The final table of the World Series of Poker kicks off Tuesday afternoon at the Rio in Las Vegas. In anticipation of this big event, we turn on the webcams to take a closer look at the poker craze around the country. Who cashes in?
Jeffrey Polack is the Commissioner of World Series of Poker as well as Vice President of Sports & Entertainment for Harrah's (HET). He joins the guys for this conversation.
Has poker peaked?
“Absolutely not,” says Polack. “We just completed the largest poker tournament ever. 54,000 entrants.. and we think poker is a growth sport.”
Pete Najarian tells the panel that ESPN poker does extremely well against football and other sports.
Eric Bolling and Jeff Macke says they’re both over poker!
“From a business perspective we’ve never been healthier,” retorts Polack. “The World Series of Poker has been around for 38 years.. and we have a plan to modernize this business. We have sponsorships from Miller Brewing and partnership with Hertz (HTZ), Hershey’s (HSY) and more. .. we’re following the same business model as NASCAR.”
Poker tables tend to not be as high yielding. How do you decide how many to put in at Harrah’s?
“During the 55 days of the World Series of Poker, the entire operation at the Rio is lifted by the presence of the tournament. .. we have over 100,000 fans who come see us.. So it allows us to develop an entirely new line of business,” answers Polack.
How much more do you make because of this tournament?
“I can’t say, but we make enough to be committed to this tournament for many years to come.” answers Polack.
Jeff Macke and Eric Bolling are skeptical. Pete Najarian thinks the trend has room to grow.
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Trader disclosure: On July 16th 2007, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC’s Fast Money were owned by the Fast Money traders Macke Owns (ATVI), Bolling Owns (DIS), (ICE), (MPEL), (NMX), (T), (XOM), Corn; Bolling Is Short (FXI) And Owns (FXI) Puts; Finerman's Firm And Finerman Own (C ) (FTWR); Finerman's Firm Owns (KFT); (MO); (GLNG); S&P Puts; Russell 2000 Puts; (TGT) Calls, Finerman's Firm Is Short (IYR)