MGM National Harbor Outside

MGM National Harbor Poker Room Review

MGM National Harbor is one of two major poker rooms in the Baltimore-Washington area. While Maryland Live! sits beside BWI airport just minutes from Baltimore, MGM is on the Maryland-Virginia line, close to Washington, DC. The newest room in the Mid-Atlantic, MGM hasn’t lost that new casino shine and comes with all of the required amenities. There are upscale restaurants, a resort hotel, and a massive shopping mall just steps away.

MGM National Harbor is just off I-95 in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The immediate response we had when walking through the door was “Wow. Fancy!” The design of this casino is slick, fresh, and extremely clean. It feels very tech-forward and new. Both on the outside and the inside, MGM National Harbor is just a beautiful casino

MGM National Harbor Outside

Setting and Non-Poker Amenities

MGM National Harbor is a full-service casino with slots, table games, and multiple sports books. On the main level, the casino is basically one large room with all the primary gaming in middle. Upstairs sits the poker room and a secondary sports book. Downstairs outside of the casino floor you will find multiple dining options, a large high-rise hotel, and a number of upscale stores. MGM National Harbor is non-smoking but offers smoking patios for those that need them. One smoking patio even contains outside slot machines. National Harbor is notable among casinos for its pleasant and expansive outdoor spaces. There is a large terrace outside the main casino (see above) with trees, flowers, and a reflecting pool. Even more striking – there are benches! It is so rare to find a casino with pleasant outdoor spaces to linger when not playing games. That feature alone may have stolen my heart.

MGM National Harbor Casino Floor

 

MGM National Harbor Poker Room Comfort

The 37-table poker room sits upstairs separate from the casino floor. This results in an unusually quiet, clean, and pleasant card room. The decorating scheme upstairs is bright and clean, a bit reminiscent of the Wynn poker room in Las Vegas. Carpeting, tables, and chairs are decorated in subdued tones, and the lighting is gentle but sufficient.

MGM National Harbor Poker Room

The tables feature auto-shufflers, padded rails, and USB ports, but no drink cups. The room is quite clean and the felts are in good shape. The felts, chips, and cards are all branded. All are also extremely clean. In fact, this felt like the cleanest poker room we have ever visited. The large room and high ceiling lead to an uncrowded feeling that you just want to settle into and relax.

The chairs were extremely comfortable. Although they did not have arms, they were adjustable and well-padded with wheels.  The tables seemed long but narrow. The tournament played out nine-handed but still felt that there was plenty of space between players. Unfortunately, the cards are a bit small and the tables long, meaning that it was hard in the 8 seat to see a hand across the table. I even had difficulty distinguishing suits on some boards.

Poker Room Staff

The poker staff was the one weak spot of our experience.  The dealers were generally quite good, but did make some mistakes along the way. The floor staff, unfortunately, did not seem to see the tournament as a priority. One of the tables was not prepared at the tournament start and ended up missing the first five minutes of the game. They were slow to respond to calls for help, and took a breezy attitude which might have otherwise felt refreshing except for the fact that needed service was not being provided. The wait staff was similarly uninterested in the tournament tables. Neither of us saw a waitress in the room for the first hour of play. Finally, one of the regulars at my table got up and hunted down a waitress himself to put in a drink order. 



Players at the MGM National Harbor Poker Room

Unsurprisingly, the player quality of MGM National Harbor is much higher than most poker rooms we have experienced. As at Maryland Live!, many East Coast pros have been regulars here through the years. Even in the small buy-in ($160) tournament, we played the tables were not soft. Many players were solid aggressive. Having said that, there were some bad players in this tournament. And as it was not a freeze-out, some of those bad players would bust out and re-enter at a new table.

Players represented a range of ages and ethnicities, and women were well-represented in the room. A number of players in our tournament knew each other and the staff. However, they were generally friendly and did not appear hostile to “outsiders”.

Cash Play Activity

Again like Maryland Live!, MGM National Harbor is a hotbed of cash games basically all of the time. There were about 12 cash tables in action when we arrived on a late Tuesday morning. On weekday evenings, the MGM National Harbor poker room generally gets 10 to 15 tables of $1/$2, and three to four $2/$5 tables. There will also often be 4 to 6 tables of other games like Big O, 5-card PLO, and $3/$6 Hold’em limit games on weeknights. The weekend volume increases to 15 to 24 tables of $1/$2, 4 to 6 tables of $2/$5, and 8 to 10 tables of other games.  If you are interested in cash poker play in the region, be sure to check out our Poker Room Cash Activity Map.

MGM National Harbor provides a beautiful and clean facility in a lovely setting.Click To Tweet

Tournament Structures

MGM National Harbor typically hosts one to two daily tournaments. Buy-ins generally range from $150 to $360. There are generally 20 to 30-minute blinds, with longer blinds for larger buy-ins. Rakes for daily tournaments are a respectable 15% to 25%. Most allow re-entry, but not add-ons. The blind levels are fairly gradual, and with fairly deep starting stacks (25K to 40K) the overall structures are solid. During weekdays you can expect between 40 and 60 runners. The Tuesday morning tournament we played had 61 entries.

Larger events, those with buy-ins like $600, rotate through the schedule a few times during most months and those carry 30 to 60-minute blinds and deep stacks. Make sure to check PokerAtlas for the time of your proposed visit to see the tournament options you will face.

Overall Assessment of MGM National Harbor Poker Room

MGM National Harbor provides a beautiful and clean facility in a lovely setting. The poker room is comfortable and clean, despite its high level of activity. If you are looking for some solid cash play you will not go wrong here. Tournaments, while plentiful, would benefit from a more dedicated group of personnel.

 

 

  • Comfort
  • Tournament Structures
  • Personnel
3.8

Summary

MGM National Harbor provides a beautiful and clean facility in a lovely setting. The poker room is comfortable and clean, despite its high level of activity. If you are looking for some solid cash play you will not go wrong here. Tournaments, while plentiful, would benefit from a more dedicated group of personnel.

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