The Lebanon Poker Room and Casino is a small poker room (8 tables) in Lebanon New Hampshire. It is connected to the larger Filotimo Casino and Poker Room in Manchester, the Keene Casino Poker Room in Keene, and a couple of other small rooms across New Hampshire. As a result, the structure of Lebanon’s single weekly tournament will feel familiar to those players who frequent the other rooms.
As we recently covered, a good poker tournament is hard to find right now. And New England is no exception. The two Massachusetts casinos (Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield) have made clear that they are in no rush to return to poker play. The single Rhode Island Casino (Twin River) keeps promising the return of poker, but it has yet to happen. Finally, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have happily opened their poker rooms, but have been slow to bring tournaments back (see note on this later). All of the above leaves New Hampshire as the only game in town for those seeking New England tournament poker action.
Fortunately, there are three tournaments now running in New Hampshire that we really love. In fact, we feel quite comfortable saying that these are the three best tournaments in New England at the moment.
The sun is shining, birds are singing in the trees, and the world is opening back up again. Casino after casino has reopened, and many states have expanded to nine or ten-handed poker. Finally, after a long, hard wait, we get back our beloved poker tournaments. Or do we?
We live in New England, which we once named one of the five best places in the country to live if you love poker. In February 2020 there were no fewer than seven poker rooms hosting large tournaments (which I define as regularly having over 50 entrants) in New England. Today there is one (Filotimo Casino in Manchester, New Hampshire, if you are interested). All but one of those businesses are still open. Two, Encore Boston Harbor and MGM Springfield, continue to thrive as casinos, but have dropped poker “indefinitely”. The other four are seating as many cash tables as space will allow, but have decided not to resume tournaments “at this time”.
Recently I reached out to other players to see whether this is a local phenomenon (time to move?) or whether tournaments have been back-burnered elsewhere in the country as well. Reports indicate that this is, in fact, a widespread concern. Players reported a dearth of tournaments in places as varied as Pittsburgh, Oklahoma, Seattle, Detroit, and even LA. However, there are some areas where tournament poker still thrives. Florida, Texas, Maryland, and of course Vegas all have plenty of tournaments on offer.
The Concord Casino is one of the newer entrants to the New Hampshire Poker Room scene, having just opened in the middle of 2019. It currently resides both above (tournament room) and below (cash and table games) The Draft sports bar on Main Street in Concord. The setup is a bit atypical, but we were told that it’s also temporary. The Concord Casino is currently seeking a much larger space to move into later this year.
While the temporary digs might be slightly less than ideal, the tournament room is fitted out nicely. We spent a perfectly enjoyable evening there recently playing their regular Tuesday night tournament.
The Filotimo Casino, previously reviewed as Manchester Poker Room and Casino has had a very successful year. While always a large and successful room, Filotimo Casino has pretty much cemented its place in the hearts of New England’s tournament playing poker community. Their first successful move last year was to completely renovate the space during the pandemic shut-down. While always a comfortable place to play, Manchester Poker Room was previously relatively dark (and windowless) as a result of its past as a movie theater. However, the new Filotimo Casino poker room is bright and airy, with a wall of glass along one side of the room.
Along with the beautiful renovation, Filotimo Casino added Draft Kings to their offerings. While Filotimo’s table games have always been popular, Draft Kings appears to have increased their draw even further. No poker room in New England has evolved as much in their poker offerings, gambling/gaming opportunities, and physical space combined in the past several years as much as has Filotimo.