With poker tours traveling the country and sometimes the globe on what feels like a near weekly basis, it’s difficult for one casino to keep the focus of the poker world for extended periods of time. Thanks to dozens of High Roller events, the world’s biggest cash games and a motivated team made up of some of the industry’s best, a banner year has cemented the ARIA atop poker’s hierarchy.
Sean McCormack is the man leading ARIA Poker’s charge and since taking over as Director of Poker Operations at the end of 2015, he has rebuilt the room into an industry leader. That was the goal when McCormack took over and even though he has been successful at multiple stops throughout his career, he knew he needed a successful team around him.
That’s when McCormack went back to his Boston roots and put together the poker equivalent of the Big Three. If McCormack is Paul Pierce, Poker Operations Manager Mike Williams is Kevin Garnett and Tournament Manager Paul Campbell is Ray Allen. Together, along with the rest of the ARIA Poker team, they’ve been as successful as those NBA Finals winning Celtics.
“When I came into my new role, I was tasked in bringing in some great poker leaders.” McCormack said when we caught up with him during the last ARIA High Roller series of 2016. He went on to add, “Mike has rallied the greatest poker team I’ve ever been a part of and Paul has brilliant insight in creating a product the players want.”
For a poker room that is home to small stakes cash and nose-bleed games in the IVEY Room, and everything in between, fine tuning that product to meet the demands of a diverse customer base is the main focus of the ARIA Poker team.
“Our philosophy is that ‘We are not in the poker business; we are in the guest experience business.’ When players come to ARIA, we know the majority of them already know poker. To set ourselves above and beyond our competition, we need to go a step further.” McCormack, pictured below, said and ARIA has. He went on to say, “Everyone that walks through the door is considered our most important client.”
The room has committed to giving each and every guest an, as McCormack puts it, “EXTRAordinary experience”. That effort has drawn the interest and partnership of some of poker’s biggest brands. The World Poker Tour has run the WPT500 at ARIA for the last two years and the casino will host this summer’s TDA Summit. The ARIA has also been home to Poker Central’s Super High Roller Bowl in 2015 and 2016.
McCormack and the ARIA team aren’t resting on their laurels though and they hope that they can be even better.
“My long term goal for ARIA is to remain a global leader for poker and guest experience. We’re going to achieve that by continuing to stay active in the poker community and we are excited for some new opportunities.”
Those new opportunities can’t be publicized just yet but regardless, ARIA’s Big Three are preparing for another banner year. With a dedicated McCormack leading the way, ARIA Poker will continue to engage, entertain and exceed expectations in 2017 and beyond.