By Sean Chaffin
Plenty of cards, comfort, great food, and a BMW. Those are just a few of what players can expect in July 20-25 when the $5,000 WPT Gardens Poker Festival kicks off Season XVIII.
The property bills itself as “The Best Play in L.A.,” and for good reason. The Gardens offers a clean, spacious room with complete comfort, a wide variety of tasty food options, non-stop poker action including in the VIP Poker Room, and a great Southern California location to make a poker trip into a great vacation.
Not only will the Gardens Poker Festival winner add his or her name to the Champions Cup, but the property has revved up the payout with an interesting prize. The Season XVIII champion will drive home a 2019 BMW X1, worth an extra $40,000.
Last year’s prize pool was nearly $3 million with winner Simon Lam taking home more than $565,000 and a new Mercedes-Benz.
Players have plenty of reasons to head west. Some of those include: the casino’s location to some of California’s great beach cities, theme parks, and resorts; new technology throughout the casino including an RFID player card tracking system, the Gardens app, and text message alerts including for seat openings in cash games; and some of the best promotions on the West Coast with monthly events offering players a chance to compete in other events.
Tournament manager Cavin Quintanilla (pictured) offers one more reason: “We are maintaining legendary customer service as we grow to one of the largest and busiest poker rooms in the world. We pride ourselves on our great customer service.”
Along with hosting the event, the Gardens is also the only WPT-branded poker room. The property underwent a complete $90 million renovation three years ago and still has a completely “like-new” feel. The property was previously housed in a giant white tent, but that is definitely a thing of the past. The new facility offers 200,000 square feet of poker and gaming space in a warm, inviting, and a high-class two-story building.
Players can choose from the main poker floor with 100 cash game tables, a separate tournament room with 45 more tables, the VIP room with 39 more tables, or another area for casino-style gaming with Blackjack, Baccarat, Pai Gow Poker, and other options.
The WPT Gardens Poker Festival features an action-packed schedule that includes 25 events of all buy-in levels and games ranging from No Limit Hold’em to HORSE to Short Deck to Eight-Game Mix.
Mixed games fans can get warmed up with lower buy-in events during the first week ($350 buy-in for HORSE, PLO, and Eight-Game Mix) with higher buy-ins coming during the second week ($550 to $3,000). A few highlights on the schedule include:
Event 1: $100,000 Guarantee No Limit Hold’em (July 12) – This one-day event features a major guarantee for only a $175 buy-in with one optional $100 add-on.
Event 15: $25,000 High Roller Championship (July 23) – This event features Satellite Steps events the day before with Step 1 a $275 buy-in and Step 2 at $2,550. Players have a shot at this big buy-in event for a bargain investment.
Event 25: The Finale $100,000 Guarantee (July 27) – This one-day tournament features a $175 buy-in with re-entries and a phenomenal guarantee, but with no re-buys or add-ons.
Beyond a stacked schedule of tournaments, the Gardens is also stacked when it comes to satellites. That includes Satellite Spectacular IV on July 23, with a $540 buy-in giving players a shot at winning one of 10 guaranteed $5,000 WPT Passports to play in upcoming tour events. The Gardens is also giving away 52 guaranteed $5,000 Festival entries via mega satellites.
The Gardens also has one new promotion – a $250,000 Summer Freeroll. Players can qualify May 1 through Aug, 16 and need just 50 hours of play on their Gardens player card (cash games and tournaments) to qualify. It’s a big opportunity for a major payout by just playing at the property.
The WPT Gardens Festival is just around the corner and there’s plenty to look forward to with the first event on the schedule approaching. Book that flight and hotel – and don’t forget the sunblock and beach towels.
For more on the WPT Gardens Poker Festival, click here. For a complete schedule of all Gardens Poker Festival event, click here.
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. His work appears in numerous websites and publications. Follow him on Twitter @PokerTraditions.