Card games in Vegas

MTG and Poker to compete for largest-ever card game tourney on same weekend in Vegas
January 7, 2024 – 11:03 pm
Table Games

To be clear, poker will still remain the king of card games. The largest online card game tournament, set by Pokerstars in 2013, had 225, 000 players. But in terms of live attendance, poker has been unable to get close to its former record, with WSOP Main Event entrance numbers since rarely breaking 7, 000.

“The Colossus” is World Series of Poker’s attempt to change all that. With just a $565 buy-in—and a guaranteed minimum $5 million prize pool—WSOP actually needs to break its old record just to break even (with 8, 850 players, to be exact). However, with four flights, The Colossus has a maximum capacity of over 24, 000, and Seth Palansky, VP of Communications at Caesars Entertainment—the company that runs WSOP—doesn’t think breaking the old record will prove difficult.

“The response to this event has been the most significant in the eight WSOP’s I’ve worked, ” he says, “ The Colossus has really struck a chord with people.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the strip, what looks to be the largest Magic: the Gathering tournament in history is being planned by Channel Fireball, a popular card and board gaming website. The release of the Modern Masters 2015 set is exciting for a number of reasons, with the primary one being the likely reprinting of popular and competitive cards used in the game’s “Modern” format.

With a few exceptions, Modern includes all cards printed since 2003’s Eighth Edition release, and is a powerful and complex way to play Magic: the Gathering. However, certain Modern cards are increasingly difficult to get ahold of, and Modern Masters sets allow players new opportunities to get those cards. One of the already spoiled cards, the $200 Tarmogoyf, still has a steep price despite a reprint from the original Modern Masters set.

Wizards of the Coast

While Modern Masters 2015’s reprintings promise value to all traders and collectors, the set is also generating hype based on the “Draft” format from the original Modern Masters. Drafting is a competitive format that involves opening packs at a table with other competitors, picking cards out of those packs and passing them around. In many ways, this increases the complexity of the game, rewarding flexibility and problem solving rather than preparation and simply using the “best deck.”

Many consider 2013’s Modern Masters as one of the best draft formats ever, but limited availability of the set meant few had the opportunity to play it—and almost nobody does just a couple years later.

Grand Prix Las Vegas, therefore, represents one of the most exciting events of the year for Magic players, and will likely be the game’s biggest event ever. Over 3, 500 players have already registered, and Channel Fireball employee Chris Davis doesn’t think filling all 10, 000 seats will be a problem.

“If we build it, they will come, ” he says.

Regardless, their current record is just 4, 492 players, and Channel Fireball is very likely to break its own record this year.

Interesting facts

The Game Manufacturers Association (GAMA) is a non-profit trade association based in Columbus, Ohio, dedicated to the advancement of the non-electronic social games industry - Board/Tabletop Games, Miniatures Games, Card Games, Collectable/Tradeable Card Games, Role-Playing Games, and Live-Action Role Playing Games. Its members are game...

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