By Matthew Stuart
Mike Gainey retired as Atlantis poker room manager after a storied 38-year career in the industry.
“I’ve always been a people person and poker is all about relationships. It’s a social game,” he said.
More than 100 people attended the celebration in Gainey’s honor at Atlantis, including Frank Furino of Castro Valley, Calif.
“Mike has been the face of poker in Reno for all the years I’ve played here,” Furino said. “I had no hesitation in making a special trip to say thank you.”
Keith Dames, the assistant under Gainey, takes over as manager and discussed the future of poker in Reno and at Atlantis.
“A lot has changed in poker not just in the time since when Mike started but also in just the past few years,” Dames said. “Reno is still adjusting to the market as more states have enacted gaming. We understand that players have more options these days and my door is always open as we strive to give them the most comfortable room, playing bonuses and friendliest staff, which are some things we don’t see uniform in the industry.
“Mike and I spent considerable time collaborating on old methods and new elements of player development and room management. The Atlantis poker room will continue to make the player the priority and we will adapt as the game and market conditions change.”
Gainey will still be around to play; he even has a featured table with his name on it.
“Just because I’m retired does not mean that I’m going to forget how to play this game,” he said, “so come by and show me what you’ve learned. Just don’t check-raise me. I’ve got grandkids to spoil.”
WORLD POKER CHALLENGE: The Grand Sierra Resort hosted its World Poker Challenge on Oct. 9-12 with the series culminating in the $340 main event, which sported a $40K guarantee.
Lev Saakov bested more than 140 players, which generated a $41K prize pool, to take the title and $8,672. He was followed by Charles Mendoza ($7K), Victor Ushakoff ($5K), Loren Cloninger ($5K), Ed Yang ($5K), Arlyn Moore ($2,190), Gregory Jackson ($1,660), Shawn Roberts ($1,200), Jed Hoffman ($1,050) and Ante Up friend Mitchell Cogert ($1K.).