The cowboy state of Wyoming certainly isn’t bursting at the seams when it comes to its Texas holdem poker offerings. With only two rooms in the state you’ll have to travel quite a ways to find a good game. That is, unless you happen to live in or near Riverton or Laramie where the two poker rooms are located.
Gambling isn’t legalized across Wyoming and you’ll only find casinos on the native tribal reservations. Wind River Casino offers a small poker room on their land which features one cash table and a larger tournament area which is opened from time to time when they hold their weekly and bi monthly events. The other option in Wyoming is the Laramie poker room, which is a semi private card room which offers some great action and a great home game vibe. This poker room is operating in a bit of a legal grey area, although they don’t seem to attract any attention from the authorities so it seems to be fine what they’re doing.
The good thing about poker in Wyoming is that no rake can be taken out of the game. So, you can push your hard earned dollars even further. If you don’t take rake and people in the game know each other, then poker is perfectly legal. So, if you wish to start up your own home game or club you’ll need to satisfy these two things, and of course, conduct other due diligence in respect to running a game. In other words, you can’t just take our word for it that you’re all good to run a game.
Generally, gambling in this state is frowned upon and the native tribes were only able to open casinos and offer poker after taking the state to court. It was deemed that state legislation couldn’t trump federal laws in relation to native Indian land in this respect and thus casinos were allowed. As for online poker, or live poker outside of private clubs and Indian lands, you won’t find this for quite some time in this state. It’s just not going to happen. Thankfully, for keen players there are states nearby that allow poker so you should be able to drive for a few hours to find some action. Failing that, you can always jump on a two hour flight to Las Vegas or California to get some excellent poker action.
If you want the absolute best action, visit Wind River Casino in November during the Wyoming Poker Championships. The games will be soft and juicy when this is taking place. Just keep in mind that drinking alcohol isn’t permitted at the Wind River Casino, so you won’t find that drunken blackjack player trying to chase his losses at the poker table on Saturday night at 3am.
Location: Laramie, Wyoming
Hours: Monday and Wednesday from 7pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 6pm
Games: Five no limit holdem tournaments are held in this poker room each week and they also offer $1 / $2 and $2 / $5 no limit holdem and no limit Omaha high low cash games when they are open and there’s sufficient player demand.
Ambience: This semi private poker club is in a quiet office park which has plenty of parking and is adequate security. The room itself is well lit and clean with grey and black felt tables in a white and beige decor. There’s plenty of artwork on the walls and even some moose heads and other strange memorabilia. This adds to the charm of the room and it really makes you feel like you are in an upmarket sports cave where the focus is all on the poker. Smoking isn’t permitted in this poker room for your comfort. Finally, they have TVs strategically placed around the room so you can stay up to date with your sports bets while you play.
Hospitality: You can get cocktails and food at the table while you play in the Laramie poker room. They also offer players comps through the Laramie Poker Frequent Player Points rewards program. The first five players for a cash game will get $10, and they offer a high hand bonus, a straight flush bonus and royal flush bonus at various times. If your aces are beaten you also win a prize. Finally, they offer a bad beat jackpot and give you $25 if you bring a new player to the game.
Players: You’ll come across a great mix of people in this poker room. The operation is legit with excellent dealers who work for tips and really add value to the game. It’s basically like a nice poker room that you would find in a casino without the smoke and noise from the slot machines. The standard of play is decent without being exceptional and you’ll usually find at least a $1 / $2 or $2 / $5 no limit holdem game running in their quiet hours, with more tables opening up when it’s busier and some tournaments being run as well. One of the major positives with this poker room is there’s no rake at all, which means you won’t lose out in every pot. The room makes their money through other means including membership fees, drinks and food service. Overall, this is probably the best place to play in Wyoming.
Wind River Casino
Location: Riverton, Wyoming
Hours: 24 hours, 7 days
Tables: Multiple – depending on the day of the week and if tournaments are being offered. Usually there will be 1 Texas holdem cash table and up to 10 tables when they run tournaments.
Games: Tournaments are held each Wednesday with the game being no limit holdem. The buy in is $20 and you can rebuy an unlimited number of times in the first hour. The game starts at 6pm. On top of this every second and fourth Saturday of the month they hold a $40 buy in no limit holdem tournament at 4pm. These tournaments are held in a different section of the casino because the main poker area only has 1 table. Every year in November they also hold the Wyoming State Poker Championship here which means you’ll find a lot more tournament and cash game action during that time.
Ambience: This poker room is large and well lit which makes for a nice poker environment. They have bright blue felt tables with black chairs against brown and orange carpet and decor. The color matches well and it’s nice on the eye. The room has a bit of a way to go and could use more TVs and character. Overall, they are improving though and the room should only continue to get better.
Hospitality: You won’t get much in the way of service when you play here and no alcohol is available at all. If you like to have a few drinks while you play poker, you’ll need to have a few before you come or go without. They do offer a self service station in the casino where you can get free Pepsi and soda, tea, hot chocolate and coffee. This means you’ll never go thirsty at the table and you can keep your wits about you while you play.
Players: Generally, you’ll find some decent players in this poker room, even though it’s a fair way from anywhere. You will come across tough regulars, visitors who have a decent game and the odd amateur looking to try the game. During the busier times the games will become a bit harder, which is different to most poker rooms, and we put this mostly down to the fact that you can’t drink here. It’s amazing what a bit of alcohol will do for some poker players, and how it will make a craps or blackjack player think they can take a seat at the table and gamble away the evening. This is a shame, but it also means the room has a friendlier and more conservative vibe, which isn’t a bad thing. When they put on the bigger tournaments you’ll be able to find some great value and loose action in the cash games.
With only two poker rooms in the state, Wyoming is one of the worst places to live for Texas holdem players. Unless you live close to one of the public rooms you’re going to be forced to travel or play at one of the unregulated online poker rooms still accepting Wyoming players.
You can still find home or private games if you ask around, but be careful where you play. These games are basically underground gambling dens so keep your eyes open to avoid a bad situation.
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