The Lebanon Poker Room and Casino is a small poker room (8 tables) in Lebanon New Hampshire. It is connected to the larger Filotimo Casino and Poker Room in Manchester, the Keene Casino Poker Room in Keene, and a couple of other small rooms across New Hampshire. As a result, the structure of Lebanon’s single weekly tournament will feel familiar to those players who frequent the other rooms.
Setting and Non-Poker Amenities
The Lebanon Poker room can be found off I-89 just south of the border between New Hampshire and Vermont. The area surrounding the Lebanon poker room is lovely. There are a number of restaurants and shops just behind the building. A short walk takes you to historic downtown Lebanon with a park, town hall, and even an opera house.
There are a number of intriguing restaurants a quick walk from the Lebanon Poker room. We chose to eat before the tournament at Lalo’s Taqueria, a fabulous little taco restaurant within 100 feet of the poker room. We highly recommend it. There are several restaurants in the building as well. The poker room itself is attached to an interesting bar/pizza place/Greek restaurant. The bar is called The Cave, and is decorated as such.
Lebanon is about an hour up 89 from Concord NH and just a few minutes from Dartmouth College, White River Junction, and Queechee Gorge in Vermont. Woodstock Vermont is about 20 minutes up the road as well. If you wanted to make a weekend of it, there are plenty of local attractions to occupy you when you are not actively playing poker.
The poker room sits inside what looks to be an office building. While it is a rather strange environment for a poker room, it mostly works. The Lebanon Poker Room shares the building with a charter school, a community college, several restaurants, and a few other businesses. The poker room itself sits in a snug room with large frosted windows along one wall. The biggest drawback of the Lebanon Poker Room’s strange home is the fact that there are only two single-stall bathrooms (one each for men and women) down the hall. Breaks are a free-for-all among those needing to use the facilities.
The poker room contains eight poker tables, a roulette wheel, and three table games.
Lebanon Poker Room Comfort
The eight poker tables are relatively simple, with padded rails but no built-in cup-holders or other amenities. The felts are clean but worn, as they have clearly seen extensive use. The chairs are padded and comfortable, but again lack the frills of larger, fancier card rooms, as they are not adjustable and don’t have wheels or arms. The chips look suspiciously like the old Rockingham poker chips, even down to the colors. However, they were extremely clean (unlike Rockingham’s) the day we visited. The dealers explained that they spent the week hand washing all of the chips in the room.
In fact, the tables, cards, chips, chairs, and the room as a whole were all clean. The cards were 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. The tournament clock was not an official Bravo or Poker Atlas clock. Rather it looked like the poker structure app on my iPhone. It worked just fine, but did not feature the number of remaining players, average stacks, or final payouts. All of that information would have been appreciated during the game. The floor eventually wrote the payouts on a small whiteboard in the corner of the room.
The room was uncomfortably hot. But to be fair it was over 90° outside, and we were told that (at 63 players) this was the largest tournament Lebanon had ever hosted. The room was definitely bursting with players as the tournament began. The ceilings were high and the tables were well spaced. The lighting was also good, largely due to the windows.
Poker Room Staff
The dealers at the Lebanon poker room were excellent. They dealt accurately, were able to separate complicated split pots, and were generally quite fast. Neither of us had a single bad dealer during the entire tournament. That in itself is an accomplishment.
The floors were generally good as well. However, they were a little less attentive than one might wish. Especially given the odd rule that blinds could not go up until the floor officially announced that they were up. The tournament clock regularly announced the blind jumps as they approached and when they arrived. It was not quite clear why this announcement was not sufficient to increase the blinds. Often several hands were played at an expired level while waiting for the “official” blinds up announcement.
Unfortunately, there was only one waiter for the entire room, which was quite full due to the size of the tournament. The waiter was doing an excellent job and moving as fast as he could. But he simply couldn’t keep up with the demands of the entire room. A second waiter or waitress would have been very welcome.
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Players at the Lebanon Poker Room
There were 63 entries in the tournament that we played, initially spread across six tables with a number of alternates. The floor at some point announced that this was the largest Friday tournament that the room had ever seen, with the largest ever number of women entrants. Of the thirteen female entrants, three of them found themselves among the eight final table players that cashed the tournament.
The players in the tournament mostly knew each other. This is not surprising in a small room in a small town. The player quality was a fairly typical mix of styles and ability. There were a few very tight players, but others frequently took shots at pots. There was significant age diversity among the players, but not much ethnic or racial diversity. Again, not surprising given Lebanon’s location on the border of New Hampshire and Vermont.
The Lebanon Poker Room has only one weekly tournament, a $50/$50/$50 on Friday night that generally mimics the structure of Keene’s Tuesday/Thursday tournament, with some notable variance in structure. Lebanon Poker Room occasionally hosts other tournaments as well, but not on a regular basis. You can check their website calendar to see what is on tap each month.Lebanon Poker Room offers the currently rare (and very welcome) Friday tournament in New England. It is definitely worth visiting for its excellent dealers and healthy prize pools.Click To Tweet
The Friday night tournament features an initial $60 buy-in (including the recommended $10 dealer add-on) for 25,000 chips. Blinds start at 100-200 and increase every 20 minutes. The structure starts relatively gently, moving to 200-400, 300-600, and 400-800. After 400-800, a small blind ante comes in, starting at 400-800-400. After this round, there is a break for rebuys and a chip-up. This is a bit early for the chip-up, and leads to some steeper blind levels during the middle part of the tournament.
Due to the $50/$50/$50 nature of the tournament, payouts are quite healthy. With 63 players, the prize pool was close to $6,000. When the final five ultimately chopped the remaining prize pool, each took home over $1,000. Pretty nice for a small room tournament.
Overall Assessment of the Lebanon Poker Room
The Lebanon Poker Room is a small room just south of the New Hampshire-Vermont border. The room is not the most comfortable, but the excellent personnel more than make up for that. The room sits in a lovely area with abundant restaurant options. Lebanon offers the currently rare (and very welcome) Friday tournament in New England. It is definitely worth visiting the Lebanon Poker Room for its excellent dealers and healthy prize pools.
The Lebanon Poker Room is a small room just south of the New Hampshire-Vermont border. The room is not the most comfortable, but the excellent personnel more than make up for that. Lebanon offers the currently rare (and very welcome) Friday tournament in New England. It is definitely worth visiting Lebanon for its excellent dealers and healthy prize pools.