A chat with Reno poker legend Mike Gainey



After receiving numerous emails and inquiries about Mike Gainey’s exit from the Peppermill poker room, I found it fitting to enlighten our readers with a better explanation from the man himself. Many readers were surprised by the news, as Gainey played such a significant role in the success of Peppermill poker. He truly is a legend in Reno, and players voiced concern that perhaps he would leave the area as he had done in the past. I spoke with him about his move, and he informed me he had simply accomplished what he had set out to do in the previous room, and felt it was time for a new direction. Here is a bit more from our conversation.

You’re the new poker host at the Atlantis. Please explain to our readers what that entails: As poker host for Atlantis, I will be working with the poker manager to develop current and new games to meet the players’ needs. Having been in the area for the majority of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to develop positive relationships with many players and look forward to providing the best possible experience for them at Atlantis.

How did this opportunity arise? I started working in poker over 30 years ago in Reno-Tahoe. With the exception of running poker rooms in New York, I’ve spent the majority of my career in the area. Atlantis presented me with the opportunity to help build upon their poker business. Atlantis, being a premier property, and having a clear dedication to providing the best experience for poker players was an obvious fit for me.

What are some of your goals you hope to reach at the Atlantis? Our goal is to provide the most variety of games, tournaments and action to ensure our players have the best value of play.

With new cardrooms popping up all over California, what do you think Reno has to do to remain a top competitor? Atlantis stays current with poker; they are always looking for new promotions and tournaments to offer players the best play in Northern Nevada.

Atlantis recognizes the importance of comfort; we want our players to feel welcome. We offer complimentary food and beverage service, so players don’t have to interrupt important play. The range of amenities Atlantis offers provides value; our competitive comp and promotional programs surpass most in other areas. The rake taken for the games in Reno is also significantly less than other places.

You were the first person to bring a large tour, the World Poker Tour in 2001, to Reno. Are there any other major firsts you’re hoping to accomplish? My first tournament series with Atlantis (was) the All-In Poker Series, (which ran March 15-25). … Atlantis is the Northern Nevada stop for the WPT Regional Western Poker Challenge running Sept. 13-23. I will contribute to making it the best possible event in the area.

— Leslie Pauls is an Ante Up Ambassador for Reno and a representative for Blue Shark Optics. Email her at anteupcali@gmail.com.

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