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Expert Team

The 5 Best Poker Rooms Located Outside of Las Vegas

Poker Cards and Chips

Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, where Doyle Brunson still plies his trade grinding out wins in the highest-stakes cash game in Sin City.

Table 1 at the Aria, home to a revolving cast of characters like Jean-Robert Bellande and Phil Galfond competing for six-figure pots.

The Wynn Poker Classic, the Venetian DeepStack series, and the World Series of Poker (WSOP) at the Rio.

These iconic Las Vegas poker rooms set the standard when it comes to style and setting, attracting hundreds of thousands of players annually who flock to the Texas Hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha tables en masse.

Las Vegas’ status as the world capital of poker remains undisputed to this day, some five decades after the Binion’s Horseshoe casino in the Downtown district played host to the very first WSOP.

But what if I told you the American landscape was home to comparable poker rooms found coast to coast, in every corner of this great nation?

Baseball may be America’s Pastime, but for an entire generation who grew up during the “Poker Boom” era of 2003 through 2006, Hold’em is the true game of choice. Accordingly, casinos all over the country invested in building world-class poker rooms capable of matching Las Vegas’ signature scene on every level.

In order to construct a Vegas-style poker room, organizers need dozens – or even hundreds – of tables on hand to accommodate the masses. Those tables should be staffed by highly trained professional dealers who are capable of supervising all the various poker variants. And speaking of variants, a poker room can’t be considered Vegas caliber unless it spreads everything from $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em to a big bet eight-game mix.

I’m talking alternatives like Limit Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Seven Card Stud, Omaha Hi Lo Eight or Better, and all the rest.

And that’s just the cash game area…

Vegas-style poker rooms have to offer a full slate of tournament action too. If a room isn’t running a World Poker Tour (WPT), World Series of Poker Circuit (WSOP-C), or its own prestigious seasonal series, it just doesn’t qualify.

Combining all of those qualities into a single poker room package may seem like a difficult ask, but you’d be surprised at how many card rooms outside of Las Vegas manage to make it happen.

If you’re experience in the poker room is limited to the Las Vegas Strip or Fremont Street, expand your horizons by paying a visit to one, some, or all of the five locations listed below. These poker palaces run the gamut from the Golden State to the Garden State, and all points in between, so buckle up and hit the road for a tour of America’s lesser known non-Las Vegas venues:

1 – Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey

The crown jewel of East Coast poker is the Borgata, a glittering modern casino resort where up to 850 players regularly convene to cut the cards.

You can get a feel for the look and ambience of the Borgata Poker Room here, thanks to a handy visual tour conducted by Card Player Magazine.

But remember, that tour was held in 2007 when the room first opened, so many of the amenities have been upgraded over the interim.

That means you’ll find fresh, clean green felts lining all 85 tables. Those tables are ringed by leather rolling chairs that are extremely comfortable when grinding through an extended session. Folks who like listening to tunes while they play don’t have to worry about their device’s battery dying, thanks to individual USB ports under the armrest near every seat.

Amenities are always welcome, but real players come for the poker, and the Borgata has you covered in spades.

Recreational players have an abundance of low-level $1/$2 and $2/$5 No Limit Texas Hold’em cash games to choose from, along with Limit Hold’em at all stakes, and Pot Limit Omaha from $1/$2 through $5/$5.

And if you like playing a little higher, look for a walled in area toward the back of the room where local stars like 2015 WSOP Main Event World Champion Joe McKeehen is a regular. These games climb into the upper echelon, representing some of the highest stakes back east with $40/$80 Limit Hold’em, $75/$150 Seven Card Stud, and even a $500/$1,000 mixed game.

For tournament specialists, you simply can’t find a better place to play outside of Las Vegas than the Borgata. Locals turn out in droves for the four seasonal (Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall) Borgata Poker Opens.

These top-notch tournament series are run by acclaimed poker director Tab Duchateau, who works hard each and every year to come up with eclectic, well-rounded schedules. You can see how the recently concluded 2019 Winter Poker Open schedule stacks up here, but sufficed to say, players of all ability feel right at home.

The action kicks off with a massive opening event that only costs $600 to enter, but awards a guaranteed prize pool of $2 million. That means the lucky winner turns a few hundred bucks into a life-changing six-figure score.

From there, Borgata Poker Open series spreads events like the $450 Black Chip Bounty, which awards a $100 bounty whenever you bust another player from the field. They have Seniors and Ladies events too, along with DeepStack tournaments, Survivor events where the last X amount of players standing split the prize pool evenly, and even a Heads-Up tournament.

Speaking of that Heads-Up event, none other than the “Poker Brat” himself, Phil Hellmuth, captured the crown during the most recent Winter Poker Open.

It’s not every day regular Joes can rub elbows with a 15-time WSOP gold bracelet winner like Hellmuth outside of the Las Vegas Strip, but the Borgata makes poker dreams come true four times a year with its amazing tournament series.

And speaking of tournaments, some of the most prestigious titles in the industry are regularly awarded at the Borgata. That’s because the World Poker Tour (WPT) makes two stops there each and every year to host a Main Event as part of the Borgata Poker Open.

These WPT Main Events cost a pretty penny at $3,500 to enter, but the Borgata’s crack tournament staff makes sure to run a steady stream of satellite events to feed qualifiers into the Big Show. And I do mean “show,” as the Borgata’s WPT Main Events have their final tables filmed and broadcast to millions worldwide on TV.

All things considered, the Borgata Poker Room brings a slice of Sin City to the Atlantic City area in every respect.

Check below for detailed information on the poker room’s relevant stats, along with website links, the venue’s PokerAtlas page, and even a five-star review posted recently by a satisfied customer:

Tables and Games:

  • 85 Tables
  • No Limit Texas Hold’em ($1/$2 through $25/$50)
  • Limit Texas Hold’em ($2/$4 through $40/$80)
  • Pot Limit Omaha High ($1/$2 through $5/$5)
  • Mixed Game ($40/$80 through $500/$1,000)
  • Limit Omaha 8/b ($10/$20)
  • Seven Card Stud ($20/$40 through $75/$150)
  • Daily / Nightly Tournaments ($100 through $300)
  • Recurring Tournament Series (All buy-in levels)

Physical Address:

1 Borgata Way

Atlantic City, NJ 08401

Website:

https://www.theborgata.com/casino/poker/overview

PokerAtlas Page:

https://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room/borgata-atlantic-city

Five Star Player Review:

“Amazing poker room that is run to perfection by management. Great selection of cash games and tournaments.

You’ll find the most skilled players at Borgata. My personal favorite casino on the East Coast.” – tthrush on PokerAtlas

2 – The Bicycle Hotel & Casino in Bell Gardens, California

If the Borgata is the new kid on the block, the Bicycle Casino is a holdover from the old school.

This quintessential California card club opened its doors way back in 1984, nearly two decades before Chris Moneymaker’s momentous WSOP Main Event win sparked the Poker Boom.

As such, the venue is a little more casual than the glamorous Borgata, as you can see here in this quick panorama clip of the “Bike” at full capacity

But where the Bicycle Poker Room lacks in modernity, it more than makes up for in sheer size and scope.

Consider, the Bike is home to a whopping 185 tables, making it one the largest poker rooms on the planet.

And those tables offer some of the greatest variety this side of Las Vegas, thanks to California’s reputation as an original hotbed of mixed games. If you like playing H.O.R.S.E. – short for Hold’em, Pot Limit Omaha, Razz, Seven Card Stud, and Omaha Hi Lo Eight or Better – this complex game and an even more diverse eight-game mix can be found at stakes as low as $25/$50. The local high-rollers – the likes of WSOP legend Barry Greenstein among them – play as high as $200/$400, so be sure to stop by the rail and pay homage to the game’s greats.

In recent years, the Bicycle Poker Room has made efforts to modernize through it’s highly popular Live at the Bike series on YouTube and Twitch. Live at the Bike is a live-streamed cash game that plays at “normal” stakes like $5/$10 all the way up to $100/$200 with a $100,000 minimum buy-in.

Every week, fans of Live at the Bike tune in to sweat extended sessions that invite stars like Antonio Esfandiari and reigning WSOP Main Event World Champ John Cynn to join the fray.

Tournament enthusiasts won’t lack for options, not with three major tournament series making their way out West every year.

The WSOP-C dishes out 13 gold rings to winners at its annual stop, crowning champions in events like the $400 buy-in Monster Stack and the $1,700 buy-in Main Event.

The WPT hosts a $4,000 buy-in Main Event as part of its prestigious Legends of Poker tour stop as well, turning the Bike into the center of the poker universe for a few weeks each year.

And if that price point is a bit past your personal bankroll, head down to the Bike for its WPT 500 series, a smaller-scale version of the WPT where buy-ins – but not prize pools – are reduced across the board.

Tables and Games:

  • 185 Tables
  • No Limit Texas Hold’em ($2/$3 through $25/$50)
  • Limit Texas Hold’em ($2/$4 through $60/$120)
  • Pot Limit Omaha High ($2/$3 through $5/$5)
  • Mixed Game ($25/$50 through $200/$400)
  • Limit Omaha 8/b ($4/$8)
  • Seven Card Stud ($1/$2 through $3/$6)
  • Daily / Nightly Tournaments ($40 through $150)
  • Recurring Tournament Series (All buy-in levels)

Physical Address:

888 Bicycle Casino Dr.

Bell Gardens, CA 90201

Website:

https://www.thebike.com/play/poker.php

PokerAtlas Page:

https://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room/bicycle-casino-bell-gardens

Five Star Player Review:

“Great poker room food, drinks, dealer, tables and atmosphere.

The Bike has it all. This casino beats other poker rooms by having a bunch of different variations and buy ins. Other poker rooms don’t have anything like it.

I highly recommend the bike to friends and family!” – hollad14 on PokerAtlas

3 – Foxwoods Resorts Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut

Tucked away among the verdant forests of Mashantucket, Connecticut lies Foxwoods Resorts Casino, the second-largest casino venue in the nation with 344,000 square feet of gaming space alone.

And that doesn’t even cover the Foxwoods Resorts sprawling collection of malls, amusement parks, restaurants, and entertainment outlets surrounding the four casino complexes. All told, a visit to Foxwoods is akin to the gambler’s version of a trip to Disney Land.

As for the poker room itself, Foxwoods is a no-frills establishment that prioritizes size and variety above all else. You can get a feel for the 147-table establishment here in this visual tour from the Card Player Poker Tour, but just imagine any convention hall converted into a card sharps emporium.

Opening its doors in 1995, the Foxwoods Poker Room was the original East Coast card player’s den for a dozen years before the Borgata made its debut. Over that time, the staff here established themselves as the most knowledgeable card room crew in the region.

All the way back in 2003, Phil Hellmuth and Hoyt Corkins put on a show as part of the WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods.

Fast forward to today, and the tournament series just keep on coming at Connecticut’s major casino resort destination.

The WSOP-C makes sure to schedule an annual stop there, spreading tournaments ranging from the $400 price point to the $3,200 buy-in Main Event.

And don’t forget about the World Poker Finals, an annual WPT mainstay that has been running for two decades and counting.

Throw in the regular Foxwoods series focusing on the local rank and file, and this poker room certainly lives up to its massive size and sterling reputation.

If you’re looking to grind the cash games instead, look for No Limit Texas Hold’em spanning the spectrum from $1/$2 through $10/$25 blinds. The Limit Hold’em tables can be found playing $2/$4 all the way to $40/$80, and mixed games are available at $10/$20 through $150/$300.

Between the resort’s enormous size and theme-park scale, and the poker room’s venerable status as the East Coast’s original headquarters, Foxwoods is definitely worth a visit during your next non-Vegas gambling excursion.

Tables and Games:

  • 147 Tables
  • No Limit Texas Hold’em ($1/$2 through $10/$25)
  • Limit Texas Hold’em ($2/$4 through $40/$80)
  • Pot Limit Omaha 8/b ($1/$2)
  • Mixed Game ($10/$20 through $150/$300)
  • Limit Omaha 8/b ($5/$10)
  • Seven Card Stud ($1/$3 through $75/$150)
  • Daily / Nightly Tournaments ($60 through $120)
  • Recurring Tournament Series (All buy-in levels)

Physical Address:

350 Trolley Line Boulevard

Mashantucket, CT 06338-3777

Website:

https://www.foxwoods.com/poker/

PokerAtlas Page:

https://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room/foxwoods-mashantucket

Five Star Player Review:

“Casino is great, and poker room is absolutely top notch. They have the best tables, from 1-2 to 20-40, and tournaments to fit many stakes and schedules.

I like the sit and go’s, and the 100-150 tourneys, I’ll always favor the 1- 2, but love the 20-40 when I can get there.

Food is decent and drinks are prompt. Dealers, floor, and staff are professional, parking is easy and rooms are reasonable.” – TakeYerChit on PokerAtlas

4 – Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Even though it’s the technically the smallest room on our list, the Arena Poker Room at Talking Stick Resort is still the largest non-Vegas room in the entire Southwest region (Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado).

For denizens of the desert who don’t want to drive six hours or more to see Sin City, paying a pilgrimage to Talking Stick is the next best thing. Located on the Salt River tribal reservation right next to Scottsdale, Talking Stick boasts a 15-story resort tower, a pristine green golf course, multiple swimming pools, and everything else a Las Vegas casino can offer.

As for the Arena Poker Room, let local poker hero and four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner Tom “DonkeyBomber” Schneider take you on a tour of the property.

The “Arena” name comes from this room’s expertly deployed array of high-definition television screens, which line the perimeter and cap off with a massive “scoreboard” like display overhanging the room’s center. These screens usually show wall-to-wall sports coverage, but come tournament time, the structure, blind levels, and prize pool are prominently displayed for all to see.

And boy are there ever tournaments at Talking Stick Resort. Along with a regular lineup of daily and nightly tourneys costing between $125 and $500, the Arena Poker Room hosts annual events like the Winter Poker Classic and the Arizona State Poker Championship.

The latter is an $1,100 buy-in No Limit Hold’em showcase that awards six-figure guaranteed prize pools and has crowned star-studded champions like Joe Kuether and Pat “Flyin’” Lyons in recent years.

In terms of the cash game play, Arizona’s tribal gaming compact doesn’t allow for No Limit play, but Talking Stick’s staff has come up with an elegant solution to that problem. Instead of purely No Limit betting, the Arena Poker Room runs “Spread Limit” tables which simulate No Limit gameplay.

Here’s how it works…

In a $2/$5 Spread Limit Hold’em game, for example, players can buy-in for up to $1,000 at a time. After that, the maximum allowable wager on any given turn is capped at $500. This may seem like a handicap at first glance, but given the relative stack sizes of $1,000, it only takes a maximum bet followed by an equal raise back to get your whole stack into the middle. In this way, these Spread Limit tables play out much more similarly to No Limit than they do Limit Hold’em.

You’ll also find Spread Limit Omaha with $2/$5 blinds and a max-bet of $2,500, and a $40/$80 mixed game running around the clock.

Throw in a diverse food menu with tableside service, and several promotions like the popular bad beat jackpot and high hand prize wheel, and Talking Stick Resort does its part to bring Sin City style poker to the Scottsdale area.

Tables and Games:

  • 47 Tables
  • Spread Limit Texas Hold’em ($1/$3 through $2/$5 with Max bets of $300 and $500)
  • Limit Texas Hold’em ($3/$6 through $20/$40)
  • Spread Limit Omaha High ($2/$5 with Max bet of $2,500)
  • Mixed Game ($40/$80)
  • Daily / Nightly Tournaments ($125 through $500)
  • Recurring Tournament Series (Up to $1,100 buy-in)

Physical Address:

9800 E Talking Stick Way

Scottsdale, AZ 85256

Website:

https://www.talkingstickresort.com/phoenix-scottsdale-casino/poker/

PokerAtlas Page:

https://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room/talking-stick-resort-scottsdale

Five Star Player Review:

“Talking Stick is the premier poker room in the Phoenix Metro area. They run all kinds of limits, but I usually stick to 2/3 Spread (3-300?) or 3/6 limit.

Mostly I play in their tournaments, which are generally top notch. They also hold the AZ State Poker Championship every August, which is a great value, and offers decent competition.” – azother1 on PokerAtlas

5 – Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California

At first glance, Commerce Casino in L.A. might look a little rundown and dumpy.

But while this poker-centric venue may lack in charm, it makes a terrific first impression with anybody who prides themselves on being a true grinder.

First of all, this place is truly awe-inspiring in terms of sheer size, what with 210 tables running at any given time.

Size isn’t everything though, which is why Commerce makes sure to spread every conceivable poker variant for its loyal locals. The mixed games run as high as $400/$800, No Limit Hold’em can be found from $1/$2 through $20/$40, and you’ll even find “Big O” – or five-card Omaha – at the $4/$8 level.

Tournaments are the bread and butter for the Commerce Poker Room staff, which is headed up by elite director Matt Savage. Under his steady stewardship, Commerce and Savage play host to the annual WPT L.A. Poker Classic, a prestigious tournament series which has been playing out for the last 26 years. The L.A. Poker Classic Main Event has been captured by well-known pros like Antonio Esfandiari (2004), Michael “The Grinder” Mizrachi (2005), and Anthony Zinno (2015) in past editions.

To learn more about the history of Commerce Casino and its’ world-famous monument to all things poker, let the Royal Flush Girls from the WPT take you on a tour of the property.

Tables and Games:

  • 210 Tables
  • No Limit Texas Hold’em ($1/$2 through $20/$40)
  • Limit Texas Hold’em ($2/$4 through $100/$200)
  • Pot Limit Omaha High ($1/$2 through $25/$50)
  • Mixed Game ($200/$400 through $400/$800)
  • Limit 5-Card “Big O” Omaha ($4/$8)
  • Seven Card Stud ($4/$8 through $20/$40)
  • Daily / Nightly Tournaments ($50 through $150)
  • Recurring Tournament Series (All buy-in levels)

Physical Address:

6131 Telegraph Rd

Commerce, CA 90040

Website:

https://www.commercecasino.com/tournaments/

PokerAtlas Page:

https://www.pokeratlas.com/poker-room/commerce-casino-los-angeles

Five Star Player Review:

“Having played in over 100 poker rooms in nearly every state that offers poker, the Commerce is one of my favorites. They know how to run a game here.

Nearly any stakes / game you want to play and almost always a seat open. Sharp dealers, good management and the folks running the lists will work hard to get you in a game without much waiting.” – topgunky on PokerAtlas

Honorable Mentions

The following 10 poker rooms didn’t quite make the cut, but if you’re looking for a few more alternatives to Las Vegas, you can’t go wrong with these locations:

  • Ameristar Casino Resort in Black Hawk, Colorado
  • Seminole Hard Rock in Hollywood, Florida
  • Horseshoe Hammond in Hammond, Indiana
  • MGM Springfield in Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Ameristar Casino Resort in St. Charles, Missouri
  • Harveys Lake Tahoe Hotel and Casino in Lake Tahoe, Nevada
  • Parx Casino in Bensalem, Pennsylvania
  • Rivers Casino in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Hollywood Casino at Charles Town Races in Charles Town, West Virginia
  • Playground Poker Club in Kahnawake, Quebec, Canada

Conclusion

Las Vegas will always be the world’s clear-cut poker mecca, drawing millions of players from all corners of the globe year in and year out. But while the Bellagio, Aria, and Venetian certainly deserve their status as holy sites for poker enthusiasts, America is home to a healthy selection of top-tier poker rooms on the West Coast, East Coast, Midwest, and Southwest. If you find yourself growing a bit bored with what Sin City has on tap, take your bankroll to any of the 15 poker rooms listed above to see what they have in store for you.