UPDATE: As of June 2020, Seabrook has rebranded itself once again as “The Brook” now that they have finished their next round of renovations. They have also absorbed many of the staff from the now defunct Hampton Falls Poker Room.
The old Seabrook Park poker room needed a facelift like no other poker room in New England. Seabrook’s glory days had passed long ago, and the physical plant was crumbling down. From a roof that leaked even when it wasn’t raining, to chairs that felt like torture devices, Seabrook poker had seen better days. In 2019, new ownership came in and immediately announced plans to renovate the building. Unlike most construction projects in New England, their “immediately” actually meant “now”, and their initial timeline lasted weeks, not years.
Out of the ashes, The Brook has risen. We have banished our old review of Seabrook Park poker to the archives, now irrelevant.
The Brook is conveniently located less than a mile off Interstate 95 (exit 2) in New Hampshire. The site housed live greyhound racing before it was banned in New Hampshire. There remains a very active simulcast racing area (the last remaining simulcast site in New Hampshire). There is a massive parking lot out front, so finding a space is never an issue.
If you are wrapping poker into a wider experience, Seabrook Park is just a few miles from several of the largest beach communities in New Hampshire. About 20 to 25 minutes north on 95, you can enjoy one of New England’s best small cities, Portsmouth. Or you can head a bit inland to one of our favorite towns, Exeter.
The Brook Non-Poker Amenities
The remodeled facility features a wide variety of table games, a roulette wheel, a sports book, a large viewing area, and simulcast racing. The current cafe style “tavern” has been completely refinished with a nice faux wood floor, several high-top tables and seating around the bar area. In a nice touch, the tabletops are embedded with old Seabrook Park poker chips. The beer options have been significantly expanded and improved with the addition of nice IPAs and regional microbrews. While we have not eaten from the redesigned menu (which has a nice range of reasonable price options), other patron reviews are mixed.
The simulcast racing room is always hopping on weekends. Several poker players split their time between race betting and intermittently playing their hands.
The Brook Poker Room Comfort
The 12 table poker room’s physical transformation has been phenomenal. From a broken down and uncomfortable environment, the room is now warm and inviting. The room features subdued but rich paint and rope-wrapped columns. Rooms are carpeted and currently in great shape. The chairs, while not adjustable, are well-padded. New tables offer drink holders and USB ports. Large TV screens play various sporting events, and there is a lot of energy in the room in general.
Poker Room Staff
One of the reasons we stopped playing at the old Seabrook Park room was the uneven quality of dealers. Dealers also rotated far less often than in other rooms. If you started with a bad dealer, sometimes you were stuck with that person for almost two hours. The Brook did and does feature some excellent dealers, but the ratio of excellent to weak had slipped. Fortunately, Seabrook Park’s transformation into The Brook appears to have prioritized retaining the best dealers. Polite and attentive wait staff at The Brook circulates frequently.
The one downside of The Brook’s current staffing lies with floor personnel. While some are excellent, others are very inattentive, and almost customer-averse.The Seabrook Park poker room transformation into the Brook has been phenomenal.Click To Tweet
Players at The Brook Poker Room
The players at the Brook encompass a wide range of both age and ability. They tend to be tight passive or loose passive. Most players are long-term regulars, so a sense of familiarity and camaraderie predominates. The Brook also features a number of “characters” – most very pleasant and entertaining. However, a contingent of players who seem to be miserable playing poker frequent the poker room as well.
The Brook has not run tournaments for two years now, and appears to have no intention of resuming them. This, along with the closure of Hampton Falls poker room, has created a tournament void along the New Hampshire seacoast. Until and unless a new poker room moves in to fill this void, tournament players’ best bet is to head West to Filotimo Poker Room in Manchester.
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Cash Game Activity
The Brook poker room has experienced an uptick in cash game activity in the past two years. Weekdays offer four to five $1/$2 tables, with an occasional $2/$5 table mixed in. Weekends will see up to seven $1/$2 tables. While these are increases over prior numbers, The Boston Billiard Club and Chasers (both to the West), offer more cash action.
Overall Assessment of the Brook Poker Room
We admit to an emotional component to our embrace of the Brook’s rebirth. Despite its former challenges, Seabrook was our first regular poker room. We feel great affection for many of the dealers and other players. When the dealer quality declined and Seabrook’s other challenges became more glaring, we sought other options. Kudos to the new ownership for the Brook’s transformation. However, the loss of tournament poker on the New Hampshire seacoast lies at The Brook’s doorstep, and we feel it keenly.
The Brook’s facility has come far from the fading relic it was two years ago. The environment and playing experience have been enhanced immeasurably. With consistently strong dealers and a warm, inviting physical environment, the Brook now offers a welcoming environment for local cash players.