It’s a sad day in Las Vegas for some poker players, as the Monte Carlo poker room has officially closed. The eight-table card room, located right in the heart of the Strip, was a popular spot for some local grinders.
The number of poker spots on the Strip continues to decline. There are now 16 card rooms located on Las Vegas Boulevard.
Monte Carlo Resort and Casino is undergoing a major facelift. The property remains open, but will soon be renamed Park MGM. A complete renovation of the property is currently underway. Poker will not be a part of that remodeled casino. Paid parking probably will be, but we’re not bitter.
The Monte Carlo opened back in 1996 and has been a home for many low-stakes poker players in Sin City. The poker room attracted a mix of grinders, recreational players, and tourists.
This is the third Strip casino to close its poker room in recent years. The Tropicana and Circus Circus no longer offer live poker games either.
Vegas Local Reminisces
Ben Abrahams, a 33-year old from Boston who moved to Las Vegas in 2013, spent countless hours grinding cash games at Monte Carlo. The center-Strip casino was one of the first places he played after heading out west.
“I played almost 250 hours there last year. I’m a little disappointed its closing,” Abrahams told CardsChat. “I liked the room. It’s cozy, solely dedicated to poker, and the décor is cool.”
The former East Coaster plays poker for a living, but doesn’t stick to one poker room. He mixes it up between Flamingo, Harrah’s, Mirage, South Point, MGM, and, until today, the Monte Carlo.
There were a few things that drew Abrahams to the low-profile room. He prefers card rooms that offer weekly or monthly free rolls to loyal players, for one. And there was something unique about this poker spot.
“I liked that it was a stand-alone room,” he said. “Most poker rooms in Vegas now aren’t really rooms. They’re just a group of tables in the middle of the casino. Monte Carlo was different.”
The room wasn’t perfect, however. Abrahams said the staff often didn’t handle player concerns and issues as well as one would hope. Although he will miss the place, he thinks it’s really for the best for locals.
“Overall, it’s probably better for poker in Vegas. It’s better to concentrate players into fewer rooms,” the Bostonian suggests.
Las Vegas’ poker industry isn’t what it was during the poker boom era of 14 years ago. There are now 270 poker tables on the Strip, nearly 130 fewer than a decade back.
But that doesn’t mean the sky is falling and poker in Sin City is dead. There are still many poker rooms that stay busy year-round. Casinos such as Aria, Bellagio, the Wynn-Encore, and Venetian have dozens of games running almost every evening.
Monte Carlo’s poker room closure doesn’t signal the end of times for the Las Vegas poker scene. It just means that, as Abrahams says, other enclaves will get busier.