The Keene Casino poker room lies on the periphery of the New Hampshire poker room scene. Located in southwest New Hampshire, Keene draws a completely different player-base than the highly competitive central-eastern region. Unsurprisingly, this gives it a distinctive character.
Unfortunately, we visited Keene Casino on a very slow Saturday (it was a very nice day in June). We registered during the first level and were the 6th and 7th people to do so. Although management assured us that people would continue to buy in, the tournament maxed out at 9 entries. No cash tables started while we were there. A couple of people wandered in and played blackjack. There were a lot of staff milling about with little to do. So this review should probably come with an “incomplete” stamp.
Setting and Non-Poker Amenities
The journey to Keene provides a pretty, bucolic ride. There are no major highways that run through Keene, so you’ll approach from one of the smaller New Hampshire country highways. Keene itself has about 23,000 residents and is the seat and largest city of Cheshire County. As with many former mill towns of New England, the area swooned with the manufacturing declines of the 20th century.
Keene has successfully recreated itself into an artsy, bustling destination. It is now a quaint college town (Keene State College and Antioch University New England are located there) amidst the scenic Monadnock mountain region. Although there are signs that Keene is still in transition. Several storefronts on Main Street are looking for tenants, and social services buildings abound. On the other hand, there are a number of interesting restaurants and clearly an active arts culture.
The Keene Casino poker room is housed in an attractive brick building a half mile west of Main Street. Directly across from the front door is the Elm City Brewing Company. Inside, the poker room is no less attractive, with a brick interior and skylights in the ceiling. The 4 table cash area is on the first floor, has an all glass sunroom with roulette and blackjack tables. Upstairs is on open loft with a 6 table tournament area. The wood beams further the rustic warm appeal. It is definitely the sunniest card room we have ever played in. However, the random clutter propped up against the walls does distract from the positive feng shui a bit.
There was space for a restaurant and bar. But there was so few players, and little eating, that it’s hard to assess food quality and service issues. A waitress did not visit the table at any point during our play.