A contact I had at Tropicana asked me several months ago what unique game the casino could offer to try and attract players. I suggested a video version of Ultimate Texas Hold’em. There used to be several in town. When I moved to Las Vegas I found them at Riviera, Sahara, Binions and Las Vegas Club. Sahara closed, while Riviera, Binions and Las Vegas Club removed all Shuffle Master multi player games from their casinos.
After these casinos removed the Ultimate Texas Hold’em machines there were no more in the Las Vegas Valley. I found one in Indian Springs, which is out by Creech Air Force Base. It does not have a players club for anyone but locals though so the game was -ev.
Weeks or maybe months passed and my contact at Tropicana sent me a text saying the machine had actually arrived. My wife and I went down there and discovered the game had a $3 minimum, which is a bit steep for a game that requires a blind match and at least a 1x raise to play. This meant that anyone that played would need at least $9 to play one hand and would actually need $18 if a 4x bet was required. The machine was also in the back of the casino far away from the tables and where the poker room was once located. The game also had no sign at first so nobody knew what it was by looking at it.
I mentioned all of these issues and eventually a sign was placed on the machine but its and poor location and high minimum bet were still an issue.
My wife and I continued to play it and racked up some nice comps. We ate at Biscayne for free several times. I also received several promotional mailers.
While I could grind the game out, passersby would never join in after stopping once they found out how much of a bankroll was required to play. The game was then moved to an even worse location, if that was even possible.
I was at Tropicana last week and was told the machine would be converted to a video blackjack machine in the coming weeks. On Wednesday, I was told it would be replaced the next day at 6am. I gave it one last play on Wednesday night and a couple joined for hours. Unfortunately, that play was too little too late.
The game can be +ev with the right comps, mailers and cash back. It is just too much of a niche game to be placed in a poor location.
I think the game as a whole is dead in video version. There were several during my last visit to Deadwood, SD. That seems to be a place where unwanted slot machines go to die. If you know of any in Las Vegas please leave a comment here.