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The first thing you need to understand when planning a trip to Rincon is that it’s not San Diego. Our friend Billy made the mistake of bringing his family thinking he could play poker while his family enjoyed the city. Rincon is an hour outside the city up a nice windy mountain road and should in no way be categorized as “close to the beach”. Billy’s family left him the day after arrival, exchanging their mountain view for something oceanside.

Market:

Even though Rincon is close to a major metropolitan area the presence of more accessible casinos with larger poker rooms limits the amount of local traffic for the wsop. The Rincon poker room is a tiny 9 table space on the second floor of the hotel with one sign in the lobby acknowledging it’s existence. The hidden poker room helped walk up traffic to the WSOP’s events next to the casino floor, but meant cash games were a poor alternative for post bust-out grinding.

The room even had a promotion going during the series which paid 20 dollars in cash and 50 dollars in casino free play chips for an hour of cash play with a wsop mtt slip. The offer was valid for 48 hours and could be used concurrently with multiple entry slips. This generous rakeback yielded an average of 2 1/3 NL games and 1 3/6 FL game per evening, an extremely disappointing turnout. There was better cash game grinding available for those willing to make a half hour drive to a neighboring room, but La and I chose to focus on sngs in our off time.

Fields:

The field sizes were up this year, but the inconvenient location keeps them smaller than the majority of stops. The turnouts and short commute from Vegas have made this stop a favorite of LV grinders trying to pick up points for the wsop freeroll. The collection of high level talent in town for the last weekend’s events has to make it one of the most stacked WSOPC main event fields outside sin city.

Harrah’s outrageous weekend rates and small prize pools limit the value of this event to many circuit grinders. So while the fields have more LV pros, there are less circuit regulars which somewhat balances out the later events and certainly makes the prelims softer. There are a couple places to stay close to the property, but if you don’t book early, affordable accommodations mean a half hour commute up and down the mountain.

Food:

Dinning options were decent as far as circuit stop casino eating goes. There was a 24 hour cafe with a typical american menu. Fortunes asian cuisine had solid (for casino) pho and noodle dishes. The steak house was disappointing, with overpriced food and mediocre service. The diamond lounge had a selection of fruit available throughout the day with tiny finger foods served by the wait staff around 5pm. The buffet was probably one of the better dinning options for our stay. Harrah’s had a good comp available for buffet dinning: An hour of table game play or an hour and a half of cash poker (also stackable w the wsop promotion) would get you a meal ticket.

If we didn’t feel like eating out, peanut butter jelly time was always an option.

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Our trip:

With some great travel agent work by La, we were able to keep this trip’s costs manageable. It wasn’t a huge stop for us, but we left with more money than we came with, so it still goes in the W column. A couple of our friends did well, if you haven’t read my previous blog entry you can find it here:

http://whoisdavidclark.wordpress.com/2012/04/01/texans-continue-california-gold-ring-rush/

Overall we enjoyed our visit to the casino in the mountains, the hotel was nice and the staff had excellent customer service. The PTC did a great job as usual and the growth in WSOPC attendance was encouraging for future visits.

A quick pic from a lookout on the way up.

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Thanks for the read. If you have any thoughts on, or suggestions for the blog please leave a comment below. I am also available on twitter @whoisdavidclark if you would rather communicate in 140 characters or less.

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