5 Great Poker Cities


January 28, 2019

For professionals and even profitable recreational players, online poker has many advantages.  You can play on multiple tables at a time and more than twice as many hands per hour at each table.  You also don’t have to worry about keeping a ‘poker face’ or even wearing pants.  But live poker is great too.  There’s nothing quite like stacking chips after taking down a massive pot or peeling two aces when there’s a raise and two calls in front of you.  Luckily for us all, Texas Hold’em has become a worldwide game and there are many great places to play in every corner of the globe.  Let’s take a look at five of the best places to stack those chips.

Macau, China

Basically the Las Vegas of Asia.  Macau has 28 casinos, including multiple exact copies of Las Vegas properties (Wynn, Venetian).  I have never been here personally, but I’ve heard rumors of some of the largest and easiest games in the world.  Former Full Tilt legend Tom Dwan has reportedly been hanging out in Macau playing the juicy cash games for the past few years, and the Chinese gaming capital regularly sees action from a number of other high profile poker pros.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Photo Source: https://www.lonelyplanet.com/costa-rica/san-jose

With dozens of poker rooms, some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, volcanoes, waterfalls and exotic wildlife, do I really need to convince you on this one?  Costa Rica is a freedom lovers paradise, with completely legal gambling and a very high tolerance of *cough* other activities.

Dublin, Ireland

Photo Source: http://www.luxetravel.com/destinations/europe/ireland/dublin/

Arguably the poker capital of Europe, Dublin boasts multiple cardrooms as well as a thriving ‘pub league’ scene.  The city also hosts huge events every year such as The European Deep Stack Championships which offer tournaments with a 1,000 big blind starting stack!

Los Angeles California, USA

Photo Source: http://chilledmagazine.com/the-bicycle-hotel-casino-arrives-in-los-angeles-on-december-1-2015

Now we’re in my territory.  I grew up in Southern California and spent an ungodly amount of my time in the local cardrooms as soon as I was old enough to do so.  Most people think of Las Vegas when they think of American gambling destinations, but when it comes to poker, the greater Los Angeles area provides just as much action.  For small stakes players, the games at Hawaiian Gardens Casino are legendarily soft.  How soft you ask? How does ‘you’re opponent is sleeping at the table soft' sound?

Photo by Nick Ward

For higher stakes action (where the players are awake but still not very good at poker) you can head to The Commerce or The Bicycle Casino.  Just watch your back on your way to your car with your winnings, as these casinos are located in very unsafe neighborhoods.

Las Vegas Nevada, USA

It’s been a love-hate relationship between Las Vegas and I over the years.  ‘Sin City’ can be feel like heaven or hell and can shift between the two in a heartbeat.  I grew up in Southern California just a 3.5 hour drive from Vegas, so weekend Vegas trips were a regular thing in my early 20’s.  The poker in Vegas can be really easy if you find the right table.  With dozens of poker rooms, game selection here is very important.  Find the right table, and you’re basically printing money against rich tourists who came to town with a wad of cash and zero intention of taking it home with them.  I lived in Vegas for a while, and while I was there I employed this trick: Go to bed around 6 pm and wake up completely rested around midnight.  Head to the tables fresh and ready to play and find yourself some tourists who’ve been drinking since 3 pm.  You’ve just had your morning coffee and a full night’s sleep while they’re nursing they’re 17th vodka red bull.  You don’t have to act drunk, just don’t make it obvious that you’re rested and maybe order a beer and drink it slowly.  No need to run fancy bluffs or do anything crazy, just sit back and let them make bad decisions.

(Psssst! Play our Poker game here).