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Big Crowds Expected In Detroit's Poker Rooms This Weekend

So Far This Week, Crowds Have Been Slightly Above Average


Detroit has worked hard to put on its Sunday best to accommodate the influx of die-hard football fans and corporate bigwigs in town for the Super Bowl this weekend, while Detroit's poker rooms have geared up for the expected surge of crowds by hardly doing anything different at all.

That's because the rooms are used to being very busy.

"Will the lines be longer? Absolutely. Will the games be bigger? Absolutely," says Glenn Arana, Greektown Casino's poker room manger. "But we're always busy, anyway."

There are three casinos in Detroit, and two – Greektown Casino and Motorcity Casino – have poker rooms.

As of Thursday, the crowds for the week at Greektown Casino have been dense, but that's just about normal, Arana says.

The real crush begins Friday, when the thousands of people who had to work all week finally hit town.

That group of people includes businessmen successful enough to secure a Super Bowl trip from one of the many corporations who use the Super Bowl as one big business conference. Detroit may never see as many rich people visiting town as it will this weekend, and a few of them will find their way to one of the poker rooms.

Tomorrow night at least one table will be filled with players with pockets as deep as Lake Michigan. Greektown will spread a $5,000 minimum buy-in, $25-$50 no-limit hold'em game on Friday. Several players called the poker room this week and requested that it be spread.

"There are a lot of no-limit players in this town," Arana says. "And it seems that the level has been picking up."

The normal $1,000-minimum-buy-in $10-$20 no-limit hold'em game that takes place every Friday will also be spread. Arana expects all of his 19 tables to be filled with a variety of players, and the waiting list to be long.

And most of those games will be no-limit. On Thursday afternoon, 11 of the 19 tables Greektown spread were no-limit games.

Motorcity Casino has also seen crowds slightly grow this week. It's holding a special $500 buy-in tournament on Saturday. Players have already signed up for the tournament and Motorcity is expecting 40 to 60 players.

A tournament with that high of a buy-in usually attracts about 20 players, said a poker room employee who wished to remain anonymous. He also said that the local players, of which there are many, have told him that they will not be staying away this weekend despite the expected crowds.

The reason is simple: Like any seasoned player, the regulars at Motorcity Casino can't wait to go against the tourists who don't have cardrooms in their backyards. The players feel that they have an edge and not even the expected crowds will be enough to keep them away. Motorcity Casino's poker room holds 14 tables.

Casino Windsor is located just across the Detroit River in Canada, but thanks to new strict border laws, visitors need to have remembered to pack either their birth certificates or passports, because they probably won't be able to return to the United States without them. This law has affected the number of visitors to the city, and it surely will this Super Bowl weekend. The Casino Windsor poker room manager wasn't available for comment.