Carson Valley Inn ups ante on Dec. 17 |

Carson Valley Inn ups ante on Dec. 17

by Jo Rafferty

The Gambler said you’ve got to know when to hold ’em and know when to fold ’em, but thanks to the Carson Valley Inn, local poker players now have a “where” to go with that “when.”

In the four corners of the new poker room sit green felt-covered tables, just waiting until noon on Dec. 17 when a low-limit poker room opens at the Minden casino and hotel.

“We’re offering a friendly, fun atmosphere,” said Dean Doyle, 43, one of the dealers, hand-selected by poker room manager Rick Allegrini. “I’ve been in poker for 20 years at Harrah’s, Harveys and worldwide. This is the most excited I’ve been about poker in a long time.”

Twelve dealers have been hired, including Doyle and his wife, Roberta. The card-playing duo met in a casino about 15 years ago and Roberta has been a poker dealer ever since.

“It’s a great game,” said Roberta. “It’s a great thing for friends to play.”

The smokeless poker room will feature the games seven-card stud and Texas hold ’em and will be open daily from noon to approximately 2 a.m.

The Inn’s new gaming room offers express seating, daily poker tournaments, comfortable chairs, televisions for sports viewing and player refreshments.

Carson Valley Inn’s low-limit tables will have a $20-$40 minimum buy-in depending on the game in play, according to Allegrini. The house rake or commission is 10 percent with a maximum of $3 per hand.

“With an initial bet and a maximum of four raises, our games are perfect for all levels of poker players,” said Allegrini.

“Our relaxed atmosphere and friendly dealers also provide a comfortable environment for beginners and those whose interest has been piqued by the surge of televised poker events.”

There has been a lot of community anticipation, according to Casino Promotions Manager Matt Carter, who said, “Word of mouth is already out there.”

The room, which houses four tables that can seat up to 10 people, will also feature a cashier area and a refreshment bar. Players can choose from an assortment of food and beverages from a complimentary deli buffet and cocktails will be served.

Viewers are welcome into the poker room as long as they don’t disturb the players, Allegrini said.

Poker tournaments will begin at 1 p.m. daily. Beginning on Jan. 1, 2005 an opening month special will take place with high-hand competitions daily from 12-4 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. with a minimum prize of $100.

“Prizes are progressive to the next day’s competition,” said Allegrini, “if a full house of Jacks or better is not met.”

Allegrini began his poker career in 1975 at the Del Webb Sahara Tahoe at Lake Tahoe. He was semi-retired when he heard about the opening for a poker room manager, and couldn’t resist taking it.

“I’ve never built a poker room from the ground floor up,” he said. “I thought it would be a lot of fun.”

Allegrini’s 21-year-old daughter Katie Allegrini was in the poker room on Wednesday for a promotional photo shoot, because of her photogenic hands. Taking a break from studying for University of Nevada, Reno finals on Thursday, Allegrini said she was happy to be there after hearing her dad talk about it for months.

“It’s just really exciting to have it come together,” she said. “My dad has a good name in poker.”

The Carson Valley Inn’s new poker room is located at the base of the stairway and elevator to the right of the main casino cashier area.

For more information on the poker room, restaurants or lodging available at the 153-room hotel, 76-room motor lodge or 60 RV sites, call 782-9711.

— Jo Rafferty can be reached at or 782-5121, ext. 213.