Choosing a Poker Room

I often travel far and wide to play poker and I find places that I like and will return to play on a regular basis and I find places that I will never revisit. I am a road warrior and convenience is never a consideration for me when choosing a poker room. So what am I looking for and why am I travelling to play poker? Well here is the list.

Above all else I want as low a rake as possible. I will always play the rooms with a $3 maximum rake per hand. I will drive 500 miles one way to play all weekend long at the poker room of my choice. I am sure the days of no rake or $1 rake are long gone. Even Elk Valley Casino went from a $2 rake to a $3 rake. I think 10 percent with a $4 maximum is the highest that should be allowed by law. I am nauseated when I hear of players willingly playing in poker rooms that have raised their maximums to $5. No flop no drop is a concept that all you neophytes need to learn and demand.

I love poker tournaments and I would like to see poker rooms go back to using them as a loss leader marketing tool. I promise players will wise up and stop playing in the tournaments with the huge fees. A $20 buy-in tournament with unlimited $10 re-buys for the first hour does not seem too bad until I asked how much the house was taking and found out that the entire $20 buy-in was taken by the house. If there are no re-buys we are playing for nothing and paying to do it. The slaves should not have to pay to pick the cotton. A tournament where the house takes nothing or adds money is what brings me to the card room.

The poker room must have a good game which is often dictated by the local economy. The house always makes excuses and likes to believe that it is outside their control. That is exactly the wrong way to look at the subject. The players gravitate to the best run rooms. If the games suck it is because the management of the poker room suck.

I want convenient, reasonably priced, good food. I love the Spirit Mountain model where free drinks, snacks and appetizers are offered in the poker room all day long. I demand table-side food service and have recently run into a number of rooms that do not allow it. As I get older I tend not to play while I eat as much as I once did. Please keep the gamblers at the table losing money to me. If every poker room had food like they have at Spirit Mountain I would be happy.

Promotions and giveaways are always helpful to draw in the players. Promotions other than bad beat jackpots and high hand bonuses, which are bad because they drain money out of the game. House sponsored promotions build player loyalty and attendance. Poker players love free.
The poker room must have a good competent management team. Treat players fairly, make them feel like valued customers, and they will be back. This used to be a given but with the poker explosion we now have many people in management that are sub-standard.

I need clean safe bathrooms located within walking distance of the poker game. Outside and across the street is never a god idea and I would say being able to see the restroom door from the table is a good standard. Players at the table can watch and see that others make it to the bathroom safely. Nothing like walking the older ladies to the bathroom 15 minutes away and waiting for them so you can safely escort them back to the table only to find you have earned a missed blind button for your efforts. This is to say nothing of the short games created by the all day sojourns to the restroom.

Free parking that is located in the same time zone as the poker room and does not require untold gyrations to be used and or validated. I would have never dreamed this one would be a want or need until I moved to Fresno.

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