Poker near DC (2010 update)

In my previous post I said that Charles Town, West Virginia, may become the obvious choice for residents of Washington and Baltimore that want to play poker or table games such as blackjack starting this summer. I may have spoken too soon.

Pennsylvania signed into law legislation permitting poker and table games at its racinos. Cards could by flying as soon as July, but it will probably take longer than that. I have added existing Pennsylvania casinos to the map in yellow (Charles Town in is red) but the 2004 Pennsylvania law that legalized slots allows five additional locations that haven’t yet been built. The new law could potentially hurry that process.

Click on the View Larger Map link to see not only a larger map but a list of city names. Click on the map pins (on either the larger map or the smaller one) to see venue details.

Not shown on the map are the Ohio cities of Columbus, Toledo, Cincinnati and Cleveland. Those aren’t particularly close to Washington D.C. but casinos will likely open there in 2011.

poker and blackjack to come to northeast West Virginia after all

Two years ago, four West Virginia counties voted on referenda to allow poker and other casino table games in their local racinos. Three of them (shown in purple on the map) approved the referenda, but Jefferson County (shown in red) rejected it.

Jefferson County voted again last week, and this time the referendum passed 59% to 41%. Charles Town Races & Slots is already prepping 30,000 square feet of space for table games to start in June or so. If they do it right, they will be the obvious choice of Washington and Baltimore gamblers, who will have no convenient alternatives.


I knocked myself out of a multi-table pot-limit Omaha tournament in the first hand this afternoon.

On the turn I had made the nut low, with straight draws and some counterfeit insurance. I made a pot-sized bet and called an all-in raise. It was a no brainer to accept the risk of being quartered, I figured, considering I had locked up the low and had a decent chance to scoop the pot.

Next time I’ll make sure we’re actually playing the hi/lo game instead of straight Omaha hi. doh!

Folding the Nuts

Earlier today I was playing 5¢-10¢ no-limit hold’em with a three-dollar cap.

My hole cards are 7d 9d. I decide to call the 10¢ blind on the button with these suited gappers. Four players to the flop.

The flop is 4d 6d 3d. It’s checked around to me, and I bet the pot with my made flush. Two callers.

The turn is another diamond, darn it. Now my 9-high flush is vulnerable to any high diamond. It’s checked to me and I check also.

The river is a high heart, a blank for this hand. The first player bets out $1.50, slightly more than the pot. The second player raises to $2.55, the cap. Obviously my 9-high flush is no good, so I fold.

The first player shows Kd 8d for a king-high flush. It turns out my 9-high flush on the flop was no good anyway.

The second player shows 2d for a six-high straight flush. You see, that diamond on the turn was the 5d. When I saw that it was a diamond, I didn’t even look at its value. But I should have because that means I folded a seven-high straight flush on the turn. Argh.

I was distracted by what was going on in another window at the time, but that’s not much of an excuse for making the worst fold of my life. I’m glad it didn’t cost me more than it did. $6.45 is a lot for small-stakes me, but at least I can afford it.

here’s the hand history: Continue reading

West Virginia table game referenda results

Saturday was election day in two West Virginia counties for referenda to allow table games such as poker and blackjack.

The voters of Ohio County, an hour west of Pittsburgh, approved their referendum with 65.7% of 11,524 ballots cast. Construction begins Monday morning for new facilities at Wheeling Island casino. West Virginia Northern Community College already plans to train 400 new dealers for poker, blackjack, roulette, and craps.

The voters of Jefferson County, an hour west of Baltimore and Washington, defeated their referendum. Of 10,055 ballots cast, 44.0% were in favor. The owners of the casino in Charles Town may request another referendum in two years.

Kanawha and Hancock counties vote on table games later this summer.

Poker and blackjack coming to West Virginia?

Under a new state law, four West Virginia counties will hold referenda to allow poker, blackjack, craps, and roulette at existing racetracks that currently have slot machines. The four counties are Hancock and Ohio (both west of Pittsburgh in the panhandle), Kanawha (home of the state capital and not too far from the Ohio/Kentucky state line), and Jefferson (easternmost county, about an hour from Washington and Baltimore).

Each county decides independently. Jefferson and Ohio counties will hold special elections on June 9. Early voting has already started. Kanawha and Hancock counties were also going to vote on June 9, but missed procedural deadlines. Hancock will vote on June 30. Kanawha will not vote until August.

It will be interesting to see what happens. I’m neither for nor against the referenda, but were Jefferson County’s to pass I would eventually drive over there to check out the poker.