Poker Room Review: Texas Station, North Las Vegas, NV
Texas Station is part of the Station casino chain. These used to be limited to the large and boxy casinos in the Las Vegas area that included Boulder Station, Sunset Station, Palace Station, and Fiesta. But in the last few years they've built the beautiful and stylish Green Valley Ranch and Red Rock Casino. There are other casinos in the chain as well, but these are the ones with poker rooms.
Texas Station is one of the older casinos in the chain. It is strictly a locals poker room, located as it is in North Las Vegas – far off the standard path of poker-playing tourists. They spread low-limit games: $2/4 and $4/8 limit hold'em (each with a half-kill), as well as $1/2 no-limit hold'em. I was the only non-regular in the place.
It's relatively well-appointed, but also rather well-worn. They have a fairly large poker room by Las Vegas standards, with 11 tables. It's a nice enough room, with well-spaced, higher-quality tables – the ones with a wooden inlay that surrounds the gaming felt – making it easier to stack chips. The cushioning on the oval edge of the table is covered in standard vinyl, with convenient cup holders embedded. The rug is clean, with a royal crest-style design. The walls are fake brick.
Players should get a "Boarding Pass" before playing. It qualifies players for points worth $1 or so per hour that can be used for the purchase of meals. You can earn a maximum of seven points in a 24-hour period.
The main attraction to the locals of this and other Station poker rooms is that their "Progressive Jackpot" that rewards bad beats connects with all other Station casinos. All players, in all of their poker rooms playing when it's hit, are rewarded with a piece of the jackpot. At nearly $200,000 this can amount to a few hundred bucks per person. So there are some players, retirees mostly, who just sit in these rooms hoping to be lucky enough to be present when the prize is awarded somewhere. The qualifiers for hitting the jackpot diminish the longer the jackpot remains unhit. So though it starts at quads beaten by quads or better, by the time I was playing it had already diminished to aces full of tens beaten by quads – hole cards having to play.
There's also a bad-beat jackpot just for the property. It was at $19,000 when I was there – and it took aces full of tens, beaten by quads, to hit. There were also bonuses of $50-$200 or so paid to players for big hands such as royals and quads.
This doesn't come free – nor does the game itself. $1 is taken out of every pot to fund the jackpot. This is in addition to the regular rake of 10% up to a maximum of $4. That's about standard for Las Vegas these days, though a handful of places still cap things at $3, and the Harrah's properties have gone to a $5 rake.
The room is successful in luring a sufficient number of jackpot-minded locals to keep a game going most of the time – but just barely. When I was there on a Sunday afternoon there was one table of $4/8 going. The level of play was significantly lower than even those relatively low standards of other "locals only" rooms that I played in during this stay. There were two players who literally did not understand how blinds worked – this being their first time in a casino. Another player – who had experience in this poker room – literally showed me his cards every hand – as if on purpose though he did not know that he was doing so. His exposed cards proved instructive.
The game was short-handed. I think there were six of us. He held Q-6 unsuited. I was to his right. I held A-8. No one had called the big blind. He and the blinds remained. I raised. He called. The flop was 8-J-2. I naturally bet, knowing that he had completely missed and would fold. He called. The turn was a four – 8-J-2-4. I bet $8 of course – knowing he would surely fold now. He looked carefully at his cards – took his time to make sure he got it right – and then inexplicably called. On the river a nine hit. I bet again and he finally folded.
As I said – a very low level of poker skill.
Even so, the place had a nice comfortable feel to it. The staff was eager to make me feel comfortable and welcome. If I were a local – especially if I were of the mind to care about bad-beat jackpots and the like and I lived in or near North Las Vegas – I might very well play here regularly. For the touring poker player, you might prefer the slicker big rooms on the Strip. But if you're looking for a beatable game or just want to add a little variety to your poker trip, this makes a nice stop.
2101 Texas Star Lane
North Las Vegas, Nevada