New York Poker Rooms: A Complete Guide To Poker In NY

Poker players in upstate New York have more choices of where to play, with four commercial casinos opening since late 2016 to join four tribal casinos offering live games.

Legal poker rooms and full-fledged casino gaming haven’t cracked the New York City metro market yet, but players looking for a Hold’em or Omaha game have a variety of options elsewhere in the state.

A state law allowing commercial casinos targeted areas that needed an economic boost, says Dave Urie, poker room manager at the $1.2 billion Resorts World Catskills, which had a grand opening in May 2018 in Monticello. Other commercial casinos are in Schenectady, Waterloo, and Nichols.

Tribal casinos with poker rooms are at Turning Stone in Verona, Seneca Niagara in Niagara Falls, Seneca Allegany in Salamanca, and Akwesasne in Hogansburg, which is so close to the Canadian border that some slot machines accept Canadian currency.

Competition for players has picked up as players get more choices.

“We’re still growing our room and brand,” says Dave Grubb of the poker room at Rivers Hotel and Casino. “There’s a big poker community in the capital region.”

For example, to counter the August grand opening of MGM Springfield in Massachusetts, about 100 miles away, his room will offer an hourly $1,000 high-hand bonus for six days.

All the casino poker rooms in New York are smoke-free. New York law requires commercial casinos – Tioga Downs, del Lago, Rivers and Resorts World Catskills – to be smoke-free throughout. Tribal casinos are allowed to have smoking areas inside the buildings.

All offer daily or weekly tournaments and NLHE; all except the five-table Akwesasne room also deal Omaha and occasionally a stud game when there’s enough interest.

Five rooms are listed on the Bravo phone app: Turning Stone, Resorts World, Rivers, Tioga Downs and Seneca Niagara. Del Lago uses the InTurn app by Bally Technologies.

Turning Stone was the first legal casino in the state, opening in 1993. Before that, underground poker games were so well- known that they were an integral part of the plot for the 1998 movie “Rounders,” starring Matt Damon and Edward Norton.

For an excellent history of New York’s poker evolution – from the “Goulash Joints” of the 1960s to the growth of private card clubs in the 1980s to the state’s role in the Black Friday crackdown of online sites in 2011 – see PlayNY.

Here is a look at casino-based poker rooms in New York, ranked by number of tables.

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Turning Stone Resort Casino

Location: 5218 Patrick Rd. Verona, NY 13478
Phone: (315) 361-8676 (poker room)
Website: www.turningstone.com/gaming/poker-room
Tables: 32
Promotions: High-hand bonuses; Bad Beat jackpot
Comp rate: $1 per hour; $10 food voucher given for three hours of play between 1 and 10 a.m.; “rake back” promo offers cash reward ranging from $40 for 40 to 59 hours of monthly play to $250 for 200-plus hours.
Extras: Phone-charging ports at every seat; free wifi; tableside massage service for $1 per minute; big tournaments include Empire State Hold ’Em championships offer tournaments with $50,000 and $100,000 guaranteed prize pool;
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $1 for promotions
Trivia: Straddle and Button Straddle available on select games
About the property: Opened in 1993; casino has 1,715 slot machines and 85 house-banked table games; the site includes four hotels with a total of 707 rooms, two spas, five golf courses, more than 20 dining options, a showroom, a 5,000-seat arena, and a heliport.

Resorts World Catskills

Location: 888 Resorts World Drive Monticello, New York 12701
Phone: 845-428-7200 Ext. 1785
Website: www.rwcatskills.com/casino/poker
Tables: 19
Promotions: High-Hand bonus, awarded every 20, 30 or 60 minutes; Bad Beat jackpot;
Comp rate: $1 per hour
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $2 for promotions
Extras: Direct access to poker room from casino parking garage; restrooms and cashier cage within room; in-room food service; massage service available
Trivia: Feature game is $5-10 Omaha High-Low and Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better (O.E.), with full kill on Wednesdays and Fridays
About the property: Opened in May 2018; casino has 2,150 slot machines and 150 house-banked table games and private gaming salons; the all-suite hotel has 332 rooms, a spa, two indoor pools and two fitness centers; the RW Epicenter entertainment venue can seat 2,500.

Rivers Casino and Resort

Location: 1 Rush Street: Schenectady, NY 12305
Phone: 518-579-8810 (poker room)
Website: www.riverscasinoandresort.com/casino/poker-room
Tables: 16
Promotions: High-hand bonus may also include free entry into tournaments, and players may use only one hole card to qualify; “Unlucky Sevens,” a promo similar to a bad-beat jackpot, splits $77,777 among all players at a table where quad sevens or better gets beaten; royal flush bonus, also can be won using only one hole card.
Comp rate: $1 per hour for most games; $1.50 per hour for $5-10 no-limit and $20-40 limit
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $2 for promotions
Extras: Text-to-order food service; free wifi, phone-charging ports at each seat; featured cash games include 20-40 Limit Hold ’Em on Tuesdays and $20-40 Omaha High-Low on Wednesdays and Thursdays; big tournaments include Capital Region Classic with $100,000 guaranteed prize pool, a Monster Stack event with a $100,000 guaranteed prize pool, and the Rivers Poker Open with a $200,000 guaranteed prize pool.
Trivia: Only “Poker Night in America” room in the state.
About the property: Opened February 2017; casino has 1,150 slot machines, 67 house-banked table games, and off-track betting service; site features 165-room Landing Hotel and a 10,000-square-foot Event Center.

Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino

Location: 310 Fourth St. Niagara Falls, NY 14303
Phone: 716-278-6300 (poker room)
Website: www.senecaniagaracasino.com/casino/poker
Tables: 23
Promotions: High-hand bonus; Bad Beat jackpot; weekly tournament with $20 buy-in and $1,000 guaranteed prize pool
Comp rate: $1 an hour for most cash games; $2 an hour for $2-5 No Limit Hold ’Em
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $2 for promotions
Extras: Free wifi, complimentary beverages, phone chargers, tableside massage
Trivia: Stop for Mid-States Poker Tour and host of own Summer Slam and Western New York Poker Challenge tournament series
About the property: Opened in 2002; casino has more than 3,600 slot machines and 90 house-banked table games; hotel has 604 rooms, a full-service spa and salon, indoor swimming pool and 2,400-seat entertainment venue; site is near Niagara Falls State Park and the 18-hole Seneca Hickory Stick Golf Course.

Del Lago Resort & Casino

Location: 1133 State Route 414 Waterloo, NY 13165
Phone: 315-946-1759 (poker room)
Website: www.dellagoresort.com/casino/poker
Tables: 14
Promotions: High-hand bonus; Bad Beat jackpot
Comp rate: $1 per hour
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $2 for promotions
Extras: Free wifi; charging station at each table; instead of Bravo poker app, players can use InTurn phone app by Bally Technologies to get on waiting list and check current games or promotions.
Trivia: Del Lago was the second casino to sign casino to sign a sports-betting partnership with DraftKings, setting the stage for a retail sportsbook and an online operation if the state approves legislation. The agreement was announced July 16. DraftKings’ first partnership was with Resorts Casino Hotel in Atlantic City.
About the property: Opened in January 2017; casino has 1,956 slot machines and 85 house-banked table games; the hotel has 205 rooms and a spa.

Tioga Downs Casino Resort

Location: 2384 W. River Road Nichols, New York 13812
Phone: 607-699-7588
Website: www.tiogadowns.com/gaming/poker-room
Tables: 12
Promotions: High-hand bonuses, Bad Beat jackpot, hot seats, hot hands
Comp rate: $1 per hour
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5, plus $1 or $2 for promotions
Extras: All players get all-you-can-eat pizza from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturdays
Trivia: Home to the state’s only WSOP poker room
About the property: Opened in December 2016; casino has 944 slot machines and 32 house-banked table games; hotel has 160 rooms; harness racing track adjoins casino.

Seneca Allegany Resort & Casino

Location: 768 Broad Street Salamanca, NY 14779
Phone: 716-945-8902 (poker room)
Website: www.senecagames.com/senecapoker-salamanca
Tables: Eight
Promotions: High-hand bonuses
Comp rate: 60 cents per hour
Rake: $4 max, plus $2 for promotions
Trivia: Opens at 10 a.m. Wednesday through Sunday; closed Mondays and Tuesdays. Poker room is about three-fourths of a mile from the hotel-casino, with shuttle service provided.
About the property: Opened in 2004; casino has 1,800 slots and 33 house-banked table games; hotel has 413 rooms, a spa and salon, indoor pool, fitness facility, and 2,400-seat event center. The hotel and main casino is at 777 Seneca Allegany Blvd.

Akwesasne Mohawk Casino Resort

Location: 873 State Route 37 Hogansburg, NY 13655
Phone: 877-992-2746
Website: www.mohawkcasino.com/gaming/poker-room
Tables: Five; room opens at 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, at noon Saturday and Sunday
Promotions: Bad Beat jackpot
Comp rate: $1 per hour
Rake: 10 percent of pot, up to $5; no additional promo rake
Extras: Cell-phone charging station, free wifi; tournaments scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, with cash games starting afterward; cash games are 1-2 No Limit Hold ’Em, differentiated with buy-in ranges of $40 to $100, $50 to $200, and $100 to $300.
Trivia: “Akwesasne” means “Land where the partridge drums.”
About the property: Opened in 1999; casino has more than 1,600 slot machines and about 30 table games, plus a 540-seat bingo hall; hotel has 150 rooms, spa, fitness center and RV park.