In a time not too long ago, the journey to Las Vegas for poker tournaments in May meant only one thing – you were headed to the World Series of Poker. Over the years, however, other casinos have learned that the WSOP isn’t a beast to be feared but a challenge to be faced. With that thought firmly in their minds, several poker rooms around Las Vegas will be hosting their own major tournament series, looking to draw in players from the WSOP.

“Other” Tournament Series Stars May 22

You would be mistaken if you think you must wait until June for these different series to start up. These casinos are looking to challenge the WSOP, held for the second year at the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas, with their own multi-event schedules. It will all kick off on Monday, May 22, for the discerning shoppers’ consideration.

May 22 marks the start of the next running of a long-time favorite at The Venetian. The DeepStacks Championship Poker Series will open for action with two one-day tournaments. The first starts at 11 AM (Pacific Daylight Time) and is an Epic Stack event, meaning the players will start with 50K in chips. The second tournament is a $300 Bounty Tournament, with both tournaments having guaranteed prize pools.

One of the highlight poker tournaments of the DeepStacks schedule is the Mid-States Poker Tour. The $1100 buy-in tournament features several Day Ones to try to build up over the $800,000 guaranteed prize pool that the MSPT has put on the line. The Main Event of the DeepStacks Championship Poker Series is a $2500 buy-in tournament, which won’t take place until June.

Later this week, the Wynn Summer Classic takes to the felt. The tournament schedule opens on May 25 and extends through July. The World Poker Tour will get in on the action here with their $10,000 “EveryOne for One Drop” tournament that starts on July 9. The MGM Grand Summer Poker Festival (May 30-July 11) and the ARIA Poker Classic (May 31-July 15), along with The Orleans and the Golden Nugget and their “smaller” events, will all be competing for the lucrative tournament poker dollar.

The Grandaddy of Them All – The WSOP

Most players will be making their trek to Las Vegas to, of course, participate in the WSOP. The traditional first event, the $500 Casino Employee Event, opens action at 10 AM on May 30, and from there the schedule only becomes more breakneck. On the afternoon of the 30th, the first “major” event of the WSOP schedule, the $25,000 Six Handed High Roller No Limit Hold’em event, takes to the floor. Not to waste any time, the WSOP will hold the Tournament of Champions, the invitational tournament that features WSOP bracelet winners and WSOP Circuit ring bearers in a freeroll event, on May 31.

At some point, the WSOP will also probably announce some method of honoring the late Doyle Brunson. Brunson, who passed away on May 14, was one of the greatest champions in the history of the WSOP. It would only be appropriate that however the WSOP and Caesars Entertainment want to honor Brunson (perhaps renaming the WSOP Player of the Year trophy for him) would be announced early in the series.

The WSOP meanders through the early summer doldrums of poker tournaments to its marquee event beginning on July 3. The WSOP Championship Event kicks off Flight A on this day, with three subsequent flights on the following three days. By July 17, the next World Champion of poker will be determined in what is expected to be a record-shattering Main Event.

If poker is your game, the place to be is Las Vegas. Be sure to keep an eye out on other casinos other than the WSOP hosts – there may be value to be had in playing these “other” tournaments.

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