If you fancy a poker holiday, then the Kings Poker Room in Rozvadov, Czech Republic is for you. This is the largest poker room in Europe. Regardless of whether you are a recreational player, semi-pro or pro, there is a game for you here, all day, every day.
This article is not a paid for ad, it is just us passing our experiences on to you. This is a ‘warts and all’ report, not a piece from an affiliated poker news site. However, the poker is spot on! Many of the major poker tours have either held tournaments there or are planning to. Starting March 23rd, the King’s Poker Room will host a 19 day, WSOP-Circuit-Festival. The buy-ins will suit all pockets, more of that later, for now, let’s get there…
Travelling to King’s
It is a bit of a hassle from the UK, but worth it. King’s is on the Czech Republic/German border, located in a picturesque, surreal village (more on that later). Travelling from the UK gave us a choice of two airports to land at; Prague or Nuremburg. Both airports are about 90 minutes drive from the casino. We chose the Bristol to Prague route with Easyjet, prices are between £60 and £160 return, depending on when you book. Flying time is 90 minutes.
The casino offers a shuttle service for €100 and you can book this by emailing or telephoning the concierge. The casino website provides the information, the cars are usually comfortable Mercs. There are taxis outside the airport and you can get these for the same price with a little haggling. If travelling alone you should seek someone to share the ride and cost, try the forums before you fly. Also you can spot poker players on the plane or at the airport. The roads are remarkably good (especially comparing to the UK) so expect a comfortable ride.
Try and book well in advance and ask to stay at the hotels owned by the casino in the village (book via casino website), they are excellent, nicely furnished, the one we stayed in was 4/5 star in our opinion, clean, smart and comfortable. Casino owned hotels are either on site or a few minute walk away. There is a massive hotel being built by the casino owner and should be available by September this year. The Partner hotels are over the border, but only 15 minutes away and the casino shuttles get you there for €5. You can call the casino reception to be collected. If staying in the hotels within the village it can be a bit unnerving walking back at night (quite dark), we just used the shuttle. For accomodation you should expect to pay between €40 and €60 a night.
The King’s Casino and Poker Room sits in the centre of Rozvadov, a really nice, well kept place. This village is surreal. On our first morning, we watched an old lady feed chickens in her garden. The old lady lived next door to a nightclub (brothel) painted bright red. There is no hard sell in the brothels and you are welcome to enjoy the music and reasonably priced drinks (apparently). There are a few of these ‘clubs’ and the odd ‘sports massage clinic’ dotted around the village. This ‘dark-side’ isn’t oppressive, we found it amusing. One of the players’ wife hadn’t even noticed it. In summer the village is lovely to walk around, with manicured gardens and greens. There are a couple of small shops, a large shop with a bakery, a pizzaria and a few cafes and restaurants dotted around.
There is a €10 entrance fee (which gives you two visits) and you need photo ID for your first visit (then entrance is with your membership card). We were there for a few days and only paid once, therefore we found it great value. As someone with many years experience in the casino industry, I was surprised how professional and high-end the casino was. The reception, the bars, the casino pit, all give that feeling of opulence that is generally missing from UK casinos. But it is the poker room which has the ‘wow’ factor. Accessed via the casino, the poker room is on two levels (three if you count the VIP area). The smaller top area next to the bar with cashier and cash game desk is where most of the cash games are hosted. The bottom level is almost the size of an aircraft-hanger. During our visit, we counted 150 poker tables.
The Food and Drink
We found (expected), that there were no areas to just sit and chill, there are a few seats, a couple of bars to stand at, buffet room and restaurant (you can only sit at a table when eating). As in most casinos, they want you sat at a gaming table or at a gaming machine, but hey, you are here to play poker!
The restaurant and bar staff are friendly but not many speak good English, so expect to use your fingers and gesture a lot, but they are a friendly lot and really appreciate a tip. There is no problem with the poker staff, the majority are fluent in English.
Alcohol is very reasonably priced. All soft drinks, tea, coffee, hot chocolate are free, even the ice cream and cakes are free, you simply help yourself in the buffet room or the hostess will bring. The casino operates a 24 hour free buffet and the food was good, lots of pasta and chicken. The cold meats and cheeses and freshly baked bread were very welcome. Bacon and eggs and cereals for breakfast, with fruit freely available. I only ate in the restaurant twice whilst there, it is small but easy to get a table most times. I think the food is reasonably priced and there isn’t a massive menu. The pork medallions in a pepper sauce (more of a juis) is the best I have ever tasted.
You will find King’s Casino on the German border and therefore with restrictions on live poker in Germany, you should expect a lot of German players. If you haven’t played poker with Germans, it can feel a bit aggressive. Many of the German players are loud and brash, nothing wrong with that. We had a great time and made some new friends along the way. There are poker festivals weekly and some of the majors are starting to make their way to King’s. The poker room staff operate MTT’s throughout the afternoon and evening with buyins from as little as €30. The cash games are at all levels with minimum buyin of €100 for €1/€3 NLHE and PLO.
Upcoming Events at Kings Casino
The next festival is the WSOP Circuit, from the 23rd March until 10th April. This will be a poker extravaganza and if it wasn’t for the Irish Poker Festival clashing, we would be going.
There are 14 WSOP rings available over 19 days. Running alongside regular Kings tournies, there is a tournament in everyone’s bankroll, from €55 to €1,500. Get the full schedule here.
Sats to the Main Event run throughout the festival from €55. Therefore, you could visit the poker room and be laying the Main Event for the price of your local casino tourney. Whether or not you can make this festival, it is worth taking a note of the website, maybe you will consider one of their later festivals.
We will definitely be going back, let us know if you are going, good luck at the tables!