A hot Saturday afternoon in August is everyone’s idea of good beach day. … unless, of course, you’re a poker player who can’t resist the lure of a cool room, low buy-in and excellent blind structure.
That’s what the Poker Room at Hampton Falls is offering players on weekend afternoons with its popular $50 Mini Mega no-limit hold’em tournament. The event, which takes place at 1 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, is drawing increasingly larger crowds. Saturday’s tourney typically has 120-140 players and Sunday’s 150-plus, sometimes exceeding 200. Even with the mandatory rake imposed by New Hampshire’s charitable gaming law, tournaments of this size generate substantial prize pools.
The numbers are more impressive considering there are two other poker venues within three miles. General manager Chris Dziadosz attributes the room’s success to several factors.
“We want to give our players the best bang for the buck here,” he said. “For $50, you can play a lot of poker, and if you make it to the money, you get a great return on your investment.”
The first-place prize is usually more than $2K, though the last players remaining typically split the proceeds once down to a few contenders after eight or nine hours.
“The players love the format, with its 12K stack, 25-50 starting blind and 20-minute intervals,” Dziadosz said. “We are always looking for feedback on what our players want, and they want to keep this event just as it is.”
The room also offers limit cash games and casino table games such as blackjack, Let It Ride, three-card poker and a roulette wheel. Hampton Falls features promotions usually found in larger casinos. There’s a bad-beat jackpot (unclaimed at $15,000-plus in early August) plus a high-hand bonus for cash-table play Friday through Sunday.
“As a charitable gaming operation, we have tight budget constraints and can’t really do a lot of advertising,” Dziadosz said. “What money we can allocate toward promotions, we’re basically giving back to our customers.”
One perk for cash players on weekdays from 3:30-6:30 is a $5 food voucher at the room’s pub, which serves reasonably priced good grub from burgers and steak tips to lobster rolls.
Dziadosz and joint GM Scott Robertson are avid poker players, too.
“We know how to build a great blind structure and to create a friendly atmosphere,” Dziadosz said. “Our staff is trained to welcome all players, both new and loyal customers. With the big crowds on weekend afternoons, it never feels like a bunch of long-time cronies who all know each other. You get to play with lots of different people here.”
In October, Hampton Falls is sponsoring a special New Hampshire poker championship series with Omaha, stud and NLHE events from Oct. 20-23.
For poker players near and far, it’s a nice deal at the Poker Room at Hampton Falls.
— Kay Fitzpatrick is Ante Up’s Northeast Ambassador. She’s a freelance journalist who recently wrote a series of strategy blogs for Everest Poker and is an avid player at New England’s poker rooms. Email her at email@example.com.