Planet Hollywood's room was built from the ashes of the old Aladdin room a couple of years ago. It was a very nice upgrade for a room that had become busy and had a good reputation, but lacked a nice space. Those of us who played at the Aladdin were grateful for the transition. Planet Hollywood's poker room became the most beautiful place to play low-limit poker on the entire strip.
Unfortunately, in October 2008, after only a little more than a year in existence, Planet Hollywood moved the entire poker room out into the casino floor – next to the high-limit slot machines. Though they have retained the high-end equipment of the old room, and though the cash games and tournaments still flourish, the beautifully appointed room – with its classy, muted colors and photos of celebrities – is now home to high-limit baccarat, blackjack and the like.
What remains is still worth visiting, but not nearly as nice. There are now nine tables of poker. They spread a $1/2 blind and $2/5 no-limit game and a $2/4 and $4/8 limit hold'em game. These games run around the clock, every day. The old rake has been retained – 10% up to a $5 maximum plus a $1 drop for the high hand bonuses that are paid for quads, straight flushes and royals. There is no smoking at the table, but unlike the old separate space, since the room is out on the casino floor there are smokers all around the game – meaning cigarette smoke is unavoidable.
The tables are still beautiful, with excellent, firm felt with an unobtrusive design. They have recessed cup holders, a black cushioned ring around the perimeter and an inlaid wooden outer circle for stacking chips. There's a commitment circle as well, though newbies are not treated harshly when they inexpertly hold their chips over it. I saw three inebriated players each given a warning — told that if they moved their chips over the line again that would be considered a bet. The cards and chips are top of the line and still feel new. The chairs are very nice, with rollers and ample cushioning.
The staff is as friendly and efficient as I have seen. Players are each welcomed with a smile, asked what they want to play, and either put on a list or directed to a table efficiently. Floor people are available to settle disputes, which they do with a smile and with good humor. Good thing they are so competent. In the late hours when I played, I noticed many heavy drinkers who might have been set off by less expert floor personnel. Here, they were handled fairly and well.
The room attracts some very good players, who come here to feed on the many fish. I can understand why the better players would gravitate here, rather than the other rooms in the area that also have some awful players. There's a more polished feel to this place than the other low-limit mid-strip rooms. And there are many tourists who come by. My games typically had at least four complete fish (usually in their 20s) being feasted upon by one or two excellent players. This is still a great room for excellent players who want to make money (though not nearly as nice as it used to be before the move).
Planet Hollywood also has some of the best tournament action in Las Vegas – as it has since its Aladdin days. There are four tournaments every day – at 10:00 AM, 2:00 PM, 7:00 PM, and 2:00 AM. The formal structure of the tournament has a buy-in, no re-buys, and an add on that must be purchased at the time of registration, with 500 extra chips awarded to players-card holders. Practically speaking, what this translates into are the following buy-ins, all with a 4,500 starting stack: 10:00 AM - $60; 2:00 PM - $80; 7:00 PM - $80; and 2:00 AM - $60. The tournaments are structured to be finished in two and a half to three hours, with blinds escalating every twenty minutes.
I don't know why management moved poker out of one of the nicest rooms in Las Vegas. It's a shame, though the games, equipment, and staff are still excellent. There is talk about moving into new space, come the 2009 World Series. We'll see what develops. Let's hope this move isn't part of a trend, as casinos feel the pinch of the economy and seek ways of increasing revenue. Maybe Planet Hollywood will see the error of its ways and return their poker to a space that is once again as classy as the folks who run the room. I hope so.
3667 Las Vegas Blvd
Las Vegas, NV
Ashley Adams' poker room reviews appear each week at PokerNews. Ashley's opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of PokerNews.