The Playground Poker Club is a great cardroom outside of Montreal

Playground Poker Club Room Review

The Playground Poker Club outside of Montreal is a surprising gem. We first visited after seeing some major televised tournaments held there, and expected grand things. While our initial approach to the card room elicited a ‘”this can’t be right” reaction, upon entry all was revealed.

Location and Exterior Setting

The Playground Poker Club is located in Kahnawake, Quebec about a half an hour drive from Montreal. However, the drive can vary substantially – dependent more on construction status than amount of traffic. Returning to Montreal around midnight after one tournament took well over an hour, with bridge repairs narrowing many stretches to one lane. As we discussed in our travel post about Montreal, road conditions are a fearsome obstacle to contend with.  If you’re staying in downtown Montreal, this becomes one of the Playgrounds biggest drawbacks. Taking a shuttle to the Casino de Montreal becomes an attractive alternative in the winter when not feeling adventurous.

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Advanced Poker Training is the best poker training site around

The Best Poker Training We Have Found

Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. However, we only include affiliate links for products and services that we use and love. For more information, see our Disclosure page.

Today we want to share with you the best poker training site that we have found. This one comes with a double disclaimer.  We are not only affiliates for the site, but also write for their blog and help them develop content as our primary side-hustle. Of course, that’s not a coincidence. We do all of these things for Advanced Poker Training because we love them so much. Their methods have been extremely effective in bringing our games to the next level.

Given that our goal is to spend a year on the road playing poker, we think a lot about how to get better at the game. If we drop 100 tournament buy ins with no return on investment, it could be a very expensive year. So we read, and we watch, and we practice, and we train. When we train, we want to make sure we are taking advantage of the best poker training options available.

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Throwdown Thursday: Are We Made for RV Living?

Throwdown Thursday: Are We Made for RV Living?

Paul and I have been reading a lot of articles about RV living. I’m intrigued by the idea of making our poker pilgrimage in an RV. The thought of being able to bring my house (albeit a very slimmed down house) along on our travels like a very ambitious turtle appeals to the part of me that hates to leave the couch. Paul, however, is pretty sure that this particular journey would end in homicide.

Heather: Don’t you think it would be nice to sleep in the same bed every night, no matter where we wake up? And to have our own little stocked pantry that we take along with us? No need to rely on hotel food or an AirBnB kitchen to have the right sharp knife?

Paul: Listen, if we have to share the same 300 square feet for 12 months, all the knives will be kept very dull. We get edgy and claustrophobic in our 3 bedroom, 1,200 square foot apartment now. What are we going to be like when our couch and kitchen table are one entity?

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6 Travel Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

6 Travel Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Heather and I generally travel well together. We do our research, weigh our options, and come to decisions that we both feel good about.  On trips we often praise ourselves for the fine job we did planning such a spectacular vacation. (Sadly, that’s true. We actually do.)

But, nobody’s perfect.

We have made our share of travel mistakes. We share them here in the hopes that you can avoid them on your own travels.

1. Traveling North for New Year’s

Our most recent oops. Last month we reviewed our impressions of Montreal. The city certainly has a lot of destination appeal. However, amid a record breaking cold snap this appeal plummets. We thought: how much colder can Montreal be compared to Boston at New Year’s? Answer: Nose snapping instant frostbite colder.

There’s a reason that people in the Northeast go south in the winter. I accept the logic now.

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Chasers Poker Room Review

Chasers Poker Room Review

In the fall of 2017, Chasers entered the competitive Southern New Hampshire poker scene with a bang. Granted a smallish bang, at only 16 poker tables, but the immediate returns have been very good. On any given night Chasers fills a large portion of those tables with active cash games. Although, we don’t play a lot of cash poker, we came away impressed on the Tuesday evening we stopped in to the new venue for a tournament. There was a lot of energy in the room and the cash players were clearly excited about this new Salem, NH poker room.

Setting

Chasers Poker Room occupies the basement of a now defunct Chinese restaurant.  From the outside, the building does not inspire confidence. As you enter, the initial impression is “this is dark.” But the dark feeling quickly yields to a nice homey feel, atypical for your average poker room.  There is a small bar immediately to the right of the door, with seating and a few high top tables. Along the right wall is an attractive brick fireplace which we assume will never be used. In front of this wall are the table games: roulette, blackjack, and a couple of poker variations played against the dealer.

Although the room has a dark feel, the tables are very well lit from above. We had no problems seeing the cards. The chairs are padded and very comfortable, especially in comparison to some of the surrounding New Hampshire rooms. The footprint of the room is not huge, however, so the tables are a bit cramped.

Chasers Poker Room

Chasers Poker Room

Chasers Poker Room Staff

For the 42nd most populous state, New Hampshire has a large and vibrant poker community. In a very small radius, there are currently at least seven active poker rooms, including one of our favorites Hampton Falls and another, Seabrook, that has seen better days. Many of these rooms lie close to the Massachusetts border, still waiting for legal casinos, and pull from the the northeastern Mass poker population. The upshot is that everyone knows one another: players, staff, owners. The competition for quality dealers and floors is as intense as the play at the tables.

Chasers did well in securing some of the better available talent when it opened. Being first to market, ahead of down-the-street rival Cheers, certainly helped. Chasers managed to lure some of the friendliest and most skilled dealers from existing rooms, and clearly trained their new dealers well. We played a tournament without issue. Floors were visible and active. The wait staff seemed a bit stretched thin, but were attentive and working hard.

Players

Clearly Chasers has overcome the pre-opening concerns that its branding and logo are insulting to its potential clientele. A lot of the better cash players in the area have made their way here. The tournament we played had very few weak players as well.

However, any poker room draws the gamblers. Along with the typical high hand promotions that fuel the active cash rooms in New Hampshire, at one of our tournament breaks Chasers had a single hand event, the No Chip Flip. In the No Chip Flip players buy in for $50 each. One Hold ’em hand is dealt and the top two hands win with the cash, after the house rake of course.  Not our cup of tea, but the room was abuzz as it played out, and the house grabbed like $130 for 3 minutes of action.

Chasers has made an immediate impact on the New Hampshire poker scene, and is clearly here to stayClick To Tweet

Tournament Structure at Chasers Poker Room

Frankly, it is clear that tournaments are not the focus at Chasers. Understandably, the success with cash, and the room’s small number of tables, would make focusing on tournaments unwise. Currently, Chasers runs regular tournaments on Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays. As with most new rooms, tournament offerings are in flux month-to-month, so check before you go.  Most of the current tournaments are $100-$125 buy-in for 20k-25K in chips and 15-20 minute blinds. On the higher end of buy-ins in the area for 15-20 minute blind levels. Certainly nowhere near the value of the Hampton Falls $90/30K chips/30 minute blinds events held at 1pm on Fridays and Saturdays.  But that Hampton Falls tournament is one of the best regular structures I have seen across the country, so not the standard by which any room can be held.

On the Tuesday night we were there, the tournament got 34 players. Not a great field, but not atrocious for a weeknight in New Hampshire. There were no dead stacks, so in the early stages we played shorthanded for awhile. Because tables are at a premium at this venue, they fully filled the first two tables before opening a third.

APT

Overall Chasers Review

In a crowded and competitive poker landscape, this new seemingly humble room has made its mark. Starting with creating a comfortable environment and hiring good personnel, Chasers has made all the right decisions. On any given night, Chasers rivals Hampton Falls and the Boston Billiards Club in Nashua for the number of active cash tables. Management knows what works and how to get the players in the seats. While some other local rooms look vulnerable long-term, Chasers seems to be here to stay.

Chasers Poker Room Review