New WSOP Home Bally’s Will Become Horseshoe Las Vegas
In little more than four months, the 2022 World Series of Poker will begin in Las Vegas. Let that sink in for a moment. It seems as if the WSOP just happened…because it did. But the 2022 series will move back to its pre-pandemic schedule this year, starting at the end of May and running through mid-July. That was big news when Caesars and the WSOP announced it in November 2021, as the later-than-usual Las Vegas series wrapped at the Rio.
Perhaps even bigger news, though, was the move. What had been rumored for years became official. After 17 years, the World Series of Poker announced that it would leave the Rio, which Caesars had recently sold to another company. They announced that their new home, starting in 2022, will be Bally’s and Paris, connected Caesars’ properties on the Las Vegas Strip.
If that change won’t be enough for poker players to handle, there is now more change. By the time the 2022 WSOP begins, Bally’s will be undergoing a change to become Horseshoe Las Vegas.
This week, Caesars Entertainment announced that Bally’s in Las Vegas, located on the corner of Las Vegas Boulevard and Flamingo, will become Horseshoe Las Vegas.
Beginning in the spring of this year, Caesars will begin the transformation by renovating the exterior, changing some of the food and beverage options in and around the property, and “reimagine” the casino floor and public areas. The theme will drift back to old gambling days. They will incorporate things like tooled leather, dramatic colors, and the signature gold horseshoe logo.
Overall, the renovations will cost several million dollars. From a spring start, the company hopes to complete the project by the end of 2022. Caesars will release more information in the coming weeks as spring approaches.
Bally’s/Horseshoe SVP and General Manager Jason Gregorec said, “At Horseshoe, it’s all about the gambler. Since 1951, Horseshoe Casinos have been home to the best odds, highest limits, and biggest jackpots. So, it’s fitting that we bring Horseshoe back to Las Vegas, and right on the Las Vegas Strip.”
Caesars Entertainment Regional President Sean McBurney added, “Bringing the Horseshoe brand back to life in Las Vegas allows us to celebrate both our history and our future.”
The Bally's in Las Vegas is getting transformed into a Horseshoe
casino, where the World Series of Poker is set to take place later this year. pic.twitter.com/AGwnzsD8Ni
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) January 27, 2022
What’s in a Name?
The Horseshoe has special meaning for the World Series of Poker. It was the home of the first decades of the WSOP.
The first-ever World Series of Poker took place at the Horseshoe Casino in what is now Downtown Las Vegas. Benny Binion owned the casino and invited poker-playing friends to compete in some high-stakes cash games in 1970. And when they stopped, they voted Johnny Moss the “best all-around player” of the event. As the competition developed over the years, the cash games turned into tournaments, and it became the World Series of Poker.
It all happened at Binion’s Horseshoe. Chris Moneymaker’s 2003 victory in the WSOP Main Event – the win that changed the game forever – happened at Binion’s, as well. It was the home of the very first Tournament of Champions. It was the place where Doyle Brunson won back-to-back Main Events in 1976 and 1977 and where Stu Ungar did the same in 1980 and 1981. Johnny Chan then did it in 1987 and 1988, and Phil Hellmuth burst onto the scene by defeating Chan in 1989 for the title.
Decades of poker happened at the Horseshoe until Harrah’s purchased the property in 2004, along with the Horseshoe brand and World Series of Poker brand. Beginning in 2005, the WSOP played out in the Convention Center of the Rio, a Harrah’s property just off the Las Vegas Strip.
Bringing the Horseshoe back to Las Vegas at the same time and place that the WSOP is moving to that location in 2022 is symbolic.
As WSOP SVP and Executive Director Ty Stewart said, “Horseshoe is where it all began for WSOP. It’s always been a brand for gamblers and card players. AS we move WSOP to the Las Vegas Strip for the first time, that it will happen at Horseshoe makes it incredibly special.”
That was the reason they ended up with the WSOP in the first place, they wanted the Horseshoe name not the poker tournament. Will be interesting that they are bringing the WSOP back to the Horseshoe.
— Matt Savage (@SavagePoker) January 26, 2022
The Good and the Bad
Symbolically, it will be amazing for the WSOP brand. Older generations of poker players may enjoy the full-circle aspect of the reemergence of the Horseshoe brand.
For Bally’s, it will be good. Many casinos and properties along the Las Vegas Strip offer themes – Paris, Bellagio, Venetian, etc. Bally’s is…well…just a casino. Don’t get me wrong; it’s worked out just fine since it transitioned from the MGM Grand to Bally’s in 1986. And it did even better when Paris opened next to it, connecting the two.
The bad will be obvious. As much as Caesars tries to keep the renovations from affecting the property’s operations, such a massive project can’t hide from the public. And just as poker players will be navigating their new WSOP location, walking back and forth from Bally’s to Paris, and figuring out the new parking/transportation options, they will be doing it in a renovation and construction zone.
Overall, though, player responses have been mostly positive on social media.
All remains to be seen, as to how everyone will handle everything. There are a lot of unknowns at this point.
What is known is that the 53rd Annual World Series of Poker will happen at Bally’s/Horseshoe from May 31 to July 19, 2022. Bring a hard hat.
— Horseshoe Las Vegas (@HorseshoeVegas) January 26, 2022