The New England poker rooms are our home turf. We’ve played at all of the major ones (6 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 12 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 five decent to very good poker rooms within a 20 mile radius. While a few rooms have closed or merged in recent years and most have lost tables (notably Encore Boston Harbor which went from 72 to 15 tables since 2019), New England still offers a healthy poker scene.
We have developed an approach to evaluating rooms, and written reviews of most of the New England poker rooms. With hundreds of New England poker room visits under our belts in the past five 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.
Dover Poker Room
Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: One of the newest rooms in New England, Dover is one of the few New Hampshire rooms with a healthy tournament draw. The poker room is brand new, well-appointed and comfortable.
Favorite Tournament?: The Sunday $90 tournament has a great structure marred only by the fact that it previously had an AMAZING structure which has since been watered down. Starting with 30,000 chips (with dealer add) and 30 minute blinds, this tournament’s structure offers some good play.
Drawbacks?: There are a smattering of mediocre dealers, but most dealers are very good. Also, by law New Hampshire card room revenues go partially to charity, thus the tournament rake is higher than you will find in other states.
What Else is Around?: Dover is near the New Hampshire seacoast. You can easily drive to any number of beaches from northern Massachusetts through southern Maine from here. Nearby Portsmouth is a small city gem with a great downtown and restaurant scene.
Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: Mohegan Sun in eastern Connecticut offers one of the most upscale of the New England poker rooms. Mohegan offers high ceilings, modern design and a comfortable playing space. The dealers are always professional and skilled, as is the floor staff. Mohegan offers a number of tournaments throughout the week as well as consistently active cash games. Our two Connecticut casino choices, this and Foxwoods, offer lower tournament rakes in comparison to the New Hampshire card rooms.
Favorite Tournament?: Monday 10am $150. This tournament offers a 20,000 chip starting stack, 20 minute blinds and no re-buys or add-ons. The field is generally not huge, 60-80 players is typical, but is a fun way to start a week. If you want to play for a little higher stakes and a bigger field, the Sunday 11am offers the same structure, but for a $250 entry and 25,000 chips.
Drawbacks?: Some of the players can be very serious about the play. Mohegan has more know-it-alls, scoff-at-others-players types than Foxwoods down the road.
What Else is Around?: Mohegan is a full scale casino so it offers a lot of entertainment, gaming, and dining options. We particularly enjoy Jasper White’s Summer Shack. Mohegan Sun’s primary hotel is very nice, but expensive. Mohegan is also just a short drive from the Rhode Island and Connecticut shorelines which are, of course, mobbed in the summer.
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Filotimo Poker Room
Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: Filotimo has a very large and well-lit main room, unusual among freestanding poker rooms. There is plenty of space between tables, and the chairs are comfortable. The relatively recent renovation made Filotimo even more appealing. The staff is top-notch, with some of the best dealers, floors, and wait staff around. The room seems to equally value tournament and cash play.
Favorite Tournament?: The Saturday Tournament (alternating $150 and $240 from week to week) offers one of the best structures in New England. With 30 minute blinds and a 35k ($150, with dealer add on) or 50k ($240 with add on) starting stack, this tournament runs long.
Drawbacks?: The Tuesday/Thursday $60/$60/$60 tournaments are not for the faint of heart. With all of the rebuy/add-on potential, many players in early rounds are aggressive to the point of recklessness. They either want to get big or plop down their rebuy and add-on. If you struggle against that style, stay clear. Also, Manchester’s cash scene can be very dry some nights.
What Else is Around?: If you are flying into the area, consider the Manchester airport as an alternative to the nightmare of Boston’s Logan. Manchester is the largest city in northern New England, so there are plenty of dining options downtown. The city is about 45 minutes from the coast, an hour from Boston, and 60-90 minutes to Lake Winnipesaukee and the White Mountains.With 12 rooms less than a 2 hour drive from Boston, New England offers one of the most vibrant and diverse poker environments in the country.Click To Tweet
Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: If you want the opportunity to play a variety of cash games, Foxwoods is far and away the best choice in New England. They are the largest poker room on the East Coast and draw both a faithful clientele and a lot of tourists and casual players. Chances are, if you don’t like the table you are playing, you can scan the room for a better situation. Foxwoods has been around for a couple of decades, so they know what they are doing. Despite large volumes, both the poker and wait staff work hard to keep everything rolling along.
Favorite Tournament?: Wednesday 4pm $260 tournament with 20 minute blinds. This tournament balances structure and cost in a way that draws a decent contingent of players. We lament the days of Foxwoods daily tournaments at better price points and variety. But this is the post-pandemic poker scene and we will take what we can get.
Drawbacks?: Lack of better price points and variety scene in previous years. Dealers are generally skilled, but there are some that can be quite cranky and seeming to hate their jobs.
What Else is Around?: Like Mohegan Sun, Foxwoods offers a full scale casino. Dining options range from the omnipresent Dunkin’ Donuts to high end upscale restaurants. The Golden Dragon has decent Chinese fare, but can get crowded on the weekends. Foxwoods also offers an outlet mall, so shopping is plentiful. Just 15-20 minutes away is Mystic, one of our favorite New England towns.
Why Top 5 in New England Poker Rooms?: Chasers is the most active cash room in the crowded New Hampshire poker scene. On weeknights there are typically 10-12 cash tables, and on Fridays and Saturdays there are 15-18. Other New Hampshire rooms may have 1-2 cash games going on a weekday at most. So if you get a bad table elsewhere, you’re stuck. At Chasers you’ll have a variety of table options.
Favorite Tournament?: None, sadly. When Chasers first opened they had some decent mid-week tournaments, but their cash business was clearly just too lucrative.
Drawbacks?: Chasers’ popularity sometimes brings long wait lists during peak hours. Get there early before the tables have maxed out. Of course, as stated above, tournament players need not apply
What Else is Around?: While the immediate area in Salem NH is not a tourist mecca, many attractions are reachable from there. Chasers is about a half hour drive from Boston and the same from the New Hampshire coastline. Head north and you’ll pass through Manchester and the state capital of Concord, and within 2 hours be in the White Mountains.
If you are an avid poker player living outside New England, plan an extended trip to the area. You will not be disappointed by the variety of options and depth of quality New England poker rooms.
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