Monday 7 April 2008

VEGAS 2008

VEGAS 2008
By Mick McCloskey

I recently returned from a trip to Las Vegas and bring news of what visiting poker players can expect during this year’s WSOP. The tournament is, as usual, being held in the Rio Casino but this year organisers will do away with the hot and heavy temporary pavilion and will open up more of the interior convention space for extra playing areas. Also at the Rio, regulars may be alarmed to hear that the “Tilted Kilt” bar is no more. It has been replaced by an Irish themed bar called “McFadden’s”
The huge new city centre development beside the Bellagio is gradually taking shape and will probably be completed before the end of the year. This comprises a mix of commercial, retail and residential property. Other building nearing completion are new hotel towers at the Wynn and the Venetian. When completed, this will make the Venetian the biggest hotel in the World. Onwards and upwards.

Interesting developments are taking place Downtown and many of the smaller “rollers” may want to make their base there to take advantage of the more realistic prices for food, drinks and accommodation. There will certainly be plenty of poker action as both the Golden Nugget and Binions have announced details of a series of poker tournaments to be held during the WSOP. Indeed, Binions could be regarded as having a mini WSOP as their events are based on the WSOP programme. The main difference being that Binions tournaments run the day before the WSOP events and are 10% of the WSOP buy-in. The Golden Nugget tournaments range from $200 to £1,000 and include HORSE and Omaha events being held in a convention room containing 50 tables. The action will be 24 hour, spread over a month from 6th June. Also new at the Nugget is a bar and night club called “Gold Diggers” which has an outdoor balcony area overlooking Fremont Street. Fremont itself seems to be buzzing with activity and is pulling in the crowds with outdoor shows and music every night, in addition to the usual light shows of the Fremont Street Experience.

Other news is that Binions has been taken over by the owners of the neighbouring 4 Queens Casino. The word is that they intend to either renovate the whole place or raze it to the ground and start from scratch. Either way, big changes are in the pipeline.


I went to the Wynn one day to play one of their tournaments. I’m only in the place about five minutes when I run into Keith “The Camel” Hawkins, who tells me that he is thinking of giving up poker to take on a new challenge. But not just yet as he had signed up for the tournament as well! I have just settled into my seat in the tournament when another well known face sits down at my table. It is none other than “Big Al” Kelleher, all the way from Cork, who is in town for a few weeks with his buddy, Jim Kelleher. There are over 300 runners in this tournament and he lands on my table? Our American table mates must have wondered what language we were using to speak to each other after our unexpected meeting. Down at Binions I ran into a couple from Edinburgh, who I had first met in the same place a couple of years ago. Also in Binions, slumming it for a night away from his suite at the Wynn, I ran into Dave O’Neill and his wife. Dave was formerly a partner in the Jackpot and Merrion Clubs in Dublin and is currently tournament director for the Irish Open. A small world indeed.


JP Poker has announced details of The Irish Masters tournament to be held in the Red Cow Hotel, Dublin from 2nd to 5th May. The main event has a buy-in of €750. Full details can be found at

The Waterford Open takes place in the Majestic Hotel, Tramore, Co. Waterford from 12th to 15th June. The tournament is being run by Big Slick Events and Blonde Poker. If there is enough demand for the main €500 event, the tournament nay be extended to include an extra starting day. For up to date details, check out either the Big Slick or Blonde Poker website.

The Macau Club has announce the dates for this year’s Irish Poker Classic in Cork. The festival will run from 11th to 17th August. The main event will have a two day start, a buy-in of €1,500 and a guaranteed prize pool of €150,000. Further details will be published in future issues.

If you have any news, views or events, you can contact me by email to