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As of May 1, the Venetian will be the latest casino to disallow cash from being used to wager at the poker tables. The move comes several weeks after MGM Resorts announced it would be banning cash from the tables at all nine of its Strip poker rooms. The Wynn has since instituted the same policy. Under these new guidelines, players will be required to convert their cash to chips before the money is considered in play.
As we outlined in our previous report, the reason casinos are moving toward cashless tables is so that they can more closely track how much players are buying in for at the tables. The Bank Secrecy Act requires casinos to file a Currency Transaction Report for any player who buys in for more than $10,000 in chips. At table games such as blackjack and roulette, casinos have required that bets be placed with chips rather than cash for many years now. This makes it easy for casino personnel to track how much a player buys in for. At poker, however, the permission of players to bet with cash has made it easy for individuals to slip under the radar and conceivably go over the $10,000 threshold without the casino being aware of it.
A sign in the Venetian poker room (seen below) states that anybody purchasing $2,000 or more in chips will be required to do so themselves at the casino cage rather than using a chip runner. It is likely that players who approach the $10,000 threshold will be asked for identification, including a social security number, if they do not already have one on file.
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VegasChatter reader Jim L. recently asked a question about which casinos in Las Vegas use different chips in their poker rooms than in the rest of the casino. The question stemmed from his discovery of the cream-colored $1 chip (seen below) during a visit to The Mirage poker room. This chip differs from the blue $1 chip which is found elsewhere in the casino.
When it comes to $1 chips, to the best of our knowledge, The Mirage is the only casino in Vegas that uses a specific chip set just for the poker room. If you were to play blackjack or other table games at The Mirage, you would see the blue chips. In the $3-$6 limit game that regularly runs in the poker room, you would see the cream-colored chip.
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Christmas will be coming a bit early for poker players at the Venetian next month. Beginning May 1, the Strip's largest poker room will begin offering a $2 max rake on all poker games 24 hours a day through May 24. The normal rake at Venetian is a $4 maximum.
To the uninitiated, the rake is, basically, how poker rooms make money. Because poker players do battle with each other instead of against the house, the poker room takes a percentage of the money in each pot. In most poker rooms, the rake is 10% of the pot up to a certain amount and it is taken in $1 increments. The first dollar is taken out when the pot reaches $10, the next dollar is taken out at $20, and so on until the maximum rake is reached. The $2 maximum rake at Venetian is a 50% drop from what they usually take and players will see a nice increase in their bottom line because of it.
Walk into any of the dozens of poker rooms in Las Vegas and the game you are most likely to see running is Texas hold 'em. While there are plenty of places around town to hit up if you're looking to mix things up with some different games, hold 'em is currently king in the world of poker and shows no sign up giving up that crown.
It's important to note that hold 'em comes in two distinct flavors: limit and no-limit. While the general rules of the game are the same regardless of which style you are playing, the difference in the betting structures can make the games massively different when it comes to how the action plays out.
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Winning money in a poker tournament is always a good thing, but winning money and contributing to a great cause is even better. Folks will be doing just that next weekend when the Poker for Hope charity tournament comes to Planet Hollywood Saturday, April 11.
The event, hosted by World Series of Poker bracelet winner Antonio Esfandiari, benefits Tia's Hope, which provides gifts and uplifting experiences to children who are hospitalized. The charity currently works with the City of Hope in Los Angeles and Golisano Children's Hospital in Rochseter, New York, and is in the process of expanding to more hospitals.
Formerly located right in the heart of the casino floor, situated between some blackjack tables and slot machines, the old setting wasn't as much of a poker "room" as it was a poker "area." The new location, now sandwiched between the Earl of Sandwich (couldn't resist) and the sports book, is a bit removed from the hustle and bustle of the main casino and the result is a much calmer, quieter setting. The old location was just feet away from the casino's raucous party pit, which gave the poker room the reputation as one of the noisiest in town after the sun went down and the go-go dancers started doing their thing. Some people don't mind a noisy room, but if you're like me, a little peace and quiet goes a long way when it comes to doing battle at the poker tables. The new room doesn't have the library-like feel of the room at the Wynn, but it is quite a bit more mellow in its new spot.
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It looks like the days of poker players being able to have stacks of cash on the table alongside their chips may be coming to a close, at least at some casinos along the Strip.
Chris Grove of Online Poker Report broke the news last week that MGM Resorts has made the decision to no longer allow cash to play on poker tables at any of their casinos as of April 1. MGM currently operates nine poker rooms in Las Vegas. Among them are two of the most prominent rooms on the Strip at Bellagio and Aria.
There was a time in Las Vegas when cash was king. Although, chips have long been the preferred currency when it comes to table games, it was once quite common to see bets placed in the form of $100 bills. Gamblers used to be able to throw a stack of bills down on the felt, the dealer would announce "money plays," and the bet would be considered live. There is a legendary story of a player walking into Binion's Horseshoe back in the 80s with a suitcase containing $777,000 in cash, which he promptly bet on the don't pass line. He won the bet and walked out onto Fremont Street with his winnings, no questions asked.
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The Mirage is building a new dream experience. We know this because it says so right on the construction wall.
Where poker was once the only name of the game will rise two new drinking spots, Center Bar and Parlor Lounge. Since an official announcement has yet to be made, here's what we can surmise from those same construction wraps:
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Last-minute buzzer beaters, underdogs pulling off huge upsets, hitting that six-team parlay to make up for the money you blew at the craps table... these are all of the things that make March Madness one of the most exciting times of the year to be in Las Vegas. When you aren't busy hanging out at the sportsbook watching all of the tremendous basketball action, there will be plenty going on in the local poker rooms. Here's a look at some special tournaments series being offered this month:
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The off-Strip resort debuted its small, three table offering back in 2006, right in the middle of the "poker boom" when casinos in Las Vegas and across the country were opening poker rooms left and right. Poker always seemed to be somewhat of an afterthought at Hooters, as they never really had a legitimate room, more like a sectioned off little corner of the casino devoted to the game. Despite its lack of status as a must-visit destination for card players, poker did manage to chug along at Hooters for nearly ten years. There is no word yet on what the casino has in store for the area.
One of our readers, Chris, recently asked the following question about setting up a private poker game at a Vegas casino for an upcoming trip:
Help: I'm a daily reader and appreciate the constant Vegas updates. I'm planning a July bachelor party and the groom-to-be is interested in seeing if we can reserve a few tables at one of the casinos to host 20 of us for a private poker game. I don't think I've seen a story on this but would appreciate if you could put your collective heads together.
While it's quite common to see table games such as craps, blackjack, or roulette reserved for certain players, things are a little different when it comes to poker. According to Nevada gaming laws, casinos may not specifically prevent anybody who is lawfully on the property from sitting in any poker game that is taking place in the casino. Many people see the high limit rooms such as Bobby's Room at Bellagio or Ivey's Room at Aria and presume that these are private games. This is not the case. The fact that these games take place in walled off areas of the poker room, often with security personnel lingering nearby, does not mean that your average Joe off the street can't take a seat in the game, presuming he has enough money in his pocket to meet the minimum buy-in.
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There are many factors you should consider when deciding where to play poker during your time in Vegas, such as what games and stakes are offered, how much you receive per hour in comp dollars, tournament offerings, the level of competition, and so on.
Another factor that should not be overlooked is what promotions a given room offers and how much value you are likely to get out of those promotions. Most poker rooms in town offer some sort of incentive for players in the form of high hand bonuses, bad beat jackpots, "aces cracked" bonuses, or hours-based free rolls. What many people don't realize is that the house isn't giving away free money with these promotions, they are simply taking money that players have contributed to a fund and giving it back out in the form of a bonus.