The Tuscany -- A Secret Find For New Tournament Poker Players in Las Vegas
In the face of massive competition in Las Vegas, amid a world where they are outspent 100 to 1 and out-'glitzed' by a wider margin, one small poker room seems to always have its tournaments completely full... all the time. Many low-level local Vegas players have discovered the value of the poker tournaments at the Tuscany, and the room always seems to be full around tournament time.
The Tuscany is a small, unassuming property maybe one-half mile east of the Strip on Flamingo. The poker room only holds eight tables, but at least twice each day –- those tables are full. The Tuscany runs $22 buy-in tournaments at 10am and 7pm every day. These tournaments have unlimited $10 rebuys, which can kick the prize pool up a great deal. Maybe the most interesting thing about the Tuscany's tournaments is this: While many other rooms in town are withholding 25% or 30% in juice from the prize pool, the Tuscany takes just 10% ($2) from the buy-in. By the time the rebuys are figured in, the final prize pool has probably something like 96% of the players' money going back into their pockets as winnings. To put this in contrast, a competing 7pm tournament held in a Strip casino that is very popular with players takes 34% out of the prize pool –- more than one dollar in three.
Certainly, you can find better cash action in Vegas, and a lot of it. There are usually one or two tables in action at non-tournament times, but when the tournaments are on, they dominate the room. Given the hundreds of poker tournaments available in Las Vegas every day, there may certainly be better fits for players with bigger bankrolls, and many a larger game to be found, but the Tuscany seems to have found its niche. For players looking for a cheap place to work on their rebuy game, or to enter a tournament on the cheap which only boasts a few tables but offers a first prize 25 or 30 times the buy-in, the Tuscany is worth the visit.
As with any tournament with such a small buy-in, the lunatics do come out on occasion, looking for a good time. The tournament the night before the one I checked out featured three drunk Australian businessmen, who put in a grand total of 37 rebuys between them (one player alone had 17). While this may frustrate some players who aren't used to this style in rebuy tournaments, savvy players know this adds a lot of money to the prize pool overall. (None of these three even came close to the money.)
You can find scores of 'nicer' poker rooms, and certainly nearly all the other tournaments in Las Vegas have bigger buy-ins, but if you are a player looking for value, or to learn the game without getting 'hit' too hard, the Tuscany just might be for you.