The Wynn Classic, one of the largest winter poker festivals in Las Vegas, returns in February and this year there’s $1.4 million up for grabs.
Forming part of the Wynn’s annual schedule of poker events, which also includes the Summer Classic which runs alongside the World Series of Poker (WSOP), the upcoming festival features 11 tournaments between Feb. 23rd and March 12th.
As usual, the $1,500+$100 Championship event will be the pinnacle of the series thanks to its $750,000 guarantee, but that’s not the only area of interest this year.
Across the series, the Wynn will spread a variety of No Limit Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha tournaments that are designed with casual players in mind.
Although Nevada doesn’t publish individual revenue reports for the state’s online poker sites such as WSOP NV, 888poker and Real Gaming, the economy’s fortunes are still somewhat uncertain.
Lack of Online Traffic Makes Casual Dollars Imperative
While tournament traffic has been fairly positive, traffic for cash games is still low. During the summer of 2016, WSOP Nevada was able to attract strong numbers thanks to the WSOP.
In fact, on July 8, the $1,000 WSOP online bracelet event attracted 1,247 entrants for a $1,184,650 prize pool.
However, outside of the WSOP (May 31, 2016- July 18, 2016), WSOP NV has struggled to attract ring game players. According to PokerScout, the online site has a 24-hour peak of 336, but a seven-day average of just 170 players.
With a clear lack of “hardcore” online players, the Wynn Classic looks to be aimed at casual players. Aside from the main event, the majority of tournaments are pitched around the $360+$40 mark with some satellites costing as little as $265+$35.
In line with affordable buy-ins, many events, such as the Survivor tournaments, are scheduled to last no more than one day.
Bite Size Tournaments with Big Prizes
Survivor tournaments first hit the live scene around 2010. Designed to reward more players in a quicker way, these events play down to the bubble (10 percent of the starting field) and, once it bursts, all surviving players are paid an equal share of the purse. Although this format doesn’t typically appeal to seasoned players, the risk versus return ratio is something that casual players enjoy.
The inclusion of these sorts of tournaments appears to be a clear move by the Wynn to capitalize on the increasing number of tourist dollars flowing through Vegas. In 2016, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) reported a record number of visitors (42.9 million) to Sin City.
With more people now hitting the strip, the Wynn will be hoping its selection of bite size poker tournaments with guaranteed money will pique the interest of those who are in town for a few days.
Indeed, with online poker figures suggesting that hardcore players are lacking in numbers, the decision to appeal more to novices appears to be something of a necessity.
The Wynn Classic’s Highlights
Feb 23rd – $360+$40 No Limit Hold’em Survivor with $40,000 Guaranteed Prizepool
Feb 24th- $545+$55 No Limit Hold’em Seniors (50+) with $50,000 Guaranteed Prizepool
Feb 26th – $360+$40 Pot Limit Omaha with $25,000 Guaranteed Prizepool
Mar 2nd- $1,500+$100 No Limit Hold’em Championship Day 1A (three starting days in total) with $750,000 Guaranteed Prizepool
Mar 9th – $545+$55 No Limit Hold’em Day 1A (three starting days in total) with $250,000 Guaranteed Prizepool