Online poker is a tremendous invention that has brought poker enthusiasts around the world together in the past decade. The ability to bluff, raise and bask in the glow of a massive win from the comfort of your own home have revolutionised the gambling world.
Texas Hold ‘Em, Chinese poker and a plethora of other card games are all available at the touch of a button whether you’re sat in bed, on the sofa or on the bus. However, one of the downsides of online poker is that it has discouraged people from visiting some of the best venues in the world.
Despite the allure of online poker, nothing can compare to the buzz of putting on your best clobber and looking your opponent in the eye as you bluff him to rake in a huge stash of chips. Casino holidays and poker holidays have become ever popular in the last 20 years and some of the best destinations in the world are all a budget flight away in Europe.
In this article we take a look at the five must-visit locations in the world for poker lovers.
1) The Fitzwilliam Casino and Card Club – Republic of Ireland
Known by locals as ‘The Fitz’, this historic venue has played host to a number of poker luminaries over the years including Padraig Parkinson and Liam Flood. Up and coming poker players across Europe visit The Fitz regularly to test their metal against some of the best amateur players in the world.
If you’re not flush with disposable income, don’t worry, The Fitz offers a range of daily tournaments which cater for all budgets. Although there are plenty of other casino games available, poker is the main draw of The Fitz with bi-monthly cash prize pools regularly exceeding 40,000 euros!
The casino is situated perfectly in the heart of Dublin allowing you to take a tour of the best cultural destinations in the Irish capital.
2) Casino de Barcelona – Spain
One of the main beneficiaries of the 1992 Summer Olympics was the Casino de Barcelona that benefitted from the renovation of the Olympic Port. The resort offers a full range of casino games, poker rooms and amazing restaurants.
The biggest draw for poker enthusiasts is the fact that the casino regularly plays host to a plethora of prestigious poker tours and festivals including The Spanish Championship, The World Poker Tour and The European Poker Tour.
For those celebrity spotting lovers amongst you, Gerrard Pique and his wife Shakira have been known to frequent the Casino de Barcelona. Along with footballing legend Lionel Messi and film star Antonio Banderas.
The casino is regarded as one of the best places to Texas Holdem in the country, although you’ll need to know what you’re doing to get a look in. The venue attracts the most serious of players, so it’s not for the faint of heart.
3) Concord Card Casino – Austria
Regardless of what you read on Lonely Planet, the Austrian capital Vienna is not a terrific holiday destination, it’s intensely boring. But if you are stuck in Vienna, you can find solace by heading to the Concord Card Casino.
The card room is solely dedicated to poker, unlike many card rooms that focus on blackjack and a plethora of other card games. The venue plays host to the Concord Masters, the PartyPoker GrandPix and the 100,000 euros guaranteed game.
There are also plenty of games to suit a range of different budgets, with cash games ranging from 1,000 euros to the aforementioned 100,000 euros. Celebrity chef Scott Conant and footballer Stephan Lichtsteiner have both been seen playing poker in the Concord Card Casino
4) Les Ambassadeurs Casino – United Kingdom
One of the most historic casinos in the United Kingdom, Les Ambassadeurs or ‘Les A’ as it’s known by its patrons was first opened in the 19th-century. Previous owners include the Conyngham family and Leopold de Rothschild, son of Baron Lionel de Rotschild.
The venue was re-opened 27 years ago and plays host to a range of diplomats, royalty, celebrities and aristocracy. Phillip Green, disgraced former CEO of British Home Stores almost put the casino out of business with monster hauls of £2 million at the roulette table in 2006.
The intimate private room named in honour of Leopold de Rothschild is one of the best places to play poker in Europe. It’s reserved for small and intimate gaming parties so you can only expect to get an invite if you’re a high-roller.
5) Casino de Monte Carlo – Monaco
The casino of choice for James Bond can be your casino too. Set in the luscious backdrop of the Monegasque coast with stunning views of the Mediterranean, the casino de Monte Carlo is one of the best casinos in the world.
The venue has a very strict dress code and plays host to some of the richest and most famous people in the world, including European royalty. The best room for the new visitor in the casino is the American Casino Games room where you can play ultimate Texas Hold ‘e Poker.
The minimum bet is 10 euros so it’s not just exclusively for the high-rollers and royalty, and there is also the Societe Des Bains de Mer to visit afterwards and check out the other casino games on offer.
Casinos are some of the best places on the earth, especially when you’re on a running streak. However it’s not just about the poker, it’s about the entire ambience and vibe that you get in the casino.
All of the casinos mentioned above offer the player a unique experience, whether that’s sitting and looking out over the Mediterranean coast, gambling in the Leopold de Rothschild room or wagering bets against Gerad Pique and Lionel Messi.