The Decline of UFAPoker Tournaments in Nevada

We as tournament poker players blame casinos for the lack of interest in poker tournaments and maybe justifiably so. If the casino is unaware of our existence and assumes that we only frequent their establishments to play in poker tournaments and get buffet comps, then they are justified in thinking we are not a valuable customer. How many times have you heard “He’s only a poker player?” Most poker tournament players are not aware of the fact that tournaments in themselves generate very little, if any, revenue on their own. Some even lose money. I know most of you can’t believe that, but trust me, it is the truth. However, the casinos do benefit from poker tournaments in other areas, such as, pit play, gift shops, restaurants, slot machines, video poker machines, sports betting, shows, keno, not to mention the rooms we occupy. So how do we change their attitudes about the average poker tournament player? First they have to know where we spend money outside the poker room. This is very important. The way to do that is simple, use a “Players Tracking Card.”


I realize that many of you would like to remain anonymous and not have your wins and losses in other areas of the casino known. I also understand not wanting to be put on numerous mailing lists for fear of being pestered. Most of us just want to come and play UFA and be left alone. Well, we need to change the way we feel so the casinos will in turn value our presence. The only way to keep tournaments alive and well in Nevada is by corporate awareness. The “suits” upstairs in the executive offices must be made aware of our value. The Players Tracking Card can do this for us. We need to let the casinos know we exist and that we “crossover” into other areas of the casino. We can best do that by filling out a short form telling them who we are and why we are in the casino. After doing that, we need to use the card everywhere we spend money. That will show the casinos we are an asset to them and not a liability.


The length of the tournament determines how long players will be registered in the hotel. In my experience as a tournament player, I have spent anywhere from three days to three weeks in one casino. That’s a long time and during that time I’m likely to spend a lot of money in all areas of the casino, as we all do.


I personally do not want to see tournaments leave Nevada forever, so PLEASE use your Players Tracking Card. What more can you do? Take this information seriously and follow up. The benefits may surprise you and can only increase the more you use your card. Please identify yourself as a poker player so all of us will benefit. Let’s be heard, we deserve the same perks as other casino customers. Help us bring tournament poker back to Nevada where it belongs.


This article was inspired by Mike Gainey, Poker Room Manager at the Reno Hilton. Mike is the person responsible for the success of the Pot of Gold and the Cup of Gold poker tournaments at the Reno Hilton. Their successes helped him convince the executives to welcome the upcoming “World Poker Challenge” to be held in January, 2001. Motivated poker people like Mike Gainey make it possible for us to have poker tournaments, so let’s do our part. We can help make it a success and show our appreciation by using our Tracking Cards throughout the casino and making corporate aware of our value.


Wishing you the nuts, but not if I’m in the pot.




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