American in London. I don’t know how many of these experiences are unique to London in general or unique to Empire.
- Very good atmosphere. Players are friendly and quick witted, though my translations of the accents trailed by 10 seconds or so.
- No sunglasses, hoodies or ear buds at this hour. Can’t speak for the rest of day, but the group was paying attention/enjoying the game.
- Dealers were very efficient and players were maybe 50 % faster than American poker rooms. Had the pace of a limit game, though no-limit.
- Only card room in London on Poker Bravo, so I avoided all the others due to my being an early morning player.
- Opponents could be soft but really a mixed bah; always preflop raising but few reraise. Plenty of limping from early positions.
- The 6 AM group had almost all regs. Could feel like they were in on the new guy being a fish, but overall friendliness reduced that.
- Excellent service staff. Provided us all with a free continental breakfast of fruit and chocolatine every morning.
- Rake of 5% at completion of any hand that went post-flop. This often seemed excessive and I tended towards 3 betting a bit to take advantage.
- A given player would go “rake-free” if they were dealt a 6-5 suited and were able to win the hand (preflop or at any point).
- Entering the casino involved being asked by security “Are you alright? Have you been drinking?”. I suppose this keeps drunks away.
- Table talk not exactly discouraged. Most players know better, but plenty of moments where a player not involved may say “whew” or slap their hand on the table as if they had folded the winner. Maybe could have been better controlled.
- in 6 hours of play, not a single tense moment of someone steaming, complaining or insulting another, Most refreshing of all !
- After entering, you need to become a member, which then requires more that just a driver’s license, They want to know your email, cell phone, your occupation, what company you work for. Listen buddy, I’m not representing my company in the poker room, if anything, trying to escape my company.
- Poker room is sealed by a pair of double doors separated by a narrow hallway to a separate room with around 12 tables. Felt like I was entering a submarine.
- Tipping is rare; one pound maybe if you flop a full house.
- Players are willing to play as low as 3-handed. Good practice for late action tournaments.
- Can buy in to the 1-2 game with as little as 50 pounds. Most new players showed up short stacked.
- Had odd mix of music - 80s rock, but then too Tom Jones, Nancy Sinatra, Patsy Kline, Felt a bit of a throwback.
- Sports on TV were all the same channel. Euro football only. Better poker rooms have some variety here.