I have been holding off on my review of Hooter's Poker Room because they have been holding off on a planned expansion for several months. As you may know the Hooter's Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas has recently changed ownership. However, it has been announced that the Hooter's name and theme will remain. This will be the second ownership under the Hooter's name but not the first change of ownership of the casino itself. The property that is now Hooter's was the San Remo Hotel and Casino from 1989 to the 2005 buy-out and 2006 rechristening as Hooter's Hotel and Casino. As the San Remo there were at least three ownership arrangements. Even more interesting, perhaps, is that the property was built in 1973 and originally opened as a Howard Johnson's Motel.
All of which points to the reality that the property, whatever it is called, has never been a stunning success story. The same reasons that haunt the overall property success affect the poker room but in some interesting ways, which might explain the very bizarre mix of players at the Hooter's Poker tables. If you stand outside on the casino on Tropicana Boulevard and look towards the Strip just half a block away you would first notice that half block is filled with the Tropicana Hotel on the South side and the MGM Grand on the North. Both of these Strip Casinos have poker rooms and the Tropicana draws the same clientele that Hooter's is catering to - that being the low-limit no-limit player.
So what do you get when you have small poker room off the Strip with lots of competition? Well, you get a strange mix of players in mostly $1/$2 no limit hold'em ring games. There are some local sharks that haunt the waters at Hooter's and there is always a pack of weekend players who have usually come to Las Vegas for some other event and also play some poker on the side. The surprising aspect of the games here is that the weekend players have a huge difference in skill levels. There are absolute amateurs as well as some players with some real moves. This is not a game to be taken casually or you could drop some serious money. On the other hand, the no limit tables here have a $100 buy-in and you can usually gauge how the game is going by where the $300 and $400 stacks are at the table.
There are currently only 3 tables in the Hooter's Poker room but expansion plans to a larger 6 table room have been ready to go for about three months. Each time I play the room and ask about the remodeling I get the same answer: "First of next month." Whether the expansion happens or not the room is only full on Friday and Saturday nights, so without some additional promotion the extra tables will sit empty. Speaking of the weekend nights, there is often a $2/$5 NLHE table on Saturday night and on request I have also seen a $4/$8 limit game open up during the day.
NLHE tournaments run Thursday through Sunday generally with one table on Thursday and Friday and two or more on Saturday and Sunday. These are $40 buy-in morning tournaments; an expanded schedule of events is anticipated with the larger room first of next month.
115 East Tropicana Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89109