This weekend, the PokerNews Cup $1,100 buy-in, $1,000,000 GTD Main Event is played at Golden Nuggets Las Vegas.
The PokerNews The cup is part of the gold nugget 14th Annual Grand Poker Serieswhich features 81 events and offers more than $3 million in guaranteed prizes from May 31 through July 3. The tournament, which takes place June 24-28will be reported live here on PokerNewsand there will also be a live streamed feature table on Day 2 as well as final table action in Tuesday’s Day 3 Finals.
As part of PokerNews‘ Continue Industry Insiders series, we caught up with the head of the Golden Nugget Graveyard Poker Team Mike Godfreywho this summer serves as Tournament manager and administrator for Grand Poker Series below andy richwhich we previously featured in its own Industry Insiders profile here.
More than 13 years in the business
Godfrey, 37, graduated from UNLV with a degree in American History and is a proud husband and father of two.
“I worked in the poker industry for over 13 years and have been playing since I moved to town when I was 21,” Godfrey said. PokerNews. “I was hired as a dealer for my first job at the The joker’s wild casino. I quickly switched to Mirage where I learned that I would work more hours if I learned to be a supervisor and in return I was mentored by one of the all time greats in Marc Gershof.”
From there, he was hired as a tournament director at the Golden Nugget in November 2014.
“I was fortunate enough to be hired by the Golden Nugget as a Tournament Director and from there I took charge of the graveyard team and have been blessed to hold that position for seven years old. My mentor, Mark Getshof, knew the acting director at the time and had a good word with me. It must have been amazing because I was hired on the spot and I pushed myself every day to be still worthy of this recommendation.
In his early days, Godfrey oversaw a small nightly tournament 5-6 days a week. The priority was simple: transform a two-table tournament into a six-table tournament. Within three months he did just that and their daily events quickly became a popular attraction.
“After working my first Grand Poker Series with Andy Rich as head of operations, we learned that the mission grew even bigger – to turn GPS into a tournament destination for poker players of all ranges and skill levels. demographics,” Godfrey explained. “I was made into a team leader at the graveyard where we were struggling, and the goal was to change the direction of how late night poker was handled at the Golden Nugget. With the help of my dealer team, we have made this change a flourishing place for poker.”
He added: “The theme of goals through the lens was simple – build. Make things better, keep things fun, and make the world of poker great for everyone involved.
When asked to share his favorite story from his time at Golden Nugget, Godfrey didn’t hesitate.
“My favorite story of all time was when I tried to train our supervisor Jarod Diaz. I say tempted, because an hour after the shift my wife called to say my daughter was about to to be born. I thank Jarod to this day for being the natural talent and pillar of excellence that he is, because all I could think of was tapping him on the shoulder and saying, “My girl is being born, good luck! and after informing the casino manager that this coin is missing like lightning.
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What makes Golden Nugget special
For Godfrey, it’s the people, both on and off the felt, that make the Golden Nugget such a special place to work.
“The proximity of our staff has made possible one of the most comfortable and supportive atmospheres in the world. This trickles down to our local clientele who appreciate how well our staff cares for them.”
Godfrey is also proud that he and his colleagues were able to take care of their customers and employees after COVID-19 wreaked havoc in Vegas casinos.
“My point of pride was being one of the first venues to open after the pandemic. That moment could have been the nail in the coffin for poker nationwide. I told our staff that first night, and reminded them for months afterwards, that our hard work and determination would be in place for future openings of more rooms. Our success in turn would save the jobs of so many more in this city. Trust me when I say the most miserable years of our lives, but our main strength has been rallying together like a team like a family. So we kept on going until we finally saw the light coming out of that tunnel and now we’re back to making poker fun again.
The Golden Nugget has earned a reputation as a fun place to play thanks in large part to several popular features, including:
- Freehand double jackpots. $3-$6 limit players who hit the quads have a chance to win up to $1,198 in bonuses.
- No-limit cash games have no cap on the buy-in, which creates fantastic action.
- This is the last poker room in Las Vegas where $100 bills are still playing on the table.
- They have a progressive Bad Beat Jackpot which pays out the whole table if someone loses with 1uad deuces or better. The Bad Beat Jackpot starts at $10,000 and increases daily until hit and reset.
For more information on Golden Nugget, check out the PokerNews room review here.
Check the BRAVO app or call the poker room directly for the current Bad Beat Jackpot amount at (702) 386-8383. As a 24K Select member, you’ll earn $2 per hour in bonuses while you play our cash games. Comps can be used at any Golden Nugget Las Vegas restaurant, as well as any Landry’s restaurant nationwide.
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Here is a brief history of the PokerNews Cup
American editor, co-host of the PokerNews podcast and winner of the 2013 WSOP bracelet.