2003 World Series of Poker Main Event champion Chris Moneymaker served as the guest of honor on Thursday as Chicagoland’s newest poker room held its grand opening ceremony. Moneymaker was on hand at Elgin, Illinois’ Grand Victoria Casino for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Grand Vic’s relocated and expanded poker room, which now offers up to 20 tables of action on the casino’s main floor.
The popular room in Chicago’s far-western suburbs replaces a smaller poker area formerly housed in the casino’s lower level, where it shared space with rows of slot machines. The new location, not far from the casino’s main entrance is part of a 4,400-square-foot expansion including a Caesars sportsbook and a bar area immediately adjacent to the poker room itself. The entire sports-betting/poker complex occupies a former buffet-style restaurant that had closed years earlier in favor of other dining options at the venue.
Though known in the area mostly for its cash games, the expanded and relocated poker room at Grand Victoria also provides an opportunity for Caesars Entertainment, which acquired the property in 2018, to bring its World Series of Poker Circuit tour to the venue for the first time. Between the need to create more playing space and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, it took some time for a Circuit stop to become a reality, but that changes on November 12, 2022, when a 12-day, 17-event WSOP Circuit series begins.
The new Grand Victoria poker room has hosted live cash-game action for the past three weeks, along with small daily tourneys on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Thursday’s grand opening, however, officially dedicates the new multi-purpose gaming space.
Moneymaker takes a break from his own new club’s duties for ribbon-cutting ceremony
The popular Moneymaker has been busy on several fronts in recent months. Besides his ongoing duties as a brand representative for Americas Cardroom [ACR], he’s also been deeply involved with getting his own social-poker club, Moneymaker’s Lounge, up and running. Moneymaker’s own room, in Paducah, Kentucky, opened recently by offering several tables of cash-game action and has just introduced tournament play as well.
However, Moneymaker set his own poker project aside for the trip to greater Chicago, with his close ties to Caesars and WSOP executives making him a natural choice for the GVC ribbon-cutting ceremony. Grand Vic management used Moneymaker’s appearance as part of a grand-opening promotion, where 49 other poker players were allowed to play in a five-table tourney along with Moneymaker. The promotional kicker was that Moneymaker had a $5,000 bounty placed on his head as part of the day’s fun.
Before the late-afternoon ribbon-cutting ceremony and the tournament that followed, Moneymaker also spent a couple of hours participating in a fast-paced $1/$3 NLH cash game. The ceremony itself found Moneymaker surrounded by casino officials and local political dignitaries as he officially opened the room for business.
Featured image source: Haley Hintze