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Vegas Poker Rooms, Downtown Edition

In Vegas' early days, their downtown casinos were the city's center stage. Over the past few decades, The Strip has exploded in growth and overtaken that role. Today, downtown Vegas is not more than a relic. Although it is no longer a trendy place to hangout, downtown Vegas still has plenty of things to offer. Aside from the lowest gambling limits in town, fried Oreos, and scent of old carpet and broken dreams, downtown Vegas also has a poker scene worth checking out. Unlike Strip casinos, not every casino in downtown Vegas offers poker. The following four casinos are among the top places to find a game next time you're in downtown Las Vegas: online poker 468x60 Binion's Number of Tables: 13 cash, 24 tournament Overall: A- Cocktail Waitress Eye Candy: C- Atmosphere: B Game Availability: B Customer Service: A Many consider Binion's casino in downtown Las Vegas to be the birthplace of modern day poker. In 1970, Benny Binion invited a handful of the world's best poker players to duke it out on the felt. He dubbed the battle the "World Series of Poker". The rest, as they say, is history. Before festivities were moved to the Rio in 2005, Binion's remained home to the WSOP. Today, the footprint of the WSOP remains on Binion's property. The Binion's poker room houses landmarks such as the Hall of Fame, as well as the table on which Phil Laak faced off against a computer program. Fittingly, Binion's poker room doesn't appear to have made many electronic upgrades since poker's explosion in popularity. The waiting list for their cash games is nothing more than a piece of paper. Dealers at Binion's work without the aid of automatic shufflers. Most cash games at Binion's are played for small stakes. Some large cash games run during the Binion's Classic, which is a new tournament series popular amongst small stakes players. In addition to exposure to the most helpful poker room staff in town, players are also treated to $2 per hour in comps that can be used for the adjoining snack bar, or anything other restaurant on the property. There is little question that Binion's is home to the best poker room in downtown Vegas. Best For: Small-stakes tournament players and anyone wanting to play poker downtown. Plaza Number of Tables: 4 Overall: D Cocktail Waitress Eye Candy: C Atmosphere: D Game Availability: D Customer Service: B Plaza's poker room has been gradually decreasing in size and now just offers four tables. The most popular game in this room is $2/$4 limit. During peak hours, a $1/$2 no-limit game might run. If it weren't for unbelievably soft competition, there is little reason to play in this room. It is almost unfair to even call this a poker room. The four tables are located in a roped-off corner next to a bar. This property clearly does not value their poker offerings. Best For: Frankly, no one. Fitzgerald's Number of Tables: 6 Overall: B- Cocktail Waitress Eye Candy: B- Atmosphere: B Game Availability: C+ Customer Service: A Fitzgerald's hosts twice-daily $45 buy-in tournaments that actually draw quite a crowd. Bustouts in that tournament usually start a $1/$2 no-limit game that can actually result in some pretty big stacks relative to the blinds. A friend and I sat in this game for a while. It was easily the softest cash game I've played in my life. The employees of this poker room were friendly. It is evident that they're trying to establish themselves as a legitimate poker venue. My only significant knock on this room was their proximity to a restroom. It was a fifteen minute roundtrip involving a ride in an elevator just to take a leak. Best For: $1/$2 no-limit players. Golden Nugget Number of Tables: 10 Overall: B+ Cocktail Waitress Eye Candy: A- Atmosphere: B+ Game Availability: B Customer Service: B Without question, the Golden Nugget is the nicest casino in downtown Vegas. It is the only property with an interior nice enough to rival a Strip casino. Their poker room is a little small; ten tables are cramped into an area that would more optimally hold eight. While I was there on a Tuesday night, the room was bustling with action. The most common games are $1/$2 no-limit and limit with stakes of $2/$4 and $3/$6. This is the only downtown casino with Strip-caliber cocktail waitresses and excellent television access. From June 6th through July 6th of this year, the Golden Nugget is hosting a tournament series which will rival the Binion's Classic. Like Binion's, the series will largely mirror the WSOP, except at one-tenth the buy-in costs. The final event is a $1,000+$80 buy-in. Their flyer said this tournament will have "50 tables guaranteed", whatever that means. Best For: Downtown visitors who seek the elegance of the Strip.

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