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.
The Casino’s recent purchase by the Nevada company Belknap Gaming has not yet led to any changes in the facility. However, we will keep you updated as things transpire.
Setting and Non-Poker Amenities
The exterior of the Lakes Region casino is in keeping with the surroundings: an attractive mix of wood and stone. The entrance has an attractive covered carport. It is a nice feature if you want to drop someone off when it is raining and for smokers on break seeking shade. When you enter the Lakes Region Casino you step right into the poker room which contains 10 poker tables, a roulette wheel, and blackjack table. The room is large, with plenty of space between tables and nice high ceilings. The poker room as a whole is clean and uncluttered and the rustic feel is preserved inside.
The Lakes Region casino is open Wednesday through Sunday and hosts tournaments on Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays. The building also holds Bluesology, a pub that serves the poker room and is a self-standing restaurant. Bluesology has a blues music decor, and a nice open atmosphere. The pub has about 10 beers on tap. The menu consists mostly of burgers, salads and traditional appetizers (e.g., potato skins, nachos, mozzarella sticks, chicken tenders). The food is pretty solid pub fare.
Lakes Region Casino Poker Room Comfort
The large room and high ceilings give the feel of fresh air flow. Air conditioning, as with most poker rooms, works a little too well in the summer. The lighting is very good, not too bright to be glaring, but enough to see your cards. There are two medium sized TVs on one wall and a row of small TVs on another.
The tables are reasonably sized and fitted with new felts. Chairs are moderately comfortable, better than those at some other New Hampshire rooms, but not as comfortable as the Concord Casino down the road. The chips are clean, but so worn that it is difficult to tell one denomination from another across the table. In fact, you have to be careful to sort your own chips correctly, as some of the edge colors are worn clear off.
One notable downside to the Lakes Region Casino was that the cell reception is terrible in the mountains, and the room’s wifi is spotty at best.
Poker Room Staff
The dealers, floors, and wait staff are all very pleasant. The wait staff circle frequently and are very responsive. Dealer skill (and interest) levels are highly variable. Some dealers are very slow and deliberate. One was frequently confused as to whose action it was, and did not seem to know how to split a pot in one of the tournaments we have played there. Other dealers are more skilled and attentive. Overall, the dealer skill level was typical for most small rooms in New Hampshire. The floors are generally on top of the tournament action, announcing blind increases in a timely manner, and always available when there are questions.The Lakes Region Casino is an attractive room in a nice country setting.Click To Tweet
Players at the Lakes Region Casino Poker Room
Tournaments at Lakes are pretty small. They max out at around 26 players over three tables. There are generally one or two active cash tables going, and the blackjack table is often hopping. The tournament players skew older than the average tournament we have played elsewhere, with women well-represented.
Play is often odd at Lakes. The players are probably the most loose passive we have seen. Many players are in 50% or more of pots, even when blinds get big. People limp with their entire range too: I have never seen so many limped premium pairs. While a couple of players may have been trapping, others just seemed content to limp with QQ and see if they dodge aces and kings on the flop. Once I raised big early with AK, and got 4 callers out of 7 at the table. One woman called an all in with Q9 suited against KK, and flopped her flush. The loser in the hand could not get out of the room fast enough.
Some of the play may be fueled by the fact that most everyone at the Lakes Region Casino knows one another. Most of the players seem to be regulars. Players are generally very friendly, but clearly know each other’ styles and will comment good-naturedly about others’ tendencies.
The Lakes Region Casino has tournaments scheduled three days a week. Historically, there has been quite a bit of variety in the tournaments, although the current month’s tournaments appear static depending upon the day of the week. Tournaments definitely vary from month to month, so checking their schedule is your best bet. Regardless of tournament set up, the blind structures are unfortunately quite aggressive in general, especially compared to other New Hampshire rooms such as Filotimo or the Concord Casino.
A nice aspect of the Lakes Region Casino is the voluntary bad beat buy in. Rather than taking more money out of the pot for a tournament bad beat, players are offered the option to voluntarily contribute to the bad beat (and thus be eligible if it hits). I would love to see more rooms adopt this policy.
The tournament clock shows you the time left in the level, but not much else. If you want to know the number remaining in the tournament, you just have to look around the room. If you want to know average stack, you have to be good at math.
There are typically one to two tables of cash poker running at Lakes Region when a tournament is not in full swing. Unfortunately, Lakes does not report to Poker Atlas or Bravo, so we do not know their numbers in detail as we do for other poker rooms in New England. However, it is safe to say that you will typically find only $1/$2 cash poker being played here.
Overall Assessment of the Lakes Region Casino Poker Room
The Lakes Region Casino is remote, but picturesque. It’s a nice stop for any poker player vacationing near the New Hampshire lakes region. Tournament play requires adjusting to very loose passive play, but if you adjust it can be an enjoyable and likely successful, experience for more skilled players. If you can enjoy the setting and the pleasant staff and players it will make tolerating the uneven dealer quality easier. Overall, the Lakes Region Casino is a nice experience for the casual player looking for a low intensity small room.
The Lakes Region Casino is remote, but picturesque. It’s a nice stop for any poker player vacationing near the New Hampshire lakes region. For the tournament player, it provides good value: low buy-ins with acceptable structures. Tournament play requires adjusting to very loose passive play, but if you adjust it can be an enjoyable and likely successful, experience for more skilled players.