My breakdown of the rooms we played.

Mandalay Bay: First night, walked from the IP…not recommended. Things in Vegas are farther than they appear. Now, ten more days with blisters…great. So, so room…played one tourney and left as the bubble.

Imperial Palace: This is the mecca of poker, the shiznit, the pinnacle of…ok, enough of that; if you like the faint smell of piss, vomit, and sweat, this is YOUR mecca. Went once, never returned.

MGM Grand: Nice room. Only played one tourney but friendly staff. Did not like the fake marble rail around the tables. Looked like recycled kitchen cabinets from the latest mobile home park hit by a tornado.

Tropicana: See my room review. Nice room but staff playing while on-duty…NOT A FAN!

Mirage: Nice room, nice promotions, nice tourney. Played there a few times.

Ceasar’s Palace: Always nice. Went early one morning, made nice profit for short time playing, hit quads for a bonus $50.
Orleans: Always visit the Orleans on trips as a lot of tables going and Omaha H/L is the action. Disappointed this trip as the clientele resembled a senior citizens trip to the local Indian reservation Bingo hall. I think we were the youngest people in there and we are closing in on 50 ourselves. Played the Omaha 8B tourney and left.

Treasure Island: Small room, not open 24 hours. Not a good vibe so only went once.

Flamingo: Nice room, played several times there due to being close to the IP. Some soft action at times (particularly the limit games) and NL had some people that were beginners. Dealers complained openly about other staff…not professional and the only negative about the room for that type action.

Riviera: Weird. Bad location, friendly staff, but players that are on the low end of the Vegas food chain. Locals grinding for freeroll time. Want some soft play and don’t mind the out-of-the-way location, jump on this and their $2500 freeroll; but don’t turn into a local burnout playing this joint. If you want a cheap softball glove, they have a local who sells them out of his car…sad.

Golden Nugget: Getting better; liked it better this time than previous trips. Only negative would be the dark lighting. Made it a little difficult to see cards. Did see an interesting event transpire. Old guy (about 65) with gangsta persona…stiff brimmed hat with the Boston “B” slightly cocked to the side (I figured him for Russian mob or a Cryp from the 1940s) kept leaning back in his chair to get a view of the cards of the old man next to him (the guy next to him was pushing 80). Other player called him out on it and the fireworks started. A few threats from the old guy (other guy was in 30s) which made me think any minute now he will pull out his shank from his prison days but things calmed down.

HARRAH’S: Played one tournament. Have played there before and it is an OK room.

Venetian: Very nice room, a wide variety of games offered. I just don’t have any luck here but very nice nonetheless. A must stop on any poker trip to Vegas. Gavin Smith and that WSOP Main Event winner from a few years ago that seemed to drop from sight…you know, the Asian guy from California that sits so stiff he looks like a bot from Full Tilt.

Aria: This place is VERY NICE. High class. Saw heavy weight grinders like Jean Robert Belande. Myen (sp?) Lee and Matt Affleck playing. Even though they are clearly spreading high stakes, they also have a very comfortable $1/$3 NL with only a $300 maximum buy-in. Also a must-play room.

Bellagio: My favorite. High class. Love the games, limits, max buy-in’s (don’t have to be rich to get at a table). Saw Devonshire grinding at the tables and a couple of others I recognize but cannot name.

Ten days of poker. Lesson learned: don’t try to fit all the rooms in on a single trip and, by all means, avoid blackjack and craps. Next trip, I plan on limiting all play to Bellagio, Aria, and possibly Venetian. Need to go now, got to see what kind of deals Expedia is running for Vegas trips!

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  1. Nice, to the point report. Some familiar observations about some of the rooms that I've had. I think MGM is in the process of getting rid of the race tracks around the tables. I agree re the Golden Nugget and also would add that they have too many tables for the rooms size. It's too hard to walk around in there but I found it to be a pretty friendly room. Surprised you didn't go to Binion's. That is the best poker room downtown. Have not made to the Aria, Venetian or Bellagio rooms because we always go at the start of the WSOP and Binion's Poker Classic so it doesn't leave much time for "touring" other rooms.


  2. I have played Binions before and have no problem with that room (other than some days it is 11:00 or 12:00 before a table gets going). I stuck my head in while my brother was playing a tourney there but both tables (a NLHE and limit HE) were full. Our trip downtown was short but was a must as we like the "old gambling hall" feel Binions offers. Timing just didn't work out to play there this trip though. Aria, Bellagio, and Venetian are all must-see rooms you definetly need to at least drop by and check out.