Where do I start? There are a hundred and one things I could moan about regarding the new Genting Casino Coventry in the Skydome and I will highlight some of them here but overall, taking all things into consideration, I liked it a lot.
Yes, despite them blanking me for a VIP pass (read about that here) I really did like the casino when I went to see it. Like some of my favourite people it is small but beautifully formed. (Ola Jordan) The casino has quite a friendly and intimate atmosphere to it.
Often when you visit a casino for the first time you don’t know many people there but obviously being in such close proximity to the G Cov I probably knew 40% of the players in the comp if not by name at least I recognised them. So that made it a good start. When I was waiting to get in I was queuing up behind 3 G Cov dealers and I could also see Dave one of the Broadway dealers inside also.
Then next I bumped into Ben Maregedze who I believe (plenty disagree with this) is the best regular player at G Cov. Tournaments or cash he is really good, most players are better at one or the other but Ben is adept at both forms of the game. I rarely know where I am with him in a hand and there aren’t too many players I feel like that about.
When it comes to cash I just find it easier to not be on his table or to sit on his left. In comps of course you don’t often get a choice (though I did at Genting).
Genting Coventry Issues
There are some issues with it which will never be solved and therefore you have to accept them or not go there. The biggest one for me is where it is. The location can be a positive to some but for me it’s a negative.
On the positive side, casinos best punters are often takeaway and restaurant owners. These guys generally have lots of cash and love to gamble. They are the lifeblood of lots of easy money in cash games and tournaments in places like the Gala and Broadway in central Birmingham. These restaurant owners when they finish work, often late at night, go into city centre casinos and punt the days takings.
On the negative side its city centre location right in the heart of “club land” makes me slightly nervous about visiting it over any of the weekend nights.
For the casino their bar will take a fortune over the weekend. It is well laid out so city centre drinkers can go into the bar area without actually having to enter the casino part of the operation. Though of course they can see the roulette wheels etc. so I’m sure with a few drinks inside them many will be tempted inside the gaming area.
What concerns me most though is leaving the casino late at night to get back to your car. Stepping over drunken slags strewn randomly on the pavement or avoiding eye contact with gangs of lads who don’t feel they’ve had a good night out until they’ve punched someone isn’t ideal.
The Gala casino right in the heart of Birmingham’s city centre solves this problem brilliantly with their valet parking service. Though I doubt this would work at Genting Cov as it’s not easy to pull up outside and the narrow street would quickly get blocked.
Seriously I wouldn’t want to go there on a weekend night. Even when I left on Wednesday night as I was driving off down the road there was a gang of about 10 young lads in hoodies who I wouldn’t have wanted to walk past to get back to the car park. Luckily I was parked right outside.
The doormen there were excellent btw, very helpful. In fact all the staff I spoke to were excellent. I asked about Wi-Fi and yes they have it which is a real plus for me as I like to Tweet and FB while I’m playing. There was also one particular stand out valet who was worth making the trip to see.
I thought the snack menu was excellent, I don’t want a huge meal at 3.00 am but if I’m hungry it’s nice to have a selection of smaller offerings. They do sausage and bacon baps at just £2 each and although I didn’t have anything as I’d eaten earlier they looked good.
Aaron who was running the card room (it was Mark the CRM’s night off) was totally snowed under yet still made time to speak to everyone who wanted to talk to him.
In fairness with the five tables in operation for the tournament all manned by totally novice dealers it needed a lot more than just Aaron to look after the room and man the card room desk. He was working his tits off trying to hold it all together, fielding questions, enquiries and moans and groans all night long.
The fact that the printer wasn’t working made it extremely difficult to handle the “Triple Chance” aspect of the comp.
In fairness I’m not going to highlight all the negatives that I encountered with the dealers and the running of the comp as a lot of them over time should cease to be an issue. As long as they receive proper on-going training and a little patience from the players the dealers will improve. Most players were understanding.
There were some players who were so unhappy with the standard of dealing, and the amount of hands per hour, that they just left their chips and left at the 1st break.
I actually did go and ask Aaron if the dealers could be rotated as at one point we really did have a dealer who was so slow shuffling and dealing that it was taking 5 minutes a hand even if the big blind got a walk. But if he practises and gets some coaching he will undoubtedly improve and I’d hate to see him lose his job because people started moaning about him.
All the dealers had faults and as with most new ones they lack the confidence to give the “ I’m in charge” air of authority to players that they need to. Though this will definitely improve and the fact that they have employed dealers at all is a big positive.
The fact that the printer didn’t work made it very difficult for Aaron to control the extra chips. As it was a triple chance tournament it meant everyone started with 6,000 but had another 12,000 chips in reserve. This just made lots of extra (unnecessary?) work for him.
I actually think that the triple chance thing is good for novice players as it allows them to make a couple of mistakes or get unlucky and still be in the game. When you have the full starting stack and it goes horribly wrong that’s game over. Though if I was running a card room single handed, with five tables in use for the tournament I wouldn’t want to be running around dishing chips out all the time and manning the desk single handed.
It’s in stark contrast to the G Cov where these days it appears they have “more Chiefs than Indians” some days. The trouble with that is on quieter nights they have so little to do that they end up not even doing that right. Especially if they’re more interested in the quiz questions than what’s actually going on in the card room. Sadly at the Grosvenor Coventry, a lot of my favourite dealers have either left or been promoted over the last few months.
Anyway overall I liked the Genting casino and the card room. The CR is small but it is fairly comfortable with 6 tables in it. Apparently they can get 8 in at a push but I think it would be a push. Wheelchair access to the casino as a whole is good as it’s all on one level but in the CR only about half the seats would be easily accessible to someone in a wheelchair.
Regarding the comp I think with a few minor tweaks it could be really excellent. It was 18,000 starting stack on a triple chance basis. (3 x 6,000). £20 +£3 with one optional re-buy or add-on.
There were 3 x 30 minute blind levels then it dropped to 20 minutes. They missed out a lot of the early levels (75/150, 150/300 for example) but with so many runners and so many chips in play the comp was certainly going to run quite late so I wouldn’t actually make the structure “better”.
My advice would be to remove the option of an add-on, because for £43 you are effectively having a 36,000 starting stack and that makes it very deep for a mid-week comp. It should though have un-limited re-entries. That way the chip average wouldn’t be so high immediately after the break.
I actually had 30,000 at the first break but I still wanted to have the £20 add-on as it would have increased my stack by 60%. Tactically I won’t take an add-on if it doesn’t increase my stack by 25% or more but with a prize pool of £1,330 and over £500 going to the eventual winner I thought the extra £20 for 60% uplift was well worth it.
Sadly although I left my £20 on the table during the break I didn’t get given the chips. Aaron was snowed under trying to sort out those who hadn’t had the full 18,000 prior to the break and trying to get the dealers organised. So by the time I could have asked for them we’d been playing 10 minutes so I didn’t want to give him anymore problems.
Anyway after the re-start they broke our table first as we were down to 6 players. This provided a fun moment.
The six of us were given a card each with the 3 highest (I was one of them) told to go to one table that had 3 empty seats. I asked “which seat” and was told “just pick one”. LOL, how daft is that? This will cause so many arguments if they continue with this.
How do you decide who gets the BB if that seat is available? This will create players running and literally fighting like 8 year olds playing musical chairs at a birthday party.
As it happened I got to the table first and quickly looked around the table to see where the empty seats were and who was playing on that table. The aforementioned Ben Maregedze was on the table and the seat 2 to his left was empty and it had the button on it. One of the other empty seats was 1 to his right and the other seat was about to inherit the Big Blind. Guess which one I picked?
Being on Bens table is normally good fun but we had a right twat on it who was tank folding hand after hand. Eventually the table lost patience with him and he had the clock called on him twice. He was so annoyed that he tilt shoved in with sh1t and was KO’d much to every-ones delight.
Sadly after a very good start to the evening my luck ran out as I went totally card dead and failed to win a pot after the first break. I really wish I’d been given the add-on.
When I left Ben had well over 100k after winning 2 successive huge pots with his high variance style.
I’m still not running well, and confidence is low. This generally compounds the problem as I opt for a low variance style because I just expect to lose any all-in situation.
When I busted they had about 26 players still in and it was 1.30am but the blinds were getting big. I had an important meeting about some regular work the next day (which fortunately I got) so I opted to go straight home and not play cash.
I really would have liked to have played cash as the game looked super-soft and more in-line with my current bankroll. It was 50p/£1 and full of very poor players. When you overhear one of the biggest fish from the Ricoh saying “I can’t wait to get on there as it’s full of fish” you know it’s a good game.
So going forward I’m not going to be playing very much mid-week any-more as I’ll be back to getting up early to leave for work rather than working from home and getting up at lunchtime. If I was going to play on a Wednesday night I’d certainly be happy to give this comp another go. I’d be tempted to give it a few weeks to allow the dealers’ time to improve, but overall I think the card room has a lot going for it.
There is an awesome £100 Freeze-out (re-entries allowed if there is a seat open) at the Gala in Birmingham this coming Saturday (8thDecember).
20,000 starting stack (2k extra if you pre-register) 25 minute blind levels throughout and an UNCONDITIONAL £10,000 guarantee.