I have tried to like the Monte Carlo poker room. I really have.
It's small, and I like small, cozy rooms. It's quiet; I like that. They have freeroll tournaments for accumulated hours of play, but they change the frequency, requirements, and payout schedule every couple of months, so it's impossible to keep track of. Parking, since the Echelon construction began, has been a nightmare, though I hear that there is now a functioning parking garage again. (Last night I started at MGM and walked over to Monte, so I haven't tried it yet.) The tables and chairs are of marginal comfort, at best. I haven't been treated well by the room staff generally; more than most places, I have been made to feel like my showing up and asking for a seat is an annoying intrusion into the time of whoever is managing the list. They also don't track hours on your MGM card for food comps. There's a couple of dealers there that I like a lot, but I had an unusual, uncomfortable, and completely unnecessary confrontation with another one. Most importantly, whether there is a no-limit game going when I want to play is completely hit-or-miss, and when there's one going, it's often one of the nittiest in town.
Then, among other things, there are the weird, nitty rules, and the inconsistent enforcement thereof. This is bad enough that it is prominent discussed in the allvegaspoker.com editor's review of the room. Over the last month or so, I have really come to enjoy sending out tweets about the progress of the session, interesting hands, small observations and amusements, etc. In fact, it's possible that my somewhat reduced frequency of telling poker stories in blog posts is due to having told them already in tweets. I'd like to think that these mini-posts are just as much fun for readers as for me.
So when I read something recently (and I can't remember where it was--perhaps one of Las Vegas Michael's tweets?) about rooms in which one is not allowed to use cell phones, including text messaging, at the table, and Monte Carlo was included, it gave me one more reason to avoid the place. (See here for a good discussion of texting rules.)
Last night I had an unusually profitable session at the MGM, and felt like leaving there to pocket my winnings, but still wanted to play more without having to get in the car and drive somewhere else. So I decided to give the Monte another try, for the first time in several months. It's a short walk across the street to the east.
As I played, I noticed that the big-screen TV nearest the room's entrance had a rotating display of rules, promotions, announcements, etc. I jotted down the exact text of the screen about cell phones a few words at a time. Here's what players are told:
NO TEXTING WHILE YOU HAVE CARDS IN PLAY
*Please refrain from using your cell phone at the poker table.
* We kindly ask you to step away from the poker table to use your cell
* Thank you for your cooperation.
So what is the rule? Can you use your cell phone for web browsing, texting, etc., while not in a hand? The first part of the rule would seem to suggest yes. The second and third parts would seem to suggest no, assuming that "use" of a cell phone includes not just talking on it but using its other functions. In other words, it's impossible to tell what the rule is by reading the rule. How moronic is that?
As mentioned, I have heard that the rule is enforced so as to prohibit even texting while not in a hand. Last night, however, a couple of players at my table openly talked on their phones while in the middle of hands. I didn't do that, but I did check Twitter a couple of times and read and responded to one text message that I got, when not in a hand, and nothing was said to me about it. These observations show pretty clearly that, whatever the rule is, it is not enforced consistently.
I'm not sure which is worse--having a stupid rule that is enforced to its nittiest bleeding edge (as, say, at Mandalay Bay), or having a stupid rule the enforcement of which is completely inconsistent, varying with the dealer, the floor person, the time of day, etc. Either way, the fact that one can read the rule as posted in the room and still not be sure what is allowed or disallowed is a sign of woeful mismanagement.