Providing Security at the World Series of Poker Tournament

You know it's poker season in Vegas when the World Series of Poker tournament once again returns to town. While previous events have been held at a variety of Harrah's properties, for the 2005 summer event, the tournament found a new venue at the Rio Hotel & Casino (Las Vegas), a sister property of Harrah's. The tournament started just days ago on June 2, and will continue to offer dramatic "shoot-out" style gambling through July 16.

There's been no bigger time for poker than now, especially as the "world series" has converted from a once-a-year event in downtown Las Vegas to what is now a traveling road show of gambling prowess. And with this 36th annual event, organizers are estimating that there are thousands of competitors in town looking to land their winnings from the $8 million in prize money, plus thousands more spectators wanting to get their eyes on the action. But it's not just the spectators who have their eyes on the scene. Tom Flynn, the director of surveillance for both the Rio and Harrah's Las Vegas, is making sure that an advanced video surveillance monitoring system is picking up the action on the tables and on the casino floor.

The Rio's poker area, which was recently redesigned to handle the tournament, encompasses 60,000 square feet, can accommodate 6,600 players at a time in the main event. With huge buzz on the World Series of Poker's main event, which is expected to draw 4,000-plus players who buy in at $10,000 each, Flynn saw the need for additional video monitoring to make sure the situation was secure. He answered that need with a surveillance station dedicated to monitoring the event.

"We anticipated that the World Series of Poker would draw a tremendous flow of traffic given the recent popularity of poker around the world," said Flynn, who chose to use a surveillance monitoring station designed and built by North American Video for the event. "We conduct a great deal of business with North American Video both here at the Rio and at Harrah’s Las Vegas, and they were gracious enough to offer us a fully configured video surveillance console for use over the tournament’s six-week run."

The console that North American Video loaned to the Rio is packed full of top electronics, including Honeywell products, as well as an array of NAV-brand 17-inch LCD displays for keeping a close eye on the action. And as far as how it's working, Flynn says the system "has been performing great."

According to North American Video, the console is just a temporary placement, and will be installed as a showcase demonstration at their new, under-construction Vegas facility after the 2005 World Series of Poker tournament ends. Besides supplying the Rio with this monitoring station, the company recently worked with the Wynn Las Vegas to create the enterprise wide system for the new landmark casino.