2019 World Series of Poker

Land Based Poker

All the questions and answers about land based or so called B&M Poker.

  1. What is casino poker?
  2. Which Las Vegas casino is the best to play poker?
  1. What is casino poker?

    Poker has been played in casinos for many years now, although not all casinos cater for the poker player, the majority, in modern times at least realise this game is growing in popularity year on year and welcome the professional as well as the amateur poker player. Casino poker is played at a much slower pace than online, due to the cards being dealt by a real person, not a machine and the more relaxed time limits on decision making. Environments differ from casino to casino, some now opt for a non-smoking policy, some have very strict rules on what can and cannot be said during a game whilst others, typically those on beginners or novices nights, have a more relaxed feel to them.

    We can trace casino poker back to the very first casinos, however the game attracted more notoriety back in 1949 when inveterate gambler Nicholas "Nick the Greek" Dandolos approached Benny Binion with an unusual request - to challenge the best in a high-stakes poker marathon. Binion agreed to set up a match between Dandolos and the legendary Johnny Moss, with the stipulation that the game would be played in public view. This marathon lasted for 5 months, stopping only for sleep, eat and bathroom breaks. The two players played every known game imaginable when finally after Dandolos had lost his last pot, leaving Johnny Moss almost $2,000,000 to the good he stood up and uttered the now famous words "Mr. Moss, I have to let you go." In 1970 Binion created the World Series of Poker, the best players in the country were assembled and once again Johnny Moss took the honours. Today the legacy that Benny Binion left is widely regarded as the oldest, largest and most prestigious gaming competition in the world. Some of the more famous players in casino card rooms from past and present are Stu Unger, Doyle "Texas Dolly" Brunson, Thomas "Amarillo Slim" Preston, Phil Hellmuth, Howard Lederer, Phil Ivey, Gus Hansen, Phil Gordon and our very own Tony G. Today casino poker games still vary widely from city to city, from country to country. Texas Hold'Em is by far and away the most popular variant, with no limit being the most widely played around the world, however pot limit and fixed limit still attract a faithful following. Stud tournaments are still held at every major event, although the 5 card version is almost defunct now, the 7 card version of stud is still going strong. More unusual games are Omaha, which is popular in Europe and getting more popular in America and Razz which many professionals claim to dislike (yet they still play it) due to the wild drawing nature of the game. The social interaction is a major benefit of the casino game, many long standing friendships have been made across the green felt. Where casino poker differs from online poker is the ability to read your opponents "tells". Body language plays a huge part in poker in card rooms across the world, from shakey hands to sweaty brows, the finest players gather up this information like a vacuum and store it for later use. Many professionals remain silent throughout the game, others prefer to release their nervous energy by talking, making jokes or walking around. It is possible to play for a long time for little money in the casino, a $30 buy-in for a tournament may mean you staying in the casino for 8 hours, rarely will that kind of money last so long online. Finally one of the biggest benefits of casino poker is the prestige of winning one of the bigger tournaments, WSOP and WPT events are often televised, turning anonymous faces into household names overnight. Security during casino poker events is usually very tight, if televised, cheating is unheard of. Previously incidents of cheating have been highlighted and the cheat disqualified, allegations of cheating still happen to this day but they are usually allegations of a minor nature that really would not affect the outcome of the cards dealt. More common in recent times is collusion, this is where a group of friends play in the same tournament but play in a way that one, or all of them, have a good chance of reaching the higher money positions, they may fold when their friends bet (soft play). Raise heavily, be reraised by their friends and then fold (chip dumping). The casino poker community does recognise this problem and they are clamping down on it. The casino's image in todays society is slowly improving. Gone are the days of dark, smokey casinos filled with hustlers, drink, drugs and prostitution. Todays casino is brightly lit, air conditioned and aimed at being comfortable for the majority of the public. With relaxed gaming laws being introduced in several countries, more recently the UK, it appears the days of the casino and the card rooms you can walk into rather than log on to aren't numbered yet.

  2. Which Las Vegas casino is the best to play poker?

    With the poker explosion that has happened in the last few years, you can find poker in just about every room in Vegas, but the three best rooms in most people's minds are The Mirage, The Wynn, and The Bellagio.

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