With the first World Series of Poker at its new homes on the Las Vegas Strip, the Paris and Bally’s casinos, now fully completed, it’s fair to ask what the players thought of the venue change now that they’ve experienced an entire summer. It’s a reprise of sorts. Three weeks into the 2022 WSOP, Poker.org sampled a half dozen series regulars to gather their first impressions on the WSOP’s new location, and those impressions largely focused on the immediate issues and changes, from the greatly expanded playing space and enhanced food options to the air-conditioning issues that plagued the older Bally’s side of the WSOP space, especially early in the series.
As the 2022 WSOP entered its final days, Poker.org again surveyed another half dozen series regulars with the same two questions. We asked each player what he or she liked best about the move, now that they’ve experienced a full series, and on the flip side, we also asked if there was anything about the WSOP’s new locale that still had room for improvement.
Overall, based on our small sample, players adapted to the new WSOP space as the series wore on. The overriding theme was that Bally’s and Paris represented a significant improvement over the WSOP’s prior home, the Rio. Each of the players we asked focused on different aspects, but the overall approval remained high. Here’s what our latest half dozen players had to share:
“What do you like best about the WSOP’s move from the Rio to Paris and Bally’s?”
David “ODB” Baker — Everything’s better over here. The temperature is better. For sure the rooms are better. I love where we have the 3pm events in Paris; the purple section was great. (Baker was referring to the far corner of the Paris Ballroom, where Day 1 action in most higher buy-in events was typically held, allowing for those events to not be overrun by railbirds.) I will say that this is the best World Series that’s ever been run and that I’ve been a part of and I’m ready for next year. I’m sure it’ll be even better.
Scott Bohlman — The added space and the dining [options].
Jennifer Shahade — The chipsets are way nicer. And there is less freezing now so we can wear normal clothes and be comfortable.
Jonathan Little — The walkability and the restaurant options are better.
Shaun Deeb — Definitely the late-night food options in the promenade outside have been awesome. They give some variety, switch it up and [then you don’t] have to, you know, Uber Eats everything and meet some delivery driver. So that’s been a big, unexpected plus that I figured out as the series progressed.
Cliff Josephy — Oh, it’s so much better than the Rio. I don’t miss the Rio one iota. It’s very convenient if you stay on the Strip; you can get here in no time. There are actually food options, which is good, and you can also get to the other places on the Strip, if you want a quick bite. Yeah, it’s just better what they’ve done.
“And what might be something at the new WSOP where there’s still room for improvement?”
Baker — I can’t think of anything off the top of my head [since it’s been] pretty good, but there’s always room for improvement.
Bohlman — Some of the dealer quality wasn’t great and also the kindergarten lines going from room to room. Logistically I feel like that’s bad for everybody, though. (Bohlman was referring to a seemingly unavoidable consequence of running multiple large-field events at once. At some point, the field has to be condensed from playing in both casino ballrooms to just Bally’s or Paris, leading to the daily sight of players walking from one casino to the other in groups, while carrying their chips in sealed baggies to their new tables.)
Shahade — I think most people like this better, but I really like the fact that the Rio is a little bit less chaotic. I’m also a big supporter of unions but having All-American Dave’s was really nice, too.
Little — Probably just more cashiers is a better thing, and then redo their scheduling so they don’t have to work as many hours.
Deeb — Definitely the closer food options to get something on break. The [WSOP] cafe obviously is weak and it was only open on one side. But I know that you know Jack and his team are planning on fixing it, hopefully by next year. So with another full year of planning, I think a lot of those small issues will be fixed and people are going to be shocked.
Josephy — (Cliff couldn’t think of any negatives.) I know people are always complaining about little things. I think they’ve done a great job and kudos to them.
All images copyright Haley Hintze, 2022