River Casino Poker Room

The River Casino Poker Room Review

The River Casino & Sports Bar in downtown Nashua, NH adds a quirky, unique character to the New Hampshire poker scene. This is forged by The River’s location and setting, but also by the competition. The River Casino moved a few years ago from Milford, NH to the more populated Nashua. At that time, it entered immediate competition with the newly opened, and more upscale, Boston Billiard Club Casino.

Lacking the seacoast draw of some New Hampshire competitors (Hampton Falls and Seabrook), the bucolic appeal of others (Lakes Region), or the closer to Boston Salem-based Chasers, The River has to leverage its strengths.  The feel of a small-city neighborhood bar pervades the River Casino with familiarity breading bonding among players.

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Turning Stone Casino Poker Room

Turning Stone Casino Poker Room Review

The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York sits about halfway between Albany and Buffalo. While Turning Stone is in a less populated section of New York, the convenience of being right off I-90 makes it very accessible. Accessible is a good word to describe Turning Stone in general. This is a full service casino with many dining options, a full suite of slots and table games, and several hotels/inns.  Turning Stone’s moderate size and brighter than normal casino atmosphere give it a very welcoming vibe.

That vibe continues in the poker room. An airy room with comfortable chairs and exceptional dealers, Turning Stone’s poker room quickly vaulted to the top of our list.

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Rivers Casino Poker Room

The Rivers Casino Poker Room Review

The Rivers Casino and Resort sits, appropriately enough, on the banks of the Mohawk River in Schenectady New York.  The Rivers is a rarity among casinos, one that did not allow dreams to overwhelm practicality. It is a small casino encompassing all of the key features of a bigger casino: a hotel, several decent dining options, and all the slots, table games, and poker options that one could want. It is also a relative newcomer to the scene, opening in early 2017. We found The Rivers Casino Poker Room to be an excellent addition to the poker options in the Northeast.

On this trip, we stayed a couple of nights in Schenectady at a hotel about a mile from the casino. We did not spend much time exploring Schenectady, but enjoyed a nice lunch at a small restaurant called Bel Cibo. There were a lot of closed storefronts downtown and many buildings in need of significant renovation, but there were signs, including The Rivers, that Schenectady is a city making efforts to return from tough economic times.

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Lakes Region Casino Poker Room

Lakes Region Casino Poker Room Review

The Lakes Region Casino poker room has perhaps the prettiest setting of all of the New Hampshire poker rooms.  Nestled about a half an hour above the state capital of Concord and 15 minutes below Laconia, this poker room sits on a hillside surrounded by trees. “Bucolic” is an understatement. The Loudon race track is just a few miles down the road, so things get crowded when events are happening there.

Route 106 which passes in front of the casino is a gateway to the Eastern Edge of Winnisquam Lake and the southern edge of Lake Winnipesaukee.  So the summer and fall vacationers provide some traffic. But mostly the Lakes Region Casino provides a relaxed country setting for players in central New Hampshire.

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Keene Casino Poker Room

Keene Casino Poker Room Review

The Keene Casino poker room lies on the periphery of the New Hampshire poker room scene.  Located in southwest New Hampshire, Keene draws  a completely different player-base than the highly competitive central-eastern region. Unsurprisingly, this gives it a distinctive character.

Unfortunately, we visited Keene Casino on a very slow Saturday (it was a very nice day in June).  We registered during the first level and were the 6th and 7th people to do so. Although management assured us that people would continue to buy in, the tournament maxed out at 9 entries.  No cash tables started while we were there. A couple of people wandered in and played blackjack. There were a lot of staff milling about with little to do. So this review should probably come with an “incomplete” stamp.

Setting and Non-Poker Amenities

The journey to Keene provides a pretty, bucolic ride. There are no major highways that run through Keene, so you’ll approach from one of the smaller New Hampshire country highways. Keene itself has about 23,000 residents and is the seat and largest city of Cheshire County.  As with many former mill towns of New England, the area swooned with the manufacturing declines of the 20th century.

Keene has successfully recreated itself into an artsy, bustling destination. It is now a quaint college town (Keene State College and Antioch University New England are located there) amidst the scenic Monadnock mountain region. Although there are signs that Keene is still in transition. Several storefronts on Main Street are looking for tenants, and social services buildings abound.  On the other hand, there are a number of interesting restaurants and clearly an active arts culture.

The Keene Casino poker room is housed in an attractive brick building a half mile west of Main Street.  Directly across from the front door is the Elm City Brewing Company. Inside, the poker room is no less attractive, with a brick interior and skylights in the ceiling.  The 4 table cash area is on the first floor, has an all glass sunroom with roulette and blackjack tables. Upstairs is on open loft with a 6 table tournament area. The wood beams further the rustic warm appeal.  It is definitely the sunniest card room we have ever played in. However, the random clutter propped up against the walls does distract from the positive feng shui a bit.

There was space for a restaurant and bar.  But there was so few players, and little eating, that it’s hard to assess food quality and service issues. A waitress did not visit the table at any point during our play.

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