The best way to describe the vibe of the Arizona Charlie's Decatur is to say this: This is what the Horseshoe USED to be like, before corporate takeover and bad management turned it into the smoke free politically correct (but still classic) place it is today. Now, don't get me wrong, I love the Horseshoe due to its classic vintage historical value, but the vintage vibe is slowly dissapearing there. Here at Arizona Charlie's, not only is the vibe still there, but it looks like it is never going to change (at least not any time soon), and that is just the way I like it. The room itself is classic. Dogs playing poker on the back wall, broken side tables, and cigarette burns in the felt. Perfect. No autoshufflers. No managers, and very dirty and worn out chips. Also Perfect. The chairs are padded and comfortable, and the room is dirty and filled with smoke, as you can smoke there (the way all card rooms used to be, and should be). Why play anywhere else?
If you don't have an over button in front of you, you will stick out. The competition here is stiff, but probably the friendliest I have ever played with. Low income, middle income and even very high income play here. One guy self parks his Pinto, and another guy Valets his new Rolls Royce. The mixed socicioeconomic backgrounds of the players here is pretty amazing. Their poker skills are also pretty varied. Most of the table were good, with about 3 that stuck out as suckers. Everyone knew who they were, and talked about them discreetly to the other players. Showing down strong hands earns respect amongst these guys, and will pay off in spades later on. The guys with Over buttons know how to manipulate others, especially with their chip stacks when the 4/8 1/2 Kill game turns into No Limit when heads up. Saw one guy take out two people with his stacks. Definately a high action game. Monstrous pots, even for 4/8. Saw one 4/8 pot that was over $450, because of the Over button duke out. Don't even think about learning the game here.
As I have said in pretty much all my reviews, when the room lacks autoshufflers, quick and competent dealers are essential for a quick running game, and thankfully, Arizona Charlies has got it all. On a typical weeknight, there is one game going, and two dealers that push each other. There is no management here, as the dealers handle it just fine. Great personalities, knew everyone by name, and handles all transactions smoothly. Wonderful dealers in every regard.
Want more then one drink? No Problem. Want it fast? Turn around, as its already there. Cocktail waitresses here have been here a while, but they know the players, and get the job done in a quick and efficient manner. Obviously, no premium or top shelf here, but walking in (or even driving by) you would never even think of asking. No problems here.
As the room is dealer-managed most of the time, the management rating is the same as the dealer rating. Good no-nonsense guys. No floor decisions are needed, as the dealers take care of everything right there. Can't complain at all.
I am not a fan of a dollar out of the pot for high hand jackpots, or getting to sping a wheel if Aces are cracked, but for those that are, they offer both here. While I was playing, a guy got a Royal and got $584 paid to him in cash. Good for him and for those that like these types of bonuses. Also, there is a food comp if you ask for one. I would prefer an hourly comp system with no dollar from the pot, but that is just me. All in all, Arizona Charlie's Decatur is a great vintage style room. The hotel and the surrounding area is nothing short of a dump, but that is what gives this place character. To see what poker rooms used to be like (and should be like), this is definately the place to go.