Okahara loves the life at The Orleans poker room

Okahara loves the life at The Orleans poker room

January 31, 2017 3:00 AM


The Orleans poker room is one of the largest in Las Vegas catering to both locals and tourists. I interviewed Garrett Okahara, the poker room manager at Orleans for some background information and what makes his room so popular for poker players.

Okahara is 51 years old and was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His parents relocated to Las Vegas when Garrett was very young and he basically grew up here.

“I had a good friend that was a poker dealer around the time I was 21, and learned how to play/deal the game from him,” Okahara told me. “I started off by playing a lot of poker in my early 20’s. It was not uncommon at times that I would play around the clock. At age 24, my friend got me a dealing job in Primm when the Primadonna opened in the summer of 1990. I dealt there, as well as the other two properties at the state line for about six years.

“I progressed into the poker day shift manager position within a couple of years. Business started to deteriorate after new management made some changes, so it became necessary to make a move. I had a very good friend in management at The Orleans who had been urging me to make the transition from Primm to Las Vegas for some time, so I decided to take him up on it. I resigned my position at the Primadonna in 2001, and began a different path in table games at The Orleans in June 2001.

“I dealt blackjack, roulette, and Pai Gow for about a year prior to becoming a dual rate supervisor. In September 2003, the poker manager position became available at The Orleans. The friend who had hired me for the position in table games knew of my poker background, and I was given an opportunity to interview for the position. A short time later, I was offered the position and graciously accepted.”

The poker room at The Orleans has 35 non-smoking total tables, 12 of which are dedicated to tournament play. They spread $2/4, $4/8 Limit and higher Texas Hold’em, $1/3 No Limit Hold’em, $4/8, $8/16 Limit and higher Omaha 8 or better, $4/8 Omaha Hi, and other games upon request. They also run daily tournaments each day at noon and 7 p.m.

The daily tournament schedule is the most diverse in Las Vegas, and includes No Limit, No Limit Bounty, No Limit Super Stack, Omaha 8 or better, HORSE (Hold’em/Omaha/Razz/Stud/Stud 8), and O/E (Omaha 8/Stud 8).

Convenient access is available for poker players from the parking structure or parking lot. A food court is just steps away that includes Fuddrucker’s, Sbarro’s, Baskin-Robbins, and Subway.

Okahara added, “The Orleans is among the most popular and highest volume poker rooms in Las Vegas due to a number of factors. We offer more promotions than any other room in Las Vegas and have a great core of loyal customers with around the clock action. Our staff offers quality customer service to our guests. Not to mention, our Limit Hold’em and Omaha action is arguably the best in town.”

Outside of poker, Garrett enjoys playing golf and all sports in general. He has a 23-year-old son that he says, “I am extremely proud of, and will likely become a part of the gaming industry one day. I am fortunate to have some very good friends that presently or have previously managed high profile poker rooms of their own locally. I elicit their advice from time to time.

“The nearly 25 years I have spent in poker have taught me numerous life lessons and helped me develop as a person in every aspect,” he continued. “I have been very fortunate to have worked with, and for, some truly outstanding people. I am especially thankful to those that gave me the opportunity here at The Orleans back in 2001, as well as my past and present senior management team here at Boyd Gaming. The journey has truly been a blessing!”