The biggest problem that Rio has is the fact that it hosted the WSOP in 2005, ergot everyone (including myself) has higher expectations then should be expected. When you go to the Horseshoe, your expectations are met. Here, they most certainly are not. The room itself is rather thrown together. The side of the sportsbook was walled in for this poker room, and currently, it is under construction. They are adding a wall on one side of the room, which to me seems to make the room feel rather cramped. On the plus side, there are autoshufflers in the 3/6 tables, and the tables themselves are very nice and comfortable, with no racetrack (which I prefer). The chairs, however, leave much to be desiered. Remind me of church bingo hall chairs. There are cupholders in the rail, and side tables are available. They use Studking cards, which surprised me since Harrahs (their sister property) uses Copags, and every other hotel uses Kems. There is one monstrous tv above the management desk, and the list ttacking is just paper and pencil. Also, although I pay little attention to the dealer and manager uniforms, the Rio stands out as the most unprofessional dealing uniforms I have EVER seen. Black polo shirts. Thats it. No button down shirts, no vests, no anything. The El Cortez has nicer uniforms then this. I am sure that when the construction is finished this will be a much nicer looking room, but as it stands, it is below expectations.
Competition here varies from average to somewhat tough. The 3/6 game had some obvious sharks, a couple locals, and three tourists who were just getting eaten alive. Every hour or so, some wannabe Chan kid would sit down and try to captain the table with fancy plays. Some would break even, but most busted out. A few loose agressive, loose passive, and tight agressive. In general, the competition is definately not a reason to play here.
I must say that the dealer staff here is excellent. Very fast, efficient, and friendly. Very competent dealers with no dealer mistakes the 3 hours I played there. This and cocktail service is truly a saving grace for this room.
Cocktail waitresses were around every few minutes. All drink orders were filled promptly without problems by all players. Cocktail service was excellent in every regard.
Unfortunately, the Rio Poker room management definately needs some work when it comes to orginization. I called ahead and got my name on the list and got a seat immediately when I got there, no problem. However, when a rush of players entered the room, the management went into zombie mode. They did not do a great job of managing the list, as players were seated in incorrect orders, and they refused to open a new table for over 45 minutes (even though they had the dealing staff to do it). I will say that the management was very friendly, though, and go things done, but just not the best I have seen. Because I personally was treated well and got seated right away, I can only assume that the disorginzation was a one time occurrance, so they will get an average marking overall.
$1 per hour on your card. I am a big fan of this type of comp system for the simply reason that they do not take a dollar out of the pot for cheesy bad beat jackpots or high hands. They just give $1.00 per hour. For that, they get a good score for the comps. However, if they want a great score, they will have to give more per hour or refreshments in the room. All in all, a nice room that looks like it will be improving after the construction. Unfortunately, due to the WSOP stigma, it falls below expectations, and the tougher competition doesn't help to bring new players in. I will more then likely not be returning to play, but it is worth a visit at least once (and if you get there and don't want to play, there's always the Village Seafood or Carnival World Buffet, best in town).