It’s missing something

For decades, the very best high rollers in the world of live poker have played in the famed “Bobby’s Room” at the Bellagio. It’s the type of place where a single big blind would destroy me, where the gravity of the star power is enough to pull moons into its orbit. But don’t call it Bobby’s Room anymore. Recently, the Bellagio changed the name of the high stakes poker area, now calling it the Legends Room.

I know, I know. It’s no good. Most poker players who have made their feelings known don’t like it. But then again, it’s just the name of a poker room. In the grand scheme of things, it doesn’t really matter. Some continuity, some history, though, is nice, and the only reason the name changed is because Bobby Baldwin, the Poker Hall of Famer for whom the room was named, doesn’t work for MGM anymore. A little petty? Perhaps.

Vegas mainstay for four decades

Bobby Baldwin won the 1978 World Series of Poker Main Event at the age of 28. At the time, he was the youngest Main Event champ ever, though 28 seems ancient now compared to some of the young men who have won the tournament in the post-poker boom era. Baldwin has four WSOP bracelets in all, though mainly just plays cash games now, rather than tournaments.

An Oklahoma native, Baldwin stuck around Las Vegas after his win and became one of the most important people in the poker world. He started as a consultant to the Golden Nugget in 1982 and then became the casino’s president a short two years later. Baldwin moved to the Mirage in 1987 and became president of the Bellagio in 1998, the year it opened. He continued to move up the corporate ladder, becoming CFO of Mirage Resorts in 1999 and CEO in 2000.

In October 2018, Bobby Baldwin left MGM Resorts International and his position as Chief Customer Development Officer of MGM Resorts and CEO and President of CityCenter to little fanfare. The company barely said anything in a statement; rumor was that he was forced out, that he did not leave on his own accord.

Then, about a year ago, Baldwin was named the CEO of Drew Las Vegas, a casino still under construction. Witkoff and New Valley teamed up to buy the abandoned Fontainebleu Las Vegas project for a whopping $600 million in 2017.

Name change remains a mystery

At the time Baldwin left (or was let go from) MGM, there were rumors that the Bellagio would change the name of Bobby’s Room. That didn’t happen and as is the case with most non-events, people forgot about it, especially now that we have been dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic most of the year. There are just more important things to consider.

But now there is a new plaque by the door, reading “Legends Room.” So obviously someone thought that since Baldwin no longer worked at the company, his name shouldn’t adorn the most famous poker room in the country.

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