Hours, Tables, Location
Towards the south end of the Las Vegas Strip, across the street from Excalibur. The poker room itself is hidden away inside the casino "across from the Harbor Bar".
Games and Info
Limit hold 'em: $2/$4
No-limit hold 'em: $40-$200 buyin, $1/$2 blinds.
Posting: New players are not required to post.
Shuffling: All tables shuffled by hand.
With so few tables, and so few players, wait times can be highly variable, from 0 minutes to 30 minutes or more, depending on game type and demand. The brush stands at a podium at the front of the room.
Tournaments and Jackpots
No tournaments. No jackpots.
(Mar 2006): From the moment you walk into the Tropicana, you are bombarded with advertising for the poker room. Even outside, the huge marquee billboard lists the Folies Bergere and "Poker Room". Inside, movie-size posters are plastered on the walls: "Try our new Poker Room!". Mini-billboards are stuck on top of every row of slot machines: "Try our new Poker Room!". Dangling banners, miniature signs posted on the wall, all over: it's poker poker poker! It's amazing that after all that, it's quite difficult to find the darn place.
The signs all say it's "across from the Harbor Bar", but there's no signage indicating directions or how to get to either the Harbor Bar or the Poker Room, so you just wander around for a while until either you stumble on it (I saw something that looked like a fake rock-backed waterfall and walked towards it, and sure enough, that was the Harbor Bar) or finally break down and ask an employee.
And once I got there, I stood and blinked in confusion: the Poker Room that's advertised all over the casino is a little room nook with only 6 tables. I looked around, but couldn't see anything else: that was it. 6 tables. Only two of them in use (on a Sunday afternoon). Walk up to the brush, and ask what's running. "Only 1/2 no-limit," he says, eagerly. OK, I'll take a seat, and there's one open (if there weren't, I imagine the wait would be a while). While the brush gets my chips from his podium (turns out he acts as poker room cashier, and chip runner, and floorman, too) I ask what other games they spread. "We normally have 2/4 limit," he says, then looks around and looks a bit sad, "but we don't have it running at the moment." That's OK, I assure him, and sit down to play.
During the course of the couple hours I spent playing, the brush was always looking for something to do and was eager to help out in any way: bringing change to the dealer so they could make change for the pot; cashing players in and out; seating new players; settling the only dispute we had; and just in general watching the game whenever he could. I guess there wasn't much to do at his station - but he was actively trying to stay involved in the room (brownie points for him!).
The room itself is astoundingly new. You could practically smell the new-car smell in there. The cards were brand new (crisp, firm), the chips were brand new (well, the dollar ones were; the fives were the worn reds that the Trop has used for years), the tables and chairs were brand new (I could almost imagine the packing material hanging off the bottom of the table!), and, unfortunately, the dealers were brand new.
While it's an interesting and fairly pleasant experience to play with an all-new setup, having brand-new dealers was a bit frustrating. Of the two who cycled in and out while I was there, one was competent without being spectacular, and one was not very good. I was tempted to give the dealer pointers, but settled for merely pointing out problems when they were going to affect the game ("No, the player over here raised", "No, he gets $3 change from his original blind"). But he also committed such minor annoyances as keeping his tip jar on top of the table placard so you couldn't see rakes or limits, and scooping bets into the pot prior to completion of the betting round, so that players are already partway in if they need to call a raise. Grr.
Players were weak in general; one decent player at the table had clearly been there a few hours and was just picking his spots and cleaning up: he had about $500 in front of him. I did the same, and ended up nearly doubling my $100 buyin. Fairly loose and passive, which at a NL game is a slow death.
Game selection is obviously very limited, what with only 6 tables, and not a high usage of those anyway.
Smoking: Non-smoking, and hidden away in its own sort of cubbyhole off the main casino floor, so you don't get much drift from the casino itself either.
Tables and Chairs: Standard Vegas 10-player tables with cup holders built into the foam padding. Standard fixed-leg metal padded chairs. All of them are brand-spanking new, so the felt is crisp and clean, the chairs are still fully padded and shiny. Quite nice.
Service and Comps
Reasonably frequent service, pretty waitress. The soda size was quite large, as casino sodas go - perhaps 16 ounces? Didn't inquire about comps.
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Visited by MarkT in Mar 2006.
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