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Poker in Las Vegas: Five of the Best Poker Rooms in the Gambling Capital of the World

Las Vegas has a reputation for being a gambler’s paradise that dates back further than legal gambling in the state of Nevada. The city flourished following the legalisation of gambling in 1931 but was renowned for its bootleg casinos for at least two decades previously. The proliferation of casinos that have opened since the 1940s on Highway 41, know better known as The Strip, have turned Las Vegas into the gambling capital of the world. Today, there are upwards of 42 million visitors to Vegas each year. Of these, approximately three-quarters will gamble at some point during their stay, and almost half (45%) cite gambling as their main reason for visiting the city. A die-hard 7% of visitors to Las Vegas go there specifically to gamble with no other agenda. There are multiple opportunities for all forms of gambling, not only on The Strip but throughout Las Vegas. Alongside games of luck such as roulette and slots are games of skill, such as poker. There are many poker rooms to choose from each with its own unique history, character and game options.

The Aria

The Aria poker room features 18 regular tables alongside 6 tables dedicated to the high rollers in an elevated section, all situated in a luxurious, ultra-modern environment with excellent lighting, ruby red table felt and comfortable chairs throughout. This poker room offers a mixture of cash games and tournaments, with cash games starting at $1/$3 and tournament buy-ins ranging from $125 to $240. Amenities include seat-side food and beverage services, in-chair massage and text message seat notifications. The rake at the Aria is at the high end of the scale, at 10% up to $5 for all cash games up to $5/$10 and an assessed time charge for high-limit games. The Aria Resort and Casino has proven so popular with poker players that the venue opened a second poker room in 2018, the PokerGO studio, which hosts over 100 annual events. There is also a better than average chance of spotting members of poker royalty at the Aria, including Johnny Chan, Phil Hellmuth and Daniel Negreanu.

The Bellagio

The Bellagio poker room can confidently be said to be one of the most famous poker rooms in the world. The World Poker Tour calls the Bellagio home and the private area, Bobby’s Room, is named for the 1978 champion of the World Series of Poker, Bobby Baldwin. Bobby’s Room often operates as a veritable “who’s who” of poker, with top players such as Dan “Jungleman” Cates and Doyle Brunson often putting in appearances. While Bobby’s Room is pretty exclusive, with only two tables and a minimum $20,000 buy-in, the Bellagio has something for all players. Cash games in the main room start at $1/$3 and the standard tournament structure is $100 plus $25 buy-in, and players will find Texas Hold ‘Em, Omaha 8, Seven Card Stud Hi and other variations available.

The Venetian

The Venetian poker room may not have quite such a grandiose reputation as the Aria or the Bellagio, but it does offer a first-rate poker experience in a spacious setting. There are some 32 poker tables at the Venetian, but in a space large enough to prevent feeling crowded. The professional dealers are usually up for spreading any game if someone requests it and there is enough interest, and there are usually plenty of low-stakes, mixed game options to suit almost any player. The DeepStack Championship Poker Series is held at the Venetian.

The Orleans

The Orleans poker room was voted the Best Poker Room in a survey of readers of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and played host to the Women in Poker Hall of Fame Induction. The comfortable, spacious room has around 35 tables and overlooks the main casino, with video screens dotted about showing the latest sporting action. With plenty of alternative entertainment and multiple low-stakes games on offer, the Orleans makes a great choice for first-time players or those that want to play but perhaps not take the game as seriously as some of those in the higher-stakes venues. The poker room is open 24/7 and offers a good mixture of variations, including Omaha Hi-Lo, Texas Hold ‘Em and Seven Card Stud.

The Mirage

The poker room at the Mirage is relatively small, with just 12 tables on offer. However, those tables are well spaced out and tend to see continuous action, mostly dominated by Texas Hold ‘Em but with plenty of scope for lovers of other variations. Las Vegas Weekly awarded the Mirage the title of Best Poker Room in Vegas in 2018, and the venue is renowned for its generosity with promotions. A cocktail service, table-side food delivery and free soft drinks are all part of the Mirage poker experience, along with in-chair massage and convenient access to the sports book and myriad nearby restaurants.

Las Vegas has many poker rooms famous for high-stakes games and celebrity players, which can be intimidating to the regular tourist or casual player looking for a new experience. However, there are options for almost every level of bankroll and every style of play in the city that never sleeps. Whether on The Strip or further away from the touristy bustle, Las Vegas has something for all poker players to enjoy.