One reason why I identified as an online player was because, well, live poker was not really an option here in North Carolina. Not legally, anyhow.
The only casino in the state is Harrah’s Cherokee, located way the hell over in the mountains near the Tennessee border. It opened in 1997, although the only poker offered for many years was of the video poker variety.
A few years back PokerTek, makers of electronic poker tables, struck a deal with Harrah’s Cherokee to place a few of its tables on the casino floor. PokerTek just happens to be located here in North Carolina as well, in Matthews (close to Charlotte).
Just last month five more PokerTek tables were added at Cherokee, bringing the overall number to 15. While I have never played them, my understanding is most of the tables are of the NLHE variety ($1/$2 and $2/$5). There’s also an LHE one ($3/$6, I think), and they sometimes have Omaha, too.
In other Cherokee news, the governor, Bev Purdue, signed a compact with the tribe back in November 2011 to allow for live table games. At the time I was a bit cynical about it all, knowing that legislators would still have to agree to allow for live poker to be spread. But in May such legislation was passed, and on June 13 the governor signed into law permission for live table games.
Immediately came reports of a plan to start offering games by the Fourth of July weekend, although that didn’t happen. I called over this morning and learned that as of right now they are targeting next month (August) as a start date for offering live poker.
Also of note, yesterday the new WSOP Circuit schedule was announced, with Cherokee included among the 20 stops -- the most ever for the tour. The WSOP-C Cherokee event will happen in April 2013.
Have to say this is all very interesting to follow, and I imagine if I don’t get there beforehand, I may have to get out to Cherokee next spring to get a look at what’s happening.
I’m also intrigued about PokerTek, mainly because it is located so close to me. There was an article in the paper just the other day about the company, which apparently has struggled since its founding in 2003 but currently is doing okay supplying tables to cruise ships and casinos, including in the U.S. and France. Last year they started making blackjack tables, and have plans for baccarat.
In other words, while for a long time I’ve mostly thought of poker as something that essentially happens elsewhere, I might just have to start paying more attention to Tar Heel poker.
Meanwhile, I wonder if I could swing a field trip to Cherokee for my Poker in American Film and Culture class...?