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February 6, 2010

It’s not often that winning sessions give me cause to think about my playing habits, but that’s exactly the situation I find myself in.

Over the past month, I’ve played three short and profitable sessions at the Bellagio. The games have been soft and, for the most part, the players bad, which makes it seem like playing this room on a regular basis should be a no-brainer. Except for the fact that I absolutely hate the Bellagio poker room. With a passion.

Why do I find the Bellagio so unpleasant? I’m glad you asked.

  • It’s cramped. Like New York City subway at rush hour cramped. The tables are jammed so close together that players have no room to move to either side, let alone lean back once in a while. What’s more, the tables themselves are small and have no cup holders, which means players have to be extra careful not to jostle each others’ stacks or to accidentally knock a frosty beverage on to the board.
  • The dealers are poor. And that’s being generous. I have yet to meet a dealer at the Bellagio who seemed to take any interest in the game they’re working, let alone one who actually had the energy to try and ensure that action moved along at a reasonable pace or that players paid some semblance of attention to the rules. Once the cards hit the felt, the dealers seem to tune out completely, often having to be prompted to deal the next card or pull in a bet. Maybe they’re jaded or just worn down from the grind, but either way, their general piss-poor attitude make for an unpleasant game.
  • The floor is obnoxious. For as bad as the dealers are, the floor people at the Bellagio are even worse. It’s not uncommon for them to ignore players looking for a seat or a table change simply because they don’t want to be distracted from whatever other “important” task – such as contemplating the nature of navel lint – that is currently occupying their attention. And heaven forbid if a “name” player walks into the room at the same time you do. You may as well pack up your shit and head anywhere else in town for a game because sonny boy, you’re not getting helped for a long, long time.

Now I know these are all “minor” problems, but when you spend as much time as I do in poker rooms, minor things add up. Couple that with the sheer number of poker rooms within spitting distance of each other on the Strip and it doesn’t take much to convince me to play somewhere else even if the games aren’t quite as soft.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 6, 2010 2:54 am

    Glad to know I’m not the only person who feels invisible to Bellagio’s floors. Once you pull off the miracle of getting seated, though, the 2/5 NL games are soft, soft, soft. I’m not as down on the dealers as you are, but as a whole they clearly don’t match up to Wynn and Venetian.

  2. February 12, 2010 6:09 pm

    It’s like I wrote this post. The thing is, as long as the super high-stakes pros continue to play in Bobby’s Room (and thereby generate tourist traffic for the room regardless of room conditions), nothing will change. And if tourists continue to frequent the room then the base of locals necessary for maintaining the room’s vitality will continue to frequent the room because they feel – as you pointed out – that the softness of the games justifies putting up with the room’s annoying qualities.

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