I was hoping that my first poker post would be a dramatic review of a glorious suck-out. Instead I will open with a general overview of State Blue Laws and a cursory review of the Blackhawk’s card rooms.
Colorado governs player backed gaming with the same $5 maximum wager as all other table games or slot machines. This $5 cap has allowed games such as Bonus 6 which a large house hold to proliferate as players can have more money on the table at once with bets on 3rd street, 4th street and 5th street.
Although allowed by gaming, stud games are no longer spread. Omaha games are rare and currently are spread at Colorado Central Station on Thursdays, Golden Gates most nights and The Gilpin most nights. Holdem is still far and away the most popular and is spread with a single $2 blind or with a “small” $5 blind and “big” $5 blind. Choice is becoming more popular and players can choose between Holdem, Pineapple, Crazy Pineapple or Omaha and games can be played Hi-Low or straight Hi. Choice is currently only found at Golden Gates and The Gilpin.
The house rake is 10% and will be capped at anywhere from $3-$5 and all rooms have a bad beat jackpot. The jackpot at all rooms is quads beaten and both cards need to play from both hands. This criterion has forced the jackpots to grow to upwards of $100,000. Most rooms will drop $1 or $2 to fund the bad beat jackpot.
The rake and limits make for a tough game to beat, as on average a player is contributing 3.5 big bets per hour to the house and jackpot
Fortunately this is offset by loose and fast action in some games. Currently, I consider my home casino to be The Lodge. I rarely arrive early enough for tournaments and prefer the fast $5-$5 action to comps or a non-smoking atmosphere.
Co. Central Station: ~14 Tables, tournaments, smoking*, friendly staff good comps
The Gilpin: ~ 12 Tables, tournaments, non-smoking, best tournaments
The Lodge: ~20 Tables, no tournaments, smoking*, best live action
Golden Gates: ~12 Tables, tournaments, non-smoking, clean professional card room
Ameristar: ~14 Tables, no tournaments, non-smoking, friendly staff, good comps
* The casino exemption to the Colorado smoking ban is set to expire January 1, 2008 at which time all casinos and subsequently card rooms will be non-smoking.