The State of New Hampshire historically had low limit, “charity” casinos and poker rooms. These card houses were never much of a draw for ya boy Casino Guy. I don’t like to leatherass/grind out hands playing poker. I love the pace of table games. They were always assumed to be too small and too cheap for my very valuable time. But in the summer of 2018, the state raised the limits up a bit and then offered games with more side action Tristan Thompson (that was a topical reference for all the kids out there). Was my opinion right about these mini gambling dens? Were they worth the time and the effort to get there? Let’s find out….Rapid Review style!!!
222 West Street, Building D2, Keene, NH 03431
- Getting There – Rolling hills, speed traps, smack dab in the middle of town in an old mill complex – this had it all. Thank god for the fine police on Rt. 63 in Chesterfield for sparing my driving record another black eye.
- Look and Feel – I had no idea I was there. I had no idea where the front door was. Admittedly, I was probably parked on the wrong side. Inside, the only thing that came to mind was the local American Legion or Italian American club combined with a glassed in porch/hot tub room – and not the ones you see on Million Dollar Listing. It also appeared they got after it the night before for Monday Night Football.
- Gaming Options – It was very early. I had the run of any table I wanted. The dealer was the pit boss and cage manager. Roulette, New Hampshire Hold Em (same as Mississippi Stud), Spanish 21 and a bunch of poker tables. Pretty good variety for an Elks Lodge
- Clientele – Polite as shit. Charming as hell. Handsome as fuck. Yes I was alone.
- Bathrooms – Felt like a local supermarket after the high school drop out half-assedly cleaned it for the first time of the day. Really good smelling soap though.
- Service – This guy was great. There was NO CHANCE he thought he was going to get any action that early but he opened up with a wink and smile.
- Grub & Liquid Courage – Nothing. Even I couldn’t drink that early. Who would have served me anyway?
- Overall – My first stop on the NH loop was a little discombobulating because of the lack of people around (to be fair, they probably don’t see a whole lot of action 5 minutes after they open on a Tuesday). However, the pit boss/dealer/head chef/lead engineer/chief brand officer sold me on how this could be a good spot later in the day. But Casino Guy goes on what his eyes sees, not on what the Magic 8-ball says.
Official Casino Guy Rating: Pair of 9s. You may sneak out with a win but you ain’t blowing anyone’s doors off. It get’s the job done if you have limited options.
1279 South Willow Street, Manchvegas, NH 03103
- Getting There – This is close to the highway. Right near all kinds of shit, which actually caused a problem with how the GPS takes you. I didn’t pull a Michael Scott but if you see it, go to it. Lights and U-turn signs be damned. I basically got lost in a Vortex of parking lots and one-ways.
- Look and Feel – So I actually liked this one. Outside it reminded me of some of the off the strip casino in Nevada, cross between a Bonanza buffet and the candle pin bowling alley in my hometown. Inside, it was very well lit. Had a little cafeteria feel to it. There was enough beer signage up to drive an alcoholic to toss away his chip and buy a bucket of ice cold Bud Light.
- Gaming Options – New Hampshirians, New Hampshirites…fuck it people from New Hampshire LOVE New Hampshire Hold Em. However, this room is dominated by poker tables. And there were packing them in for a random Tuesday afternoon.
- Clientele – Old dudes living and dying on their $2 NH Hold ‘Em bets. Players who practically knew everyone else playing and everyone working. Toothless Jimmy commenting on each and every hand being dealt including Casino Guy’s….like I couldn’t read for myself. These were people who deserved to be studied.
- Bathrooms – Spacious. Clean. Cold. You could not ask for much more.
- Service – Dealers felt a little salty. Anytime you have your own tip can, I feel you get some bitter assholes when the tips don’t roll in. Hey Steve Brule, put some deodorant on and crack one smile and I will toss you a shekel.
- Grub & Liquid Courage – They love beer here. They were very cold and readily available. High marks from me.
- Overall – This place was a little more like it. Again, it didn’t feel like a real casino, but more like a Rotary Club fundraiser. I still ponied and lost real money.
Official Casino Guy Rating: Pair of Jacks. Solid little hand for a solid little place. The beer ads and the bathrooms jack this up to some paint cards.
7 Veterans Memorial Parkway, Salem, NH 03079
- Getting There – I know this area well actually, however the traffic near the mall is never enjoyable. Add in a well placed turn on green light only close enough to the parking lot entrance coupled with some odd street lines and you gave a pain in the ass to get to.
- Look and Feel – If the sign didn’t say it, nothing about Chasers would indicate cards were flying and money was exchanging hands inside. I kind of like it that way. Walking in the side door also felt wrong but once inside, the place was BUZZING. There was so much stuff crammed into this place, it’s absurd.
- Gaming Options – Options galore for the charity casino scene. Blackjack had some cool side action that actually put you into the table for a decent amount. Ultimate Texas Hold Em, Criss Cross, Roulette, Mississippi Stud (shockingly not called NH Stud) and a SHIT LOAD of poker tables were all at your finger tips here.
Quick side story – I actually hit a very large hand on the first hand I sat down at, essentially stealing the hand from a lady next to me playing $1 per hand. I wasn’t familiar with the side action, I just put max bets on all the spots on the board and didn’t realize I won. She never looked at me. Everyone at the table said “wow nice hand” except her. 2 hands later, after a couple more wins and side bet cash ins, she finally mutters, “nice start for you huh?”. Whatever lady. Not my fault I was the golden goose at the table. Here is a $5 spot for your troubles.
- Clientele – Aside from $1 bet lady, these New Hampshirelings were great. There were so many people, most of which had to have literally just gotten out of work (or didn’t work at all) and came straight to Chasers for their daily fix. This was a room full of my people. One thing I did notice, lot’s of tee shirts I would not wear – NASCAR, Monster Energy, various roofing companies, bears and wolves in the snow, Lord of the Rings: Return of the King (no lie, tried to snap a picture and all I got was my thumb). My people nonetheless.
- Bathrooms – N/A. I just picture someone selling pull tabs in the bathroom or Keno up on a screen above the urinals. So much gambling packed in such a small place. Like 10 pounds of shit in a 5 pound bag – but this shit smelled like money and good times.
- Service – Dealers and pit bosses were great. They knew everyone, except me of course. The cashier lady had a thing for your boy Casino Guy. Maybe it was my non-wildlife choice of buttoned down shirts and classy boat shoes, maybe it was my playoff beard. In any event, thank god she was in a cage to hold her back (BADA-BING!).
- Grub & Liquid Courage – I got a beer and gassed it so fast, I am pretty sure it was cold.
- Overall – How I have only been to this place only once is a travesty. I liked it. So far, it was the leader in the clubhouse on this quickie loop. If I had not run late on a couple other stops, I would have put some work in on this one as the cards were running hot and the cashier was eating up what I was putting down (sorry Wing Woman, it’s the Kavorka and you know I can’t control it).
In any event, I will see you again Chasers.
Official Casino Guy Rating: Trip 10s. The options and general energy allows this little place to hold it’s own against some of the big boys.