Cash Game Poker on the Sunshine Coast Australia

Poker Republik - Sunshine Coast

No Limit Holdem at the Sunshine Coast

This is my review of the only poker room open to the public on the Sunshine Coast that offers regular cash games in addition to tournaments - I have no association with the venue other than the fact that I like to play there.

The Poker Room At a Glance

Venue: Poker Republik (Facebook Page)
Location: 7 First Ave, Maroochydore, QLD - behind the Project Espresso Cafe (see map below)
Open: Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays & Sundays
Stakes: Blinds: $1/$2 - Min buy-in: $100 except Saturday when it's $0.50/$1 with a $50 min buy-in

Poker Republik Overview

See inside the venue

The poker room, previously called 'Poker in the Paddock' before the name was changed in March 2019, is operated by Jason Ralph who also runs the cafe out the front - he's a poker player himself and knows how to organize a good game.

They have tournaments that start at 6:30 PM on Tuesdays & Thursdays and at 2:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays so you can also go early for them and then switch to the cash game later on if you get knocked out of the tournament. Or just go when the cash games start as I often do.

There's a relaxed and friendly atmosphere, much like a home game, which is very welcoming to new players - they made me feel comfortable joining in for the first time and explained how everything worked as they do for all new players.

Unlike a home game, they provide professional dealers and equipment. They use nicely weighted clay-based cash game chips, good PVC cards that are easy to read (large index), comfortable chairs which are great for long sessions, and professional poker tables instead of the folding poker tables usually found at pub poker tournaments. (If you're interested, here's a guide to folding poker table tops for home games).

When you first arrive you just open the door and walk in and that's when one of the staff will come up to you and explain everything if you're new.

The game is played in good spirit and I've never seen anyone get too upset or out-of-line because the dealers are very professional and good at keeping control of the table. I've never seen any of the aggressive arguments that you sometimes see in casinos.

There are very reasonably priced soft drinks and snacks available and you can even bring alcoholic drinks along and store them in the fridge free of charge. A good example of how relaxed the atmosphere is that when you buy a snack or drink you just put the money in the money box and serve yourself.

Buying In

You buy your chips when you sit down at the table. They charge a 10% transaction fee when you buy chips instead of raking the pot or charging a time fee like they do in casinos.

The minimum buy-in is $100 except on Saturday when it's only $50.

I prefer this way of doing things as the fees you pay end up being much less in percentage terms than down at Treasury Casino. My only complaint about this, and it's only a minor one, is that if you happen to lose your stack late at night then it's sometimes not worth paying the $30 fee to buy a full $300 stack if the game is likely to end soon after that, but you can always ask the table how long they plan to keep playing before you buy back in.

Blind Structure & How The Game Is Played

Except for Saturday, the blinds are $1 and $2 and there is also an optional straddle of $5. On Saturday the blinds are $0.50 and $1.

If you're not familiar with a straddle, it's an optional extra blind that the person to the left of the big blind can put in before seeing their cards and it essentially makes them the big blind for that hand preflop - after the flop the hand plays as usual. When a straddle is on it increases the starting pot size so usually leads to bigger pots being played.

Some players choose to never post a straddle and some do it all the time when they have the option. There's no pressure to put in a straddle and I do it sometimes and other times I don't depending on how I feel at the time.

To add some extra fun, sometimes some of the players will elect to play a "Seven-Deuce" bounty game during the cash game. How it works is that any players who choose to join in will agree on a bounty amount and if one of the participating players manages to win a pot when their hole cards are 72 they get an additional bounty payment from the other participating players. The bounty amount is usually $5 or $10. There's no pressure to join in and many players frequently don't take part in this side game.

After Midnight

The game always starts out as No Limit Holdem (NLHE), but occasionally all the players will elect to change to a different version, or mixed versions, of poker.

Again, there is no pressure to agree to change the game and it doesn't change unless everyone at the table agrees.

If it does happen, it's usually PLO (Pot Limit Omaha), or alternating rounds of Holdem and PLO, that everyone wants to play. Unfortunately I haven't yet been able to convince the other players to switch to Omaha Hi/Lo yet because not many of them know the game, but a few have shown interest so maybe it will happen at some point.

Tipping The Dealers

Unlike the venue's tournaments which are self-dealt, the cash games have professional dealers which aren't paid by the venue but earn their pay exclusively from tips.

What most players do is toss the dealer $1 or $2 out of the pot when they win, or maybe $5 (and sometimes more) if it's a big pot.

If you're not used to tipping dealers, after all you're not allowed to tip in Queensland casinos, then take a look at this table which approximates what I usually do:

Pot Size Tip Amount
Just win the blinds No tip
Up to $50 $1
$50 - $100 $2
Over $100 $2 + $1 for each additional $100 in the pot

Tipping is not mandatory, but please do tip the dealers because without tips the professional dealers won't want to work there in the long run and without good dealers (or none at all) the game slows down and you don't get to play as many hands - not to mention mistakes that bad dealers can make which can end up costing you money and taking some of the enjoyment of of the game.

Cashing Out

You can decide to leave the game at any time and just tell the dealer you'd like to cash out, and they or one of the other staff will pay you out straight away.

The best etiquette is to announce your intention to leave a little bit ahead of time by telling everyone that you're just going to play one more round or you're going to leave at a specific time. This becomes more important late at night when a player leaving might precipitate the game breaking up for the night.

Poor etiquette is to win a huge pot then announce that you're cashing out immediately. If you do win a big pot just before you were planing to leave, then announce your intention to leave in 1 or 2 rounds if you can - other players will appreciate this and it helps keep the game fun and friendly.

Poker Republik front door

When The Cash Games Are On

Tuesday & Thursday: From 8:30 PM until midnight or later
Saturday & Sunday: From 5:30 PM until midnight or later

There's no set closing time and the game goes on usually for as long as the players want to keep playing. I haven't been at a game that's ended before midnight when I've stayed late.

How To Get There

It's situated directly behind the Project Espresso Cafe (pictured above) and you can drive in and park around the back or just park on the street - there are no parking meter fees at the times the cash games are played.

When you go around the back of the cafe you'll see the red door in the photo, which is usually closed because the venue is air-conditioned, and you just open the door and walk in without knocking.

Project Espresso Cafe in the Daytime

Contacting Poker Republik

You can phone them on (07) 5373 7443, contact them via their Facebook Page or you can email them via pokerinthepaddock@gmail.com.

Other Sunshine Coast Cash Games

Although there are many regular home cash games that take place around the Sunshine Coast, this is the only cash game currently available that anyone can attend without an invitation.

If you learn of any other public venues opening, or if want to announce any new cash games open to the public in this area, then please send me a message here.

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