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Hoteldelrio outside

Exterior of the Hotel Del Rio

Hours Tue, Fri, Sat: 5:30p - 1am
# Tables 3
Address 209 Second Street, Isleton CA
Region Bay Area, California, USA
Phone 916-77-RIVER
Website www.hoteldelrio.com

As you drive north from Antioch on Hwy 160, you travel through the bucolic back streets of the Sacramento River Delta, a placid agricultural area that reminds you of the Great Plains. The highway meanders along the shore of the river, past houses and farms, fields and parks, and then a small sign alerts you that you're getting close to Isleton. Population 923, says the sign. And tacked under it, a hand painted wooden sign: "Custom Poker Tables. Call 916-xxx-xxx". Huh. No wonder the California Gaming Control Commission's list of licensed card rooms lists two licensed cardrooms in Isleton. The town must be poker crazy.

Moments later, the highway dips off the levee, hiding the rolling Sacramento River from view for a few hunded yards, as the highway spends three blocks going through picaresque downtown Isleton. And that's about all there is to downtown Isleton: these three blocks. Smack in the center is the large Hotel Del Rio, with a bunch of motorcycles parked out front. The bikers have descended on the crusty old two-story hotel/restaurant/casino for their "famous prime rib" (and area residents do say it's fabulous), or maybe one of their crawdad dishes: a banner hung over the street proclaims Isleton's "Annual Crawdad Festival" was last week.

As you park your car and amble into the casino, though, you note the place is abandoned. It's Tuesday, so the casino should be open, right? Ah, says the owner as he pops in to grab a drink, it normally would be. But today is July 4th, and he wants to close and go fishing. So no poker today; guess you'll have to try some other day. He tells you the place fills up for the tournaments, which then dissolve into cash games: the standard small town cardroom thing. He says "we're a small town; we can't afford to be open 7 days or anything". No kidding. Population 923, after all.

Games Edit

Limit hold 'em: 3/6 only, though over buttons are available which take the game to 6/12.

No-limit hold 'em: only for tournaments.

Rake is taken preflop: $3 for games with 6 or more players, $2 for 5 or fewer. No flop, no drop.

Game Character: Typical smalltown card room: a few calling stations, a couple maniacs, a few tight folders, and in general a bunch of friends (and not great players) sitting around a table and having fun.

Posting: New players do not need to post.

Shuffling: All tables are hand-shuffled.

Wait Time: Generally, only one table is in operation for cash games (though two or three are used for each night's tournament). On busier weekend nights two or three cash game tables open. Accordingly, wait time can vary tremendously. Even at peak times, though, wait is not longer than 30 minutes or so.

Tournaments Edit

  • Tue,Thurs Fri, Sat 6pm Sun Site & Go at 12:30: NLHE $15. Cash games start after enough people have busted out of the tourney to start one.

Jackpots and Promotions Edit

No jackpots.

Atmosphere Edit

This oddly-shaped room is tacked on to the right side of the Hotel Del Rio in "downtown" Isleton. It has a large storefront window opening onto the main street that makes the room bright and hospitable during the day, and even keeps it open-seeming at night. The room itself seems spacious because the owner can't figure out how to fit in one more table (he would if he could), so there's lots of left over room. A couple of TV's hung on the walls will show local sports games if they're going. Also on the wall: various "backwoods bric-a-brac" that tries to add character to the room: stuffed buffalo heads, a huge portrait of Babe Ruth, a small framed print of "Dogs Playing Poker", etc.

Despite the sign on the window (and on the website) claiming they spread Omaha, they haven't done so in many years. They also don't really offer 21st Century Blackjack, though they do have a table for it (and are licensed for it, and list it on the web): their one lone blackjack table is covered with magazines and flyers.

Neighborhood: In the center of the populated part of town, where Hwy 160 dips off the levee for three blocks. Across the street is a motorcycle shop and a rock-n-roll bar (Isleton Joe's) that has outdoor concerts on weekend nights. If the band is good, you get free good music coming in off the street -- but many players, and even casino employees, head across the street to join the party if it's getting good. If the band's not so good, you can close the door and it's reduced to muffled background music.

Parking: The hotel has no visible parking of its own, but there's some funky "park in the middle of the street" parking spaces on the south side of the road as you drive through. You can park there and walk across the street to the casino.

Tables and Chairs: Large 10-player tables with soft but firm deep-green felt and padding and no commit line. Wide red vinyl arm rests. These are some of the only tables in California card rooms that emulate Vegas tables: 10 players, and they have those slide-in cup holders as well. Chairs are worn out fixed-leg metal-frame chairs with weak padding.

Service and Comps Edit

Drinks are available from the full service bar.

Links and NotesEdit

  • MarkT visited on July 4, 2006, and also in late August 2006.
  • Closest competitor is Rogelio's a couple blocks away (if they're bothering to spread poker), or possibly Kelly's Casino down in Antioch.

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