Monday, January 4, 2016

Trip report: bestbet / Jacksonville, FL

Merry Christmas / Happy Hanukkah / Happy Kwanzaa / Happy New Year!

I hope I did not alienate any of my readers [if there are any remaining].  For the remainder of 2015 and on through the weekend of 2016, the Meister family, as has been tradition, vacationed on a cruise with another family.  This year, we left out of Port Canaveral, Florida, in the northern part of the state.  The weather was wonderfully warm - 80 degrees consistently.  There was no rain to speak of, the ocean was calm, and the food was great.  I was able to catch up on my sleep and spend quality time with my family.  I also had the opportunity to visit a local poker room, as we stayed overnight in Jacksonville prior to our cruise departure.

It turns out that bestbet Jacksonville was less than 15 minutes from our hotel, and after getting the kids situated in bed, my wife agreed to me "checking out" the local poker scene.  Off I went - around 9 pm on Christmas Friday after verifying that it was open, which it was indeed.  It was evident the place was a poker room first; there were no slots nor other obvious table gaming and non-poker play, though I was told they do indeed offer a variety of table games: Two-card poker, Three-card poker, Ultimate Texas Hold Em, Casino War, and Pai Gow.  However, the non-poker gaming was not direct and in-your-face, it was more subtle and off to the side.  I was able to walk right in from the huge parking lot and get my bearings immediately; poker room in the big area immediately to my left.

I checked in at the front desk and found open seating for the $2/2 game (yes, the big blind is equal to the small blind) - $200 max buy in.  After taking my seat, the floor took my money and brought me chips, and I settled down to what would be a shortish 3 hour session.  The table and the room was more of an older crowd, around 55 years of age was the norm - and they seemed to all know each other.  The dealers were mostly experienced, quick and friendly.  No posting is necessary, UTG straddles are the only straddles allowed.  Rake was kinda steep if I recall correctly - 10% up to $5, but rake taken on no flops, $1 at $5 pot, $2 at $10 pots and so forth [I'm not 100% sure of the rake structure, but it did strike me as expensive].  Chopping was allowed and in this case, made particular sense since the players involved would avoid the almost immediate rake.  The seats were decent, the tables were 10 person tables, and though they did not have cup holders built in, the tables were large enough that one could spread out fairly comfortably.

Finally, the play was fairly poor.  I saw a lot of limping premium hands, and in some cases (twice in my 3 hours, if that's any indication), overcalling with premium hands.  For example, I raised QQ and got flatted by KK, and raised 88 and got flatted by KK (on the BTN).  This was play I was not used to, but I saw numerous players not getting good value (and in some instances, any value) for their hands.  Flopped trips with a rainbow board had a pot of maybe $40 total by showdown (due to lack of competent betting).  These players were willing to call of stacks but never bet stacks.

Overall, I had a really good session, and would love to come back to play more.  The Jacksonville poker scene was consistent with my observations of the other places I've played in Florida (i.e. Tampa, St. Petersburg, etc.); weak, loose play with players backing into the best hand (by runner runner or otherwise) and being surprised at showdown to be the winner.  I give bestbet Jacksonville two thumbs up!


  1. I played there before in a tournament -- nice poker room. I believe I heard it used to be a K-Mart that they bought and converted.

  2. Good to see your post finally. Yes there is still readers remaining. Happy new year.

  3. Good to see you finally got some time to hit the felt. Cruise and poker -- not bad!


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