The options that a poker player has today are almost infinite. There are casinos offering the game in nearly every state across the country, spreading a wide variety of games and stakes that make poker accessible to nearly everyone. Some of those same casinos, along with some world-wide based tours, roll out tournament series at a near monthly clip, meaning that seemingly every weekend, there are great value tournaments to participate in. But, with so many options, what are the must play events that you can’t miss in 2017…
Borgata Poker Open $2,000,000 Guarantee
As the benchmark for East Coast poker, Borgata has been putting out good value tournaments for the better part of the last decade. While some of their biggest prize pools may come from their two WPT stops in both September and January, it’s the opening event of the former Borgata Poker Open that everyone in the region circles on their poker calendars. The reason, there aren’t many other events in the country where players can turn $560 into over a $300,000 score.
Two years ago, the first ever Colossus at the World Series of Poker was the biggest live poker tournament in history with 22,374 entrants. Even though the second installment fell just short of that number in 2016, it’s back on the schedule for a third time next summer. With $1,000,000 likely guaranteed for the winner, the $565 price point and opportunity to play for a WSOP bracelet should bring out another massive field.
Similar to the two other of our low stakes must play events, the WPT500 is another event with big payout opportunity. Held for the last two summers at the ARIA in Las Vegas, players are given ten starting flights, spread throughout the months of June and July, to get in the action. Last year, nearly 4,000 entrants built up an over $1,700,000 prize pool and while nothing has been confirmed for 2017 just yet, when dates are confirmed, this has to be a part of your summer schedule.
WSOP Circuit Choctaw Main Event
The WSOP Circuit has planted it’s flag on almost a dozen international destinations over the last few years but it’s biggest and strongest markets are still on American soil. One of the best events on the WSOPC schedule is smack dab in the middle of the country, in Durant, Oklahoma. The Choctaw Main Event has boasted an over $2,000,000 prize pool over the last two years and that should continue in 2017.
WPTDeepStacks Hollywood $1,000,000 Guarantee Main Event
Over the last two years, WPTDeepStacks has become one of the more recognizable brands in poker. The series has stops across the country but it’s biggest event, save for the season ending Championship, returns to Florida for another $1,000,000 GTD main event this January. Last year’s event drew a nearly 1,700 player field, and the WPTDS Hollywood Main Event should open Season 4 with another massive field.
PokerStars Championship Bahamas Main Event
While the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure will be given a new look this year, with the first PokerStars Championship taking its place, the name shouldn’t change much. The Bahamas festival has kicked off the poker year for the last decade and despite declining numbers over the last three years, last year’s event, the first to boast a $5,000 buy-in, still drew over 925 players. Add in the amenities and beautiful location and the newly dubbed ‘PCB’ is a no brainer.
The World Poker Tour’s ‘California Swing’ is one of the best months in poker and it all starts with the Los Angeles Poker Classic at the Commerce Casino. The nearly two month-long series includes a $10,000 buy-in WPT Championship and always generates one of the biggest prize pools on the tour, as the past two years have seen over 500 player fields generate seven-figure payouts for the respective victors.
WSOP Main Event
This one goes without saying. The WSOP Main Event is the biggest event of the year and, speaking frankly, is the only event that is actually a satellite to a better life. While the WSOP has tinkered with payouts over the last few years, awarding $10,000,000 for first in 2014 paying 1,000 players in 2015 and 15% of the field this past year, regardless of how they elect to handle the money in 2017, the Main is still the Main.