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.
Setting and Non-Poker Amenities
The Concord Casino is happily situated in downtown Concord. With numerous dining options, hotels, and cultural opportunities just steps away, the location is pretty ideal. We spent a wonderful night at the Hotel Concord, just a few blocks away, and can recommend it highly for those who are willing to pay a bit more for a nice room in a lovely spot. It was a real treat to be able to stroll back to our hotel after a few hours of poker, rather than settling in for a long drive home.
In the southern foothills of the White Mountains, Concord offers ample opportunities to enjoy the natural world. While there we took a short drive out to the Swope Loop Trail and enjoyed a short but challenging hike. The big payoff came about halfway through when we got a clear view of Long Loop Lake from the side of the hill.
The Concord Casino building itself hosts The Draft sports bar on the main floor. The Draft offers a solid menu with everything from pub food to sandwiches, full dinners, pizza, and seafood. True to their name, the draft beer menu is truly impressive. We counted 24 beers on tap the night that we were there, including several excellent IPAs. The restaurant has won a number of regional awards for their food. We ordered a couple of appetizers from the menu, and both were excellent.If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate, poker room in central New Hampshire, the Concord Casino offers an excellent choice.Click To Tweet
Concord Casino Poker Room Comfort
The Concord Casino tournament poker room fills the top floor of the building. While the room is relatively small, it hosts five attractive poker tables, decently spaced apart. The ceilings are generous, and the room is ringed with large televisions. The room was generally quiet, free of smoke, and well-lit.
The tables are clean and attractive with padded rails. But the chairs, oh the chairs! The chairs in the Concord Casino are easily the most comfortable chairs we have ever sat in at a poker table. Fashioned after video gaming chairs, the seats are large, wheeled, adjustable, and well padded. These chairs boast neck support and even adjustable armrests. I wish I could take these chairs with me to every venue I play in the future.
The tables, cards, chips, chairs, and the room as a whole were all clean. The cards were just quality home game cards and not branded in any way. Tournaments are currently running eight-handed here, leaving a comfortable amount of space around the table. Doors along one wall opened to a nice deck, letting a pleasant breeze into the room. Overall, playing at the Concord Casino was quite a pleasant experience.
Poker Room Staff
The dealers at the Concord Casino were generally quite good. We were happy to see one of our old dealers from Hampton Falls (now defunct) dealing here. The waitress supporting the tournament room was exceptional. She kept people in drinks and dinner despite the fact that she had to run up and down the stairs each time there was a new order to fill. The staff was uniformly friendly, courteous, and welcoming.
The tournament director did a good job keeping on top of the tournament when he was present. Unfortunately, one of the downsides of having a poker establishment split across three levels is that there was often no floor in the tournament room. Tables occasionally got quite out of balance. Fortunately, one of the dealers would generally take it upon himself to get the tables back into balance.
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Players at Concord Casino Poker Room
There were 27 entries in the tournament that we played, initially spread across four tables. The players at the Concord Casino were generally quite friendly. As a small room, the tournament crowd appeared to mainly consist of regulars who know each other well. However, the players were open to newcomers, and we found the atmosphere to be jovial and quite pleasant. Player quality seemed to be a fairly typical mix of styles and ability. There were a few very tight players, but others frequently took shots at pots.
The Concord Casino offers tournaments on Saturday and Sunday afternoons and Tuesday evenings. The Sunday tournament is a $150 entry with no re-entry and the Tuesday is a $40 entry with rebuy and add-on opportunities. Saturdays tournaments vary in buy-ins from $30 to $150 with a variety of structures. All tournaments have a $10 dealer add-on for 10,000 chips and generally feature on-time bonus chips as well. It appears that most tournaments here get 20 to 30 players.
One interesting twist compared with other local rooms is that Concord Casino has 30-minute blinds for the first 3-4 levels, then switches to 20-minute blinds for the remainder of the tournament. This allows for some nice extended deep stack play. The structure allowed you to settle in and have time to get a read on other players. The blind escalations are pretty gradual as well, having 6-levels through the 600/1200 level. The only really big jump was from 1,000/2,000 to 2,000/4,000. This tournament also had no antes! Neither traditional antes nor big blind antes. All of this led to pretty reasonable play throughout the tournament.
Overall, the Concord Casino gets huge props for providing a variety of interesting tournament formats. If there is a downside to the New Hampshire poker tournament scene right now, it is that there is a sameness to a lot of the existing structures. The Concord Casino, along with Lakes Region, breaks this pattern.
Overall Assessment of the Concord Casino Poker Room
If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate, poker room in central New Hampshire, the Concord Casino offers an excellent choice. Set at the end of downtown’s main drag, the location is excellent, and Concord offers plenty of interesting activities for a two or three day stay. The poker room is clean and airy, and the poker chairs are our new favorites. Players and staff alike are friendly and welcoming. With varying tournament structures, reasonable buy-ins and a lack of antes, this is a room we will return to again.
The Concord Casino has significant expansion plans for a new location later this year. If and when they move, we will return to update our review!
If you are looking for a smaller, more intimate, poker room in central New Hampshire, the Concord Casino offers an excellent choice. The poker room is clean and airy, and the poker chairs are our new favorites. Players and staff alike are friendly and welcoming. With varying tournament structures, reasonable buy-ins and a lack of antes, this is a room we will return to again.