MGM Grand Poker Room Review
Dec 13, 2005  
2005 Jason Kirk  

The MGM Grand poker room is one of the many new rooms that have popped up on the Las Vegas Strip within the last year and a half, another testament to the popularity poker currently enjoys. Some rooms have opened to lackluster business but the MGM Grand is different. Less than a year into its existence this poker room is doing a lot of things right and quickly becoming a favorite on the southern Strip.

While it is one of the newer poker rooms in town, the atmosphere at the MGM Grand is one of the nicest in town thanks in large part to the comfortable new marble-rimmed tables and comfortable chairs. There are 23 tables in all, with each one featuring and auto-shuffler to increase the number of hands you get to play per hour. The rake is a very reasonable $4 max per pot, with no jackpot drops. The room also bans smoking, so anyone who doesn't like to be around cigarettes will enjoy playing there. One of the nicest touches, though, is how well they've managed to integrate technology. The computerized waiting list is much more efficient than the pen-and-paper lists at other older rooms.

The service in the room is high quality. The dealers are a friendly and fairly competent group, the waitresses are much faster than those at other nearby rooms, and the games run very smoothly. The floor staff are also easily accessible and quick to resolve disputes. Another big plus for the room is its location in between the race and sports book, the Rain Forest Cafe, and two popular nightclubs. The result is a never-ending procession of possible players walking by, watching those chips being thrown around, and thinking about giving the game a try themselves. The room can be noisy, but it's mostly the noise of other people rather than slot machines like at some other casinos.

How good are the games? Traffic-wise, there's always a game going - this is definitely a popular poker room. There's also a pretty quick turnover thanks to the large number of tables, so you won't often have to wait more than 30 minutes. The lowest limit games are pretty soft thanks to the high tourist quotient. As you'd expect in these touristy waters there are also plenty of local sharks, but they're pretty easy to spot - they're the ones who've been coming back over and over and know what they're doing. There are hold'em games available as high as $30-60; several no-limit games including $1-2, $2-5 and $5-5; often a $2-10 stud game; and if enough players request it the house has been known to spread Omaha or HORSE.

In addition to all the available cash games, the MGM Grand poker room also runs several tournaments. Every Monday through Friday at 9:30 AM registration opens up for a $65 no-limit hold'em freezeout that begins at 11 AM. Either 4, 5, or 6 players make the money depending on how many enter. If registration is full, alternates are accepted throughout the first hour of play. Players start with $1200 in chips, and play 20-minute levels. The blind structure is as follows:

Level 1 - 25/25
Level 2 - 25/50
Level 3 - 50/100
Level 4 - 100/200
Level 5 - 200/400
Level 6 - 400/800
Level 7 - 800/1,600
Level 8 - 1,500/3,000
Level 9 - 3,000/6,000
Level 10 - 5,000/10,000

Every Sunday through Thursday at 4:30 PM registration begins for the evening tournaments that begin at 6:00 PM. The buy-in is $125 for $1,500 in tournament chips, with no re-buys and alternates accepted through the first hour of play. Blinds increase every 30 minutes based on the following schedule:

Level 1 - 25/50
Level 2 - 50/100
Level 3 - 100/200
Level 4 - 200/400
Level 5 - 400/800
Level 6 - 800/1,600
Level 7 - 1,500/3,000
Level 8 - 3,000/6,000
Level 9 - 5,000/10,000
Level 10 - 10,000/20,000

Finally, all the daily and evening tournaments at the MGM Grand pay out according to the number of entries:

Entries Payouts
4-49 40%-30%-20%-10%
50-59 40%-30%-15%-10%-5%
60+ 40%-25%-15%-10%-5.5%-4.5%

With an overall youthful and exciting feel to it, plenty of profitable games, and quick and courteous service, the MGM Grand poker room has a lot to recommend it. Those players who want a closed-off room without many distraction may be disappointed, but anyone else will probably enjoy playing there.

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