Setting up a card room

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Ecomdan

Rock Star
Hey CCers,

Me and a friend have been talking about setting up a card room of our own, it's gonna be in a fairly large city which at the moment has no card room or casino but has a huge number of poker players and a fairly big tourism industry so seasonal populations are pretty huge and if we can set it up before anyone else beats us to it I think we're gonna be stinking rich :D

There a few questions I'd like to ask you all... we're planning to have between 10 and 15 tables in the club, we'll probably run daily 50 max tournaments with bigger tourneys at the weekend.. if operating at capacity, how many chips do you think we would need? The cash games running (this is in Philippine pesos) will include 5/10 (i don't think any card room here offers this low a limit, but some preliminary research has indicated that players want it), 10/20, 25/50, 50/100 and occasionally higher if the players are looking for it. So I'm thinking cash chips will be denominated in 5, 25, 100, 500. If the club is full of cash tables, so 15 tables X 9 135 players.

Buying the tables and chairs and chips, what companies would you guys recommend?

Also any other tips, pointers or anything you guys think should be done in a pioneering card room please share
 
tenbob

tenbob

Legend
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Its a pretty major undertaking and good luck to you. I have zero experience in running a card rooom, but the only advise i would give you would be to hire someone that does, even for a temp contract basis to get you started if your serious.
 
illphillllllll

illphillllllll

Rock Star
good luck with setting it up. i would buy extra of everything to be on the safe side. also make sure to have security because i am 100% sure you will eventually have another person with an idea of how to make money, rob the cardroom.
 
Stu_Ungar

Stu_Ungar

Legend
Good luck.

Please tell me you have enough money to do this .. I would have thought $100K would be a minimum. Minimum 12 month rent contract. Furnishings, chips (need to be specialy made for your club otherwise the will be counterfeited easily) Security, video survelence etc (lots of cash on site) Staff, they like to be paid! Dealers etc. Licenced bar??

And so on and so forth

Bear in mind you will not show a profit in the first 12 months (new businesses just dont).

As long as you know what you are getting into then GL. It can be done and can be successful, but if you haven't realised that a half decent safe is going to set you back 5K then you may want to do a little more research.
 
TheKAAHK

TheKAAHK

CardsChat Elite
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Hello Ecomdan! I run small tourneys at my local Legion on a weekly basis so I have ome idea on how to get started.

First of all you're going to need ALOT of chips, especiall if you are going to be running tourneys and cash games. The games I run are between 15 and 30 players, tournys only and I purchased 5000 chips in denoms at 5, 25, 50, 100 and 500. This is enough to play a 50 player tourney with 3K starting stacks. These chips were custom hot-stamped with "RCL" (Royal Canadian LEgion) one one side and the denomination on the other. SInce we're a amall operation I only purchased one table, but I also have 3 fold out felt table toppers which work quite necely as they fold out of the way when not in use.

I don't know who you are expecting to run the games, but if it is to be you, you MUST have a good handle on the rules of poker in all the variations you are willing to spread. You will be faced with alot of questions and ulings and they HAVE to be fair and accurate. Many people have their own interpretations on rules from their own home games or local casinos so you need to be on the ball. If you don't have a good understanding of the rules or are just not that good at dealing with stresful situations I suggest hiring someone who is, at least for a short while.

The total cost of my start-up was roughly $2500. This included chips, table and toppers, cards and a button/timer. I found all my gear at www.nolimitpokerstore.com, but there are many other places.

I have no experience on running cash games, except for the occasional home game in my living room, so I won't comment on what you might need for that, save for different chips for cash and tourneys.

I hope this helps a bit. Let me know if there's anything else I can do to help.
 
Stu_Ungar

Stu_Ungar

Legend
Do bear in mind that you have a different business model to OP.

OP is renting premises.

OP needs to draw in customers.

You benefit from being able to move to where the demand is (you dont have premises)

You also benefit from the fact that if the demand dries up you can pack the kit away and wait it out.

OP cannot, he will have premises and staff.

Every day that card room is empty is costing OP money.

In your case its costing only time and the opportunity cost of loss of earnings.

Hence its going to cost a lot more to set up OP's business model than your own.

OP really wants to aim for a city centre venue with access to parking (that is prime real estate he is looking to rent, it dosent come cheap and usually doesnt come with less than a 12 month contract)
 
Stu_Ungar

Stu_Ungar

Legend
Its a pretty major undertaking and good luck to you. I have zero experience in running a card rooom, but the only advise i would give you would be to hire someone that does, even for a temp contract basis to get you started if your serious.

I overlooked this first time around but actually this is very sound advice.

If you really can afford to get a card room up and running then you can also afford the wages of an experienced professional for say 6 months.

LIke I said in the last post, every day that card room isnt running at max capacity is costing you money.

Someone who has done this before knows how to get you up and running far quicker than you can figure out yourselves (assuming you haven't done this before).

If you get them in early they might even surprise you on things like choice of premises.. you might want X square feet and they turn around and say you'll never fill it, get half that!

Like anything you need to have done it once or twice before and made some mistakes before you really know what it is you are trying to do.
 
TheKAAHK

TheKAAHK

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True, I don't have to pay rent, nor am I trying to make any money. My games are strictly rake-free and all money goes back to the players. I cannot change venues though. I am tied to the my local Legion branch only.

I can understand the complexities of running a for profit card room and I agree it's an ambitious undertaking. The advice I gave was strictly based on what I have done, just to help OP get the juices flowing. In no way was I comparing my small tourneys to operating a large cardroom. My guess is that it would cost roughly 15K for 15 quality (read: not cheap looking) tables, and at least, ah hell, that's ALOT of chips (guessing 20K or more for tourneys and cash for 115 player capacity) and I'd have no idea how much that would cost. Depends on style, quality and how customized they are. Add in incedentals (steady supply of decks, cashier supplies, drinks either alcoholc or otherwise, ect.), staff and other overhead costs I cannot even begin to speculate on and you have yourself one hell of a start-up bill. Though I'm sure if the player base is solid and your business model is sound (did you have a business consultant double check your model to verify it's feasable?) then I'm sure it's just a matter of time before your cardroom is a success. I hope it is.

I have no idea whatsoever of the legalities of cardrooms and local gaming laws in OP's home country so I didn't make any suggestions or offer any advice on that subject. Nor do I deal in cash games.

So I guess, yeah, like illphilllllll and Stu already said. It's probably best to hire someone who is in the industry and they can probably help you out better than any of us probably can.

Good luck, and keep us posted on how if it's coming along if you can.
 
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H

Hotpizza

Rising Star
Someone said security, I would add to that cameras over the tables. This way you can play back any dispute if it gets out of hand and if someone does try to rob the place. Suggest one facing the door to show coming and going and one above the door showing them going out.

Good luck with your venture.
 
E

Ecomdan

Rock Star
Sorry it took me a while to get back and check this, thanks very much for all of your input!

Yes we will be leasing the premises in which we will be opening our club. At present we are still scouting for locations, some areas in the city have currently under construction commercial buildings which may prove more attractive than those already available so we're not settling just yet. The first few locations we inquired about were around P100,000/mo ($2,300) and that's the prime commercial real estate in the area, it's likely we can get a decent location near by for maybe half that.

The biggest expense we are facing that I can see is the gaming license, we have to pay the local authority (PAGCOR) 1 million pesos (about $23,000) processing fee and then the same amount again into a bond to be held by them as security. However we need to be incorporated and registered locally with the SEC before we can begin the application process, to do that we need a minimum of 5 incorporators. Actually that might actually be a good thing, as Tenbob suggested having some one with real experience would be invaluable, perhaps giving that person a real stake in the business would be a little more motivation than just a salary...

For the tables I've found one good local supplier (kustomkowboys.com), they've made poker tables for a lot of the bigger casinos here and have quoted me about P15,000 per table ($340) so for ten tables we're looking at around $3500 probably closer to $4000 with all the rake drop boxes. I'd still have to have these tables transported from Manila to the card room location so there'd be some road freight involved, no idea yet how much that will cost. Though $4000 for ten tables seems a little high, think I could find a better deal online?

As for security we'll be looking at two armed guards on the front door, and another armed guard for the back room/cashier area. Cameras on every table as well as the front door, cashier, back room... so about 13-14 cameras total. No figures for these yet.

Just in the last couple of days, my business partner has been back in his home town and scouting our options, he's discovered that a few bars have been sponsoring tournaments on a monthly basis and that they are always well attended. Also, he has heard there is another local business owner looking to put up a card room of their own in the area... shit, competition moving in already!
 
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