The Greatest Poker Casinos in Vegas

poker dealer

Viva Las Vegas! Home to a veritable circus of attractions, shows, glitz and glamour, Vegas describes itself as the ‘entertainments capital of the world’. And you would be hard pressed to find a place that encompasses as much fun and frivolity as this world-famous city situated in the middle of the Mojave Desert.

Once described as “Sin City” due to its tolerance for gambling and other adult fancies, Vegas has now become a popular place for Americans to raise their family and even retire to. However, with over 30 million visitors a year, this place is also a huge tourist attraction. One thing is for sure, there is always something to do in Vegas, as it truly is a city that never goes to sleep!

Home to several museums, including botanical gardens and zoo, with over 150 species of both plants and animals, plus a school of performing arts that regularly hosts Broadway shows and a variety of performances from ballets to famous orchestras, Vegas is not without culture. However, it is on the renowned Las Vegas Strip where the vast and grandiose hotel and casinos are to be found.

The MGM Grand

Just about everything in this hotel is larger than life, grander than grand, bounteously bountiful! Lavish and bold, from the moment you step into the foyer and face the huge golden MGM trademark lion, you know that you could be nowhere else in the world other than Vegas!

The hotel has featured in many a Hollywood movie, and was once the largest hotel in the world. This does mean that getting around the building involves a fair bit of walking, but who cares when there is so much to admire along the way.

As for the casino, Texas Hold‘em is the game that the MGM Grand poker room is most famous for. With 22 tables and a relaxed non-smoking atmosphere, the MGM even offers tableside massages for those who wish to indulge completely in this relaxing environment. On the floor of the casino, there are slots galore, paying out over 750,000 dollars a day on the progressive games.

There is also a sports book area where punters can bet on whichever race or game is being shown on the huge plasma screens on the walls. There are 53 channels available, so no tournament, game or race need be missed!

The Bellagio

Perhaps the most sumptuous yet elegantly decorated casino hotel on the Las Vegas Strip, The Bellagio has the AAA 5 Diamond award for hospitality and service. With stunning views from the guest rooms and designer suites, this hotel is classy and sophisticated.
A strong supporter of the World Poker Tour, the casino is a host to the event when it makes its way to Vegas. There are 39 tables for plenty of poker action, and also ‘Bobby’s Room’ where the stakes are high at a $20,000 minimal buy-in to play.

Caesars Palace

With a reputation for being one of the most famous Casino resort in Vegas, Caesars style is Roman Empire-tastic! A seated Colosseum, Roman statues, sparkling fountains, and opulent ornateness are abundant in this stunning hotel and casino. Spas, Roman baths and delectable gardens – what more could a palace need? Well, there is the casino to explore of course! There are 62 poker tables offering 24-hour gaming and a full tournament schedule in the tournament room. It is also home to the NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship.

There is also a huge variety of slot machines offering massive jackpots. Players can play with a single dollar right up to 5,000 dollars.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, but one thing is certain, you will never forget your time spent visiting this remarkable, unique city.

  

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Fix Up and Look Sharp!

hot babe playing poker

Slowly but surely, the gaming world is becoming ever so slightly fairer, with female gamers like poker ace and BBC quiz show presenter Victoria Coren beginning to break through to the higher echelons of the industry. Give it another generation and we’ll start to see an increasingly even spread of male and female gaming stars, but for now at least, the classic image of a casino icon is that of a man; a Frank Sinatra, a James Bond, a George Clooney, an impeccably suave alpha male with class, flair, money and serious cojones.

What man in their right mind wouldn’t want to be that guy? Well, with a bit of luck, a fairly considerable amount of expenditure and a good deal of careful thought, many of us Average Joes can actually get pretty close to the mark and become something akin to those pop culture heroes of casino folklore and pick up some of the action.

Without further ado, here’s a handy guide to the three key components you need to have in place to turn heads as a casino-slaying leader of the pack:

The Get-up: You’ve really gotta nail this one. While some serious gamers can rock the casual look complete with Hawaiian shirts, flip-flops and secret fortunes, you’re not just here to have a good time, you’re here to look like a king while you’re at it. The guy in the Hawaiian shirt never gets the best hotel action post-casino play! If money’s no object then we suggest a high-end tailored suit – you can be sure there’ll be plenty of people around you who can spot an ill-fitting jacket and you can bet your bottom dollar they’re pretty merciless human beings. If you’re on a budget, go for vintage cool – Harris Tweeds are surprisingly easy to pick up cheap and can be altered to fit for a small charge.

The Game: If you think you can just walk straight into a casino and impress your peers without learning the ropes first, you’ve got another thing coming. There’s nothing further from the suave casino ideal than an inexperienced player making a hell of a lot of noise without really respecting the culture and history of the industry. Make sure you know your stuff before even setting foot in a casino. To get your game up to scratch, practice anonymously online at sites like Jackpot Capital Casino, immerse yourself in the mythology and history of the industry and learn your hard hands from your pokies.

The Girl: To feel like the complete casino king you’re going to need a dazzling queen on your arm – the Julia Roberts to your George Clooney, the Eva Green to your Daniel Craig. Whether or not you’re already attached, you’ll find that getting a lovely lady to join you on a trip to the casino is anything but a hard sell – just be sure to wine and dine her at your chosen pleasure palace’s glitziest restaurant to keep her howling at your every roll of the dice.

  

Bunnies are leaving Las Vegas

At least for now.

The Playboy Club located at the Palms in Las Vegas will be closing down. We were there several years ago for the PMOY party for the lovely Ida Ljungqvist and we snapped the photos you see above of the famous Bunnies.

The space is stunning as it sits atop on the the towers at the Palms with breathtaking views of the Las Vegas Strip, but the popularity of the venue has been declining in recent years, and the new management at the Palms is obviously looking to inject new life into this property. We’re looking forward to seeing what they come up with.

As for the Bunnies, we suspect they’ll reappear soon at another casino property in Vegas.

  

Horseshoe Casino opens in Downtown Cleveland

As a casino fan from Ohio, I was always content with jetting off to Las Vegas for some 24-hour fun at the tables. But as more and more states started allowing casino gambling, it became frustrating to watch Ohio voters consistently reject proposals that would permit casino gambling in Ohio.

Two things helped change that. First, we had the massive recession in 2008, and Ohioans saw billions of dollars leaving the state to casinos in adjoining states like Pennsylvania. Then, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert got involved. Gilbert knows how to get things done, and with his involvement the pro-casino forces finally got their act together and Ohio voters passed a constitutional amendment in 2009 that permitted the construction of four casinos in Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati.

Phase 1 of the new Horseshoe Casino in Cleveland opens tonight, and I got a sneak peak last week along with some of the local media. As you can see from the photos I took, the renovation of the historic 81-year old Higbee’s Department Store in the heart of Downtown Cleveland has resulted in a beautiful and unique space that will become a featured attraction in C-Town for years to come. The designers were able to incorporate many of the classic features from the old department store and work them in with the Horseshoe brand, particularly the chandeliers and lighting fixtures. Also, most of the old bronze fixtures like the original Higbee doors were fully restored. The new casino blends a classic and modern feel, with high-tech, big-screen slot machines and gambling tables filling the historic space. It’s elegant but also inviting, and I can’t wait to see it when it’s packed with people with cheers coming from the craps tables.

The casino takes up 4 floors of the old building. The main floor is located at street level and will be the primary floor for gambling activity. This was the featured floor of the old department store with big columns, high ceilings and amazing chandeliers, and it provides the perfect space for loads of table games and slot machines. It also features a small but elegant bar area called Legends at Horseshoe. The next floor up features more table games and slots, along with a much bigger bar area in the heart of the space called Vintage 51 that will likely become a popular nightlife spot. This 2nd floor area also features a food court area with three local eateries, including Iron Chef Micheal Symon’s B Spot (burgers), and a high limit gambling area. The ceilings are lower on this floor so it has the cozy feel of an old-school Vegas casino.


Vintage 51 at Cleveland Horseshoe Casino

The new casino is owned and operated by Gilbert’s Rock Gaming LLC, and Gilbert struck a deal with Caesars Entertainment’s Horseshoe brand to handle the day-today gaming operations. With that comes the Total Rewards players club featured at all Caesars properties, so players can rack up points in Cleveland and use them in Vegas or other Caesars location around the world or vice versa. Players can sign up online or at the casino for free. Benefits at Horseshoe Cleveland include 24-hour free self-parking for Total Rewards players who play for 30 minutes and earn at least 15 Tier Credits. Unfortunately, Ohio law prohibits complimentary drinks, but Total Rewards members can earn discounts, and the new, high tech slot machines let you place your order right on the machine as opposed to waiting for a waitress.

I like the way the tables are laid out on the two main floors, and was encouraged to see traditional Blackjack tables. One disturbing trend in Vegas has casinos pushing one-deck Blackjack games that only pay 6-5 on Blackjack, which seriously affected the odds in the casino’s favor. It’s a game for suckers, but all the tables at the Horseshoe Cleveland seemed to have standard shoes and traditional 3-2 payouts on Blackjack.

The top floor of the new casino features a 30-table World Series of Poker Room that is beautifully laid out. I can see spending a lot of time there in marathon poker tournaments, and poker should draw plenty of players to the casino. This top floor also features a stunning VIP players lounge for Diamond Club and Seven Stars Total Rewards members that you can see in photo #7 in the slideshow above. It’s beautifully laid out and it will be interesting to see if they ever permit others to come in with a cover charge, as it has the potential to be destination spot for big spenders.


Poker Room at Cleveland Horseshoe Casino

The new casino is accessible from multiple entrances, including several from the adjoining Tower City complex, a massive mall created from a previous renovation project of the Tower City subway station. The bottom floor of the casino can be accessed directly from the Tower City mall and features 400-seat buffet but no gaming. Additional entrances are available from the main floor of the mall.

The casino will likely breathe new life into this beautiful urban mall along with the rest of the downtown area. The Horseshoe Casino has numerous alliances with restaurants and hotels throughout the downtown area that will benefit players and also spur more economic activity. The Cleveland casino wasn’t developed to be an entirely self-contained entertainment complex like others around the country that you find off of a freeway. Instead, players will be able to easily venture outside and enjoy everything Cleveland has to offer, including nearby Cavs and Indians games. You can follow the casino on Facebook and Twitter for updates and specials.

Cleveland is buzzing over the new casino, and I expect it to attract many players from the Cleveland metro area along with becoming a destination spot for the region. It should also breathe more energy into the Cleveland nightlife scene. I can’t wait for my first roll of the dice!

  

Ultimate weekend at Aria in Las Vegas

I’ve been going to Las Vegas for over 25 years, so I’ve stayed in every type of casino Sin City has to offer, from the high end resorts to the $25 per night temporary motel rooms behind the old Stardust when they were renovating it years ago. No matter where you’re staying, Vegas has so much to offer that you’ll always have a blast. But my recent weekend in Vegas staying at the amazing Aria Resort & Casino was a very pleasant reminder that a first class weekend in a luxurious hotel makes all the debauchery Vegas has to offer that much more enjoyable. It’s also so much easier to nurse a hangover in a comfortable bed in a beautiful room where you can shut the curtains and get total darkness with the press of a button from your bed!

Bullz-Eye was invited by Aria to cover the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational that was being held at Shadow Creek. Naturally I jumped at the opportunity to cover MJ and his celebrity pals while experiencing a weekend at Aria with everything it had to offer. I was lucky to have a fun and beautiful companion with me so everything was teed up for a great weekend.

The first thing I noticed about Aria was the amazing architecture and design. Everything about this place has been meticulously designed with a modern and original look. Of course Vegas has always featured upscale resorts and hotels, but they always had that gaudy Vegas feel. Instead of going with a themed hotel, the style of Aria is much more like a trendy, luxury hotel. The amount and different types of glass used at Aria is just stunning. The Jean Philippe Pâtisserie is just one of many things that stand out, with the artistically packages chocolates and gourmet pastries in an ultra modern corner of the casino. If you’re with a date the visual stimulation alone will set the mood for a memorable trip.

Like many of the large resorts in Vegas, Aria has practically everything you could need from an entertainment point of view. The pool is amazing and the attached shopping mall offers the best shopping in Vegas. The spa also offers a perfect getaway for couples, with the “Ganbanyoku” heated-stone bed and “Shio” salt room, outdoor therapy pool, Las Vegas’ only co-ed balcony with a stunning view of our beautiful pools. Your wife or girlfriend will love it!

The casino is also laid out nicely and I like the vibe on the casino floor. The beautiful venue definitely attracts the beautiful crowd! Having a nightclub like Haze at Aria also helps as gorgeous women in tight skirts and heels invade the casino around the midnight hour. Of course we also ventured out and indulged in the debauchery that Sin City has to offer, from a strip club to a cheesy after-hours lounge for late night food and more alcohol. But we always came back to this fantastic casino and resort where we could party some more or relax in the luxury rooms.

With all the amenities at the Aria, the restaurants stood out as some of the most impressive spots. We had the opportunity to try out many of them throughout the weekend as we indulged in a wide variety of incredible dishes. We started out the first night at Sirio Ristorante for some Tuscan-style Italian food created by chef Sirio Maccioni. We were tempted to go with one of the incredible veal or beef dishes on the menu, but we knew we had a big weekend ahead and we didn’t want to start off with serious food coma. So we ordered some delicious appetizers of jumbo prawns and seasonal oysters along with seafood entrees, including a pan-fried breaded Maine lobster that was incredible. If you’re a wine lover you’ll appreciate the selection of Italian vintages.

Sirio gave us the perfect start to the weekend and we were ready for our first night of heavy drinking. By lunch the next day we were ready for our first recovery meal, and lunch at Lemongrass was the perfect remedy. This modern Thai restaurant was incredibly comfortable and offered a variety of dishes. After some great appetizers including delicious pot stickers, we stuck with our seafood strategy and order several lobster dishes, including a special prepared by the chef. I can never get enough lobster so I was more than happy with this light lunch, and the specialty cocktails helped get us back in fighting form.

On Saturday night, after shooting machine guns (more on that in a later post) and getting a much-needed nap, we had dinner at American Fish by Micheal Mina as we geared up for Viva ELVIS and another night on the town. Our seafood diet was treating us well, and now wasn’t the time to change things given the name of the restaurant. We started out with succulent Tuna Tartare and I went with the Daily Shellfish entrée. Throw in some fun sides like Truffled Mac & Cheese and specialty cocktails and the entire meal was perfect.

We were full and buzzed and ready for our Elvis experience. Cirque du Soleil has had a string of hits in Vegas, and Viva ELVIS is their latest show. If you’re into Elvis’s music then I highly recommend it, as they covered his entire career from his early years, to his military service, to the movie years to the later years with the jumpsuits and the lamb chop sideburns. The show was visually impressive as we’ve come to expect from Cirque du Soleil with incredible acrobatics, and it’s in its final season so Elvis fans should be planning their trip! After the show we stopped for a cocktail and 80s music at The GOLD Lounge as we geared up for another late night. The lounge features a concept and décor that pays homage to the celebrated life of Elvis Presley. You can’t miss it with all the gold monkey imagery (Elvis was a fan) and it’s just another of the visually stunning venues in the Aria.

By our last night in Vegas we were completely spent, but we rallied to make it to dinner at Sage, which was one of our favorite places from the weekend. I knew I was probably going to pass out soon after dinner, so I went with the Snake River Farms New York Strip as switched from seafood. We also ordered the Wagyu Beef Tartare as one of our appetizers, which may have been my favorite dish of the trip! You’ll love the New American menu of Chef Shawn McClain’s first Las Vegas restaurant, which spotlights seasonal ingredients from neighboring California, just-picked produce, artisanal meats and sustainable seafood. The décor in Sage is also stunning and it’s located near the entrance of the resort.

You should check out the Aria whether you want a high-end place to party with your friends or a weekend that your wife or girlfriend will never forget. Located in the heart of the Strip, everything you could want is either in the resort or close by. You’ll definitely be able to party in style!

  

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