Rush Street Gaming Already Fine Tuning Newly Opened Rivers Casino

Written By Jessica Welman on March 23, 2017 - Last Updated on February 3, 2023

[toc]Rivers Casino in Schenetdacy, NY opened less than two months ago, but the casino resort is already trying to find ways to improve. Management for the new resort spoke at length with The Daily Gazette regarding what has and has not been working during the first few weeks of operation.

The group is willing to consider everything from dining to gaming to the dance floor. The property is also working with the New York State Gaming Commission to get a poker tournament series approved. Considering the casino is owned by Rush Street Gaming, the likely culprit to host the series is the company’s televised poker wing, Poker Night In America.

What’s working at Rivers Casino?

Lots of things are going great at Rivers Casino, but the most important one is revenue. In its first month of operation, the site took in $10.8 million. Early projections put the casino on pace to meet its earnings goals for 2017.

“We have a very loyal crowd, already, of people that are here constantly,” said Danny Brockdorf, the casino’s vice president of marketing. “But we’re thinking about ways we could potentially accommodate more people.”

Poker, especially, is drawing a loyal group of followers, including some notable pros local to the area, like NY online poker pro Shaun Deeb.

Casino management working on crowd control, dining

One of the biggest customer complaints is actually a sign things are going well at Rivers–there are not enough seats. During busy hours, customers often have to wait before a seat at the more popular table games opens up. The property has 62 gaming tables in a space roughly half the size of nearby Turning Stone Casino.

Let It Ride is one of the most popular games. The 15-table poker room is frequently packed as well. The casino is working to quickly train and hire new dealers to accommodate more customers.

Rivers already changed some of the restaurant menus in response to negative feedback. Slow service and a problematically large menu in the quick-service restaurant area called Marketplace led to criticism. Rivers responded by simplifying the menu and focusing on customer favorites, like burgers.

The customers also expressed a desire to have a more casual dining experience at the fine dining restaurant, Duke’s Chophouse. Management is working to offer burgers and other fare on the restaurant’s menu.

Poker Night in America likely host for poker series

Rivers Casino teased an April poker event on its Twitter account last week. No specifics just yet, as the casino is likely pending approval from the state gaming commission.

Safe to guess if the forthcoming series has a sponsor, it will carry the Poker Night in America banner though. The casino shares a parent company with Poker Night, which frequently hosts events at the sister property, Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, PA. Deeb is a frequent player and sometimes commentator on the show, so he will likely participate. After all, he is driving distance from the casino.

Poker Night in America is best known for televised cash games, but the tour also includes mid-stakes poker tournaments. In the past, the tour visited Turning Stone Casino in nearby Verona, NY. to host cash games in tandem with the Empire State Hold’em Championship.

The popularity of Turning Stone events is not the best means of comparison to predict numbers for a Rivers tournament series though. One of the big draws for players at the Indian casino is the lower gambling age of 18. Rivers Casino is operated by the state, so players will need to be 21 and up to participate.

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Jessica Welman

Jessica Welman is a longtime member of the poker media. She has worked as a tournament reporter for the World Poker Tour, co-hosted a podcast for Poker Road, and served as the Managing Editor for A graduate of the University of Southern California and Indiana University, Welman is not only a writer but also a producer. She has been involved for livestreams for the WSOP and WPT and worked as a consultant on many other poker productions. She can be found on Twitter @jesswelman.

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