Las Vegas, Nevada (often referred to simply as Vegas) is without a doubt the world capital of gambling, and by extension of poker. Most of the casinos in Vegas offer poker rooms of varying size and quality.
Once famous for being "run by the mob", Vegas went corporate long ago and is now heavily monitored and regulated by multiple government agencies to ensure fairness and legality. Once considered a seedy if still-popular vacation destination, the city's image changed during the 1980's to become much more family-friendly and tourist-oriented, as attractions other than gambling were added to the mix until it became the massive tourist mecca it is today, full of dozens of huge sprawling mega-resorts catering to all different types of people: families, high rollers, the jet set, the low-renters, gourmets, singles, couples, and others.
Vegas is divided into four main areas for casino/tourism purposes:
The Las Vegas Strip is the world-famous section of Las Vegas Boulevard approximately two miles south of downtown, from roughly Sahara Avenue on the north to roughly Sunset Road on the south. Although it's on the northwest corner of Sahara and Las Vegas Blvd, the Stratosphere is often considered to be "on the Strip" (though some consider it merely an "honorary member", as it were).
The Strip is the home of most of the mega-resorts for which Las Vegas is famous: most of them enormous and built around some larger-than-life theme, such as the "mini-Gotham" of New York, New York, the "Ancient Persia" of Aladdin, or the "medieval castle" of Excalibur. These resorts are the detination of most of the millions of tourists who visit Vegas every year.
Off-strip is a general designation used to describe hotels and casinos that are within a few blocks (or sometimes as much as a mile) from the Las Vegas Strip proper, but aren't downtown. These casinos can include such famous resorts as the Rio (current home of the World Series of Poker) and the Palms, down to more obscure properties such as the Tuscany Suites & Casino or Terrible's Casino.
These casinos, while ranging from bargain-basement up to downright opulent, generally are not built around some huge theme, though they usually have some smaller theme-based design around a concept. The Rio, for example, does attempt to evoke some notes of Rio de Janeiro (the fabulous Brazilian city), but is content to do so through the use of tropical-themed carpeting and names like the "Carnival Buffet", and "Banco do Rio" (for its cashier's cage) and does not contain any artifical waterfalls or large aviaries of parrots. Off Strip casinos are generally smaller than their Strip counterparts and are generally less expensive as well. Most will offer free shuttle-bus service to the Strip.
The downtown area is "where it all started", the original home of the casinos that founded the Vegas gambling dynasty. Classic casinos are still located there, but within the confines of the sometimes cramped and undeniably urban downtown, only "merely city-block-sized" casinos are present, unlike the sprawling pleasure palaces of the Strip.
Among the classic casinos found downtown are Binion's (formerly Binion's Horseshoe), the original home of the World Series of Poker, and the Golden Nugget, the casino Frank Sinatra once called home and which was most recently featured in the Fox reality series "The Casino".
The casinos downtown collaborated on one huge tourist attraction to draw attention to their section of Las Vegas and lure tourists: the Fremont Street Experience. Two blocks of Fremont Street, the central street of downtown, have been closed to traffic and turned into a pedestrian mall; and even more impressive, the entire two-block stretch of the street has been covered by a massive domed television screen with huge concert-quality speakers. In the evenings, every hour on the hour, the casinos all turn off their external lighting and the giant television lights up to show one of a number of different brief shows: everything from a Vegas-classic pop-music revue to a patriotic salute to flag and country. Shows run anywhere from five to ten minutes, and when they're done the screen shuts off and the casino lights turn back on, and Fremont street once again turns into a milling throng of tourists.
Not often visited by tourists, a number of casinos and even sprawling resorts have sprung up in the outskirts and suburbs of Las Vegas, highlighted by the ever-growing chain of Station Casinos, which mostly cater to locals. Outlying casinos and resorts are usually much less expensive (for hotel rooms, buffets, and the like) and have better gambling rates (lower rakes, or lower blackjack limits) than similar casinos on the Strip.
Advantages of outlying casinos are their cheaper prices and relative calm compared to the mania which can sometimes be overwhelming on the Strip or downtown. Disadvantages are that they are usually quite isolated, and unless you're willing to drive a few miles, you generally can't visit another casino, hotel, or attraction.
List of tournaments - courtesy 2+2 user LasVegasMichael
- All Vegas Poker - great cardroom guide.
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- What the hell happened to Vegas?!! (Two Plus Two B&M forum, Lestat May 2006)
- Recommend a small stakes nl hold 'em game in vegas? (Two Plus Two B&M forum, Former Spank E Jan 2007)
|Casino poker rooms of Las Vegas|
|Aladdin | Bally's | Bellagio | Binion's | Boulder Sta. | Circus Circus | El Cortez | Excalibur | Fiesta Rancho | Fiesta Henderson | Fitzgerald's | Flamingo | Gold Coast | Golden Nugget | Green Valley Ranch | Harrah's | Imperial Palace | Jokers Wild | Luxor | Mandalay Bay | Mirage | MGM | Nev Palace | Orleans | Palace Sta. | Palms | Paris | Plaza | Red Rock | Rio | Riviera | Sahara | Sam's Town | Sands | Santa Fe Sta. | Silverton | South Point | Stardust | Stratosphere | Sunset Sta. | Texas Sta. | TI | Tropicana | Tuscany | Venetian | Wynn|