MGM could be considering no poker in a post-Bobby Baldwin world
The surprise announcement that Bobby Baldwin is leaving MGM has the rumor mills working in overdrive. Baldwin has been a Vegas fixture for over 30 years and a major part of the MGM organization for the past 20. With his departure, and several recent developments in Sin City, many are beginning to wonder of MGM is ready to give up on poker.
Poker's popularity has receded somewhat over the past decade, but Baldwin has maintained his finger on the pulse and worked hard at keeping players returning for more. This has allowed the MGM's properties, specifically the Bellagio and the Aria, to retain their fame in the poker world, as both have become synonymous with high-stakes poker. The Bellagio is home to the world-renowned Bobby's Room - named for Baldwin - and the Aria is home to the Ivey Room, named after Phil Ivey. It is also the home of the popular Poker Masters series of tournaments.
Despite his efforts, casinos are looking to maximize profits at all times. They have learned that slot machines provide a much better return than poker per square foot and will do whatever is necessary to improve their bottom lines, even if it means getting rid of those that have kept the industry going for so long.
The true reasons for Baldwin's departure remain a secret. Some say that he was forced out, while others say that he felt it was time for a move. A regular news contributor for the Vegas scene, Chris Grove, said on Twitter, "Big news, tiny story: Bobby Baldwin out at MGM. End of several eras and the culmination of what some saw as a long-running internal tension at the company."