News on tournaments and other action in casino poker rooms
These are pretty heady times for Atlantic City despite a long string of declining revenue reports and — if everything falls into place just so — gamblers (and poker players) could see one of the biggest expansion of gaming options in years.
That has a lot to do with a very real chance that New Jersey may finally approve intra-state online gaming this year. But more on that later.
For the moment, the big thing in town is Revel, which is scheduled for a soft opening April 2.
In a word, Atlantic City is mesmerized by this $2.4 billion resort, the first brand-new casino to open since the Borgata in 2003. With its sweeping ocean views, huge entertainment venues (Beyoncé will open up the entertainment Memorial Day weekend with three shows) and just the overall coolness of being brand new, a lot of people are pinning the city’s hopes on Revel.
And poker is not being left out of the mix. The new resort includes a 37-table poker room that might immediately shake things up in the Atlantic City poker scene.
First of all, it’s already pretty clear that the poker room won’t look like other poker rooms in the city. Revel is touting the fact that the room will have a wall of windows overlooking the casino floor.
There are other rooms in the city with a view, such as the Taj Mahal’s (though the view is of the lobby), but the trend has been to build poker its own space away from the casino floor.
Early press from Revel also promises Texas Hold’em, Omaha, 7-Card Stud, Razz, HOSE, and other mixed games.
That’s actually kind of ambitious in this Hold’em crazy word.
Revel is also promising daily tournaments, guaranteed tournaments, Bad-Beat Jackpots, and daily promotions.
In other words, they’re diving right in.
At 37 tables, Revel is about the same size as Harrah’s 40-table room. Harrah’s is the No. 3 room in the city behind the Taj Mahal and Borgata. Unlike the Golden Nugget, which opened a small room (20-tables) in December and so far has barely made a dent in the city’s poker scene, Revel may prove an instant competitor in the city.
The Taj Mahal in particular, which in February took in a little better than $500,000 in poker revenue, may feel the hit the most since the two casinos are neighbors on the Boardwalk.
The Borgata, on the other hand, tucked in the Marina District, is so dominant (taking in $1.7 million in poker revenue in February) and has such hard-core player loyalty, that it’s hard to imagine Revel knocking them off their stride.
But other casinos that see only a small amount of revenue from poker, such as Showboat and Caesars could take a serious hit. Still, those casinos are under the umbrella of Harrah’s Entertainment, which runs the WSOP and combines its poker promotions among its four A.C. properties.
So how will it shake out? Well, somebody may close a poker room due to Revel, but for the moment, there’s going to be another new place to play and 37 more tables in action.
What more could poker players want?
As for the Internet gaming, as we told you a couple of weeks ago, the issue seems to be on the front burner in New Jersey again.
A U.S. Justice Department opinion opened the door saying that intra-state Internet gaming, meaning restricted to residents of the state, would be legal under federal law.