Maverick Gaming to launch poker room at Tropicana Las Vegas

Haley Hintze
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Posted on: May 24, 2023 12:51 pm EDT

Maverick Gaming, the casino and poker-room company led by frequent high-stakes cash-game player Eric Persson, has announced that it will be launching a poker room and partnering with an adjacent live-stream studio at the Tropicana Las Vegas Resort and Casino on the Vegas Strip. The new Maverick Gaming Poker Room will open next to the soon-to-debut Bally’s Big Bet Poker® Tropicana livestream studio, a sister stream to the Bally’s Big Bet Poker stream produced at Los Angeles’s Bicycle Casino.

The Persson-led effort at the Trop LV was announced with a healthy dose of salesmanship and hyperbole. “We’re here to shake things up and give poker lovers an experience they won’t forget,” said Persson. “The Maverick Gaming Poker Room at the Tropicana Las Vegas combined with the all new Bally’s Big Bet Poker livestream studio will be the go-to destination for poker players and fans alike. Get ready for lots of excitement, value, and a touch of rebelliousness.

“Whether playing poker in our wide selection of cash games and daily tournaments or watching our super high stakes action on livestream or television, we plan on delivering a powerhouse poker experience designed to capture the thrills and spills of live poker like never before.”

The new room is expected to announce its opening date in the near future. The adjacent Bally’s Big Bet Room has already announced its plans to open on an unspecified date in June. As for the Maverick Gaming poker room, it’s being positioned as a venue for casual players, with low rake, small-stakes cash games, and a couple of daily tourneys.

Busy times at the Trop

While the new Maverick Gaming Poker Room will have an immediate, short-term home at the Tropicana, its long-term future and exact physical location is wound up in a larger story, that of the likely move of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics to Las Vegas to play at a cozy 30,000-seat, retractable-roof stadium to be built on the Tropicana’s site.

It’s not quite a done deal, however, and even if the A’s move is finalized, it will be some time before the project comes to completion. The Tropicana sits on a 34-acre tract owned by real-estate investment trust Gaming & Leisure Properties (GLPI), through which the Tropicana’s owner and operator, Bally’s Corporation, pays GLPI $10.5 million per year under a 50-year leasing deal to rent the land.

The deal that Bally’s and GLPI announced involving land for the stadium involves only nine of the 34 acres, which would be enough to build the stadium proper. The gift of the land to the Athletics — dependent on the official finalizing of the deal — was enticing enough to A’s ownership to abandon earlier plans to build a larger stadium on a 49-acre tract owned by Red Rock Resorts. The Tropicana project also offers a lower price for the stadium’s construction, even though at 30,000 seats, it would be the smallest MLB park.

Tropicana casino would be redesigned

The issue for the Tropicana casino as it exists today is that in order to accomodate the planned ballpark, the casino itself will need to be reconstructed. Currently, the casino and adjacent hotel and parking structures sprawl across the entire 34-acre parcel in the way of Vegas’s early casinos. In the Tropicana’s case, it’s because it’s one of the Strip’s oldest still-existing casino properties, dating all the way back to the Fifties.

In the eyes of GLPI and Bally’s, the Tropicana is outdated, despite its history and heritage. And that means that current plans involving the construction of a baseball stadium also include a new casino-resort-parking complex that would likely wrap around the casino and make fuller use of the available land.

For the time being, according to Bally’s Chairman Soo Kim, the company will operate the Tropicana as is, while the deal with the A’s is not only agreed to, but receives approval for its financing plans. “We think it will have it sorted out in the near future,” Kim told the Nevada Independent. “To be frank, this casino was built in 1959. It’s one of the last of the old ones. While it’s historic, it’s amazing it’s still here. It doesn’t capture the current realities of the market. I think we’ll be able to present something very different over time.”

For Maverick Gaming’s new poker room at the Trop, it means there’s plenty of time, likely a couple of years, for the room to launch and establish itself in the Vegas market. Then as the site is redeveloped and a new casino emerges, whether as a reimagined Tropicana or under another name, the poker offerings can resume at a new spot inside the updated venue. It’s not even known for sure at this juncture whether the entirety of the original casino will be torn down, or if a portion will be preserved.

For poker, then, at the Trop, it’s game on.

Featured image source: Maverick Gaming