Exploring Midwestern Poker Part 5 of 5

My trip is almost over! We have been driving around the country for days and by this point I think we were all glad to be able to get out of the car any time we stopped. Our next stop after Council Bluffs was going to be out last stop at a casino. The next stop after that was just to break up the last leg of the drive to Las Vegas so we wouldn’t have to be in a car for so long. Since this leg of the trip was a little shorter, we made a stop in Denver to shop for the kids. They needed a few items and since we would be getting back to Las Vegas the night before school started, we wanted to make sure the essentials were bought. After we made our stop in Denver, we continued our drive to Black Hawk, CO to where we would be spending the night.

If you ever get the chance to drive around the Denver area, I highly recommend it. This was my second time driving in the area and it still is a very beautiful scenic and fun drive. The curves of the road that go up and down the mountains are great for anyone that enjoys driving! The road out to Black Hawk, CO cut through the mountains, and there were many stops along the way for kayakers to get into the river that could be seen from the road. I was pleasantly surprised to find that these casinos were nestled into the mountains hidden behind the mountains. It was almost like someone wanted their own little Vegas strip and made one in the mountains. Later on that night I learned from one of the dealers that Black Hawk was an old mining town and to keep the miners entertained and in the town they began building casinos so that they would have something to spend their paychecks on. I am not sure how accurate this history is, but it seemed plausible to me.

My evening started out the same as all my other stops. I hung out with the family and had dinner. We ate at the Farmer’s Pick Café located at the Isle hotel and casino where we were staying for the night. It looked like it might have been a buffet, but that portion of the restaurant did not seem to be up and running because of the pandemic, they only had table service. We all decided to share an order of crab legs because to my family’s surprise, I had never had crab legs before. They were pretty good but too much work to eat. Chances are I will never willingly order them to eat. After dinner we walked around a little to explore the surrounding area and see the scenic landscape. We eventually headed back to our room, and I began to get ready to play poker for the night.

Unfortunately, the Isle’s poker room was open under limited hours only and I could not play there the night we were there because it was closed on Tuesdays. According to the information that I found on the property; the room was open Thursday through Sunday only. Luckily there were at least three other poker rooms that were in the area that were all open. I had to decide where to go between Ameristar, Monarch, or Bally’s (formally Golden Gates). Ameristar was the furthest casino and according to Bravo did not look like there were very many games running. Monarch looked like it had the most action, so I walked over there to check it out. Walking into the Monarch it felt like I was walking into some sort of ski lodge. The building had what appeared to be logs in the interior of the entrance and dim lighting that gave it this feel of being lit by fire. The poker room was not so easy to find, and I had to ask for directions. There are some stairs located towards the back wall midway through the casino that led downstairs to where the poker room is. Once you get down there, you find that there is brightly lit room full of poker tables. The list was super long and even though I didn’t think I would be playing there because of how long the list was I still put my name on the list. After I put my name on the list, I wasn’t sure how long I would be waiting and decided to walk over to Bally’s to see if I could get into a game quicker than Monarch.

I arrived at Bally’s and quickly questioned where the poker room was there too. Turns out that the poker room was located across the street in what is listed on Google Maps as the Golden Gates casino. According to the staff there they were undergoing a rebranding to Bally’s. I asked the staff where I needed to go and was informed that there was a skywalk that I could take to get across the street to the other side and would find the poker room on the first floor. This room was much different than Monarchs. It was dimly lit and had a more friendly home game feel to it. The tables were nice and clean, and I was able to get a seat right away! I learned that all the locals would chase the bad beat jackpot and that was the reason the Monarch was so busy. Earlier the same day that I had arrived to Black Hawk, the bad beat jackpot hit at Ameristar.

The game seemed slow at first until I was able to figure out where the action was. The driving factor to the action was the fact that they allowed straddling from any position for any amount. The player that kept straddling was where the action was and soon, I found myself mixing it up. As usual, I found that the key to the game was looking for 3-bet spots to steal pots. Players seldomly defended against the 3-bet and once the pot started to get that big preflop, they seemed to just fold. There was a Monte Carlo promotion in the room and if you hit a hand that was on the board you would win the posted amount. I started out the session stuck but soon was able to play my way back to even. Then towards the end of the night just before the poker room was going to close, I stacked another player with pocket kings. The hand itself was not that interesting. I 3-bet, and they called me and then on the flop they were so short that I bet enough to handcuff them to the hand, and they went all in. My thought at the time was if they had Aces and didn’t get it all in preflop then good for them but weird.

Monte Carlo Promotion

Overall, I enjoyed myself and wished that I had a day or two more in the area to be able to play poker at the various rooms in the area. Black Hawk, CO was my favorite stop on the trip and what looked like to be a lot of action. I would highly recommend anyone make a stop there and check out the poker scene. I look forward to next year when we make another stop there.

Click on this Google Maps link to see the route that I traveled – https://goo.gl/maps/pBzvb4pmvusGPDaU8. To get notifications when I make another blog post you can scroll down to the bottom of my blog site and subscribe to get email notifications.

Bizzy’s 2021 Gains: $7656.27

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