At a time when poker rooms have closed in Las Vegas, players received some good news in recent weeks. Along with the return of live poker across the country, the new Resorts World Las Vegas unveiled a new poker room.
The unveiling comes after the new casino opened in June and players have been checking out the new venue. Overall the property features 117,000 square feet of gaming space with over 1,400 slot machines, 117 table games, and a 30-table poker room. Resorts, located at the north end of the Strip next to Circus Circus, also offers a 66-story hotel.
Gary Hager, the property’s director of poker, recently spoke with USPoker about the Resorts World poker room and what players can expect.
Launching something new in Sin City
The Resorts World poker room offers an elegant addition to the Vegas poker scene with cash games in $1/3 and $2/5 range and occasional $5/10. Recent weeks have also seen some bigger additions.
The property has also attracted a few regular mixed games including $4/8 and a $30/60 Seven Card Stud game. A $40/80 mixed game has also been a regular as well as a few $300/600 games in the VIP room.
“I think players really like the room,” Hager says. “The room is peaceful and the player chairs are extremely comfortable. Several players have said they’re the most comfortable chairs they’ve sat in in a long time.”
Hager believes he’s put together an experienced staff that will make for a smooth transition.
“The staff is incredibly welcoming,” he says. “Everyone’s a veteran and has a great attitude. So far the players like it and if we can just win over those locals who are ingrained in their own game, if we can win over two or three a day, we’ll be in good shape.”
Opening a completely new poker room isn’t easy, especially in a busy Vegas market. The property hasn’t launched tournament play yet, but players can expect something soon.
“We didn’t start out with tournaments because we wanted to kind of get our footing under us before we did that,” Hagerty says. “But we’re targeting August before we start some daily tournaments and put some series together after that.”
Hager says the property would host its own major series at some point and even consider partnering with larger tours.
Along with the regular tables, Resorts features two VIP tables behind glass. These host the higher limit games, such as the $300/600 mixed. Two salons also house three more tables, offering another VIP section as well.
— Resorts World Las Vegas (@ResortsWorldLV) June 25, 2021
A deep background in poker
Hager brings a long history in poker to Resorts. After beginning as a player, he moved on to dealing before moving up the ladder. He served as tournament director at Wynn until 2011 before becoming poker room manager at Wynn Macau.
After that, Hager moved on to director of poker at MGM Boston Harbor. He now returns to Las Vegas and is excited at the prospect of starting something completely new on the Strip.
Offering a poker room in Vegas is a bit of a shift for the company’s US operations however. In Atlantic City, Resorts doesn’t even host a poker room. However, the resort does partner with PokerStars to offer online poker in New Jersey.
What does the new effort say about poker for the company?
“They understand that poker is important to the company as a whole for operating an integrated five-star resort,” Hager says. “It’s great to be part of a company that’s supporting poker, its poker department, and the poker industry at a time when many rooms are closing down and shutting their doors.”
Winning over players
The Resorts room offers players a well-lit, spacious environment. Design elements feature orange as a dominant color along with blacks and grays.
It’s a laid-back, relaxed venue and staff are putting a major emphasis on pleasing players.
So far, Las Vegas locals have been supportive. Hager has been pleased to see some regular players shift at least some of their action to the property.
“Many of the locals have come down and checked it out,” he says. “We’re working through our infant stages of getting everything in order, getting all the departments to kind of gel together, operating with food delivery on a 24-hour basis, and pushing the hotel to its occupancy max.
“Now we’re just getting everything moving and I think new players will begin seeing improvements from both the property and the poker department on a daily basis.”