The only constant is change when it comes to playing poker in Las Vegas, with dozens of new rooms opening in recent years, and the classic reliables undergoing changes just to keep up. If you are staying in a casino/hotel, chances are your casino has a poker room, and if you just want to play, that might be your best choice. It does not matter where you play, just enjoy and max out the experience. You can start with these choices below:
The Bellagio Poker Room
Although not as far ahead as it once was, the Bellagio is still the epicenter of the Las Vegas Poker scene. Quite a few major poker events are held here on a regular basis. You will find skill levels that diverge extensively at the lower levels, with the top levels about as hard as any of the poker rooms out here. Bring your best game if you are coming to the Bellagio to play.
Binion’s Poker Room
This is the pioneer in poker play in these parts, with a long 34 years of history hosting the World Series of Poker.
Pictures of each world champion from 1970 to 2005 are prominently placed. If these walls could talk, poker fans would never stop listening. The current poker room hosts many daily tournaments, and always has no limit games in play. Go and play poker here, just so you can say you did.
Caesars Palace Poker Room
The Caesars Palace poker room is so large it can host up to 1,000 players at any time. The atmosphere in the room is not great, as they basically converted an old convention room into the new poker room. The room is off the casino floor, which some players like, as there are very few external distractions. For followers of low-limit buy-in tournaments, Caesars has some of the finest blind structures of any casino in town. Be ready to play in 8 hour marathons, which works for the good players since it gives them more time to trash their opponents.
Venetian Poker Room
One of the newer kids in town is the poker room at the Venetian, and this kid is working hard. The room gives you special parking and excellent comp perks, and has hosted the legendary “Big Game” in the past. This is the biggest game in town where the elite of the elite get together to exchange hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of a night. The room has an experienced poker staff. It also offers tableside dining service, which you can hardly ever find anywhere else. This room is also noted for the Deep Stack Series that is held several times a year.
MGM Grand Poker Room
This room, while relatively classier than most, is host to daily poker sessions where you can find players that are weaker than average. The crowd is mostly tourists and recreational players, and the atmosphere is usually friendly and more relaxed compared to the other rooms.
The Mirage Poker Room
This used to be rated as the top joint to play, and although the Bellagio and the Venetian has surpassed it, it’s still pretty decent room to play poker. The casino has been upgraded and the recent addition of the Beatles/Cirque Du Soleil show, has given it a classier atmosphere. The daily tournaments still attract a good number of players.
Wynn Las Vegas Poker Room
The Wynn Poker Room is relatively new, upscale and a nice place to play. Most of the action seems to be at the lower levels, but you will occasionally find some of the bigger players in town plying their craft here. If you are staying in the hotel, you can put yourself on a waiting list for a game while you relax in your room – and monitor your position on the list from your room instead of sitting in the poker room chomping to get into the game. Tournaments are hosted daily mostly at noon and pools range from $300 to $500 buy in.
Red Rock Poker Room
The Red Rock poker room has become very popular with locals. The room is high tech with the dealers having the ability to view a screen with all of the player names. It’s a little odd at first to have the dealer call you by name, but it’s a nice touch. In addition, the room has automated tracking technology, which makes sure that an unfilled seat does not remain that way for long. You also get food service at the table, which is a nice touch.
The Rio is notable in that it hosts poker’s finest in the World Series of Poker each year. The Poker room has gotten a recent face lift and hosts daily tournaments that are quite popular. Check the schedule, and if you want to play against poker’s best in the WSOP, the Rio is the place to do it.
Note: At any given time, you will probably find at least one active low-limit hold ’em game running at any given poker room. However, if you want to play Stud or any other game, it is recommended that you call ahead and see if your game of choice is being offered. Also, keep in mind if you and your friends want to play draw just like you do at home – ask! It’s possible the room may provide you a dealer, as long as you pay the time charge. Plan in advance and know which game you want to play, many rooms have a board on the wall describing the games in action at that time.