The World Series of Poker Circuit will be at Harrah’s Cherokee from August 2nd to August 14th. That’s a long stretch, which is both good and bad.

The Good News

The good new is that you will have many different poker tournaments to choose from. This circuit stop will begin with a multi-flight $365 buy-in. There are four flights due to high demand. If you go on that first Wednesday (August 2nd), then you’re not going to find a lot of people. The field will be less than 100 players. Since this is the first flight, many players will look to bag huge stacks. This means they will be taking a lot of risks, which could play in your favor if you approach it correctly. However, don’t expect a lot of excitement on this day. The atmosphere will be kind of dull. Also, if you bag, then you have to wait until Sunday to play Day 2. But something tells me you will be capable of finding something to do with a poker room at your disposal. You will also have some of the best trout fishing in the world, and you will be less than 10 minutes to Great Smoky Mountain National Park. Hint: Visit Mingo Falls.

Other tournaments will include a $580 buy-in on the first Sunday, a 6-Max tournament on Monday, the Monster Stack on Wednesday, and the Main Event on Friday and Saturday. There will also be Turbo events on both Saturdays as well as a Deepstack Turbo event on the second Sunday.

Turbos are a lot of fun, but if you’re playing in them, then it usually means you didn’t cash in an earlier tournament. The correct way to play this for someone with a low-risk approach to tournaments is to arrive just prior to 4 p.m. on a Saturday and buy-in only to the Turbo. Since at least half the field will be on tilt from earlier losses and you will have a clear mind, you will have an advantage.

The Bad News

The first piece of bad news is that almost every tournament in this series comes with a 20% rake. As long as people keep showing up in droves, the WSOP will continue ripping those people off. Those final table cashes are just too appealing to pass up. I admit to being one of the suckers. My excuse is convenience to this poker room. The only way to really help offset this is to not tip the dealers, but I don’t have that in me. I used to tip the dealers huge when I cashed, but I have needed to pull back because of that enormous rake.

The second piece of bad news is that the hotel rates in the surrounding area are much higher on the weekends, and the weekends are when you’re going to find the biggest prize pools. For instance, the multi-flight on the first weekend has a guaranteed prize pool of $500,000. The Main Event on the second weekend has a guaranteed prize pool of $1 million. Most players want a shot at the big money, which makes sense. In the multi-flight, the field will likely be around 3,000 players. For the Main Event, it will be closer to 1,000 players, but the field will be a little stronger.

My Approach

I had a really tough time with the logistics for this series. It’s such a long stay that I knew I couldn’t be away from family the entire time. I had to decide between one medium-length stay and two shorter stays on the weekends. I stared at the schedule for hours, and I wrote down several plans, each of which I thought would be The Plan.

My decision was made a lot easier when I compared hotel prices and tournament buy-in fees. If I went during the second week (Monday-Friday), I would be getting an average of $74 per night instead of an average of $127 per night on the weekends. I would also have the opportunity to play in five tournaments opposed to three tournaments. Additionally, I would still have a shot at playing in the Main Event that Friday. If I bag in the Main Event, I will have a dilemma because everything will be booked for the night, but at least it will be a good dilemma. If that scenario occurs, I’ll sleep in my car if necessary.

Another perk is that the casino will be less crowded during the week. The only reason I care about this is less wait times for food. If you’re at Harrah’s Cherokee on the weekend during the WSOP Circuit, you could end up waiting a very long time for food.


Hopefully, the information above will give you a head start for your WSOP Cherokee plans. I took a low-cost approach. If I were lucky enough to cash in one of the smaller events during the week, I wouldn’t be raking in the huge bucks, but I’m sure I would be happy with $30,000. And I still get to play in the Main Event. If you do plan on playing the WSOP Cherokee Circuit in August, then I recommend booking it fast. The hotels are filling up like crazy. Two years ago, I made the mistake of waiting until the last minute. I ended up only staying one night, which was 45 minutes away in Waynesville.

Tyler Nals

If you love poker, then you're in the right place. My poker strategy books are written for the beginner-intermediate player, and many readers have told me that these strategies have helped them turn a profit. My books are easy to understand and written from a macro perspective on how to win as a poker player. You will also find an entertainment angle. Regardless of what level poker player you are, you might enjoy A Fishy Poker Tournament, The Dark Side of the Felt, and The Poker Office. These are poker adventure books, not poker strategy books.

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