Casino choice, like hotel choice, has a lot to do with personal preference — it all depends on a gambler’s favorite games, budget, and ability level. But a handful of casinos stand out from the pack for excelling in certain areas — such as their superior poker rooms, luxurious ambiance, great low-stakes gambling or loose slots.
If you're a very serious poker player with some very serious money to gamble -- or simply want to ogle at the high rollers from TV -- the Bellagio is the place to go. It has two glassed-off high-limit areas: Bobby's Room is the most exclusive, and has the highest limit betting; Club Prive is where you'll see famous faces from the tournaments on TV. (If you're really interested in rubbing elbows with the pros, come when the World Poker Tour stops here.)
Caesars Palace's 14,000 square foot poker room is one of Las Vegas' largest and has a lively, central location near PURE nightclub and the casino's huge Sports Book. Its daily tournaments are very popular and well-paced; players start with a lot of chips and can often last longer than in other tournaments.
The Encore opened in December 2008, so its casino is a relative newcomer to the Strip -- but it's already established itself as one of the grandest in Vegas. Despite the opulence, it has relatively low buy-ins. It's in the same complex as its sister hotel, the Wynn, so it's an obvious next stop as you make your way down the Strip.
The Venetian's sumptuous casino has gold detailing and frescoed ceilings. The Las Vegas Review Journal staff rated its poker room Las Vegas' best in 2009, noting that it allows you feel like a high roller without actually being one (compared to say, the Bellagio, where the distinction is very plain).
The Rio is host to the World Series of Poker, and it’s definitely worth stopping by when the event is taking place (usually in June and July) for sightings of the famous poker pros, celebrities, athletes. Or you might consider joining in yourself – the 2009 tournament featured a Stimulus Special event with a $1,000 buy-in, and it was so successful that it’s being considered again for 2010.
The Palms has earned a reputation for having loose slots: The Las Vegas Review Journal readers and staff rated it as having the best playing slots, and gambling expert Anthony Curtis wrote in the Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas that it had great promotions and loose dollar slots.