Gambling – a thing that you either love or hate. Poker is just one of the gambling games you can enjoy and it is probably the most famous game that comes with a bit of a learning curve, some skill needed and a bit of luck on top of all that. Those who manage to combine all three of these factors are very successful in this game and the prize is a lot of cash and reputation. Now the rep is gained if you attend poker competitions and tournaments in many of the prestigious destinations, if you play for yourself with your buddies or in a local casino, money will still be there just without the international poker player reputation.
Yet it isn’t just professional poker players who can experience the top poker spots in the world – poker facilities go hand in hand with casinos and other forms of gambling. So wherever there is a big gambling market and plenty of casinos, you are likely to find many opportunities for poker playing at any level. One way you can narrow a search is by hitting up Ladbrokes and see what game and tournament you can easily enter with just a few clicks. These places often have whole economies based upon gambling and casino income, and their doors are wide open to newcomers.
So what are the world’s poker hotspots? Naturally, many of the places on this list will be familiar with their global reputation for gambling, for example, Macau, Monte Carlo, and Las Vegas. The last of these has historically been considered the global capital of poker, in the heart of the country that gave rise to the extremely popular card game. However, while Las Vegas is sure to feature on any rundown of the top poker destinations, its supremacy is more than challenged by other destinations from across the world, some of which have acquired their reputations relatively recently.
Beyond the expected, any list compiling the top poker destinations will also feature several that the uninitiated will not be aware of as being poker hot spots. Regardless, all are a safe bet for both a casual bit of fun and a serious poker excursion.
Johannesburg (South Africa)
The first destination on our list is one of the unexpected ones. There are lots of reasons to go to South Africa, but many would associate the country with safari long before poker. Don’t get us wrong there is more to South Africa (beyond safari itself) in other aspects but to be perfectly honest you probably wouldn’t remember to enter a poker tourney there are millions of years. Yet ever since October 2010, when the WSOPA tournament was held in Johannesburg, the city has garnered a serious reputation for poker. There are many games to choose from, hosted at world-class casinos. Johannesburg is an awesome city and it does host some of the most beautiful gambling places like Emperor’s Palace Casino, Emerald Resort & Casino, Monte Casino or as some state a little bit of Italy in Johannesburg, and many more.
Of course, London is a global city with a mighty reputation in many more areas than you would care to count. Therefore, it seems fairly obvious that it would be a great spot for poker. And of course, it is. London has been a regular stopover for the EPT for many years, and the city offers plenty of other attractions while you are there. If you decide to go and play a game of poker in London then you should hit up The Hippodrome Casino which will be a sight and a half for any half-decent poker player.
China is a country that has a lot of quirks, bans and whatnot. For some things, it has been a highly undesirable country while for others China is a real hotspot. Quirks of history have led to Macau becoming a gambling hotspot of international renown, all because it is the only place in China where the practice is legal. As expected, poker is exceedingly popular here, and the city brings in more revenue than Las Vegas! Some of the hot spots for gambling in Macau are Galaxy Casino, The Parisian Casino, The Venetian Casino, Grand Lisboa Casino and others.
Las Vegas (USA)
The traditional heartland of gambling and poker naturally deserves a place on our list. Although today challenged by all manner of overseas competitors, Las Vegas is still a mecca for poker fans, and there’s an opportunity for every type of game here amid the glitzy surroundings. Las Vegas is one of those iconic gambling places and it will remain one no matter how much new of these pop up all across the globe. No one will ever choose another destination over Las Vegas, because there is something about Sin City that is hard to explain and fight off.
Monte Carlo (Monaco)
Another spot well known for its casinos and poker opportunities, Monte Carlo also has a reputation for exclusivity, earning it the “playground of the rich” epithet. Yet despite that, it isn’t all high stakes here, and there are ample poker-playing opportunities for the more casual fan. However, if you want to go big, Monte Carlo is certainly the place to do it. It was and is still a special destination for gamblers of all calibres, and on the entire list, Monte Carlo somehow gives a gentleman’s feel to gambling, mostly because in most casinos there is a dress code you have to abide by if you want to get in.
San Jose (Costa Rica)
Coming now to the slightly less well-known gambling and poker hotspots, San Jose is a regional centre for gambling which draws punters from further afield too. With fantastic weather and a certain elegance to it, San Jose has no shortage of poker playing opportunities as well as the chance to win both big and small. Poker games and places aren’t hard to find here, you will just have to set aside some time for gambling since the beauty and liveliness of San Jose will take up most of your time.
Paradise Island (Bahamas)
Word “paradise island” gets thrown a lot around especially these past years. Suddenly every island with clear water and some nice sand is a paradise destination. What every paradise island needs is a bit of gambling aside and this one surely offers some interesting places to have fun. If you are a poker player, this will be a true paradise island. A truly exotic location that hosts the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure every January at the Atlantis resort. As well as excellent poker opportunities, the location also boasts fantastic nightlife and stunning Caribbean beaches.
Punta Del Este (Uruguay)
Punta Del Este, with its luxurious hotels and casinos, has deservedly attracted the nickname “San Tropez of Uruguay”. Yet unlike the town on the French Riviera, it also has a serious reputation for poker. If you are after the more elegant than glitzy surroundings – and appreciate good weather – this is undoubtedly a first-class location to play a few hands. Plus, when you are done, Uruguay has to offer a lot more than just nice casinos and hotels. You will be amazed at what you can see there.