If you’ve never been there JACK Cleveland Casino, you are missing out. While most gambling venues are built from the ground up to be casinos, JACK Cleveland adapted his casino operation to fit into a decades-old former downtown department store. As such, it has a rather unique feel to it.
Inside, there’s a 24-hour poker room offering a wide variety of tournaments and cash games, including no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha up to $5/$10 . The room has returned from the pandemic with a renewed fervor due in large part to Chris Losethe JACK Cleveland poker room manager and former director of Aria Bingo Operations.
Over the past decade, Lose has worked at several casinos in both his hometown (Horseshoe Cleveland and JACK Cleveland) and Las Vegas (Orleans and Aria).
In the latest installment of the PokerNews Industry Insiders series, we chatted with Lose, who has assembled a strong team to help make Cleveland a growing poker destination.
Check out the JACK Cleveland Poker Room review on PokerNews here!
Finding your way to poker
Born and raised in Northeast Ohio. Lose has been married for 17 years and has two sons: Lucas (13) and Liam (9). In 2004, Lose was introduced to poker when his friends took him to a $20 game at home.
“I didn’t enjoy the game at first, but after I won my first tournament, I started to get hooked,” he told PokerNews. “I started reading poker books and watched a lot of poker on TV. We had weekly games and sometimes weekend trips to the casino.
Then in 2011, Horseshoe Cleveland had a recruiting event. Lose was interested in getting a job, so in preparation, he attended business school and received a blackjack and poker certificate.
“12,000 people showed up at the hiring event and only 600 were hired. I got it,” Lose explained. “The horseshoe had a training academy that lasted about 12 weeks. I wanted to be a poker dealer. It was my dream. However, at the end of the academy, I was offered a position as a Poker Supervisor. I accepted This position allowed me to move up quickly once I moved to Las Vegas.”
His move to Sin City landed him one of the most prestigious properties on the Strip.
“At Aria, I quickly joined the shift leader team. I used the position to learn even more about the game than I could have ever imagined.”
He continued: “As an operator, I believe in engagement. The players have a voice. Even if we don’t agree, it’s important that the audience is heard. They are the ones who play the game. Always participate and keep an open ear . Poker evolves. Stay ahead of the curve.”
Things came full circle for Lose when he returned to Northeast Ohio and accepted the role of poker room manager at JACK Cleveland, which recently hosted a RunGood Poker Series (RGPS) stop It was there that he was able to bring his experience to Las Vegas and build one of the best poker rooms in the Midwest.
“The great thing about Jack’s is that it’s a single owner and operated casino. We’re one property. We get to try new ideas that a bigger company would shy away from. It allows me some interesting marketing opportunities.
Chris Lose and his team at JACK Cleveland Poker.
A legendary JRB story
In fact, getting the chance to work with JACK Cleveland again is Lose’s proudest achievement in poker.
“Becoming the poker room manager at the casino I opened in 2012 has to be my proudest moment. I always said to myself, ‘One day I’ll be the poker room manager in Cleveland.’ I took a chance and moved so I could learn as much as I could about being able to rise to the challenge if it presented itself. Being able to support my family while changing the poker culture in my hometown is an amazing feeling.”
With years of experience under his belt, Lose has seen it all, which proved especially true in the West.
“Working in Las Vegas has given me a lot of stories. Most of them I can’t repeat or I’m better inside jokes than anything,” he said. “My favorite story was during the Patriots vs. Falcons Super Bowl. Jean-Robert Bellande bet on Tom Brady and the Patriots. JRB was dressed in a Brady jersey and was his usual self. I was hosting a match at Aria on Table One. As the score got worse for him, legend has it that he gave up and with a 28-3 loss, JRB bought out his sports bet. And so, in classic Broke Living Luck, the Patriots staged an epic comeback. Seeing this live was wild. I love JRB. He is one of the nicest players in the industry. He’s always been good to me and someone I speak highly of, but the events of that night make JRB a legendary story.”
For more on Chris Lose and poker at JACK Cleveland, follow them on Twitter @CLEPokerKing and @JACKClePKR respectively.
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Chad Holloway Executive Editor USA
US Executive Editor, PokerNews Podcast co-host and 2013 WSOP bracelet winner.