Since live table games began at Delaware Park on June 18, we've been curious about how the demographic on the casino floor would change, what games would be available, and how the advent of live gambling would change nightlife around here.
So, before we headed over to Delaware Park to play the games live, we got a tour from chief operating officer Andrew Gentile and spoke with executive director of marketing Pam Cunningham and got our questions answered.
After all, just because you might be the big blind at the poker table, that doesn't mean you have to walk on to the gambling scene in Delaware without a vision of what to expect.
I know Delaware Park has three entrances, but I want to park as close as I can to the table games, so I don't have to drag my bags of winnings across the grounds. Where is the best spot to get in?
For all you Johnny Chan wannabes out there, your best place to enter is just off of Route 7, which puts you in the lot nearest the racetrack and table games. However, if it's more convenient for you to enter near Route 4, there are two free shuttles that run all day long.
So, I'm in the front door. Now where do I go?
Straight ahead past all the bells and whistles of the slots and you'll see a strip of tables featuring craps, roulette, 3-card and 4-card poker, blackjack, Let It Ride and Pai Gow.
Head up the escalator around the end of the tables to the second floor and you'll find more blackjack tables, as well as an elevated poker area, with 20 tables in all.
Are there table minimums or maximums?
Yes there are, but they vary by table, depending on client volume and action at the table. Most tables will start as low as $5 but we saw a craps table with a $25 minimum bet and a $3,000 maximum bet.
But what if I start with a $5 minimum and want to keep playing at the rate, and then it gets busy, and the minimum goes up? Do I get bounced?
Nope, you're grandfathered in at whatever minimum you start with at a particular table. As long as you keep your seat, you're good. But don't try to move to another table and get the minimum you started your evening off with, because they won't allow that.
Hey toots, I'll take a 7 & 7 on the house. Thanks.
Uh, no you won't there, slick. Unfortunately, state law prohibits complimentary alcoholic beverages in a casino setting (or any setting for that matter), so you'll have to cough up a few bucks for your drinks. On average, mixed drinks go for $6.25 and draft beer goes for $3.75.
Alright, so when is last call?
Cocktail waitress and bartenders will make last call around 12:45 a.m., to ensure drinks are delivered to the tables before or by 1 a.m. at the absolute latest. And yes, you can drink while playing.
So, I've played for a few hours, and now I'm hungry. Where can I eat?
Glance in any direction and you'll have your options, like a cup of java at Kelso's Coffee on the first floor, or a sandwich at On A Roll Deli on the second floor. There is also Legends, a full-service restaurant and just one of 10 eateries located across the Delaware Park campus.
On the weekends (Fri. and Sat. from 11:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.), Legends trims down and offers a special night owl menu, which includes grilled prime rib (served with two eggs, home fries, toast and coffee) for $12.95.
This would be a great spot to hold a bachelor party, maybe rent out one of the poker tables for a few hours. Do they allow that?
You bet your Macanudos they do. Just call 800-41-SLOTS and ask for the poker room manager, who will go over rates for renting your own table. They will provide you with a dealer, whose rake will either be a set fee or percentage, depending on the pot limit and the game of your choice. (Rates are still being determined at Delaware Park.)
After watching so many re-runs of the World Series of Poker on ESPN, I'd kinda like to participate in a tournament. Will Delaware Park be holding any tournaments in the future?
As of Aug. 1, their tournament schedule will begin Monday through Friday at noon, 7 p.m. and midnight, and will be $65 buy-ins. The weekend schedule will consist of a $150 buy-in at 1 p.m. with the $65 buy-in at 7 p.m. and midnight.
Wow, midnight tournaments? By the time those are over, I might not feel like driving home. Any stay-and-play deals with local hotels?
Stay-and-play deals are sometimes in effect, depending on the hotel. Delaware Park works with several local lodgings, all of which are posted on the Delaware Park website. Log on and contact the hotels individually to check on rates and specials.
When I'm finished playing cards, what does Delaware Park offer to keep me entertained?
Other than the food, slots and horse racing? Well, there's HOPS Bar, just past the tables on the first floor, which features DJs and live bands playing from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. on most Friday and Saturday nights.
Do they plan on adding any sort of dance clubs or bigger restaurants, like a lot of the casinos in Atlantic City?
There are no plans for a dance club just yet, but they are looking at adding a noodle bar to the concession choices. And there is a possibility that they'll turn one or more of their restaurants into a nightclub setting after the dinner hour.
And do I get any rewards for going and playing again and again? Like, do the have a Players Club card or something like that?
They do, actually, and your best bet is to sign up for one the first time you go. They call it the Players Rewards Club, and you can obtain your card on the slots floor or the trackside booth.
Basically, show your card to your dealer or insert the card when you play the slots or bet on a horse, and you accumulate points based on how much you play.
Those points get you everything from merchandise at their Traditions Boutique and complimentary meals at different restaurants, to greens fees at White Clay Creek Country Club and entries in sweepstakes.