When I’m in Las Vegas, how do I decide which poker room to play in? Since there are so many different casinos offering poker, I decided to start by listing some of the major criteria I think will be important: rake, comps, location, and atmosphere. I also need to decide which games I want to play. I would rather reduce my variance and play a standard game and I’d rather play at the lowest stakes possible. So in Vegas, this probably means 1-2 NL or maybe 1-3 NL.
I found a website called Poker Atlas that provides lots of useful information about poker rooms around town that I used to narrow down my search. I filtered by type of game (1-2 or 1-3 NL) and this is what I came up with:
|MGM||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2/hr||Yes||Strip|
|Caesars||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2/hr||Yes||Strip|
|Boyd||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$1.25||No||Locals|
|Binion’s||1-3 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2/hr||No||Fremont|
|Stations||1-2 NL||Eve & Weekends||10% up to $4||$1/hr||Yes||Locals|
|Golden Nugget||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2.5/hr||No||Fremont|
|TI||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2/hr||Yes||Strip|
|Venetian||1-2 NL||Always||10% up to $4||$2/hr||Yes||Strip|
|Westgate||1-3 NL||Always||10% up to $3||$1/hr||No||Strip|
|Wynn||1-3 NL||Always||Staggered up to $4||$2/hr||Yes||Strip|
Some locations are just out of the question for me since I don’t get to that area of town very often. Such is the case with Arizona Charlie’s on Decatur. So I didn’t even consider those casinos at all.
There are enough 1-2 NL games around town so I won’t have trouble finding a game.
A few different conclusions can be made from my initial search. Not all casinos have poker rooms. I didn’t realize until making this list, but none of the Boyd properties downtown (California, Main Street, and Fremont) have poker rooms. Hotel rooms are cheap on Fremont Street, this is also disappointing since I have a lot of points on my B Connected card and I could use live poker play to mask some of my other video poker and sports advantage plays. If I play Boyd properties, it will probably be Sam’s Town when if they have a 1-2 NL game going, or the Orleans if I’m near the strip. I go out to Summerlin around Suncoast sometimes to golf, so I’ll keep in mind there is a 1-2 NL game there.
Some large properties such as the Cosmopolitan and the Palms don’t have poker rooms. Cosmo and Palms also have small outsourced sports books run by CG. I noticed that the Tropicana is not listed on Poker Atlas, I remember a poker room in the “new” Tropicana in the past few years, but its no longer open.
Which Station Casinos have poker rooms? Boulder Station, Palace Station, GVR, Red Rock, Santa Fe. Which Boyd properties have poker rooms? Sam’s Town, Suncoast & Orleans.
Regarding the comps, I’m concerned about the level of reward, but more about the format of the reward. A $10 dining voucher at the Wynn is different than $10 of cash or freeplay. If Boyd and Stations properties comp poker players with points, this is ideal as there are lots of ways to get value from players’ club points at these locations. Dining vouchers go further at certain properties depending on what kind of dining values are offered. If I can use a dining voucher at McDonalds, it’s going to go a lot further than if I can only use it for a Strip casino buffet (which is a lot more expensive). I’ll need to do more research on the types of comps offered by each poker room and what they can be used for.
In terms of rake, it seems pretty standard if there is no flop then there is no rake. It also seems pretty standard that in 1-2 NL games, the rate is 10% up to $4.
I would prefer a casino with wifi, but it’s not a deal breaker. In general, I probably spend more time in casinos and other locations when they have wifi.