PokerStars Festival: The Newbie's Guide to Rozvadov
Kicking off on March 2 at the Kings Casino in Rozvadov, Czech Republic, the next PokerStars Festival is a perfect chance to understand how a small village of 1,000 became one of Europe's hottest poker destinations.
Strategically located a stone's throw from the German border, Rozvadov has everything a poker player dreams of; it's home to the largest poker room on the continent, features a great à la carte restaurant, a free buffet and it hosts (probably) the juiciest cash games in Europe today.
If the PokerStars Festival marks your debut at the King's Casino, make sure you read through this essential guide to Rozvadov first.
How to Get to Rozvadov
The closest international airports are those of Prague (Czech Republic), Nuremberg and Munich (Germany). In other words, you can fly there from pretty much anywhere. The three airports are all located a two-hour drive from the venue and you can reach Rozvadov using a rental car (the casino offers free parking, which is under surveillance) or using the King's shuttle service. In case you would like the casino to take care of the drive, you can book its service by contacting them via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at +420 374 616 050.
The vehicles available range from comfortable minivans for large groups to fancy high-end Mercedes with iPad-like control panels and dark windows. If you wish to make an entrance in style and are planning to work on your image well before you sit at the poker table, you know what your choice is going to be!
You can also reach Rozvadov by train, with the closest train stations being those of Nuremberg, Weiden, Wernberg, Regensburg or Amberg. A shuttle can also be arranged by the casino to bring you from the station of your choice to the home of the PokerStars Festival.
Dissecting Rozvadov: What to Do There
If you think 11 days in Rozvadov are going to be endless, think again. This small village didn't earn its 'RozVegas' nickname by boring their players; you can be sure of that. "I always want the King's Casino to be the best place a poker player can find," the venue's owner Leon Tsoukernik has said. To make this happen, Tsoukernik hasspent the past 14 years fine-tuning an ambitious adventure that soon turned out to be a goldmine.
"When I started my project to build the King's Casino in Rozvadov, everyone thought I was crazy, but the truth is that this adventure has been extremely successful since its very first day," Tsoukernik said.
Do you want to know why? Let's have a look at what happens there.
The Poker Action Is Insane
If you want to be where the action is, you need to be at the King's Casino between March 2-13. Not only does the PokerStars Festival bring 36 tournaments and attract the best names in the game, but the casino will make your knees tremble with its insane cash game action running 24/7.
No limit Texas Hold'em tables start from €1/€3 with a minimum buy-in of €100 while the pot limit Omaha games start from €2/€2. These limits go all the way up to €50/€100 (with a minimum buy-in of €5,000) unless the players at the casino decide that isn't enough and request a 'custom' solution.
If you and your pockets are deep enough, go for it and challenge Europe's richest businesspeople and poker's best players. Otherwise, just sit where the regulars do.
While the €50/€100 games might not be running around-the-clock, all the other games run virtually nonstop every day of the week with a free seat never more than a few minutes away.
Probably the Best Restaurant in The Region
Besides being a spectacular poker venue, the King's Casino is also home to a great restaurant , of which 2016 World Series of Poker November Niner Vojtech Ruzicka once said, "[it is]one of the best restaurants in the whole [of the] Czech Republic. Trust me, I'm a foodie!"
Whether you are in the market for Kobe beef, a fresher-than-fresh lobster or some of the rarest truffles the world can produce, the kitchen of the King's a la carte restaurant has got you covered.
"We want only the best and we are always ready to do everything to give our guests everything they wish," restaurant manager at King's, Brando Donapai said. "We fly in fresh vegetables from Italy twice a week," Donapai said during a mouth-watering private tour of the King's kitchens. "We buy our fish from the best fisheries and we have Omaha steaks that most places can only dream of."
Do you know what the best part is? The prices. The delicious dishes and precious wines available at the restaurant are all so reasonably priced that it would be crazy not to sit at those tables at least once during the festival.
"The restaurant is always open for our players and everyone can enjoy a splendid three-course meal for under €30," Donapai said. "We strive to deliver the highest quality service we can and I think I have never seen anyone leave our tables unsatisfied by the creation of our chefs."
Did I Mention the F. Word?
Something many don't know when they first walk into the casino is that King's features a top quality all-you-can eat buffet that is not only open 24 hours a day, but is also completely free.
"When people think about a free buffet, they expect the worst. They have in mind cheap and tasteless canteen food. Here at King's, we prefer a slightly different approach," Donapai said with a proud smile on his face.
Located in a new area of the casino that was opened only a few months ago, the King's free buffet is nothing like the other dining solutions offered by the casinos in Europe. And if you have been to a tournament or two, you know that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Chefs engage in a live cooking show in the open kitchen right next to the tables and provide dishes that use the same fine ingredients that the more demanding players enjoy at the restaurant. The amazing variety of food on offer makes the buffet a must-do experience. Pair that with the fact that the King's Casino has a bar at every corner and you will understand why, once you are in, you will most likely stick around.
Need Some Time to Relax? Try a Massage or a Day at the Spa
Once you get tired of free drinks and free food, or once the Festival's schedule gives you time to do it, go pamper yourself with a relaxing massage or a visit to one of Europe's best and most culture-rich spa towns.
If you need a quick fix, Rozvadov is home to numerous massage parlours, the best being the Chikkita Massage (located in the yellow building that sits right across from the casino's entrance) where experienced masseuses will help you relax and - hopefully - forget your bad beats.
An 11-day festival is also a great opportunity to explore new places like Karlovy Vary, the magnificent spa town founded in 1370 by Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor and King of Bohemia.
Only an hour's drive away from the casino, over the past centuries Karlovy Vary attracted guests like Peter I of Russia, German writer Johann Wolfgang Goethe and composers Ludwig van Beethoven and Fryderyk Chopin. Besides its natural hot springs, Karlovy Vary is also known for being the home of Becherovka, a 38 percent bitter herbal drink that everyone should try on their first visit to the Czech Republic.
It's Never Too Late to Qualify!
One of the best parts of the upcoming PokerStars Festival is that you can discover the largest casino room in Europe and be treated like a true high roller - at no cost!
If you live in a country where PokerStars operates, you can join one of the many online qualifiers, starting from €1.10, and work your way up the ladder to enjoy the PokerStars Festival with one of its many all-inclusive packages.
Alternatively, you can try to win a seat in the €500,000 GTD Main Event by joining one of the many live satellites that are already running at King's. With more than 170 seats to distribute from a number of events with buy-ins starting from €110, you might easily be able to win a €1,100 ticket to the Main Event and join one of the most exciting events of the year. Good luck!