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Trump Cards: The U.S. Poker Championship

Michael Konik
From the Print Edition:
Wayne Gretzky, Mar/Apr 97

(continued from page 3)

Trump: Here at the Taj Mahal, we have a tremendous poker facility that has swept out the competition in Atlantic City, and we've become the dominant factor, the dominant place, the one place to play. Most of the big play is here. Through my own luck and talent, the poker players on the East Coast have gravitated to the Taj. The United States Poker Championship brings a lot of glamour to this venue.

CA: Why such a large commitment to poker in such a large space, a space that we both know could turn a much greater profit if it were filled with slot machines?

Trump: It costs me money. But overall it's a very positive experience. You've got every major television station down here, ESPN. It's been really terrific. I have one of the biggest slot parlors in the world, I think almost 5,000 slots. Whether we add some slots, I have a level of slot machines that practically nobody in the world has, so it's not like the slot revenue is suffering. So it doesn't matter to me. Poker has been great for the facility. It's brought excitement, it's brought glamour and it's brought a tremendous amount of people. And a lot of these people then go from poker to our baccarat tables, which, you know, is at a very high level.

CA: Where do you see this tournament going? How big can it grow?

Trump: We'll get bigger every year. I think we can become the most important poker tournament in the world. I look forward to having the biggest poker tournament in the world. And I think that will happen in the very near future.

CA: Did the first time out meet your expectations?

Trump: It far exceeded them. I had no idea this tournament would be as important as it turned out. I thought we would have a nice tournament, that we would have some of the big pros. But I had no idea we'd get this kind of tournament, with all the press coverage, the magnitude of the players.

CA: Steve Wynn is coming to Atlantic City. Any chance of Donald Trump going to Las Vegas?

Trump: Yes, I think will go to Las Vegas. Las Vegas is having a little rough time now. The Trump Taj Mahal is number one in Atlantic City and the Trump Plaza is number two. There seems to be not much more I can do to eclipse myself in Atlantic City. It's hard to be number one and number two. You're competing against yourself. We want to continue to do great with these places, but, yes, I will be going to Las Vegas, perhaps in the not too distant future. The company is geared up to do whatever we want to do there. --MK

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