A Poker Insider’s Guide to Las Vegas

They come for the World Series, and stay for the food


Old school poker players (like Doyle Brunson, pictured) remember the Vegas era of Frank, Sammy, Dean, and the glory days of The Horseshoe. Spotting poker veterans, then, is easy. Binion’s on the first floor of The Horseshoe is a 24-hour steakhouse serving classic, thick cuts that have no business being called fancy. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/larrykang)

Where do players rest their head after going on a hot streak at the tables? Jason Mercier, Phil Ivey, and John Juanda are likely to be found in the lobbies of the Encore, Palms Place, the newer Aria at the City Center, or even the non-gaming Platinum Hotel, an insider’s off-the-Strip choice. While the RIO (pictured) might not be a top grade casino hotel, it’s worth it to book a room during the time it hosts the World Series since you’ll be guaranteed to spot real poker players at its collection of over-the-top restaurants.

Want more travel tips from poker insiders? Go to the Player’s Club at a hotel of your choice and ask for a free player’s card. Even if you don’t gamble in their casino (shh), they’ll still send you discount offers for rooms and more for your next visit. (Photo courtesy of Flickr/Old Shoe Woman)

Just like TKTS in New York, you can get tickets for Vegas shows on the cheap from Tix4Tonight’s booths around the Strip.  

Some poker jargon to throw around and impress your favorite players with: gripe about a “misdeal,” or when the dealer makes an error in dealing mid-game; brag about a “flush,” or a hand of cards in a common suit; or whine about being “busted,” or completely out of poker chips. Also, don’t forget to study up on how to hide your bluffs!

Want more Vegas insider tips? Check out Connie Shin’s picks (she’s the GM at FIN) and Tracy Godfrey’s top spots (he’s thes award-winning chef behind the Grubbin’ with Godfrey blog).

Click here for the Poker Insider's Guide to Las Vegas Slideshow.