WSOP prepares to say goodbye to Rio in Las Vegas

If you’re a poker enthusiast, there’s nothing like when you first step into the Amazon Room at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas for the World Series poker event.

Having hosted some of the most fascinating moments in poker history since Rio first began hosting the WSOP back in 2005, the massive ballroom can be a shocking scene with bright lights on one side of the feature table and hundreds of tables lined up across the street. The loud noise of players clacking their chips is constant. Random “All in!” calls from dealers create a commotion on a regular basis. Banners from the winners of the main event hang from the rafters, reminding all players why they are here every year chasing poker immortality. 온라인경마

” Poker games have really become one of the more iconic environments in poker,” said Norman Chad, a popular TV colorman who has brought in WSOP action since 2005. “To poker fans who have never been here before, I always say it’s like a baseball fan walking into Yankee Stadium for the first time. It can distract you.”

But despite a memorable 17-year run, the Rio Olympics are wrapping up their final days as the home of World Series poker. WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart confirmed to Casino City on Friday that an announcement about WSOP’s new home will be made “soon” starting next year.

According to most reports, the world’s most prestigious tournament is moving to Las Vegas Streep, a mile east of Rio, and another Caesars entertainment building (Las Vegas or Caesars Palace) like Bali will be the new venue. Most of the poker community we spoke to said they were ready to start playing in Rio, but many said it would be bittersweet.

“Lio has become a home. It would be hard to imagine not being here,” Stewart said. “We’ve changed the whole vision of World Series poker here. We’ve taken from what was about professionals to events for everyone. We’ve increased our footprint from 20,000 square feet to 200,000 square feet. A lot of time has gone by for events and brands here in Rio, so yeah, I’m nostalgic. I just can’t believe we’re keeping going.”

The WSOP began in 1970 when Jonny Moss beat a seven-player field at what is now known as the Binians Horseshoe in downtown Las Vegas. The game remained downtown until 2005, a year after Harra’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) bought the rights to the Binians Horseshoe and the World Series poker brand. “I missed the Binians a lot and we remember being there for only two years,” Chad said. “So it took Rio a while to grow you. And also grow up against you.”

Yes, Rio definitely has a lot of warts as well. Many players don’t like the food and drink options. There were a lot of complaints that bathroom situations can cause heartburn during breaks and that the rooms are outdated.

“I’m definitely ready to move on,” said Jay Farber, who came in second to Ryan Reese at the 2013 WSOP Main Event and won $5.17 million along the way. “Put us on a great spot with great hotels and decent amenities. There’s no sentimental feeling about this place at all other than the fact that we happened to have a poker tournament at a table inside Rio.”

Still, it is indisputable that some of the game’s most indelible moments took place inside the walls of Rio. The first main event champion to be crowned inside Rio was the unforgettable Jamie Gold, who stunned the poker world by surpassing 8,773 participants in 2016, which remains the largest field in main event history to this day.

In 2008, to the dismay of many in the poker world, the era began on Nov. 9, introducing a three-month “pause” between the final nine players for the main event and the reign of champions. During Nov. 9, the final table was moved down the hall to the 1,500-seat Penn & Teller Theater, and for those who were there, the electricity generated inside the theater will never be forgotten.

“It was electricity,” Chad remembers. “We had to do a stand-up for the TV at first and the place was full. We couldn’t even hear ourselves. There were so many people there wearing different t-shirts and chanting for them. It was a great moment for poker.”

Dennis Phillips was one of the members when he won third place in his inaugural contest on Nov. 9, 2008. Peter Eastgate won that year and became the youngest main event champion in WSOP history at the age of 21, and like Chad, Phillips cherishes the memories of the final table.

“The energy it generated was incredible,” said Phillips, who became famous that year for wearing his trademark red St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap on the table. “That much noise and so many people packed inside theaters for poker games … it was something else.”

“It will always hold a special place in my heart,” he said. “I’ve spent a lot of time here and I really know the way around that place. I remember my first year, Mike Matusow, taking me down the back hole to avoid the whole crowd and we went through a place where I never existed. It’s definitely going to be different not to have it here. I’ll miss it, but I think it’s best for us to go to the strip.”

Chad said, “Rio has been holding up pretty well, all things considered. Poker players tend to complain a lot, so next year there will be people complaining about this and that wherever we are. But overall, I really like the idea of putting World Series poker right in the middle of a Las Vegas strip. If it can’t be in an iconic place like Vinion, there’s probably no better place to be. But yeah, leaving Rio is bittersweet.”

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