By Barbara Rogers
From Mohegan Elementary school to Mohegan Sun poker room, Josh Zuckerman is living proof that you can make a successful full circle, and you can go home again. Once upon a time Josh watched the mirrored towers of the stunning Mohegan Sun hotel appear on the Uncasville, Connecticut landscape. The lure of this big beauty launched what would become an exciting and successful career for this homegrown boy. Now a proficient senior level professional, experienced in managing operations for multimillion-dollar casino resorts, this man now brings his game home to Mohegan Sun.
Mr. Zuckerman makes the move from the Florida scene. He left his mark on their gaming world too. As a member of the Florida Gaming Summit, Josh generously contributed his expertise in operations to the industry. While working as the poker room manager at Jacksonville Greyhound Racing and Poker, he developed and ran a weekly one hour industry based radio show, broadcast on an ESPN affiliate and online. Deciding that an industry based poker talk show would do well, Josh put together a unique format. Blending a panel of personalities that would bring together every aspect of the game, in a 1 hour weekly show, a player, a dealer, a floor manager, a poker pro, and Josh talked poker strategy. Having so much fun, and considering it to be one of the best experiences of his career, Josh is in the early stages of a similar show for Mohegan Sun.
I asked Josh to sum up what he learned in his full circle.
Josh Zuckerman: “It’s hard putting it in one sentence, but I can say there is nothing like working in a “real deal” casino. Working at Mohegan Sun is always exciting with all the different promotions and events being held all the time, not to mention our arena was just recently voted 3rd in the U.S. and 5th in the world by Billboard Magazine and was the recipient of the 2008 and 2010 Country Music Award for “Casino of the Year.”
Barbara Rogers: “How did your first big event at Mohegan go for you?”
JZ: “It was the Deep Stacks World Championship, a great success that I owe to the best tournament staff I have seen. Rebecca Cabino and her tournament staff were well into the planning stages when I arrived, and proved to me that we are capable of making Mohegan Sun a major tournament venue.”
BR: What about the competitiveness of Florida and are you ready for it in Connecticut?
JZ: “Poker in Florida for the last 10 years has proven to be one of the most competitive markets I have seen in the business. Think about it, it’s a part of the country that was just starting to make its mark in the poker world. Every operator in Florida was vying for every poker player’s action in Florida and the U.S. for that matter. Being one of those operators during this incredible time taught me that a smile and friendly service is very important, but that can only get you so far. Today’s poker room needs quality staff that knows and understands the game well, along with a creative staff that can keep it fresh with tournaments and promotions.”
Josh is married to Robin, and and together, they have a pair of beautiful daughters and a big goofy Olde English Bulldog going by the name of “Lefty.” The girls, Skyler and Peyton, and of course, Lefty, were excited to play in the snow. Leaving the warm weather behind, Josh bluffed the girls by telling them Mickey was building a house in New England.
Watch for Josh Zuckerman in 2014 as he makes his mark by going on a bounty hunt for the lost LIMIT players while bringing the LIMIT STUD back and, promising to look at what is working and what is not. He’s not hesitating to implement what is needed. Judging from what I am hearing, plenty of players agree with his family: they are happy to see Josh come home.