Posts Tagged ‘Bellagio’

May 28, 2013

WSOP Ride-alongs, Dayclub Dreams, and Ethical Quandaries at the Table

Vegas Grinders

VegasGrinderImage

Why do I watch Celebrity Apprentice when I know it’s just gonna tilt me!?

It’s the 10th anniversary of Chris Moneymaker, and the big poker events are here — starting with the WPT World Championship, where the final table looks to be a lesson in makeup and collections. But hey, even at only $1.1 million for first, a televised $25k buy-in is still enough to make Bellagio the busiest room in Vegas again. Meanwhile, Dave finds the new lowest stakes action on the Strip in a $.50/$1 NL game at the Quad (which ain’t a bad way to chase the Megabeat) … and does yours truly find his poker passion re-ignited by a missed connection at Red Rock, where a self-professed high-stakes online pro says he’s really impressed by my $1-3 play. (Argh, why didn’t I get his name!?!) Meanwhile, Andrew is keeping it real and chill poolside, with the opening of a new dayclub flavored by the Light Group and Cirque du Soleil. And in our version of “What Would You Do?” the VG crew breaks down an ethical quandry about dealer error and cards speaking when the table won’t … which begs the question: is there a difference between angle shooting another player and pocketing cash from a casino slip?

Oh, you know you want it like we do …

Vegas Grinders 1.15

Posted by at 2:46 pm

March 14, 2013

Vegas Grinders: Cupcake Remission Stakes

+ keeping Howard Lederer away from the friendliest 5/10 NL game in town

VegasGrinderImage
All I want is for you to love me like a Facebook friend.

We’re not just a 1-2 or 1-3-trick pony at Vegas Grinders … and to prove it we invite anti-Howard Lederer petitioner and middleweight grinder thug Nick diVella to report from the 5/10 and 10/20 NL tables at Aria, Bellagio, Wynn, and (sometimes) Venetian … just as we get word that the DOJ has launched a website to facilitate the repatriation of Full Tilt bankrolls.

Also … the Caesars Megabeat Jackpot hits at Planet Hollywood for $672k, paying off not just quad Queens < Queen-high straight flush, but also spreading a cool $2k around to 219 players in eight different poker rooms across Nevada. (Woot! It’s a casino party!) … But (sigh) what’s the point, really, when even Jerry Yang’s WSOP bracelet can end up on the auction block in an effort to pay off the IRS? With Dave boldly (and wrongly) folding pocket kings, good thing at least one of us finally took down a tournament FTW. Sure, it was just a little $45 tourney at the Stratosphere, but hey, don’t tell that to the 50 semi-grizzled players I bettered!

Vegas Grinders 1.5

Posted by at 4:12 pm

February 4, 2013

Status Update:

Do online slots hold the (room) key to internet poker's future?

We’ve long believed around these parts it’s all about slots. Not that we play the no-armed bandits, but more and more often it seems like we won’t get fully legalized online poker in the United States until we have legalized online slots.

While play-for-free slots are nothing new in our gaming space — Zynga’s been getting 13-year-old kids to learn the gambling foundation that is slot play for more than a year now — what is new is attaching your pulls to casino comp points, which effectively serve as a casino corporation’s own private currency. And you can see that advancement in some of the ads Facebook is serving up to at least a few of us.

facebook slots bellagio comps

Posted by at 10:18 am

November 16, 2012

Murren to Lead MGM Resorts through 2016

CEO's contract extended four more years to oversee expansion

MGM Resorts International Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jim Murren signed a new employment agreement with the Strip casino giant that keeps him in his current position through 2016.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission late Thursday, the agreement calls for Murren to receive a base salary of $2 million per year along with various bonuses, benefits and stock awards.

Murren, a former Wall Street analyst, has been with the company since 1999. Prior to becoming chairman and CEO in December 2008, Murren served as chief financial officer. Murren replaced the late Terry Lanni, who retired.

Murren is leading MGM Resorts current expansion efforts. The company is seeking to build hotel-casino developments in Maryland, Massachusetts, and Toronto.

More…


October 11, 2012

Howard Lederer Re-emerges Just in Time for Fall Classics

@RandomPoker around Las Vegas

Ah, the Las Vegas fall. It’s that time of year when the high temperatures finally drop into the 90s, pool season ends, barbecues begin and we enjoy a brief respite from the melting cars.

But the live poker scene around Las Vegas is starting to heat up again, after the summer break from the WSOP. Three of the big four rooms — Venetian, Bellagio, Caesars — are hosting fall tournaments. And the WSOP Main Event final table returns to the Rio later this month.

Even Howard Lederer made a ballyhooed return to high stakes cash games at Aria and Bellagio this week. He played in Bobby’s Room on Monday, the Ivey Room on Tuesday, and found his way back to Bellagio on Wednesday with a nosebleed crew that included Doyle Brunson, Eli Elezra, Chau Giang, and Nick Schulman. Lederer’s given no indication where he’s headed next, but I imagine he’s a little more than a DOJ seizure away from the .50/$1 game at Bill’s.

I wanted to snap a picture of Lederer when I saw him at Aria, but security threatened to ban anyone who did, and Dan’s not paying me enough to risk arrest or deportation, so … this twitpic posted to 2+2 will have to be good enough.

More…

Posted by at 1:00 pm

July 15, 2012

Nosebleed Heaven

@RandomPoker's Guide to the Biggest High-Stakes Cash Games in Vegas

Dan Bilzerian tweeted this picture of $9.4 million in chips with the caption: “Our poker game is officially fucking huge.”

Flags were flying around Las Vegas — and it had more to do with the WSOP than the 4th of July.

Sure, you can always expect to see more $5,000 chips in play on Vegas felts during the WSOP, but the super-high-stakes action that requires them really picked up this summer — more so than usual, it seems, particularly in the days leading up to Big One for One Drop, the biggest buy-in tournament in history.

Pots in the hundreds of thousands of dollars practically became the norm in The Ivey Room at Aria, where a bunch of billionaires and Hollywood socialites were playing $2k/$4k NL for more than a week. At the same time, a $1k/$2k PLO game was going on in the Pavillion Room at the WSOP, and Doyle Brunson was logging super-long sessions at his home room in Bellagio.

Poker room supervisors say Vegas hasn’t seen this level of action since billionaire banker Andy Beal took on “the Corporation” at the Wynn in 2004. ($15k/$30k and $30k/$60k heads-up limit hold’em was their game.) There’s some chatter among Vegas regs about how different poker rooms go about bringing in certain players while keeping others out — lest the biggest casino whales get devoured too quickly by certain poker sharks.

Here is a 2012 guide to the who/what/when/where/why of the really big games around Las Vegas:

More…

Posted by at 5:10 pm

May 30, 2012

Las Vegas 2012 Summertime Tournament Matrix

A cool spreadsheet circulating around the WSOP breaks down your options

The WSOP isn’t just about the WSOP … you have tournament options of notable field sizes and different game varieties all across town. While Aria has opened an entire new section for dailies, Bellagio cleared a section for tournaments and TV cameras and Binions made way for more tables, too. There’s a summer “classic” at Wynn and the Deep Stacks Extravaganza is back at Venetian, while Golden Nugget and Caesars Palace gear up for the Grand Poker and Mega Stack series’ respectively.

Need help deciding what, when, and where to play throughout the summer? This handy spreadsheet breaks down all the big tournament action — with details on buy-in, blind structures, and rake so you can choose the best brick-and-mortar MTT.

Posted by at 1:45 am

February 20, 2012

Grinding the “Off Day” Tourneys

Where to find quality Vegas action on Mondays and Tuesdays

Mondays and Tuesdays are arguably the worst days of the week for poker, which is why I often take those days off.

The tourists have donated their Vegas dollars to the grinders over the weekend, and even the L.A. crowd has headed back to their movie studios and plastic surgeons.

This meant that for the final two days of my week-long experiment in playing Las Vegas daily tournaments, I would have to hit some of the bigger casinos — Caesars Palace and Bellagio.

The 10,000 starting stack at Caesars Palace's nightly tournament.

With a WSOP-circuit event being held at Caesars, I didn’t have trouble finding a comfortable-size field for their nightly 7pm tournament on a Monday. With a $110 entry fee, this event has a $5,000 guaranteed prize pool (Mon-Fri only). The staff and one local at my starting table who had already worked out the math said they would need at least 63 entrants to reach that figure. Caesars’s nightly tournaments sometimes start with even fewer players, offering a healthy overlay.

Of the buy-in, Caesars took $20 as a “maintenance fee” and $10 was for the staff toke.)

Grinders and well-known pros filled the room — the 2008 WSOP Main Event third-place finisher Dennis Phillips sat a few tables away playing a cash game and Jeff Madsen, the rapper who also won 2006 WSOP player of the year, was at the final table of the main event in the elevated area nearby. I didn’t recognize anyone at my table who should have given me trouble.

A Week of Whiffs?
I was due for a nice run, having missed the money in my first 5 tournaments. The 10,000 chip starting stack and 20-minute levels felt comfortable out of the gate. I’d have to beat out 59 others to earn the $1,914 first-place prize.

More…

Posted by at 5:50 am

January 12, 2012

Bouncing ’round the Rooms

Las Vegas poker action and buzz

This is Pokerati’s new Las Vegas poker room column, and I’m the hired hack on the beat.

As a journalist who recently emigrated from the other side of the Mississippi River to divide his time writing and grinding in Las Vegas, the poker capital of the world, I hear a lot of buzz around town. Much of it is just noise, sometimes it’s early rumblings of actual news, and occasionally it’s just really good FYI for Vegas live-poker-room regs.

We hope to have a little bit of everything here for you. Some of the topics I’m looking to explore:

* Just about every casino has a daily tournament — some just a short-handed sit-n-go while others play like a mini-multitable bracelet event. Where can you get the most play for your buy-in? And what’s really going on with the juice?

* Different rooms have different rules. Some, like Tropicana’s Jamie Gold Room, are throwing many of the standards out the window. Which rooms have the strictest rules? Aria, for instance, has a rule against talking to gain information in a heads-up pot. Why?

* More and more casinos are offering rakeback-type promotions. The “get paid to play” trend sweeping through town varies from place to place. What rooms have the best deals? Is it possible to be a live rakeback grinder? What kind of players do these promos attract? What are the upcoming promotions to look out for?

* How should you go about finding the best action, or any action? Is it Venetian’s updated online list of cash games or Bellagio’s Twitter feed? What should you do to get a seat at the juiciest table in the house? Where should you be playing on a Friday night? Can you find a good game on a Monday?

Whether you play every day or visit Vegas once a year, I’m here to keep you informed about what’s happening in the games around town. Whether you’re a tournament grinder, cash game specialist, or maybe even just a live-poker bonus whore, we’ll scope out the action. We’re at the table right beside floor managers, dealers, locals and tourists, and we can’t help chatting it up.

Las Vegas is a 24-7 poker hot spot like no other — what happens here sets standards around the world —  and we want to help you maximize your time on the felt.


Bookmark Dave’s column here; and you can Twit-follow his ramble along the Vegas Strip @RandomPoker.

Posted by at 1:14 pm

October 25, 2010

The Poker Beat

Huff, Dan, Jess, BJ, and even Stapleton (with the return of the Tight Laydown?):

The Poker Beat: October 24, 2010


  • Poker Hall of Fame inductees Harrington and Seidel, age-minimum debates, and comparisons to Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
  • Anonymous tables at Ladbrokes
  • Crespo’s Illinois online poker lawsuit — significant or frivolous?
  • More on WSOP-C’s new power and purpose?
  • WPT-Festa al Lago FT, Randall Flowers, and the Jess & BJ Show
  • Phil Ivey is gay? Craps + multi-phallus fellatio promises at the Wynn
Posted by at 5:29 pm

Coming Up Spades: This Week’s Big Winners

Good morning, ladies and gentleman, and welcome to the beginning of… something. You may know me better as Timtern, of Bluff and PokerRoad (non) fame, and I am the newest contributor to Pokerati. I’m definitely stepping into some giant shoes, so I hope you’ll bare with me as I get settled in. Anyway, here’s what happened this week in tournaments:

  • The biggest money of the week was on the line at the Festa al Lago, the latest stop of Season 9 of the World Poker Tour. There were some heavy-hitting young guns that reached this final table, including Andy Frankenberger, who was coming off of a victory at the Legends of Poker. Randall Flowers managed to add “youngest two-time WPT winner” to an already impressive resume at the tender age of 22. Flowers, who banked $831,500 for his win, was also the youngest to win a WPT title, which he did in Barcelona before he even turned 21. [World Poker Tour]
  • The $1,500 World Series of Poker Circuit at Horseshoe Hammond Main Event wrapped up early Monday morning, with the appropriately named Kurt Jewell snagging the circuit ring and $242,909. Amongst the notables at this final table were William Reynolds, who took third, and Bryan Devonshire taking seventh. The $10,000 Regional Championship, which will air on Versus, will get underway Monday. [WSOP]
  • There are many different options for the members of the November Nine as they prepare for the WSOP final table. They could follow the major poker tours and play other big buy-in events, take a trip to clear their minds, or hire a coach to fine-tune their skills. Or, as in the case of Filippo Candio, they could get in amongst the grinders and play a $230 prelim event, in this case Event #1 at the Caesars Classic. Candio brought his A-Game in this one, reaching the final table in the 232 player field before falling just short in 3rd place, banking a cool$4,726. (The attached story is in Italian, so if you don’t have a knowledge of the language it might be time to crack out the Google translator, or maybe go old school and try Babelfish). [Tuttosport]
  • Maybe Candio started a trend, as he wasn’t the only November Niner doing well in prelims. With the World Poker Finals Main Event (the next stop on the WPT) fast approaching, John Dolan made a deep run in a $1,500 event, eventually making a three-way deal and taking second place for $45,000. In a twist that might be more appropriate for Soccerati, ESPN Soccer commentator Adrian Healey took third place for $40,000. [Foxwoods Live]
  • In the online world, Sorel Mizzi started things off early with a win in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up for $149,737.10. The biggest money of the day online was to be had in the $1.5 million guarantee, with “Bodog Ari” Engel making the final table and finishing seventh for $32,856; “ramondemon” won $246,424 for taking that one down. On the FullTilt side of things, “EatMyBluff8″ was the big winner in their $750,000 guarantee, winning $135,939.
  • And just in time for Halloween, we have a tale from beyond the grave. The late, great Dean Martin made the final table in a recent Borgata $1,000 event. Although I always thought Atlantic City was more a Sinatra town. Oh well. [Cardplayer]
Posted by at 8:20 am

October 24, 2010

This Week in Poker

This Week:

Ty Stewart — new WSOP stuff, Poker Hall of Fame, more WSOPE bracelet debate.
Matt Savage — WPT-Bellagio/Festa al Lago.
Matt Affleck — more WPT-Bellagio/Festa, Washington State, 15th place at WSOP.
Trishelle Canatella — beauty quiz + poker.

Watch the show, and readmore here.

Posted by at 3:20 am

October 20, 2010

Rabbit Hunt

Episode 22
SpartanFox is back in the host seat with Tyresias to talk about the first three days of WPT-Festa al Lago, Full Tilt’s mobile Rush Poker app, Deliverance Poker unsuing Full Tilt, and Scott Montgomery’s getting robbed at Bellagio … on this week’s edition of the Rabbit Hunt.

Posted by at 10:46 am

October 18, 2010

BJ & the Redhead with 10 Minutes and an iPad

My goodness, how many new poker (and non-poker) internet shows can there be … it’s like everyone in the world has a built-in laptop cam and a connection to the internet!

But this new venture from a couple of Poker Beat cohorts on the tournament coverage frontlines could actually do it for me, as I can’t think of a more morning-friendly way to find out all I need to know about WPT-Bellagio/Festa as it nears the money bubble. It’s like Regis & Kelly for poker junkies in a G4 generation.

Topics of the day include Allen Kessler, Phil Ivey, Annette Obrestad, and Matt Affleck … but really, it’s way more fun that that. :)

Posted by at 11:03 am

October 11, 2010

Bellagio Bathroom Bandit Strikes

Reported armed robbery at Festa al Lago

Scott Montgomery, 2008 November Niner … he has a bracelet now, but presumably wasn’t wearing it this weekend when he says he got accosted by a knife-wielding bandit inside a Bellagio bathroom. (While taking a leak? That could make a difference in this sitch.)

With all due respect to Montgomery’s 5th place WSOP main-event finish and his donkament bracelet this summer, he’s clearly no Greg Raymer. Montgomery declined his assailant’s implied invitation to brawl for money, and instead simply handed him $2,000 in cash (mo chips?) … yeow, what does it say about the economy when Bellagio doesn’t have armed shoe-shine guys on duty?

From the Cake Poker blog:

Montgomery was at Bellagio to play in a Festa al Lago preliminary event and went to the bathroom on a break from the tournament. As he described it on his Twitter account, “Got mugged today at Bellagio. Black guy pulled a knife on me in the restroom. I gave him the $2k in my wallet and he left.”

“I called security, but they took like 15 mins so they didn’t catch him. They are useless twits. Didn’t even ask me to look at camera footage,” Montgomery continued. “Security pretty much just said oh well, life sucks, have a nice day. I’m pretty annoyed.”

Bellagio Poker ≈ Binion’s Self Park?

Though two instances (that we heard about) over the span of nearly 6 years hardly constitute a trend, you just don’t expect certain kinds of violence in luxe resorts with multiple guards outside the parking garage looking for casually waving through possible Al Qaeda terrorists. I mean what is center-Strip, not dark-alley downtown Vegas or daytime Berlin!

But it was indeed at Bellagio — during the 5-diamond — where armed robbers discovered not all bracelet-winning poker players were easy marks. In that situation, December 2004, Greg Raymer, poker’s newest big world champ, fought off two attackers with guns. According to reports, they got away, too (as security let them pass) … however, were caught some five months later in California, and brought back to Las Vegas for trial. (I believe sentenced to something like 3 years, not sure though …)

Pokerati PSA: Remember, next time you’re being attacked in the Bellagio or anywhere in Vegas really, you can tweet for help @LVMPD, hashtag #911.

Posted by at 4:06 pm