Gone are the days of poker’s brightest talents crowding into a hastily-put together ‘room’ in an empty convention centre (well, almost) to battle it out for status and money.
Nowadays, the world’s biggest and most prestigious tournaments are held amongst the backdrop of a glamorous and glitzy casino hotel.
With millions of dollars up for grabs and thousands of spectators flocking to venues to catch a glimpse of their favourite player, it makes sense to hold world-famous tournaments in luxurious casino hotels.
In this article we take a look at some of the coolest and most opulent casino hotels that hosted elite level poker tournaments. If you have stayed at any of these hotels or even played poker there, be sure to let us know what your experience was like in the comments section below. If not be sure when you’re checking in luggage, you have packed all the necessities to make it a weekend to remember for you and your friends.
888poker LIVE SOCHI Festival 2021
Venue: Casino Sochi, Russia
Date: 17th July – 26th July, 2021
One event that is excited poker fans was 888poker’s live tournament in Sochi, Russia.
The event attracted some of the biggest names in Russian poker as well as stars from all over Europe. If the thought of losing out to a seasoned card shark doesn’t faze you, you could seal yourself a seat at one of the tables.
When there isn’t any ongoing tournaments, 888 use their allure to play Texas Hold’em, in order to them to sign up to their site. Now they’re offering something much more valuable, direct entry to the Sochi festival through qualifying satellite events and direct buy-ins.
Even if you’re guaranteed to bow out at the first stage of the tournament, entering would be well worth it just to visit the stunning Casino Sochi. Set on the Black Sea, Sochi is known as the “gateway to the Russian Riviera”, where you can visit the dolphinarium of Sochi Park and other unique marine shows.
The beautiful hotel rooms that offer great views are quite cheap too, coming in at an average of £55-60 a night. Even if you can’t make it this year, add Sochi and the casino to your list of must-visit places.
(Go behind the scenes of the Casino Sochi with its Poker Club Director Artur Voskanyan.)
Venue: MGM Grand Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Date: Every May
You might be scratching your head and wondering what leg of the WSOP has been given the name ‘Tiger Jam’. If you, scratch no more as this is not an official professional tournament, rather it is a semi-informal poker tournament held every year at Tiger Woods charitable two-day event ‘Tiger Jam’.
The event has been running for just over two decades with the aim of raising money for the TGR Foundation, a charity set up by Tiger Woods to help under-privileged students through college admissions.
In the most recent event, Tiger Woods made headlines when he lost out on a big bluff to Oklahoma City Thunder baller Russell Westbrook. After the evening’s festivities, guests headed back to their luxurious rooms in the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino.
Unfortunately admission to Tiger Jam is dependent on two things, your level of fame or your level of wealth. If you’re neither super famous nor super rich you can forget about playing a few hands with the golfing superstar.
That doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the experience of staying at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino though. There are rooms and packages available for all budgets with £100 securing you a room that would put 99% of hotels to shame. Also there’s other activities like driving Mojave ATVs in the desert of Las Vegas to sightseeing on the the strip and much more.
(If you had the money, you could have bought yourself a special golf clinic session with Tiger Woods himself.)
World Series of Poker Europe 2021
Venue: King’s Resort Live, Rozvadov, Czechia
Date: 19th November – 8th December 2021
In 2007 the WSOP decided to branch out from North America and hold their first expansion tournament further afield. That first tournament was held in 2007 at Harrah’s Casino in London and was the inaugural WSOPE leg.
Since then the tournament has been held in Europe annually and has attracted some of poker’s most famous names as it has toured around the continent.
This year the event will be held at King’s Resort in Rozvadoz, Czechia for the third-time running. The Casino and Hotel is the perfect place for a tournament of this magnitude having been opened in 2003 by art collector and avid poker player Leon Tsoukernik.
Tsoukernik’s love of poker means that the venue is one of the friendliest and most comfortable places to play poker anywhere in Europe. Which is good news for players as they will need to be as calm and measured as possible as they battle it out for their share of the $25 million in prize pool guarantees.
If you want to head out and enjoy the action, you’ll have to hire a car and drive around two hours from Prague to get to Rizvadoz. You can break that journey up however by stopping off at the famous city of Pilsen and sampling the country’s most popular export – Pilsner Urquell.
In terms of value, you’ll get bang for your buck when you rent a room at the resort’s hotel with top-tier rooms going for as little as £70 a night.
(Action from the German Poker Tour held at King’s Resort, Roznadov in 2020.)
There you have it, three amazing casino hotels that host some of the biggest poker tournaments on the planet. If you have any stories about your time spent at the venues discussed in this article or any other great casino hotels, let us know below.