For decades Las Vegas has been a larger than life holiday destination for everyone from dedicated gamblers to fans of incredible showbiz extravaganzas. Shining brightly in the Nevada Desert – it’s even said that at night you can see its mega-million wattage from space – it’s no wonder that it’s always exerted such a strong pull.
From the 60s heydey of the Rat Pack to the glam to the 21st century when films like the remake of the classic Oceans 11 introduced a whole new generation to the city, it’s been going from strength to strength.
After all, where else in the world can you play roulette in a casino based on the palace of a Roman emperor and then, minutes later, find yourself next to an almost perfect replica of the Eiffel Tower?
It’s also a city with an awesome reputation for putting on spectacular conventions and events and one of the true high points in the annual calendar is the World Series of Poker. For the uninitiated, this is like the Olympic Games of poker that runs through June and July and attracts the very best players in the world.
This year is the 48th WSOP and it has certainly come a very long way from the first time it was held in 1970 when just a few players attended the invitation-only event. For example, figures for last year’s record-breaking contest saw more than 107,000 players competing for over $220 million in prize money.
With so many different games taking place at the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino – there are over 500 tables in play at the height of the action – it pays to have a good guide to the event before you go. That way you’ll be sure to know where to head for to see the biggest contests.
One of the great things about the WSOP is that there is a real mix of players to watch, many of whom have earned their place at the table by winning so-called satellite tournaments throughout the course of the year and it’s not unusual to see a relative unknown walk off with a substantial prize pot. It’s also been known to attract a wide range of celebrities including actors James Woods and Jennifer Tilly so you never know who you’ll spot around the table.
Of all of the games going on, the biggest, unsurprisingly, is called the Main Event. Thousands start but many are eliminated each day until nine players remain who come back in late October to battle it out for a multi-million dollar first prize. While you’re not likely to come back to watch the final, the qualifying rounds make for fascinating viewing.
So make sure that you put a trip to Vegas on your bucket list for summer 2017. And maybe you’ll even be inspired to return next year to take part in the WSOP yourself!