Caesars Holds MBA Poker Tournament

Last weekend Caesars Entertainment put on a job fair, of sorts, that was definitely out of the ordinary. Instead of having a boring old meet-and-greet, Caesars hosted an MBA Poker Tournament at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas as a means of meeting prospective job applicants in an environment that is relaxed and fun.

Depending on how you look at it, the tournament has either a very small or a very large buy-in: the only requirement for “players” was that they either be close to finishing or a recent graduate of an MBA program.

Originally born out of a poker game played by students at the University of Chicago business school that later spread to other campuses, the idea of the MBA poker tournament was adopted by Caesars Entertainment at first as merely a branding effort. It has since grown into an event that nets players real job interviews and in some cases, positions with the company.

Caesars, owner of the WSOP, has called the tournament the MBA World Series of Poker. Caesars has a real incentive to bring MBA holders out to the Nevada desert for a sit down at the poker table; they have found that the skills that make for a successful poker player can often be parlayed into success in the world of business.

Said Paul King, Caesars’ director of talent and recruiting, “Look at the skills required of quality poker players. They are the same types of qualities we look for in candidates. They are analytical in nature, strategic in approach to the game and savvy in the way they play. What we’re looking for is a critical eye and analytical thinking skills.”

With the tepid economy and the difficult job market in the last few years, scores of bright folks put their careers, if they were lucky enough to still have them, on hold to return to school for MBAs and other advanced degrees. For many hoping to ride out the recession by furthering their educations, graduate school might not have been long enough.

Though the recent jobs numbers show improvement in the growth of hiring in the United States, many still find it difficult to find the type of job and salary they expect. Now, with so many graduates emerging from business schools with shiny new MBA degrees in hand, there are some who wonder if there are too many graduates seeking too few jobs, negatively affecting the value of the degree.

Citing data provided by Bloomberg Businessweek, reported last April that the cost of attending a top-20 business school is, on average, $102,355. This figure also does not account for lost wages during the time the MBA student is in school and is either completely unable to work, or downshifts to a part-time and often lower-paying position.

But, there is an upside. Also according to, the average MBA holder can expect to earn $5 million to $8 million during the course of a 40-year career, meaning they will have spent only 3 to 5 percent of their lifetime earnings to gain the business degree.

It’s unlikely that many of the business students turned poker players at Planet Hollywood last weekend were too worried about their prospects for the future. Caesars recruits from only top-tier schools, including Duke, MIT, the University of Southern California, University of Chicago, Harvard, Vanderbilt, and UCLA. Of the more than 500 people who attended, only a handful can expect to be offered full-time positions with the company.

In addition to being a fun event, which some people take more seriously than other, a fact that can be assessed quickly based on sartorial choices, candidates get the opportunity meet with Caesars executives. Caesars opens up recruitment to other companies as well, so job-hunters can go “all-in” on their schmoozing.

“We make it productive, and at the same time, it’s really, really fun. It’s unique to Las Vegas and our company,” King said of the event.

About Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller has been an online writer for 14 years. He worked for Small World Marketing for a decade, where he covered topics like gaming, sports, movies, and how-to guides. Since 2014, he has blogged about US and international gambling news on,, and

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Articles