Characteristics of the Ultimate Poker Room

Twin River Casino Poker Room

Poker Room at Twin River Casino, Lincoln, RI.

What are the Characteristics of the Ultimate Poker Room? Well, I’m not much of a poker player. My experience is limited to home games and two great tries at the Fargo Poker Tournament at Mohegan Sun. Today I present what I’ve found about best casino poker rooms.

Related Post – FARGO Poker at Mohegan Sun – Thoughts from the “Newbie”

Six New England casinos have poker rooms. Changes have taken place with a few as well. Mohegan Sun & Foxwoods have moved their poker rooms.  Encore BH has added its poker room to the casino landscape with its opening. For information about games, tournament, and general info, check out the following links:

Hollywood Poker Room, Bangor ME

Twin River Poker Room, Lincoln RI

Mohegan Sun Poker Room, Uncasville CT

Foxwoods Poker Room, Mashentucket CT

MGM Springfield Poker Room, Springfield MA

Encore  Boston Harbor Poker Room, Everett MA

“What makes a good poker room?”

Poker player preferences are as different as the casinos themselves. I found that a consensus on what makes a good poker room was not easily found. However, poker players do agree on the following Characteristics of the Ultimate Poker Room.

A few basics did pop up often enough to be considered in today’s post. The room’s rules should be clear and the dealers should be pleasant. The ambiance, surroundings and chairs should be comfortable. That being said, without a lot of experience, I checked out poker forums and asked the question “what makes a good poker room?” To quote Paul Harvey, “here’s the rest of the story.”

Concerning the Rake

The “rake” is the scaled commission fee taken by a card room operating a poker game. It is generally 2.5 to 10 percent of the pot in each poker hand, up to a predetermined maximum amount.  Obviously, most players prefer a lower rake %.  Low rake is sometimes switched with time charge, especially in the early mornings. Some players actually had decisive limits – 5 percent rake and a $3 maximum per hand, 10 percent with a $4 maximum is the highest that should be charged.

Also, a “Bad Beat Jackpot” is not preferred. What is a “bad beat jackpot”? It’s  when a poker room pays out an amount of money if a very good hand (usually Quad Eights or better) ends up losing to another hand. This “bad beat jackpot” is usually divvied up between all of the players at the table who participated in the hand that was played. In most circumstances, the loser of the hand will receive 50% of the bad beat jackpot, the winner of the hand will receive 25%. The remaining players will split the remaining 25%.  The “bad beat jackpot” accrues over time and grows based on how much rake the poker room is collecting.  The low rake combined with fewer BBJ’s are preferred.

Concerning Comfort

MGM Springfield Poker Room – most comfy in New England?

Most players like what everyone in a casino prefers – a comfortable place to play. One player said, “The poker room exists to generate rake and the best way to generate rake is to provide an atmosphere that people enjoy. If I ran a poker room, I wouldn’t be in the “Poker” business, I would be “hosting a party and a party atmosphere” Make the poker room fun. Hire and train competent staff. If the room more fun it increases your drop.”

In particular, quiet is most conducive to a comfy atmosphere. The room should be clean, good-looking, and well-lit, with nice chairs and cushions, and bathrooms. MGM Springfield is said to have most comfortable chairs in New England’s poker rooms. Many players admitted they prefer a poker room with space, especially at and between the tables.

When it comes to smoking, most players seem to be changing towards a non-smoking poker room. One forum member said “I’ve  played in rooms where smoking is allowed and it’s horrible.” Most poker rooms are moving to non-smoking.

Comfort can be a product of the way management enforces good etiquette and good behavior making players feel comfortable.  Consequently, our next consideration is the Management of the Room.

the Management of a Poker Room:

The first part of what management controls is getting to the table. An almost unanimous response was that it was important to quickly get from waiting list to seated at a table.

Foxwoods Resort Casino. Waiting for a game.

Every room needs someone on duty 24/7 who knows all the games who knows all the correct rulings. They must be accessible to the dealers and the players. Great managers are guys who know when to intervene and guys who know when to let the players handle their own situations.

The sign-up desk should be warm and friendly, not ignoring its patrons.  In the first place they need to welcome players. “Greeting people poorly is a very common problem in poker rooms,” said one player. “If you aren’t a people person, don’t work the sign-up desk.”

Floor people should also have some people skills instead of having an assertive, officer-like attitude. A friendly person who approaches situations professionally and makes informed decisions will please more people in the long term. Correctness is most important but you can make correct decisions and still be pleasant. The Poker Room Staff

Good dealers are a must,

Other support staff like cashiers, chip runners, wait staff are all very important. In particular , the vest poker rooms should have great dealers. Being a good dealer is not that easy. Some people think a great dealer tells jokes and gives his sports picks. Others think a great dealer never says a word except what has to be said to call the game.  Dealing a good poker  game includes keeping the bets inline, being sure the players are playing in turn and helping those keep up with the bets made. Accordingly, rude players really takes its toll – and poker players have many interesting quirks that make them seem rather eccentric.

poker dealer

Here are “good dealer traits” that were mentioned mostly:

  • Most of the dealers have been here at least 4+ years.
  • Good dealers deal a decently paced game
  • Don’t talk too much
  • Know the game left and right
  • Very courteous especially to the losing players.
  • Provide a consistent experience as other dealers (which suggests better training by management)
  • Treats 1-2 (limit) players like 10-20 (limit) players. (i.e., treating all players like they’re important)

Wait staff should represent the positive aspect of the service industry. Visiting players, people on vacation and regulars expect polite and fast cocktail service with a smile.

Concerning the Games

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

Poker Room at Hollywood Casino in Bangor, Maine

The most important Characteristics of the Ultimate Poker Room hover around a wide mix of games. Good games seem to be the most important factor, one that the house has little control. Players who make good games tend to flock to the best run rooms. So, the clientele ultimately plays the most important part of good games. What a revelation!!!

lower considerations and THE FINAL CONCLUSION

Service with a smile.

Can you believe that being treated well was more important in my findings than free food, drinks, and comps? Promotions, and all the amenities were important, but not if the place was a mess, run poorly, and made the players uncomfortable with the game. Heard this before?  Sure, SERVICE COUNTS. It’s the same old thing we have been saying for years, as we see casinos change to a business first model instead of the service / hospitality model we were used to in years past.  It’s the same for any part of the casino, not just the poker room. Happy players means repeat business of the best kind.

So, what are the most important characteristics of the Ultimate Poker Room?

  1. Efficient and caring Management which….
  2. will attract the best clientele, raising the interest and packing its poker room, which….. 
  3. makes the rake small, and provides tournaments and a variety of games.

It seems so simple. Too bad it’s more often a thing of the past….and that’s the rest of the story!



12 Poker Rooms in New Hampshire – an Update

.After updating our poker menu, I noticed there were now 12 Poker Rooms in New Hampshire. “Casinos” is a very broad term in New Hampshire. These small establishments come under the approval of Charitable gaming structures. They are mostly card rooms majoring in poker and a few other table games.

Hampton Falls Poker Room, New Hampshire

Hampton Falls Poker Room, New Hampshire

New Hampshire has 12 poker rooms – yes, New Hampshire, it seems like a little known fact. The Granite state has tried several times to get a “real” casino within its borders, but proposals have been defeated every time. In comparison, New Hampshire’s poker rooms thrive!

New Hampshire Gambling History gets notice

According to, “two aspects of New Hampshire’s history with gambling merit particular mention.

  1. The first is the state’s historic race tracks have been in operation for over a century. One example is Rockingham Park, in Salem, NH. However, live racing is no longer a part of New Hampshire gambling scene. These racing venues nonetheless played a critical role in the nationwide spread of pari-mutuel wagering on racing events.
  2. Gamblers also have New Hampshire to thank for what is arguably the most prevalent form of regulated betting in the United States. The lottery is almost everywhere. New Hampshire didn’t invent the lottery. But, they were the first to bring legal, state-administered lottery games back within the law back in 1964.

New Hampshire and their “Casinos”NH_StateIcon

According to, “New Hampshire’s poker scene is thriving in light of the July 2015 change in state legislation. It removed the $4 betting restriction which had prohibited rooms from offering No-Limit games. Players are restricted to a $150 maximum buy-in, regardless of the table stakes. The most popular variants offered are $1/$2 & $2/$4 No-Limit Hold’em and Pot-Limit Omaha. Online poker has not been legalized yet, as a result, the appetite for the game in New Hampshire is amazingly strong. A strong choice of rooms statewide boast more than 300 poker tables in total. New Hampshire poker tournament players are free of any bet restrictions — hence regular tournaments run daily across the state, with newcomers able to build their skills at buy-ins as low as $10 and veterans having good options up to the $250 buy-in level.”

The Racing and Charitable Gaming  Division of the state Government allows the following to be legal in New Hampshire:

  • Online Poker Sites that accept American players
  • There are also no tribal facilities or live races conducted in the state, although pari-mutuel wagering is allowed on simulcasts at state racetracks.  Those racetracks, such as the historic Rockingham Park, also offer limited forms of other games like poker and blackjack, much of it under the regulations permitting charitable gambling activity in New Hampshire.

Basics of Charitable Gambling in New Hampshire

  • 55% of the revenue generated by these facilities goes to operating and management costs
  • 10% is paid back to the state
  • the remaining 35% is donated to local charities.
  • Players are limited to any single of $4. Poker is a bit more complicated, with a $5 cap per hand, and each player cannot put more than $500 into the pot.
  • Players keep their winnings.
  • According to, “charitable gaming in New Hampshire includes poker, bingo, Lucky 7, raffles, games of chance and card rooms. The only form of legal electronic bingo gaming is handheld electronic bingo cards. Bingo, and Lucky 7 have been legal in New Hampshire since 1949 and games of chance since 1977.”

So, there are 17 total poker rooms in New England.  Here are the 12 poker rooms in New New Hampshire with a brief description, courtesy of

POKER rooms of New Hampshire

rockingham_logoRockingham Park Poker Room –

Salem & Seabrook New HampshireSeabrookpoker room

Rockingham Gaming LLC is a New Hampshire Limited Liability Corporation. As a result it employs with over 190 dealers and managers. Subsequently, they operate the two largest charitable gaming rooms in New Hampshire. They are located at Rockingham Park in Salem NH and Seabrook Park in Seabrook NH.

Both rooms opened in 2006 and have continued to partner with numerous charities around the state to conduct Games of Chance under New Hampshire laws. Since 2006 the charities have received more than ten million dollars through their participation. Both facilities offer simulcast wagering, food and beverage, as well as other amenities to complete your experience.  Salem site – # of tables – 60 / Seabrook – # of tables – 25

LakesRegionCasinoLakes Region Casino – Belmont NH

Potts Gaming, LLC owns and manages Lakes Region Casino and other gaming facilities in many jurisdictions. Every day they have Texas Holdem Tournaments & Unlimited Table Stakes Cash Poker Games. Try your luck at the Craps table or Roulette Wheel. Blackjack, Blackjack Bonus, Three Card Poker, NH Hold’em and more are available. # of Poker Tables – 10

The poker roomlogo1s The Poker Room at Hampton Falls – Hampton Falls, NH


With humble beginnings in March of 2006, The Poker Room opened its doors with 15 tables to service the gaming community for one day a week. over one year later, some things had changed. The Poker Room is open 7 days a week and offers over 50 tables of excitement.  Each day offers at least four multi-table tournaments. Many have options like the ‘Sit-N-Go’, and numerous cash games offered.  Weekend offerings include challenges such as ‘Ladies Only’, ‘Young Guns’ (18 – 25). Also on the weekend is the ‘Masters’ (50+), to entice the elite. Traditional options are found at any of the Texas Hold Em, Omaha or Seven Card Stud tables.  # of Tables – 30


16 TablesDaily, noon-1am. Roulette, 3 Card Poker, Mississippi Stud, Crazy 4 poker, craps, and Sic Bo are available besides poker. Check out their “HOUSE RULES” – interesting.

Speakeasy Casino at The Governor’s Inn

(Formerly, 4Jacks Poker Room)  – Rochester, NH. Small room, not much info.  # of Tables – 5, Thu, 5pm-1am. Fri-Sat, 3pm-1am.

keene_poker_roomKeene Poker Room – Keene, NH

# of Tables – 9. Daily: noon-1am


Manchester Poker Room – Manchester, NH  

# of Tables – 17 of poker, plus Electronic Lady Slots, 3 roulette tables, Spanish 21, 2 NH Hold’em tables, & Crazy 4 Poker. Daily: noon-1am


Aces and Eights Casino (Hampton, NH)

4 TablesMon-Sun 12pm to 1am / June 27th through Sept 11th

Chasers Poker Room – Salem, NH

16 TablesMon-Fri, noon-1am; Sat-Sun, 11am-1am.


Lebanon Poker Room & Casino – 

8 TablesTue-Fri, 3pm-1am, Saturday, noon-1am


3 TablesMon-Thu-Fri: 4pm-1am; Sat: 1pm-1am; Sun: 1pm-11pm

Who thought that New Hampshire had poker and such a meaningful gambling Spanish 21, history.  One thing is for sure – a real Brick-and-Mortar casino in NH? – Don’t count on it.

Binbin – Embrace the Math, not the Myth

Poker Tournament Action Around New England –

In Case you haven’t noticed, we have added a new tab in our main menu.

Poker has been big in New England in the 21st century.  But it wasn’t like this when our country was born.  Jack Kelly, writer for American said,

“America was founded on gambling; Jamestown was one of several colonies backed by the proceeds of English lotteries. But the gambling craze that swept Europe in the seventeenth century was sternly condemned by the Puritans who settled New England. To them, card playing was sinful idleness that smacked of the sacrilegious…….In 1633 authorities imposed a fine for card playing in Plymouth Colony. The southern colonies of America, beyond the influence of Puritan moralizing, embraced this aristocratic view of gaming……..George Washington recorded his modest wins and losses in his daybook (but gave orders to squelch the rampant gambling among Continental Army soldiers). These conflicting patterns persisted after the Revolution. Gambling remained subdued in New England but was pursued with abandon in the South and on the frontier.”

So, it seems were late to come to the table, so to speak – I mean the poker table.

Let’s jump to today and we see a vibrant poker scene in our New England colonies, uh, I mean states.  And NETimeGambling is going to attempt to keep you informed in the NEW ENGLAND POKER SCENE.

If you play in New England Tournament action, you should be following

Here is what they say about themselves, CT & New England poker:

“Welcome to Poker Atlas, the local favorite provider of information about playing poker in Connecticut and New England. Join Poker Atlas today to get your finger on the pulse of poker in your area, share your room reviews, and much more!

Connecticut and New England poker players are well located to play in some of the country’s best poker tournaments. The World Series of Poker Circuit is never far away from Foxwoods Casino poker room in Mashantucket. This enormous venue boasts more than 150 poker tables and is familiar even to first-timers due to its television exposure. Mohegan Sun is another sizable venue, with 42 tables, and hosts a number of tournament series throughout the calendar year. Poker in this area is strictly regulated, hence the fact that only Native American casino venues are allowed to spread live poker. Online poker is also not yet legal in Connecticut or New England. Thankfully, there are none of the pot size caps that are enforced in other states during live cash games. Up in Maine, players frequent the Hollywood Casino Bangor for cash games, and they flock to Twin River in Rhode Island for the cash game action (no tournaments, though). In New Hampshire, players have 10 rooms to choose from, but all 10 are charity rooms. Tournaments, however, are plentiful at most rooms, and bigger venues such as Seabrook, Manchester and Chasers (in Salem) have action non-stop during operating hours (rooms are not open 24/7). Massachusetts is set to join the poker scene on September 2018 when MGM Springfield opens its doors with a 19-table room.”

Below you will find New England’s poker schedule.  But is so much more.

Connecticut and New England Tournament Schedule

You will find Poker coverage for Nevada, New Jersey, New Jersey Online, and other states at PokerAtlas. You’ll also find a general discussion area, posts on strategy and advice and so much more.

The Table Captain

Plus, they utilize TableCaptain™ Poker Room Management System – the world’s most advanced, user friendly, and cost-effective Poker Room Management System. The PokerAtlas TableCaptain™ will simplify your poker room operations, improve your players’ experience, and attract more players to your room by broadcasting your Live Action on PokerAtlas, the world’s largest network of live poker information.

What are you waiting for, go check out

And come back to NETimeGambling to keep up on New England’s Poker Scene.