Wednesday, June 20, 2012
The St. Louis poker scene
The Kampises are getting settled into St. Louis, having moved our belongings to our Lindenwood Park rental home last Thursday. We're enjoying city life -- having a large park 100 feet from our house, being able to walk a couple of blocks to a decent restaurant, receiving mail at our door. It's also quite nice to have a selection of poker rooms within 30 minutes driving distance. While my attendance is bound to be much more sporadic now that my wife and son are with me, I got a good feel for the St. Louis poker scene during my first three weeks of "bachelordom." (I also turned a nice four-figure profit in that time.) There are four casinos with poker rooms in the general area -- River City and Lumiere Place are along the Mississippi River in St. Louis proper while Harrah's and Ameristar are along the Missouri River in the St. Charles area. Harrah's easily has the most action of the four, not that surprising given the company's reputation for poker. In fact, Harrah's sometimes has as many games going as the other three combined (information easily obtained by the Bravo Poker mobile phone app as all four use the Bravo system). There's usually several 1-2 NLHE games going, as well as a 3-6 LHE. The game du jour here is a 1-2-5 PLO game that runs around the clock, sometimes with two tables. On Thursday they rotate PLO and PLO8. (That's the one game I got squished in up here when I flopped middle set and got stacked by top set.) There's a 20-40 LHE game that runs one day of the week -- Wednesday maybe? Harrah's also has daily tournaments with buy-ins of $60 to $160 that draw three to four tables of players. On the other side of the river is Ameristar, which has a nice but usually dead room. There's normally one 3-6 LHE game and one or two 1-2 NLHE games. A 5-10 L08 with a half kill normally runs Friday and Saturday nights and may be the softest game in the area. I've only played once in St. Louis city limits -- at Lumiere Place a few blocks north of the arch -- but the action was crazy. The biggest game there is 1-3 NLHE, but straddling is allowed from any position, and players can straddle for $15 if they want (and do, not so infrequently). I played a long late-night session and cashed out a $25 winner after getting up $200 or so. I felt like I should have won a grand, but the cards just didn't work out for me despite the donk action. I have not played at River City yet, but according to the handy Bravo app the action is one or two 1-3 NLHE tables and a 3-6 LHE (otherwise known as the "who cares" game.) This is a stop for Heartland Poker Tour in late September, however, so I plan to darken its doors soon.