There's nothing quite like New York City. And if you're a poker fan, then New York City was one of the many side characters that made Rounders one of the most popular films ever made about poker. If you love poker and you're visiting New York City, it might be harder to find a game than you thought. Unless you know the right person who will invite you to a private room, or unless you know the password to exclusive underground clubs like Teddy KGB's joint in Rounders, then you must travel outside of the city to find a cash game or tournament.
Although everyone familiar with Atlantic City, not everyone knows about a pair of amazing Native American casinos in nearby Connecticut. Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun are located 2.5 hours away by car.
Travel time is approximately the same as NYC to Atlantic City. Plus, if you happen to drive during the autumn months, then you will be treated to some of the most majestic and colorful leave foliage in the world.
Foxwoods, dubbed “The Wonder of It All”, was founded in 1992 by the Mashantucket Pequots. Mohegan Sun was founded in 1996 by the Mohegan Tribe of Connecticut.
HOW TO GET TO CONNECTICUT FROM NYC
CAR: The best and quickest way to access the Connecticut Casinos is to drive, or rent a car. If you are not from the U.S., then make sure you have a proper credit card before you rent a car. You can pay for the car with your debit card, but a credit card is required at the time of booking as a deposit. If you are driving between September and November, consider taking the Merrit Parkway and the Hutchinson River Parkway in order to view the colorful autumn leaves.
TRAIN: There are options for a train via Amtrak, but that also involves a bus transfer. You can get a train from Penn Station in NYC to New London, Connecticut. The casinos are 20 minutes from New London.
BUS: There's an option to ride from NYC to Foxwoods/Mohegan Sun via Greyhound for as low as $16. However, most routes will take at least 5 hours. There's an express route on the weekends that take only 3.5 hours. Bus travel is always an "interesting" experience in America. If you're going to have large sums of cash, you should consider renting a car.
PLANE: If you are baller enough to fly, then consider Providence, Rhode Island as the closest major airport. Providence is only located 45 minutes way from both Connecticut casinos.
- Tables: 140
- Limits: $1-$3 Stud, $2-4 LHE, $5-$10, $10-20 Stud, $75-150 Mixed, $1-2 NL, $2-5 NL, $5-10 NL, $5-10 Omaha8, $1-2 PLO
- Tournaments: Daily, with at least two daily and up to 5 MTTs on weekends
Foxwoods is the place to be for daily tournaments, especially on the weekends. On Saturdays, they run up to 5 MTTs plus another 4 NL MTTs on Sunday. During weekdays, you can typically find one in the morning (10am) and one in the early evening (6pm). Visit their website for more info on tournaments.
Foxwoods has enough capacity for 140+ poker tables, but they typically have around 100 cash game tables in operation during peak hours.
Foxwoods runs many satellites for their events. The first time I ever played a live SNG was at Foxwoods.
Foxwoods has a Bad Beat Jackpot for both Stud and Hold'em.
Foxwoods is a mega-casino and one of the largest gaming properties on the East Coast. But sometimes it's hard to find available rooms during weekends and special holidays. I urge you to book rooms in advance, or be prepared to stay in chain motels in Mystic, CT.
- Tables: 42
- Games: NL, LHE, Stud
- Limits: $1-1 NL $1-2 NL, $2-5 NL, $2-4 LHE, $1-5 Stud
- Tournaments: Daily at least 2x
Mohegan Sun is broken up into three segments, or mini-casinos based on the elements: Earth Casino, Sky Casino, and Wind Casino.
The poker room is located in the Casino of the Wind. Mohegan Sun features low stakes and low-key poker.
The poker room is much smaller than Foxwoods. But some locals prefer Mohegan Sun because it's smaller.
Mohegan Sun doesn't get the massive tournament draw like Foxwoods, but they offer at least 2 daily tournaments. Not a bad place to start for beginner tournament players. Buy-ins are around $100 and lower.
Mohegan Sun's MTT structures aren't the best, but the buy-ins are affordable. They offer at least 2 events per day. The morning tournament begins typically at 11am and the evening events start at 7pm. The month-to-month schedule is mixed up with some events turbo, bounty, and/or PLO on Tuesday evenings. Check in with the Mohegan Sun and view their tournament schedule before you go.
Mohegan Sun has Frank Pepe pizza. The original Frank Pepe is in New Haven, but Mohegan Sun invited the legendary pizza shop to sell pizzas inside their casino. If you love pizza and poker, then Mohegan Sun might be calling your name. Be prepared for a long wait during weekends, but it's definitely worth it.
Johnny Rockets will deliver burgers and shakes to the poker room.
It might be difficult to find a room on short notice, so book in advance. Also, look into staying at a chain motel in nearby Mystic, CT.