Thursday October 12, 2017 at 9:20 pm

Colorado is one of the most popular tourist destination in the western United States. The Rocky Mountains attract visitors from all over the world, whether its hiking and rafting in the summers, or skiing and snowboarding in the winter. With the legalization of marijuana, the Rocky Mountain high has a whole new meaning. The cannabis industry in Colorado is booming, which is why Denver is one of the fastest growing cities in America. If you didn't know, an old mining town in Black Hawk, Colorado has become a hub of poker in the Rockies. If you desire cash games or tournaments, the Ameristar and Golden Gates in Black Hawk has your fix. Black Hawk is less than an hour drive from Denver, nestled in a canyon with a postcard-like scenic backdrop of the Rocky Mountains.

CO travel

Colorado! Skiing, hiking, mountain climbing, marijuana, live music, and poker. If you like any of those things, then Denver, Colorado should be your next travel destination. The mountains are a short drive away from Denver, which makes the city a perfect hub for your next holiday. And whether you're getting your legal cannabis fix, or busy exploring the beauty of the Rocky Mountains, it's comforting to know that there's a 24-hour poker game within reach in Black Hawk.

Black Hawk, located 45 minutes west of Denver in Clear Creek Canyon, is a couple miles from Central City. The defunct mining town was found in 1859 during the gold rush in the Rocky Mountains. The mining industry severely declined during the 20th Century and Black Hawk was transforming into a veritable ghost town. In the early 1990s, the state of Colorado legalized gambling. Black Hawk was one of the old mining towns that got targeted for privatization and became a perfect location for casinos and hotels.

The narrow geography of Clear Creek Canyon forced several tiny casinos to snuggled together with majestic mountain scenery surrounding the town on all side. The casinos have an old-timey wild west atmosphere. Heck, on the outskirts you can even go panning for gold! Several small casinos are located on the main drag in Black Hawk. The Ameristar is the exception to the small/quaint vibe. If anything, Ameristar is the closest you'd get to a proper full-blown Vegas casino environment. It sort of reminds me if a Vegas casino attempted a rustic Colorado wilderness theme with stone and wood everywhere.

If you are going to visit Denver and want to play poker, then you set aside a day/evening to visit Black Hawk, Colorado. Simply put, if you're looking for tournament action then Golden Gates Casino is for you. And if you're a cash game specialist, then head over to Ameristar Casino.

I've played at both casinos, and each poker room has friendly and experienced dealers and staff. The only catch is the $100-max bet rule. If you're a low-stakes player, then that really isn't much of an issue. If you're looking for high-stakes action, then Black Hawk might not be ideal. Unfortunately, it's the only game in that part of the mountains, so your options are limited.

A couple of years ago, I wrote a half-baked trip report for my On the Road with Dr. Pauly column for Bluff Magazine. That article was titled Black Hawk, Colorado: Pot, Chowder, Poker and Asshats.


Co Flag bud

The best part about Black Hawk are the free beverages. You can find various stations in every casino offering soft drinks, tea, and coffee.

Colorado is a 420-friendly state. You can purchase cannabis and products at legal dispensaries. You cannot smoke marijuana in your hotel rooms or inside the casino. Smoking in public is also frowned upon. However, if you are slick you can figure out a way to maintain a buzz. Edibles and vape pens are highly popular, but it's not uncommon to catch a whiff of dank nugs.

DISCLAIMER: Be careful of edibles! Cannabis-infused edibles might taste delicious, but if you do not pay close attention to the dosage, then you could possibly be in for a very long head trip!


A shuttle bus that departs from Denver and other front range locations, but you really should rent a car and drive up. It's a lovely view and you can do some sightseeing while you're up there.

If you take the shuttle, it cost $23 but you also get $20 in free casino play. So it's essentially $3. For more info on the shuttle, click here.

Please take caution of the weather and seasons. Always check local weather before you drive up to the mountains, especially in the winter.

And if you're on a 420 holiday and intend to consume copious amounts of cannabis, find a designated driver when heading up into the mountains. The roads are dangerous for sober visitors, let alone those completely lit on Death Star OG Kush.


Ameristar CO


111 Richman St., Black Hawk, CO 80422

Phone: (720) 946-4108

  • Tables: 22
  • Games: NL, LHE
  • Limits: $30-60 LHE, $1-2 NL, $2-5 NL
  • Max Bet: $100
  • Tournaments: None

The best cash games in Black Hawk are located at Ameristar. Sure, it's filled with mostly locals, but there's a steady flow of not-so good poker enthusiasts donk off a buy-in or two to make the trip worthwhile. The $1-2 NL and $2-5 NL tables have a nice mix of juicy action players and nitty locals. Colorado has had an influx of oil and cannabis money over the last few years, so there's a lot more disposable income floating around than ever before.

$30-$60 LHE is sort of a joke because of the $100 cap rule. But there's plenty of locals who play in that game. Be careful though!

During peak hours the poker room will be busy. They offer you pagers or text you directly when your seat comes available.

Ameristar has a hotel, but rooms are limited during peak hours. Sometimes they can accommodate you in a sister property, but make sure you check in advance if you want to book a room.




261 Main St, Black Hawk, CO 80422

Phone: (303) 582-2906

  • Tables: 17
  • Games: NL
  • Limits: $1-2 NL, $2-5 NL
  • Max Bet: $100
  • Tournaments: Three daily (10am, Noon, 7pm). Buy-ins starting at $40

Golden Gates Casino and Poker Parlour is really the only spot in town to play tournaments. Golden Gates is the home of the Colorado Poker Championship. They have series running every other month it seems. Visit their website for specifics, such as the Heartland Poker Tour.

The elevator from the parking garage opens up in the poker room! Super cool, especially for lazy poker players. The Golden Gates has a woodsy theme. There's a small cafe adjacent to the poker room, and like all casinos in Black Hawk, soft drinks are free and self-serve.

Golden Gates spread cash games, but the locals are there for the tournaments. Golden Gates typically runs three daily tournaments starting as low as $40. The 10AM is popular among the retired folks and it has an affordable $40 buy-in. The 7pm tournament is $60 on the weekdays and $140 on the weekends. There's a noon tournament that has various buy-ins ranging from $80 to $300 depending on the day of the week. The Saturday nooner is $300 and it's juicy!

Golden Gates offers an hourly high hand jackpot.

Golden Gates does not have its own hotel, however, they do offer comped rooms at a sister property. Lodging is limited in Black Hawk, so check in advance.

Golden Gates is 24 hours on the weekend, but they close from 4am to 5am on the weekdays.

Latest news
Saturday March 17, 2018 at 4:21 pm
Poker After Dark: Antonio Esfandiari vs. Jen Tilly

Poker After Dark continued with a new format this week on PokerGO. Moving Violations featured a minimum $20,000 buy-in with $50-$100 NL blinds. This installment included a couple of celebrities such as Don Cheadle and Jennifer Tilly. The infamous Antonio Esfandiari put Jennifer Tilly on "full tilt" after he got her to fold the better hand with a massive river bluff. Oh and there was another doozy of a hand. In a multi-way pot worth $250,000, Tilly flopped a set with pocket Aces but Esfandiari gambled it up with a big draw and got there on the river.

Wednesday March 14, 2018 at 5:06 pm
Breaking News
The Dragon slays The Bike and wins WSOP Circuit

David 'The Dragon' Pham has been scorching opponents for a couple of decades. The three-time bracelet winner added a WSOP Circuit ring to his illustrious collection. The Dragon bested a field of 705 runners to win the WSOP Circuit Main Event at The Bicycle Casino outside of Los Angeles. The Dragon banked approximately $217K for his victory.

Tuesday March 13, 2018 at 3:44 pm
Owen Crowe chipleader at WSOP Circuit The Bicycle

The WSOP Circuit headed to sunny Southern California for its latest stop in Los Angeles. The Bicycle Casino hosted the WSOP Circuit with the Main Event attracting 705 runners. After two days of nonstop action, only 11 hopefuls remain. Owen ‘ocrowe' Crowe is the big stack as play heads into the final day. David the Dragon, Kevin Gimble, and Kristy Arnett are among those still alive and in the hunt for a first-place prize worth $217K and a coveted Circuit ring.

Sunday March 11, 2018 at 6:16 pm
High Rollers series starts March 18

The 2018 High Rollers series runs March 18 through March 26 on PokerStars with five additional events to this year's schedule. The High Rollers consist of 27 exciting, thrilling, sensational events. There's $10 million in guarantees at stake including three events with at least $1 million set aside for the prize pool. The $2,100 buy-in Main Event has a whopping $2 million guarantee. There's also six turbos and three hyper-turbos to cater to the ADHD cardslingers. The lowest buy-in for the 2018 High Rollers is a mere $530, while the deep end of the pool includes a pair of $10K events and a trio of $5K events.

Friday March 9, 2018 at 10:39 pm
PokerStars add new MEGASTACK and Festival events in Europe

PokerStars announced new regional events in Europe and more chances to win a Platinum Pass. The PokerStars Festival Marbella will run from June 4-10 on Spain's Costa del Sol, and the Casino Barriere in Lille will host PokerStars Festival Lille from July 16-22. Also, new MEGASTACK events were announced in Dublin and London for next month, in addition to Gujan-Mestras in the south of France later this summer. Players in these events will also have a chance to win a Platinum Pass to the 2019 PSPC in the Bahamas, with six at stake in Lille.

Tuesday March 6, 2018 at 6:40 pm
Breaking News
Paul ‘X-22' Magriel passed away

Paul 'X-22' Magriel, former chess prodigy and legendary backgammon player, passed away in his sleep at the age of 71. Erik Seidel confirmed Magriel's passing on Twitter today. Magriel got his 15 minutes of modern fame on an early episode of the World Poker Tour with his infamous verbal tick "Quack quack!" Magriel had also become a nemesis of Phil Hellmuth over the years especially after Magriel busted Hellmuth at the 2005 WSOP.

Saturday March 3, 2018 at 9:27 pm
Nevada casinos won $1 billion in January

The house always wins, eh? Bettors and gamblers dropped $1 billion in Nevada during the first month of 2018. That's the 36th time since March 2005 that casinos in Nevada won $1 billion in a single month. January 2018's haul is the best month for Nevada since last March.

Friday March 2, 2018 at 7:02 pm
10 Platinum Passes up for grabs this weekend

Do you want to win a juicy package to the Bahamas? Then you're in luck. Over the next three days, you have ten chances this weekend to win a Platinum Pass to the 2019 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC). PokerStars will be giving away ten more Platinum Passes valued at $30K. Active social media participants have a chance. If you cashed in the Sunday Million, Sunday Warm-Up, Sunday Storm, or Mini-Sunday Million then you have a chance. And the triumphant winner of the Turbo Series Main Event also gets a Platinum Pass. And players from Spain/France specifically have a shot at a Platinum Pass.

Thursday March 1, 2018 at 6:57 pm
2018 LAPC: Alex Foxen wins High Roller; Toby Lewis leads WPT Main Event final table

The 2018 L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino on the outskirts of Los Angeles had a pair of WPT events running this week. Alex Foxen won the $25,500 buy-in Rockstar Energey High Roller for a $425K score after he faded a field of 50 high ballas. Meanwhile, the WPT L.A. Poker Classic Main Event is down to the final table. Aussie Millions champ Toby Lewis is the chip leader with six remaining. First place pays out $1 million. Can anyone stop Lewis? Among those still alive... Dennis Blieden, Peter Hengsakul, Marc Macdonnell, Manuel Martinez, and Derek Wolters. The final table will be streamed on PokerGO.

Wednesday February 28, 2018 at 4:56 pm
Dennis Blieden leads final 13 at WPT L.A. Poker Classic

Who's gonna win $1 million? Down to 13 players at the WPT L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino in Los Angeles. Dennis Blieden is the chip leader, while Anthony Zinno is trying to win the LAPC for a second time... in addition to winning his 4th overall WPT title. Also still left in the hunt at the LAPC... Lloyd Mandal, Aaron Kaiser, Derek Wolters, Peter Hengsakul, Greg Paryano, Zach Smiley, Garrett Greer, Toby Lewis, Mann Martinez, and Marc Macdonnell. On Day 5, they will play down to a final table of six. Follow the action via WPT Live Updates.

Tuesday February 27, 2018 at 7:01 pm
WPT LAPC down to 31 players

Good day, L.A.! The WPT L.A. Poker Classic at Commerce Casino began with 493 players and only 31 remain as action heads into Day 4. The money bubble popped on Day 3 with Maria Konnikova missing the money by one spot. Jeremey White is the current chipleader. Notables still alive include Phil Hellmuth, Billy Baxter, Toby Lewis, Mike Sowers, Ben Zamani, Zack Smiley, Chance Kornuth, Josh Kay, and Anthony Zinno. First place pays out $1 million. Follow the action via WPT's live updates.

Monday February 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm
Breaking News
Jake Cody bet $60K on single roulette spin... and won

Always bet on black! Wesley Snipes gave that bit of sagely advice in the film Passenger 57. Moments after Jake Cody chopped the high roller event at the partypoker UK Poker Championships in Nottingham, he took his entire winnings (approximately $60K USD) and bet it all on a single spin of roulette. Cody got the approval from the Dusk Till Dawn Cardroom and Casino owner Rob Yong. Much to the delight of his rail, Cody won his wager and doubled up when the ball landed on Black 22. Cody banked $120K for 30 seconds of work.

Monday February 26, 2018 at 6:52 pm
Legal marijuana sales in Nevada pass $200 million in 2017

In July 2017, the first recreational marijuana stores opened for business in the state of Nevada and it's been a cash cow ever since. According to the Department of Taxation in Nevada, in six months of operation in 2017, cannabis dispensaries sold over $200 million in products and the state netted $30 million in overall tax revenue and fees. The 10% retail sales tax generated $9.5 million in revenue. At the present rate, Nevada will exceed $420 million in overall cannabis sales in 2018.

Friday February 23, 2018 at 3:41 am
Celebrity edition of Poker Night in America debuts in March

Celebrities playing poker! Poker Night in America (PNIA) is turning to celebrities to juice up the latest incarnation of their televised cash-game series. The lower-stakes celebrity version, Poker Night LIVE, will be taped at the Gardens Casino in Los Angeles. The celebrity version of Poker Night LIVE will debut on the CBS Sports Network on March 20, 2018.

Wednesday February 21, 2018 at 8:51 pm
Top 10 online NL cash game players

The online game evolves quickly. Who are the top dogs in 2018? Doug Polk posted a new video discussing the list made by Andres "educa-p0ker" Artinano of the Top 10 cash game players at 6-max NL. Among the players listed... Timofey "Trueteller" Kuznetsov, Linus "LLinusLLove" Loeliger, Jonas "OtB_RedBaron" Mols, Stamboloff, OBORRA, Katya_18, hhecklen, Fish2013, and MMAsherdog. I love a good piece of click bait, but watch Polk's video here.

Wednesday February 21, 2018 at 5:31 pm
Chris Moneymaker, simple man

2003 WSOP Main Event Champion Chris Moneymaker was profiled in the Independent under the headline "Chris Moneymaker: What it's like to go from an unknown to a poker millionaire overnight." Moneymaker was the first online qualifier to win the WSOP Main Event, but he didn't blow his money by playing high stakes or making bad loans to friends/family seeking handouts. Moneymaker had a money quote with... "Money does not make you happy, but it makes you sad if you don't have it." Read the full article here.

Wednesday February 21, 2018 at 5:16 pm
Ludovic Lacay's journey from the poker felt to a tech start-up

Ludovic Lacay was recently profiled in Business Insider for his work with a tech start-up. Lacay was one of the top poker players in Europe and an integral member of Team Winamax. After a decade a grinding, the French pro took a shot at an entirely different career in the tech world. Lacay secured an unpaid internship at a health-based startup in London called Tictrac and quickly moved his way up the ladder. In a short time, Lacay went from poker pro to product manager of a tech start up. Along the way, he implemented many on-the-felt strategies to improve their product.

Monday February 19, 2018 at 7:04 pm
Viktor Blom binks partypoker Millions Germany with sick call

Viktor 'Isildur1' Blom sniffed out a bluff to win the 2018 partypoker Live Millions Germany Main Event. The €5,300 buy-in event at the King's Casino in Rozvadov attracted 1,022 runners. With only a pair of Kings on an Ace-high board with three hearts and possible straight, Blom made a "sick call" against Pavel Plesuv to win the Main Event. Plesuv whiffed on a flush draw and only held a pair of Queens when he shoved the river and put Blom to the test. Blom tanked, yet made a remarkable hero-call to win the pot and the tournament. Blom banked €850,000 for the victory.

Thursday February 15, 2018 at 9:17 pm
Kevin Hart and Usain Bolt #GameOn Finale

What happens when you match the fastest man in the world against one of the funniest comedians in Hollywood? Usain Bolt and Kevin Hart battled it out the #GameOn series of contests in the Bahamas including a 100-meter sprint, heads-up poker bout, and chicken nuggets. Find out who wins the ultimate beach race and who crushed nuggets in under ten seconds.

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Wednesday March 21, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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Wednesday March 28, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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Wednesday April 4, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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Wednesday April 11, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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Wednesday April 18, 2018 at 7:04 pm
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