Excalibur Poker Room Review
Dec 13, 2005  
2005 Jason Kirk  

Anyone who plays poker solely online wants to go to a casino for some live action sooner or later. Flinging around virtual chips with All_In_Monkey23 can be profitable and sometimes fun, but it just isn't the same as a real poker game in a casino. One of the things that puts many live action newcomers off, though, is the intimidation factor of casino play. There are so many things an online player doesn't have to worry about that suddenly come into play at the casino: buying chips, getting on the list for a game, finding the table you'll be playing at, and the implication that you should know all the little rules of playing in a poker room. Finding a room that eliminates a lot of the intimidation factor can be a godsend to a live poker neophyte. In Las Vegas, one of the best rooms in this category is the Excalibur's poker room.

The poker room at the Excalibur is fairly large, holding over 20 tables. This has been the case since the middle of 2004, when management decided to expand what had been a 13-table operation by swapping its location with that of the keno lounge. There is ample space between the tables so that nobody gets too crowded. The tables are all fairly new, but the chairs have been in the poker room since playing cards were invented. The room's clientele keeps it packed a good majority of the time, meaning there is almost always a game running at your limit of choice.

The Excalibur is home to some of the smallest limit games in Las Vegas, leading to a very relaxed atmosphere in the room. The $1-3 spread limit hold'em game is actually the single lowest-limit game spread anywhere in the city - you aren't going to find a better deal for cheap poker no matter where you go. There is also a $2-6 spread limit hold'em game that runs regularly. You can also find $2-4 and sometimes $4-8 hold'em in the room, as well as a $200 maximum buy-in no-limit hold'em game with $1 and $2 blinds. There is even a $1-5 spread limit seven-card stud game that usually runs on at least one table. If you want to play anything larger than these games, Excalibur is probably not your idea of a good poker room.

If you want comps and bonuses, you'll probably enjoy playing at the Excalibur. There is a free buffet within the room itself for all players seated while it's running, with different food available every night. Playing for 4 hours in the room will also earn you a $4 food comp good at most of the Excalibur's restaurants. One of the best bonuses running is the Wheel Spin. If you're playing any game above $1-3 spread limit hold'em, and you either hit 4 of a kind or better or have your pocket aces cracked, you get to spin the big wheel by the front desk. You can win anywhere from $20 to $100. Finally, there's a progressive bad beat jackpot for all games 2-6 and higher.

The one downside to this low-limit room is that the dealers aren't always the best you could have. Most of them aren't horrible, but the room is definitely a training ground for new dealers and you will sometimes find yourself having to call the floor or remind the dealer of a more obscure rule. This isn't to say that the room is completely devoid of good dealers, but you should know in advance that if you get a great one when you sit down at the table you shouldn't count on all of them being like that.

Finally, the competition at the Excalibur is about as soft as you could hope for. In addition to all the other positive factors for a new player, this really makes it a great room for your first time playing in a casino. Even if all the other little things about playing live intimidate you, you'll feel right at home once you realize that your opponents are some of the worst players ever to sit at a felt-covered table. If you feel at home playing on Party Poker or other similar online sites, the Excalibur players will be your new best friends.

There's probably not a better room in Las Vegas for anyone new to live poker. With all the comps and low-limit games available you couldn't ask for much more in a low-roller room. Anyone looking for glitz won't enjoy playing there, but anyone else looking for a soft game would be well-advised to give the Excalibur a try.

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