We all know that poker is becoming more and more mainstream as each day and televised tournament passes. What no one expected was the celebrity status that many major poker players are enjoying as a direct result of such television exposure. Who would have thought you would see such huge crowds gathering around our favorite players trying to catch a glimpse of them or to perhaps get their poker magazine signed. Coming along for the ride has been the poker industry professionals. One such individual is Bobby Griffin. Bobby works in Las Vegas at the Palms casino poker room and has had more time on television than most B-grade actors. The Palms is the host to the very popular show, Celebrity Poker Challenge.
Pokernews (HUX) Bobby How did you start your career in the Poker Industry?
BOBBY: Well before I lived in Las Vegas I was in California and actually played quite a bit of poker, almost 5 years in fact. At the time I was living in California my brother was living in Vegas and was the supervisor of the Sunset Station Sports book. He was always telling me to move to Vegas and become a dealer. Well after I broke up with my girlfriend I decided what the hell, I'm moving to Vegas. Originally I moved out to Vegas to be a craps dealer, I learnt black jack also. During the course I was taking, there was a poker table at the back of the school, so I decided to learn what I could after class each day. Once I graduated from school I then went over to the Union Plaza and did an audition for a job as a poker dealer. I passed my audition and they hired me. I started work the very next day and thus began my career in the poker world. I worked there for about 9 months before the Palms opened. When I made the decision to become a poker dealer I did so only because I had played so much in LA. It was funny because and at the time it was much more glamorous to be a dice dealer than to be a poker dealer. So I grinded it out at the Plaza and it's there is where I met Fred Catrona who referred me to Gene Trimble. He told me that I could get in to the Palms before they opened and at that point I was looking to get into a strip property anyway so the timing was perfect.
HUX: The Palms has been good to you then?
BOBBY: The Palms has been the nuts. I mean financially its been great but also the people there are just the nuts.
HUX: Do you get selected to deal all the celebrity shows?
BOBBY: There are basically four dealers selected at the Palms to deal all the major television events. I would say I've done roughly 22 out of the 30 shows that have been filmed here. At the first celebrity show we did I was approached by Andy Newman and he asked me if I would like to deal for future shows. We are actually filming this month at the Palms for the Celebrity Poker Challenge doing episodes 6 and 7.
HUX: Who will be appearing, and can anyone come and watch?
BOBBY: Yea sure, we will be filming all week and next week(4-7-05 thru 4-16-05) You can expect to see over 50 celebrities including Rosie O'Donell and the men from desperate house wives.
HUX: Have you done any other shows with Famous Celebrities?
Bobby: Sure, in between that I have done multiple TV shows with other celebrities at the Palms. I've done shows with celebrities such as Dave Navaro (Red Hot Chilli Peppers) and Tommy Lee. They had a tournament for a radio promotion and I got to hang with those guys who are really cool. I got to do the show for the speed channel with Mat Savage, which featured 12 of the best Nascar drivers. We did a tournament for the stars of Clerks and Rounders, so that was the show with Ben Affleck. We did a big promotion for Stuff magazine with people like Paris Hilton and Tara Reid in which I was hoping [something] would fall out but it didn't!!!! But they were doing some good stuff there.
HUX: I gather working with all these Celebrities has opened a few doors for you?
BOBBY: Yea I guess its kind of cool coming to work and having people say, "Hey I saw you last night on TV!". Financially its not much different, for me I guess the door hasn't opened far enough yet, I need it to open a little further and get a piece of this Hollywood stuff, because TV is not cutting it. I get a lot of people saying that they seen me on TV all the time but when I was living in California I did a lot of work for the MTV network. I did the Rock & Jock baseball show, I was the first base umpire. The show was basically Pro's vs. the Stars in Baseball and Softball games. So back then in California I got a lot of the same " I saw you on TV, I saw you on TV for that". Now when I moved to Vegas no here even recognizes me. Its funny because the poker TV people are like, were going to make you a star, were going to make you a star. And I'm like, I was already on TV man, I've already had my 15 minutes. It was kind of cool to get back into that though.
Working at the Palms I did get to strike up a conversation with Dave Navaro and he and I hit it off quite well. During out brief conversation I mentioned to him that while I was in California I umpired his wife,( Carmen Electra) when I was working on that MTV show. He was like " oohhh really, cool".
HUX: So now your hanging with the A-List eh?
Bobby: Not quite yet, but I'm working on it.
HUX: So who are your favorite celebs that you have met at work other than of course Tara and Paris?
Bobby: I would have to say Dave Navaro and Ben Afflect are my two favorites. They are very down to earth and nice guys all round.
HUX: So have you done any work for the celbs outside of
your work at the Palms?
Bobby: Sure there have been a few private functions here and there, and they are always cool. The really look after me well and I enjoy being able to provide them with quality that they probably wouldn't get dealing their own games.
HUX: Any names?
HUX: OK I understand. Bobby thanks for your time mate and all the best for the future.
Bobby: Thanks Hux.
MAY THE FLOP BE WITH YOU. . . ALWAYS
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