2019 Could Be Rio’s Final Year Hosting WSOP
With the 50th Anniversary World Series of Poker a little over a month away, the poker community buzzes with rumors this could be the last year the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino hosts the event. When the WSOP begins its 77 events schedule on May 29, the smart money says the 2019 event will be the last at the Rio.
Over the past 15 years, the Rio hosted the world’s biggest poker tournament. The Rio, of course, replaced Binion’s Horseshoe as the WSOP’s venue. The Horseshoe served as the World Series of Poker’s site in its inaugural year and went on to be the WSOP’s home for 35 years.
For many players who joined the profession before the Poker Boom, the Rio always has seemed like a temporary stopover for the WSOP. Many players who’ve risen through the ranks in the past 5 to 15 years see the Rio as the huge event’s home, though.
With that in mind, it’s interesting to see the comments by poker players on the much-discussed changes. Most of the comments joked about the possibility of Rio being demolished. The vast bulk of the commenters suggested it wouldn’t be much of a loss.
Norman Chad on Rio’s Demolition
Longtime WSOP tv commentator Norman Chad posted, “BREAKING In an unprecedented promotion — if the Rio is demolished — the World Series of Poker will hold events scattered at 237 Las Vegas-area Starbucks, with each entrant getting a free Caffe Americano (no refills).”
Jamie Kerstetter replied, “Seems plausible. They seated us outside a seafood restaurant a few times.”
Chris Schueller tweeted about Norman Chad’s post, too, as he tweeted, “If they held it at Roma Deli, everyone could have free soda.”
ODB on WSOP 2019 Location
When David “ODB” Baker wondered whether the WSOP would be moved before 2019 event, Matt Waxman joked about Caesars’ plans. Waxman tweeted, “It’s definitely at RIO — they’re waiting until all of us are inside playing before they start the demolition. Lol.”
The WSOP organizers replied, “We’ll be there, 100% certain (except act of mother nature, etc.).”
Lance Bradley joked, “WAIT WAIT WAIT…What about the All American Bar & Grille?”
Erik Lemarquand on Rio’s Wine Cellar
Erik Lemarquand suggested a removal from the Rio would be a good thing for the World Series of Poker. Lemarquand tweeted, “The only thing good about the Rio was the wine cellar.”
Since the comments were flying, readers might wonder if the rumors Caesars sale is imminent. Most indications point to Caesars Entertainment selling itself to a competitor in the coming months or years. The company hired a new CEO this week with a history selling major casino groups.
Will Caesars Entertainment Sell Itself?
According to the New York Post, Caesars Entertainment plans to sell itself in the near future. In recent weeks, major shareholders like Capital Partners (10%), Carl Icahn (9%), and Oppenheimer Funds (5%-6%) all recommended Caesars put itself on the market.
Meanwhile, Caesars chief executive Mark Frissora’s department is imminent. Caesars named Tony Rodio as the new CEO on Tuesday, who has all the earmarks of a transition executive.
Tony Rodio: New Caesars CEO
From 2011 to 2018, Tony Rodio served as president and CEO of Tropicana Entertainment. In that time, Rodio led a turnaround of the company into a profitable casino venture, while also leading a sell of the company to Eldorado Resorts.
It’s also worth noting that Carl Icahn owned Tropicana Entertainment at the time. Icahn hired Rodio and oversaw Rodio’s turnaround and sell of the company. In short, Carl Icahn knows the new CEO’s value and trusts his ability to shepherd a major casino company through an acquisition.
Carl Icahn’s Handpicked Executive
More to the point, it is obvious Carl Icahn pushed for Tony Rodio’s hiring and it worked. The activist investor is famous for such moves, which have made him a billionaire and changed the fortunes of many American companies.
Three months ago, Carl Icahn called for the sale of Caesars Entertainment. Now his handpicked CEO leads the company, so the writing is on the wall.