The Golden Nugget has recruited Sam Minutello as the manager of its live poker room, a facility with 13 poker tables in downtown Las Vegas.
Minutello, who has 20 years of experience in the poker world, began his career at the age of 21 as a poker dealer. Three years later, he became the manager of a live poker room with three tables on a cruise boat. He then spent a few years at the Mirage in Las Vegas as a poker dealer and then went back to Florida to become the assistant manager of Derby Lane. After collaborating with the gambling regulators of Florida to allow live poker tournaments, he organized the state’s first legal poker tournament, which was held in 2004.
The Mirage requested Minutello, who is also known as Sammy the Deuce, to help them run a World Poker Tour (WPT) tournament. At that time, the Mirage was renovating the Tampa Bay Downs’ Silks Poker Room. Once he finished his work at The Mirage, Minutello helped run a WSOPC tournament at Caesars Palace, as part of which he worked as the WSOP’s lead supervisor from 2005 to 2008.
He then went back to Florida to inaugurate the Sarasota Kennel Club’s One-Eyed Jacks Poker Room. Seven years later, he got back to Las Vegas and worked at the Orleans as well as the Aria.
The first big tournament that Minutello handled at the Nugget was the $125 buy-in Golden Saturday, held in November. The event attracted a field of 811, who generated a prize pool as large as $81,000. Minutello said: “I completely changed the structure. I can’t put a ($10K) structure out for a $125 buy-in, but I put something out there that was really close. I see the structures and the way other places are running their tournaments. I know if you put together a good product, you’re going to get a good turnout.”
The credit of changing the daily tournament schedule at The Nugget also goes to Minutello. He also has plans for the Nugget’s Summer Series. He said that a number of people come to Las Vegas to watch the WSOP, but cannot afford the buy-in to WSOP events. The Golden Nugget is going to grab the opportunity and offer these people guaranteed poker tournaments at affordable buy-ins.