Planning to play poker on your next Las Vegas visit? The main event of the 42nd annual World Series of Poker, the game’s most prestigious tournament, concludes tonight at the Rio. The champion will walk away with an estimated $8.7 million cash prize. In fact, eight of the nine players who competed at the final table will become millionaires. It makes everyone yearn to put on a poker face and take a stab at a high stakes game. So where do you go to hone your skills and play with the pros? Try one of these fine poker rooms, all of which are located on or near the Strip.
Aria has one of the newer poker rooms in Las Vegas. Located next to the Skybox Sports Bar and Grill on the east side of the casino, it is smoke-free and boasts 24 tables. The wide range of games offered by professionally trained dealers includes Texas Hold’em, seven card stud, 2-7 Triple Draw, Badugi and Chinese poker. An added luxury is that players can get chair massages. There are two no-limit Texas Hold’em poker tournaments held daily at 1 and 7 p.m. For information on buy-ins call 702-590-7230.
Bellagio is known for having a loaded schedule of tournament action. It’s home to the World Poker Tour, which gets under way later this month (Nov. 25-Dec. 11) and always attracts major names. The classic-style poker room consists of 40 tables, where a wide range of games are played. In addition to tableside dining and a complimentary beverage service, there are safe-deposit boxes and a full-service cashier cage. Numerous big-screen TVs are scattered around the smoke-free room. Only the most accomplished players get a chance to enter the prestigious high-limit area known as Bobby’s Room, which pays tribute to Bobby Baldwin, the World Series of Poker champion in 1978 as well as president and CEO of CityCenter. Daily no-limit Hold’em tournaments are also offered here with varied buy-ins. For more information call 702-693-7291.
Nothing can compete with the poker room at Caesars Palace. The massive main room spans 8,500 square feet – plus, there’s an adjacent 6,000-square-foot room designated for tournaments. Each year the resort hosts a World Series of Poker circuit event. Open 24 hours, the poker room has 62 tables featuring cash games of all stakes. Daily no-limit tournaments are also scheduled at 9 a.m., 7 and 10 p.m. For more information call 702-785-6566.
The poker room at the El Cortez in downtown is small but legendary. You’ll find gaming visionary Jackie Gaughan, now 91 years old, playing cards there most afternoons. Located near the main entrance of the casino, it has three tables and offers Texas Hold’em as well as a low-limit seven card stud game. There are plenty of promotions for players. Cocktail service is also available. For more information call 702-385-5200.
Home of the World Series of Poker since 2005, the Rio’s poker room expands when the tournament is in town to include several of the resort’s meeting rooms and theaters. During the year, however, it is comprised of 10 tables located next to the race and sports book. Texas Hold’em is played here enthusiastically, as are seven card stud, Badugi and several variations of Omaha. There are daily no-limit Texas Hold’em tournaments at noon, 3, 6 and 9 p.m. and midnight. For more information call 702-777-7650.
The Venetian offers another fine smoke-free poker room at the heart of the Strip. Exquisite in its décor, there are 21 big-screen TVs, comfortable chairs with wheels and safe-deposit boxes. Food service is also offered in the poker room. At the 39 tables, you’ll find not only Texas Hold’em, but also seven-card stud and Omaha with limits starting between $4 and $8. A separate high-stakes area houses seven high-limit tables with butler service and gourmet dining. For more information call 702-414-1000.