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Golden Nugget strikes it Rich in poker

Mar 28, 2017 3:01 AM

This month, I interviewed Andy Rich, the poker room manager at the Golden Nugget in downtown Las Vegas, one of the most popular card rooms in town. Rich is 43 years old, and has been working in poker for close to 20 years. He carries a business degree from the Haworth College of Business at Western Michigan University.

GT: Tell me about your room at the Golden Nugget.

AR: “The Golden Nugget is one of the most famous poker rooms in Las Vegas. The Nugget is seen by many as the spiritual home of legendary televised poker show ‘High Stakes Poker’ – with its High Roller Suite being witness to some of the biggest and most dramatic pots in TV history. Several series of NBC’s ‘Poker After Dark’ also have been taped here, as well as head-to-head battles of ‘Face the Ace’ on NBC, so players have a good chance of rubbing shoulders with big-name poker pros.

“Our poker room hosts 13 smoke-free tables, comfortable seats and plush decor. Tables are fitted with golden felt and sit below spotlight lampshades that emit low levels of filtered, golden light. Deep, velvet-backed chairs are around the tables and allow you to sink back in comfort when contemplating tough decisions. Flat-panel TVs are placed above each table and display tournament information at such close range that even short-sighted players can stay on the pulse of the action. All tables are equipped with phone chargers as well.”

GT: What is your background? How did you get into poker?

AR: “I’ve always loved gambling, math, and the psychology of out-thinking your opponents. I started playing poker in the mid-nineties and working in the Midwest. I moved to Las Vegas in 2005 and was hired on at the Harrah’s poker room on the famous Las Vegas Strip. I transferred to Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino very shortly thereafter, where I eventually worked my way up to operations director for World Series of Poker and poker room manager for Rio and Caesars Palace. I left Caesars in 2012 to pursue another opportunity, which didn’t quite work out, and have been at Golden Nugget Las Vegas since Nov. 2014. I barely remember life before poker.”

GT: What makes your room popular or unique for players? What games do you spread? What are your player’s favorite games?

AR: “Various levels of live cash poker games are always available from beginner low limits to No Limit action like you see on TV. We have a high hand bonus promotion for our cash games, where if you make quads or a straight flush using both cards in your hand you win a bonus of the posted amount (between $50 and $599). If you hit the high hand between 2 a.m. and 2 p.m. it pays double! We also feature a progressive Bad Beat Jackpot that pays out the entire table if somebody loses with Quad Deuces or better.

“The Bad Beat Jackpot starts at $10,000 and grows daily until it is hit and re-sets. We’re also the last poker room in LV where $100 bills still play on the table. As a 24K Select Member you will earn $2 an hour in comps while you play in our cash games. The comps can be used at any Golden Nugget Las Vegas restaurant, as well as any Landry’s restaurant nationwide.”

GT: Any special events, tournaments or promotions coming up?

AR: “We’re very excited about our upcoming Grand Poker Series. We run this event every June in the Grand Ballroom for the entire month where we have 57 poker tables and feature all types of different events. We will be bringing back the extremely popular daily $20,000 Guarantee Prize Pool No Limit Hold’em event. It starts at 1 p.m. each day and the buy-in is a very affordable $150. We also offer some bigger guarantee prize pool events, such as our multi-day championship event from June 29 through July 2. That event has a guaranteed $500,000 prize pool with a buy-in of $570. Last year we ended up with over 1,500 players and the prize pool eclipsed $700,000. We expect another huge turnout this summer.”

For a complete schedule of events visit