Cigar Aficionado

Big Smoke MGM Foxwoods

The first Big Smoke at MGM Grand at Foxwoods had ended last Saturday night, April 18th. More than 1,100 people had sampled nearly 30 great cigars, sipped everything from Glenlivet to Ron Zacapa and eaten from the hotel’s grand buffets. They had chatted with Rocky Patel, Manuel Quesada, Orlando Padrón, Carlos Fuente Jr., Carlos Toraño, Alan Rubin, Robert Levin, Litto Gomez, Sherwin Seltzer, Mike Giannini, Jose Oliva, Alejandro Turrent, Pepin Garcia, Tim Ozenger, Pete Johnson and baseball legend Luis Tiant. When it was over, the crowd drifted into the two hotels’ casinos, both at Foxwoods and the MGM Grand, and with their cigars in hand, kept on smoking into the wee hours of the morning.

Two young men sat at the casino floor bar in the MGM Grand. As I walked by, they stopped me. “Mr. Mott, we just want you to know what a great night we had. We love cigars. We may only be 21 years old, but we love everything about them. Thanks.”  Young, but clearly in the know and about 20 years ahead of me in terms of really learning and understanding the joys of smoking premium handrolled cigars. I just smiled and said, “You guys have got a great start on life.”

Any new cigar event is worth a celebration today. With the wave of new and more restrictive smoking bans across the United States, it has gotten harder and harder to find places that allow smoking, especially the kind involved in a Big Smoke. More than a 1,000 or 2,000 people lighting up at the same kind can present serious challenges for any hotel or party space. So, when we find accommodating locations like the MGM Grand at Foxwoods, we can only be grateful, and with an eye toward next year, let everyone know what a great night we had there.

The ballroom is huge, not quite as big as the ones we use in Las Vegas, but with high ceilings and a great ventilation system. The hotel, although a little off the beaten track, is less than 90 minutes by car from Boston, and about two hours from New York City. There are two great golf courses on the property at the Lake of Isles club, two casinos and a number of outstanding restaurants. In other words, if you want to get away for the weekend from the big East Coast metroplex, take in some fresh country air, gamble the night away and eat great food, without going to Las Vegas or Atlantic City, it’s hard to beat Foxwoods.

We’ll be back next year. You can count on it. The cigar manufacturers loved it. The people I spoke with, like the two young men at the bar, loved it. And, judging by the hotel’s management response, they loved having us. We want to make Big Smoke at MGM Foxwoods synonymous with Big Smoke Las Vegas, simply remembered by everyone as one of the greatest cigar events on the planet.

See ya next year.

"Hello again Mr. Mott,I was very excited to see that you remembered talking to us at the bar after the Big Smoke and that it struck you as something memorable enough to include in your blog. I understand you must have a very busy schedule but if you ever have any extra time I would very much appreciate an e-mail as I have a few thoughts that I would love to share with you. If you do not have the time I understand and if I do not hear from you, happy smoking.Sincerely,Adam" —April 20, 2009 18:54 PM
"Gordon, I had a wonderful time participating in the Big Smoke at Foxwoods. I am hoping it was a great success for CA and would love to see this event continue for years to come.Thanks again,Pete" —April 22, 2009 01:04 AM
"Every successful Big Smoke event is a triumph for cigar smokers (and all freedom loving Americans). Today, the Big Smokes seem like a cross between celebration and activism... so keep up the great work... as we will need your leadership to preserve this great industry. " —April 20, 2009 14:53 PM
"Awesome, Cool...I like it." —April 20, 2009 14:18 PM