‘Wynning’ approach to success at Wynn Poker Room

Location really is everything, especially in the world of casino gambling. At Wynn, that means loads of traffic with a Ferrari dealership and a race and sports book in eyesight.
“Wynn has a different vibe to it,” said Joe Vigurs, who at just 32 years old has one of the plum jobs in the poker world – director of operations at a Steve Wynn resort. “I’ve never felt more at home at a property. I can’t explain it in words.”
Before getting to the “Steve Factor,” more on location. Second floor self-parking basically leads you right into the poker room. If that isn’t enough incentive to lure players, there’s not much in the way of wonderfully noisy slot machines to distract train of thought.
“The location is the best of anywhere on the Strip,” said Vigurs, who previously worked at Mohegan Sun and Foxwoods in Connecticut, and Seminole Hard Rock and West Palm Beach Kennel Club in Florida before arriving in Las Vegas at The Venetian and ultimately Wynn. “The Ferrari dealership is an attraction. A lot of people take that tour and then come in the poker room.”
And the traffic is very good and steady.
“Vegas is still the pinnacle of poker,” Vigurs said. “Some would take California, but when you see it (the Strip) on TV you think WSOP. The big name players still play in Vegas.”
Wynn’s room has 26 tables, is open 24 hours daily and holds weekly poker tourneys. The biggest is the Wynn Classic, which guaranteed a $250,000 prize pool with a $500 buy-in.
“Tournaments have grown,” Vigurs said. “For a small buy-in you can build a decent bankroll in one or two day’s time.”
And then there’s that Steve Wynn touch – a part of everything classy in Las Vegas, be it here, his sister Encore property, or formerly owned Mirage or Golden Nugget downtown.
“When Steve speaks to us in our quarterly management meetings, I don’t walk out of there with anything less than chills,” Vigurs said. “It inspires me to improve on what we are doing every day. Our motto we constantly follow here is never be complacent.”
Vigurs first became interested in poker growing up as a child in West Hartford, Conn., where his father taught him stud on the kitchen table with Bicycle chips.
“I always held a deck of cards and played all kinds of games in the house,” he said. “When I went to dealing school at 19, I never thought I would get into poker that far. Being a poker director was overwhelming at first, but now it is very fulfilling to know what I do matters.”
Vigurs believes poker has become more player friendly than in the past and is helping bring more money into the gaming industry.
“Not as cut throat as it used to be,” he said. “The game is enticing more mid-players to play. And, I believe on-line poker will benefit us.”
Would Wynn ever want to host the WSOP?
“I’m not even going to speculate on that one,” Vigurs said. “There’s no doubt all the poker rooms in town benefit during the time WSOP is here. I’m just happy to have had the opportunity at a young age and stuck with it.”

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