I play tourneys exclusively and live in Las Vegas. I have a dedicated poker bankroll to play tourneys in the $125-$150 range without any issue. When I play higher, I usually take on investors.

I'd like to get some thoughts on comparing tournaments. Since I play a lot of them and I bring a professional mindset to the table, I need to pay attention to all of the finer details. Right now I'm stuck between two tournaments and will try to represent what I think are the pros and cons of each. I'd like to hear some feedback on this, maybe I'm looking at each tourney the wrong way? Assuming you are playing tourneys 3-4 times a week, which tourney would you pick and why?

Aria 1PM Daily

  • $125 entry, $100 to prize pool - effectively a 25% commission
  • Large fields, I have yet to play in this with anything less than 100 players. It's basically a 10K prize pool every day
  • It's a LONG day, about a 12-hour commitment to run deep. I've cashed in this tourney 3 times and you're pretty spent at the end of it.
  • Prize pool is very top heavy. One of my cashes was for 10th place, 10 hours into it and I only made about $20/hour for my time - that was brutal. Having said that, if you can chop the final table, it can be around $1300-1500 for about $100/hour

Wynn Noon Daily

  • $140 entry, $125 to prize pool - effectively a 12% commission
  • Small field - they average about 40-50 players on any given day
  • I've chopped this tournament and it's about 6-7 hours from beginning to end
  • You have to get to the top, top of the field to make any real money. Only 3-4 spots pay and only the very top is over $1000. Having said that, when I have chopped, it comes to about $180/hour
  • Any dealer bonus? If so how much how many chips. How many starting chips? And how long are the rounds in each?
    – Jon
    Jan 6, 2015 at 17:59
  • @jon no dealer bonus. Tourneys at this level don't really offer that Jan 6, 2015 at 22:30

1 Answer 1


Those tournament fees, to me would be the determining factor. I am not even sure any player can grind out a living at tournaments when the fee is 25%. The 12% fee at Wynn is about the best tournament deal you can find anymore.

If I am not mistaken both these tournaments are deep stack with half hour rounds and large starting stacks around 10K All other things being equal the smaller tournament to me is often better. While their is something to be said for a large payday when there are more players, the smaller tournaments for a winning player have some benefit. They are easier on the bankroll, with smaller fields the SD of tournament players is lowered. You will spend less time playing them.

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    The "less time" argument is a good one, too. If your odds of winning some amount of money are approximately equal, you should err on the side of not spending all day doing it. There's a price to be paid for your sanity, and bubbling out of a tournament after 5 hours is better than bubbling out after 10. Jan 6, 2015 at 20:42
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    And of course the lower rake is a huge benefit, too. The players in the Aria tourney would have to be substantially worse to make it your preferred choice, it seems. But intangibles are also important -- maybe you like the Aria more because the dealers are better and friendlier and the cocktail waitresses are nicer. That might be worth a loss in equity if you're just in it for the fun and it's not your day job. Jan 6, 2015 at 20:43
  • Thanks for the reply. The issue with that is the smaller tourneys have insane rake. My favorite small tourney is at Mandalay Bay but that's an effective 50% rake!!! Most other small tourneys are the same Jan 6, 2015 at 21:26
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    @JimBeam in the examples of your question, the smaller tourney at Wynn had less rake. So that would be my choice for sure, plus I think the cocktail waitresses are much better looking. And for sure the staff is better at Wynn.
    – Jon
    Jan 6, 2015 at 21:31
  • @Jon I really dont pay attention to cocktail waitresses. I've dated two of them, never making that mistake again :-). But I do agree about the staffs, Wynn has some professionals working there, I can barely stomach the staff at Aria. Jan 7, 2015 at 14:40

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