Poker Destinations Continue To Pop Up Across The United States
A Look At The 50 Largest Poker Rooms
Despite a sluggish economy, casinos continue to open in the United States at a torrid pace. State budget shortfalls have led to new and expanded casino development to fill in the gaps with tax revenue. As a result, states that had previously been absent of card rooms are becoming some of the biggest poker destinations in the country.
Poker, once relegated to the back rooms and given very little floor space, is now front and center in many casino properties. In some parts of the country, poker is actually the primary source of revenue for a gambling facility.
A decade ago, depending on your location, you could be a plane ride away from the nearest live action game. But these days, more often than not, a low-stakes no-limit hold’em table isn’t much more than a tank of gas away, if not in your backyard.
Here, Card Player takes a look at some of the biggest poker rooms in the country.
California Still Reigns Supreme
Much like the last two decades, California still rules all in the great race for poker supremacy. By our count, California has by far the most options for live poker, boasting 112 various clubs, card rooms and casinos with at least one table.
Games are readily available up and down the coast, but the greater Los Angeles area is undoubtedly the poker capital of the world, boasting the three largest card rooms with the Commerce (160 tables), Bicycle Casino (135 tables) and Hawaiian Gardens (130 tables). Even California’s mid-sized rooms, such as Hollywood Park (67 tables), San Manuel Casino (60 tables), Hustler (45 tables), Ocean’s 11 (40 tables) and Bay 101 (40 tables), tend to dwarf the competition.
In fact, only one other casino has more than 100 tables in the United States, and that’s Foxwoods Resort and Casino in Connecticut, with 104. Overall, California has 10 of the top 30 largest poker rooms in the country.
Nevada Not Known For Big Rooms
For two months every summer, Las Vegas is the epicenter of the poker universe. The rest of the year, however, is debatable. Nevada is home to some of the nicest poker rooms in the country, but not every gambling tourist plays poker, so floor space is at a premium.
Only one Las Vegas casino, the Venetian, can claim a card room large enough to make the top 10 with 67 tables. However, the room won’t be open until early September and the previous size of 41 tables wasn’t even enough to crack the top 20.
The major casino corporations in America’s gaming capital have put together some of the most posh mid-sized poker rooms in the country such as Aria (24 tables), Bellagio (39 tables), Wynn (26 tables) and the MGM Grand (22 tables), but the floor space demand for more profitable staples such as pit games, slot machines and high-end dining and shopping will always come first.
Florida Is The New Contender
An incredible seven of the top 25 poker rooms in the country reside in Florida, a state which just embraced full buy-in poker games in July of 2010. Before, games were limited to $10 per hand caps, and then $100 buy-ins before a gaming compact with Native American tribes paved the way for high-stakes action.
Pari-mutuel facilities that allow race and jai alai betting were originally hampered by restricted hours of operation, something that the Seminole and Miccosukee tribes were not affected by in their large casinos. But now, these simulcast properties are among the biggest in the state because they can focus solely on poker. Furthermore, the rooms are bolstered by a state law that allowing players to be just 18 years old.
The Palm Beach Kennel Club was at one point the biggest room in the state with 60 tables, but that has since been surpassed by bestbet Jacksonville, a new card room that opened in early March with 70 tables. Other rooms in the top 25 include Derby Lane (55 tables), Daytona Beach Kennel Club (50 tables), Seminole Hard Rock Tampa (50 tables), Melbourne Greyhound Park (46 tables) and Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood (41 tables).
“Poker is booming here and has been ever since the law changed to allow full buy-in games,” said Deborah Giardina, Director of Poker Operations for bestbet Jacksonville. “The action is wild and the players love it. Because we are strictly a card room with a simulcast area for betting on the races, we can focus on poker and our customers. Poker comes first. They tell us what they want and we deliver the product.”
Other Poker Hot Spots From Around The Country
The aforementioned Foxwoods and the recently remodeled Mohegan Sun (42 tables) remain Connecticut’s only poker options and Alantic City still holds a strong poker presence despite an increase in competition, with the Borgata (85 tables) and Trump Taj Mahal (68 tables) representing New Jersey in the top 10. However, the growing number of properties in neighboring states have begun to pull players in different directions.
In Pennsylvania, the Parx Casino, which opened in November of 2010, has dominated the Philadelphia market with 61 tables. Other new additions include Delaware Park in Wilmington with 45 tables and the Seabrook Poker Room in New Hampshire with a stunning 56 tables.
“The northeast is a densely populated area, so it’s easy to justify our number of tables,” said Delaware Park Poker Room Manager Kevin Castora. “We happen to be 10 minutes from the border of Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, so we get a lot of out of state traffic, which is often the case in other properties throughout the region as well. Poker is pretty new here in Delaware and the demand for games is high.”
Even brand new properties, such as Ohio’s Horseshoe Casino Cleveland (30 tables) and Hollywood Casino Toledo (20 tables) are now coming out of the gates strong with a big poker presence. The midwest is also represented by a few strong performers in Oklahoma, such as the WinStar (46 tables), Choctaw Durant (30 tables) and Hard Rock Tulsa (30 tables).
Here is a look at the top 50 biggest rooms in the country.
|Rank||Casino||City/Area||State||No. Of Tables|
|1||Commerce Casino||Commerce/Los Angeles||California||160|
|2||Bicycle Casino||Bell Gardens/Los Angeles||California||135|
|3||Hawaiian Gardens Casino||Hawaiian Gardens/Los Angeles||California||130|
|5||Borgata||Atlantic City||New Jersey||85|
|7||Trump Taj Mahal||Atlantic City||New Jersey||68|
|T-8||Hollywood Park Casino||Inglewood/Los Angeles||California||67|
|T-11||San Manuel Casino||Highland||California||60|
|T-11||Palm Beach Kennel Club||West Palm Beach||Florida||60|
|13||Seabrook Poker Room||Seabrook||New Hampshire||56|
|14||Derby Lane||St. Petersburg/Tampa Bay||Florida||55|
|T-15||Daytona Beach Kennel Club||Daytona Beach||Florida||50|
|T-15||Seminole Hard Rock Tampa||Tampa Bay||Florida||50|
|17||Talking Stick Resort||Scottsdale||Arizona||47|
|T-18||Melbourne Greyhound Park||Melbourne||Florida||46|
|T-20||Hustler Casino||Gardena/Los Angeles||California||45|
|T-24||Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood||Hollywood||Florida||41|
|T-24||Hollywood Casino Indiana||Lawrenceberg||Indiana||41|
|T-26||Harrah’s||Atlantic City||New Jersey||40|
|T-26||Golden West Casino||Bakersfield||California||40|
|T-26||Mardi Gras West Virginia||Cross Lanes||West Virginia||40|
|T-26||Ocean’s 11 Casino||Oceanside/San Diego||California||40|
|T-26||Bay 101 Casino||San Jose||California||40|
|T-31||Orange Park Kennel Club||Jacksonville||Florida||39|
|33||The Isle at Pompano Park||Pompano Beach||Florida||38|
|34||Revel||Atlantic City||New Jersey||37|
|T-35||Harrah’s Philadelphia Casino||Chester/Philadelphia||Pennsylvania||35|
|T-35||Oaks Card Club||Emeryville||California||35|
|T-35||The Orleans||Las Vegas||Nevada||35|
|40||Horseshoe Southern Indiana||Elizabeth||Indiana||33|
|T-41||Miccosukee Resort & Gaming||Miami||Florida||32|
|T-41||Sarasota Kennel Club||Sarasota||Florida||32|
|T-41||Turning Stone Poker Room||Verona||New York||32|
|T-45||Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem||Bethlehem||Pennsylvania||30|
|T-45||Horseshoe Casino Cleveland||Cleveland||Ohio||30|
|T-45||Coconut Creek Casino||Coconut Creek||Florida||30|
|T-45||Choctaw Casino Durant||Durant||Oklahoma||30|
|T-45||Mardi Gras Casino Racetrack||Hallendale Beach||Florida||30|
|T-45||Caesars Palace||Las Vegas||Nevada||30|
|T-45||The Rivers Casino||Pittsburgh||Pennsylvania||30|
|T-45||Rockingham Park Poker Room||Salem||New Hampshire||30|
|T-45||Hard Rock Tulsa||Tulsa||Oklahoma||30|
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