The Top Five Cities To Launch Your Poker Career: Part One
A Look At The Places That Just Missed The Cut
Note: This is part 1 of 2.
After looking over your records (you are keeping records, right?) you notice that you turned a nice profit at the tables the last year or so. Maybe it was much more than a small profit. Perhaps you won a couple of tournaments, dominated your home game, or are considered one of your local poker room’s top players.
Perhaps you are asking yourself if you have what it takes to play full-time, as a poker professional. If so, where do you go, geographically, to take a shot?
Due to a lack of games and stakes in the majority of the United States, if you are truly serious about taking your game to the next level, you might consider a move to a part of the country with better options.
Thankfully, these days poker players have more options than ever. In decades past, poker players were restricted to just a few cities nationwide. Today, there are hundreds of card rooms from coast to coast that spread low, mid, and high-stakes games around the clock.
Card Player has scoured North America and has come up with a look at the top five cities where a player can access the types of games that make launching a poker career possible.
But before we get to the top five, let’s look at some of the places that just missed the cut. These regions have top-rate card rooms but the surrounding areas may lack of multitude of options. Nonetheless, they have more than enough games to get started.
Connecticut is home to just two casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, that are located just 10 miles from each other. Mohegan Sun has a massive poker room with 42 tables, but that is dwarfed by Foxwoods and its 104 tables. Both rooms offer a wide variety of small-stakes games with the occasional high-stakes games running during a big tournament series.
Believe it or not, there are 26 card rooms in the state of Oklahoma. Besides the five largest, you’d be hard pressed to find more than a $1-$2 no-limit game and low stakes limit hold’em action in most of them. The state is home to wonderful poker properties such as WinStar Casino in Thackerville with 46 tables. The Choctaw Casino in Durant, which hosts a CPPT event, and Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa each have 30 table rooms. Other notable poker rooms include the Riverwind Casino and Firelake Grand Casino in Oklahoma City, with 24 and 19 tables respectively.
There are 15 poker rooms in Mississippi, most of which are split between Tunica and Biloxi. Although Tunica used to be a regular stop on the tournament circuit, that honor has been shifted toward the coastal city of Biloxi and the Beau Rivage Casino, which has 16 regular tables and adds more during a series. Other notables rooms in the state include the Gold Strike, Sam’s Town, Imperial Palace, and Harrah’s.
The state of Pennsylvania has become the second largest gambling market in the U.S. in recent years and unsurprisingly, poker has played a big part. The Philadelphia area leads the way with the Parx Casino and its 61-table card room. Harrah’s, located in the same city, has a 35-table room of their own. Just an hour drive north in Bethlehem is the Sands Casino Resort, with another 30 tables.
Casinos are a recent addition to the state of Ohio, which has opened a total of four properties in Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati. The four poker rooms have a total of 117 poker tables, but they are spread far apart. It would take about four hours to drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland, which isn’t ideal for a player looking for variety.
Random Poker Facts, According To Bravo Poker Live Data
1. On an average weeknight, there are upwards of 500 $1-$2 or $1-$3 no-limit hold’em cash games running in the U.S. at any given time. There are nearly 150 $2-$5 games, around 50 $5-$10 games, and usually around 15 $10-$20 games. Those numbers increase by about 25 percent on weekends.
2. High stakes games, which are no-limit games of $25-$50 or higher and limit games of $100-$200 or higher, exist with regularity at only 15 casinos nationwide, the majority of which are in California or Nevada. The biggest games occur at the Borgata, Parx Casino, Commerce Casino, Aria, and Bellagio.
3. Mid-stakes ($30-$60 and above) to high-stakes limit hold’em games do not exist regularly outside of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Los Angeles.
4. The most popular game outside of $1-$2 no-limit hold’em is $4-$8 limit hold’em.
5. Small-stakes pot-limit Omaha games are scattered throughout the United States, but the only place to regularly spread it for higher than $5-$10 everyday is at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.
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