The Trump Taj Mahal’s best days are likely behind it, but the famed casino’s future in Atlantic City isn’t exactly bleak. The casino, now owned by Tropicana Resorts, appears ready to emerge from its Chapter 11 bankruptcy in relatively good shape.
It’s only been two weeks since billionaire Carl Icahn‘s Tropicana Resorts was green lighted to take over the Trump Taj Mahal by the New Jersey Casino Control Commission, and Tropicana is already looking to recapture some of the Taj’s former glory, as it has announced the reopening of the famed Taj poker room.
The Taj, back in business
The announced reopening of the room was a welcome surprise for East Coast poker players on Monday thanks to the Taj’s place in poker lore.
The newly remodeled room is slated to reopen on Friday, May 13, with three weeks of special giveaways and promotions on the docket.
Here is the press release from Tropicana announcing the reopening of the Trump Taj Mahal poker room:
Starting 11 a.m. on Friday, May 13, 2016, Taj Poker is back in action, ready to deal players in. The iconic Taj Poker Room is back with a fresh look and new high-definition TV screens broadcasting an array of sporting events. Poker players should be sure to get “all in” on the action with their favorite Taj Poker Employees.
To celebrate the return of poker, the Taj is giving away a total of 50 32” TVs on the weekends of May 13, May 20 and May 27. Also starting May 13, poker players who play two hours can receive their choice of a Taj T-shirt or hat, while supplies last. Players will enjoy a full calendar of promotions and a variety of live games including Texas Hold’em, No-Limit Hold’em, Omaha, Stud, Pot Limit Omaha, Omaha High-Low and 7-Card Stud High-Low.
For more information on the new Trump Taj Mahal poker room, you can visit the revamped website here.
History of the Taj’s poker room
Following the legalization of poker in Atlantic City in 1992, the Trump Taj Mahal poker room was the hub of East Coast poker for a decade, before Borgata usurped their throne in the mid 2000’s. But The Taj was always a strong second fiddle, and its 48-table poker room was well trafficked throughout the poker boom, which made the closure all the more surprising.
When the room was shuttered in February of 2015, Trump Entertainment Resorts CEO Robert Griffin said it was for renovations and remodeling, and that the room would reopen in about six months.
With the company in bankruptcy, there was very little faith in the poker world that this was the case. For all intents and purposes, poker players suspected The Taj poker room, made famous in several scenes from the movie Rounders, had dealt its last hand of poker.
Fortunately, it hasn’t. The legacy of the Trump Taj Mahal poker room, “where the sand turns to gold,” will live on.
The Taj 2.0
With Icahn at the helm, the casino is now getting a reboot.
This is something Icahn excels at, after all, Icahn has completely turned around Tropicana AC after acquiring the casino in bankruptcy in 2010.
First, Icahn is pumping $15 million into the property right away to bring the casino up to a sufficient operating level.
Second, Icahn has promised to funnel $100 million back into his newly acquired property, so long as the North Jersey casino referendum isn’t passed this November.
If the larger investment is realized, the remodeled and renovated poker room is just the tip of the iceberg for The Taj. But everything seems to hinge on the casino referendum.
Tropicana President Tony Rodio was quoted by the Courier Post as telling the New Jersey Casino Control Commission that “the uncertainty of north Jersey (casinos) throws some uncertainty into what should be deployed.”
Rodio qualified this by saying future investment is not completely off the table should the referendum pass. “If I can put forth something I can show him that shows whether I will get a return, he’s never said ‘no’ to us at the Tropicana when we’ve come to him with something like that,” Rodio told the CCC.
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