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Best and Worst Australian Casino Poker Rooms

I have not played in all the casinos in Australia, yet. But here are my thoughts and opinion on Adelaide (Sky City), Melbourne (Crown), Perth (Burswood) and Sydney (Star City). My 'star' ratings, scored out of 5 are:

Variety of games spread (NLHE, PLO, etc):

Burswood.......1
Crown............4.5
Sky City.........3
Star City........2

Comments: In fairness, Burswood and Sky City are much smaller poker rooms, due to those cities smaller population base. Sky City makes the most 'creative' use of what they have. Star City on the other hand just doesn't try at all. They sometimes spread a PLO game on one table out of. what is it, 25? - big deal.

Time charges and rake for low stakes games:

Burswood.......1
Crown............4
Sky City.........4
Star City........1

Comments: No one begrudges the casino's making money from poker - we all understand they are a business and have to pay wages, return a profit to their shareholders, and all that security and those tables don't come cheap. How come two casino's can seem completely fair, while the feeling you get at the other two is that you are just being gouged?

Blinds and buy-in structure for low stakes games:

Burswood.......1
Crown............3
Sky City.........3
Star City........2

Comments: No one excels here. Maybe there is some gaming legislation that says that a casino can't accept more than 50 big blinds as a buy in or something. I don't know. It seems to put the casual player at a disadvantage, because you will often be joining a table where two or more people who have been playing a while have over 200 big blinds in front of them, and with your 40 big blind buy in, good players are going to make you play for your whole stack on any hand you want to go with.

All the casino's except Burswood spread $1/2 game. Burswood has the worst structure with $2/3, then a ridiculous $5/5.

Table Service:

Burswood.......1
Crown............2
Sky City.........5
Star City........3

Comments: This is the only area where Star City beats Crown. I don't know why Crown is so reluctant to serve their patrons drinks. Star City has gotten a lot better in the last year. But the stand out is Sky City with an excellent ordering system and prompt service.

Dealers and floor staff

Burswood.......3
Crown............4
Sky City.........4.5
Star City........2

Comments: For the most part, Star City dealers are ok, but I have had hand rates as low as 10 per hour at both Star City and Burswood. The floor staff at Star City could spend a little less time socializing with each other too I think, and I really don't care to know if a dealer only got 2 hours sleep last night and is 'really hung over'.

Table Assignment and Seating

Burswood.......2
Crown............5
Sky City.........4
Star City........0

Comments: Star City just plain suck. Five tables, two with dealers on them, sit vacant while the wait list for a $1/2 game is over 80. It is by far the worst run room in that respect I have been in. You really get the feeling Star City doen't like its poker player customers very much. Burswood have a similar seating system to Star City, but sill didn't seem to know how to use it last time I was there. Sky City has a basic system - it's only a small room after all, and it works really well - possibly because the staff take some care in their job. Star City, why don't you send your card room manager and some senior staff to Melbourne for a weekend, to see how a proper, professional, poker room is run?

Room ambiance, 'feel' and environment

Burswood.......2
Crown............4.5
Sky City.........5
Star City........1.5

Comments: I liked the Star City area better when it was next to the bar (and not too far from the craps table). Very convenient to pass the time during the regular hour long wait for a table. The new poker room is miles away on a different level to anything interesting. Crown's room is excellent, what more can I say? But I really like the Sky City lay out with that wide, drink accommodating rail, players are separated enough from the main floor, but still feel part of the general casino buzz.

If I could play anywhere, anytime, where I would go:


Burswood.......2
Crown............4
Sky City.........5
Star City........1

Comment: Don't get me wrong, there could be far worse fates than having to play at Crown all the time. But for my money, I just prefer the 'smaller, friendlier' feel of Sky City - the excellent table services probably has a lot to do with that.

Overall Rating:

Burswood.......1.5
Crown............3.8
Sky City.........4.2
Star City........1.7

Comments: Seems about right.

I am going to Las Vegas later this year. If I get time I will try and get to the Venetian and the Belagio poker rooms and play a hand or two there to see how they compare to the Aussie rooms.

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