Las Vegas: the spiritual home of casinos and gambling, and home to some of the biggest and most exciting poker tournaments in the world, poker tournaments in Las Vegas are hugely popular and a travel rule which everyone promises themselves when planning trips is to visit one of America’s greatest cities.
Poker is big business in Las Vegas. Even as poker has, along with other forms of casino gambling, made a successful foray into the online world, in person gambling in Sin City remains a popular past time. There are an estimated 313 casino poker tables, down from the peak of over 900 in 2009, but still generating a huge amount of state revenue, of US$6.75 billion for Nevada state.
The demographics that visit Las Vegas vary greatly; Las Vegas is seen as the ultimate in indulgence and luxury, with many non-gamblers visiting to soak up the atmosphere and to take advantage of the glitz and glamour. There are bachelor and bachelorette parties, indulging in all that Las Vegas has to offer, individuals on business in the vicinity making the most of a new experience, locals day tripping and travellers from across the globe. Las Vegas has something for everyone, though a security rule to watch out for when checking out the T-Mobile Arena for sporting and music events are selfie sticks so be sure to have just your phone as a backup when documenting your special occasion. Amongst other venues and the casinos, they are all ensured that they tailor their offerings to attract a variety of people.
There is considerable competition in Las Vegas, with casinos constantly having to review and refine their offerings to customers, providing better amenities, booking the biggest names for their shows, and provide new and exciting products and services.
Whilst the ‘whales’ and high rollers account for a small percentage of those playing, it is them that generate the most revenue for operators, so this group is one of the key areas of focus. One of the ways casinos look to attract the big spenders is through running tournaments.
Top Poker Tournaments in Las Vegas
1. Aria Resort and Casino
The Aria serves as the location for the renowned World Poker Tour and other significant events like the Poker Go Studio, a high roller event, as well as the Super High Roller Bowl which regularly sees poker stars like Daniel Negreanu and Justin Bonomo vying for victory.
There are regular tournaments on every day, one poker rule is having accessible buy-ins, which were in the region of $140-$240 USD, served alongside a generous helping of entertainment and various food options.
2. Bellagio Las Vegas
One of the most famous high-end casinos in the city, the Bellagio offers a combination of tournaments and cash games, with over 40 tables available. The daily tournament attracts up to 50 entrants and boasts shows by Cirque du Soleil as a key attraction.
3. Caesars Palace Las Vegas Hotel and Casino
This is one of the original strip casinos, and one of the oldest still operational in the city. Caesar’s palace transports its guests back into the world of Ancient Rome, with themed rooms and the iconic fountains outside. The huge playing space, and 16 tables play host to regular tournaments throughout the day, with US$100, US$125, and US$150 buy ins. The fantastic food offerings, including Hell’s Kitchen by Gordon Ramsay proves popular with guests, as well as the big-name stars leading the entertainment, including residencies by Celine Dion, Rod Stewart, and Britney Spears.
4. Excalibur Hotel Las Vegas
The Excalibur offers several daily low-stakes tournaments, perfect for the less experienced player, with buy-ins from just US$40. A more low-key alternative to some of the other offerings on this list, there is a themed medieval dinner and show experience, as well as iconic American food in the form of Johnny Rockets, there is also a high-quality Italian restaurant and an excellent steak house.
5. Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino
Located a little way from the main strip, the Mandalay Bay offers ten tables with regular daily tournaments and low stakes cash games. Buy-in is US$65 and allows for re-entries. Food and entertainment on offer is varied and exciting, with a traditional Irish Pub, French, and Italian fare, as well as the Events Centre and House of blues hosting popular recording acts on a regular basis.
6. The Mirage Las Vegas
Another of the oldest casinos on the strip, the Mirage was once at the centre of the poker scene and the precursor to the modern casino. There are four daily tournaments, which vary from US$65 to US$120 buy-ins depending on the time of day and potential prize. With a range of different eateries, as well as different shows, a dolphin habitat and club, the Mirage certainly shows its competitors how it’s done!
7. Planet Hollywood Las Vegas Resort and Casino
Located in the main section of the casino, known as the Pleasure Pit, the 11 table poker room has become a staple of the Las Vegas Gambling scene, hosting the PHamous and Goliath Poker Series, as well daily tournaments with a buy-in of just US£80 with a guaranteed US$1500 return. As the name suggests, the main food draw of the venue is the Café Hollywood, serving up all things American, including all-day breakfasts, burgers, and shakes.
8. The Venetian Resort Las Vegas
The Venetian transports its guests to the rich history of Venice, with opulent fabrics and beautiful artworks, as well as traditional gondola rides along the canals. The venue is host to Deep Stack Extravaganza tournaments which happen five times a year. With 37 tables, the Venetian runs daily tournaments, twice a day, with but-ins that range from US$125 to US£340 and guaranteed pots of US$4000 to US$20,000.
The tournaments are some of the most popular on the strip, with attendance usually hovering around the hundred mark, which is double that of most of the others. There is a range of food offered, as well as table service and top acts like ZZTop and a nightclub complete the experience.
All the big names on the strip offer a combination of cash tables and tournaments, with something for everyone, not just the top players and high rollers. Everyone has the opportunity to participate in one of the most exciting and iconic Las Vegas activities.
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