There was a time that nearly all Las Vegas Strip casinos hosted a poker room. The exceptions were Casino Royale, Cosmopolitan, Encore, New York-New York, Paris Las Vegas, and Palazzo. Of those, Encore, Paris Las Vegas and Palazzo had poker rooms at sister properties that connected through an indoor shopping corridor.
That’s no longer the case.
Since 2011 there has been a downturn in Las Vegas poker, coinciding with online poker’s Black Friday. At least 28 Las Vegas poker rooms folded since then, including 11 on the Strip.
Here is a eulogy on all the lost Las Vegas poker rooms since Black Friday.
The Strat (Stratosphere) – October 2019
The Strat rebranded from the Stratosphere after the property was acquired by Golden Entertainment two years ago. A $140 million renovation was announced for the resort. One of the changes was building a new poker room on the second level, moving the four-table poker room from its first-floor location it held for its long life.
This move did not appear to help a room that often struggled to get cash games and tournaments off the ground. The poker room closed about one month after it moved to its new location.
The Stratosphere’s poker room received a bump after the nearby Sahara poker room closed in April 2011. Many of its staff and players moved to Stratosphere. The tournaments and structures did, too.
The closure of Sahara added life to the Stratosphere poker room. The 7 pm tournaments would often draw six or eight tables, and multiple cash games would run. Unfortunately, the games dried up, and eventually, so did the poker room. No future use has been determined for the space.
Arizona Charlie’s Decatur – August 2018
Like the Strat, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur is owned by Golden Entertainment. The poker room served locals west of downtown Las Vegas. It was perhaps best-known as the last poker room in Las Vegas that permitted smoking at the tables. That ended in 2017.
Arizona Charlie’s did not spread any tournaments in its three-table poker room. It spread small fixed limit Hold’em games during the week with an occasional weekend no-limit game. The poker room was replaced with slots.
Treasure Island – August 2018
Treasure Island was a seven-table poker room. It was known for being inviting to mixed games players. It spread many of these games during the summer tournament season. Unfortunately, it got little in the way of other action. It went as far as paying anyone willing to give substantial weekly action as much as $10 an hour in cash to sit at its tables. This still did not keep the poker room from going dark for days at a time.
Treasure Island acknowledged its poker failure in a statement, telling Vegas Advantage, the poker room “is a small space, and is not competitive with larger poker rooms on the Strip.”
Suncoast – April 2018
Suncoast was the home of Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo in Las Vegas. The game was spread most afternoons in two different forms. There was a standard 4/8 fixed limit game, as well as a 2-10 spread one called ‘Hoggie.’ This game had a qualifier for both high and low. The high hand had to be at least two-pair, later revised to a pair of jacks-or-better.
When the Suncoast poker room died, the Seven Card Stud Hi/Lo games in town did, too. There was a brief run at Red Rock before the players gave up. The defunct Suncoast poker room is now a promotional reception area.
Luxor – June 2017
The Luxor poker room was determined by management to be redundant. The casino connects to sister casinos Excalibur and Mandalay Bay. Both have poker rooms. As interest in poker dropped, the Luxor poker room traffic declined. The main cash game was 1/2 no-limit Hold’em. It held several daily tournaments. The space is now used as a lounge.
Monte Carlo – April 2017
The Monte Carlo’s eight-table poker room closed as part of the property’s rebranding to Park MGM. The main game was 1/2 no-limit Hold’em with some spread and limit Hold’em games during peak hours. It also spread several daily no-limit Hold’em tournaments.
The poker room was transformed into gaming space during the property’s renovation. Park MGM guests can walk the corridor to Aria and play in one of the most luxurious poker rooms in Las Vegas.
Hard Rock – March 2017
The Hard Rock Casino, located just east of the Las Vegas Strip, closed its three-table poker room in March 2017. Hard Rock’s poker room was converted into slots. The main game was 1/3 no-limit Hold’em. It did not spread tournaments. The poker room often went days without a game. Giving away its $30,000 jackpot pool after the announced closure could not even fill the room.
The Linq – August 2016
The Linq closed its poker room twice this decade, as well as another time under the previous Quad branding during a renovation. The Linq’s five-table poker room spread the lowest-limit cash game on the Strip at the time. Players could sit at the table with just $50 for a no-limit game with a small and big blind of just $1. The space seemed redundant with the poker room at Harrah’s a short walk away. The former poker room is now used as a lounge.
Eastside Cannery – April 2016
The Eastside Cannery poker room closed shortly after Boyd Gaming acquired the property. It was home to four tables and connected to the table games pit. The only game it spread was 2-6 spread limit Hold’em. It did not host regular tournaments. Today, the former poker room pit hosts table games.
Plaza – March 2016
Plaza closed its poker room twice in the past decade. Its poker room was once known as the home of Panguingue in Las Vegas, a game that plays like rummy. That was its claim to fame last decade and before.
Its live poker room also spread tournaments that would often draw 100 or more players, along with no limit and fixed limit games. That live poker room closed in 2010 when the property underwent a renovation.
Plaza brought poker back in 2013. It was on Pokertek’s PokerPro machines. Pokertek was acquired by a company that did not want to go through the licensing process. This forced Plaza to close its poker room. The old live poker room is now home to the players’ center. The electronic space is now a keno lounge.
Aliante Casino – March 2016
Like Plaza, Aliante Casino in North Las Vegas hosted PokerPro machines. Like Plaza, it was forced to remove the machines when the parent company of the devices did not pursue a Nevada gaming license. The space is now home to table games.
Before PokerPro machines, Aliante had a live poker room that closed shortly after the property was lost by Station Casinos in its bankruptcy. That space is used for slot tournaments these days.
Hooters – March 2015
Hooters closed its two-table poker room to make room for promotional space. Hooters recently rebranded to Oyo. There are no plans to bring poker back to the property.
Texas Station – August 2014
Texas Station’s eight-table poker room closed abruptly in 2014. It dealt mostly spread and fixed limit Hold’em games with a few tournaments. Players were directed to Santa Fe Station’s poker room after the closure. The space is used for storage today.
Palms – June 2014
The eight-table poker room at Palms was shuttered to expand the sportsbook lounge. It arguably had the best location of any poker room in town. It was embedded into the high-end sportsbook.
The Palms poker room was different than all others on this list. It was not operated by the casino, rather, Cantor Gaming, referred to as CG Technology these days, managed it. The company still operates the sportsbook at Palms today.
Sunset Station – May 2014
Sunset Station’s eight-table poker room closed, and players were sent to nearby Green Valley Ranch. The space is utilized for slots today. It spread low limit fixed and no-limit Hold’em games.
El Cortez – December 2013
The three-table El Cortez poker room was kept open, at least in part, to entertain penthouse suite resident Jackie Gaughan during the day. He helped build downtown Vegas and once owned El Cortez. When Gaughan’s health failed, the poker room shuttered.
Circus Circus – September 2013
Circus Circus was known as Stardust’s poker room. The games moved there after its iconic neighbor closed. The regular game was 3/6 fixed limit Hold’em. It did not spread any tournaments. The five tables were removed as poker interest declined. It became the players club center.
M Resort – August 2013
Poker was huge at M Resort’s 14-table poker room when the casino opened. However, locals unhappy with the room’s management moved their action to South Point and Green Valley Ranch. That crashed traffic. The room did not manage to get a single game some days, and tournaments rarely got off the ground towards the end.
The once lively M Resort poker room was converted into a slot tournament area after its closure. Today, it is the high limit slots lounge.
Riviera – June 2013
The Riviera poker room closed two years before the casino property changed hands and was imploded. Its six-table room was often idle or dark. It was only busy when the Riviera hosted pool tournaments.
Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall – February 2013
The six-table poker room at Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall, once known as Barbary Coast, shuttered with the rest of the property. Its claim to fame was it being the only poker room on the Strip that spread $0.50/$1 no-limit Hold’em at the time. The casino became The Cromwell. It opened without a poker room.
Jokers Wild – October 2012
This four-table poker room spread $0.50/$1 no-limit Hold’em. Interest dropped, and poker rooms at other Boulder Highway casinos attracted more action, so the space was converted into slots.
Ellis Island – September 2012
Ellis Island’s two-table poker room might hold the record for the shortest lifespan. It opened and closed within about two months. It was in the table games pit at the time and was replaced by blackjack tables.
Tropicana – September 2012
Tropicana’s six-table poker room had the misfortune of opening on online poker’s Black Friday. It was home to a variety of mixed games and the occasional no-limit Hold’em one. Management tried to turn it into a promo room that paid loyal players an hourly rate as props. That required a $3 jackpot drop, which was unpopular with many guests. The space today is used for slot tournaments.
O’Sheas – April 2012
The five-table poker room at O’Sheas closed when the casino folded to make room for the expansion of a new concept. The space is used by Linq today. Linq’s failed poker room sat in about the same spot that O’Sheas did. The O’Sheas concept later reopened at the rear of the Linq property. It does not have a poker room.
Fitzgeralds – January 2012
Fitzgeralds was the previous name of The D in downtown Las Vegas. The poker room failed to get a game off the ground most nights. It closed after the Stevens family acquired the property and rebranded it The D.
Silverton – January 2012
This five-table poker room at Silverton was located next to the sportsbook. At one time, Cantor Gaming considered reopening the poker room and operating it like it did at Palms. However, the room never reopened, and the tables eventually removed. The area serves as the high limit slots lounge today.
Sahara – April 2011
The 11-table Sahara poker room dealt a 2/4 fixed limit Hold’em daily with some no limit cash games at night. It also spread three daily tournaments with fantastic structures.
The poker room closed a month before the rest of the casino did. That is because most of the staff accepted positions at Stratosphere and needed to move over immediately. Many of the players followed, which gave that room a boost for a few years. In October 2019, Stratosphere’s poker room closed due to a collapse in traffic.