The Las Vegas Strip has hosted some pretty impressive battles. Nearly every major boxing title and all the UFC championships have been defended on the iconic 4.2 mile stretch of road.
In addition, the Strip has hosted the Stanley Cup Finals when the Las Vegas Golden Knights advanced to the championship round in their first season and the Super Bowl will be contended their in 2024.
Sin City's biggest battle, however, may not take place in an arena or stadium. Its biggest rivalry has been between Caesars Entertainment (CZR) - Get Caesars Entertainment Inc. Report and MGM Resorts International (MGM) - Get MGM Resorts International Report, the two leading casino operators on the Strip.
The two companies battle for customers on the Strip with each one having casinos that cater to every level of customer. In recent months, MGM has taken over the Cosmopolitan while Caesars has plans to go after mode-dedicated gamblers by rebranding its Bally's casino under its gambler-friendly Horseshoe brand.
Caesars and MGM are like two heavyweight fighters trading blows with neither being able to land a knockout punch. The two companies try to outdo each other with celebrity restaurants, new entertainment options, and concert headliners who take up residency in their properties.
Now, MGM has decided to launch a rival to one of Caesars biggest properties.
MGM Takes on Caesars World Series of Poker
The World Series of Poker (WSOP) has been the dominant series -- sort of the major leagues -- for the card game. And while poker is no the sensation it was a few years ago, when it seemed to be a major draw on television, it remains popular and the WSOP draws a big audience to Caesars properties.
Caesars owns the WSOP and uses the name not just for the signature series of poker events that eventually crowns an annual champion, but also for its poker rooms. It's a big brand that draws an audience for the poker series and a crowd to Caesars casinos poker rooms.
Now, MGM, under its BetMGM digital gambling arm, has launched a rival poker series, according to Pokerfuse.com.
"BetMGM has announced the premiere BetMGM Poker Championship, a $1 million-guaranteed high stakes tournament to be held at the ARIA Resort & Casino next month," the website reported. "The $3500 buy-in event will headline the 2022 ARIA Poker Classic. Other tournaments, including a $600 Mystery Bounty event, will fill a four-day period of BetMGM poker festivities to run from June 23 to 26."
Why Take On the World Series of Poker?
The World Series of Poker draws "hundreds of thousands of players" to Las Vegas every summer, according to Casino.org. The series has grown since its modest early days in the 1960s, according to the WSOP website.
"By 2006, the World Series of Poker was comprised of 45 tournaments, all awarding gold bracelets to the winners. Well over $100 million in prize money was won, making the WSOP the richest event in all of sports. Jamie Gold overcame the largest field in poker history when he defeated 8,772 fellow players and won $12 million as the top prize last year, surpassing the payout of events such as Wimbledon, The Masters, and the Kentucky Derby - combined," the site shared.
The WSOP has been a cash cow for Caesars drawing a huge crowd of players to its satellite tournaments and becoming the name brand for poker around the world. MGM now wants a piece of that pie and to bring attention to its Las Vegas Strip resorts as well as
“The first-ever BetMGM Poker Championship descends on Las Vegas during one of the most exciting times of the poker season,” BetMGM Director of Poker Luke Staudenmaier said, according to PokerFuse.
Aria Poker Classic will run from June 1 through July 17 "with almost 50 events spread over the six week period."
The dates coincide with the WSOP making it very clear that MGM wants to not just create its own poker series, but take some shine away from Caesars' WSOP.
“ARIA is a legendary poker brand and we’re thrilled that the Championship has become an integral part of this year’s Poker Classic,” Staudenmaier added. “Through our relationship with MGM Resorts and its world-class U.S. properties, we’ll continue to leverage event programming and connect with players both online and in their favorite poker rooms.”