In the last few years, we have been sharing information on our recent poker road trips. Just after the pandemic broke in 2021 we took a poker road trip to Las Vegas, and then we built another poker road trip through Florida. In 2022 we shared our poker road trip through Maryland, and in 2023 we shared a poker road trip through New England. Last spring, we visited Eastern Pennsylvania and combined poker and sightseeing, as we do. So here are our suggestions for a Poker Road Trip through Eastern Pennsylvania.
Days 1 & 2: Poker in the Poconos
Traveling as we are from New England, the first place we reach in Pennsylvania is the Pocono area of the state. We are lucky enough to have a friend with a beautiful house on a lake in the area, so we did not need to search further for accommodations. However, if you need a place to stay, there are a variety of hotels in the area from fancy to kitschy. There are two poker rooms in the area. You can easily visit Mohegan Pennsylvania Casino Resort (formerly Mohegan Sun Pocono) and the Mount Airy Casino from anywhere in the Pocono’s region. Both are small but nice casinos containing mid-sized poker rooms. Mohegan runs multiple weekly tournaments, while Mount Airy is cash only.
There are myriad activities to enjoy while in the Poconos depending upon the season. In the winter you can ski, snowshoe, hike, visit one of the many escape rooms, or hit the Pocono Beverage Trail. In the summer, there are wonderful lakes that offer boating, swimming, kayaking, or just laying out in the sun.
Day 3: Wind Creek Casino
In Eastern Pennsylvania, between the Poconos and Philadelphia, you will find Allentown. Allentown is an old steel town best known by us oldsters from the huge 1982 hit “Allentown.” Go ahead, give it a listen. It will stick in your head for days. Just outside Allentown, you will find Bethlehem, and there you will find the excellent Wind Creek Casino. Wind Creek is another small-ish casino, but it has great amenities and is attached to an outlet mall (for your non-poker-playing partner). When we visited, the poker room was in the process of being re-modeled. However, now it is open and reportedly quite comfortable. With tournaments several days a week, we recommend you take a stop on your journey and indulge on your way down to Philadelphia.
Day 4-7: Philadelphia
Philadelphia offers two solid poker rooms which both feature cash and tournaments. There is actually a third, Parx, to the northeast of the city. Parx had been cash only until recently (now runs a couple of weekly tournaments) and has yet to make our Poker Room Countdown. However, by all reports, it is worth a visit if you are a cash player.
When we last visited Philadelphia, we stayed at The Element Philadelphia Downtown. The Element is an extremely comfortable hotel with an eco-friendly bent. More importantly, it is sited perfectly for all of the activities we took advantage of in Philadelphia. And we had just to head out the door and walk in any direction to find a great little place to eat.
Our clear favorite Philly poker room is Rivers Casino Philadelphia. This 28-table room sits in a very small casino. The poker room area compared to the area of the entire casino is one of the biggest we have seen. The room is comfortable, the staff is exemplary, and there are tournaments featuring excellent structures offered each week.
The other downtown Philadelphia card room is Live! Philadelphia. Live! conveniently sits among the city’s sports stadiums. Lincoln Field and Citizens Bank Park are mere steps away.
Live! hosts a 29-table poker room with cash and daily tournaments. Our biggest beef with Live! Philadelphia was the attitude of the staff toward players. Dealers, floors, and casino staff were not friendly. Someone at my table was actually penalized a round for being three steps from the table (throwing out a coffee cup) when it was his turn to act. And he had no prior issues at the table. The floor upheld the dealer’s decision when called. Just bizarre. Otherwise, the room was large and comfortable (if a bit dark)
Day 4-7 Philadelphia Non-Poker Activities
You could spend a week in Philadelphia (even without poker) and not get bored. I recommend that you spend an entire day at Independence National Historic Park. This large plaza includes Independence Hall (where the Declaration of Independence was signed), the building containing the Liberty Bell, and the National Constitution Center. The National Constitution Center particularly offers a wide variety of exhibits, many interactive, and a fascinating take on the US Constitution. You’ll have to trust me, it’s not at all as boring as it sounds.
Philadelphia offers a wide variety of excellent museums, from The Rodin Museum to the Barnes Foundation, and the Philadelphia Museum of Art. The last, of course, is home to the famous Rocky steps. After you run them, you can take a picture of yourself with the Rocky statue as well. You can even compare your footprints!
If it’s nice out, there are plenty of parks and other outdoor activities in Philadelphia as well. The Race Street or Cherry Street Piers offer some lovely views. Either would be a great place for a picnic. Franklin Square offers Putt-Putt, a carousel, and numerous food trucks. Meanwhile, Spruce Street Harbor Park on the Delaware waterfront acts as an urban beach oasis.
And all of that is without even mentioning all of the X lived here/ slept here attractions in Philadelphia. Everyone from George Washington and Betsy Ross to Benjamin Franklin owned a piece of property in this town. If you are all about the founding fathers, you’ll find plenty to interest you here.
Eastern Pennsylvania Road Trip Summary
This seven-day journey through Eastern Pennsylvania should offer some excellent poker along with relaxation and cultural enrichment. We have laid out one particular road trip through Eastern Pennsylvania. However, there are a thousand different variations you might make on this basic theme. Depending on the season and your preference for tournament or cash poker, you may craft a trip that works for you. If you are going it on your own, we recommend that you reference our Mid-Atlantic Average Cash Poker table and Poker Tournament Table resources to help you select the right rooms and schedule for you. Note, however, that poker tournament schedules are in constant flux. Always confirm your tournament plans with the room that you intend to visit.
Like this post? Want to learn more about poker across the US? Head on over to the sidebar and subscribe. We’ll let you know whenever a new Poker Pilgrims blog post goes live!