Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa Poker Room Review

Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa is a large full-service casinos that sit on Native American land. The Hard Rock is the premiere gambling venue of Florida’s west coast. While Tampa has several other poker rooms, the Seminole Hard Rock is the only full casino serving the area. Having visited its east coast sister, Seminole Hard Rock Hollywood, last year, we were eager to see how Tampa measured up.

NOTE: This visit to the Seminole Hard Rock poker room occurred at the end of February 2020. While now open again, the room has changed in the interim, for obvious reasons. Thus, your experience may vary, as they say.

Casino Setting 

Seminole Hard Rock Tampa lies on the east side of Tampa near the interchange of Routes 4, 92, and 301.  The setting is pretty urban, not much in the way of scenic surroundings, but very convenient to the city. One location drawback for the casino is that it is nowhere near the beaches, thus limiting beach-goer spillover.

Parking is free and there are several large garages to choose from. Read More

Oxford Downs Poker Room

Oxford Downs Poker Room Review

Oxford Downs poker room sits in a fairly remote area of central Florida, away from immediate competitors. However, on our visit to the Tampa area, we decided to venture north following dual draws of meeting up with a poker-playing friend from Gainseville and a Saturday evening Crazy Pineapple tournament. We love ourselves some Crazy Pineapple!

Casino Setting 

Oxford Downs lies in Summerfield FL, about an hour and a half north of Tampa, an hour northwest of Orlando, and an hour south of Gainesville. It is at once not near much, but a relatively easy drive from several major Florida cities. The drive up from Tampa was mostly on Route 75, followed by some very rural roads complete with cow pastures. In general, the ride was easy and pleasant.

When you initially turn into the main entrance, you will think “I must have done something wrong.” Have faith and follow the road to the end and Oxford Downs will appear. While the card room consists of a modest-sized building, it fronts an attractive horse track that hosts infrequent special events. From what we understand, horse racing allows the room to exist, but unlike Tampa venues such as Silks, the track exists to check that box rather than be a revenue/entertainment stream.

Parking is free at Oxford Downs. Note that Oxford Downs is open nearly 24 hours (10am to 4am) Friday and Saturday, with slightly restricted hours Sunday through Thursday (10am to 2am).

 

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Silks Poker Room Review

Silks Poker Room Review

Silks Poker Room @ Tampa Bay Downs competes in a rather busy Tampa poker scene, with immediate rivals Seminole Hard Rock Tampa, Derby Lane, and TGT Poker. Silks is an active horse racing venue and is a short drive from some beautiful Gulf beaches, downtown Tampa, and St. Petersburg. Well, as short as any drive is on the hectic “Waze says: 4 miles 26 minutes” Florida roadways. Silks poker room is in a great spot with a lot of inherent advantages for the vacationing poker player looking for other leisure activities.

Casino Setting 

Tampa Bay Downs is in the northeast section of Tampa, about a half an hour from downtown. It is about the same distance from the beautiful Clearwater Beach. After winding through the busy Florida intersections, you drift down the long, sparse road on which TB Downs resides. The venue’s surrounding area is very attractive, as is its main attraction: the active horse racing track. The grounds are very well-maintained, serving as a respectable opposite coast bookend to the also beautiful north-of-Miami Gulfstream Park.

Parking is free at Silks. On race days, as we discovered, it’s a bit of a challenge to find a space anywhere near the front door. Read More

Best Poker Tournaments

Finding the Best Poker Tournaments: How Does Your Favorite Rate?

Tournament poker players all have their favorite poker tournaments. But there is a general lack of agreement among players on which tournaments are the best. Are my criteria for poker tournament quality the same as yours? The reasons that one player loves a particular tournament will be completely different from those offered by a second player for loving another.  Some want huge fields and potentially big payouts. Others like smaller, fast structured tournaments that will be done in less than 6 hours. And still others just like the dealers and staff who run certain tournaments. How do you break down and evaluate the criteria that meet your requirements for the best poker tournaments? As fans of tournament poker, and having thought way too much about such things, we’ll share our take on how we evaluate poker tournament quality.

Your Poker Tournament Goals

Like most things in life, evaluating the best poker tournaments is largely in the eyes of the beholder.  While we’ll get to markers of objective quality later, “fit” is where we need to start. And determining how a tournament fits your needs starts with your goals for playing. While these may be in line with your general reasons for playing poker, some players enter tournaments for very different reasons than they play cash.

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The Playground Poker Club is a great cardroom outside of Montreal

Playground Poker Club Room Review

The Playground Poker Club outside of Montreal is one of our favorite card rooms. We first visited three years ago after seeing a major televised tournament held there and expected grand things. While our initial approach to the card room elicited a ‘”this can’t be right” reaction, upon entry all was revealed. We returned last month (December 2019) and were excited to see further evolution. The Playground Poker Club is truly an elite North American venue for poker.

Playground Poker Club Setting 

The Playground Poker Club is located in Kahnawake, Quebec. It is about a twenty minute drive from Montreal. However, the drive can vary substantially – dependant more on construction status than the amount of traffic. Returning to Montreal around midnight after one tournament took well over an hour, with bridge repairs narrowing many stretches to one lane. As we discussed in our travel post about Montreal, road conditions are a fearsome obstacle to contend with.  If you’re staying in downtown Montreal, this is one of the Playground’s biggest drawbacks. Taking a bus or a short car ride to the Casino de Montreal becomes an attractive alternative in the winter when the weather is bad or you’re not feeling adventurous.

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