This is my review of the Casino in Berlin – Potsdamerplatz. For more information on this casino, please click here.
There are two land-based casinos in Berlin: Casino Berlin, located in Potsdamerplatz; and a WestSpiel Casinos venue (the group’s Berlin branch), located in Berlin’s historic Alexanderplatz.
Having planned to stay only a few days in Berlin, I wasn’t sure I would make it to Casino Berlin. As it worked out, though, last night I made plans with a friend to visit the WestSpiel casino at the Alexanderplatz. Even though my friend is a long-time Berliner, we had problems finding the casino. At some point we lost interest, and decided to take a Taxi to the Casino Berlin in Potsdamerplatz. This ended up being one of the best nights of my trip to all European casinos, despite the fact that I lost a lot of chips learning how to play poker that night.
Casino Berlin welcomes its guests with a large “Spielbanken Berlin” neon sign, so there is no way you can miss it. I like the way the reception area was decorated, with the characteristic red and black colors, and play chips embedded in the floor.
The casino is divided into three levels. The Slots are located on the basement level, poker is played on the ground level and the classic table games are on the first level. The Admission fee of € 2.5 buys you entry to all three levels of the casino. Like in all casinos in Germany, we were asked to present a valid photo ID at the entrance.
Dress Code Casino Berlin
The casino’s website asks for an elegant appearance. Most players had on a buttoned down dress shirt, either with jeans or dress pants and I have not seen any sneakers in the table games or poker areas. Although not officially required, you will not feel over dressed with a jacket.
I think “unique elegant” best describes the dress style at the casino, as one would expect from a city like Berlin. I saw players wearing sunglasses, white suites and Punk haircuts next to the poker tables and I am sure they were all gladly admitted to the casino.
Smoking in Casino Berlin
Smoking is allowed in the slot machines area (on the basement level of the casino). In the poker area (ground floor) and table games area (first floor) smoking is prohibited. There is a smoking lounge in the table games area, but not in the poker area, although it is only a short walk from there to the slots area, where smoking is permitted.
Credit card Casino Berlin Potsdamerplatz
I asked to pay for chips with my credit card and was told that it is possible, but that there is a 4% fee associated with credit card purchases. I thought this was exaggerated, and also from my experience it is not common, and decided to pay in cash.
Table Games Casino Berlin Potsdamerplatz
My buddy is a self-proclaimed blackjack expert, so we skipped the poker tables, and went directly to the first floor, where the classic table games are located. The table games level at the casino Berlin Potsdamerplatz is very large. I was very impressed with the ambience here. Like Hamburg’s Casino Esplanade, Casino Berlin has an international air to it, partly due to the fact that you can see players in just about every skin tone around the tables. Casino Berlin also has a way of being elegant, without being too formal, which I found very appealing.
We entered the casino at approximately 22: 30 on the Wednesday of July 11, 2012. At that time, there where only two blackjack tables open, both packed with players, and I was surprised at the casino’s decision to not open additional tables. The minimum at both blackjack tables was 10 Euros. My friend and I quickly realized that we will have to give up the idea of blackjack for the time being, because the tables were simply too crowded.
However, the 10 roulette tables in operation on the first floor were also pretty much under siege. The roulette tables were operating with a minimum of 2/5 Euros. Each table had three dealers handling the game: the usual croupier, and two supervisors at each end of the tables. The large crowd justified this amount of supervision. All tables were equipped with an electronic board displaying the last spin results and statistics.
My friend bought us a couple of beers and we retreated to the glass-enclosed smoking lounge. We sipped our beers leisurely while thinking about our next step. We finely decided against roulette, and for heading back to the poker area.
Poker Casino Berlin Potsdamerplatz
At least 10 poker tables were in operation on the ground floor. Even though the tables were busy, it was conspicuously quiet. Practically no noise other than the ringing of the chips.
My friend and I each joined a different table. I join a Texas holdem table with limits of 1/3 and was dealt an ace on the first round. And then another ace. Not too bad. One of the other players raised his bet (he figured, rightfully so, that I am a beginner and am bluffing . Not without hesitation i decided to call. I went all in and lost €100. I had to change more cash into chips.
A space opened up at my friend’s table, and I decided to join the game there. My friend was on his third beer by now. I drew a flush and raised my bet. Other players called my bet. I was very tensed as I heard myself say when it was time to lay down my cards: “clearly I have a flush”. But as the dealer shoved the small mountain chips towards me across the table, a feeling of great happiness came over me. Still, a warning sign came on in my head: “on no, you are not here to make money!”
Next, trouble stirred up at the table and interrupted for a short while the silence in the poker area. The dealer mistakenly handed over the pot to one of the players, while it was the guy sitting next to me who had the winning hand. This is something that clearly shouldn’t happen, and is quite embarrassing to the dealer when it does. But at the same time, we should all know that even the most experienced dealers make mistakes. The player next to me wouldn’t calm down, and was not very gentleman like about it. He was finally asked to leave the table and his seat was quickly occupied by someone else. I found that all dealers were very professional, all in all, and left a tip for them upon leaving the casino.
Around about 2:30 I got two queens and raised. Again other players didn’t believe me and called. I raised again and the other players went all in. I showed my cards, two queens. Once more, things didn’t go so well for me, two queens were not enough. Since this was a learning experience for me, I asked the others – “I had to play that, didn’t I?” Most players agreed, so I didn’t feel as a complete idiot. Still, it was my cue to go home. My friend wanted to stay a bit longer.
Taxi “Nepomuk” drives me home
Taxis were lined up on the street in front of the casino. But there was one that, for obvious reasons, stood out and immediately caught my eye:
Normally I would play by the rules and get into the first taxi in line. But surely you can see that this time I couldn’t I just had to catch a ride in Berlin’s oldest taxi. So I went in and sat next to the owner, Werner. I didn’t get an explanation as to why he named his taxi “Nepomuk” (although apparently, it is common for Germans to name their cars). I did learn from him that the taxi is from 1964 and the he himself is 74 years old. I asked whether it is possible to make a reservation with him. The answer was unfortunately no. He doesn’t have a cell phone! And it is almost impossible to get a hold of him during the day. Any encounter with him had to be spontaneous. I guess it was my lucky night after all.