Caption: Where are the best places to travel to if you’re a poker lover?
Over the course of the past few decades, poker has become more popular than ever. Not only do people play online and visit their local live casino regularly but millions of people watch poker tournaments from around the world either by actually attending the events or live-streaming them online. With so many poker lovers out there, we’re sure that there are a few of you who would love to join the audience of a poker tournament tour or visit the casino capitals of the world; Las Vegas and Macau.
Here, we’ll be looking at which tours offer the best destinations and games, as well as where exactly you should visit in Las Vegas and Macau to have the best poker experience.
Poker Tournament Tours
Over the last few years, travelling poker tours with multiple venues appear to have been waning. Once upon a time, we had the World Series of Poker held in all sorts of places around the world, but now it takes place in Las Vegas every year without fail. Even worse, the Caribbean Adventure Tour was first held on a cruise ship when it was created in 2004 but is now held on Atlantic Paradise Island. There is the WCoOP but considering it’s the World Championship of online Poker players you can’t really follow the players unless you go to their houses.
Fortunately, there are still a couple of poker tours going. First up we have the World Poker Tour Championships (WPT), a worldwide event that started back in 2002. It is by far one of the biggest poker tours in the world, with different events being held throughout the United States and across the globe. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, every single one of the matches is live streamed from the official WPT website so that people who couldn’t get tickets to an event can still watch the action. If you’re already located in North America, chances are at least one of the tournament’s future events will be hosted near you, so you should definitely keep an eye on where they’re heading.
Then there’s the famous European Poker Tour (EPT), a hugely popular tournament with events taking place throughout the continent. Major events take place in Barcelona, London, Dublin, Copenhagen and Deauville, all of which are watched by millions of people both in the audience and on television. Arguably the best part about EPT is that these events are taking place all year round, every single year – so travelling to them is far easier to work out than it is for other tours.
On the other side of the world, there’s both the Asian Poker Tour and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour. The latter has events in countries throughout the Asian Pacific, with the last ones being held in South Korea. The Asian Poker Tour has a far larger range, however, with the 2018 tour alone visiting Vietnam, China, the Philippines and Korea.
Of course, you don’t have to just watch these poker tours from afar in the audience. Many actually allow you to enter, that is, if you can meet the buy-in fee. If this is your plan, we highly recommend you do all the research and practice you can before you actually enter. Sure, poker is mostly about fun and challenging yourself, but it also requires a lot of skill and background knowledge. There are also many more poker variants appearing on the circuit, which require you to have an added level of experience. You may have all the poker strategy and knowledge in the world stored away for Texas Hold’em, but have you got the strategies for Seven Card stud or Omaha? Knowledge must be learned so jackpots can be earned!
Poker in Las Vegas
This is equally as true if you’re planning on visiting a single location well-known for poker. By far the most famous of these is Las Vegas, Nevada home to every sort of entertainment you can dream of. For a poker lover, going to Las Vegas is a dream and for good reason.
If you’re looking for a high-end Las Vegas casino, the Aria should be your destination of choice. There are a total of 24 tables, each hosting mid-stakes to low-stakes games regularly. The resort is also home to a number of high roller tournaments, with buy-ins often reaching as high as $100,000. That said, there are more reasonably priced tournaments as well, which can cost as little as $140 to get involved in.
Besides the jaw-dropping casino floor, there are also several restaurants within the Aria. Jean Georges Steakhouse, Carbone and Bardot Brasserie are just some of the options, though there’s always a full buffet on every day until 10pm. As for other entertainment options, there are a number of pools and cabanas, as well as live music and shows.
Another option is the Bellagio, a staple in Las Vegas not only for its wonderful suites, service and restaurants but also for Bobby’s Room. In there you’ll find Las Vegas’ widest variety of poker games ranging from $20 Limit Hold’em to $40 Seven-card Stud. For many, the Bellagio remains the best place for poker as there’s something for everyone. Caesar’s Palace may now be a great option for poker lovers as well, as they recently expanded their table games room to include a further 18 poker tables.
Meanwhile, in Downtown Las Vegas, you’ll find Golden Nugget: the perfect poker room for anyone looking for something a little bit different. It is located in the nicest building outside of the Strip and has 13 tables with extremely low buy-ins. In fact, we think the most expensive one is just $4. The best part is Golden Nugget hosts daily tournaments, something they are experts at having hosted many of the World Series of Poker Grand Poker Series tournaments.
Speaking of tournaments, if you plan on visiting Las Vegas during the summer we highly recommend checking out the Wynn. They host the Wynn Summer Classic Tournament every year, which is made up of 38 events and costs $1,600 to join – a fraction of the WSOP games. Throughout the rest of the year, their 28 poker tables are located at Wynn’s sister property Encore, in a beautiful open space with bright lights and modern architecture.
Where you go in Las Vegas depends entirely upon what sort of poker experience you desire. Are you a high roller at the Aria, a regular at Golden Nugget or a tournament pro at the Wynn? The decision is all yours, and even if you make the wrong one it isn’t as if the resorts are too far apart for you to check them out.
Poker in Macau
Macau is very similar to Las Vegas in a lot of ways, with some resorts appearing in both locations. For instance, there’s a Wynn in Macau, though it is best to go there only if you’re looking for a very serious poker playing session. There are only 11 tables, and these are usually taken up by experienced high rollers, while the rest of the players must line up for their turn. Fortunately for those waiting, the room is extremely nice with cocktail service and table food which makes it all a little bit better.
Macau is also home to a Venetian, which is where you’ll find the Poker King Club. Ever since it moved from Starworld in 2015, the Poker King Club by pro poker player Winfred Yu has been the place to go if you’re looking for big games. There are 8 tables, but only 2 of them are specifically reserved for high-stakes games, meaning that medium and low-stakes players can actually get a look in.
As for Macau-only casinos, the ones that you can’t experience anywhere else, there are plenty of those too. Arguably the most famous one is City of Dreams, the grand home of poker tournaments in China. There are daily and regional tournaments, as well as 13 cash game tables that you can play on at any time. Galaxy Macau Casino is also a great place to visit, what with the Pavillion Poker Room sitting at its western edge. There are 25 tournament tables in there, in addition to 6 cash game tables, many of which offer no-limit hold’em games starting at just $50 – a bargain in Macau.
Finally, there Babylon Casino where the Macau Billionaire Poker (MBP) Room opened in May 2016. There’s a private VIP room, 5 cash game tables featuring no-limit hold’em and pot-limit Omaha, and 25 tournament tables. Earlier this year, the venue also signed a 5-year deal with the Asian Poker Tour, ensuring that at least 2 events will be taking place there each year.
So, where will you be heading on your poker trip? Do you fancy travelling the world with a poker tournament tour, which can take you all around Europe, Asia or North America? Or perhaps you’d like to truly experience just one place such as Las Vegas or Macau? It’s a difficult decision but hey, someone’s got to do it.