Monday, July 19, 2010

Delaware Park trip report from 2010-07-16 visit

After discussing arrangements with my wife, we decided that I would take the day last Friday and play poker.  My standard work schedule is a compressed schedule where every other Friday, I have a day off / 3 day weekend.  I was deciding between the new poker room at Hollywood Casino at Charles Town or the 1-month old Delaware Park Racetrack & Casino poker room.  After careful consideration with a poker friend, we decided on Delaware Park: the house take was a standard rake of 10% up to $4 per hand dealt, +$1 for the bad beat jackpot.  This compared favorably to the stupidity employed at Hollywood Casino, where the charge $6 per half an hour as seat time.  A quick back-of-the-envelope estimation had us counting $120 in rake per hour for the table (10 players * $12/hr) at Hollywood vs. an estimated $100 per hour (~25 hands /hr *~$4 rake per pot) at Delaware Park.  The decision was made even easier when I called and found out that Hollywood Casino's poker room opens at 3pm, and unless we show up at 1pm precisely, would face an immediate waitlist, whereas Delaware Park has call-ahead seating, and would likely be immediate, regardless.

We arrived at 1pm, I was seated within 10 minutes (would have been sooner had it not been for a bathroom break from the hour-and-forty-five minute trek from DC to DP).
(A terrible shot of me in the DP Poker Room - I look googly-eyed...)

At first glance, this room seemed fairly standard for poker rooms that I've experienced, yet when I sat down, I realized that the seats were far more firm and comfortable, the tables quite a bit larger, and the dealers and seating system far more efficient.  All tables are tied to a central computer, where empty seats are immediately displayed to the front desk, and filled by the next person on the wait list.  Although this room was only opened one month ago, it was run extremely effectively, and with excellent dealers.  All of the DP staff was courteous, all of the dealers knew the rules - and when there were questions, they did not hesitate the call the floor for a ruling (an example was a player moving more than two seats to the left would have to post a blind in order to be dealt into the hand).

A picture of the DP poker room

I rate this room as an A.  It reminded me of Las Vegas, in fact.  There were only 2 complaints that I could make, though.  The drink service was awful; sodas and waters were free, but if you wanted anything from a bottle or alcoholic, you had to pay...  $4 for a beer and $7 for a mixed drink.  I believe Red Bulls were $7 as well - this was fairly minor to me, regardless; I don't drink when I play poker, nor do I drink often anyway.  However, I like to see my opponents drink it up - I realize that like drunk driving, drunk people make poor decisions usually.  The second complaint was in line with the first: the comps for food and/or drinks were essentially non-existent.  The 1/2 table rating is $0.20 /hr played!  You read that right: TWENTY CENTS PER HOUR.  Moreover, the poker room is not allowed to give comps for food; we played there from 1pm to 12am and despite asking for a food comp, they are not enabled to give us anything.  To their credit, though, they are supposedly working on changing the comp issue so that players can eat for free.

As far as poker rules are concerned, the DP poker room allows for a Mississippi Straddle, which allows any player at any position to "buy the big blind," in order of priority from the button to UTG.  To a player that is unaware of how this works, essentially a straddle from the CO or BTN gives you last-to-act privilege for every street, while doubling the big blind for limpers.  What a deal- can the BTN get any more advantageous?  I definitely took full advantage of this rule; raising and stealing the limpers blinds when the BTN came to me.  It was easy with less skilled players who were unaware of the strategy behind a straddle.

As far as players are concerned, I'd say I experienced a good mix of completely novice players "donors / luckboxes", players who would slowly be bled by the blinds, "machismo" I'm not folding for no one and no one is bluffing me types, and occasional "live pros" - the type that can't understand why he gets clobbered online but makes a good profit live.  I *DID NOT* see any online pros - familiar with typical betting lines and trying to make moves.  Overall, it was typical live poker as my limited world has experienced - hit a hand, get paid, otherwise play tight PF poker and be patient.

Finally, I leave you with this picture:
Yeah...  I did alright for the session.  (That's not my beer.)

I can easily see that if Hollywood Casino does not change their seat time policies, Delaware Park will become my home for live poker...  it's a shame, too; Charles Town is 45 minutes from my house.  Needless to say, I will be back for more live poker.

P.S. I have 2 semi-interesting hand histories to share with you at a later point.  I have to get them organized and written :-).


  1. Thanks for the photos. Is DP in Dover?

    You can Mississippi straddle from any position except the blinds.

    I have 2 semi-interesting hand histories to share with you at a later point. I have to get them organized and written

    Good, looking forward to that.

  2. Yes, though I think it is best utilized if you straddle from BTN or CO. I think all other positions become less EV, the further away from the BTN you are. In addition, BTN has priority on down to UTG, so it seems like a no-brainer.

    Finally, if you're the only one straddling and people don't quite understand how it works, this is an awesome money maker. Your opponents are building a nice little pot for you to steal when it gets to your straddle.

    It also works well when your opponent employees the straddle and you know he's raising ATC. I limp /raised his $25 BTN straddle to $100 with JJ - though I got coolered by a donkey/slow played AK short stacker (THREE CALLERS CALLED MY $100 RAISE!!!!) and I lost a total $40 on the hand (I won the side pot vs. $25 raiser's 9 9 & UTG limper's 3 3).

    Again, it seems these players have no clue.

  3. If you are winning three or more hands an hour, then paying the Charles Town $6 times 2 will be cheaper. In your analysis you are comparing the rake for the entire table not your individual rake, which is all that matters.

    You did not run into any poker pros because you are playing at small stakes. On a per hour basis it does not makes sense. Remember this is their regular job. I would need to make $150-200 an hour on average to leave my day job.

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