After a good night's sleep, I was ready to experience the Poker Room at Planet Hollywood. My friend, Rob and I started with breakfast and then went over to register for the Noon $70 Texas Hold’em Tournament. The poker room had one of these $70 tournaments starting at Noon, 4 P.M. and 7P.M. each day.
We played in several of these smaller tournaments the next few days. The average number of players in these tournaments was probably around 25-35 players. First place was a guaranteed $1000, and the top five or six players, depending on the number of entrants would be paid.
The action was multi-leveled. There were good players who played good poker, and there were tourists who played what I like to call “Vacation Poker”. These are the players who back at home have success in the game over at a friend’s house on Saturday night. The problem with this, those friends do not play good poker either. Over all, I was pleased with my play, making six final tables in four days.
The poker room at the Planet Hollywood features 12 tables, a mixture of cash game tables and tables reserved for the tournaments. The manager of the Poker Room is Chris Gawlik. I never got to meet Chris, but his Poker Room is a well-run room. It is clear that Mr. Gawlik has trained his employees to make guest of the Planet Hollywood and anyone else feel at home at his tables.
His dealers are competent and most have personality, interacting with the players on every level. They talk poker, football, basketball, geography, and anything else that makes the players feel at home.
My personal favorite dealer was a man named Marcus. He was instantly engaging, skilled with cards and kept control of his table at all times. To be honest, I began regretting when the dealers would rotate, and Marcus would leave my table. Other dealers named Mike, T(the T was silent, he said), and Derek are all also good dealers.
The thing I will remember more than anything about staying at the Planet Hollywood will be a hand played out on a $1/$2 cash table. This hand was played by two of the guys I traveled with to Vegas. Chris and Jeff have a relationship like brothers. They are competitive and spend large amounts of time playing poker with each other.
The hand that will live in infamy started like most other hands I have watched them play. Jeff was in the big blind in seat two Chris was in seat seven at the other end of the table. Seats three thru seven all folded. Chris from seat seven raised to $7. I was in seat eight and I along with the guy in seat nine folded.
The flop came out Ks, 3s, and the 9 of diamonds. Jeff bet out $25, and Chris raised to $50. Jeff smooth called. The turn was the fourth three, and Jeff bet out $50. Chris was holding an AK, having two pair raised to $90, again Jeff called.
The river was a red seven. Jeff checked. Chris looked down the table at his friend and said, ”Spades didn’t come Donkey” as he pushed all-in. Jeff, smiled as he called, saying ”No they didn’t, but the quads did” as he was turning over his pocket threes.
Chris handled it much better than I would have, simply pulling out his wallet to re-chip and ordering a Crown and Coke from the first cocktail waitress who came by.
Overall Mr. Gawlik runs a very player friendly Poker Room, his staff are well trained professionals. I would highly recommend any player visiting Las Vegas to visit Planet Hollywood, take a seat and play poker at these tables.
Watch for Part 3 of this three part series for my overall Planet Hollywood experience and find out about the "Hidden Gem of Planet Hollywood".