MGM Grand enjoying new poker digs after upgrades

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The MGM Grand poker room recently completed the first phase of its remodel. A few years back, the room was moved to what was planned to be a temporary location during construction of the popular Hakkasan nightclub. However, when the club opened, the congestion it created made it nearly impossible for the poker room to return to near the Strip entrance.

The permanent location was closed for a few days to install carpeting and a podium in the center of room. The design features 13 tables, each with USB charging units for every seat. Players must supply cords.
New chairs are on the way and should be in the room by the time you read this. More televisions are also in the plan.

The room is continuing its popular cash-drawing promotion. Players get tickets for having a flush or better, and every four hours a drawing is held. As many as 10 tickets are drawn every four hours with tickets worth between $100-$400.

The format for the $10K weekly invitational has been revised. Players get 5K chips for every 15 hours of live play during the week. The top 25 finishers receive $400 each.

PLANET HOLLYWOOD: The room recently moved between the sportsbook and the popular Earl of Sandwich eatery. The design features nine tables comfortably arranged. All of its major tournament series will continue to be on the mezzanine.

The room is offering high-hand bonuses with a splash-pot element. Quads will earn $25 plus a $25 splash pot for the table that had the quads. For straight flushes, it’s $50 and two tables will be chosen for $50 splash pots. Royal flushes earn the player $100 while the player’s table and three more tables get $100 splash pots.

PLAZA: The electronic-table room opened in 2013 with three tables and recently moved to the other side of the pit to accommodate two more electronic tables. Cash games can be found for $.25-$.50 blinds. The low buy-in tournaments are increasingly popular. The $5 7 p.m. tournament (with $10 rebuys) regularly fills about four tables. The room just added deepstack tournaments on Thursdays at 9 p.m. Players get a 7K stack for $33 with an optional 3K more for a $5 add-on. The add-on goes to the prize pool. The tournament has a $500 guarantee. There are also inexpensive tournaments at 10 a.m., 2 p.m. and 10 p.m.

MIRAGE: As part of a major casino renovation, the Mirage temporarily closed its poker room Jan. 25. The main casino cage will be relocated to part of the area of the current room. The newly designed room is scheduled to re-open sometime in May with 12 tables.

CAESARS PALACE: The room’s official grand reopening was a huge success. In early December, the room filled up with players in the early afternoon for the promotion that didn’t start until 7 p.m. By the time I showed up at around 3 p.m., the waitlist for the $1-$2 NLHE game was more than 140 players deep. Every 15 minutes a random player was given cash and at midnight the room gave away a seat to the 2015 WSOP.

The room’s new location has proved to be a hit with tourists and locals alike. They also like the $2/hour comps and the lack of a jackpot drop. Until the start of the WSOP, the room is giving away $1K and $1,500 WSOP seats on Sundays to players who qualify for the drawing by playing 10 hours during the prior week.

WYNN: The Wynn Classic runs Feb. 25-March 18. All of the events have guarantees, including the $2,100 main event has two flights beginning March 15, and has a $300K guarantee.

SUNCOAST: Gerry Boone is the new poker room manager in the elegant Summerlin area of Vegas. Boone has been working in table games for Boyd Gaming, parent company of the Suncoast, for several years. He worked in poker in California, too.

HOUSE RULES: Players visiting Vegas poker rooms from around the world are sometimes surprised by different house rules than they experience in their local rooms.

The truth is, the rules in Vegas differ from room to room. Recently, I started reaching for chips to bet my straight on the river and the player to my left said, “If you’re betting, I’m calling whatever you put out.” I then went all-in, and the dealer placed the “all-in” card in front of me and the “call” card in front of the other player. When I tabled my hand, the player disputed that he had called and was told “verbal is binding.” After a discussion with a floorperson and the shift manager, he reluctantly turned over his chips to me.

Months later, in another Vegas room, I went to grab some chips when facing a raise and the player who had bet said, “If you raise, I probably have to go all-in.” I did raise, he did go all-in, and since I had a full house I was happy to call. I won the pot and asked the dealer, “If he had not said ‘probably,’ but instead said, “If you raise, I’ll go all-in,” would that be binding? The dealer said no, conditional statements are not binding in this room. When in doubt, ask.

— Email Rob Solomon at rob@allvegaspoker.com. Follow him on Twitter @Robvegaspoker and read his blog at robvegaspoker.blogspot.com.