I played poker for a few hours at Christchurch casino on Saturday night. I must say that I enjoyed the experience so much more than playing in Hamilton or Auckland. With Auckland Skycity about to close their poker room, I may have to fly down to Christchurch to play.
The dealers are a bit slower and make more mistakes than Hamilton or Auckland, but the players are always watching out so mistakes are always rectified. The slower dealing means that there's less mis-deals than I've experienced elsewhere.
The players are more chatty and like to talk more about anything and everything. There are not silent poker robots that only talk after a big confrontation. This helps in passing the time so you don't get impatient and let the action junkie reflex take over.
There is no roped off area and the poker tables are close to the bars. This means that chatty drunks like to wander past and you can often convince them to lay a few bob on the table.
The play is looser. There are some loose aggro-players who know what they are doing, but there are many many loose passive players. Way softer play than online. There are players making big mistakes - like chasing gutshots without odds or flat-calling with the nuts when last to act on the river. Just some people out for a bit of a gamble. Far more calling stations so when you hit a monster you can often get your whole stack in the middle - unless you've been a total rock all night.
The blinds are $1/$2 and the min-buyin is $75 dollars and the max-buyin is $200. That's a 35BB-100BB stack so you get to play real poker. This is better than the 25BB-75BB stack sizes at Skycity Auckland and the $2/$5 crapshot game of 20BB-40BB that Skycity Hamilton lays.
The rake is 10% but it appears they cap that at $10 per pot so it's much better than the $15 cap used at Hamilton and Auckland casinoes.
Yes, I think I'll be flying to down to Christchurch to play when I want live cash play. Skycity say that Queenstown casino will become their premier destination for NZ poker once Auckland closes. The problem I have with that is when I enquired about playing in Queenstown on last Friday night, they doubted that a game would get enough players to run. Ouch.