LVH Casino Hotel buys new push on poker in new poker room

With the trend in Las Vegas toward shutting down poker rooms, LVH is moving the other way in a positive direction.
“We are going against the grain with management wanting to offer its guests the full gambit of gambling options,” said Mark Selby, who came over from the Riviera to take charge of poker operations. “They don’t want people leaving the property to play poker elsewhere.”
The zenith of poker’s popularity came during the boom of 2003 when Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker. His win gave players from all over the world the belief they could come in for a dollar and beat the very best pros in the sport.
“I think when Moneymaker won, people thought they had a chance to win,” said Selby, who was born and raised in Great Britain and played poker as a kid against members of his family for money. “We would get together at the kitchen table on Sunday nights. They just told me not to cry about it.”
Selby believes the sport began to decline with Black Friday (the U.S shutdown of Poker Stars, Full Tilt Poker and Absolute Poker) , particularly in the live poker rooms.
“The Riviera, Circus Circus and M Resort closed its poker rooms,” he said. “Silverton built a room but never did open. I see an uptick coming.”
When Selby left the UK in 2009 for the U.S., poker was starting to approach the levels reached in the States six years earlier.
“A lot of people treat Vegas as the epicenter of poker,” he said. “There is a great deal of interest in California, but not tourist crowd seen here.”
The poker push at LVH first began in late July with a temporary spot on the casino floor and then moved into a permanent location by mid-September – a cozy room across from the Tempo Lounge that’s full of Elvis pictures on the walls.
“I like the room we have here very much,” Selby said. “Having five tables is just the right size and the room is one of the most comfortable in Vegas to be in. It’s absolutely perfect for what we need now.”
The poker room has its own cage and rest room, plus tableside message services are available.
“We open at noon Monday through Saturday and 8 a.m. on NFL Sundays,” Selby said. “We will start a game and tend to run it all day long. Then we will start a second game early swing shift. On the weekend we get in three or four games.”
Selby has a $30 buy in tourney for 50 and sees down the road running quarterly guaranteed tournaments in partnership with one of the poker tours for a series.
“Satellites into the WSOP Main Event is what has made poker successful, and certainly what Caesars did getting involved in the WPT (World Poker Tour) has benefitted them,” Selby said. “We would like to see that here as well in the future.”
Selby describes the average player at LVH as male, in the 35-50 age range, a pro worker and regular visitor to Vegas, most likely from California.
“We usually have four tables going out of five, which works out just fine for what we currently have,” he said. “I think we are due for another Moneymaker-type player and upgrade in interest. LVH sees it as well.”

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