The Bellagio quietly rename Bobby’s Room

Jon Pill
Published by:
Posted on 11/29/2020

Bobby’s Room is no more.

The walls remain. The tables and chairs remain. The door that offers a little privacy from the to and fro of the Bellagio’s main poker room, that remains too.

But some time last month, they brought a worker in to switch the sign out. The new lettering, in plain silver on black, claims the room beyond to be: “Legends Room.”

The Big Game

Bobby’s Room was named for Bobby Baldwin, the 1978 WSOP champion and the man picked to manage the Bellagio when the building went up in 1998. But, in 2018, Bobby Baldwin moved across the street to work for the competition. His new post is as C.E.O. of the Drew, the strip’s newest addition, opening in 2022.

Before he went, the Bellagio said they’d uphold twenty years of tradition and leave his name on the door. It took them less than two years to renege on that.

In the two decades under Baldwin’s reign, Bobby’s Room became the heart of the poker world. For twenty years, more or less consistently as the money ebbed and flowed, the biggest names in poker would meet there to play. The minimum buy-in was $100k. Betting limits on a slow day in that game were $1k/$2k. At their peak, they would hit $4k/$8k.

The game eventually split in two. Big-bet players moved to Ivey’s Room at the Aria while the mixed-game players stuck with the Bellagio.

It was considered a sign of the times when the poker boom was receding and they couldn’t get the big-bet above $3k and still fill the table.

Ivey’s Room also lost its moniker after the eponymous pro took the Aria’s sister casino, the Borgata, to court over withheld winnings.

“Pour one out for Bobby’s room”

The change to Legends Room went by largely unnoticed by the poker world at first.

Nowadays, the Big Game tends to disband for much of the year. Coming back together more consistently for the WSOP each summer. With COVID restrictions in place, there haven’t really been enough pros with enough scratch in one place for anyone to give the sign much attention.

But now that the poker world has picked the story up, players have reacted as you might expect.

Nick Schulman tweeted, “Pour one out for Bobby’s room. […] Is nothing sacred anymore?” To which David Williams replied, “They can change the name but we still gonna call it Bobby’s room.”

Some suspect a liberal plot. Baldwin is a conservative. Other’s wondered if the Bellagio management are aware of the strip joint in Vegas that already goes by that name. But most simply mourn the papering over of a poker history.

While others have managed a combination of some or all of the above.

Perhaps a change of signs just marks the passing of an era.

Who knows what the twenties have in store for high stakes live poker? But there are a lot of folks for whom there is an oval table at the Bell that is forever Bobby’s.

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