traditional “Phamous Poker Series” at Planet Hollywood never seemed likely to run this year. Not only has the casino closed its poker room, but the reported shortages in dealers and floor personnel plaguing the WSOP make any Caesars-badged property an unlikely venue for a fall series.
Impact of WSOP COVID restrictions
With today’s news that the 2021 WSOP will require participants to prove they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, many are speculating that the series listed above may attract the many poker players who are opposed to vaccinations. With the potential for these rooms to involuntarily serve as super-spreader events, will they follow the WSOP lead and also require proof of vaccination for entry into these events?
We will be providing constant updates on the situation as the countdown to the 2021 WSOP continues.
Featured image source: Twitter