The Filotimo Casino, previously reviewed as Manchester Poker Room and Casino has had a very successful year. While always a large and successful room, Filotimo Casino has pretty much cemented its place in the hearts of New England’s tournament playing poker community. Their first successful move last year was to completely renovate the space during the pandemic shut-down. While always a comfortable place to play, Manchester Poker Room was previously relatively dark (and windowless) as a result of its past as a movie theater. However, the new Filotimo Casino poker room is bright and airy, with a wall of glass along one side of the room.
Along with the beautiful renovation, Filotimo Casino added Draft Kings to their offerings. While Filotimo’s table games have always been popular, Draft Kings appears to have increased their draw even further. No poker room in New England has evolved as much in their poker offerings, gambling/gaming opportunities, and physical space combined in the past several years as much as has Filotimo.
Filotimo Casino has also been the lone poker room in all of New England to maintain a significant tournament presence throughout the past difficult year. While facing reduced capacity (rooms in the state spent many months restricted to 6 handed tables), most other New Hampshire poker rooms suspended tournaments in favor of lucrative six-handed cash play. Filotimo Casino, however, brought back tournament play as soon as they could and became a consistent tournament draw throughout the region. Players have been traveling from as far as Connecticut to play Filotimo’s Saturday tournament, as Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun seem to be in no hurry to resume tournament play. As table size restrictions relax, New Hampshire competitors (primarily the Boston Billiards Club and the Brook) have been slow to bring back tournaments as well. Rumors abound that Filotimo may be the only large tournament game in the region for the foreseeable future.
Setting and Non-Poker Amenities
The Manchester Poker Room is just a minute off Route 293, an offshoot of route 93, the major north-south expressway that bisects New Hampshire. Despite its geographic convenience, when you leave the highway it’s a bit tricky to find on a road that is very heavily trafficed. The main entrance to the poker room sits behind a set of retail stores, and it’s very soon after the highway exit. So just stay aware and look for the Filotimo and Casino signs once you exit the highway. South Willow Street is packed with strip malls, fast food outlets, car dealerships, and gas stations. On the opposite side of Route 293 is the Mall of New Hampshire. So if you have shopping and dining needs, you will be well-served in the immediate area.
As mentioned above, Filotimo recently went through a major renovation and now hosts a very attractive poker room, fresh Draft Kings sales windows (and machines), a newly separate room for table games, a shiny new bar, and renovated tavern.
The South Side Tavern lies beside Manchester’s game rooms, and provides food and beverages to the poker rooms. The Tavern’s menu is extensive, with a wide array of appetizers, sandwiches, salads, pasta, pizza, and Greek fare. We have eaten there on a couple of occasions and can attest that their food is excellent and their draft beer selection is more than sufficient. You won’t go hungry or thirsty here! The South Side Tavern also offers entertainment. On our most recent visit, local artist Pete Peterson’s creative covers were a joy to listen to as we ate our dinner.
Filotimo Casino Poker Room Comfort
Filotimo’s new poker room is a real delight. The glass wall brings in natural light and affords Filotimo one of the brightest, most comfortable poker rooms in New England. There is good spacing between tables, and the chairs are quite comfortable. There are numerous large TV screens throughout the facility, with sports featured on most. The only drawback to the new poker room is the noise level. The room is just plain loud. During a recent tournament, I could barely hear the player next to me, let alone those across the table. This held true even late in the tournament when the number of players in the room was much diminished.
Filotimo boasts 24 tables, making it the largest poker room in the state, and possibly all of New England. One standout feature of the Filotimo Poker Room is the tables themselves: nice clean, attractive with bright purple felt. The tables feature padded rails and drink cups, and while some are a bit faded from use, they are kept impressively clean. The chips and cards are also clean, making for a pleasant physical environment. While the cash tables feature USB ports, several that I tried out were inactive. However, there are plenty of plugs throughout the facility for those who might need to juice up their cell phones at the end of a long day of play.
Poker Room Staff
The staff welcomes you to the new cage with a friendly and enthusiastic greeting. There is a nice informal and open atmosphere. In contrast to some other rooms, you get the feeling that the Filotimo staff do not take themselves too seriously. The dealers are generally friendly and talkative and highly competent. Essentially all of the dealers were very skilled, and things moved along well in the two recent tournaments we played. The floors do a good job overseeing the room and were extremely quick to balance short-handed tables.
The wait staff was exemplary. They came by frequently to ask for orders and were friendly, active, and efficient. The Filotimo Casino Poker Room creates a customer-focused environment, catering toward the fun and enjoyment end of the poker experience.Filotimo Casino's recent renovation has created the most pleasant poker room in New Hampshire. Bright, airy and clean, the poker room is just plain nice to sit in.Click To Tweet
Players at Filotimo Casino Poker Room
As the only large tournament game in town, Filotimo is now drawing players from the entire New England poker community. On our last visit we encountered players we have previously known from Hampton Falls, The Brook, the River, and Boston Billiards Club. So it is difficult at this moment to encapsulate playing tendencies beyond saying that they are all over the map. Nonetheless, the room clearly has a strong core base of regulars. They know each other’s games and will talk a bit of friendly trash. There are also clearly many internal rivalries. All of this creates almost a large home game feel. The core players tend toward aggressive and a bit wild. This can make it a challenge to play a lot of hands, particularly before the break. At break, more players add on than not, and players often will double-add on, if they can.
Filotimo has recently upgraded their Saturday tournament structure to rival the best in New England. The 1pm tournament has a $150 buy in and 30 minute blind levels. The starting stack is 25k with another 10k added for a $10 dealer add on. While the big blind ante starts in the third level, levels start moving up gradually and only accelerate at around level 9. Note that this tournament is very popular, and we strongly recommend that you buy in well ahead of the tournament start to avoid being placed on the (often long) alternate list.
On Tuesday and Thursday evenings, the buy-in is $50 (for 15,000 chips). They also offer a $10 staff bonus for an additional 10,000 chips which, of course, everyone avails themselves of. Blinds are 20 minutes long. These tournaments offer an initial buy-in, a single rebuy, and an add-on. If you do not need to rebuy, you may add on twice by the end of the first break. After break, the average player has a bit over their original buy-in, the staff bonus, plus one add-on. The structure lends itself to loose play, as most players will chase flush or straight draws early on looking to build their stack or bust and rebuy.
The structure is good overall, although much more aggressive than on Saturday. Big blind antes do not kick in until the sixth level of 600-1200. You don’t reach the 2,000-4,000 stage until the 10th level. If you keep your stack viable, you can get several hours of legitimate play before shove or fold territory approaches. Most of all, the pools in these tournaments get very large for a regular tournament with such a low initial buy-in. Top prize on our recent trip was $4,000 (with 117 entrants). If you stuck with your original $70 buy-in, you’d be playing for a top prize of over 57x your investment (even with one add-on, it would be 30x your investment, which is not bad at all).
Cash Play at Filotimo Casino Poker Room
Filotimo is one of the less active cash rooms in the area, serving more as tournament specialists. Filotimo averages three to five tables of $1/$2 or $1/$3 NLH across the week. There are rarely active tables at higher blinds levels. Other New Hampshire rooms that are closer to the Massachusetts border – Chasers, Boston Billiard Club & Casino, and The Brook – have more active cash games (and are more likely to have $2/$5 games and/or a PLO table or two). Waitlists at Chasers and the Boston Billiard Club, however, have generally been long on active nights. Filotimo has had fewer players on waitlists during this time, leading to shorter waits to get on a cash table.
Overall Assessment of the Filotimo Casino Poker Room
Filotimo Casino’s recent renovation has created the most pleasant poker room in New Hampshire. Bright, airy and clean, the poker room is just plain nice to sit in. If not for the high level of noise of the room, it might be my favorite room in New England. The staff is friendly, relaxed, and gregarious while maintaining a high level of competence. If loose, aggressive play is not a style you love playing against, Filotimo will be tough, but if you like mixing it up with such players, you’ll enjoy yourself.
Overall, this is an attractive, well-run room with quality staff. And if you are looking for a consistently large tournament crowd in New Hampshire, Filotimo is your spot.
Filotimo Casino’s recent renovation has created the most pleasant poker room in New Hampshire. Bright, airy and clean, the poker room is just plain nice to sit in. If not for the incredible noise of the room, it might be my favorite physical room in New England. The staff are friendly, relaxed, and gregarious while maintaining a high level of competence. The downside is the strongly cohesive player population which can create an atmosphere making you feel like an outsider. And if loose, aggressive play is not a style you love playing against, Filotimo will be tough.