It is time for me to reflect on the changing poker face of Blackhawk, CO. On July 2nd the new laws took effect which brought $100 maximum bets (versus $5), 24 hour gaming action (versus closing from 2 AM to 8AM), and craps & roulette games (which were previously unavailable).
In all I have played 27 hours under the new legislation versus about 50 hours under the existing legislation to start the year. I have also lost more money during those 27 hours than I was able to win under the previous 50 hours. The time spent is the normal ebb and flow of poker and I have had month’s long losing streaks in the past. Relative to past years, this is still one of my best years to date. I started detailed tracking in 2004.
$100 max bets have completely changed the game. The most popular game in town is $2-$100 Holdem and the previous most popular game was $2-$5 Holdem. The stakes are obviously higher and the uninitiated player could burn through a few hundred dollars quite easily whereas the $2-$5 game could be played well with a $50 buy-in. In the opening weekends higher stakes limit games were quite popular, but those have fallen by the wayside.
I played almost exclusively at the Lodge for the $5-$5 action which I had finally honed my skills to play. One could keep pace with the rake and nearly always find a game. During my recent trips the Lodge is quiet and has only spread $2-$100. My current venue of choice has been the Golden Gates because they offer fixed limit as well as spread limit Omaha in addition to the popular $2-$100 game. I peeked into Lady Luck during the week and was not impressed. I have not yet made it over to Ameristar, but intend to check out that poker room as well. The word on the street is that it is poorly managed, but packed with people who are chasing $300K minimum bad beat which the house is currently overlaying. My incentive is the understanding that they are offering a higher stakes limit Holdem game.
The 24 hour gaming action does not seem to be much of a factor. I still leave the table sometime between 1:00 AM and 2:00 AM. I understand that some poker games go all night, but the room does quiet down around 2:00 AM.
Offering Craps & Roulette has been an interesting game changer that exposes gambler’s leaks. All successful poker players have some level of gamble in addition to skill. This gamble is a hindrance in most casino games which have a house edge. Stories of pros who win $1M in the poker room and then drop it at the craps tables or on the Lakers game are endless. For the recreational gambler this manifests itself as well. I can spend 3 hours to win $80 playing poker and then lose it in 15 minutes at the craps table.