Santa Fe Station, creating a cathedral-type setting, has turned its new poker room into a religious experience.
"Our business has been incredible," said Santa Fe poker room manager Mickey Johansson, a native of Sweden. "The room is busy 24 hours a day, which fits in with my upbringing. You know my country is the land of the midnight sun."
The Santa Fe poker room is a 60-degree wedge shot from the upgraded race and sports book. The room contains eight tables with daily contests in Texas Hold’em and Omaha High designed to lure the beginning players.
"We wanted to stress beginner no-limit games in order to eliminate the intimidation factor," Johansson said. "Our goal is to allow each player to have an equal chance of winning."
Johannson will be teaching the daily classes himself and said he would be available for as long as the players need him.
"This is one of the most beautiful poker rooms I’ve seen," he said. "Poker has been promoted by television to a higher standard. It’s now mainstream and not a back room card game any more. People just love to watch poker on TV."
The loudest part of the room is the carpet, which Johannson believes is a great touch to the room.
"There is such a comfort level here," he said. "The Santa Fe people have created a wonderful environment for poker players and I am so happy to be a part of it."