Mohegan Sun Poker Room

5 Best Poker Rooms in New England

The New England poker rooms are our home turf. We’ve played at all of the major ones (10 tables or more), and several small rooms as well. Our go-to rooms have changed over the years, depending on budget, whether we were into cash or tournaments at the time, and staffing. Our very first go-to room, Rockingham, near Salem New Hampshire, no longer exists.

Nationally, the New England poker room scene has a lower profile than Florida, California, or Las Vegas. However, with 13 rooms less than a 2 hour drive from Boston, this region offers one of the most vibrant and diverse poker environments in the country. In southern New Hampshire alone there are seven decent to very good poker rooms within a 20 mile radius. With the Encore slated to open in Boston later this year, the  poker climate is only going to get richer in New England.

We have developed an approach to evaluating rooms, and written reviews of most of the New England poker rooms.  With dozens, if not hundreds, of New England poker room visits under our belts in the past few years, the time has come to name our favorites. We present them in no particular order, as some are favored over others for very different reasons.

The Poker Room at Hampton Falls

Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: The number of weekly tournaments, some with very good structures (see below). In fact, the best low-cost tournament structures in New England can be found not at Foxwoods or Mohegan sun, but right here in Hampton Falls. Hampton Falls has two levels, so the bigger tournaments have their own space downstairs apart from the cash and table games. The room is wood paneled, bright and airy and offers a nice atmosphere for tournament players. Finally, the floor managers at Hampton Falls are fabulous. We have not seen more professional, knowledgeable floors outside of a major casino.

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Long-term poker travel

4 Keys to Preparing for Long-Term Poker Travel

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. However, we love all of the products and services listed here. We promise! For more information, see our Disclosure page.

 

In a couple of years we plan to spend at least a year traveling the United States playing poker.  That goal is still more than 2 years away, but the planning has definitely begun. Constructing a lifestyle based on poker travel requires significant preparation. Creating the plan and communicating our discoveries is one reason that we started this blog.

We should define what we mean by long-term poker travel. We are hoping to play poker several times per week while maintaining financial viability and travelling around the country.  For poker players who have reached a comfortable retirement or are independently wealthy, the financial implications may be minor. For the rest of us, such a plan requires a delicate balance between freedom and flexibility and working to maintain economic stability. Our intended nationwide trip is still at least 3 years out. Yet sometimes it feels like we don’t have sufficient prep time.

There are four critical areas to address if you want to forge a successful poker travel lifestyle.

1. Improve at Poker

Even if you’re a solid recreational poker player, it can be a challenge to break even. The impact of rake and tipping in small stakes cash and tournament games is substantial.  On top of that, it seems like every year the average poker player gets better. A decade ago, there were very few good, solid players in low stakes games.  Today at any given table, half the players may be pretty good.

Show me 10 low stakes players who claim they are lifetime profitable, and I’ll show you 9.7 liars.

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MGM Springfield Poker Room Review

MGM Springfield Poker Room Review

The opening of the MGM Springfield in August 2018 brought in the era of full scale casinos in Massachusetts. It beat the highly anticipated Encore’s target opening by a full year. With the first legal poker room in the state, the MGM Springfield is an early indicator of Massachusetts’ ability to match up against the established Connecticut poker scene. Economic indicators in the first months have been mixed, but generally the start has been strong. The MGM Springfield poker room has been growing over its first 4 months, recently adding a few weekly tournaments.

The Caveat

We celebrated the 2019 New Year with a visit to the MGM Springfield poker room (a 75 minute drive for us) and its standing Tuesday morning tournament. We came away unfortunately frustrated, and able to assign only an incomplete score to the MGM Springfield poker room itself.  In short, we came to play a New Year’s Day tournament, and despite arriving just 5 minutes after the start, found we were alternates 14 and 15.  This seemed surprising, as the room was not nearly full. We discovered that the MGM was only able to run 2 tournament tables because (they claimed) several dealers had called in sick.  A regular player, however, commented that management did not plan for an uptick in volume on New Year’s Day. This indicates that the Tuesday tournament has a small showing in general. So buyer beware if planning to play a tournament here in the near future.

One of the floors did open a third table during the second level and dealing himself, but that still left us out in the cold.  By level 3 the alternate list was back up to 15-18 people beyond the 30 seated. As that level neared an end with no additional dealers in sight and the next level bringing the starting stack  down to 50 blinds, we abandoned hope, got our money back, and headed to Foxwoods.

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Boston Billiards Poker Room Entrance

The Boston Billiard Club & Casino Poker Room Review

Holding down the New Hampshire poker scene at the central Massachusetts border are the Boston Billiard poker room and The River.  The Boston Billiard Club (or BBC) offers distinct advantages to the Central Massachusetts and Southwest New Hampshire poker player. Making inroads against the established Manchester Poker Room 15-20 minutes north, and the cash game venue Chasers to the east, is no easy task however. The BBC is currently seeking to broaden their appeal, revamping their website and adding a couple of new poker tournaments to their weekly schedule.

Setting and Non-Poker Amenities

The Boston Billiard poker room is just a couple of minutes off Route 3 in New Hampshire, about 10 minutes north of the Massachusetts line.  The neighborhood doesn’t hold much promise, as The Boston Billiard Club sits in a nondescript industrial park. However, the inside of the Boston Billiard Club quickly sets a very upscale tone. You walk into the attractive open space of a large billiards room. Up and to the left is an equally attractive bar area, to the right the greeter station and then an event room with a few pool tables. That event room is particularly stunning, with elegant wood framed bookcases encircling the room. There are several comfortable chairs and couches around the main and event room. The difference in tone between the outside and inside of the BBC is among the greatest we’ve seen. Only the Playground Poker Room near Montreal even comes close.

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Best things to do in Boston - Boston Common

The 9 Best Things to Do in Boston

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. However, we love all of the products and services listed here. We promise! For more information, see our Disclosure page.

When you grow up near a city, you sometimes take it for granted. You may figure you have all the time in the world to see the sites. That has certainly been true for me, living 30 minutes outside of Boston for the past two decades.  Every time we get up the energy to make the trip into the big city, we’re reminded how much we love Boston. The scope of entertainment, cultural, and scenic pleasures in the greater Boston area seems limitless. If you find yourself heading for the “Hub” (of the Universe, of course), these are our picks for the nine best things to do in Boston.

While we could share dozens of favorite activities in and around Boston, we’ll stick to the highlights. One caveat: Boston is not the easiest city to drive in (an understatement of the greatest magnitude). Do yourself a favor and leave the car at home. Instead, take advantage of the aging but sufficient rail system (MBTA or the “T”). Or if budget allows, use Uber/Lyft or cabs. Nothing ruins the Boston experience more than driving in it.

Boston Common/Public Garden

The Boston Common is not only one of the best things to do in Boston – it’s also free! A bucolic space in the middle of a dense urban area is always refreshing. Starting your visit to Boston in the Common will help you get a sense of the scope of the city while enjoying its more pastoral side. While the Common lacks the massive scope of New York’s Central Park, it provides a similar respite from the bustling city scape. Beside the lush greenery, features include the Frog Pond, which operates in various seasons as a reflecting pool, children’s spray pool, and ice rink. The Public Garden houses not only a plethora of seasonal floral offerings, but the iconic Swan Boat rides and the bronze ducks made famous in the classic children’s book Make Way for Ducklings. At Christmas, the Common is transformed into a magical landscape of lights and winter cheer. Finally, if you ignored our advice to leave your car at home, some of the most reasonable parking in Boston can be found in the giant lot that lies beneath the Common.

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