Poker passion to continue in 2005

Jan 4, 2005 3:13 AM

Last year was a good one for poker in Las Vegas ”¦ 2005 looks even better.

In 2004, Bally’s opened a poker pit in its casino, right next to a popular lounge. Earlier, the Golden Nugget opened a high stakes room, and the tiny Speedway Casino in North Las Vegas opened a few tables.

In fact, casinos across the city were either adding tables or installing tables in space once reserved for slots. There’s a switch!

This year, Caesars Palace is expected to announced plans to open its first poker room in more than a decade. The MGM Grand will reopen its poker room, which has been closed for years, and the Mirage added new tables.

Moreover, poker managers are reporting waiting lists and higher buy-ins. Among the hot spots in town are Bellagio, the Luxor, Sam’s Town, Stardust, Orleans and Palace Station, to name a few.

"You can’t find a casino in Las Vegas that isn’t scrambling to open up a poker room in order to get people in it," said Steve Lipscomb, co-creator of the televised World Poker Tour, which has been credited with helping to fuel interest in tournament poker.