In the late afternoon and early evening hours of Saturday, October 22, I completed my twenty-eighth survey of the poker rooms on the Las Vegas Strip.
2+2 poster ‘Pokeraddict”, who contributes to safestpokersites.com, did an off-Strip survey.
Here’s the data for poker rooms on the Strip.
The 109 games surveyed on the Strip marks the fourth new low set in the previous five surveys. Spring, 2016 had 112 tables. Autumn, 2015 had 116 tables. And Spring, 2015 had 120 tables.
I surveyed 88 no-limit hold ‘em games. That’s also a new low as is the 63 games at 1-3 or lower stakes.
There are a couple changes to the Bellagio’s fixed limit hold ‘em games. A new 9-18 game has replaced the 10-20 game. The new 9-18 is played with $3 chips (originally minted to be used for rake when the max rake of games was $3). I’m sure the general idea is pots in the 9-18 game which has a 3-chip/6-chip structure will look bigger than pots in the 10-20 game which had a 2-chip/4-chip structure. Whether that has a real impact or not, the 9-18 game is running somewhat consistently and is a good action game.
Also, the 4-8 fixed limit hold ‘em game always runs with a half-kill to 6-12. I believe that’s been standard for more than half a year.
Just recently, the Bellagio has regularly been getting a 30-60 stud 8 or better game running on weekdays. In the past, it’s been tough to keep a less popular game like stud/8 running for very long.
In Protection Poker, an all-in player with a 65% or greater equity advantage, with cards still to be dealt but with the betting over, is guaranteed 20% of the pot.
There wasn’t a Protection Poker game running during my survey but there were a few names on a 1-3 interest list. The game had run a few times before the survey.
Four years ago, Aria tried Multi Action Poker, a way to play two hands simultaneously at one table. I appreciate Aria’s willingness to experiment with new ideas in poker. But, part of me just wishes they’d figure out how to run successful promotions for non hold ‘em games.
Otherwise, Aria’s game selection was typical but with an impressive four PLO games running.
The Wynn poker room moved to its sister property of Encore in May. The new room is top notch as you would expect for a casino like Encore and is more spacious than the old Wynn room which could be cramped on the left side.
It struck me as odd that the Encore room was primarily a subdued blue where as the rest of the casino is a vibrant red.
It interests me that the Wynn had a 1-2 pot-limit Omaha game running. They may have picked that game up from the Venetian. They also had an 8-16 mixed game which seems to move around the Strip. I’ve seen it most often at Aria and also at Caesars Palace but the players in the game said Encore was their new home.
The Venetian’s descent continues and nothing makes it more obvious than management’s decision to downsize the room. A big chunk of the room near the old main entrance has been taken away for pit games (specifically, Stadium Blackjack).
The remaining room felt different while walking through it. The cash games are now in the back (near the emergency exit doors) where tournament game used to play. The tournament games are now in the remaining front of the room (towards the escalator).
Incredibly, the Venetian created an isolated six table high-limit section across from the cashier similar to what they had from 2006 to 2012. Not surprisingly, this section was devoid of any games and I expect it to stay that way going forward.
The downsizing of the Venetian poker room comes just four years after it was expanded in August of 2012. Back then, the Venetian had so many cash and tournament games running that they often had a ten-table tournament section outside the room on the casino floor. The expansion was necessary just to keep the poker players inside the poker room.
Ten games marks a new low for the Venetian and is down from sixteen games a year ago (when the room had already slipped to third place) and twenty games two years ago (a solid second place before management changes in the poker room).
For the first time in my surveys, the Venetian had zero non-hold ‘em games, specifically Omaha 8 or better and pot-limit Omaha. And for only the third time (all in the past year), there were zero fixed limit hold ‘em games. Those used to be strengths of the room. But, I expect those games are gone for good.
All ten cash games were no-limit hold ‘em. And, I’m actually surprised the room is still able to get a robust four 2-5 no-limit hold ‘em games running. If the room continues to decline, I expect the 2-5 games to suffer first. Encore and Caesars Palace could easily absorb the action.
Caesars Palace had the most 1-2/1-3 no-limit hold ‘em games with eight. Management should look for ways to reach out to 2-5 players if they want to boost action in the room.
Linq closed their poker room which usually only spread 1-1 no-limit hold ‘em. Linq (previously Imperial Palace) has opened, moved, closed, and reopened poker rooms so many times I’ve lost count.
The Flamingo continues to excel in the 2-4 fixed limit hold ‘em games.
The Mirage has also succeeded in reestablishing its 3-6 fixed limit hold ‘em games.
Here’s the data for some poker rooms off the Strip.
Red Rock beat the Orleans for the first time since the Spring, 2014 survey. It was partly on the strength of running an Omaha freeroll promotion. Their three O/8 games cut into the Orleans’ business
The Non Hold ‘em Games
Bellagio (2): one 20-40 Omaha 8 or better, one 80-160 mixed
Aria (4): two 1-3 pot-limit Omaha, two 2-5 PLO
Wynn (2): one 1-2 PLO, one 8-16 mixed
Orleans (3): two 4-8 O/8, one 8-16 O/8
Red Rock (3): two 4-8 O/8, one 8-16 O/8