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4 Important Things to Consider Before Playing Poker In Las Vegas

In a 2021 guide to Reno, we took a look at some of the most interesting travel experiences in the state of Nevada. Whether you’re interested in fun on the water, a little bit of hiking, or even some festival action, it’s hard to argue with the Reno Tahoe area as a destination.

At the same time however, the more popular vacation spot in Nevada remains Las Vegas. And while there are all sorts of reasons to go (clubs, shows, resort spas, etc.), the gaming tables still rule. Earlier this year in fact, a visitor profile discussed at TravelWeekly.com indicated that the average Vegas visitor in 2021 “spent more in the casino” than in years past (with a $717.51 average gambling budget). Visitors also spent more time gambling, at roughly three hours per day (compared to 2.7 in 2019).

That gambling activity covers a range of slot and table games. Because slots more or less speak for themselves though –– and many look at poker as the definitive gaming experience in any major casino –– we want to use this post to provide some tips for those who head to Las Vegas with their eyes on the poker tables.

1 – Practice First

If you’re not a seasoned poker player, it’s essential that you practice first. Ideally, you’ll actually do this in person with friends, so you can get used to the pace and interactions live poker involves. If this isn’t an option though, you have virtually limitless options online and in app stores.

Some of the most popular apps for simulating real-life poker experiences are Zynga and PlayWPT. Both of these provide realistic poker mechanics and large player bases that make it easy to compete against live opponents and improve your game. Meanwhile, you also have the option of going online to download a PC poker title –– such as Poker Club. This title is a little more caught up in visuals and atmosphere, but it still gives you a sense of live competition at the tables.

Whichever option you prefer, it’s best to get in at least a few hundred practice hands. That way you’re refreshed on the processes, rules, and some basic strategies before you get to Vegas.

2 – Hit The Popular Poker Rooms

Once you get to Vegas, you’ll find countless places to play –– from dingy bars and off-Strip casinos to the glitziest resorts in town. If you’re visiting primarily to play poker though, we recommend heading for the most popular rooms to get a true sense of the Vegas card table scene.

There’s some debate as to the very best or most popular options of course, but we’d direct you first to the poker rooms at the ARIA Resort, the Wynn Resort, the Bellagio, and the Venetian. These are the top-four options mentioned in a rundown of the top Las Vegas poker rooms at Poker.org, and they’re hard to argue with. The write-up praises the ARIA and Wynn for their class, looks, and elegance (all fair points and then some); it notes the famous appeal and high-stakes rooms in the Bellagio; and it correctly states that the Venetian’s card room is the biggest in town. All are spectacular places to play.

3 – Try Video Poker

Nothing quite beats the table experience, particularly at those top poker rooms. But there’s also plenty of great video poker around town, which can be particularly appealing to beginners.

Most of the major casinos have their share of video poker machines, but this is also the variety of the game you can find in smaller, alternative locations. In particular, the Vue Bar, the Boar’s Head Bar at Main Street Station, and Furnace Bar are among the popular options. Vue Bar (at the D Hotel) is perhaps the best of the bunch, with excellent drink service and high-class atmosphere to go with affordable video poker.

 

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4 – Play With A Budget

Finally, remember to play within a set budget. Visitors who don’t do this often end up losing more than they intended to spend, which makes poker in Vegas less enjoyable.

Your budget is of course up to you, but recall that the average visitor has a gambling budget of just over $700. Another breakdown of Vegas budgeting at NiteThrive.com suggests that most visitors spend $200-$300 a day total (between activities and gambling). We’d suggest using these numbers as general guidance, factoring in the table stakes at the poker rooms you want to play at, and coming up with a number you won’t go over. That way you can enjoy yourself with the knowledge that you won’t overspend, even if you don’t have a winning day.

Keep these tips in mind and you’ll have a great time at the Las Vegas poker tables!