Exit Bobby’s Room Enter Ivey’s Room

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A few days back Daniel Negreanu made an interesting tweet on his twitter account @kidpoker. ‘Pretty amazing that Bellagio lost ALL of its hi limit action. Players banded together and moved the game to Aria due to poor treatment.’ This caused quite a stir in the poker community since Bobby’s Room in the Bellagio  used to be the home of the high stakes action in Las Vegas since it opened. What’s wrong with the Bellagio and what is the Aria anyway?

The Aria is a new hotel casino which opened his doors last year and is located right next to the Bellagio. Unlike other Vegas casino’s the Aria doesn’t have a theme. Instead it is a high tech hotel which incorporated a lot of technology in its design and even won a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) gold certification, the biggest hotel ever to do so. Pretty impressive for a hotel/casino built in the Nevada desert where environmentalism seems to be the last thing on people’s mind.

After Daniels tweet more people raised their voices and it became clear why the Bellagio lost their players and the Big Game. According to the players, the low comps, low level of service and rude floor people of the Bellagio have been an annoyance to the players for a long time. When the Aria opened their own high stakes room called Ivey’s room, named after Poker pro Phil Ivey, it was an easy switch. The Aria provides their high rollers with food, rooms, calls players when their seat is open and the setup of the room is much nicer. The Aria also allows the highest game running the be seated in Ivey’s room where as the Bellagio always refused to let any game below  $400/$800 in Bobby’s Room.

The WSOP always brings a lot of poker players into town for the summer and fills Las Vegas poker rooms with action at all stakes. This year however might very well be different because of the recent events on Black Friday. The Big Three online poker sites, Pokerstars, Full Tilt Poker and Cereus traditionally provide a lot of the online qualifiers for the WSOP. With no US qualifiers this number will be significantly lower this year and with that the amount of poker players in town. This will force the poker rooms to compete more then ever for their players.  A full poker room cannot be take for granted anymore. Maybe the Bellagio will see this as well and clean up their act in time to regain the high stakes action this summer.

Phil Ivey Final Tables Bellagio Cup VI

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Phil Ivey did not need to play the first two days of the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup VI. In a unique situation, The Bellagio Cup held late registration into the third day of play. Many pros waited and signed up on that day. They sat in with only 20 big blinds, but that was more than enough for Phil Ivey to drive his way to the final table of the event. He is, after all, Phil Ivey.

The final table of the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup VI will begin play today July 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm local (pacific) time. thats 7:00 pm you people on the east coast. Because of the late registration available, this tournament attracted 353 players who paid up the $10,300 buyin. The prize pool of $3,424,100 was distributed to the top 50 players. Maybe the WPT is following an online lead here, but that 14% payout is a bit more than the standard 10% you see at most live tournaments. The more people paid means that the lowest payout gets only $13,594. The WPT used to have one of the more top heavy payout structures in live tournament play. They used to always try to make sure that the winner would pocket $1 million. They seem to have changed that approach by paying more of the field and only awarding $875,150 to the winner.

Of course, the real prize is getting to that six-handed TV table. That is where the exposure might get you a better deal from sponsors, or your play could garner you some instant fame. Your six players pursuing that dream and their chip counts:

1 John Caridad 5,120,000
2 Moritz Kranich 2,750,000
3 Justin Smith 2,100,000
4 Robert Akery 1,980,000
5 Phil Ivey 1,595,000
6 Eric Afriat 620,000

Though Phil Ivey’s stack is small in relation to the 30,000-60,000 blinds, he does have 26 big blinds to play with. Heck, that is more than the number that he began the tournament with. Good Luck gentlemen. Make sure you shower and dress well for your big date with the TV lens.