Sunday, November 02, 2008

More on Binion's new poker room

I went back to Binion's tonight to try out the new room. It's a clear improvement on the old room. It's quieter, more elegant, and essentially smoke-free. I was there for five hours straight, and I catch only the faintest whiff of smoke on my clothes now--and that was probably from having a piece of cherry pie at the snack bar before leaving.

The chairs are a lot more comfortable than the old ones. They are what seems to be becoming the standard now: rolling office-style chairs that adjust up and down.

The tables are new. They violated one of my principles, though, in ordering tables with ten cupholders when they play games nine-handed. There is predictable confusion as a result, regarding who gets which cupholder, and it kills the easiest means of squaring up the table when people are too crowded together. (See here for full rant on this annoyance.) But at least it's still an improvement over those awful plastic ones that you have to jam under the table's padded elbow rest. Those are horrible.

The restrooms are a problem, though. You have to go upstairs. Worse, the down escalator to get back is out of service, so you have to walk to the far end of the casino, then down, then back to the poker room. That's a serious pain.

I had eight televisions in easy viewing range. That's nice.

I was right in predicting a problem of communication between the desk/floor staff and the dealers. Calling for a floor decision means a major delay in the game as things stand now. It takes forever for the poor dealers to get anybody's attention by yelling through the door that's between the front desk/lounge area and the tables. However, Michael at seems to indicate that a table-based player-management system is coming. If that includes means for calling the floor (as it presumably would), this problem might get better. See Michael's review and photos from his visit earlier today (well, technically yesterday now) here.

I may try to qualify for the December freeroll tournament. $50,000 is being given away, 25 hours to qualify, with double hours available during off-peak times.

Tableside food service is now available. I wanted to get a chocolate shake delivered, but it wasn't on the menu. Bummer.

The new tables have a line on them that may or may not be a betting line. I've ranted about faux betting lines before. I asked one of the dealers this evening if this was merely decoration or an actual betting line. He said, and I quote, "We're trying to get you guys in the habit of treating it as a betting line." Gee, thanks for that definitive, crystal-clear answer. I infer that it means that it is indeed a betting line, but they're giving players some time to get used to it before enforcing it as such (because there was no betting line on the old tables).

The poker magazines, for some reason, are still in the old room. The lounge would seem to be a logical place for them, but that's not where they are.

The floor person on tonight really needs a vacation, or maybe some Valium. The entire time I was there she was on edge. She yelled at dealers in front of full tables of players for what struck me as trivial mistakes or misunderstandings--not just once but many times through the evening. In fact, I didn't see a single interaction between her and the dealers that wasn't rancorous to some degree. Highly unprofessional.

I made money at a perfectly acceptable (though not top-notch) rate: uptick $257 in five hours. I can live with that. I also saw a royal flush tonight, using both hole cards. That's only the second time I've seen it happen in more than two years of full-time play. Too bad for that guy that Binion's doesn't have a high-hand jackpot. He did win the pot, though, which you may not find too shocking.

Overall, Binion's has put together a really nice room now--easily the best in downtown. This is the way it should be, given all the poker history that has taken place there. But it has not been so in the time that I've lived here. I'm happy to have the room in fine shape now. I anticipate playing there more frequently than I have in the past.


--S said...

If that table-based player management system is the Bravo system, I wish them all the luck in the world.

First off, when they push the floor call button, the only thing that happens is an icon appears next to that particular table on the PC at the podium.

First off, it's easy to miss even if you're looking for it.

Second, the floorperson isn't going to stare at the screen waiting to see if s/he's needed at a table - s/he has other things to do.

Third, if there is a brush working the podium, chances are they won't notice it immediately either since they will be focused on dealing with customers and getting them into live games.

In short, the table-based system is nice but not perfect, and with regard to calling the floorperson it's no better than just yelling 'Floor!' as loud as you can ;)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your review of the room! I'll be checking it out soon.