Station Casinos’ Green Valley Ranch has a new poker room manager. We asked for an interview.
GT: Tell us about yourself.
KR: “My name is Kathy Raymond, 67 years old. I’m the poker manager at Green Valley Ranch Resort’s poker room. I’m fresh out of a three-year retirement from the industry. Previously, I was the executive director of poker operations at the Venetian poker room, which I opened in April 2006. While I was there it was named best poker room in Las Vegas twice by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“In 2007 I initiated the Deep Stack Extravaganza, which was subsequently mirrored in poker venues across the world. I was initiated into the Women in Poker Hall of Fame in 2012. Previous to the Venetian position, I was the executive director of poker operations at Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut. While at the helm, Foxwoods became the first poker property to sign up with the World Poker Tour and held many successful events with WPT. I was named Go Getter of the Year at Foxwoods, competing against more than 200 managers and directors.”
How did you get into poker?
“I was a CPA working for a firm back East. I was almost a partner, but wasn’t interested in the work. I’d heard about Foxwoods opening soon and was excited about the new casino. I wanted to be a part of it. I applied and they suggested I would be a good poker dealer. I went to poker dealer school at night for eight weeks while still working at my CPA job in the daytime. My colleagues thought I was crazy, but I was excited.
“I started my new job and although it was grueling hours in the beginning, I enjoyed it and lasted a whole six weeks before I was promoted within the poker room. After holding every position there was in the poker room I became director of poker operations in 1998. I went back to my former CPA firm to get my taxes done. They had said back in 1991 that I would be back – and I was, but not the way they had thought. We all had a good laugh about it.”
You’re new at Green Valley Ranch. How long? Have you made any changes since you started there?
“I started at Green Valley Ranch in May of this year and spent a couple of months getting to know my team, the guests, and the management and my colleagues here. I then jumped in with both feet. Since I came in, I’ve been able to get GVR and its sister properties on the same page as far as procedures so we bring a high level of professional consistency to the Station Casino properties. I also freshened up Green Valley Ranch’s poker tournaments with a few higher buy-ins and varied formats.”
Tell me about your room at Green Valley. How many tables, games you spread, tournaments, amenities, etc.
“We have 22 tables at Green Valley Ranch Resort. The games we consistently spread are $2-$4 and $4-$8 Limit Hold’em; $1/$2, $2/$5 and $5/$10/$20 No Limit Hold’em. We occasionally spread $1/$2/$5 Pot Limit Omaha, $4/$8 Omaha High/Low and $4/$8 7-Card Stud High Low. We are looking to expand our offerings and are creating our strategy to get that done.”
Any special events, tournaments or promotions coming up?
“We are running the Good Beat Single Table Jackpot that starts off at $5,000 and increases $500 per week. A guest needs aces full of tens or better to be beaten by four of a kind or better. We also run a Progressive Royals promotion in which a guest can win an amount of $250 and higher if they hold two cards of a royal and proceed to have the dealer deal the other three to the royal on the board.
“There’s also Mystery Splash Pots where a table is randomly chosen every hour and one of the players comes up and draws an envelope that contains prizes of $25 to $1,000. They then put it in the middle of the table and the winner of the next pot wins the envelope.
“The last promotion is Quad Floppers, held at all Station Casinos properties on various days. At GVR it’s held on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. If a player flops four of a kind with two of the four of a kind in their hand, they win $500. We’ve started a few new tournaments during the week, and all of GVR’s poker room details can be seen at http://stationcasinospoker.com/casinos/green-valley-ranch.php.”
What’s your view on the future popularity of poker?
“I believe poker is making its way back from the slowdown experienced in the last few years. The economy is doing better and people have more disposable income. It’s up to industry people to make every guest’s experience a positive one to grow the repeat business of first-time players.”
What are your interests, hobbies, family life like outside of the poker room?
“I’ve been married for 22 years to Steve, the most patient and supportive man in the world. I could never have accomplished what I have without him. I also have a son living here in Las Vegas with his wife and three of my grandchildren. My stepson also lives here and I see him often. My daughter and four other grandchildren live back East, as does my great granddaughter. My hobbies are playing poker, motorcycle riding, spending time with my kids and their kids, and most importantly spending quality time with hubby. I’ve found that life is way too short not to savor the most important things in life – health, happiness, good friends and a loving family.”