Poker Road Trip: Chicagoland and S. Indiana

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While there are no casinos with poker rooms in the major cities of Chicago, Louisville andCincinnati (yet), you’ll find plenty of poker action in the surrounding areas of Illinois and Indiana. And when you’re in the Chicagoland area, don’t miss the Windy City Poker Championship television show on Comcast SportsNet Chicago, which features some of the city’s top players.

By Scott Long

Chicagoland

Blue Chip Casino | 219.879.7711
bluechipcasino.com | @bluechipcasino
This Michigan City, Ind., room offers cash players a progressive bad-beat jackpot and doles out $50 to the high hand each hour from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays. Players who get full houses earn entries in Friday and Saturday night drawings for a chance to spin a wheel to win cash. Tournament players will enjoy the $20 20-20 rebuy tournaments on Tuesdays and Thursdays, The $80 Aces Up tournaments on Saturdays, the $80 Blue Chip Sunday Showdown on Sundays and the $60 TKO Poker Challenge on Wednesdays.

Harrah’s Joliet | 815.740.7800
harrahsjoliet.com | @harrahsjoliet
Douglas Walters is the popular and personable manager of this World Series of Poker-themed room in Joliet, Ill., and he took great care in designing it with an eye on player comfort. Several varieties of cash games, including Omaha, are offered at different limits. Tournaments are 4 p.m. Saturday ($90 bounty or $210 deepstack), 7 p.m. Thursday ($135), 7 p.m. Tuesday ($60), and every other Sunday at 4 p.m. ($135). One of the most popular promotions is the room’s league, which runs nine weeks at a time. Players earn points based on their finish in every Tuesday night tournament, with the top finishers invited back for a freeroll with a $10,000 WSOP main event seat on the line.

Hollywood Casino Aurora | 800.888.7777
hollywoodcasinoaurora.com | @hollywoodaurora
This Aurora, Ill., room recently expanded and moved to a new location in the casino, but it is still known for its big limit cash games. A $10-$20 game runs daily, with $15-$30 on Thursdays and $20-$40 on Tuesdays, and no-limit is spread daily, too. Select games qualify for the room’s bad-beat jackpot. Tournaments are 1 p.m. daily, with $10 of the $160 buy-in going toward the prize pool of the annual Hollywood Tournament of Champions.

Horseshoe Hammond | 866.711.7463
horseshoehammond.com | @ChiHorseshoe
The Hammond, Ind., poker room is the closest one to downtown Chicago and packs in the players, especially for its popular WSOP Circuit and Chicago Poker Classic tournament series and its high-limit limit games. A wide variety of cash-game action can be found around the clock, with an upper-brush area and Benny’s Back Room, a private room for the biggest games. Tournaments are noon Tuesdays ($100), Thursdays ($100), Fridays ($200) and Sundays ($200), and at 7 p.m. Mondays ($200) and Thursdays ($200). The last Saturday of every month is a $500 event.

Majestic Star | 888.225.8259
majesticstarcasino.com | @majesticstar777
This Gary, Ind., casino has a dedicated poker room on the top level with a wide variety of cash games. Tournaments feature a bad-beat jackpot, and the winner of each daily event gets a seat in the Quarterly Majestic Freeroll. Tournaments are 11 a.m. ($55) and 7 p.m. on Sundays ($60), 7 p.m. Wednesdays ($55), Thursdays ($60) and Fridays ($130) and 1 p.m. ($60) and 7 p.m. ($105) on Saturdays. Through the end of the year, $80 Texas Hold’em Throwdown tournaments with a $3,500 guaranteed prize pool are noon on Mondays. The room also hosts an annual Heartland Poker Tour stop.

Rockford Charitable Gaming Association
rcgpoker.com | 800.965.7852
Illinois state law has spawned a large industry of operators who run poker games and tournaments in banquet halls with revenues benefiting charities. One of the longest-running and most successful is Rockford Charitable Gaming Association, which runs events all over the Chicagoland area. At each location, cash games of several varieties are offered. Tournaments include a $25 buy-in event at 2 p.m., a $60 at 4 p.m., $35 at 6:30 p.m. and a $115 buy-in at 7:30 p.m. All allow entry through the first five levels, and single-table tournaments of varying buy-ins are offered throughout each event.

Southern Indiana

Belterra | 888.235.8377
belterracasino.com | @belterra
Cash players will want to visit this Florence, Ind., room on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays, when the maximum rake is $3. Tournament players will find an event with buy-ins of $40-$65 every day of the week, with two tournaments on Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays. The room just concluded a Heartland Poker Tour event.

Hollywood Casino Lawrenceburg | 888.274.6797
hollywoodindiana.com | @hollywoodind
The elegantly designed room in Lawrenceburg, Ind., features a variety of games and limits for cash players, with a bad-beat jackpot. Tournament are 11:15 a.m. and 7:15 p.m. daily, with buy-ins ranging from $60-$150, with a $300, $25,000-guaranteed event the last Sunday of every month. Players also earn points in all tournaments toward the monthly, quarterly and annual leaderboard prizes. The room last month hosted the first Hollywood Poker Open event.

Horseshoe Southern Indiana | 866.676.7463
horseshoe-indiana.com | @horseshoesi
The Elizabeth, Ind., poker room draws plenty of players from Louisville, just across the river. It offers plenty of promotions for cash players, including a bad-beat jackpot, splash the pot on Mondays and Wednesdays and Aces Cracked on Thursdays. Tournaments with buy-ins of $51-$81 are daily and twice on Tuesdays. The room hosts several major tournament series each year, including the Midwest Regional Poker Championship, Horseshoe Poker Classic, Denny Crum Poker Open and, of course, a WSOPC event.

Other Rooms

Casino Aztar (Evansville, Ind.)
casinoaztar.com
French Lick Resort (French Lick, Ind.)
frenchlick.com
Grand Victoria Casino (Elgin, Ill.)
grandvictoriacasino.com
Harrah’s Metropolis (Metropolis, Ill.)
harrahsmetropolis.com
Hollywood Casino Joliet (Joliet, Ill.)
hollywoodcasinojoliet.com
Hoosier Park (Anderson, Ind.)
hoosierpark.com
Indiana Grand (Shelbyville, Ind.)
indianagrand.com
Jumer’s Casino (Rock Island, Ill.)
jumerscri.com
Par-A-Dice Casino (East Peoria, Ill.)
paradicecasino.com