Saturday, April 16, 2011

Tropicana's new poker room

I've had serious beefs with the Tropicana poker room in the past (click on that "Tropicana" label at the end of this post to review them), but was nevertheless eager to have the room reopen under new management. It opened yesterday, 9:00 a.m.

I got there about 7:00 p.m. and stayed for about 2 1/2 hours. The game was always short-handed, and three of the players were off-duty dealers (one from the Trop, two from other rooms). We had a couple of weak players, but it was not what one would consider soft or juicy. However, you can't judge how a room will play by its first day of operation, when only locals who follow the Vegas poker scene will know it's there.

So here's what it looks like:

OK, not exactly like that. It's orange, but not quite THAT orange. I couldn't get the white balance on my camera right.

The tables are nice:

Random observations:
  • It's in the same location as the old room, right next to the sports book, but the lighting and decor are much improved.
  • For that matter, the entire casino has undergone an amazing upgrade. I had not been there since the old poker room closed in late 2008, and, really, you'd hardly recognize the place. It's bright, beautiful, clean, and airy.
  • The new chips are very tasteful, as you can see above. I was disappointed, though, that they have retired all the old ones. I have about 65 different $5 Trop chips in my collection, but there are lots of them left that I never picked up. I had hoped that the new poker room would mean more chances to scrounge up some of the less-common older chips, but they have been taken out of circulation.
  • Oddly, the poker room was using both new and old $1 chips, and some of the old design were obviously uncirculated, with sharp edges. Apparently they had a stash of the old design that never got used, and decided to put them into play alongside the new design. Why do that for the $1 chips but pull the old $5s out? Seems inconsistent.
  • The chairs are comfortable, standard office five-wheeled things, adjustable for height. The dealers raved about their chairs (not the same ones players use) being the most comfortable EVAR.
  • Tables are nice, but good luck keeping that white border white, what with spilled drinks and poker players' notoriously grimy hands and questionable personal hygiene.
  • The tables are small enough that they can seat only nine. I don't mind that, but then why did they order them with ten cupholders? It's so much easier to square up the table if the dealer can tell everybody to get centered on a cupholder, rather than saying, "You need to be three-eighths of the way between this cupholder and that one."
  • Restrooms are a l-o-n-g hike from the poker room--a longer trek than with any other poker room in town that I can think of offhand. We were told, however, that ongoing remodeling, when completed, will bring a new set much closer.
  • The mainstay game is $1/3 NLHE, buy-in $100-$500.
  • They're using Cartamudi cards, a brand I had never heard of before. They were nice enough, but the real question is durability. How well will they resist picking up identifiable dings, dents, bends, smears, and worn spots?
  • The room is nicely isolated in terms of infiltrating noise and cigarette smoke.
  • They have the Genesis Bravo system, giving the city standard $1/hour in food comps.
  • They have progressive high-hand jackpots.
  • There is ample, luxurious room between the tables.
  • No magazine racks for picking up freebies.
  • I really wish they would install a water cooler. It's such a simple and inexpensive amenity, but saves me from a bunch of waitress tips while keeping a ton of water bottles out of the landfills. (Incidentally, for an interesting look at the economics of bottled and running water, see this post from yesterday at the Freakonomics blog.)
  • Nobody threatened to beat me up yesterday, which is all by itself a substantial upgrade from the old room. Also, they appeared to have and abide by actual rules!
  • Dealers were first-rate, except for one young woman, who appeared to be fresh out of dealer school, still nervous and inexperienced.
Speaking of dealers, here's a randomly selected one, of no particular interest or significance, proudly showing off his dead spread:

This room has considerable potential. As I mentioned a few days ago, its physical features seem to be exactly to my preferences--small, cozy, quiet, comfortable. The big question is whether they can build enough of a player base to keep a game going consistently at the hours I like to play, and, if so, whether it will be a local's rock garden or populated mostly with fun-loving tourists. We'll just have to wait and see about that. I have high hopes.


lightning36 said...

Thanks for the great intro to this new room. It would be nice if there were finally some closeby alternatives for those times when MGM just does not seem to have the right mojo. I still long for the old days when playing at Excalibur was so much fun.

Johnny said...

I thought it looked pretty good bright orange, kind of keeping with the Tropicana theme! It looks like they have done a pretty good job in there!

PokaPlaya said...

OMG, the room....i need to change my pants.