Bellagio High Stakes Poker Hub ‘Bobby’s Room’ Renamed After Bobby Baldwin Takes Job at Drew
Posted on: November 26, 2020, 05:45h.
Last updated on: November 26, 2020, 07:49h.
Bobby’s Room, the spiritual home of high-stakes poker in Las Vegas, has changed its name, Cardplayer reports. From now on, the Bellagio’s high-limit room will be known as “Legends Room” — a belated acknowledgment that one particular poker legend has gone to work for a competitor down the Strip.
Poker Hall of Famer, 1978 World Series Champion, and Las Vegas casino executive Bobby Baldwin is no longer an MGM man. Last year, he was named chairman and CEO of the unfinished Drew Las Vegas.
Birth of Bobby’s Room
Back in 1998, when the Bellagio opened, Steve Wynn chose Baldwin to oversee Las Vegas’ hottest new venue as president.
After winning the World Series when he was 28, the Oklahoma native stuck around in Las Vegas. In 1982, he was hired as a consultant for the Golden Nugget, which was then a Steve Wynn property. Just two years later, he was Golden Nugget president.
When Wynn opened the Mirage in 1987, Baldwin was again recruited as president, while also becoming the CFO of Mirage Resorts, which later merged with MGM Grand to become MGM Resorts.
Before Baldwin’s move to the Bellagio, the biggest game in town had been at the Mirage. Baldwin decided to take it with him and had a special room built inside the Bellagio Poker Room. It was elevated above the rest of the card tables, but visible to the public through large stained-glass doors.
Because Nevada laws prohibit private games in casinos, one of the glass doors had to remain invitingly open at all times. Not that you were likely to get tourists wandering in off the street. “Bobby’s Room” was hosting the biggest poker games in the world at the time.
On a normal night, there might be mixed games with blinds of $400-$800. During the World Series, those limits could go up $1,000-$2,000, and higher. According to Cardplayer, there is currently a $2,500-$5,000 big bet mix game running at the Legends Room, which will probably always be Bobby’s Room to poker players.
Meanwhile, Baldwin’s new job could just be his biggest challenge yet. The Drew Las Vegas is a $2 billion redevelopment of the unfinished Fontainebleau, which went bankrupt during the Great Recession. But now the financial pressures of the coronavirus pandemic are causing new problems.
Construction was halted on the Drew project in mid-March as businesses in Las Vegas began to close to curb the spread of the virus. Meanwhile, there have been reports of investors in the project not receiving interest payments, of contractors suing for late payments, and of top casino executives being headhunted and then summarily dumped when things ground to a halt.
It may be small consolation to Baldwin that he is not the only poker legend to have a room that was named for him renamed to something else recently.
The Ivey Room at the Aria, so titled in honor of the great Phil Ivey, now goes by the somewhat prosaic “Table 1.” Apparently, bilking the Borgata in Atlantic City out of $10.16 million is liable to incur the disapproval of other sections of the casino industry, even if it was done with a certain panache.
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