By Steve Beauregard
What I believe is the newest poker room in Black Hawk, is also one of the nicest, with a plush, inviting atmosphere, giant TV screens everywhere, free goodies, and the most generous promotions of any area card room.
Remember the glory days of online poker, when bonus whoring was all the rage? For those of you who think I’m a pervert, what I’m talking about here was the never-ending chase to join all of the numerous online poker rooms just to get free promotional sign-up money or bonus money offered as an enticement to new players.
Back in the day, you could often join an online site free and get some free cash to jumpstart your bankroll. Alternatively, you could deposit, and receive a free bonus from the site after playing a certain number of hands.
I bring this up, because the Isle of Capri Poker Room in Blackhawk has some promotions that sort of resemble the bonus whoring days.
(Go here to read about online poker’s Black Friday.)
First off, you can stay at the Isle of Capri for just $39 plus tax, Monday through Thursday, by playing four hours of poker there. For those of you from out of town, a $39 room in Blackhawk is a bargain. On a slow Sunday night in late April, with nothing going on, we were quoted $99 at the Isle, $89 at their sister property, the Lady Luck Hotel, and $119 at the Ameristar.
Secondly, new players to the room, (or those that haven’t played there in six months), are given a $10 per hour comp, just for sitting in a game. There’s a five hour, or $50 maximum on this bonus.
Third, all players are credited with a $2 per hour food comp.
Using these promotions, my wife (playing here for 5 hours as I tried for a tournament score), was able to save $60 on our nice hotel room, while collecting $50 in new player bonus money, and $10 in food comps. For those keep tracking at home, that’s $120 in free money, which is nice. Especially after she lost $200 when she ran into a cooler, with trip Jacks vs. trip Aces.
A fourth bonus, (and I’m not sure how long this promotion is running), is an “Early Bird Bonus,” in which anyone playing between 6 a.m. and noon, Monday through Friday, can earn $5 per hour, up to six hours maximum, (or $30).
It should also be said that the room provides players with free bar food, such as pizza and pretty good nachos, along with the usual free pop and alcoholic drinks.
I realize I haven’t mentioned anything about the games here yet, but the generous comp and bonuses offered by the Isle were worth mentioning. With many casinos, the poker room is sort of an afterthought, and casino management rarely lavishes the goodies to poker players, like they do with the more profitable slot players, so it’s nice to be treated well by a card room.
Other seem to agree, as these promotions have helped the Isle of Capri rise from the dead, so to speak in the Black Hawk poker world. A year ago, you could hear crickets chirping in their open, plush room. And while they aren’t as large, nor as busy as the Ameristar Blackhawk Poker Room, the comp bait has attracted an audience of players.
Disappointingly however, the games are all the $1 – $100 spread limit variety, with a $1 Mississippi Straddle game thrown in the loop too. One nice feature at the Isle is the scheduling of a regular Omaha game.
Every Friday and Saturday night, beginning at 6 p.m., they host a $1/$2 – $100 spread limit Omaha Hi only game. This game usually gets a waiting list early in the week, and has become such a draw that they’ve started a $2/$5 -$100 Omaha Hi only game during those same time frames.
Isle of Capri Blackhawk Poker Tournaments
In a break from the standard No-Limit Hold’em tournaments, the Isle hosts Pot Limit Omaha Hi/Lo tournaments every Thursday, at 11:00 a.m. ($60) and at 6:30 p.m. for a $100 buy-in.
They also host (when the players are there), the only Turbo no-limit hold’em tournament in Blackhawk. This $60 tournament runs at 11 a.m. most weekdays. We tried to play the morning tournament on a Monday, however it didn’t run due to a lack of interest.
Other tournaments at the Isle include more traditional structured no-Limit Hold’em tourneys at 6:30 Monday, Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The buy-in for these is $60, except on Wednesdays, when it becomes a bounty tournament and costs $75.
Poker purists won’t like it, but the Isle has their own Bad Beat Jackpot. They call it, (and it appears to be accurate), the “Easiest Bad Beat Jackpot in Black Hawk.” The multi-tiered payout structure is sort of complicated, with different payouts for more difficult beats, but the lowest qualifier is a hand in which you lose holding Aces over Tens full house. Recently the jackpot was in the $130,000 range, and the loser can get 50% of the jackpot, with the winner getting 25%, with the table splitting the rest.
The Isle of Capri is certainly an up-and-comer in the Blackhawk poker community. They can be reached directly at (303) 998-7905