If you've ever been to Vegas and stayed at any of the hotels on the Strip, you'll know all the hotels have casinos for you to gamble in. With the ever growing popularity of Texas Hold'em, every major casino hotel also has a separate poker room, and some hotels even offer a "poker room rate", which is a discounted hotel room rate if you play enough hours at their poker tables (see the bottom of this article for hotels offering poker room rates).
There are over twenty poker rooms on the strip alone to chose from.
Some of the major hotels like the Bellagio, Wynn, Venetian, Mirage, and MGM Grand have 25-30 tables available; Caesar's Palace has over 60! A typical poker room on the Vegas Strip, like the Aladdin, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo, Luxor, Circus Circus, and Harrah's has 9-15 tables.
Another area to experience Vegas poker is downtown on Freemont Street. One of the most famous, where many say poker first started, is Binions. Alongside Binions, you will find hotels: Golden Nugget, El Cortez, Plaza, and Fitgerald.
You will find with just as many hotels hosting poker rooms on the strip, that there are just as many hotels hosting them off the strip (ie Arizona Charlie's, Boulder Station, Gold Coast, Green Valley Ranch, Hilton, Rio All Suites, Silverton, South Coast, and Tuscany)
The one thing a new poker player playing at any of these poker rooms should keep in mind is:
Playing at a live casino is not as intimidating as you think.
You may feel that your first time sitting at a table, that everyone can read your every move. You've been playing on a computer screen to this point, with only your betting patterns and response speed as the only "tells" you give off. Now you may feel nervous that the other players can actually see you and know exactly what you are holding.
But the players in a live room are just the same as the ones you play with online. In fact, you may find it even more fun playing with people face to face. Many of the face to face players also are not as serious and are looser than those you find in online play.
As with most gambling in Vegas, many come to have a good time and are expecting to lose money playing poker as their payment for "entertainment." Typically live casino play is more personable and social as well as a slower paced game. You will not see as many flops in an hour as a typical online cash or tournament game. This slow pace gives you the ability to decide more thoughtfully, whether to call, fold, or raise.
Some places have very aggressive players (ie MGM Grand) and some are more casual, with many limpers. (ie Circus Circus).
To find comments about Vegas poker rooms, so that you are prepared before- hand to try a particular poker room, you can search for comments about someone's Vegas poker trip on popular poker discussion forums or read reviews on a Vegas Poker Room Review website.
Unlike online poker websites which offer limits as low as $ 0.01 / $ 0.02, the lowest betting limit in a Vegas poker room is $ 1/2 NL Hold'em. The minimum amount to sit down at these tables is $ 50 at some casinos and $ 100 at others. The maximum amount ranges from $ 200-300. You will also find $ 2/5 NL, $ 3/6 Limit, $ 4/8 Limit as well.
To receive a discount rate for your hotel room, you will have to play about 6 hours / day on the weekdays (Sun-Thursday) or 8 hours / day on the weekend for a minimum of 40-50 hours to get the rate. When you check into the poker room, they log your hours.
The hotels listed below offer discount hotel rates. You can call these numbers to find out what their current discount rates are:
Caesars Palace (800-634-6001)
Circus Circus (702-836-6606)
Mandalay Bay (877-632-7800)
MGM Grand (702-891-7434)
Monte Carlo (702-730-7780)
Treasure Island (702-894-7291)
Hopefully this primer has given you an introduction to the list, variety, size, and types of poker rooms available in Las Vegas such that you can be better prepared for which room you may want to try out.
Good luck at the poker tables!