“The poker room at the Mirage in Vegas is the center of the poker universe. Doyle Brunson, Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth… The legends consider it their office.” – Mike McDermott, Rounders
The MGM brand is shuttering three of their poker rooms. The Excalibur, Mandalay Bay, and the iconic Mirage will be putting their poker tables into storage for good.
The rooms have been closed since March, when people were taking COVID seriously enough to put the economy on ice.
Since Vegas re-opened in July these MGM properties put on table games, but left poker off the menu “temporarily.” The Mirage even laid on slots in its place to bridge the gap. Temporarily has now become permanent and the gap unbridgeable.
Instead of reopening these rooms, MGM has decided to consolidate its poker rooms at the MGM Grand, which reopened in July with the rest of Vegas. Things might change in the future. But for the foreseeable, the Grand is the only MGM poker game in town.
The promised land
In the opening scenes of Rounders, the poker room at the Mirage is the goal for New York small-timer Mike McDermott.
“I bet fifteen sss-ousand,” says Teddy KGB, putting a couple of purple stacks in the middle.
“Time,” says Mike McDermott aloud.
Then in V.O.: “I want him to think that I’m pondering a call. (Beat). But all I’m really thinking about is Vegas and the f**king Mirage.”
The Mirage turns out to be just that for Mikey as KGB flips over the nuts a few moments later. And just like that, Mikey is put just where he needs to be for the movie’s plot to play out. Stoney broke.
Later, as McDermott drives Edward Norton’s “Worm” to the far seedier sights of Atlantic, he calls the Mirage the “office” of poker legends.
The Mirage put on the mid-stakes limit hold’em and stud games where players like Daniel Negreanu, Layne, Flack, and Dave “ODB” Baker first learned to play with rent money on their mind. It put on the high-stakes games people played in until they could move up to Bobby’s Room.
That was a while ago, but the pros still view it with nostalgia. Daniel Negreanu tweeted about it recently saying, “I grew up here.”
Now it’s gone. Along with the jobs for dealers at the 20–40 tables that the properties spread.
Plus the masseuses who worked those properties are gonna take a cut in hours without degens pulling 48-hours shifts in those chairs.
I grew up here pic.twitter.com/UPpFSAxxP1
— Daniel Negreanu (@RealKidPoker) September 20, 2020
While the closure of these rooms is mostly downside, there is one bonus.
The enormous pool of Scrooge McDucky cash in the bad beat jackpot has to go somewhere. In order to get that filthy lucre out of their hands, MGM are putting the $121,663 into the prize pool of three farewell freerolls.
With the cardrooms closed at the Excalibur, Mandalay, and Mirage, the events will be hosted at the Grand.
The Mandalay bay pool of $24,022 will be going out the door today in a sold out event today. But if you’re in Vegas you can play for a share of the Mirage’s $69,804 on November 17th. Or the Excalibur’s $27,837 on December 1st.
It is small comfort for a loss of this scale. But it is something. And well worth it if you take first prize in one of the freerolls.
Featured image source: Twitter