Thursday, June 02, 2022
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A small Rhode Island business has a huge national — and international — presence in the poker world.
Gorilla Gaming, based in Warwick, has made poker tables for Hard Rock Casinos, Wynn Las Vegas, Encore Boston, and Foxwoods.
It counts Golden State Warrior Klay Thompson and PGA golfer Sergio Garcia among its customers.
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Now, it is returning as an official table sponsor for the World Series of Poker, currently taking place on the strip in Las Vegas.
Industry veterans — and husband and wife — Glenn and Gretel McCrory started the company ten years ago, and business has taken off.
“We do nearly everything — we print all the felts for them in-house,” Gretel McCrory told GoLocal, of providing nearly 100 tables for the “World Series.”
“We literally do whatever we have to do to make it happen. 80-100 hours we make it happen,” she said. “No one would ever believe it.”
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Local Poker Roots
Gretel and Glenn McCrory — both from North Kingstown, but who first met in their twenties, cut their teeth nearly twenty years ago on running the Eastern Poker Tour in bars in the region.
While running the free-to-play series, they said they realized they wanted to build their own tables instead of buying them.
“It was me my best friend from high school, Bradford Smith — we went to Bishop Hendricken together — and we learned how to build them,” said Glenn McCrory. “We’re pretty handy construction-wise.”
From 2006 to 2012, McCrory said that the table business was a side one, with sales mostly on eBay and Craiglist, until the couple decided to go all in, and create Gorilla Gaming.
“By 2013, I’d grown contacts in the bar and casino world. A friend allowed us to be in what was then the Famous Poker Series — we got to show off what we did at Planet Hollywood,” said McCrory.
Then, an invite from Poker Stars helped the company increase its brand awareness.
“Poker Stars has always been the biggest poker brand. We got a call from their live events manager for 88 tables in New Jersey,” said McCrory of the 2014 event, where he said there were a lot of poker stars.
It was the Gorilla Gaming tables, however, that might have been the biggest star.
“Our tables have LED lights, swing-out cupholders — and USB chargers,” said McCrory, who said he has a design and utility patent for the feature that allows players to utilize what nearly everyone, including the poker world, needs — a cell phone charge.
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It was in 2018 that McCrory got the call from the World Series of Poker to be the table sponsor at the Rio.
The business continued to grow — and then the coronavirus pandemic hit.
And while in-person poker games at casinos were a no-go, all was not lost. McCrory soon found the home poker table business exploded.
McCrory credits Gorilla Gaming’s website as one of the reasons for its popularity. Customers can choose how they want to customize their tables and see close to real-life renderings of the final product before it goes to production.
“It’s pretty cutting edge for the poker world,” said McCrory.
This past week, however, it was all about setting up for the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas at the Bally’s and Paris casinos, along with his team of Lionel Ben, Tim Farnum, and Jeff Maynard.
“How big can we get is a good question,” said McCrory. “Right now I’m working on turnaround time; currently it’s 6-8 weeks. If we could double staff, I could quadruple output.”
And another goal for McCrory? To get his tables in Bally’s — formerly Twin River — in Rhode Island, which, despite the company’s success at some of the game’s biggest venues, he has been trying to do for years.
“They still use an out-of-state vendor,” said McCrory, with a chuckle.
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