GAMING – Let’s Play Poker!
“Thanks for the memories” Lodge Poker Room
In early September of this year the ionic poker room located upstairs at the Lodge Casino dealt its last hand. With an impending remodel of the casino and the promised draw of more revenue from slot machines, the legendary and well-known poker room is no more.
After millions of poker hands dealt; after millions of dollars being paid out in bad beat jackpots; after uncountable players learning their first hard lessons at the tables; after many large tournaments; after many dealers across town cutting their teeth dealing in the room for the first time; and after many lasting friendships being made – the room is now a just a memory.
But what a GREAT MEMORY! The Lodge Poker Room and its decades long run offering poker games to any and all comers is really the story of the poker industry growing up in Colorado.
Remember poker in the early 2000’s when TV first made it popular? The Lodge Poker Room was the place to be. It was loud; full of excited new players lining up at the rail; and the play was absolutely wild. WHOO HOO!
First and foremost – a big pat on the back to Jess Kaufmann / the final Poker Room Manager of the room. He kept the room going for the past few years by drawing a strong crowd of local players and his dealers really made it a very unique and fun place to play – thank you Jess and team!
Here are a few of my memories of the poker room at the Lodge Casino:
I was playing cards up the hill in Central City at a now closed poker room and a fellow player named J.R. took me in down the hill to a new place called the Lodge Casino with a few tables upstairs. We jumped into the game, were welcomed as old time friends, and I played the next 10 years or more in the room. This is also one of the first times I met well-known local poker ambassador Jamal S. – he ran the room in the early days.
One night while playing in a 5 – 5 Poker Game, a player at the next table punched a player next to him. Before I could think of reacting, dealer Dick Y. leaped across the table and tackled the guy. I found out later Dick Y. was a World Champion in a type of martial arts – it goes to show you never know who is sitting next to you at a poker table.
Of course the night of July 2, 2009. This was the night the limits were raised to $100 and at 12:01 a.m. we had the first legal $10 – $20 Hold em poker game in Colorado since the last century. Champagne flowed; the tables were packed; and everyone was ecstatic. In those days the room had 22 poker tables that were busy day and night.
One Saturday night we had a very unique mix in a game toward the back of the room. Big John was there; a couple ladies who were fun to play with; and some others. We started doing kamikaze shots and soon we were all feeling good and having a great time. This went on for five or six hours with the same group of folks and it was some of the most fun I have ever had at a table. We ended up getting rooms (separate of course), playing till dawn, and having breakfast together. End result – I won $68 and slept for two days when we were done.
A few other random memories: Long-time dealer Donna had the best card pitch to the number one seat I have ever seen – she would give it too you underhanded with a flourish like Tom Cruise in the movie Cocktail. And – the Chile! Do you remember the big pot of simmering Chile the room would have on the back counter all day and night? Hmmmm – I remember that chili got me through many long sessions.
So while the poker room at the Lodge Casino and its team of fine dealers is no longer dealing out the cards – don’t be sad. The dealers are moving to other poker rooms; poker room manager Jess Kaufmann will now be playing more locally; and there are plenty of memories to be made playing in the other rooms around town.
As Jimmy Fallon of the Tonight Show would say, “Thank you to the Lodge Casino Poker Room – thank you for taking my money with a smile; thank you for providing free shots when I needed them; and thank you for the memories!”
Remember – play your game!