North Carolina Texas Holdem
If you live in the Tar Heel State your options are severely limited when it comes to finding a live Texas holdem poker game. With only one casino in the state offering poker, you'll need to live close to this, or do some serious commuting if you want to play poker on a semi regular basis.
The only option is Harrah's Cherokee, which is located in Cherokee. This is about a five hour drive from the capital of Raleigh and a three hour drive from the most populous city of Charlotte.
So as you can see you'll have to put in a decent effort to play live Texas holdem poker. This casino poker room is a good one though; you'll find a mix of electronic and live tournaments and some serious tournament play. The poker room is usually a stop on the World Series of Poker circuit and you'll find some excellent action during this time.
Poker hasn't always been available in North Carolina, and you can imagine why. The state has a hard line stance on gambling of any form and this has only recently changed. Since 2012 you've been able to gamble and play poker at Harrah's Cherokee, however you still can't anywhere else in the state.
Another casino did open, also by the Cherokee tribe, in 2015 but no poker is currently offered. This casino is the Cherokee Valley River Casino and Hotel, and it's a luxurious and great casino, so hopefully in the near future they're able to get the right licensing to be able to offer another live poker room in this state.
Aside from these two casinos you can take part is some other minor forms of gambling in North Carolina. The main one is lottery. This has only been available state wide since 2006, and the main reason they run the lottery is to raise money for education in the state.
The lottery is highly regulated by the state government and all proceeds go towards college scholarships, tuition for disadvantaged people, and to maintain and build new schools and colleges. Prior to 2006 a number of isolated lotteries were run in the state to raise money for education, health, and other good causes, but now you'll really only find the major lotteries such as Mega Millions and Powerball.
If you wish to hold a poker tournament to raise money for charity you also can't do this in North Carolina. Which is a bit hypocritical when you think about it; you can run a bingo or raffle to raise money for a charity though, which further intensifies the hypocrisy.
Home games also aren't permitted in this state and lawmakers and the authorities have been known to come down on people for doing this, especially if they're profiting individually out of it somehow. So if you live in the state make sure you adhere to these rules and laws or you may end up in trouble.
The only reason Harrah's Cherokee can offer casino games and poker is because they are on a native Indian reservation and as such are exempt from certain laws that restrict these activities in the rest of the state. Generally this does create a precedent whereby laws are passed that eventually allow for gaming in other areas of the state.
This, plus pressure from neighboring states is usually what provides the impetus for regulations to be softened and lifted in relation to gambling. In the next 10 to 15 years it wouldn't surprise us at all if more casinos open in this state and as a result more poker rooms will also pop up.
Horse and Dog Racing
Unlike many other states, you also can't bet on horse racing or greyhound racing in North Carolina. This is unusual as this was really the way that gambling began in many other states and then poker, slots, and other table games were able to edge their way in based on loopholes in the law for horse racing. In any case, you can't do this in North Carolina so don't be tempted to place a bet on horse racing.
Online poker also isn't legal or regulated in the state and federal bans are still in place for online players in the state in the wake of black Friday. We've heard reports that you can still play online poker at off shore less respected online poker rooms but we would advise that you proceed with caution in this respect.
If you wish to play online casino games you can do this in the state from a number of online casinos that are respectable and welcome US players. The law in relation to online play is a bit grey in North Carolina, but most rulings have indicated that they treat online gambling as if it were the same as walking in to an establishment and gambling. So you won't be able to get away with too much based on the lack of legislation in this state.
If you love online play then eventually poker will be regulated in this state. It's likely to take a little bit more time than some other states though, and the above pressures we mentioned in respect to live tables also apply here.
Once more states regulate and run online poker the pressure will build on the smaller states to follow suit. After the smaller states do this then the more conservative states will fall also. So although you probably won't be able to take to the regulated virtual felt in the next 5 to 10 years in North Carolina, you probably will be able to play in 10 to 15 years online. It seems to be heading that way, albeit very slowly.
Now back to the poker that you can play in this fine state. The game of choice from players in North Carolina is no limit Texas holdem and all tournament play will be in this format. So too will cash games with limit holdem also being offered for those that get sick of the wild swings and variance in the no limit game.
If you love poker and want a change of scenery from the Harrah's in Cherokee you'll also find poker rooms in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New Jersey. Some of these are only a short drive away, or a super short flight, and they offer some great poker rooms and amazing service. Travelling south you'll also find an abundance of rooms in Florida, which rivals Nevada and California in respect to the huge number of pokers rooms they offer and the action in this state is amazing.
Generally the standard of play in North Carolina will be quite good. People travel from all over the country to play at Harrah's Cherokee so you'll find a great mix of people and play ranging from very weak up to absolutely amazing. This will enable you to implement a solid strategy and exploit the right people at the right time to maximize your value. The action in North Carolina where poker is played is excellent, and we can only hope that more poker rooms open up soon and the game continues to grow and build in this fine part of the country.
List of North Carolina Poker Rooms
Here is our compiled list of all the poker rooms you can find in the state of North Carolina:
- LocationCherokee, North Carolina
- Hours24 hours, 7 days
- Tables20, consisting of 8 live tables and 12 electronic poker tables.
- GamesIf you're looking for tournaments you will find up to two no limit holdem events here each day, at either 2pm, 7pm or 10pm, with a buy in ranging from $40 to $580, so you should be able to find a tournament that suits your budget. For the cash players, they spread $1 / $2 and $2 / $5 no limit holdem and $3 / $6 limit holdem tables. The poker room at Harrah's Cherokee also attracts a WSOP circuit event usually held in April.
- AmbienceThis no smoking poker room is partially separate to the rest of the casino and located upstairs. It features green felt tables and black comfortable chairs against a black and red decor with dark brown, light brown and red swirling carpet. You'll also find plenty of TVs in the room so you can stay entertained while you play.
- HospitalityComps can be earned by players in cash games at a rate of 70 cents per hour through the Total Rewards program. On top of this you'll receive food and cocktails at the table so you never have to skip a hand. They also run a series of promotions and jackpots to keep you coming back for more, especially when you are contributing to the dropped dollars all the time.
- PlayersThe overall vibe in this poker room is friendly and welcoming which is great, everyone seems to be playing to have fun and no one takes it too seriously. You'll find plenty of action in this room as it's the only one in the state and attracts players from far and wide. If you want the biggest possible edge visit on weekend's evenings and play in the tournaments when they run. With a solid and straight forward game, you should be able to make some decent money here without having to be too creative.
While Kansas doesn't offer as many options for Texas holdem players as many states, they do have three legal poker rooms. If you live close enough to the state line you might be closer to a larger poker room out of state, or you can try to find a private game.