By Christopher Cosenza
Who says you can’t go home again? Josh Zuckerman, who helped launch the Mohegan Sun poker room in 1996, has returned to his old stomping grounds as poker room manager. Zuckerman, who will oversee all aspects of poker operations for Mohegan Sun’s poker room in Casino of the Wind, has more than 20 years experience in poker, including director of poker for Jacksonville Greyhound Racing in Florida.
So it must be quite rewarding to return to the place where it all began, right?
“It’s surreal, quite unique,” he said. “When I started here (in 1996) I was a dual-rate dealer and then I worked my way up to a shift manager. Clearly in the 10 years since I’ve been gone, things have changed. The room has been rebuilt and moved. There were a lot of people I hadn’t seen in 10 years and it was a good thing, a good welcoming.”
Zuckerman is looking forward to putting his experience to good use.
“The bad-beat jackpot was put in here in May and I got here in September so it’s still in its infant stages,” he said, “but it’s an opportunity for me to take what I learned in Florida and the different promotional styles I can bring to the table for a room that has a new jackpot.”
As Zuckerman mentioned, the Mohegan Sun poker room has had many changes in the past decade, and that’s something Zuckerman was glad to see.
“The room is the polar opposite (of what it used to be),” he said. “It truly is the most beautiful room I have ever been in. It has 42 tables now as the old one had 36. It was rebuilt with a high-limit area and it’s much more spacious.”
Someone else who is glad Zuckerman is back is tournament manager Rebecca Carabino, who was the interim manager of sorts, running the room and tournaments.
“We have a great tournament manager,” he said. “Rebecca can now refocus on just tournaments because she was busy running both aspects of the room. … She’s really excited and invigorated to focus on bringing new tournaments to the room.”
But don’t look for too many changes, at least not in the beginning, because if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.
“It’s a very well-established room already,” Zuckerman said. “What I think I can bring to the table is some new ideas and new material for promotions.”
FOXWOODS: The poker room hosts an 11-event series Feb. 8-17, beginning with a $600 no-limit hold’em $100K guarantee and ending with a $300 NLHE $20K guarantee. Each tournament will offer a guaranteed prize pool, said tournament director Juan DeJesus. Other tournaments on the schedule include a $250 Omaha/8 $10K guarantee, a $300 NLHE $75K guarantee and a $400 NLHE $75K guarantee. The $1,650 main event will have a $300K guarantee.
SENECA FALL CLASSIC: Andrew Spears bested nearly 150 players to capture the Seneca Fall Poker Classic on Nov. 23 at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel in New York. The $1,500 event generated a prize pool of $194,110, of which Spears pocketed $52,410. Brian McCormick finished second ($32,610), followed by Alex Barker ($19,799) and Johannes Mueller ($14,558).