Throwdown Thursday Cadillac Ranch

Throwdown Thursday: Destination or Die? Or Sweet and Slow?

It has been a while since Paul and I have participated in a good Throwdown. I believe our last was close to a year ago when we reflected on our experience with Tru by Hilton. We have some big travel days coming up, however, and our natural inclinations are once again putting us at odds.

Let’s say you have about 600 miles to travel today. About an eight-hour drive in a theoretical universe. Some people say, well that’s a long day, let’s get to our destination as fast as we can. No muss, no fuss, put the hammer down. Other (insane) people might want to stop (frequently) and smell the roses. Read the road signs. Visit roadside attractions. Perhaps even sit down in a non-vehicular location to eat a meal. I think you can already tell which side of this particular coin I prefer…

Paul: What’s the point of traveling the country if you skip 80% of it? Even in the places where the top-flight attractions are minimal, there’s almost always something to see that is unique, compelling, or interesting in some way. Certainly more interesting than buzzing through a rest stop, and manhandling a Roy Rogers 3-piece and biscuit in under 5 minutes, only so you can get to a hotel and crash from the exhaustion of racing down Route 80 like it was Le Mans.

Heather: Driving is a way to get from here. To there. If something is really worth seeing, well that’s going to be a destination. Why stretch a tolerable 7-hour drive into a 10-hour hell scene just to be able to eat a meal in a quaint midwestern diner with adorably slow service?

Paul: Hey, but then we had your long-awaited stop at Cracker Barrel (we won’t admit to the general public that we actually liked our lunch there). Wasn’t that a pleasant surprise? Or how about if we blew by the Cadillac Ranch in Texas? We would never have experienced the joys of spray painting our initials on a vehicle vertically embedded in the ground. Stopping yields unexpected surprises that can never be duplicated.

Throwdown Thursday Cadillac Ranch

Heather: Pulling out the Cracker Barrel is dirty pool. I have been trying to get you to go to a Cracker Barrel for a decade now. Finally, when it’s the only open lunch place in the state of Arkansas, you concede. And now you’re holding it up as an example of slow travel?! Cheater.

The Cadillac Ranch is an example of my mid-trip destination argument above. We planned that stop long before we were anywhere near the state of Texas. Found it in my trusty Atlas Obscura, (which I highly recommend).

So no, not conceding.

Paul: All this Cracker Barrel talk is giving me a preternatural chicken and dumpling craving!

Planned or not, Cadillac Ranch was a stop that broke up a drive and gave us a chance to see something unusual and stretch our legs. That brings us to the “stretch the legs” part of our show. If we spend 8-9 hours in a car with minimal breaks, we exit the vehicle at night and play the game “What punctuation mark does my posture most resemble?” (praying it is more comma than question mark). We’re in our 50s and our bodies just do not unfold after lack of use very easily. Midday walks, leisurely dining, etc. allow us to retain something at least resembling homo sapien form.

Heather: First of all, we can very well walk when we stop for food, gas, amenities etc. No reason for extra stops just to walk around. Secondly, if you would just use cruise control like I keep telling you, you would not get so cramped up driving. And thirdly, if we get to our destination faster, there will be plenty of time at the end of a day for a REAL walk, that doesn’t leave one of us (ok, me) antsy to get back in the car and make more distance.



Paul: Yes, because there’s nothing like the end of the day after a 9-hour drive that says “Let’s go for a stroll/walk/hike.” Let’s get honest here. The most we’ll hike after a drive like that is to the top of a bar stool for a couple of IPAs and fried food we had vowed never to eat again. You have to spread the exertion out to stay fresh, not grind it out with some elusive fantasy of post-death-drive square dancing.

Heather: Thinking back over our many long drives, you may possibly be right about the walking part.

But I still stand firm that the best way to get from Point A to Point B is AS FAST AS POSSIBLE. It is a law of the universe that a body in motion tends to remain in motion. As it should be. Until it gets to its destination.

Paul: And then at the destination prays for a sweet, sweet death from exhaustion.

 

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Cash Poker Activity California Commerce

Cash Poker Table Activity Analysis California

Poker Pilgrims is happy to continue our Cash Poker Table Activity analysis. We recently completed collecting data on cash poker table activity across California.

Our page with California results is now live. California Cash Poker Activity can be accessed via the drop-down menus at the top of the homepage (under Poker Room Information). Note that there are filters on the page for venue, day, or game ($1/$2, $2/$5, PLO, or Other).

Sites such as Poker Atlas and Bravo Poker Live offer users the ability to see the current numbers of cash players at a venue at any given time. However, they do not allow you to plan your next poker visit in advance. Currently, if I want to know how many $1-$2 no-limit tables the Commerce Casino gets on a Thursday evening, there is nowhere to go to find that information. Poker Pilgrims hopes to fill that gap. Whether you are figuring out where to play poker next weekend, or where to plan your next poker vacation, our cash poker table activity pages will hopefully be of help.

California Cash Poker Analysis

As of Summer 2022, there are 23 poker rooms in California with 6 or more tables that report cash poker table activity to either Bravo Poker or Poker Atlas. Among these, the Commerce and Hustler in LA, Oceans 11 in San Diego, and Morongo in Palm Springs offer the most consistently active cash games. Notably, several very large poker rooms in California do not report to either Bravo or Poker Atlas. These include the Bay 101 in San Jose, The Gardens and Hollywood Park in LA, and Oaks Card Club north of San Francisco.

Cash Poker Activity California Commerce

Interestingly, there is very little PLO played in California. However, if you want to play higher stakes or other poker variants, LA is the place to play, with the Commerce, Bicycle and Hustler all offering a healthy collection of these games. You will find a variety of high stakes games at these casinos as well as Big O, the occasional limit game, and even some mixed games.

Outside of LA and the San Francisco area, rooms are smaller and offer less cash poker activity. You are largely looking at a handful $1/$2 or $1/$3 tables, with maybe a couple of $2/$5 tables and little choice of venue for hundreds of miles.

 



Our Plan

Our poker table cash activity pages will be updated regularly. Over time we will add cash poker activity for all US regions . These will include areas such as Chicago, the Mid-West, and Texas. We are currently working on The Upper Tier, which we will have live in a couple of weeks.

Poker Pilgrims is proud to introduce tracking of Cash Poker Activity in CaliforniaClick To Tweet

Ultimately, our vision is to track the number of average cash poker tables across the country. In areas where a poker player has options, this information, along with room reviews, can help you make a discerning choice. Be patient with us as we work to populate these tables. In the meantime, feel free to visit our Nevada, New England, Mid-Atlantic, and Florida pages.

 

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Borgata Cash Poker Activity Mid-Atlantic

Cash Poker Table Activity Mid-Atlantic

Poker Pilgrims is happy to continue our Cash Poker Table Activity tracking. We recently completed collecting data on the average number of active cash poker tables by day across the Mid-Atlantic. By our definition, the Mid-Atlantic comprises all poker rooms in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, West Virginia, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia. Note that there is only one poker room reporting cash numbers in each of the states of Virginia, North Carolina, and Georgia.

Our page with the Mid-Atlantic results is now live. Mid-Atlantic Cash Poker Activity can be accessed via the drop-down menus at the top of the homepage (under Poker Room Information). Note that there are a series of filters at the top of the page that will allow you to filter table counts by venue, day, or game ($1/$2, $2/$5, PLO, or Other).

Sites such as Poker Atlas and Bravo Poker Live offer users the ability to see the current numbers of cash players at a venue at any given time. However, we have not found a resource that allows you to plan your next poker visit in advance. Currently, if I want to know how many $1-$2 no-limit tables Maryland Live! gets on a Thursday evening, there is nowhere to go to find that information. Poker Pilgrims hopes to fill that gap. Whether you are figuring out where to play poker next weekend, or where to plan your next poker vacation, our average number of cash poker tables pages will hopefully be of help.

Mid-Atlantic Cash Games

As of Spring 2022, there are 22 poker rooms in the Mid-Atlantic region that report cash poker activity to either Bravo Poker or Poker Atlas. Among these, MGM National Harbor, Maryland Live!, The Borgata, and Parx Casino in Philadelphia offer the most consistently active cash games. In Pittsburgh, Rivers Casino is the most active of the open rooms. However, even here you will find little action beyond $1/$2 and the occasional $2/$5 table.

If you are looking to play some PLO, Parx, and Maryland Live! are by far your best bets. Meanwhile, if you want to play higher stakes or other poker variants, The Borgata, MGM National Harbor, and Parx are the best place to be.

Outside of the Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey triangle, you will have to take what you can get. You are largely looking at $1/$2 or $1/$3 tables, with little choice of venue for hundreds of miles. In North Carolina, Harrah’s Cherokee is fairly active, and even offers a couple of PLO tables many nights. In West Virginia, the Hollywood Casino at Charlestown Races is by far the most active of the three reporting rooms. Note, however, that all three rooms are closed for part of the week.

If you happen to notice the relatively low number of poker room reviews on our site for this region, we are happy to report that we will be making a poker road trip to the area this fall. We hope to visit many of the rooms in Maryland and Eastern Pennsylvania at that time. So stay tuned!

 



 

Note that, as always, these numbers are drawn from Poker Atlas and Bravo Poker Live. We are unable to include poker rooms that do not report to one of these sites. However, all of the notable poker rooms in the Mid-Atlantic region report their cash numbers to either Poker Atlas or Bravo..

 

Borgata Poker Room Review
Borgata Exterior by World Poker Tour

 

Our Plan

Cash Poker Activity pages will be updated regularly. Over time we will add average cash numbers for other US regions with high concentrations of poker rooms. These will include areas such as Chicago, California, and Texas. We are currently working on California, which we will have live by July.

Poker Pilgrims is proud to introduce tracking of Cash Poker Activity in the Mid-AtlanticClick To Tweet

Ultimately, our vision is to track cash poker activity across the country. In areas where a poker player has options, this information, along with room reviews, can help you make a discerning choice. Be patient with us as we work to populate these tables. In the meantime, feel free to visit our Nevada, New England, and Florida pages.

 

Like this post? Want to learn more about where to play poker in the US? Head on over to the sidebar and subscribe. We’ll let you know whenever a new Poker Pilgrims blog post goes live!

 

Vegas Poker Trends at the WSOP

Poker Trends 2022

It has been a big couple of years in poker. March 2020 serves as a defining line for poker that is almost as impactful as Black Friday was a decade before. Essentially all of the poker rooms in the country shut down that month (or soon thereafter). It took months to years before poker rooms opened back up (many never did) and it is not an exaggeration to say that everything’s different now. So how has poker changed as a result? These are the poker trends that we see in 2022.

A Significant Reduction in Poker Rooms

In March 2020 there were approximately 210 poker rooms in the United States sporting ten or more tables. Today, 159 of those have re-opened. Yes, we lost close to 25% of all sizable poker rooms in the country over the past two years. That fact alone is mind-boggling. To be fair, there are a handful of new poker rooms (Resorts World Las Vegas is a shining example), but these do not come anywhere close to making up for the sheer loss of venues caused by the pandemic.

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WSOP Reunion Tournament

How to Find the Best Poker Tournaments in 2022

The poker world has changed greatly over the past couple of years.  Many poker rooms closed never to re-open again. By our estimate, about 24% of the rooms with 10 or more tables In the United States as of December 2019, are no longer open. Some rooms re-opened but removed tables. Many others with previously active tournament rosters either eliminated tournaments altogether or greatly reduced their number of weekly events. The result is that finding any poker tournament can be a challenge in 2022, but finding the best poker tournaments is next to impossible.

Finding the Best Poker Tournaments in 2022

Defining the best poker tournament is, of course, complex. It’s not merely about cheap buy-ins. Sure, tournaments with $20-$40 buy-ins exist. Sadly, most of those are either severely short-stacked, almost immediate shove fests that are over before you know it, or require multiple addons to be competitive (becoming a $100+ tournament pretty quickly).

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