I was playing at the Tropicana in the afternoon when a guy at my 4/8 game mentioned that he was playing the 7PM tournament at the Showboat. I asked the details, and when he told me what the structure was, I decided to check it out. The tourney was a $65 buy-in ($53 + 12) freeze out with $10,000 in starting chips. Blinds began at 50/100 and went up every 20 minutes. While this is a pretty good structure, it does become a bit of a push-fest after the second break, as there is no 75/150 level, and no 500/1000 level.
So a little more early play could be put into the structure, but the low entry fee attracted almost 140 players the Friday night I was there, and I could certainly see the logic in cutting a few levels. Personally, I would have preferred to have the extra levels and add antes, but that's just my preference. The tournament currently runs with no antes, which makes it seem a little silly that there are $25 chips, as they are only useful in the first level.
I made it past the second break before busting out in an unspectacular fashion, but that's irrelevant.
The room itself is nice, with automatic shufflers in about half of the tables. It is a Harrah's property, so your Total Rewards Card is required to register for the tournament, and if you haven't played that room before, you'll need to activate the card for their room, but the registration process is automated and very smooth.
The room is a decent size, and is on the second floor, away from the main casino floor and that lowers the noise level considerably, which is nice. While the room itself has room for about 18 tables to fit comfortably, there are 25 crammed in; there's a definite lack of room to maneuver between tables, and getting to your seat means that you're going to get very familiar with the people around you. It also means that the cocktail waitresses have a harder time delivering drinks than they do in some more expansive rooms.
The dealers I encountered were all very happy and enjoyable, no attitude or grumpy dealers, and the players were much the same way. The Showboat has a Mardi gras theme throughout the casino, and most of the people in the poker room were there to have fun and play cards.
The games spread when I was there were all Hold ‘Em, either low limit or no-limit. A $5/$10 No Limit game did get going late on Friday night, but that was a rarity for the room. Typical action is $1/2 and $2/5 No Limit, and $2/4 - $4/8 fixed limit. There were no stud games spread the night I was there.
Players were typically loose, with 4-6 callers for a $10 preflop raise at $1/2 No Limit which makes for a profitable room. There was a good mix of cash game players from locals to tourists, so it made for a good game. The tournament attracts a wide range of skill levels, from the rampantly uninformed to solid players. I enjoyed the Showboat room and went back the next night for more poker fun there.