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Most Recent Online Casino News

Poker Takes Center Stage at Revamped Binion’s

Poker player Barry Shulman is riding a tidal wave of proportions he never expected.

Shulman, a retired real estate developer from Seattle who settled in Las Vegas "to play a little golf and play a little poker," bought a little-known poker magazine called Card Player in 1998. So far this year, the circulation of the magazine has expanded beyond casinos and card rooms to include major bookstore chains, airports and even Wal-Mart stores.

"I bought Card Player when it wasn’t for sale. It was clear to me that (poker) was ready to explode but I had no clue that it was going to explode like it did last year," Shulman said.

Shulman is one of more than 9,000 people expected to play in the World Series of Poker, which kicks off the first of 32 public games today at Binion’s Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. Thursday, the Horseshoe hosted a poker game open only to casino workers that attracted several hundred people.

The granddaddy of poker tournaments, the World Series is the largest continuously held poker event in the world and is reaping the benefit of the whirlwind popularity of the game. The series is known for its final championship event — a $10,000 buy-in game of Texas hold ‘em poker — that is expected to draw more than 1,200 players, up from 839 entrants last year.

To accommodate the crowd, Horseshoe operator Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. will hold the first game of the championship over the course of two days beginning May 22, essentially splitting players into two camps that are weeded out in the first round. That way, officials say, the small Horseshoe casino can accommodate up to 2,000 championship players, double the capacity of last year’s single day event.

Like Shulman, the man overseeing that effort for Harrah’s this year, Howard Greenbaum, has also witnessed a sea change with the advent of the poker craze.

"After Harrah’s took over the Horseshoe, my boss called me into his office and told me, ‘Your life’s about to change,’ " said Greenbaum, whose "director of race and sports book" title at Harrah’s didn’t include the word "poker" until now.

Greenbaum will have help in the form of two tournament directors — one more than last year — who specialize in organizing poker tournaments and have been involved in past World Series of Poker events.

Harrah’s has also hired some 230 dealers who are selected from a pool of people who deal poker at tournaments worldwide. Attracting enough dealers wasn’t a problem, Greenbaum said.

"It’s considered an honor to be affiliated with the World Series of Poker and deal for it," he said.

Existing Horseshoe workers also will get a chance to deal poker during the series as they are rotated in and out of games dealt by contract dealers, he said.

Read the entire article at: Las Vegas Sun 

2004 Online Casino News Archive


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