Sneak Peek: A Look Inside the New PokerGO Studio
Nine beautiful poker tables. Millions of dollars of video equipment. A lounge and fully-stocked bar. This isn’t your dream $25 million man cave – or ladies’ cave – it’s a reality. The new PokerGO Studio debuted two major events in the last week and the company hopes the venue offers plenty of high-level live poker for many years to come.
The event debuted last week when the service live streamed the final table of the World Poker Tour’s new Bobby Baldwin Classic. The tournament ended with Darren Elias taking home his record fourth WPT title. Fans in attendance were treated to top-notch amenities.
The studio is a partnership between the Aria and PokerCentral/PokerGO, and PokerNews toured the entire facility with Aria tournament poker manager Paul Campbell before its debut.
A Home for Poker
For players, there could not be much of a better experience than getting dealt some cards in the PokerGO Studio. There is plenty of room to move around and take in the action. Along with room for nine players within the main playing arena, there is also available seating for friends and family.
This is certainly not like playing in your buddy’s garage. There’s a cool, slick vibe with TV screens throughout the facility to follow the action on the felt as well. The feature table is backdropped by a massive screen. During filming, producers can add a beautiful scene of the Vegas skyline or other graphics and photos.
“They were really impressed. They absolutely loved it.”
As those who watched the Super High Roller Bowl realize, the massive playing area allows for four table to flank either side of the feature table, which sits on a riser above the others. The wood flooring of the feature table is a nice touch and the decor screams high-class. There is even a private payout cage so players can collect their winnings right on site.
For production, lighting and video technology are located throughout the studio as well as rooms for editing.
The 10,000-square foot facility was constructed from two adjacent art galleries in front of the Aria. Construction crews knocked down walls and repurposed the facility – keeping in mind what would be best for viewing live poker as well as offering a unique experience for players and others in attendance.
A nice bar is adjacent to the playing area serving beers, martinis, or whatever libation one could dream up. Fans can sip their drinks in the bar and watch the action on a TV or head to the nearby lounge to chill out and talk. Again, multiple TVs allow for following all the bets, bluffs, and knockouts – as well as sports action. The Golden Knights were popular viewing in the first few nights.
Another large room allows for player interviews, complete with green screen, and there is also a room with an anchor desk for continuous coverage during player breaks.
Even the exterior exudes cool. The gold playing cards decorating the front entrance and synonymous with the Aria poker have become a regular stop for tourists. No doubt a few will pop in during live events to check out the scene.
To gauge player reaction, Aria and PokerGO held a welcome party and two sessions of Poker After Dark with two nights of different players – the general public's first chance to view the venue.
“It's been incredible,” Campbell said of the players’ reception. “They were really impressed. They absolutely loved it.”
With the PokerGO Studio’s unveiling, the action will now play out fairly regular at the facility and offers plenty of chances for live poker. Last week, the studio hosted the complete Super High Roller Bowl with some of the name’s biggest players and top bankrolls. The studio’s soft colors (blues, lavenders, and grays) and brilliant lighting made for a pleasant viewing experience.
Along with the WPT and other event final tables, the Poker After Dark cash game series will be streamed from the studio as well as the Poker Masters and U.S. Poker Open. Some of Aria’s regular high roller tournaments will also be held in the studio, and it gives the property and PokerGO even more options to stream live poker.
"That is the plan; to eventually have all the high rollers in their entirety running here"
“That is the plan; to eventually have all the high rollers in their entirety running here and then we can pick up streams for the final table, we can pick up a stream for just a feature table, we could pick up a stream from level 1,” Campbell said. “We could always determine when we pick up a stream for the tournament.”
The facility also goes beyond poker. Poker Central sister company ESP Gaming will also host its live esports events in the venue.
For Poker Central, having one location for high roller action, final tables, and other events makes producing quality programming easier. Campbell said the facility has been planned for over a year, and it’s good to see that vision of a permanent PokerGO facility becoming a reality.
“PokerGO/Poker central and Aria have really formed a great team where we're really happy with the product,” Campbell said. “Aria's really proud of the product that we offer the players and Poker Central is amazing at showcasing that product to the viewers.”