Poker Central Again Tries for High Stakes at Aria

Poker Central Again Tries for High Stakes at Aria

Let’s try it again. That is the feeling of the Poker Central executives and high-stakes poker pros who want high roller tournaments to return to Aria on the Las Vegas Strip.

They tried it in December.

Late last year, Poker Central announced a set of three $10K buy-in High Roller tournaments scheduled for December -5. There were to be reentries. There was to be late registration. Rake was to be lifted for players who registered on time. It all harkened back to the pre-coronavirus days when high-stakes poker players gathered at the Aria to exchange money on the tables.

Alas, Covid-19 reared its ugly head. It never stopped being a threat to everyone in virtually every location on the planet, but there had already been a rising tide of the second wave of the pandemic in the United States prior to the Poker Central announcement.

When it came time for Aria to actually host the event, despite its health protocols in place, they cancelled it. It was simply too risky.

No tears for the high-stakes pros, however, as the Wynn offered some $10K High Roller tournaments just down the Strip.

Same Players, Different Results

Poker Central reported on the tournaments hosted by the Wynn’s poker room. (It was actually located in its sister property, Encore.) And the events produced small but reliable fields, the players who typically enter the $10K High Roller events around Las Vegas.

The first event drew 49 entries for a $490K prize pool. The top seven players received payouts, with Martin Zamani taking home $140,107 for the win.

The second event of that early December weekend recorded 64 entries for a $640K prize pool. After the top 10 made it into the money, Sean Winter went on to win it for $179,200.

A third event drew 57 entries, a $570K prize pool, and a nine-player payout list. Ray Qartomy finished on top for $150K.

The last of the four-event extravaganza garnered 26 entries. The $260K prize pool paid the top four players, with Jared Jaffee winning it for $179,200.

More Wynn High Rollers followed in the subsequent weeks of December. Per Poker Central, those winners included Aram Zobian from a 19-entry field, Christopher Brewer out of 20 entries, and Alex Foxen from a 20-entry event.

Aria to Try Again January 28-30

This week, Poker Central announced its intention to try its High Roller events with Aria again. The action will commence at 2pm each day on Thursday, January 28; Friday, January 29; and Saturday, January 30.

The details remain mostly the same as the cancelled December events at Aria:

–On-time registrants pay no rake.

–Late registrants and players reentering the tournament will pay $500 fees.

–Levels will play for 40 minutes each with a 10-minute break after every second level.

–Late registration ends when Level 7 begins, just after the dinner break.

–Tables will play 7-handed (previous attempt was to be 6-handed).

–Final tables will play 8-handed.

–A 30-second shot clock will ensure action, but each player will receive six 30-second time extensions.

–There is no player cap (previous attempt limited to 24 players).

The rules pertaining to Covid-19 protocols seem simple. Players, staff, and everyone associated with the event must wear a mask for the entirety of the event. “Players are encouraged to follow good hygiene practices.”

MGM Resorts properties, of which Aria is a part, do have extensive protocols in place. There is a seven-point safety plan for all employees, summarized as follows:

–Screening, temperature checks and comprehensive employee training

–Mandatory masks and personal protective equipment (minimum removal for eating or drinking)

–Physical distancing of six feet, or plexiglass barriers and face shields

–Handwashing and enhanced sanitization, including electrostatic sprayers

–Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning controls to circulate 100% fresh outside air

–Incident response protocols for positive virus cases in employees and guests, including tracing

–Digital innovations for contactless options for guest check-ins, key cards, mobile apps

For players comfortable with attending live tournaments, we hope they take as many precautions as possible to keep themselves and others safe.



About Jennifer Newell

Jennifer began writing about poker while working at the World Poker Tour in the mid-2000s. Since then, her freelance writing career has taken her from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back to her hometown of St. Louis, where she now lives with her two dogs. She continues to follow the poker world as she also launches a new subscription box company and finishes her first novel. Jennifer has written for numerous publications including and has followed the US poker and gaming market closely for the last 15 years. Follow Jen on Twitter

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