Photo: Jeff Green
Since it debuted almost five years ago, the poker room at Wynn Las Vegas remains the gold standard in the city for quality of both play and comfort—that idea extends to tournaments as well, and that's never more true than the Wynn Classic, which kicks off Feb. 24. With that in mind, Deb Giardina, Wynn's executive director of poker operations, took a few minutes to offer up the essentials of this thrilling game.
Photo: Jeff Green
Let's start with the basics: When does this tournament series take place, and what are the buy-ins?
The Wynn Classic kicks off Feb. 24, with a variety of events taking place through March 17. The buy-ins start at $500/$45 and go up to $5,000/$160 for the main event.
How are the buy-ins structured?
We're offering seven $500/$45 events, six $1,000/$65 events, one $1,500/$70 event, two $2,000/$85 events and one $5,000/$160 event—the latter is our three-day main event that kicks off March 15.
What's new this year for the Wynn Classic?
We've added a $500/$45 HORSE and a $1000/$65 (six-handed) No Limit Hold'Em.
Tell me about the satellite events.
We'll be running single-table satellite games every day, which offer you an opportunity to get into one of the bigger games for a much lower buy-in. Single-table satellite buy-ins range from $130 to $545. For example, you can buy into a satellite game for $130; be one of two winners and you'll earn buy-in chips that you can use for tournament entries or to play in more satellites. You're offered the opportunity to get into a bigger event for a much lower amount of money.
How might the Wynn Classic differ from other poker tournaments throughout the city?
We offer a very generous structure, very player-friendly, because we want players to feel like they experience a lot of play for their investment. We don't raise the blinds too quickly, which you sometimes find in other tournaments, so players definitely feel they get a generous quality of play here. We also offer a $20 food comp for each event a player buys into, which many players consider to be a great bonus; sometimes players feel uncomfortable asking for a food comp, so we'd rather give it to them up front.
What might a player expect to win?
The first prizes from last year's events ranged from $24,000 to $348,000.
Are you offering a poker rate during the event?
Absolutely. To stay at the resort during the Wynn Classic, the poker rate Sunday through Thursday will be $119 a night, with the poker rate on Friday and Saturday at $199 a night. Players can book directly through the Wynn Poker Room at 702-770-3094.
Is the Wynn Classic strictly for experts, or can novices get into the game?
The Wynn Classic is for everyone. We definitely have players of all skill levels. Being that this is Las Vegas, we get a lot of higher-end professionals at our bigger buy-ins, but you see a wide range of experience, especially at our satellite games. If you're a novice, it's certainly a tournament you'd feel comfortable participating in, and you'll get a chance to hone your skills in a tournament environment—and who knows? Perhaps you'll also get a shot at winning big.