World Series II?

Dec 21, 2004 4:19 AM

The Plaza Hotel and Casino announced last week it will host the "Plaza World Poker Classic," a professional poker player’s tournament coming to downtown Las Vegas this spring. The tournament begins Monday, April 18 and culminates Tuesday, May 17 after a two-day "No Limit Hold’em" final with a $50,000 buy-in.

"A poker tournament of this level belongs in downtown Las Vegas, and the Plaza poker room has the vintage distinction to pull it off in style," said Phil Flaherty, chief operating officer of Barrick Gaming, the parent company of the Plaza.

In 2005, the World Series of Poker will see only limited action in downtown Las Vegas, as its new owner, Harrah’s, has announced it will hold the bulk of the tourney at the Rio. And the dates have been moved back a month.

"For many seasoned poker players, taking the World Series of Poker away from downtown Las Vegas and changing the date from a slot it filled for decades is sacrilege," said Ben Magee, director of poker tournaments at the Plaza. "The caliber of the final table buy-in is going to present an opportunity for the pros to win millions and take this tournament to the level a major downtown tournament was meant to be."

Prior to joining the Plaza, Magee was the poker tournament director at Binion’s Horseshoe where, among his accomplishments, he was lead floor supervisor for the high limit section and satellite tournament director for the 2004 World Series of Poker.

For the new Plaza World Poker Classic, single table and super satellites begin April 18 with multiple buy-in amounts. No-Limit Hold’em tournaments dominate the schedule, but an array of other tournaments such as Seven Card Stud, H.O.R.S.E., Ace to 5 Lowball and Omaha 8 or Better are also planned.

The Plaza World Poker Classic is the latest innovative move on behalf of the Plaza and Barrick Gaming since Magee joined the company and established the Plaza poker room.

Other events have included an innovative series of daily tournaments, "Holiday Hold’em," and the Plaza Ultimate Poker Challenge, which was syndicated nationwide. The Plaza poker room has been a welcome fixture for poker players for nearly 35 years.

Prior to Barrick’s purchase of the Plaza, the poker room hosted games in which then-owner Jackie Gaughan frequently played, including faro.