Bobby’s got a brand new room: the CEO office at The Drew Las Vegas, which is currently under construction. Poker legend Bobby Baldwin will be at the helm of the new casino on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip.
Baldwin was previously the president of The Mirage, Golden Nugget, and Bellagio. He stepped down from his last position at MGM Resorts, but he left his indelible mark on one casino: Bobby’s Room is the name of the high roller room in the Bellagio.
Steven Witkoff, founder of the Witkoff Group, bought the unfinished Fontainebleau casino in 2017 for $600 million after it went bankrupt. After resuming construction, the final resort will be named The Drew, after Steven Witkoff’s son Andrew, who died of an OxyContin overdose at age 22.
The old Fontainebleau was 70% finished when the owners went bankrupt. Later, billionaire Carl Icahn bought the property at a 2010 bankruptcy auction for $150 million. He later sold it to Steven Witkoff for $600 million. The Drew was originally expected to open in 2020, but Witkoff postponed the opening to 2022.
The $3.1 billion casino resort will have 4,000 rooms, 400,000 square feet of conference space, and 95,000 square feet of gaming space, in addition to restaurants, clubs, spas, and other recreational facilities. Excluding the Stratosphere observation tower, The Drew is the tallest building in the state of Nevada, with 63 floors stacking up to 735 feet.
The Drew is located at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip across the street from Circus Circus. It occupies the former site of one of the first Strip casinos, the Thunderbird (1948). The Thunderbird underwent various renovations and name changes over the years, and was finally imploded in 2000 by Turnberry Associates.
Turnberry had planned to create a London-themed resort, but after the economic downturn caused by the September 11 attacks, the plan was never realized. Again the property changed hands several times, finally landing in the lap of the Witkoff Group.
Bobby Baldwin was the youngest person to win the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event in 1978 at age 28, also raking in $210,000. He won four WSOP bracelets and over $2 million in cash in several WSOP tournaments. He was later inducted into the WSOP Poker Hall of Fame, which includes fellow poker legends Amarillo Slim, Doyle Brunson, Sailor Roberts, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Wild Bill Hickok, among many others.
Baldwin has written several books on poker and billiards, as he is a master of both. He is also no stranger to running casinos, as his track record presiding over MGM resorts properties demonstrates.
However, his luck hasn’t always been aces. Baldwin had a serious run of bad luck when he had an accident which resulted in major injuries. In 2017, he fell down two flights of stairs at the Aria Resort in Las Vegas. He broke his shoulders, pelvis, and ribs, and suffered head injuries requiring 40 stitches. He was 67 years old at the time, but he recovered after a series of surgeries.
Baldwin’s long poker history and experience at the captain’s wheel of several iconic Las Vegas resorts makes him the perfect choice to be the CEO of The Drew, a sentiment expressed by Steven Witkoff.
“As we were making final preparations for construction, we had a unique opportunity to work with a transformational leader who has unrivaled experience,” Witkoff said, “Bobby sees how far the project has come and is supportive of our vision and strategy. He has been at the helm of many preeminent resorts in Las Vegas including Mirage, Bellagio, and CityCenter.”
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