Harrah's Metropolis is located right across the river from where I was born and raised in Paducah Kentucky. It's about a 2 hour drive from Nashville and is one of the closer casinos to the Music City (if not the closest).
A little background. The casino recently moved on land thanks to new Illinois law, and the old river boat (literally) set sail down river and was auctioned off (along with the old tables). The old poker room switched locations multiple times on "the boat", and was always a bit cramped. On top of this, no card shufflers, limited hours, a manual waiting list on paper, just about anything from keeping it feeling like a normal poker room.
Fast forward to November of 2014 and a new poker room (and casino) has opened. The casino is small, but very nice and modern overall, and has a similar floor layout to newer locations like Horseshoe Cincinnati with a bar at the center with the action surrounding it. It is a non smoking property, with smoking available outside, requiring exiting the casino and reentering. The website for Harrah's claims the room to be a "World Series of Poker Room," although it's more like an "WSOP extended corner" of the casino floor.
First off, automatic shufflers, a new electronic waiting list that sends you a text when your seat is ready (non Bravo though) and poker 7 nights a week, make this room a well needed upgrade. My time spent there was on a Friday and Saturday, and both days there was at least one table going by noon. On Saturday by 4 PM three tables were up and going. I'm not sure how Monday-Thursday goes, but Thursday night was traditionally busy at the old casino.
The first day I walked right in to an open seat. I swiped in with my Total Rewards card, but I didn't get clarification on the perk. I assume $1 per hour similar to everywhere. With the card shufflers, the action was much quicker than before, but the dealers were hit or miss otherwise, but no major issues. The regular game is 1-3 NL. There are not any limit games, and while I was there, no 2-5 NL, PLO or anything else.
There are no promotions like a high hand or Bad Beat etc, which is odd since Isle of Capri at Cape Girardeau has one over 100k at the moment and these casinos are in somewhat of a competition. (Capri is located about an hour northwest via 2-lane highways). There are several regulars here, as most smaller casinos, and let me tell you, the competition in general is predictable and sometimes easy, if that's a word you associate with poker. Lots of ABC and small, no, tiny ball poker. Minimum re-raises especially preflop. (On a side note only 3 raises are allowed preflop at this casino) After about an hour, it was easy to point out how opponents played.
A couple of hand examples I found interesting. I had A2 off under the gun and called for 3. About 3 people called and the flop gave me a pair of deuces, with a gut shot and a backdoor flush draw. The lady to my immediate left put in a pot size bet, got a caller on the button and I called. The turn was blank for me, I check, and so does everyone else. River was another 2. I bet $20 and the lady raises to $40 and I go all in for about $100 or so. She stares at me as if we are at the WSOP final table for literally 5 minutes and finally calls me, turning over pocket queens. That's right folks, limps in with pocket queens and pays the penalty, but also misplayed them ladies after the flop.
I had another hand where I flopped a king high flush from the big blind, led out after SB checked, and was check-raised by the SB, only to push all-in and have him call with a gut shot straight flush draw, for $260 more! The pot previous to my all in was maybe $40. I wouldn't do that move at other casinos but here it felt right and felt like, "why not I may actually get called."
I ended up making $830 the first day altogether.
2nd day was a bit tougher. The same regulars were there, mixed in with a few others who seemed to know what they were doing. I actually came out even the 2nd day. Both days the tables were overall talkative and friendly, never had anyone get upset over anything and it was more or less low stress poker.
A quick note: This room still doesn't allow headphones used, or the use of cell phones at the table. You must exit the table are to use your phone. I know for some, those are both deal breakers.
I plan on returning back next time I go to Paducah. Much better feel overall than the old room, same players with similar skills, but friendly and fun. Anybody who grinds in large casinos in bigger cities might rack up like I did. I enjoyed my time playing, and look forward to hitting the felt there again soon.