Posted on 21 November 2010
Over the last two weeks or so, I had many people come to me with varying experiences about Crown Casino in Melbourne. From fish tank stories right through to complaints about the quality and cleanliness of the rest rooms. This is not my first visit to Melbourne, where my family live. However it is the first time that I have been to Crown Casino. The main focus of my Crown experience was to first hand be part of what is said to be “The best poker room in the southern hemisphere”.
I enter the Crown complex from the South bank entrance at the Flinders street end. I walk through past various boutique shopping outlets including Versace and Gucci. Continuing through I enter the casino via the entrance nearest to the Food court. My first impression of the Casino was “WOW” The place is huge. I walk through the gaming machines on my way to the table games where I indulge myself a session of $10 Black jack just for a bit of the fun and to really take in the entire Crown way. The main casino gaming floor has every game that you need as well as two different bistros, a “dedicated” customer services desk and a coat check. I exit the same way that I entered and venture two levels down to the Vegas Gaming and Bar area where the poker is situated.
The poker room in regards to size and aesthetics is as I was told, First Class. With almost 50 poker tables including about 10 or so video poker tables, this room is a poker players dream. There is an elevated bar area that can overlook the entire poker room, multiple LCD televisions plus a huge screen the size of about forty 40 inch TV’. The room is well air conditioned and the bathrooms despite what I was told, was exceptionally cleaned with a bath room attendant present upon every single visit to the “little boys room”.
With out going to Vegas or Macau, this place is heaven. By far superior to Star City in Sydney, Treasury in Brisbane, Jupiters on the Gold Coast and every single casino in New Zealand including Auckland’s Sky City.
However if there is one area of my poker experience that Auckland defiantly wins, it is the quality of the dealers. Yup, that’s right! The quality of the dealers! There may be some people that reading this, especially some of the die hard poker zone regulars, that are thinking “Really???”,. And the truth is Yes! Every single time that I ventured to the Crown Casino Poker room I encountered absolute incompetence regardless of the time of day that I entered. On three occasions, the dealer accidently exposed either the turn or river card and the dealer allowed the action on that street which had already taken place to be taken back. For example, the small blind bets $35 on the flop, I am in the hijack seat and call the bet, The button, who is still yet to act is about to fold before the dealer all too quickly exposes the Turn card giving the dealer his gut shot straight that he would have folded. The dealer acknowledging his mistake apologizes and advises us that the card must stand however we are allowed to take our original bets placed on the flop back. On top of this, all the gaming supervisors in the Poker room actually don’t have an idea of what the rules are and allow the “regular” players to decide what is correct and lets whoever change tables as they please. More often than not, particularly on a busy night, mix up seating orders and creating total chaos for the floor staff. This also happens when you are initially seated as they do not give you an actual seat number. And players move around as they please when a player is busted out from a table.
The food and beverage service, much like every casino I have ever been too, is poor. It took 50 minutes to receive a 300ml bottle of coke that paid for and about 90 minutes to get a glass of wine. The floor F & B staff were far more interested in talking to each other, the dealers and the gaming management rather than doing their job.
However, the whole experience comes down to this ultimately in the end, the quality of play. Is it really the fish tank that everyone has ever said, and the answer is this. Totally. The place right through from the $1 and $2 turbo blind tables through to the $5/$5 blinds is full of absolute dead money all over the place. There are also about ten video poker tables which I did not see operational at any point, however appeared to me as if it were just online poker at a table with ten other people.
I spent the majority of my time playing on the $2/$3 blinds with a maximum buy in of $200. On the first day I got absolutely smashed. Having top two Pair and top and bottom set ran down every time by gut shots, flush draws and bottom pair turning trips and “rivering” quads. The table was ultra aggressive with pre flop rises of below $30 gaining the attention of at least 5 callers each and every time. The first day was extremely disappointing, however if anything it verified the talk of dead money at Crown Casino and encouraged me to return with a different approach. I adjusted my play from the first day which was based around playing premium cards and trying to outplay the table and push out draws to basically playing as many cheap flops as possible, being super aggressive pre flop with premium cards and being prepared to throw away top pair with the goal of awaiting my “Monster” hand and trapping all the dead money that I possibly could.
Day two was a grind. In the first three hours it is quite possible that I would have played only a handful of hands. It was at around the three hour mark and with about $210 behind me that I was dealt pocket 3’s (3d/3c) under the gun. Aware of the poker rooms continual pre flop calling with rags I limp as do +1, +3 and the cut off. It is here that the button raises to $20. Instantly the small blind throws out a re-raise to $55. Sitting there with my pocket 3’s I tank for about 90 seconds before the arrogant re raising Australian calls the clock on me and smiles. One of the limpers behind me already has his chips ready to call and it is here that I realize there is going to be loads of value in this hand and a lot of “dead money”. I call, as does every single person still in the hand leaving a pre flop pot of well over $300. The monster finally came to fruition. The flop arrives (ah, 3h, 3s). I’ve flopped quad threes and if my read is right, someone else has top pair and someone else has a flush draw and if history repeats, that flush draw will call all the way to the river.
Immediately the initial re-raiser makes a quick check, as do I and everyone else in the hand. The turn exposes the 10h. Is this the key to my double up? Has someone just hit their flush draw up against my Quads? We all check up to the cut off where he throws $55 into the middle. The button folds and the original aggressor contemplates his next move for a minute or so, before he ships his entire stack into the middle. Immediately I snap call for the remainder of my $150 as does the button. The river is the 5d. The button quickly shows Kh 9h to for the flush. Not one to slow roll I expose my Quads to a raucous response from the table, a mix of “SICK”, cheers and “OOOH’s”. The loudest groan came from the arrogant original re-raiser who tilts his head back behind the chair looks to the ceiling and then throws down pocket aces for the 2nd nut to claim the $40 side pot, meanwhile I took a main pot of around $750.
All in all, the complex is amazing and the poker room is any players dream. The competition is incredibly arrogant, like a lot of Australians, but as a player, the most important thing is ability to make money. The key to my performance at Crown Casino was patience waiting for that short odd pot that will pay up big. The land of Victoria will from this day on be known as “the land of dead money”.
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