MGM National, Maryland Live! Fight For Regional Poker Dominance Continues

Steve Ruddock January 9, 2017 3459 Reads
Maryland poker

The newly opened MGM National Harbor, which sits just outside of Washington D.C. on the banks of the Potomac River, is the swankiest casino in the mid-Atlantic market. According to Maryland Lottery and Gaming, National Harbor generated some $42 million from slot machines and table games in its first month, helping the state’s casino industry set a revenue record.

Even with a quick start, MGM is going to have a serious fight on its hands if it wants to have the top poker room in the region. Its opponent in this battle is Maryland Live!, which sits about an hour north on the outskirts of Baltimore. It boasts a larger and more established poker room.

MGM’s poker room was gobbling up a lot of players when it opened its doors — as most new poker rooms are known to do. But Maryland Live! managed to keep pace, as I reported last month, when I first compared the two poker rooms using dating from the Bravo Poker Live website.

  Maryland Live! MGM National Harbor
Tables running (Dec 14) 32 tables (52 Max) 35 tables (39 Max)
Most popular game (Dec 14) $1/$2 NLHE (18 tables) $1/$3 NLHE (15 tables)
2nd most popular game (Dec 14) $2/$5 NLHE (7 tables) $2/$5 NLHE (8 tables)
3rd most popular game (Dec 14) $4/$8 Limit Hold’em (5 tables) $5/$10 & $10/$25 NL (2 tables)

Now that the MGM National Harbor is a month old and the curiosity factor has likely subsided, it is a good time to revisit the numbers and see how the battle between Maryland Live! and MGM National Harbor is shaping up.

Three weeks later… little has changed

Here’s how things looked on Bravo Poker Live a few weeks later, as of Jan. 5 at around 7 p.m.:

  Maryland Live! MGM National Harbor
Tables running (Jan 5) 24 tables (52 Max) 29 tables (39 Max)
Most popular game (Jan 5) $1/$2 NLHE (12 tables) $1/$3 NLHE (12 tables)
2nd most popular game (Jan 5) $2/$5 NLHE (6 tables) $2/$5 NLHE (7 tables)
3rd most popular game (Jan 5) $4/$8 Limit Hold’em (3 tables) $5/$10 NLH & $1/$2 + $5/$5 PLO (2 tables)

Other than Thursday being a bit slower, little has changed between the two poker rooms.

Who’s spreading what games

Both rooms have similar low-limit, no-limit action that accounts for the bulk of their active tables. Seventy-five percent of Maryland Live!’s tables were $1/$3 and $2/$5 No Limit Hold’em games. The same stakes accounted for 65 percent of MGM’s tables.

The differences begin to appear when you look at the non-NLHE action at each casino.

Limit players stick with Maryland Live!

Maryland Live! possesses more limit hold’em games:

  • Three tables of $4/$8 limit
  • One table of $20/$40 limit (with a five person waitlist)

That’s compared to MGM’s two tables of $4/$8 limit.

A lot of PLO action at MGM

Conversely, MGM National Harbor has more Omaha games:

  • Two tables of $5/$5 pot-limit Omaha
  • Two tables of $1/$2 PLO
  • One table of $1/$2 five-card Omaha high

Maryland Live! had just a single table of $2/$2 PLO running.

High stakes action still at MGM

MGM also boasts more higher limit games, but their number and stakes have dipped since the casino’s opening.

On Thursday evening, MGM had two tables of $5/$10 no-limit hold’em and a single table of $10/$25 NLH. Maryland Live!’s highest stakes games were $2/$5 NLH and $20/$40 limit hold’em

MGM National Harbor also had several interest lists for high-stakes games, ranging from $100/$200 mixed to $25/$50 NLHE and PLO.

MGM now running tournaments

It will be interesting to see if the addition of two weekly tournaments (on Monday and Wednesday at 11 a.m.) has any impact on National Harbor’s poker room traffic.

It might get tables running earlier in the day, but until evening tournaments are added, it probably won’t manifest as evening traffic.

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