Northern Iowa has quite a few nice poker options

December 23, 2011  

I recently traveled to Northwest Iowa to visit some poker rooms, first stopping at Argosy Casino in Sioux City. This is a small four-table room (like several casinos in Iowa) with a friendly staff. Argosy runs no-limit hold’em tournaments on Sundays (2 p.m.) and Wednesdays (7). Both are $20 with a $10 rebuy. There also is a 1,000-chip bonus for each hour played in a cash game on the day of the tournament. The popular cash game here is $1-$3 NLHE and the rooms opening hours are Mon.-Thur. 4 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 5 p.m., and Sunday at 11 a.m.

I then visited the new Grand Falls Casino Resort in Larchwood. This is a big casino rising up out of the prairie and serves the large population of Sioux Falls, N.D. This is the sister property of Riverside Casino near Iowa City, so there are many similarities. The poker room has eight tables, which normally fill up on weekends with six $1-$2 NLHE, a $2-$5 NLHE and an Omaha/8 game. On Wednesdays at 1 there’s a stud/8 $2-$10 spread-limit game. As for tournaments, an Omaha/8 event runs Mondays at 1 p.m. and NLHE tournaments run just about daily. The Sunday tournament begins at 1 p.m. and is generating a good amount of interest with a $100 buy-in and larger payouts.

Poker room manager Todd Slager, his well-trained staff and the friendly players made me feel welcome.
• Back on the other side of Iowa, the $220 tournament at Mystique in Dubuque was on Nov. 19. This tournament runs about every six weeks and draws players from a good distance. There were 58 players, which generated an $11,600 prize pool and ended in a six-way chop. Where did I finish? Let’s just say I had to wait a long time for the cash game to get going after I busted.

• Last issue we mentioned how the University of Northern Iowa had concluded there wasn’t enough data to conduct a study on the effect online poker could have on Iowans. This month we have better news as the Iowa Racing and Gaming Commission released a report requested by the state Legislature, saying intrastate online poker could generate $13 million to $60 million a year in revenue, according to numerous reports.

Based on a 22 percent tax rate, that would mean revenue to the state of $3 million to $13 million, the report concluded. This is huge as lawmakers are considering whether to introduce a bill legalizing online poker this month.

— Ken Warren is the Ante Up Ambassador for Iowa. You can email him at anteupken@gmail.com.