US Casinos Are Reinvesting In Poker Rooms, And That’s Great For The Game

Steve Ruddock June 4, 2016 2919 Reads
Casinos investing in land-based poker rooms

After a rash of poker room closings in the past few years, it now appears the casino industry is ready to start reinvesting in US poker and poker rooms. This month, new, swanky rooms have opened in Atlantic City at Trump Taj Mahal,  and in Las Vegas, at Steve Wynn’s Encore Casino.

Poker gets a second chance at The Taj

The Trump Taj Mahal, now owned and operated by Carl Icahn’s Tropicana Entertainment, just hosted the official ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new, state-of-the-art poker room on May 20. That reopening was announced earlier in the month.

A closer look at the Taj reboot

The original Trump Taj Mahal poker room, made famous by several pivotal scenes in the movie Rounders, has been closed since February of 2015. The new room is located where the old Taj poker room was located.

The updated and renovated poker room at Trump Taj Mahal now boasts 25 tables, with a wide array of game types at a variety of stakes, as well as new amenities and comforts for the casino’s poker-inclined clientele.

Tropicana Entertainment President and CEO Tony Rodio and local radio host Mike Missanelli, were on hand for the reopening to offer remarks about this exciting new phase in the Trump Taj Mahal’s long, storied history.

The new poker room, along with 250 new slot machines, is part of the first phase in Icahn’s revitalization efforts for the aged property he rescued from the throes of bankruptcy. Icahn has promised to invest up to $100 million in Trump Taj Mahal (provided the North Jersey casino referendum fails). The new poker room and the slot machines supposedly represent about $15 million of that money.

A look at poker in AC

Rumors are still swirling about a PokerStars branded poker room at Resorts Casino in New Jersey. If this room comes to fruition, it will have a lot of competition, especially with the Trump Taj Mahal reopening its landmark room.

Currently, there are six poker rooms in Atlantic City:

  • Borgata poker room (85 tables)
  • WSOP.com poker room at Bally’s (42 tables)
  • Harrah’s poker room (40 tables)
  • Trump Taj Mahal recently reopened its poker room (25 tables)
  • Tropicana poker room (22 tables)
  • Golden Nugget poker room (10 tables)

Wynn poker room opens at Encore

Meanwhile, some 2,500 miles away in Nevada, Steve Wynn was busy putting the finishing touches on the new Wynn poker room located at Encore Hotel and Casino. And like everything Wynn does in this industry, they spared no expense with the new poker room at Encore, which opened on May 26.

At 8,600 square feet, the new Wynn poker room is truly a sight to behold.

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And I’m not the only one who thinks so:

The room is 62 percent larger than the poker room it’s replacing at the company’s sister property right next door, the eponymously named Wynn Casino.

But the number of tables only increased from 25 to 28. The larger footprint, coupled with a relatively static number of tables is a telltale sign that the new poker room’s emphasis is on comfort. There is so much open space, you could probably drive a golf cart between tables in the new room.

In fact, there are more televisions in the room than poker tables, with the ratio tilted in favor of TV’s by a not insignificant margin of 37 to 28.

Other amenities that set the room apart are cushy chairs and heavily padded tables, USB charging ports at every seat, and something every poker player can appreciate: a dedicated poker room bathroom.

In addition to the main room, the new poker room also boasts a four-table high roller section that features its own cashier cage.

Steve Wynn showed up for the grand opening, although he may have regretted his decision to mingle with the crowd:

For the time being, the “old” Wynn poker room (the room opened in 2005) will stay open through the Wynn Poker Classic series this summer.

Image credit: popgallery / Shutterstock.com

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