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Dutch News

by Anthon-Pieter Wink |  Published: Apr 01, 2006


The poker boom in the Netherlands has not gone unnoticed by the sole legal chain of casinos here, Holland Casino. Curious about how it's going to serve the poker community in the Netherlands, I made an appointment to speak with the product manager of Holland Casino Rotterdam, where two limit tables have opened since the beginning of the year. Holland Casino Rotterdam is probing the market in order to establish the definite number of tables to operate, and at which limits. The following report comes from the interview I had with the product manager and my personal experiences at the tables.

Although Holland Casino recognizes the hugely increased demand for poker in the Netherlands, the game will have to find its place in competition with more established games, such as Punto Banco (a variation on baccarat) and roulette.

Apparently, the rake from the poker tables, especially at the lower limits, is barely enough to cover taxes, and expenses for training and maintaining dealers. This is surprising, since the rake is capped at €10 and €15, respectively, which is rather steep compared to the rake caps in, for example, Las Vegas, where a delegation of staff and members of the forum roamed the streets last January (Dutch readers, see the website for reports and more).

This made me wonder: Are Dutch dealers better than American dealers? Well, the level of the average player on a €5-€10 table certainly requires them to be more patient. During one session, I heard one player tell another, "Go fish," but he might have just been commenting on the level of play himself. Holland Casino tries to educate newcomers by explaining the rules, but staff members are obviously not allowed to give advice on styles of play. The result is that it is rare to see a flop with fewer than eight players (a full ring is 10), and there is usually a showdown with three to five players. In that showdown, the result is usually something like ace high beaten by two pair (sevens and fours), which in turn is beaten by a straight to the 8. You get the picture.

So, with the disadvantage of paying the rake – and lots of it, as every pot will be a monster – comes the advantage of the pool of loose, gambling players that the Casino is attracting. It can even be a refuge for players whose home games have become too solid because all the players have been swatting up, reading Card Player. In the end, though, players will probably level out, as they have done in Amsterdam. Speaking of Amsterdam, what I would really appreciate is a satellite tournament for the Master Classics of Poker, but at a venue that's only a five-minute walk away from my home in Rotterdam! There are no concrete plans yet, but I was assured that in the long run, this option is open for discussion. Until that time, I will keep you posted. spade

Anthon-Pieter Wink is a writer for