Paul Halverson was born in Susanville, California and grew up in Reno, Nevada. After finishing high school he enrolled at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas but only spent one year there before enlisting in the Marines. In January of 1973, after completing his four year tour of duty, at the rank of Sergeant, he was honorably discharged.
In June of the same year Paul entered the casino industry as a keno writer at Harold's Club in Reno. In 1976 he left Harold's for a surveillance position at Harrah's. He simultaneously attended surveillance and dealing school at Harrah's. Paul left Harrah's in 1977 for a security supervisor's position when the Sahara Reno opened.
In 1981 he was on the move again when he took the position of Director of Security and Surveillance at the Sands Regency. Within a few months Paul was promoted to Casino Manager but was still in charge of security and surveillance.
In 1993 Paul left the Reno area to take the position of Assistant Security Supervisor at the newly opened Boomtown Casino in Las Vegas. In 1994 he moved to the Riviera Hotel and Casino as Director of Surveillance and in 1999 he took on a second job with MTR Gaming as Table Games Manager for the Speedway Casino.
Paul gave up his position at the Riviera in 2004 to concentrate on his career with MTR Gaming. Shortly thereafter he was promoted to Director of Hotel Operations for the Speedway Casino.
When MTR took over Binion's Horseshoe in Las Vegas they renamed it Binion's Gambling Hall and Hotel and promoted Paul to Director of Table Games, Keno and Poker.
When Paul isn't taking care of the table games area, the keno section and an managing an 18 table cardroom, he's spending quality time with his wife, Scarlett and their teenage daughter, Kelsi.
DB: Now that MTR has taken over, will they keep the poker room open?
PH: Yes, for several reasons. First, because the poker craze is so strong these days and second because they like our poker room so much. It's so large and we will be able to capitalize on the poker frenzy that has hit the country.
DB: What changes, if any, will take place?
PH: The only changes I foresee right now is our effort to find our own niche regarding tournaments. We will also expand on our current daily tournaments and live play. We have changed our parking to free compared to the old four hours free. We are looking into increasing our food comps and we offer special room rates for our regular poker players.
DB: What about the poker room staff?
PH: The staff is the original Binion's staff and they are as knowledgeable as any poker staff in Las Vegas, including our tournament director who is exceptional in the handling of large tournaments.
DB: Rumor has it that MTR is looking for a cardroom manager, is there any truth to that?
PH: Yes, but we're undecided as to whether we will promote from within or try to hire a well known manager from outside.
DB: What do you offer in the way of daily tournaments?
PH: We have a 2:00 p.m. tournament seven days a week with a $60 buy-in. On Monday through Thursday at 8:00 p.m. with a $60 buy-in, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 8:00 p.m. with a $125 buy-in and on Friday and Saturday at 2:00 a.m. with a $60 buy-in. All tournaments are no-limit and all but the 2:00 a.m. offer a bonus buy and one optional rebuy. The 2:00 a.m. tournament offers a $10 bonus buy. Our tournament structure is very good and our play has increased substantially in the past few months, especially in the 2:00 a.m. event. We have 28 tables for tournament play along with 18 tables of live action.
DB: Are there any plans for a major tournament at the new Binions?
PH: There might be in the future, we're hoping to find a tournament that is synonymous with Binions. We have a special project person that takes care of those kinds of things.
DB: Are you looking for a tournament to replace or compete with the World Series of Poker?
PH: No, not at all, I don't believe we could do that. We just want to find our own niche on the tournament circuit.
DB: Are there any previous traditions of the old Binions that will be brought back?
PH: Yes, we are bringing back the million dollar display, the deli will be brought back offering Binion's favorite pastrami sandwiches and their famous hamburgers will be back on the menu. The mayor of Las Vegas, Oscar Goodman, was served the first hamburger on Friday, March 25. The race and sports book will reopen on April 15 but until then the guests can still watch all the games they just can't make any wagers until it reopens. Benny's statue will also be moved to the front of the casino and the WSOP champions photo display is being redone.
DB: The WSOP is scheduled to play the final two days of the main event at Binion's this year, is MTR happy with this.
PH: Absolutely! They are very happy about the joint endeavor, it's a win win situation for both Harrah's and MTR. It provides us exposure to Binions name and property.