Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Agreement on the Luxor poker room

"Las Vegas Michael," editor of, is an exceptionally knowledgeable and personable guy, but in the past he and I have had very different--even polar opposite--preferences in poker rooms. For example, he used to smoke (quit a few months back) and complained about the trend toward non-smoking rooms, while the level of smoke is one of the main factors that will tend to drive me away from a room. I have a thing for small, quiet rooms (all else being equal--though it never is), while he seemed to like lots of action and people. He avoided rooms where locals were putting in hours toward freeroll tournaments, while I was one of the ones participating. That sort of thing.

So it has been interesting to me that over the last several months our opinions have tended to coincide (with the stand-out exception of the electronic tables at Excalibur), for example, on the new rooms opening at Hard Rock, Binion's, and Eastside Cannery. (By the way, I see on AVP that the Eastside Cannery has already moved its poker room to a new, smaller location, only six months after opening. Not a good sign. See here. I'll not be bringing you an in-person review of the new place, for reasons that you might well imagine....)

Anyway, the latest area on which Michael and I are in complete agreement is the Luxor. He had apparently not been there in a while, but a few days ago posted a formal "editor review" of the room. See here. Michael always tries to find good things to say about a place, and tries to be gentle in his criticisms (at least that's how I read him), but he struggled to come up with any compliments for the Luxor, other than the convenient location of the restrooms. He came down particularly hard on the dealers:

Dealer rating: 2.

The dealing staff at the Luxor is yet another weak link on the Luxor poker
room chain. The staff seems to be a mix of younger dealers with attitudes and
older dealers who don’t care. It is apparent that many of these dealers have
been at the Luxor a long time, and perhaps due to this fact proper dealing
protocol seems to have been softened greatly over the years due to many simply
being “set in their ways”. It is rather common to see dealers complaining
publicly about various management decisions and scheduling in plain view and
hearing range of the patrons. It is also a frequent occurrence to see commonly
accepted procedures and protocols tossed out due to what can only be explained
as sheer laziness: rolling the deck, matching stacks after an all-in win,
watching televisions instead of paying attention to the action, mixing the muck
and the stub immediately after the last card is boarded, etc. These are dealer
idiosyncrasies that are common in dealers that have simply lost the passion for
the game and their jobs.

I have witnessed more rolled eyes, snappy answers, and lack of interest for
conversations from the dealing staff here then from nearly all other properties
combined. When a dealer makes a mistake, and is corrected by a player in the
game, more often than not, the staff responds very negatively and with an

Of course, there are always exceptions. There are a few dealers at the
Luxor that do their job well, welcome new and established players, and maintain
good solid game control. Unfortunately, these good apples are the minority in
the bunch.

This caught my attention, because I have ranted here several times about how the Luxor dealers are working hard to capture the "worst dealers in Vegas" title. See, e.g., here, here, and here.

It's nice to see a confirmatory opinion along these lines, and to know that I'm not just imagining things or blowing them out of proportion. There really is a serious, chronic problem at the Luxor that nobody there seems interested in fixing.

The only reason I put up with all the crap that goes on there is that, as Michael also notes, the competition is definitely on the soft side. It's easy to win there, which in the end trumps other concerns. But I tend to use it as a "hit-and-run" room for a quick buck, because it's just not a pleasant place to linger. It's too bad, because the problems are things that could be remedied rather easily, if there were just a poker room manager who knew how things should be and was given both a mandate to make a good room and the authority to make it happen.


Anonymous said...

Do the dealers there strike you a a worse bunch than the Flamingo or Sahara?

LasVegasMichael said...

Very enjoyable read. Thank you for the kind words. Glad to see we are in agreement on the Luxor. What is very interesting is that as I have evolved as a Las Vegas poker player (even within the past few months), you and I have indeed become much more aligned, and not only in our opinions concerning the Luxor.

For the past 3 months I have been playing almost exclusively at Harrah's, which is a fully enclosed, smoke free room. I have been playing there, surrounded by locals, due to their cashback promotion (which is comperable to freeroll hour collection, except that Harrah's offered guaranteed money for hours). I have sort of gotten a little tired of the larger and louder rooms. Perhaps I am getting too old for them. Also, the smoking issue is completely moot with me now. Though I respect those that choose to partake, I am no longer a steadfast proponant of smoking rooms like I used to be.

Thanks for alerting me to your blog post. I read your blog every day, but usually don't comment. Couldn't resist today!

luckydonut said...

The comment about being ignored at the podium is sadly so true. I had Sandra look through me and past me a good four times on my last visit before I decided to move on to somewhere that gave a crap. It's certainly not the first time this has happened.

I found her name by googling for "luxor poker room bitch". Srsly. My heart genuinely sinks if I'm going there to play and see she's on duty. It's a little reassuring to know she's not just horrible to me. I assume this is who Michael is talking about that gave the customer grief for trying to buy a $4 chip.

However I had been starting to think that ignoring the customer was becoming policy at all the MGM Mirage poker rooms. At both Mandalay Bay and Bellagio I've been ignored to a great enough extent that I gave up and walked off elsewhere. At least at MGM Grand you can swipe your card to join the list, so it's not an issue...

I'll admit I may be a little impatient at times, but it's not waiting for the game that bothers me, it's waiting for an acknowledgement and this has never happened at one of the Harrah's casinos, or Sahara, or Venetian, or anywhere downtown.