First, you don't have to spend $1,500 to play an Event or even $10,000 to play the Main Event at the WSOP. There are a number of multi-table and single table satellites that you can enter for as little as $65 and win enough chips to buy into a WSOP Event. My preference is to play the $175 Single Table Tournaments, because in many cases if you can get down to the final 2 there is enough to split and make it worth everyone's while, but strategies differ.
One thing I would not recommend is buying directly into a high dollar single table satellite. Win your way into it through a $275 STS or lower and take your 1 in 10 shot from there at a $1000 + $30 single table satellite to make it into the WSOP Main Event since the value of tournament chips is less than the value of the actual equivalent dollars. I did and it almost landed me in the Main Event in 2008!
Another great event that mirrors the WSOP is Binion's 4th Annual Poker Classic with much more affordable buy-ins than the WSOP. This is especially relevant in the current economy. These events range from $100 to $1000 to play in large fields with some pretty decent players. The structure for the 4thAnnual Binion's Poker Classic is available here.
If you are staying with us at the Golden Nugget, I'd recommend you take a look at The Grand Poker Series. This is another affordable event that should have good players. You can view the schedule for this event here.
No matter what you decide to do during your time in Vegas get out there and play!