The Golden Nugget poker room is OPEN

May 24, 2011 3:00 AM

Last week I was telling you folks about the Golden Nugget poker room and promised to return today and tell you a little more of the story.

But first let me tell you the Golden Nugget poker room is OPEN and a very good place to play a few hands. I go there to play poker each time I am in Las Vegas.

Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays at noon you can play a no limit hold’em tournament ($200 with 10,000 in chips. Tuesday is Omaha hi/low, again at noon ($200 with 10,000 in chips). Thursday the game is H.O.R.S.E. at noon ($200 with 10,000 in chips).

Daily play is 1 a.m-11 p.m. At 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. you can play NLH for $65 with 4,000 in chips.

Now back to poker in the days of yesteryear!

Once upon a time in Las Vegas. there was a poker room that was located in the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casino on Fremont Street in old downtown Las Vegas. This was long before the Fremont Street Experience was ever dreamed about.

I remember talking with Eric Drake and Bobby Baldwin about why they would close the Golden Nugget card room. Everyone in the world loves to come play. I’ve known and played poker and gin rummy with Bobby since he was about 12 years old back in our old home town of Tulsa, Okla.

Bobby was in charge of the Golden Nugget then. (Today he is in charge of many operations out on the Las Vegas Strip, and I guess now I should call him Mr. Baldwin – but I just can’t. Forgive me Bobby.)

Bobby’s response was, "Johnny, just look around. All of the slots are busy and I need this poker room location to put in some more higher limit slots."

Slot machines and now the poker slots are king because they generate so much of the casino’s bottom line, so they must be given the very best of locations on the casino floor.

So the Golden Nugget Poker room was closed.

The recognized poker room of the world – the mecca of poker of the world was closed – and passed into poker history. The poker room had to give way to slot machines.

After the closing of the Golden Nugget card room many other poker rooms have given way to make room for the slot machines. I hate change, but change we must.

You will also remember I was telling you how Messrs. Wynn and Baldwin went to such great expense and planning to arrange the Grand Prix of Poker Tournament.

The world’s best food was flown in from all over the world – all the seafood, steaks and lobsters the players could eat and desserts to die for. Nothing was too good for the players and they loved it.

Media tournaments were held for the press. I played with the bartender from the Love Boat show and finished third. Cocktail parties were hosted by Mrs. Wynn for the ladies with full length fur coats as door prizes.

The advance advertising was well done so many European poker players came over to play and special events were added just for their enjoyment.

One was the Irish Eccentric, hosted by the world famous Irish bookie Terry Rogers. Another added event was European Stud, a stripped 36 card poker game many American players had never played. Promoter Eric Drake made every effort to please everyone.

In my last column I told you I played in two poker tournaments simultaneously. Well, Eric arranged it to please the European players – adding European stud. But the regular tournament of the day was A-5 California low ball. When Eric asked me to play I told him I was already at the final table of that event and would be playing that final table the next day!

He said I would get knocked out anyway and that I was needed to play with these guys from Europe. But I did not lose and made it to the final table of the added event also. That is why the following day I had to play at both final tables simultaneously.

One of the unusual problems, combined with the fact I had never played the game before, was that at one table I was playing A-5 California low ball (where you like to get the little cards) and at the other I was playing 36 card stripped deck European stud. There, all the little cards had been stripped out to make the deck only have 36 cards.

In one game I wanted to catch the 2’s, 3’s etc, but in the other one there were none of these little babies! I finished third in one event and fifth in the other.

OKJ’s Tip of the Week

Don’t drink and play poker:

If you drink and drive you will have a car wreck. The police will get you and serious damage will be done to others or yourself!

If you drink and play, the poker police will get you and serious damage is done to your bankroll.

Until next time remember to Stay Lucky.