Opinion could doom Ohio charity poker rooms



Players in the Ohio, Western Pennsylvania and West Virginia markets are fortunate to have a wide range of poker opportunities. In no case is a player more than four hours from any type of game and buy-in level of the action they desire. There are big events in the region on a regular basis, so one must simply be vigilant in keeping up-to-date on what they’re looking for and then go play.


In an interesting development, the Ohio Attorney General issued an opinion classifying PokerPro electronic poker tables as slot machines. The PokerPro tables were a huge hit for players of the Buckeye Charity Poker Room and in particular pot-limit Omaha and PLO/8 players. The result of this classification was that the technology could no longer be used in charity poker rooms. As a result, Buckeye was closed Sept. 7.

However, for fans of the PokerPro electronic tables, there’s a significant silver lining. Classification as a slot machine opens the door to the use of PokerPro tables as a VLT, thus bringing poker to Ohio’s racinos and offering players an even wider selection of poker establishments. This likely means the few legal poker clubs left in Ohio will soon be legislated out of business and closed.

Poker in recent years has overtaken golf as the top fund-raising activity in the nation. It’s unclear what effect these changes will have on charitable events and poker in venues such as VFWs. But it’s clear times are changing in Ohio.
Play remains strong in all four Ohio casinos with a wide selection of tournament buy-ins, cash games and buy-in ranges. There’s plenty of high-stakes action for certain, but one must investigate each casino for days and times of certain bigger games. In some cases, reservations should be made.

Be sure to check our Where to Play pages in the back of the magazine for details.

Western Pennsylvania
There’s a new location for the poker room at the Meadows Casino. The 15-table room (down from 20) has been moved upstairs to the main gaming floor, which management hopes will help increase business with the increased traffic. … The Rivers Casino continues to have a wide selection of games and high-stakes action, plus a popular Saturday deepstack tournament that attracts players from across the region. … Presque Isle Downs will award an Ante Up Poker Cruise package, plus a $500 gift card, to the top winner in an Oct. 12 drawing.

West Virginia

Mountaineer and Wheeling Island have been hit hard by Ohio and Pennsylvania action, but they continue to offer players the opportunity to mix it up and play close to home for affordable fees. Many tournament players appreciate the opportunity to play smaller-stakes tournaments to hone skills and entertain themselves.

— Dan Harkenrider hosts the Division of Poker and Chris Moneymaker radio shows. Email him at anteupdan@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @DivisionofPoker.

Ante Up Magazine

Ante Up Magazine