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Mar 05, 2019

Five reasons why Ivey Room was renamed Table 1

By RTR Dennis

665x200 mar19 aria iveys room

In 2010, the Aria Resort and Casino launched the “Ivey Room” in hopes of being Las Vegas’ premiere high-stakes poker destination. They named the room after Phil Ivey, who was widely considered the best all-around poker player at the time (he’s still great today).

However, Aria recently made the announcement that they’re changing their high-stakes poker room’s name to “Table 1.” Sean McCormack, the casino’s director of poker operations, announced the decision through Twitter (@ThePokerBoss).

“We’ve renamed our high limit room,” McCormack tweeted. “Some may ask why “Table 1?” Well, when our players ask to reserve this room they always ask “Is Table 1 available” and we thought it was a perfect fit.”

McCormack didn’t give any concrete reasons for the rebranding. However, he did offer further comments on the matter.

“We thought it was time to rename the room,” he said. “The idea to call it ‘Table 1’ actually came from Elayne [Teitelbaum], our host.

“It’s so fitting because a lot of players have been calling it ‘Table 1’ for a while now anyway. [They were] coming in and asking if table 1 had a game going or was available."

Considering that McCormack didn’t give a full explanation on the rebranding, one can only speculate. I’ve come up with 5 possible reasons why the Aria’s high-stakes room is now called Table 1.

1. MGM Resorts Owns the Borgata, which is Suing Ivey

Phil Ivey has famously been involved in a legal battle with Atlantic City’s Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa. The latest news in the saga is that Borgata recently gained approval to go after Ivey’s assets in Nevada.

The 10-time WSOP champ lost a lawsuit against the Borgata over baccarat edge sorting. He’s been ordered by a New Jersey judge to pay them $10.16 million.
However, he hasn’t been very cooperative — hence the Borgata’s recent move for permission to go after his Nevada-based assets.

MGM Resorts just so happens to own both the Aria and Borgata. They can’t be happy about not having their money from the judgement yet. Therefore, it’s possible that the Aria received orders from the top to change the name.

2. Ivey Didn’t Play Much at the Ivey Room

Phil Ivey isn’t exactly Daniel Negreanu or Phil Hellmuth when it comes to promoting and being social-media friendly. Nobody should be shocked that he didn’t prioritize the promotion of Ivey Room in its nine-year existence.

Ivey initially participated in the 2010 grand opening, playing the winner of a $1 million freeroll heads-up for $250k. However, he’s never really embraced repping the room that bears his name.

He’s instead made Macau his home for most of the past decade. He and Tom Dwan are fixtures in the Asian high-stakes scene. Given that Ivey has contributed little to the Aria’s high-limit room in terms of promotion, the renaming is an easy call.

3. The Ivey Room Has Never Become Bobby’s Room 2.0

Bobby’s Room has hosted the “Big Game” for decades. Famed pros like Ivey, Negreanu, Dwan, Doyle Brunson, Ted Forrest, John Hennigan, Patrik Antonius, Jennifer Harman, Brian Rast, and Todd Brunson have all made Bobby’s Room their favorite spot at one point or another.

The Aria had hoped to sway most of these players to their high-limit room with the Ivey Room. However, their goal never really materialized.

Some of the top pros did play at the Aria from time to time. However, it was always a distant second place in the Vegas high-limit scene.

4. Ivey Didn’t Have a Contract with the Aria

Changing the name to Table 1 might have been more difficult if Ivey and the Aria had some sort of lifetime contract. But they didn’t.

It’s unclear how much Ivey was paid so that the Aria could use his name. However, McCormack confirmed that there’s no current deal between the two parties. Therefore, the Aria exercised their power to change the Ivey Room’s name.

5. Phil Ivey’s Brand Isn’t Worth as Much 9 Years Later

Phil Ivey is no doubt one of the greatest poker players of all time. He was widely hailed as THE best from the mid-2000s until the early 2010s.

However, he’s spent the better part of this decade out of the public eye. Ivey also doesn’t play as many live tournaments or high-stakes cash games in the Western Hemisphere.
This lack of visibility has hurt Ivey’s brand in Sin City. His name simply isn’t worth as much on a Vegas poker room these days.