The 7 Best Casinos at Catering to Poker Players


Casinos tend to rely on recreational gamblers to pad their bottom line, and indeed, tourists hitting the table game pit and seniors spinning on slots form the industry’s foundation.

But while those players can be expected to hit the floor a few times per year, another group of gamblers calls the casino home day in and day out. For poker players all across the planet, casino card rooms offer it all under one roof – an office, a dining room, and a place to call home.

Whether they enjoy cash games or tournament play, the game of poker brings poker people out to the casino in droves. No matter your game of choice – the two-card classic known as Texas hold’em, the four-card evolution of Omaha, or the purist’s favorite, Seven Card Stud – casino poker rooms are invariably the best place to ply your trade.

Unlike “underground” card clubs and private home games, a casino poker room is subject to regulations and surveillance. In other words, winners never have to worry about being paid the pot, and cheaters have little chance to work their wicked ways.

Casino card rooms are also a more pleasant place to play, what with nonstop food and beverage service, chip runners and floor staff on hand, and professional dealers who know how to run the game efficiently and effectively. And when it comes to tournaments, you simply can’t find a $1 million guaranteed Texas hold’em game for just a few hundred bucks outside of a major casino.

All in all, the poker playing community – from beginner to professional and everyone in between – benefits from the presence of dedicated casino poker rooms.

Unfortunately, the casino industry doesn’t always feel the same way about this niche segment of the gambling market. With the glory days of the “poker boom” long gone, major Las Vegas casinos like the Luxor, the Monte Carlo, the Palms, and the Hard Rock have all shuttered their poker rooms over the past few years.

And the problem for casino operators is easy to see. Unlike table games and machines, which pit players against the house in negative expectation wagers, a poker game involves players passing money back and forth amongst themselves. Sure, the house collects a small percentage of each pot – a fee known as the “rake” – but these relatively minor deductions don’t always cover the cost of overhead. Remember, a good poker room needs an army of staff to keep things running smoothly, from the folks who take your name at the registration desk, to the server bringing you a cold beer in between hands.

For the casinos I mentioned earlier, those costs became too much to bear, and with the game reverting to its previous niche status, closing the poker room represented a sound cost-cutting strategy.

On the other hand, a handful of highly successful casino poker rooms continue to thrive, thanks in large part to their operators’ recognition of poker’s importance to the wider casino economy.

During a major stop along the tournament circuit, hundreds of poker players arrive en masse, reserving rooms for a week at a time in preparation of a deep run. These players invariably find their way into the cash games in between tournaments, or head to the table game pits and sportsbook for a little after-hours action. Throw in three meals a day, nights out at the bar or club, and the usual in-house amenities – and a single poker player can easily spend thousands of dollars during their stay.

For these reasons, the best casinos have no problem catering to the poker playing crowd. By making a conscious choice to run a fully staffed poker room – one with a regular rotation of cash games, tournaments, and associated promotions – poker centric casinos provide the community with a central hub.

Finding the perfect poker hotspot isn’t always easy, but I’m here to help. Based on my own experience as a traveling reporter covering the tournament circuit, I present my personal list of the seven best poker centric casinos. I’ll introduce you to the property itself, describe the poker room facility in detail, and provide essential information like the address, website, and even a review posted to the popular Poker Atlas database from an actual player.

1. The Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip

Ask any poker player about the “Big Game,” held daily in Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, and watch their face light up.

The room was named in honor of legendary high stakes pro Bobby Baldwin, which makes sense given the astronomical stakes contested there today. Superstars of the game like Daniel Negreanu, Doyle Brunson, Phil Ivey, Johnny Chan, and Tom Dwan all count themselves as regulars in the Big Game – which sports a $20,000 minimum buy-in.

But that’s just the minimum, as the game’s greats routinely pony up six-figure stacks before joining the fray. The mixed game rotation includes mainstays like Texas hold’em and Pot Limit Omaha, along with obscure variants such as Ace to Five Triple Draw and Razz. And with limits ranging from $1,200/$2,400 to $4,000/$8,000, the Big Game surely lives up to its lofty stature.

Obviously, rank and file poker players like you and I won’t be sitting in the Big Game anytime soon, but the Bellagio takes top spot on this list by turning high stakes poker into a spectator sport.

Most of the nose bleed limit poker games you hear about from back in the day were exclusive affairs, held in hidden rooms roped off from the general public. But at the Bellagio, regular Joes like us are invited to soak in the sights and sounds of elite poker. Bobby’s Room is enclosed by glass doorways, providing anybody hanging around in the main poker room with the perfect vantage from which to watch their favorite pros do their thing.

And that primary poker room is nothing to sneeze at either.

Befitting an extravagant venue like the Bellagio, the poker room is spacious and tastefully appointed. The tables all sport fresh, clean felt, along with modern amenities like automatic shufflers, USB ports for each seat so you can charge your phone or tablet, massages from trained professionals, and expedient cocktail and food service.

As an MGM Resorts property, the Bellagio uses the M Life player rewards program to award comps and credits. You’ll score $2 for every hour of play when using your M Life card at the table, and those freebies can add up in a hurry, allowing you to save a few bucks on a buffet dinner or your morning coffee.

During the week, the Bellagio offers a poker room rate of $139, while the discounted rate is a bit higher at $189 on weekends. Even so, that’s a considerable savings over the base room rate, and all for playing the game you love.

With 36 tables onsite, every limit under the sun is spread at the Bellagio.

No Limit Texas hold’em fans will find games ranging from $1/$3 limits all the way to $50/$100, and all points in between.

If you prefer Limit hold’em, the games begin at $4/$8 blinds and escalate all the way to $100/$200.

And for folks who enjoy non hold’em action, the Bellagio is home to the most expansive mixed game selection in Sin City. Seven Card Stud, Omaha Eight or Better, and a full mix akin to H.O.R.S.E. can all be found regularly and on demand.

In terms of tournament selection, the Bellagio has long been known as the home of Las Vegas’ premier tournament hotspot. That reputation may be shifting slightly in favor of the nearby Aria (as you’ll discover a little later in the page), but nonetheless, the Bellagio still spreads a full complement of tourney action.

The main game is a $125 buy in daily tournament which begins at 2:00 p.m. local time. With 10,000 starting chips and 30-minute levels, this one is a step above the usual daily and nightly tournaments found in Las Vegas.

But the real treat for tourney specialists is the Five Diamond World Poker Classic, a centerpiece of the World Poker Tour (WPT) since its inception. During this two-week series, held every December, buy-ins for the 16 preliminary events range from $560 to $26,000. And of course, you can always take a shot at poker immortality through the $10,400 WPT Main Event, a prestigious title which has been captured by poker luminaries like Gus Hansen and Daniel Negreanu over the years.

The Bellagio makes it easy for recreational players to get in on the fun too, through a series of $560 buy in “Super Satellites” that allow anybody to qualify for the Main Event. As somebody who would love nothing more than to bluff a big name pro, I enjoy my annual pilgrimage to the poker paradise that is the Bellagio, where a run of hot cards and a little luck can go a long way.

Need to Know Info

Player Review:

“Bellagio Poker Room what can I say? It’s the best place to play poker period. These guys take care of their players like no one else (comp drinks, food table side) and every amenity you can think of. You can tell a poker player designed and set up the room. It really shows.

The one thing you have to remember when you come here is that with the room’s status comes the action. A lot of pros – well known and not – come here to play. If you want to see the highs and lows of poker, Bellagio is your place.”

2. Commerce Casino in Los Angeles, California

At first glance, the humble exterior of Commerce Casino resembles a rundown “Off Strip” joint more than a premier poker destination.

But step one foot inside the truly massive card room – which is billed as the largest in the world – and you’ll instantly see why so many members of poker’s old school cut their teeth at L.A.’s famed Commerce Casino.

With more than 200 poker tables onsite, you simply can’t find a larger selection of games anywhere on Earth. In a scene straight out of the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP) gathering, the Commerce Casino spreads it’s record-setting selection throughout a massive, hangar-like building – with full tables occupying every nook and cranny in the facility.

That might suggest an air of overcrowding, but the staff at Commerce Casino are consummate professionals in their own right, and they’ve been running the room since 1983. Over that span, they’ve perfectly planned the interior logistics to ensure that thousands of players can sit comfortably without a shred of inconvenience.

Poker is always the priority here, and to that end, you won’t find a single slot machine on the premises. The venue is home to a full complement of table games though, all operating under the special “California” version of the classic rules to comply with local laws. For readers who are unfamiliar with California-based table games, this caveat simply means you’ll be playing against a third party “banker” rather than the house itself.

But back to the main attraction, which is Commerce Casino’s world-class selection of cash game and tournament action.

The No Limit Texas hold’em tables run from $1/$2 blinds all the way to $20/$40, while Limit hold’em is spread between $4/$8 and $200/$400.

For the high roller crowd, you’ll also find mixed games at the $200/$400 and $400/$800 limits.

Other variants on the menu include Seven Card Stud, Pot Limit Omaha and Omaha Eight or Better, Lowball, Badugi, Razz, and even the increasingly popular Chinese poker.

For the tournament specialists out there, Commerce Casino has hosted the L.A. Poker Classic annually since 1992 – making it one of the longest-running series outside of the WSOP.

Legends like Barry Greenstein and Phil Hellmuth began their storied careers here, with the “Robin Hood of Poker” notching his first ever win in a side event at the 1997 California State Poker Championships. As for the “Poker Brat” himself, Hellmuth captured a L.A. Poker Classic win way back in 1992 at the inaugural series, and 25 years later, he scored another win over nemesis Mike “The Mouth” Matusow in February of 2017.

The L.A. Poker Classic is also one stop along the WPT’s popular “California Swing,” so you can take another shot to etch your name on the WPT Champions Cup in the $10,000 Main Event.

If you can’t quite make it to Commerce Casino in time for those prestigious circuit stops, don’t worry, because the daily and nightly schedule is jam-packed with low stakes action. With $65 and $150 No Limit hold’em tournaments scheduled every day of the week at 12 noon and 6 p.m. local time, you can try to run up a big stack day or night.

And with legendary tournament director Matt Savage on hand to supervise the proceedings, players are always in good hands when it comes to rulings and the like.

Savage is a poker industry lifer, and despite the venue’s age, he’s worked tirelessly to keep Commerce Casino up to date for the modern poker community. That means automatic shufflers, USB charging stations, food and beverage service, HD TVs, and a smoke-free environment.

What the WSOP is to Las Vegas, the L.A. Poker Classic is to Commerce Casino, so any poker fan visiting La La Land should carve out a day or two to see this cavernous card room for themselves.

Need to Know Info

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.”

3. Aria Resort & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip

As I alluded to in the first entry, the Aria Resort & Casino has slowly, but surely, worked itself into the discussion of Las Vegas’ premier poker rooms – and for good reason.

Since opening in 2009, the Aria has fashioned itself as the latest and greatest poker room on The Strip. While competing casinos were closing their struggling rooms down in the post-boom era, the Aria was busy building a world-class facility where players of all caliber are welcomed with open arms.

At only 24 tables, the main poker room isn’t the largest by any means, but in the Aria’s case, quality definitely beats quantity. Every table is lined with plush red felt, with the bold color scheme just one in a long line of subtle additions designed to set the Aria apart from the rest. Other enhancements include Fiji brand bottled water free of charge, the venue’s signature watermelon juice refreshment, and a tableside menu that rivals many of the fine dining options found in the casino proper.

Throw in dedicated WiFi service, a USB charging port for every seat, automatic shufflers, massage artists, currency exchange, and a smokeless environment – and the Aria poker room is a modern marvel to behold.

The main room is devoted to cash games, which run the usual gamut from $1/$3 No Limit hold’em to $9/$18 mixed games, and everything in between. And as a special treat, the Aria is more than happy to spread “home games” on demand, so if you can rustle up a few players, they’ll provide a dealer to run any mix imaginable.

You and your pals from work want to play dealer’s choice with Badugi, Badacey, and Badeucey included? That’s not a problem at the Aria, where poker players always come first.

While you’re exploring the cash game room, be sure to take a peek at the elevated, high stakes game running around the clock in Ivey’s Room. Styled after Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio, and named for poker icon Phil Ivey, this exclusive area has steadily become the de facto headquarters for the world’s top high stakes players.

Ivey himself is a fixture there at the $200/$400 mixed game, competing for massive pots alongside instantly recognizable faces like Doyle Brunson, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein, and Jean Robert Bellande. Known as “Broke JRB” on social media, Bellande is especially agreeable to fan requests, so as long as he’s not in a hand, he’s always happy to oblige a selfie request.

The tournaments here are held in more expansive floor space adjacent to the main room, beginning with the popular $125 nightly No Limit hold’em event at 7:00 p.m. local time. Stars like Daniel Negreanu and Dan Polk have been known to fire the nightly on occasion, mingling with fans and firing rebuys into the prize pool while they do.

The Aria also hosts regular $25,000 high roller tournaments in the same area, so stick around to watch the game’s toughest pros battle it out for six and even seven-figure paydays.

And as the new home of PokerCentral’s lineup of “Poker After Dark” broadcasts, as well as the $300,000 Super High Roller Bowl tournament, the Aria is where the next poker boom could very well be sparked.

Need to Know Info

  • Address: 3730 S Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89158
  • Phone: (702) 590-7111
  • Website:
  • Poker Atlas Page:

Player Review:

“This is overall probably the best poker room in America, definitely in Las Vegas. They regularly multiple stakes & tables of NL & PLO as well as occasional televised huge cash games & tournaments. The service is amazing, the food/drinks are the best of the best. The casino itself is relatively new, clean and lavish. The dealers are professional & well trained. The rake is low & no bonus is dropped.

As such, all the Vegas regulars like to play here, so you will face good competition. It’s not necessarily soft games. If you are up to playing against competent people and want a great experience, this is the place.”

4. Talking Stick Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona

Standing tall amidst the sands and shining like a neon jewel, Talking Stick Resort takes the lights and luxury of the Las Vegas Strip and transports them to the Arizona desert.

Upon opening in 2010, Talking Stick Resort immediately cemented its status as the Grand Canyon State’s most spectacular casino resort. And I do mean resort, with a gorgeous swimming pool, celebrity-filled showroom, and fine dining options galore.

But the true highlight in my eyes is the Arena Poker Room, a sprawling facility fit for 47 tables that puts many of its Vegas rivals to shame. This place is enormous, and befitting its name, the Arena Poker Room leaves players feeling like they’re competing in the big leagues.

TVs the size of movie screens loom overhead, and along every inch of wall space, creating a futuristic atmosphere with every game and match on offer in crisp HD. When you play here for the first time, sensory overload can definitely strike, but after a few sessions, I found myself gazing up in wonder at the technological marvels.

When the cards are in the air, however, the Arena Poker Room makes sure to have the fundamentals covered too. Automatic shufflers and USB charging stations for each seat, tableside food and beverage service, free WiFi, and a smoke-free environment – you name the amenity, and Talking Stick Resort has you covered in spades.

As for the action itself, this venue is the only place in Arizona to enjoy No Limit hold’em-like poker. With state laws restricting all poker to Limit stakes, Talking Stick Resort found a clever workaround with its “Spread Limit” concept. At the typical $1/$3 Spread Limit game, players can buy in between $100 and $300, and the betting is spread from $3 to $500. In this fashion, it only takes a few maximum wagers to get your whole stack shoved forward, turning the game into the next best thing to No Limit.

Spread Limit tables range from $1/$3 and $3/$5 on up, and you’ll also find traditional Limit hold’em from $3/$6 through $20/$40, plus a $40/$80 mixed game.

The daily and nightly tournament slate includes fun add-ons like the $100 Bounty format, Jack & Jill events which pair male and female partners, and Big Stack tourneys with larger starting stacks. These range from $160 to $345 and tend to attract between 80 and 400 players for the most part.

And as the home of the annual Arizona State Poker Championships, with its $1,100 No Limit hold’em tournament, Talking Stick Resort regularly attracts top touring pros who like to play higher.

Need to Know Info

Player Review:

“Talking Stick is the premier poker room in the Phoenix Metro area. They run all kinds of limits. 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.

Their nightly tournaments and Saturday tournaments are the best in town. As compared to other casinos near the metro Phoenix area, this one is the best.”

5. The Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa in Atlantic City, New Jersey

At one point in time, Atlantic City was an epicenter of the poker world.

Phil Ivey honed his skills as an underage player using the alias “No Home Jerome,” and as portrayed in the hit movie Rounders, two-time WSOP world champion Johnny Chan held court at the highest limit Seven Card Stud games in the land.

Back then, the Trump Taj Mahal served as the poker community’s stomping grounds, but the now-defunct venue lost its luster in 2003 – when the Borgata Hotel Casino & Spa opened its doors.

By ditching the old-fashioned and rundown confines of the Atlantic City Boardwalk for the Marina District, and constructing a casino resort straight out of The Strip, industry mogul Steve Wynn used the Borgata to breathe new life into Atlantic City’s poker scene.

Boasting more than 80 tables in its main poker room, plus a full-scale convention hall for tournaments, the Borgata has blossomed into the capital of East Coast poker. Players from New York City and the entire eastern seaboard flock here to enjoy the region’s most widespread selection of poker action.

Cash game grinders have a seemingly unending menu of games and stakes to choose from. You’ll find all the standards like $1/$2 No Limit Texas hold’em (through to $25/$50), along with Limit hold’em ($2/$4 through $10/$20), and a full complement of Pot Limit Omaha ($1/$2 through $5/$5).

The Borgata is also home to the largest mixed games on the East Coast, with regional stars like Paul Volpe and Joe McKeehen vying for enormous pots at the $300/$600 and $500/$1,000 tables.

Of course, the tables are outfitted with the latest technology, the service is impeccable, and the surrounding amenities are the class of Atlantic City. All of that comes with the territory at the Borgata, which has worked overtime to build itself into one of the best poker rooms in all of America.

What really sets the Borgata apart, however, is the room’s commitment to running top-tier tournaments throughout the year. Along with $120 and $230 daily / nightly No Limit Texas hold’em tourneys, the Borgata hosts five seasonal series that rival anything you’ll find in Sin City.

Collectively known as the Borgata Poker Open (Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Main), these series span several weeks and offer dozens of different events spanning the poker spectrum. From heads-up tourneys to high rollers, bounties, and survivors, tournament director Tab Duchateau really knows how to set a diverse schedule.

And these aren’t your run of the mill events either. The opener to most Borgata Opens is a $540 buy-in No Limit Texas hold’em tournament with multiple starting days, and a whopping $2 million guaranteed prize pool. Having personally witnessed recreational players and hometown heroes change their lives by winning or running deep in these big-time tourneys, I can tell you that not many casinos out there offer the same sort of bang for your buy-in buck.

And every year, the WPT makes multiple stops at the Borgata, first for an annual event on its schedule, and again for the prestigious WPT World Championship. If you time your trip just right, you’ll have plenty of chances to satellite your way into one of the most important stops on the global tournament circuit.

Even better, thanks to New Jersey’s legalized and regulated online gambling industry, you can login to PokerStars, PartyPoker, or BorgataPoker to compete in online tournaments and cash games like you did during the boom days.

Need to Know Info

  • Address: 1 Borgata Way, Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
  • Phone: (609) 317-1000
  • Website:
  • Poker Atlas Page:

Player Review:

“This place is top notch. Not only the poker room, but the entire property. HUGE poker room, comfortable seats, big game selection, friendly staff, and some great action. I’m not sure why anyone would play anywhere else in AC.

And while AC has gone pretty far downhill, I still like driving into Borgata for the weekends to play especially during WPT weekends when even more fish come out.”

***Honorable Mentions***

6. Playground Poker Club in Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Taking a cue from Commerce Casino, the Playground Poker Club in Montreal is a poker only card club.

As a regular stop along the WPT circuit, Playground Poker Club attracts the game’s best and brightest on an annual basis. But in between big tournament series, the room is simply the best poker facility in all of Canada, bar none.

A collection of 40 tables is spread out in the most modern of settings, complete with a black and grey checkerboard carpet scheme and red/black felt. Auto shufflers, dedicated WiFi, USB charging, this place has the whole nine yards – and then some.

Playground Poker Club is also the perfect place for jackpot hunters, with a massive $1.2 million payout awarded earlier this year at the humble $1/$2 No Limit hold’em tables. The loser of the hand pocketed over $460,000, the winner scored more than $230,000, everyone at the table took home nearly $33,000, and anybody playing in the entire room was awarded $1,224.

Not bad for a measly $40 pot.

Need to Know Info

Player Review:

“Everyone knows the Playground is the best room in the Montreal area. You aren’t going to beat it around this area. The cash games, the promos it’s just off the hook.

But when it comes to tournament management and really creating a super atmosphere. Hosting the WPT events here, they’ve truly stepped up their game and make sure players don’t forget about coming here. Great crowd set up and a lot happening around the events.”

7. Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida

As the largest poker room in Florida, the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino has more than 40 tables covering all of your cash game and tournament needs.

The WPT makes an annual stop here, but the venue’s centerpiece is the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open (SHRPO). When the series debuted, the Main Event boasted a $10 million guaranteed prize pool, easily one of the largest of its kind at the time.

This year’s version has been scaled back a bit, but the $5,250 buy-in still gives you a shot at your share of a $3 million guarantee.

And on the off chance that the cards just aren’t cooperating when you visit the Seminole Hard Rock, you can’t beat the background of nearby Fort Lauderdale, home to some of Florida’s most famous beaches.

Need to Know Info

Player Review:

“Hard Rock has table side massages, food and beverage table side service 24/7, excellent promotions, which in turn draws in the weaker players. A lot of tourist action and 24/7 nonstop games going.

Where else can you play 2/5 NL on a Tuesday morning at 8 AM? I’ll sum it up in 3 words: poker players paradise.”


Visit one of the 7 best casinos catering to poker players on this list to experience the best games available. Each casino offers a great experience for poker players and is worth planning a trip, even if it’s out of your way.

Petko Stoyanov
Get in touch with Petko
About Petko Stoyanov
My name is Petko Stoyanov, and I've been a gambling writer for more than ten years. I guess that was the natural path for me since I've loved soccer and card games for as long as I can remember! I have a long and fairly successful history with English Premier League betting and online poker, but I follow many other sports. I watch all big European soccer leagues, basketball, football, and tennis regularly, and I keep an eye on snooker, volleyball, and major UFC events.