The changes in Las Vegas have been stunning over the years. With the recent addition of City Center and also the hip and trendy Cosmopolitan hotel, the standard for the best spots in Vegas is constantly evolving.
Still, many of the established names still hold up even with the new competition. The Bellagio for example is still one of the best spots in Las Vegas, particularly if you’re looking for an upscale experience with a female friend.
It’s also still one of the top destinations for poker. The Bellagio Poker Room remains one of the best in town and the spot where many pros go to play. Everything is top notch, from the luxury surroundings to the dealers and the cocktails. It’s open 24/7 with around 30 tables. Of course you’re not coming here if you have a small bankroll. The minimums are higher than you’ll find in many other rooms on the Strip and you’ll see some huge pots here.
Then you have Bobby’s Room, the ultimate spot for poker high rollers. It’s described on the Bellagio website as follows: “Be one of the privileged few to get in on the high-stakes excitement inside our signature poker room. Decked out in winning style, this coveted experience pays tribute to its namesake, Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 World Series of Poker Champion and Chief Design & Construction Officer, President & CEO, CityCenter. Within its storied walls are tables providing maximum privacy and concentration.” If you’re heading to Las Vegas with a serious bankroll and an appetite for some white-knuckle poker, then this is your spot!
Of course many players love the online world of playing poker. It’s a completely different experience but many enjoy the convenience of being able to play at any time. It’s excellent for poker practice. But of course there are all sorts of issues as well like deposits. If you’re having trouble depositing funds on online poker sites you can read why credit cards are being declined can be read here. Hopefully we’ll get to the point where the regulators finally acknowledge this is a game of skill and even out the rules for everyone. Until then places like the Bellagio offer a real experience for poker that you really can’t match online.
Eric Raskin has put together an excellent oral history of the 2003 World Series of Poker in Grantland, one of the seminal events in the poker phenomenon that has grown over the years in the US and around the world.
In 1970, Benny Binion put together a publicity stunt to promote his casino in downtown Las Vegas. He sent out invitations to Johnny Moss, Doyle Brunson, Amarillo Slim Preston, and the rest of the world’s greatest card players and called it the World Series of Poker. Seven of them played cash games at Binion’s Horseshoe for three straight days, and when it was over, Moss was named “champion” in a vote of his peers. The next year, six entrants paid $5,000 apiece for the right to play in a no-limit Texas Hold ’em “freezeout” tournament, in which everyone started with the same number of chips and they played until one man had all the money. A year later, the buy-in doubled to $10,000. In the four decades since, the basic rules of the tournament and the amount of money required to enter have remained constant.
But the number of participants has not. The World Series of Poker main event surpassed 100 players for the first time in 1982. It cracked 200 in ’91, the first year in which the winner claimed a seven-figure cash prize. In 2002, 631 players entered, and the payout was $2 million.
Then came 2003. The 34th-annual World Series of Poker transformed the event into a pop-culture phenomenon. The numbers — by 2006, 8,773 players vied for a first-place prize of $12 million — illustrate how exponential the growth was. Poker went from a game understood by few and played in smoky backrooms to a television staple. In this 10th-anniversary oral history, more than 30 people who were part of the event explain what happened and what it meant for the poker business.
Check out the entire article for a very informative and entertaining read.
You can see the final hand above where Chris Moneymaker wins the tournament. Movies like “Rounders” from 1998 also helped fuel that game’s popularity, but that 2003 tournament helped fans the flames.
There are so many ways to enjoy gambling and poker these days at casinos around the country and online at Metro Play Casino and other great sites that it’s hard to think back to the days when most of the action was in Las Vegas and in back room poker games. Fortunately most people can now drive to a poker room or hone their skills online, and now the World Series of Poker is dominated by guys inspired by Chris Moneymaker. If you’re heading to Vegas and want to test your poker skills, you have to try your hand at this tournament.
Beth Shak is a world championship Full Tilt poker player, fashion mogul and entrepreneur whose star is quickly rising. After squashing much of her competition in the Poker world, she has now ventured out into mainstream media as well as the fashion and beauty industry, where she is currently manufacturing a prototype for a medical patent she created. We’ve put together a hot gallery of photos of Beth for you to enjoy as well.
Known for her outspoken behavior, trendy designer outfits and an extended collection of designer shoes, she is every man’s fantasy and every woman’s best friend, as she truly lives a life Carrie Bradshaw would envy. Beth burst on to the poker scene in 2005 with a solid performance at the World Series of Poker Ladies’ event where she finished 8th –a remarkable achievement for someone playing her second live tournament ever. Her most impressive poker win to date was at the 38th WSOP, where she valiantly fought her way through 827 participants to finish 2nd place in the $3,000 No-Limit Hold’em event, taking home a cash prize over $328k.
Beth Shak has built up a considerable reputation as a no-nonsense poker player although she has only been playing for five years. She’s already cashed in at several major tournaments, including 2 World Poker Tour events and 5 World Series of Poker events. Her remarkable rise in professional poker has earned her the sponsorship of Full Tilt Poker and brought her total winnings past the $450,000 mark. Additionally, Beth was featured on NBC’s Poker After Dark and on the popular MTV Cribs.
So, if you couldn’t make it to Vegas but you want to follow the action in real time, check out her Twitter feed and enjoy the ride.