There’s never a bad time for a poker vacation, even if some travelers limit their options for taking one. Gamblers in the US and Europe, for example, often assume the only place they can travel is Las Vegas.
The good news? Many of the world’s best poker cities are also exciting destinations in and of themselves. The better news? I’m about to succinctly outline them, so it’s easy for you to book your flight and go.
Continue reading to learn my perspective, and to get inspired for your next trip, no matter when you end up taking. I certainly feel lucky—and grateful—that you’re here!
The Problem With Las Vegas
When most travelers begin to plan a poker vacation, Las Vegas is the first (and, in many cases, only) place that comes to mind. On one hand, this is understandable. In addition to hosting some of the world’s best casinos, Las Vegas is an all-inclusive entertainment destination. The quality of hotels, restaurants and shopping malls is second-to-none, to say nothing of all the gorgeous desert scenery within a short drive of the Strip.
At the same time, Las Vegas’ golden reputation means that it’s always crowded, meaning that it can be hard to get a seat at any given poker table. Moreover, since so many skilled players come to Vegas, it can be hard to find your footing once you finally do join a game, particularly if you aren’t very confident, or simply haven’t played enough to craft your own strategy. Thankfully, many other cities in the world are perfect if you want to travel to play poker.
Three Ideas for Your Next Poker Vacation
Edinburgh is a magnificent city not only for the picturesque old town surroundings timeless Edinburgh Castle, but also because it’s a great base for travel in Scotland. You can visit the city of Glasgow or the Loch Ness Monster on a day trip, while more distant destinations like the Isle of Skye are an easy weekend away.
For those looking to get lucky, Edinburgh is home to two poker rooms: Genting Fountain Park and the Grosvenor Casino. Since online poker is also legal in the UK, visitors to Edinburgh might also log on to PokerStars, where the pokerstars free money code offers a cash incentive you simply can’t get in physical poker rooms, as wonderful as their ambiance may be.
Rozvadov, Czech Republic
The quaint Czech city of Rozvadov is home to miles of walking trails and fairytale forests, but tourism here is limited—except when it comes to poker. This unassuming town actually boasts the biggest poker room in Europe: King’s Casino Rozvadov. To get here, take advantage of the casino’s dedicated service, which can quickly take you from Prague Airport to the German borderlands.
The games never stop at this 24-hour room. King’s Casino hosts daily tournaments for amateur players on poker vacations, with buy-ins ranging from €30 to €25,000. At certain times of the year, pros also get in on the action, from the German Championship of Poker (GCOP) to the week-long King’s Deepstack Series poker festival.
Melbourne is one of my favorite cities in the world—I hope to return there once Australia has opened back up. When I’m not having a stroll along the Yarra River in the heart of town, you can usually find me driving along the majestic Great Ocean Road.
Australia’s second city also plays happens to host the best poker room on the continent, the Crown Melbourne. Here players on a poker vacation flock to try their luck at over 50 poker tables, mostly no-limit Hold ‘em with some Omaha variants thrown into the mix. Cash games and weekly tournaments are the main draws, but the Crown also hosts infamous annual tournaments like the Aussie Millions and the Victorian Poker Championship.
Macau: The Vegas of the East
A semi-autonomous Chinese territory just across the water from Hong Kong, Macau is to Asian gamers what Vegas is to poker players in the West. Like Vegas, Macau blends an interesting cityscape and landscape with first-rate casinos, great hotels and incredible shopping. Another interesting thing about visiting Macau is how multicultural it is. Since it was formerly a Portuguese colony, there’s a decidedly Latin flavor to its cuisine and architecture.
Regardless of which game you prefer to play, and whether or not you visit other poker destinations on this list, I do hope you’ll consider visiting Macau on your next trip to the Far East. It’s one of the most interesting and underrated places I’ve ever visited, precisely because it’s so much more than its casinos. Even better, you can easily come here on a day trip from Hong Kong (another one of my favorite places in the world).
The Bottom Line
I hope you’ve opened your mind to all the different forms a poker vacation can take. Which is not to say you should feel ashamed if you simply want to go to Las Vegas or Macau—quite the contrary. Instead, I want you to realize that as a poker-minded traveler, the entire world is your oyster, whether in Europe or the British Isles, or in Australia’s cosmopolitan second city. Before I leave you, I’ll end with a call to action: Have you ever traveled somewhere out-of-the-ordinary to play poker? Leave a comment below and tell me. Regardless of where you travel next, and whether or not you end up playing poker, I hope your trip is safe, happy and unforgettable!