The Cardrooms in the UK are usually part of casinos. Many hold tournaments or competitions with big money prizes for the winners. The Grosvenor Victoria Casino in London is very well known for holding such tournaments. Popular card games played include Texas Hold'em poker, Omaha poker, Kalooki and Mah Jong.
In the UK the casinos are Clubs. To play at a UK casino you need to become a member first. British casinos were required by law that players apply for membership 24 hours before they can actually enter the gaming area and play. This law was abolished on 1st October 2005. You can now enter a casino in the United Kingdom and play straight away. However, some private casino clubs may still require that you apply for membership first, as before. See UK casino guide on this site for more details.
Several of the casinos in the UK have Cardrooms/Card Rooms. This is a separate room or hall, or an area partitioned off in some way, where card games can be played.
The casinos make a profit from players using the Cardrooms by charging a table fee, usually per person. This is an amount per hour for sitting down at a table in a game in the Cardroom.
The Gaming Board distinguishes between games where the House (in this case the casino) is the banker with in-built advantage over the players (ex. Blackjack and Stud Poker) and those games where the House is not directly involved (card room games) where players have 'equal chances' between them. This distinction ties up with each area inside a casino when the licence is granted. So a casino cannot at some stage move Blackjack or Stud Poker tables into the Cardroom without first obtaining the appropriate licence.
Poker in British casinos uses the Pot Limit style of betting, which makes it difficult for beginners to advance. Some private games may use variations of this, like Half-Pot-Limit. This is a distinctly different game from that which is generally played in the USA and Europe where the rule is Limit Betting.
There are basically two types of poker played in British cardrooms: organised and private.
Card Rooms have managers or organisers to deal specially with activities in the Card Rooms. Poker is their main diet and tables for specific types of poker are reserved for players and a house dealer is supplied. Players are charged per hour for sitting at the table. The type of poker on offer is generally Texas Hold'em but others, like 7-card Stud and Omaha, are also spread.
Poker laid on by the casino breaks down four ways:
- Cash Games: The best action in a Cardroom is the cash game. Players purchase chips from the Cardroom attendant and play each other with a house dealer. This is what makes the Cardroom commercially viable.
- Regular Tournaments: Weekly scheduled events keeps local players coming in. The tournaments have fixed time limits so that people are freed for the cash games.
- Poker Festivals: These events attract distant players and help to raise the status of the Cardroom/Card Room within the casino organisation.
- Beginners Nights: Some Cardroom managers who see new players as a way to develop poker in their area set aside one night per week to teach beginners.
These are usually smaller Cardrooms/Card Rooms, generally in the provinces, who allow poker players to organise private poker games to teach the poker game. These groups, or schools, often play for free although packs of cards are paid for or hired from the house against a deposit payment.
A note on drinks: In UK casinos alcoholic drinks were restricted to the Bar and Restaurant only, but as of 1st August, 2002, drinks are allowed in the gaming area.
British casinos are usually open from 2pm to 6am every day of the year except Christmas day.
[Dec 2007 last update]
British Land-based Cardrooms - Listing of cardrooms/card rooms in the United Kingdom.
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