One of the most common questions we get from Vegas rookies at the Red Chip Poker Discord server is “where should I play poker?” We addressed this question in our WSOP Guide, but that, of course, is tailored specifically to the situation during the annual WSOP. Since 85% of the poker year occurs outside the WSOP summer, we’ve decided to put together a brief summary of each of the Strip poker rooms to give you some idea of what to expect.

Vegas Poker Room - Aria

There is one meta-room consideration that you may wish to factor in to your decision of where to play. The bulk of rooms on the Strip either fall under the umbrella of Caesars Rewards (formerly Total Rewards) or M life loyalty programs. While both struggle with punctuation, the far greater popularity of Caesars Rewards with locals has an important impact on game texture. This is largely driven by local-friendly promos that are funded by a $2 jackpot drop. Particularly during the day, this tends to promote a fairly high proportion of nits in these rooms, some of whom haven’t smiled since the Nixon administration.

For the sake of balance, it’s fair to point out that such individuals are not completely absent from the M life promo rooms, but their dominance is far more dependent on which promos are currently being run there. The M life promo rooms have, at least in the recent past, run promos that vary in their popularity with the locals, including some offerings that are so complex most Vegas grinders cannot comprehend them. The takeaway is simply that a promo that favors locals can distort the general guidelines given below.

One other key factor that gives an overall indication of game type is how expensive the property is to stay at. Recreational players often default to playing where they are staying, particularly when it is late and they are tired or worse for wear; in other words, precisely when you’d most like to make their acquaintance. The simple consequence of this is that in a card room in which many opponents think nothing of spending $300/night and up for a room, you’ll typically find more money in play than at a property in which the resort fee is greater than the midweek room rate.

Finally, most of the observations below are directed at what one might expect in cash games. Most of the tournament “dailies” on the Strip have such high juice that they’re only worth playing for fun and not profit. Once buy-ins get above about $100, as is the case in some of the larger rooms, one could imagine turning a healthy ROI, but even here close attention to the rake and staff fees is required. More details are given in our tournament strategy series.

In what follows, the rooms are listed alphabetically, with Caesars (CET) or MGM resorts (M life) identified where appropriate and rake and promo drop for entry-level NLHE given. (Some rooms offer lower rake on non-NLHE games that are featured on specific days, or are currently being promoted.) Note for pedants: yes, it’s true that exactly when rake and promo dollars are taken is important, but if you’re thinking at that level you doubtless know how to find out those details by yourself.

Vegas Poker Room - Aria


(M life; $5+$0)

The (relatively) new posh kid on the block, the Aria poker room is extremely attractive and has uncommonly comfortable chairs. If one of your Vegas poker goals is to spot a famous player, “Table 1” is only surpassed by Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio. (The name change from “The Ivey Room” was made shortly after Mr. Ivey’s difference of opinion with the Borgata over how baccarat should be played, although according to the Aria these events were not linked. Right.) Given its opulence, some patrons find the room rather crowded and complain of the noise from the casino floor. Perhaps a bigger issue is that the $1/$3 and $2/$5 games are frequently populated by the local hoodie-backpack-headphones brigade, who couldn’t be less welcoming to recreational players if their comfort animal was Cerberus. To be fair, these concentrations of baby pros can show up anywhere and tend to drift from room to room. Aria daily tournaments have the reputation of being softer than their counterparts at the Wynn and Venetian, supporting the view that as the density of nightclubs increases, the average IQ drops. The entry-level $1/$2, $5 bring-in PLO runs fairly regularly and usually features excellent action.

Vegas Poker Room - Ballys


(CET; $6+$2)

The Horseshoe (formally Bally’s) is something of a conundrum. When the room moved from the center of the casino floor to a quieter corner, many players confidently predicted the action would dry up. For the most part, this was not the case initially and the large room became a favorite with locals and tourists alike, not least because the levels of smoke are commendably low. The room also used to get games going earlier in the day than its CET sister properties, apparently because the hotel is favored by older guests. The room then suffered something of a decline in action, which was promptly reversed by the closure of other CET poker rooms such as the Flamingo and Harrah’s. Whether the recent increase in rake to $6 impacts the room’s popularity is yet to be determined.

Vegas Poker Room - Bellagio


(M life; $5+$0)

The self-appointed queen of Vegas poker, the Bellagio is also probably the most polarizing room in the city. There are locals and tourists alike who rarely play anywhere else, and an equally resolute group of players who refuse to set foot in the place. One area of agreement is that the room is crowded, at least outside of the high-limit areas. There are times when the back of your chair will be bumped so regularly you’ll think you’re flying economy directly in front of a six year-old who just consumed three Red Bulls and a pound of hard candy. Whether this explains why many players and dealers often seem irritable is open for debate. There are reports that customer service is improving, but it is still common to hear of haughty floor who seem incapable of being polite to patrons playing the lower limits. You may have been told that “every poker player should play in the Bellagio at least once”. A significant number of people who have done so have concluded that “once” is also the maximum number of times anyone should play in the room.

Vegas Poker Room - Caesar's Palace

Caesars Palace

(CET; $6+$0)

Like it’s sister property the Horseshoe, Caesars Palace increased its rake to $6 in 2024, but does not take a promo drop. The size and comfort of the room has, to date, seen plenty of tables in action. The proximity of the poker room to the large sports book tends to mean that major sporting events have a more profound impact on the poker action than elsewhere. It is not uncommon to see players have one-and-a-half eyes on the TV as they sweat a $15k sports bet while pulling buy-in after buy-in from their pocket. In practice what all this means is that the games tend to improve considerably in the evenings, once the bulk of locals have gone home and the NBA or other league is in full swing. On weekdays in particular, this also means the best action can dry up earlier than in other large rooms. The quality of dealers and floor is mostly well above average, while the somewhat sub-standard construction of the chairs is balanced by there being plenty of room between tables. The only Caesars property where $2/$5 runs regularly and a $5/$10 sometimes breaks out.

Mandalay Bay

(M life; $5+$2)

The Mandalay Bay poker room has historically set itself apart from other Vegas rooms, primarily in negative ways. The most troubling for unwary visitors was a handful of unusual, yet strictly-enforced non-standard house rules. These led to a couple of incandescent threads on well-known poker forums involving stories of unscrupulous locals exploiting these rules to effectively angle shoot tourists. Combined with dealers that ranged from surly to plain rude, this led to many locals simply avoiding the place. Based on recent reviews, it seems that dealer turnover has produced a more pleasant current crop, but direct information is not available to us at Red Chip since we don’t know anybody who has played there in the last seven years. Anecdotally at least, the games are good. While the usual entry-level game is $1/$2, unusually the room also offers $1/$3 with a $1000 cap. If a band of Red Chippers would like to take advantage of this quirk, we’d be interested in an account of the experience.

Vegas Poker Room - MGM


(M life; $5+$2)

For many years, the biggest problem with the MGM poker room was finding it. It moved so regularly that it was recommended players not linger in the bathroom lest it had upped sticks again by the time they got back. The new location is a bit lacking in character, but as advertised the chairs really are surprisingly comfortable. The game texture seems to be even more sensitive to current promos than other Strip rooms. When a freeroll qualifying period is running, the room can get quite busy but the games are dominated by local grinders. The action seems loosest when the promos get so complicated that even dedicated promo-chasers cannot estimate the hourly $EV. Perhaps best described as “exceptionally unexceptional”, but with softer than average games outside of freeroll promos.

Resorts World


Sprouting on the site of the old Stardust like some multi-colored and extremely large phoenix, the spectacular Resorts World complex adds a compelling new poker room to the north Strip landscape. With 30 tables spaciously arranged in the opulent environment, Resorts World has the immediate potential to compete with the other major poker rooms in Las Vegas.

The current cash game staple is $1/$2 and $2/$5 NLHE, but $5/10 is a common fixture at weekends. The rake is taken commendably deep in each pot, and the $1.50/hr comp rate is competitive. The room is notable for having an almost-daily $80/$160 mix, and its low-stakes $4/$8 cousin has a rake capped at $4.

The most common observation made by the first wave of visitors to the room revolves around its comfort. Not only are the chairs crying out to be sat in, the well-spaced tables means there isn’t some headphone-crested clown banging their backpack into you at every opportunity.



Open noon to 4am.

Many locals mourned the closure of the Stratosphere poker room, not because they ever played there, but by virtue of its historical significance to the Las Vegas strip. In an interesting act of symmetry, the SLS not only returned to its storied Sahara name, but also opened a poker room. We suspect it may act as a direct Strat replacement, and slots into exactly the same spot in this article vacated by Bob Stupak’s towering vision. The old Sahara poker room was sufficiently threadbare that sawdust instead of a carpet would not have seemed out of place. The new digs are a clear upgrade. The low rake may attract some local interest, either as an incentive to try the room, or as the source of a prop bet on how long it’ll take to be increased.

The room is unusual for Vegas in offering all games with a match-the-stack buy-in. Base buy-in for the $1/$2 is $100-$400, with the $2/$5 being $200-$1200. Wednesday’s featured game is an uncapped $2/$3 with a $600 minimum buy-in. Further details and current game status can be found on Poker Atlas.

(Photo credit: lightning36.)



If anyone can figure out what is happening at the Venetian, please contact It used to be unambiguously one of the leading cash-game rooms, and attracted a good mix of locals and deep-pocketed tourists. Then the room was reduced in size at around the same time the Deep Stack Extravaganza increasingly dominated the annual calendar. The DSEs are now so frequent, and when in progress so limit the available cash-game tables, that the Venetian lost some of its regular games. (Notably PLO, which briefly established a Vegas home at the Venetian, is now more common elsewhere, and the $8/16 LO8 – which for years has drifted with the whims of the grumpy regs – now appears to have gone off-Strip to the Orleans.) The fact the Venetian now takes a promo drop moves it off the Wynn-Bellagio-Aria axis onto… We’re still not sure. In a further attempt to be different, The V recently restructured its NLHE cash offerings to $1/$2, $2/$4 and $3/$5.

Best Vegas Poker Rooms: Wynn



The Wynn poker room at the Encore is beautiful. The people wandering around the casino floor are beautiful. The artwork is… frequently incomprehensible, but extremely expensive. Many of us had misgivings when it was announced that the Wynn poker room was moving from its location opposite the Ferrari store to the Encore. The room was so comfortable and attractive it was difficult to imagine how any change could be anything but for the worse. We were wrong. The majority opinion seems to be that the new room is even more spectacular. Floor and dealers are some of the best in Vegas and the daily tournaments are arguably the best value in town. Unlike the other big four, the Wynn caps it’s $1/$3 at $500 and its $2/$5 at $1500. It seems probable these higher caps attract better players, so that the cash-game regulars at the Wynn are tougher than elsewhere. The only knock on the place has been the claim that at $5/10 many of the players are on the same bankroll. At weekends some very good action can break out in the $1/$3 if well-heeled tourists are kind enough to “try their luck.”

Showing 6 comments
  • love2play90210

    Thank you so much for this – I have played at most and I totally agree with your assessment – fun to read.

    • Kat Martin

      Thanks, I’ll pass on your kind words to our local contributors.

  • William

    Never thought I would see the day that I would say this but….Vegas cash game poker is really starting to suck as bad as everywhere else. I see no advantage over playing here in Chicago anymore. In fact, some of our rooms have actually REDUCED their rakes. Sad. Playing in Vegas is now very out of towner unfriendly to those of us who do not have the ability to play enough hours and stay long enough to chase promos.

  • AyeCaramba

    Love your description of some of the rooms.

    I once described the tables at the (now closed) Hard Rock room as “imagine you’d given an escaped mental patient some crayons and asked him to draw his thoughts”.

    • Kat Martin

      Nice one. I think the same “artist” was recently hired by Westgate.

  • Bob McGlone

    Well written and well researched. Thank you!