poker gifts

5 Great Gifts For Your Favorite Poker Player 2022

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It’s that time of year again! Get ready to start thinking about buying gifts for those near and dear to you. It’s been a tough couple of years for poker players, so you know your poker-playing friends and family are desperate for a little poker love.

You know who they are. She’s your sister who takes every vacation in Las Vegas. Or maybe he’s your dad who is up late playing on PokerStars every night. Now you’ve got to wrap your mind around finding them a gift. Poker Pilgrims would like to help you with suggestions for great poker gifts for the player in your life. In these tough times, don’t they deserve a little something special to help them get back into the swing of the game?

Great Poker Gifts

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Harpers Ferry View Western Maryland

A Poker Side Trip to Western Maryland

We spent the month of October this year in Columbia, Maryland working, playing tourist, and visiting the various poker rooms in the state. One Saturday we spent a long day on a poker side trip to Western Maryland. We had a very busy day that included hikes, museums, and historical sites. We even fit in some poker at a new casino! It was an admittedly exhausting day, but lots of fun. We definitely recommend the trip for anyone interested in exploring Western Maryland with a little poker on the side.


The first stop on our Western Maryland day was Frederick, Maryland. Frederick is about an hour west of our Maryland home base of Columbia. The city is convenient to both Baltimore and Washington, DC as well. Downtown Frederick is a quaint old town dating from the Revolution. It played a significant role in the Civil War and offers such curiosities as the Civil War Medical Museum. At the other extreme, Frederick is also is packed with cute boutique shops and small cafes.

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MGM National Harbor Outside

MGM National Harbor Poker Room Review

MGM National Harbor is one of two major poker rooms in the Baltimore-Washington area. While Maryland Live! sits beside BWI airport just minutes from Baltimore, MGM is on the Maryland-Virginia line, close to Washington, DC. The newest room in the Mid-Atlantic, MGM hasn’t lost that new casino shine and comes with all of the required amenities. There are upscale restaurants, a resort hotel, and a massive shopping mall just steps away.

MGM National Harbor is just off I-95 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The immediate response we had when walking through the door was “Wow. Fancy!” The design of this casino is slick, fresh, and extremely clean. It feels very tech-forward and new. Both on the outside and the inside, MGM National Harbor is just a beautiful casino

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Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs Cash Poker

Cash Poker Activity Analysis: Midwest US

Poker Pilgrims is happy to continue our Cash Poker Table Activity analysis. We recently completed collecting data on cash poker table activity across the Midwest US. This region includes the states of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, and Wisconsin. While the Dakotas do have a few poker rooms, only two (Deadwood and Four Bears Casino) have 6 tables, and neither report their cash activity.

Our page with Midwest results is now live.  Cash Poker Activity Midwest 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 Ameristar Casino St. Charles 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.

Cash Poker Activity Midwest Analysis

As of Fall 2022, there are 17 poker rooms in theMidwestern US with 6 or more tables that report cash poker table activity to either Bravo Poker or Poker Atlas. There are a few poker rooms in the South Central US that do not report to either Bravo or Poker Atlas. These include the very small rooms in the Dakotas mentioned above, a couple of Charity rooms in Illinois (Central Illinois Charitable Games, and Chicago Charitable Games), the St. Croix Casino in Minnesota, and a couple of others.

Horseshoe Casino Council Bluffs Cash Poker

Indiana is clearly the biggest poker state in the region. The River Casino Des Plaines and Horseshoe Indianapolis have by far the greatest number of active $1/$2 tables on weeknights. These rooms, along with the Ameristar St. Charles in Missouri also dominate weekend play. Across the region, only the River Casino Des Plaines sees more than one or two $2/$5 tables on any given night. PLO games are also rare across the region outside of Des Plaines, and almost non-existent on weeknights.

Games beyond low no-limit holdem and the occassional PLO game are most often played at Canterbury Park in Minnesota.


Our Plan

Our poker table cash activity pages will be updated regularly. Over time we will add cash poker activity for all US regions. We have all cash poker in the US tracked with the exception of Texas. Texas cash poker activity will be tracked in the month of November.

Poker Pilgrims is proud to introduce tracking of Cash Poker Activity in the Midwestern USClick 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 map of Cash Poker Activity  and investigate poker in the regions where we have completed tracking.


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Seminole Coconut Creek

The Five Best Places to Live if You Love Poker

We first examined the best places to live if you love poker in the dark days of 2020. Poker rooms across much of the country remained closed, and we naively assumed that once the world “got back to normal”, poker would too. Two years later, we see that a new normal is being created in the poker world. A normal of fewer tournaments with higher buy-ins, and smaller prize pools. In the meantime, we have also done work to find the best cash poker venues in the country and track their activity over time.

The United States has so many great poker rooms that picking the best places to live and play may seem daunting. However, we found it fairly easy to identify five spots where there are both multiple strong poker rooms and a decent quality of life. As we note above, the poker landscape has changed in the past two years, and so have the best places to live if you love poker. Below we share the best places to live if you love poker and our reasons for each nomination.

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