Preparing for the 2014 WSOP
The 45th annual World Series of Poker kicks off this year on May 27th with the commencement of the 25k no-limit holdem six-max event. With 65 events, including the wildly popular $1500 Millionaire Maker, and the $1,000,000 buy-in for One Drop - this will be another fantastical summer, drawing various poker players from all of the globe.
The series will run out of the Rio again, so make sure to pack a bunch of warm sweaters because they love to crank the air conditioning to frigid temperatures - whether this is an attempt to sell more WSOP brand merchandise hoodies, or keep some of the unhygienic players distinct stench of sweat at bay - we cannot be sure.
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The Rio is not on the strip, so you will have to take a cab, drive, or take the shuttle bus from Harrahs. Yes, Harrahs has a shuttle bus that runs to and from the Rio - so remember that if you are staying on the strip and don't feel like racking up hundreds of dollars in cab costs... like I usually end up doing. If you are staying in the middle of the strip, make sure to tell the cab driver to cut through Treasure Island's property because it is the shortest route to the Rio... many drivers will try to take you the longest way possible in order to make another five to ten dollars, so make sure you let them know that you are confident with your Las Vegas surroundings as soon as you get in the cab, so they don't think they can hustle you.
The poker kitchen is super expensive at the Rio. If you are playing cash games for awhile, make sure to ask the floor staff if they would kindly give you a meal voucher. Some of them will even hand you a couple if you're nice enough - don't act like you're entitled to them, because you're not.
If you want free drinks, head over to the sportsbar and feed a twenty-dollar bill into the video poker machine - make sure to let the bar tender know you're playing the machines - make sure you play it super slow, and tip the bar tender a dollar every once in awhile - this will work at any casino in Vegas.
If you are staying at a hotel, make sure to ask the reception if there is a poker rate - many casinos, such as the Venetian, have a discount for poker players given they play a specific amount of hours each day. If you are already going to play cash games, it's a good idea to stay at a hotel that will give you a discount for the play you are already going to put in anyways.
Where to Play Cash Games
I personally believe that the best 1/2NL game is at Harrah's - there seems to be a ton of older players there that really don't care if they win or lose, and are not very skilled at the game. It's literally a 1/2NL gold mine. A close second would be the Quad (formerly Imperial Palace), for obvious reasons... if it's not obvious to you, just walk in there and you'll know what I'm talking about.
Planet Hollywood has to be the best 2/5NL game in Las Vegas, especially on the weekends. Unlike other casinos, their poker room is situated right in the middle of the casino, and not tucked away in a corner somewhere - you get a lot of drunks noticing the game while strolling through the middle of the casino. The Mirage scores a close second for 2/5NL... I'm not sure I've ever seen one talented player grinding 2/5 at the Mirage.
Generally, I spend most of June playing the 5/10nl uncapped game at Venetian - I like the atmosphere a lot, and you tend to find a lot of unskilled business men trying their hand at the 5/10 tables, solely because they want to play a higher limit in the biggest poker room in Las Vegas. The Rio is the next best spot. The Rio has a good mix of recreational and professional players, but there are a ton of players buying into the games directly after busting out of a WSOP tourney while they are still steaming.
I hope this article has been informative, and helps you make the most out of your WSOP experience. I will be writing another blog article this week to share some more Vegas tips, so stay tuned.
Visit http://www.wsop.com/2014/ for the full WSOP 2014 schedule