Poker Room Las Vegas Monte Carlo Bellagio Mirage Orleans Binions Horseshoe

Poker has become one of the most popular forms of gambling since Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker in 2003.  Las Vegas and other like minded gambling towns began to restructure its thinking, and casinos seemingly overnight were forced to rethink the best ways to lure gamblers into their casinos.  In the past, poker rooms were a novelty, an afterthought for casinos that made most of their profit from slot machines, blackjack, and craps.  It’s obvious, especially now in hindsight, that the poker rooms were of relatively low priority.  If a casino even had a poker room, they tended to be small and modest, often tucked into a low traffic corner. 

The exceptions to the rule are a good place to start.  Before the poker boom, the Mirage, the Orleans, Binion’s Horseshoe, and the Bellagio, were the mainstays for poker in Las Vegas.  Each had a sizable room, with round the clock poker action.  The Mirage poker room, referred to in the 1998 movie Rounders as the “center of the poker universe,” was popular for its action games and housed many of the poker professionals of the day.  The Orleans, located off the Strip, had a very large room, and at the time was one of the few poker rooms that featured an extensive poker tournament schedule.  Now, most casinos that have a poker room have tournaments as a staple, and as often as every 3 or 4 hours!  The Horseshoe, in downtown Las Vegas, was home to the famous World Series of Poker.  Even though the tournament has moved to the Rio, the poker room is arguably still the most historic of any poker room in the world.  The Bellagio, at the time, was the most plush casino, and they did not skimp when it came to their poker room.  Because of the scarcity of high class poker, this room tended to be the busiest, with lists seemingly miles long.  And, because of the high class, they also had some extremely high “nose bleed” limit games.  All of these poker rooms are still part of the staple of poker, but that staple has since exploded. 

There were very few casinos in Las Vegas that resisted the movement towards opening or expanding existing poker rooms in the first decade of the new millennium.  The Wynn and the Venetian either joined or exceeded the Bellagio standard for plush poker rooms.  Ceasar’s Palace has an extremely spacious poker room, and like the Orleans has a very popular tournament schedule.  The Rio poker room, by virtue of the World Series of Poker, has automatic grandfathered historical significance.  The MGM Grand features a very popular room, which seems to be favored by the expanding demographic of younger poker players. 

Although not included on most top 10 poker room lists, the Monte Carlo poker room should be listed as an honorable mention or perhaps the most underrated poker room in Las Vegas.  Although tucked in a corner like the poker room of yesteryear, the Monte Carlo’s room is more akin to a buried treasure.  This small room features wonderful classic poker themed paintings on the deep toned wooden walls.  It radiates a rather nostalgic ambiance that makes this modest room really enjoyable.  Although the most serious and sophisticated poker players will not find use for this room, it is definitely worth playing there for the experience.