by Ashley Adams
Read Part 1 and Part 2
On Wednesday, my friend Andrei and I left the magnificent 65 table Winstar Casino poker room in southern Oklahoma ready to head back toward Kansas City, but wanting to play some more poker before our Friday morning flight. By Wednesday afternoon we had arrived at the major poker room in the Oklahoma City area—the beautiful, 24 table, Riverwind Casino (1544 W State Highway 9, 405.322.6000) just south of Oklahoma City in Norman.
This enclosed non-smoking room had eight cash game tables in action when we arrived at about 1 p.m. There were six $1-$2 tables and two $2-$5 tables. They also had a table or two going from a morning poker tournament that had not yet finished up. The place was hopping. Fortunately, I was immediately seated in a $2-$5 game after having been told that these games were actually softer than the $1-$2 games in this poker room). The tip proved reliable. There were four or five very soft, loose, and passive players. I was lucky enough to hit a couple of strong hands and got three-way action to the showdown each time. Sweet! I would have liked to stay longer, but there weren’t any limit games for my friend Andrei and we decided to leave after only a couple of hours.
We headed to the Firelake Casino, about thirty minutes away, east of Oklahoma City in Shawnee (777 Grand Casino Blvd, 405.964.7263). This was a much more sedate affair than the Riverwind. Though there are officially 19 tables, there were only two in action while we were there—one $3-$6 limit and a $1-$2 no limit game. Both games were fairly tame—filled with a mixture of tight and timid locals. Still, the games were slightly profitable—helped along by a moderate $4 maximum rake. The floor was very friendly and helpful, but I’d still choose the bigger and more active Riverwind Casino as my regular room if I lived in the area. As it was, we enjoyed our two hours of play and headed off toward Kansas at 5 p.m.
As we left the casino we picked up a local poker magazine and unexpectedly discovered a listing for a poker tournament in a Wichita, Kansas poker room. I was under the misimpression that there were no rooms outside of the three reservations in the east and one in the far west of the state. But this seemed to be a free-standing privately run poker room. We called to confirm that they actually had cash games and then set our sights on Nilla’s Poker Room (10001 E. Kellogg St., 316.927.2775). We arrived too late for the 7 p.m. tournament, but just in time for a great $2-$5 game in this well run, comfortable private poker room with excellent dealers. Wichita has many of these rooms—apparently allowed by the local constabulary because of their arrangement as “charity” poker rooms. The three deep-pocketed bad players at my table made for a profitable session despite the rather steep $5 maximum rake. There were also a couple of $1-$2 games going that seemed quite sedate and tight by contrast. They had a rule I had never seen before. For $1, a player could get the dealer to deal the flop, turn, and river if the hand had been folded. It didn’t slow the game much and it seemed to keep the players happy.
I enjoyed a nice $10 steak dinner in the adjoining restaurant and bar. There were some pool tables as well—adding to the sports club type atmosphere of the place. I’d like to return for a longer session. I was told that they often get a $5-$10 blind no limit game on the weekends. Given the caliber of play I observed, I’d like to take a shot at it! We found a motel room for the night and headed off for Kansas City the following morning. I’ll report on the two casino rooms there in the last of this four-part article.
Ashley Adams is the author of Winning 7-Card Stud and Winning No Limit Low Limit Hold’em. He hosts the radio show House of Cards, broadcast Mondays at 5 – 6 p.m. in Boston, MA, on 1510 AM, and on the Internet at www.houseofcardsradio.com. Contact Ashley at email@example.com.