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Reputation Alone: How Caesars Always Gets a Pass

Posted by Coffee February 21, 2014

In case you missed it, a thread on TwoPlusTwo indicated that the Caesars Las Vegas poker room was on the verge of closing. A phone call to the room itself revealed that the staff has been informed of a move around April 1st to another part of the casino, but that nothing is set for sure. The staff member with whom I spoke mentioned that the new space would likely downsize the offering to around 15 tables. He also mentioned that there were no series planned for after March, but that he also had not heard or seen any movement in quite a while since they told him.

Time will tell if this move comes to pass. However, the way that Caesars treats its poker products (in contrast to the Sheldon Adelson-owned Venetian, regardless of its owner’s crackpot political stances) makes this rumor easy to believe. CET is a classic example of a company content to rest upon its laurels, rather than continuing to innovate in its respective field.

There is no denying Caesars’ prominence on the gaming scene. It is the largest gaming company in the world. It owns multiple famous brands of hotels, including long sections of the Las Vegas Strip. Most importantly to our brethren, it is the steward of the World Series of Poker.

In this last piece lies its complacency. The WSOP is the most well-known poker event in the world. The $10,000 Main Event is the flagship tournament of poker, and its prize, the most sought-after by every poker player in the land. However, a closer look at the management of the tournament down to the individual rooms reveals a disturbing lack of understanding about what makes poker rooms work.

Poker players are pretty simple. We want fast dealers who know their games. We want a seating system that moves efficiently, logically and fairly. We want fair and friendly floorpeople. We want comfortable chairs and a room that does not remind of a morgue. We want some attention from a cocktail server every once in a while. We want a comp system that doesn’t make us feel like second-class citizens.

And yet, Caesars Entertainment, the industry leader, famously employs underqualified dealers for its signature events and manages its rooms with what can only be described as a quiet disdain. Now…I’m sure that there are individuals who do a proper job in their respective rooms, but the overall vibe from the higher-ups is that poker is an expensive nuisance.

The fact that the signature casino in the company’s docket cannot keep its poker room fresh is an embarrassment. The staff member to whom I spoke mentioned that they get “slammed” during the WSOP. A savvy company would have no trouble taking the wave from that annual bonanza and translating it into a year-round gear-up and gear-down schedule that keeps the room full and popping.

Meanwhile, the arguably best-run room in Vegas, which features comfortable settings and one of the more intuitive comps systems ever, is run by a guy who thinks online gambling is more damaging than the live version. I have ranted about Mr. Adelson before, but there’s no way I’m boycotting The Venetian the next time I go to the desert.

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