Local poker scene in full summer bloom

Jul 17, 2006 5:31 AM

Even though the World Series of Poker at the Rio is getting most of the spotlight (rightfully so), there’s plenty happening in other Las Vegas’ poker rooms.

If you travel downtown, check out the new poker room that opened at the Golden Nugget last week.

True to the upscale casino’s tradition, luxury has no limit in the semi-enclosed room that features 10 smoke-free tables with plush seating, top notch table service and 24-hour action in an elegant and comfortable atmosphere.

"The game’s popularity has diversified, bringing professional players, as well as those new to the game, to the tables," said David Tuttle, director of casino operations for the Golden Nugget. "Our new room will please all players, regardless of their level of experience."

That’s what’s nice about the new room; you needn’t feel intimidated if you’re relatively new to poker. Amateurs and professionals alike can buy-in to the daily Texas Hold’em tournaments, offered at 11 a.m., 7 p.m. and 1 a.m.

For those needing a little guidance, lessons are held daily at 10 a.m.

Two years ago, poker returned to the Golden Nugget after an 18-year absence. Since then, the downtown casino has hosted numerous film and television projects. The Golden Nugget and its new poker room will be featured in the motion picture, "The Grand," directed by Zak Penn, which is now in production.

The Golden Nugget also served as the home to a number of TV series such as NBC’s "Heads-Up Poker" in 2005 and "Poker Superstars III," currently airing on Fox Sports Network (FSN).

Also downtown, Fitzgeralds opened its new poker room last week. The room, located on the second floor of the casino, offers a Texas Hold ”˜Em No-Limit Tournament at noon daily, with a $25 buy-in and $5 entry fee.

Players who accumulate 60 hours of playing time between now and September will qualify for a $20,000 free roll tournament, to be held September 10. They also feature a bad beat jackpot.

My good friend Marc Nelson now oversees the poker room at the Las Vegas Hilton. Marc is one of the most capable execs in the gaming industry, so you can expect great things at the Hilton.

The plush, 11-table poker room is located next to the SuperBook and features limit and no limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha and Stud, with games starting at $3-$6 and progressing to $10-$25.

Other features at the Hilton poker room include daily high hand progressive jackpots, a $150 + $20 buy-in No Limit Texas Hold’em tournament every Saturday (100 maximum players), and a $20,000 free roll poker tourney the first Wednesday of every month.

The Hilton has such a nice poker room, we’re thinking about holding another free poker seminar there sometime in the near future. We’ll provide the details in a few weeks.

Our last poker seminar was a huge success at The Venetian. Once again, I’d like to thank Kathy Raymond and her staff for all their assistance.

The Venetian has a tremendous poker room, which only opened in April.

"We are ecstatic about the continuing success the poker room has seen since the unveiling in April," Kathy Raymond said. "Many of the greatest names in poker have already experienced this luxurious poker room and have enjoyed the many great amenities offered by The Venetian."

Kathy said the poker action heats up this summer.

First, you can win your way into the World Series of Poker’s $10,000 main event by playing the Super Satellite tournaments offered at the Venetian. Now through July 27 you can enter the daily 2 p.m. Super Satellites with buy-ins of $230 with $200 re-buys.

Regular players who accumulate 50 hours of play each summer month or 200 hours by July 31 will receive entry into a $500,000 freeroll tournament scheduled for August 11-13. Not only is the entry free, but the top 200 players will be awarded cash prizes.

The Venetian also features an ongoing bad beat jackpot of up to $25,000 and (my favorite), free continental breakfast of pastries and juices and donuts from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Who could ask for anything more?