It’s a bit of Back to the Future this summer for the World Series of Poker. Caesars Entertainment announced in July that the series would shift to the Las Vegas Strip at the Bally’s and Paris casinos for 2022.
That move now includes a name change and renovation at Bally’s – bringing back a piece of the WSOP’s past. Caesars announced Wednesday that the casino will be renamed “Horseshoe Las Vegas” (artist’s rendering featured in lead image) and undergo a renovation as well.
The move brings back the name of the downtown Las Vegas property that served as the birthplace for the series. Benny Binion founded the WSOP at his Binion’s Horseshoe casino in 1970.
Caesars (then known as Harrah’s Entertainment) purchased the series in 2004 and the annual festival was moved to the Rio. The company also retained the rights to the Horseshoe brand and is now returning the historic name to the series.
“Bringing the Horseshoe brand back to life in Las Vegas allows us to celebrate both our history and our future,” Caesars Regional President Sean McBurney said in a news release. “2022 starts a new era for the Caesars Entertainment empire in Las Vegas, one being heralded by the return of Horseshoe.”
What to expect from the WSOP Horseshoe
Plenty of changes are in store for players returning to the action this summer. The Strip series moves the massive poker spectacle front and center to the hub of Vegas gambling.
Caesars officials note that the changes to the Bally’s property go beyond simply the name. The transformation begins this spring, but won’t be finished until the end of 2022. The renovations at the property will include:
- a renovated exterior
- new entertainment and food and beverage options
- a reimagined casino floor and public areas
In keeping with Horseshoe’s classic feel, the Caesars design team plans to incorporate a handcrafted feeling with tooled leather, dramatic colors, and the brand’s signature gold horseshoe iconography. Additional details will be announced as the renovation progresses.
“At Horseshoe, it’s all about the gambler,” Bally’s/Horseshoe senior general manager and Senior Vice President Jason Gregorec said.
“Since 1951 Horseshoe casinos have been home to the best odds, highest limits, and biggest jackpots. So, it’s fitting that we bring Horseshoe back to Las Vegas, and right on the Las Vegas Strip. Holding to the Horseshoe tradition of providing impeccable service, our guests will see the property transform over time, ensuring we aren’t disrupting the excitement while we make the transition.”
Adding some Vegas history to the Strip
The Bally’s transition brings a piece of Vegas history to the Strip each summer – both the WSOP and the Horseshoe brand. Binion previously ran underground casinos in Dallas, Texas, before heading to Sin City. He was known to accept large wagers and began the WSOP as a way to attract attention to the casino.
The annual poker festival greatly expanded in the 2000s with the poker boom and Chris Moneymaker’s historic win in 2003.
Through the years, the Horseshoe brand expanded to markets across the country. The renovated venue will now host the 53rd annual WSOP from May 31 to July 19.
“We couldn’t be more excited to see the World Series of Poker return to Horseshoe,” WSOP Senior Vice President and Executive Director Ty Stewart said. “Horseshoe is where it all began for WSOP. It’s always been a brand for gamblers and card players. As we move WSOP to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time, that it will happen at Horseshoe makes it incredibly special.”
The multi-million dollar investment is the latest in a series of re-imaginings for Caesars’ Las Vegas resorts. That includes a new entrance to Caesars Palace and major investments in casino floor and gaming technology across the properties.
Players offer views on move
A move to the Strip has come with mixed reactions among players*. Some see a benefit in running the series right in the middle of the Strip. The tourist traffic and iconic location may bring some extra notoriety for the series.
The location also adds some extra opportunities for “weekend warriors” heading to Vegas for the WSOP. They can easily play some poker and enjoy some time on the Strip. The Rio showed its age in recent years and improved venues for the series will be nice.
Happy to hear the legendary Horseshoe casino brand is coming back to Vegas, and that the WSOP will be played there.
Now we just need to find this generation's Johnny Moss, Amarillo Slim, Jack Binion, and Puggy Pearson. pic.twitter.com/y8EOQFxsO2
— Las Vegas Locally 🌴 (@LasVegasLocally) January 26, 2022
Other players see the move to the busy Strip as a negative. Traffic and parking issues are major concerns for many. The Rio offered free parking, a nice perk for players spending weeks at the series.
Can’t wait for @WSOP on strip…. Currently waiting for 3rd red light to cross LV Blvd on flamingo…. Long live the Rio.
— Matthew Affleck (@mcmattopoker) January 23, 2022
The addition of the Horseshoe name at least brings an interesting brand change to Caesars’ summer plans.
* Lead image courtesy WSOP/Caesars Entertainment