I got a chance to play an 8-hour $5-10 NL session at Parx Casino, outside of Philadelphia, PA. The cardroom was very nice; they have 64 tables, and the place seems well-run and is pleasant to be in. They only had one $5-10 NLHE game, but had several $2-5 games and a bunch of $1-2 games. They also had a couple $15-30 limit games going on, so the action was decent.
Probably the coolest thing about the place was that all of the tables are electronically monitored by their central computer. The dealers clock-in when the game is started and when they switch tables. This is what (I think) allows them to have a live update site that shows all the games currently going; check it out here: http://www.parxcasino.com/gamereport. That’s a pretty useful and cool feature that I think every cardroom could use.
It was a Wednesday night when I played, and the $5-10 game was all regulars. Mostly decent players, but with a few pretty bad, loose players thrown in the mix. Stacks were pretty deep; half the table had around $2,000 on the table, with a few guys with more. I don’t think anyone sat down with under a thousand.
I was only there one night, so I don’t have a good sample to base my opinion on, but the play seemed a lot more “trappy” than I was used to. People were regularly limping pre-flop with AA, KK, or QQ, seemingly hoping for someone else to make a pre-flop move so they could come over the top. Sometimes they’d seem to be set-mining with these high pairs so they could really catch somebody unaware. Before I realized what was going on and adjusted my play accordingly, I had lost a bit. I ended up the session down $1500, which wasn’t bad considering I could have lost more if a couple people had value-bet their big hands on the river but didn’t.
The regulars that I played with seemed capable of typical pre-flop aggression and flop aggression when you’d expect it, but most of the players were not capable of big turn and river bets without the goods. This was the aspect of the game that seemed the most useful to consider. There were several players who would not make a pot-sized or near pot-sized bet on the turn or the river without having a really good hand, although they were capable of making decent, smaller plays at the pot pre-flop and on the flop. There were a couple players who were capable of making big bets on the turn or river as a bluff, but those bets were usually sized significantly smaller than what you would expect them to bet for value. Just the typical leaks you’d see in a live game. And I was only there for eight hours, so take that for what it’s worth.