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Why Poker Rooms are Good and Bad for Business

When casinos are mulling over the idea of adding or subtracting a poker room there are two schools of thought they can fall into: The first camp sees poker rooms as a good way to market the property and bring in some well-known gamblers with big tournament series. For these people, poker is seen as a necessary evil, the proverbial “Dollar Menu” item that loses money or breaks-even but brings people through the door in hopes they’ll buy a soda, fries and other high-mark-up items.

Of course, there is the other camp that feels poker rooms in a casino are a waste of space and the square-footage is better-served having slot machines or other games in place of poker tables. This school of thought feels it is borderline insanity to waste space on poker and would never have one on property.

Obviously as a poker player I tend to fall into the first category, but I have a better argument than “I like poker” to fall back on. In this column I’ll take a look at the good and the bad of having a poker room in a casino I why I feel a poker room is more of an asset than a liability. Check out the top online poker rooms today at this link.

The Good

  • A poker room automatically adds value to your property

Like a gym in a hotel or a fireplace in your room, a poker room is something of an amenity to tourists and travelers looking for a place to stay. It’s simply an extra, rarely-used, option to attract people to your property –whether they even walk through the poker room is another matter.

  • A poker room is guaranteed revenue

Even if poker revenue pales in comparison to blackjack or roulette the casino never has to worry about some high-roller coming in and binking a $5 million win against them. With a poker room you never have a losing day, week, or month. The same cannot be said of blackjack or most table games.

  • A poker room immediately classes-up the joint

There is a certain level of romanticism when it comes to poker and having a poker room seems to bring a casino to another level –think the difference between a motel and a hotel—in the same way that having fine-dining options on property does.

The Bad

  • Poker rooms take up a lot of space and require quite a few employees

Much like “Pit Games” poker rooms require multiple layers of casino personnel to run properly. From dealers, to floor-people, to a poker room manager, not to mention waitresses and chip-runners, poker rooms require a lot of manpower to run.

Additionally a poker table could very well be the worst designed gaming table when it comes to space. Unlike black jack tables that can be placed back-to-back, or roulette and craps table that allow multiple players, a poker table is limited to 9-10 players and needs a good deal of space on all sides.

  • The game isn’t overly lucrative for the casino

Even though poker revenue is consistent, it’s not a big money-maker for the casino. Most of the rake goes towards upkeep and employees, and when all is said and done there is little left over for the casino.

  • A lot of poker players tend (notice I said tend) not to play slot machines and pit games

Most people heading to the casino to play poker do just that; they play poker. There isn’t a lot of spillover to the pits or slot machines from serious poker players.

Poker’s popularity is waning

In 2005 casinos couldn’t open poker rooms fast enough, but now the trend has reversed and outside of “hotspots” casinos are shuttering their poker rooms, as this article explains quite nicely: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/28/las-vegas-casinos-decide-_n_2780410.html

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