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.

The Casino was purchased a couple of years ago by the Nevada company Belknap Gaming and has seen significant updates. There is a beautiful new poker room, more gaming tables, and about 30 HHR slot machines ringing the central space.

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 gaming room which contains a number of gaming tables, a roulette wheel, and about 30 HHR slot machines. The room is large, with plenty of space between tables and nice high ceilings. Through the main room, there is now a separate poker room in back (this room used to be the bingo hall). The poker room is a bit bland, but has windows along one wall and is bright and cheerful.

The Lakes Region casino is now open seven days a week and hosts tournaments on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 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

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, natural light in a poker room is such a gift. TVs ring the room as is generally standard in a poker room.

There are brand new tables, chairs, cards, and best of all chips. While the chips are branded, the tables and cards are not. (Interestingly, the gaming tables in the front rooms are branded). The new chips were sorely needed, and are a welcome addition to LRC. The chairs are padded, adjustable, and very comfortable. The tables have padded rails and drink cups, but no shufflers or charging ports.

We are happy to note that the owners have also managed to somehow upgrade the cell service here. Even in the parking lot, cell signal was readily available.

Poker Room Staff

The dealers, floors, and wait staff are all very pleasant. The wait staff circle frequently and are very responsive. The new group of dealers are more skilled and attentive than we have experienced before. All were fast, professional, and friendly. Overall, the dealer skill level was higher than we have seen in other 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.

Players at the Lakes Region Casino Poker Room

Tournaments at Lakes have also increased in size. The lack of other local options (due to the closing of the Concord Casino and reduction in tournaments elsewhere), has clearly boosted the Lakes’ player pool. The tournament that we played on a Friday night (which was a re-entry tournament) yielded 61 entries, although we would guess there were closer to 40 bodies in the room. The gaming room in the front of the building was hopping even when we arrived at 4:30pm. Many of the slot machines were in use, and the blackjack and NH 21 tables were well manned. The tournament players skew older than the average tournament we have played elsewhere, with women well-represented.

Play is still 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. Many 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.



Tournament Structures

The Lakes Region Casino has tournaments scheduled four 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.

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.

APT

Cash Play

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. Following the buyout, the poker room has been notably improved, and recent changes in New Hampshire poker have made it a much more attractive tournament option. Nonetheless, tournament play requires adjusting to very loose passive play. If you adjust it can be an enjoyable and likely successful, experience for more skilled players. Overall, the Lakes Region Casino is  a nice experience for the casual player looking for a low intensity small room.

Updated 5/15/2024

  • Comfort
  • Tournament Structures
  • Personnel
3.7

Summary

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.

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