Pennsylvania pokerpalooza 2019: Part 11

June 7, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
June 7, 2019

As I’ve mentioned a couple of times in this series of posts, the last five springs running I’ve attended a national World Tavern Poker event at a particular casino in Pennsylvania. That venue is Mohegan Sun Pocono in the hills above Wilkes-Barre.

(This facility, I ought to note, is distinct in location, if not name, from the top search result for Mohegan Sun.)

(I also ought to note, being the pedant that I am, that the precise location for Mohegan Sun Pocono is the township of Plains.)

The facility incorporates a racetrack, a casino and a hotel. The racetrack betting floor and the gaming areas of the casino are, as is typical for such venues, barred to those under the age of 18 or 21, depending on the exact location. The racetrack has its own building, which can be reached without stepping outside by way of an enclosed sky bridge.

The casino and hotel are set side by side. Excluding what I think of as the racetrack annex, which houses the poker room and a bunch of slot machines, the casino’s main public area is set on a single floor. You can walk directly from the casino to a corridor that leads directly to the hotel’s reception area. Continue past the hotel for another few dozen strides and you’ll find yourself in the lobby of a set of meeting areas, which include a spacious ballroom.

The main casino building is a circular structure covered by a dome; as mentioned, an offshoot leads to the hotel and meeting area and the sky bridge leads to the racetrack. A circular walking pathway rings the building. A metal railing runs along most of the path’s interior perimeter; decorative scrollwork helps keep minors out of the restricted central area, where all of the casino’s table games and most of its slot machines are located.

Some additional gaming areas are located on the outside of the walking path — the outer rim of the building, if you continue to picture the layout as a circle. One of these gaming areas is reserved for high rollers; another, labeled Penny Grove, contains low-stakes slot machines. (They may be a penny a spin.) Various sets of bathrooms are scattered along this rim. The rim also hosts a number of bars and restaurants and a couple of stores. There’s also a food court boasting (as of last month) a coffee shop, a Johnny Rockets fast-food joint and a pizza counter, among other outlets.

The upshot of all this is that, during one of the 15-minute breaks that break up World Tavern Poker tournaments at the casino, I had a habit of walking to the casino and circuiting the main floor before returning to the ballroom. Frequently, I made a pit stop in one of the bathrooms; sometimes, if hunger prompted or time allowed, I grabbed a slice of ’za.

However, when last we checked on my supposed poker exploits, I’d just busted out of the second and final national championship event. What happened after will be the subject of my next (and last?) 2019 pokerpalooza update.

To be continued (or concluded?)

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