Say goodbye to the poker room at the Luxor Casino in Las Vegas. The Luxor, one of the most recognizable buildings in the world, housed a casino and hotel inside a giant black pyramid with light beaming from the top into outer space. Luxor's ancient Egyptian theme is playing itself out in the cutthroat gaming world. It's poker room becomes a part of ancient Vegas history as of June 18.
MGM mega corp has now shut down two rooms on the Las Vegas Strip this year. Monte Carlo's poker room shut down in April and the Luxor's closing is slated for June. In March, the Hard Rock Casino pulled the plug on their poker room. The closing of the Luxor will become the seventh poker room to close since March 2016.
A decade after the boom, Vegas is suffering for the lingering hangover effect of the bust with another poker room closure. Simply put, bottom-line-efficiency suits running Vegas these days would rather utilize the precious floor space for slot machines, then to run a couple of tables and low-stakes donkaments. Since early 2012, at least 20 poker rooms shut down. Among the notable closures... Palms, Hooters, Tropicana, M Resort. O'Sheas, Silverton, The Linq (formerly Imperial Palace), and the Plaza in downtown Vegas. Supposedly Circus Circus shut down their room... and I never even knew they had one! The wave of closures also hit the locals scene with the closings of... Sunset Station, Aliante Casino, Texas Station, and Ellis Island.
The Luxor poker room, a low-stakes tourist trap, catered to beginners and deranged locals. The daily tournament, a crapshoot for $30, was a rite of passage for Vegas tournament noobs like the Running of the Bulls, but with a shitty blind structure. If you played in one... you know the weird structure of being limit the first hour and then NL afterwards. It was something you played when your friends came to town and you've been up for a couple of days amidst a Keith Ricards-esque bender and you didn't mind if you saw three different colored suits and the sixes looked like nines and the nines looked like snakes.
The southern corner of the Strip featured three casinos -- Mandalay Bay, Luxor, and Excalibur -- all three with distinct and varying personalities. All three featured a poker room. With the closure of the Luxor's room, there are still two options for poker in that neck of the woods.
I played at all three of those casinos as both a local and as a tourist. The Excalibur, notorious for their unique $2-6 Spread Limit game, was a favorite among noobs and locals. Mandalay Bay became one of the first stops when I lived in Vegas and kept vampire hours and headed out around Midnight to fleece drunken locals. MB was the closest Strip casino when driving in from Henderson, plus it spread a juicy $4-$8 limit hold'em with a half-kill that tourists had no clue how to play. Their $1-2 NL tables attracted scores of loose tourists… particularly materialistic, deep-pocketed, TV-poker-influenced donk-a-fish from Southern California and Los Angeles.
And the Luxor... well the Luxor was weird, but not in a good way. The pyramid legit conjured up dark forces, which is why the entire place felt creepy. The property became a vortex for dark energy in a nefarious city that was flooded with the dark side of the force. Just ask anyone who stayed in one of their hotel rooms, where guests got haunted by spooky dreams and chaotic nightmares. The cramped poker room at the Luxor sat smack in the middle of the main thoroughfare of the casino. Tourists riding the escalators between Excalibur and Luxor entered the casino steps away from the poker room. As a result, the poker room had a steady stream of gawkers and random railbirds. The room attracted beginners, who in turn issued bad beats left and right. You knew what you were getting yourself into, but why play at the Luxor when there were so many better options? The Luxor locals were nitty-ass curmudgeons. And their tournaments were notoriously filled with some of the most horrendous that ever played the game. I'm sure everyone who got into poker had stumbled into the Luxor to play in their daily tournaments -- either as a beginner, or as someone completely shitfaced on booze, pills, drugs, self-loathing, or any combo . The first time I played in a tournament on the Strip, I final tabled the Luxor tourney and cashed in third place. Beginners luck, they say.
Alas, goodbye Luxor poker room. Thanks for haunting me for eternity with bad beats and those iconic dirty chips with hieroglyphics.