The WSOP at 3 (weeks): Players largely approve of new venue

Haley Hintze
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Posted on June 22, 2022 8:00 am EDT

Just three weeks into the newest chapter in World Series of Poker history, players are settling into the new venue at Bally’s and Paris casinos and have largely become familiar with what the expanded WSOP space has to offer. Do players miss the Rio? Not really, it turns out.

Yesterday, Poker.org chatted with a handful of WSOP veterans, to see what they thought of the new WSOP layout and its expanded operation. We approached the players with two simple questions. First, what did they like most about the move to Bally’s/Paris? Second, in the interest of being balanced, was anything in particular that they missed, or that the WSOP could improve upon even more? The answers weren’t necessarily surprising, but they did show what’s on players’ minds on a daily basis.

“What do like best about the WSOP’s move from the Rio to Paris and Bally’s?”

Johnnie “Vibes” Moreno — I would say proximity to the Strip, even though it’s, like, harder to get in and out. Once you’re here, you don’t have to get in your car and go anywhere; you can kind of wander around. There’s so many food options. I’ve walked across the street to Cosmo to get to their food court. It’s just more convenient in a lot of ways even though it felt like it was going to be less convenient at first.

Camille Brown — There’s really a lot of space, which is amazing. But I haven’t really wrapped my head around the big differences yet; I don’t want to give an artificial answer. I do like the new venue. I don’t feel that big difference [from the] Rio, because I was just so comfortable at Rio and I knew exactly where to go. I’m still getting acclimated to this space, but I do like it so far. It just feels nicer.

Scott Seiver — I think what I like most is how much more space there is and how nicely run it is, to have multiple separate rooms and good tables and everything. It just has a nicer feel out here.

Joe Hebert — I like the change; it’s a lot more space. You can maneuver a lot better in this place, and also the gaming atmosphere is a lot different (Hebert was referring to the much closer proximity of the poker area to the casino gaming floors). It’s a little bit different, but I enjoy it.

Joseph Cheong Event 12 Day 2 (Image: Haley Hintze)

Joseph Cheong — There’s a lot of food choices here. So that’s a lot better. And this Paris Room is really nice. I mean, on the Bally’s side the AC was broken for the first two weeks so that wasn’t great. But yeah, it just looks nicer, fancier. You have like a “Europe” look. It kind of reminds you of San Remo, with chandeliers everywhere.

Ian Steinman — Probably the restaurants, I guess, because Rio had almost none, just little cafes. So, the ease of the food, right, just in these two casinos? And [having them] within walking distance is really nice.

“And what might be something at the new WSOP where there’s still room for improvement?”

Moreno — Obviously, it’s a little spread out between Paris and Bally’s, but I don’t really see how they could fix that. I do like how they replicated the Amazon Room. I wish they would name them how they named them before. You know, it was easy to know which room you’re playing in. But here it’s like you’re playing in Bally’s, and you just kind of have to look and see what color the table is, and then find your way there.

Brown — Oh, yeah, the parking is rough. But other than that, it’s just great. I really do like what they’ve done and so I’m just figuring it out. That’s why I’m more comfortable at the Rio, because I’ve gone so many years that I just knew it, right? All the hacks and how-tos, yeah, all the ins and outs, basically.

Seiver — I think one thing they could improve on is there’s a lot of unused space for the players here, especially on breaks. I think the two main things they could do is add either some couches or a seating area or something for the outside vestibule, which has nothing currently, and secondly to have actual better and healthier food options in their poker kitchen, which is basically nonexistent currently.

Hebert — They definitely improved the air conditioning from the first week, which was great. As far as anything else to improve, I mean, they actually really improved their the way they do late registration. This year has been a lot faster, I noticed. They also improved the cashiers which I really enjoy a lot. As far as anything else that can improve. I can’t think of anything else they could do. I mean, they’re running a tight ship here. It’s been pretty amazing.

Cheong — Well, I heard today they started breaking [tables from] Bally’s into Paris. The past two weeks, they’ve been doing the opposite, which made no sense because the [Paris] room was much nicer. They were, like, busy running dailies in here. They should just definitely flip it. It’s just kind of a structure, and I guess they started doing the opposite.

Steinman — It’s pretty well done. It’s streamlined. Even the giant events, they get it done pretty well. If I could say one thing when the air conditioning was an issue for the first week, but I figured they’d get that figured out, and it seems good now. I really can’t think of anything. I just love it.

All images: Haley Hintze