Poker Coverage: Poker Tournaments Casino News Sports Betting Poker Strategy

Hard Rock to Open Vegas' First Poker Lounge

New 18-Table Lounge Set to Debut in August


Identifiable by its signature larger-than-life guitar, the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas embodies everything that is rock ’n’ roll, and soon, the always-innovative gaming destination will rock the poker industry with the opening of a new concept called the Poker Lounge.

Set to open in early August, the Poker Lounge will throw out the traditional ideas for a poker room in an effort to create a place for the game that combines the edgy, laid-back style of the Hard Rock and an efficiently run, player-friendly facility. To do that, though, the Poker Lounge won’t be afraid to break some rules to make poker “cool.”

A New IdeaHard Rock

Taking risks and breaking rules is not uncommon for the Hard Rock, but that’s to be expected — Isn’t that what rockers do? Back in 1995, the Hard Rock was the first to feature a bar in the middle of the casino. Deemed a crazy idea in an article that appeared in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the first-of-its-kind design proved to be a huge hit, and now, a center bar is a must in all new casinos.

With the opening of its Poker Lounge, the Hard Rock plans to have similar success with this unique concept. “It’s going to be half poker, half nightclub, and I don’t think that has ever been done before — not on a scale as big as this,” said Steve Cyr, Poker Lounge marketing manager.

In the Poker Lounge, which will be located across from the famous Mexican restaurant the Pink Taco, the clatter of chips will be muffled by loud party music to set the mood for fun, and instead of sidestepping between crowded tables, players will be able to easily navigate the 18-table room that’s spread out over a 7,000-square-foot area.

The new Hard Rock Poker Lounge will feature limit and no-limit hold’em cash games.
Games/stakes offered will include $2-$4, $4-$8, and $8-$16 limit hold’em with a kill or no kill, and no-limit hold’em with $1-$2 blinds ($100 minimum-$500 cap buy-in), $2-$5 blinds ($200 minimum-no cap
buy-in), $5-$10 blinds ($500 minimum-no cap buy-in), and $25-$50 blinds ($2,500 minimum-no cap buy-in). The Hard Rock also plans to spread pot-limit Omaha.

“The Hard Rock Poker Lounge philosophy is that we welcome any action,” said Poker Lounge Manager Houston Waldie. “We will spread any game our players want, and we will have knowledgeable staff to be able to do that.”

The Poker Lounge also will run three daily $100 buy-in no-limit hold’em tournaments, as well as around-the-clock sit-and-gos with varied buy-ins. The specifics are still being determined, but will be available soon.

Thinking Beyond the Felt

The Poker Lounge is sure to have features that no other poker room has, including tournaments in which players can win more than just cash prizes.

“For sure, we are going to be the home of really unique tournaments, in which you are going to be able to play a sit-and-go and win a $5,000 bar tab and cabana at the pool,” said Cyr. “Or, let’s say Ozzy Osbourne is in town. Take down a tournament, and you could win tickets for two to the concert, or possibly a backstage pass to meet him and a signed guitar. How cool is that?”

Another element putting the Poker Lounge in a category of its own is that it will feature five private tables. Each will have its own roped-off area that can be reserved for anything from bachelor parties to celebrity games.

Utilizing up-to-date technology, the Poker Lounge is installing the Genesis System for cash-game seating, which will enable players to receive cellphone text messages when their seats are available.

In line with the party- and player-oriented themes, men’s and women’s bathrooms, as well as two full-service bars, will be located inside the Poker Lounge. Friends who don’t play poker won’t have to pull up a seat behind a player and pretend to be interested in the action; instead, they’ll have the option to hang out by the bar or in a seating area equipped with chairs, couches, and big-screen televisions.

Hard Rock’s Face-Lift

The Poker Lounge is just one part of the casino’s $1.4 billion expansion, a result of the property being acquired by Morgans Hotel Group and DLJ Merchant Banking Partners in early 2007.

Also included in the renovation is the addition of about 950 rooms and 100 percent more casino floor space. Also, Beach Club, Hard Rock’s famous pool, is going to double in size. On Sundays, the pool transforms into “Rehab,” the trendsetting daytime pool party. Forget about a quiet, relaxing time by the water, as this pool party includes blaring music, tons of splashing, and the ability to buy a drink and play a hand of blackjack without ever having to get out of the water.

Blackjack players also can take advantage of a brand-new gaming pit called Hell’s Belles, featuring Tera Patrick, located just a few feet from the poker room. Like the Poker Lounge, Hell’s Belles presents a traditional game in a sexier way, with scantily clad, beautiful female dealers and go-go dancers.

With all of these additions and the opening of the Poker Lounge, Cyr says that the Hard Rock is going to stay at the forefront of Vegas entertainment.

“This is going to be the place where the novices, the pros, and the celebrities want to play poker. I don't think Las Vegas needs just another poker room. That is why we are opening the Poker Lounge.”



13 years ago

Sounds cool I'd play there.