I went to the Tropicana tonight, thinking that I'd put in a few final sessions there this week before they close the poker room doors permanently. But the place was dead--not a single player anywhere.
So instead I drove out to the Silverton, thinking that perhaps they had their new room finally open and ready to go. After all, it's been a year since they moved out of the original room, and when I was there in early October they had up signs promising to have the new place open in November.
I was lucky--they just opened the new room Friday. Unfortunately, I didn't have my real camera with me, since I had not expected to be going out that way, so you'll have to settle for the low-resolution photos from my crappy cell phone camera.
The new room is not bad. There are five tables with autoshufflers and the card-swiping player management system. I like the colorful felt. I also like the brown velvet arm rest. The cupholders are inexplicably small--too small to hold the cups in which they serve coffee, which seems incredibly boneheaded to me. (Doesn't really affect me, since I don't drink coffee, and the holders are just barely big enough for a water bottle. It just seems like a really poor design.) I like the "racetrack" configuration they use, with a solid wood surface on which to stack chips, though I realize I'm in the minority on this point. There are seven big-screen televisions, which is adequate for a room this small. The chairs are awful--probably the worst point of the new room. They are like padded kitchen chairs. No wheels, no swiveling, no height adjustment, no back adjustment. I felt like they were too high, and I had to bend forward uncomfortably to lean my elbows on the nicely padded rail. (As I've said before, I realize that saying things like this makes me sound impossibly nit-picky. But when you're spending several hours at a stretch in a place, details of how comfortable the physical setting is can make a huge impact on how pleasant or unpleasant the whole experience is.) They still use a paper list instead of computerized, but that's probably OK for a room this small. The restrooms are close--maybe 20 yards outside the poker room. The room is in an entirely new expansion section of the casino. It looks like the poker room is immediately adjacent to where the parking garage will open to the casino, which is nice.
About half of the long wall separating the poker room from the slot machines is open. Smoke and noise were not a problem tonight, but the place was dead. I don't know how it will be when it's more crowded.
Beverage service was very slow. One dealer explained that they haven't yet finished building the bar that will be in the expansion section, so the waitresses are having to trek to the far end of the casino for the drinks. Presumably, then, the pace will quicken in the near future. They are also planning to have food service at the tables, though that, too, isn't ready yet. There's a Johnny Rockets also opening in the new section. Yum!
When I arrived at about 8:15 p.m., there was one tournament wrapping up, one $2-4 limit hold'em game, and one $1-2 NLHE game (buy-in $50-$200, $4 max rake). I joined the no-limit game, of course, as the fifth player. We did get up to eight or nine players at one point, but then the 9:00 tournament started, and enough people left to play in it that the game broke up.
I more than doubled my money in that time, though. But I have to confess that it was ugly. Most of my profit came from a hand that I misplayed badly. I paid way more for a draw than was mathematically right, even considering implied odds--and I knew full well that I was doing so and that it was idiotic. But my luckiness exceeded my stupidity, and I hit the stone-cold nuts on the river. I'm not proud of it, but I didn't give the chips back, either.
The biggest practical problem with the Silverton poker room will, I think, continue to be its limited range of opponents. Even though my table was short-handed, I recognized no fewer than four of the same people I faced back in October! They all knew each other well, it seemed. Whether there is a NLHE cash game going on a weekday is always uncertain, and they seem to break up easily even after they start. That's a big limiting factor in how interested I will be in driving out there frequently.
In short, the new room is at least as nice as the original room was, and hugely better than the temporary rooms were. Now if they can just keep the seats occupied more regularly, they might have something there.
By the way, do you know how to tell when it's autumn in Las Vegas? The Silverton aquarium has giant pumpkins in it!