Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Venetian Deep Stack Extravanganza -- Summer Schedule

I saw this on cmitch's blog, but the Venetian has finally released the schedule for this summer's much anticipated Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza. This tournament will always be near and dear to my heart, and frankly, although the Day 2's leave a lot to be desired in terms of room to play, thanks to a very favorable Day 1 structure the DSE represents a much better tournament bang for your buck than even most of the lower-buyin WSOP events available during June at the Rio.

Although I am waiting for some contingencies to work themselves out before picking my exact dates for my WSOP trip to Vegas this summer, as I have mentioned previously, the odds are very high that my trip will be somewhere between Saturday, June 11 and Monday, June 20, 2011, so I have naturally been focusing as well on which events the DSE will be running on those days. Well, I am happy to report, there are a great many of them, unsurprisingly, mostly all of them very attractive to me.

For starters, on both Saturday and Sunday, June 11-12, as well as on Thursday the 16th and again on Sunday the 19th, there is a $340 nlh tournament at the DSE on each day. Generally I would prefer a higher buyin event, but it is great to know that there is a favorably-structured tournament in no-limit holdem at my favorite poker room in all of Las Vegas on both days of that weekend as well as the middle of the next week, should I opt not to pursue multiple of the myriad $1000 and $1500 nlh events at the WSOP this year. These $340s are a great option for anyone who is out in the desert and yet who does not want to drop the 2k or more often required to play in that day's WSOP tournaments, but who is looking for a great structure and a great location to wile away the hours playing a no-limit holdem tournament, and I may very well be partaking in such offerings during my stay in Sin City in a few months.

Kicking the buyin level up a notch, on each of Wednesday, June 15 and Saturday, June 18, the Venetian is also hosting their standard larger-sized $550 buyin nlh tournaments, which is the buyin where I had my biggest ever poker tournament score a few years back. All things equal, I tend to prefer the events that are above the minimum DSE buyin of $340 for any of their deep stack events, as the $340s therefore will attract the lowest level of poker player, and as a rule I have had somewhat better success playing against that next-level-up opponent than I have at the cheapest buyin level. This is true both in my live play as well as online, where I have logged numerous big mtt scores, but very few of them at the $10 and $20 level, much more focused instead on the $50 to $200 buyin mark for the most part. There is also a $550 buyin PLO tournament in the afternoon on Wednesday, June 15, which is intriguing to me as PLO has always been one of my favorite poker games to play, especially in a tournament format. The only issue there is that it is a re-entry tournament, which means people who are already donking it up in a chase-happy game like PLO will likely be donking it up even more than usual, which can be frustrating unless I am truly willing to drop a couple of buyins getting chasemonkeyed all over the place for a couple of hours. Still, it's yet another nice option to have at the Venetian while the World Series runs on at the Rio.

But it is the higher buyin level still where most of my focus lies, as I look at the DSE schedule during the time I will likely be in Vegas to participate in this tournament series. For example, on Tuesday, June 14 is an interesting $1070 buyin nlh tournament, which frankly may be the perfect buyin level for what I am looking to play in while in the desert, and not one I have had the opportunity to play before at the Venetian. And meanwhile, on both Monday the 13th and Monday the 20th are fatty $1590 buyin tournaments, also no-limit holdem, which is also a buyin level I would give serious consideration to playing as I imagine the prize pools for those badboys could get pretty large depending on the number of players, which should be significant at this time of year. There is even a $2100 buyin tournament on Friday, June 17th, which is attractive for the reasons I stated above, but which I would probably not be as likely to play as I might opt to take a stab at the more prestigious WSOP if I'm going to be shelling out over 2k to run in a big nlh tournament while I am in town.

And make no mistake, this decision ultimately comes down to prestige, and not a whole lot else, at least not for me. Because, as you've probably seen written about in various other forums such that I don't need to rehash it here, there is no doubt that, all other things being equal, I would probably opt for the beauty and comfort of the Venetian over the Rio, and the more favorable buyins, and the more favorable tournament structures and game choices of the DSE over the WSOP every day of the week without much thought if it weren't for the prestige of the WSOP. In particular the tournament structures are not close between the two tournament series, as the lower-buyin WSOP events provide only three or four hours of what I would call solid, deep-stacked play before the tournaments basically turn into all-in preflop luckfests -- believe me, I've been there several times -- whereas the DSE will offer a full day of pretty great structured poker on Day 1, before they come back and ream like you it's a WSOP donkament on Day 2 to get things over with as quickly as possible. But it's that prestige -- that allure of the gold bracelet -- that keeps me considering playing once again in the World Series of Poker this year. I could chop up another five Venetian DSE events and it simply wouldn't mean as much as even final tabling at the WSOP. I mean, can you imagine, cashing in a televised WSOP tournament some year, and when they put up my picture on tv, it says underneath "This is Hoyazo's fifth WSOP cash and third WSOP final table"? Hah! A final table at the World Series of Poker is itself a resume builder that no one can ever take away from you and that everybody in the world of poker immediately knows to respect. And you win one gold bracelet, and your name is suddenly known all across the poker world, and you will forever be enshrined along with the names of all the greats of the game's history who have ever joined you in claiming one of those elusive gold bracelets. I mean, the last time I checked, nobody really cares that I've made a final table at the Venetian Deep Stack Extravaganza.

Well, nobody except my bankroll, that is.

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