Las Vegas Poker
Las Vegas has more poker rooms than any other city in the world, though Los Angeles poker has more games running. There are over 50 casinos in the market that offer poker tables. These range from locals joints with a couple of tables up to major rooms with as many as 59 tables.
Largest Las Vegas Poker Rooms
There are four major poker rooms on the Las Vegas Strip. These four rooms have one thing in common. There is no promotional rake drop. Also, all of these rooms take a max rake of $4.
Venetian Poker Room
The Venetian spreads the largest poker room in Las Vegas. It is home to 59 tables. Players will find plentiful 1/2 and 2/5 No Limit Hold’em action. A 4/8 Fixed Limit Hold’em game is also common.
It also spreads some of the most unusual games in Las Vegas. Venetian is the best place in Las Vegas to find mixed games. The dealers there are trained in how to deal any game thrown their way. Venetian is the best place to find Omaha High/Low games on the Strip. A 4/8 Omaha8 game is nearly always available. Limits of 8/16 and 15/30 are also common.
Bellagio Poker Room
Bellagio is the home to Fixed Limit Texas Hold’em. Limits of 4/8, 10/20, 20/40, 40/80 and even higher limits may be found here. No Limit Hold’em games with blinds of 1/3, 2/5, 5/10 and 10/20 are available at nearly every hour of the day. Bobby’s Room, named after Bobby Baldwin, spreads higher limit action. This may be mixed games or Fixed Limit Hold’em. No limit games are rare in Bobby’s Room.
Aria Poker Room
Aria was the last new Las Vegas casino to open with a poker room. It spreads 24 tables and includes Ivey’s Room, a high limit area in a walled off section. Most games at Aria are 1/3, 2/5 or 5/10 No Limit Texas Hold’em. Aria is the best place in Las Vegas to find Pot Limit Omaha. A 1/3 PLO game is common. Weekends bring out a 2/5 game. Aria is also home to mixed games with 4/8 and 9/18 limits.
Wynn Poker Room
Wynn was once a powerhouse poker room in Las Vegas. A run of poor management killed the room. Some of the action has returned. The most common games are 1/3 and 2/5 No Limit Texas Hold’em. A 5/10 game can be found on weekends.
Caesars Entertainment Poker Rooms
Most Caesars Entertainment poker rooms suffer from two issues; high rake and a lack of games. Caesars Palace is the only exception to this. Caesars Palace spreads a number of 1/2 and 2/5 games during peak hours. Most other Caesars poker rooms – Bally’s, Flamingo, Harrah’s, Linq, Planet Hollywood, and Rio – spread only a game or two at most hours. Bally’s and Flamingo may have a small limit game and a 1/2 no limit one. The others only have no limit, with Planet Hollywood spreading the most. All of these rooms have a $5 max rake and a $1 promotional drop.
Lowest Rake in Las Vegas
There are two Las Vegas poker rooms that have a $3 max rake. Both are owned by Boyd Gaming and The Orleans is the larger of the two. This is the home of Omaha High/Low in Las Vegas, with limits of 4/8 and 8/16. The Orleans also spreads many 2/4 and 4/8 Fixed Limit Hold’em games, as well as 1/3 No Limit Texas Hold’em.
Suncoast is the other $3 max rake room. This is a unique room that is based on old school standards. Suncoast does not use a Bravo Poker system. It is home to Seven Card Stud High/Low. It is the only poker room in Las Vegas that spreads this game. There is a 2-20 spread limit game held on Mondays and Fridays. A 4/8 game is available three other days of the week.
Other Major Locals Poker Rooms
One of the biggest misconceptions in Las Vegas poker is that locals’ poker rooms are tight and spread terrible games. This is not true at all. Many locals are poor poker players that populate the tables in these rooms.
Red Rock, located in Summerlin, is a favorite of locals. It commonly spreads 2/4 and 4/8 Fixed Limit Hold’em, as well as 1/2 no limit. Red Rock also spreads a regular 4/8 Omaha High/Low game.
Green Valley Ranch is another favorite of locals. It is located in Henderson. This room spreads small fixed limit games and 1/2 no limit. South Point is another room that caters to locals. It offers 2/4 fixed limit and 1/2 no limit games.
Low Stakes Poker
With all of the many different poker rooms in Las Vegas to choose from, you will certainly find the ones that have exactly what you are looking for. While the high stakes games generate the most interest in terms of what people like to watch and talk about, low stakes poker makes up the mass majority of the poker that is played. We all may have a different definition for what we consider low, but low stakes constitutes the smallest stakes available for a specific game.
If you wish to play No Limit Texas Hold’em and aren’t interested in getting your throat cut, the smallest game in town can be found at the Luxor. $1/$2 is the smallest no limit game spread around Vegas. Most places the minimum is $100 and the maximum is $300. Downtown there is no maximum. But at the Luxor you can enter the game for as little as $60.
Regardless of the buy-in, No Limit poker is what it is. You can run your stack up to the sky and still lose it all in one hand as long as someone at the table has more money than you. But if you play Limit Hold’em, you know what your maximum risk is at the start of every hand. No Limit used to be a tough game to find as it was all limit. No Limit has been everywhere for years, and limit games have become progressively scarce. But they’re still out there, and if you are looking for small stakes, 2/4 Limit is the game you want. If you have $20, you can be dealt in. 2/4 is most likely to be found either in the low key poker rooms on the strip, or off the strip at the local casinos. Any Station casino is likely to have them. Green Valley Ranch, Red Rock, Sunset Station, Palace Station, Boulder Station, Santa Fe Station, and Texas Station are all local spots quiet and laid back poker rooms. The Suncoast will also satisfy, as will the South Point poker room. South Point is considered local but is very close to the strip. The Orleans, also in close proximity to Las Vegas Blvd., spreads the 2/4.
If you prefer to be on the strip, these games can still be found at Monte Carlo and the Flamingo. Other small stakes games like 3/6, or 2/6 spread limit are also on the strip at Excalibur, MGM Grand. Off the strip you can go to Cannery. At the end of the day, any low key poker room will more than likely have what you’re looking for regarding Texas Hold’em.
Omaha and Omaha 8/B aren’t as easy to find, but these games do go every day. The Orleans has a 4/8 Omaha Hi and Hi/Lo on a consistent basis, and there is some Omaha action going at Red Rock as well. Since games like these are a bit sporadic, it’s always a good idea to call the poker room ahead of time or check on the Bravo Poker app. If you want to play small stakes Omaha on the strip, the Venetian is your best, but probably only bet.
Want small stakes 7 Card Stud? Not in Vegas anymore unfortunately. You’ll certainly find it at the Commerce casino in Los Angeles, and maybe somewhere around what’s left of Atlantic City. Other than that, small stakes stud has disappeared.
High Stakes Poker
If you want to play for blood, several options exist and just about around the clock. For No Limit Texas Hold’em, your bread and butter for high stakes poker games are going to be at the Bellagio, the Aria, and the Encore. The Wynn moved its poker room over to the Encore in May of 2016. The 10/20 no limit has been a fixture at the Bellagio for years. While it doesn’t go around the clock the way it used to, this game runs just about every day. If it doesn’t, it’s because they’re playing higher at either 10/20/40 or 25/50. During the World Series of Poker (WSOP), 50/100 and 100/200 games come together frequently, but pretty infrequently otherwise. Bobby’s Room is where you will find the nosebleed level of No Limit, but these days usually they’re playing a highs takes mixed game. All of the said no limit games are no cap on the buy in. The sky is no limit.
The Encore poker room is the only room in town that has a no cap on its 5/10 and has the game run consistently. The Aria has a $3,000 cap on its 5/10 and the Bellagio’s is $1,500. It has been a while now that the Venetian does not spread a 5/10 with any kind of regularity. But when it does, its maximum is $4,000. 10/20 is also very rare now at the Venetian. 10/20 goes at the Aria somewhat steadily, but when it does run it is most likely to be on a weekend. They usually play 10/25 at the Encore when it comes together, and that too runs here and there, better chance of it on the weekend. For whatever reason, the big stakes no cap games always seem to come together late at night. The other places they start whenever. It is not unheard of to see games upwards of 25/50 take off at the Aria or Encore, but the Bellagio will always be your best bet for that limit.
If you are interested in the nosebleed no limit stakes, you will have to go to the Ivey Room at the Aria. That game has been running pretty steadily for a few years, and depending on what they are playing that day, the buy in is typically upwards of $100,000.
No one seems to ever think of 2/5 as a high stakes game, but it at least has the potential for it at Planet Hollywood, and also the regular Rio poker room (not inside WSOP Pavilion) since there is no cap. The Encore has the highest cap on a regularly running 2/5 game for $1,500. Mandalay Bay’s is $2,000, but 2/5 rarely gets started there unless during the WSOP.
Best Comps for Las Vegas Poker
People may choose one poker room over another for all kinds of reasons. The parking, the noise level, the rake, the staff, the available games; but one thing you do not want to forget is the comps. Some rooms are more generous than others, so it is good to be educated on who will comp you what.
The Aria, Bellagio, Mirage, Excalibur, Luxor, Treasure Island, MGM Grand, and Caesar’s Palace will pay you the most comps at $2 an hour. Comparatively speaking, the Encore rakes $5 for its max on all of its rake games (2/5 and lower) but only pays $1.50 an hour in comps.
Planet Hollywood has an interesting promotion. If you play 5 hours between 2:30 and 10:30PM you are eligible for a $30 voucher to Gordon Ramsay BurGR. Otherwise they, like most poker rooms, will comp $1 per hour. If you earn enough points playing at Caesar’s (it takes about 443 hours in a calendar year) you will earn a year’s worth of time as being a diamond member. This gives you little perks like being able to valet your car when the lot is supposedly full, hanging and eating for free at the diamond lounge, and having your name move immediately to the top of the waiting list, cutting everybody else, when you show up to the poker room. However you must continue to play at least the same amount of poker there the following year to maintain your status.
Best place to Play Professional Poker
If you are yet another money hungry, freedom craving ambitious professional poker player, your top rooms of choice to play in will be relatively limited compared to how many poker rooms there actually are, but that will still be plenty. The Bellagio, Aria, and the Encore will be your top 3 places. Most professional players are playing at least 2/5 No Limit Hold’em, and many of which are playing bigger than that. These 3 rooms are the most glamorous and attract the most money. They are the ones featuring the high limit games on a daily basis. This is where the big no cap games are likeliest to take place, particularly at the Bellagio. The comps there are as good or better than almost every poker room, and they have by far the most foot traffic on a daily basis.
The Venetian had been a top room of choice for a professional player for some time, but that has progressively faded over the last 5 years or so. That said, it is still a formidable choice. They get multiple 2/5 games every day with the occasional high stakes game. Caesar’s Palace has become a steady room for 2/5, so they too could be the breeding grounds for new upcoming poker pros.
On the flip side, if you know that almost every pro is likely to be in these rooms, then maybe that gives you a reason to go out and look somewhere where the competition is not as strong. Red Rock gets a 2/5 just about every day. And since it is miles away from the strip, the chances of running into the most committed of pros is slim. But, professional players know that they are going to be winning most of their money from inexperienced recreational players, and the best places to find them are always going to be in the glamorous glitzy rooms on the strip. There are so many more games, and the more games there are available, the more likely you are to be able to get yourself into a good one.