Poker is the game of champions, the pastime of kings, and a game that everyone simply has to try at least once. But aside from playing at home with your family or friends, where can you find a decent game here in Essex?
The obvious answer is to whip out your phone and play online, right? But while online poker is a great way to pass the time at home, we’re talking about real live action here. Felt tables with well-dressed dealers and pristine poker chips to roll between your fingers. While there are plenty of great nights out in Essex, for poker lovers, there’s a pretty limited selection.
Before we go any further, let’s just point out the fact that poker is in no way a game of luck. It’s a game based on skill, so don’t for a second think that you can waltz into a poker game and take the pot without understanding the basics of the game. In fact, even if you do understand how to play, we’d still recommend brushing up on your poker strategy before you play a live game.
It might even be a good idea to set up a home game with some friends where you don’t play for real money, just to help you get into the swing of things. And if you do start playing your friends with actual cash on the table, then make sure to limit it to a few quid in the pot. The last thing you want to do is clean out your friends and leave with no cash to get a taxi home. Although the bragging rights would be pretty epic.
The Rendezvous Casino – Southend
It’s off to Southend we go for our first recommendation, the Rendezvous Casino. Located on Eastern Esplanade, this casino is open 24-hours a day and as you would expect is packed with all the usual games you’d find in a Vegas-style casino.
Here you can play everything from blackjack to roulette, but it’s poker we’re most interested in. At Rendezvous, you can opt to play three-card poker, which is a great entry level version of the game. Basically, you need a three-card hand that beats the dealer’s hand. The beauty of this game is that, like blackjack, you’re playing against the dealer and not the other players.
If you’re after a classic game of poker though, you can play that here too. The casino boasts a VIP poker room that hosts regular tournaments. Unlike three-card poker, the VIP room is only available for poker on specific days at set times. So you’ll need to check ahead to make sure there’s a chance of a game.
Grosvenor Casino – Southend
Staying in Southend, we have one of the Grosvenor casinos on Church Road. This is a nice little casino that does a great stone-baked pizza and has some pretty good deals on drinks.
But what about the poker? Well, it’s not bad at all. Being part of the Grosvenor casino chain means that the staff here are well trained and quite knowledgeable. They host regular satellite games that are qualifiers for the bigger Grosvenor sponsored poker tournaments.
The poker room itself is nicely laid out and they host their own tournaments from time to time. The place is a good spot for a quiet and relaxed time at the tables though, which makes this the place for friendly games.
Genting Casino – Westcliff
Like the first on our list, this casino offers 24-hour gaming options that would leave a Vegas casino green with envy. You name it, you can play it at this swanky casino. The poker room is quite impressive with a lot of live action going on.
You can opt to play three-card poker which, as we explained above, is played against the dealer. On the other hand, (pardon the pun) you can hit the Texas Holdem tables where there are regular dealer dealt cash games.
You can even order food and drink and have it brought to you at the table. We’re not sure you’ll want to order the Bolognese though. We imagine that would get very messy indeed.
This particular casino is well-known for hosting some great tournaments with huge pots and pretty low buy-ins. Best of all though is the option to host your own private game at the casino. Now that’s a night out that will live long in the memory.
We mentioned the option of setting up a home game with your friends and family earlier but that’s another option. As you are well aware, the poker scene in England is thriving and there’s a big poker community out there. So try checking out social media to see if you can find any prearranged home games or poker meet ups where poker fans get together for a game.
If you’re going down this route just make sure that you get to know the hosts first. The legality surrounding poker home games states that you must only invite friends as guests to your home game.
So get involved in the local poker community, join Facebook groups, and start asking around about local games. Before you know it, you’ll have made yourself some new friends and found yourself a cheaper option to a night out at the casino.
And that’s all that we have for you in terms of poker in Essex. You can, of course, hit London and work your way through the casinos and poker rooms of the big smoke. But who wants to do that when you’ve got some excellent poker options right here on your won doorstep.