Guide to Las Vegas Poker: Tips, Tournaments, and More

Person Gambling on Poker in Las Vegas

When people think of Las Vegas, gambling and casinos are among the first images that come to mind. Of course, there’s also incredible entertainment, world-class restaurants, and amazing attractions. But there’s something iconic about thrilling high-stakes gaming with an enduring allure, and poker is king. Now that you’re here, are you ready to take on Lady Luck? If so, you’ll want to come prepared with everything from poker basics to where the hottest tournaments are happening.


Poker Betting Basics


You might be an old hand at playing poker with friends or even in casinos, or maybe you’re new to the game. Either way, there’s no harm done going over the basics of the game. Poker starts with a pack of 52 cards, comprising four suits and 13 cards per suit (hearts, clubs, diamonds, spades). Through consecutive draws, the object is to build strong hands to beat the other players. The ranking hands, from best down, go like this:

  • Five of a Kind: Five of the same value card, one of each suit, plus a wild card such as a joker—if the game allows wild cards.
  • Straight Flush: Five cards of the same suit in sequence, from 2 to 10, then the Jack, Queen, and King. The Ace card can be the low or high card in a Straight Flush.
  • Four of a Kind: Four of the same cards, as in four 2s, four Jacks, or four Aces.
  • Full House: Three cards of one rank and two cards of another rank, such as three Jacks and two 5s, three 10s and two Queens, etc.
  • Flush: Five cards, all of the same suit, but not all in sequence. For example, if you have a 2, 6, 9, 10, and King, which are all clubs, then you have a flush.
  • Straight: Five cards in sequence, but not all of the same suit. An example could be a 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 run with a mix of clubs, diamonds, and hearts.
  • From there, the rankings go three of a kind, a pair, and one of a kind.


Woman at Las Vegas Casino Table with Poker Chips


Tips for Playing Poker In Las Vegas


Once you know the basics to play, you’ll want to come armed with some poker tips for playing at the big tables in Las Vegas. Whether you’re playing a high-stakes game or sitting in a low-ante room, some advice can help you have a good time and maybe even come out ahead.


Know When to Wait and When to Play Hard

Both aggression and patience can pay off in a hand. If you start with high cards, or a pair or better, bet early and put the pressure on your opponents. But it’s also okay to fold early and often if you get weak hands to start. Better to save your chips for when your chances are better.


Watch the Other Players

How the players around you behave can help you win more often. You can even watch them for a while before getting in on the game. Keep an eye out for “tells” or quirks that might give away the strength of their hands, such as a smile or maybe going quiet. Also, pay attention to how often they win or lose. If you spot a reckless player, you can feel safer taking them on.


Don’t Drink Too Much

It’s easy to indulge in a beverage or two while playing poker in Vegas. But if you have one too many, then you’ll start making more mistakes, and you’re more likely to lose. It’s fine to have a couple, but stick to just a couple.


Feel Good, Play Well

If you’re in a bad mood, it might be the wrong time to play. Coming in with a good attitude to the casino will work for you. If you’re feeling fine and having fun, it’s safer to play. If not, take in a show or share some laughs with friends. Higher spirits lead to higher winnings.


The Las Vegas Poker Tournament Scene


If there’s one thing you can always find in Las Vegas, it’s a hot poker game. And there are often some hot poker tournaments to make the game more interesting. Plenty of tourneys take place in most casinos daily. Be sure you get in a lot of practice before buying into one, and also keep in mind it’s always fun to watch. In the professional poker tournament circuit, one of the biggest and best-known is the World Poker Tour. But there are plenty more poker tournaments in Las Vegas to watch.


Person Looking at Cards While Playing Poker in Vegas


Baller Celebrity Poker Tournament


An exciting Vegas tournament is the Baller Celebrity Poker Tournament at Circa Las Vegas. This tournament is more than just a high-stakes card game; it’s a glamorous affair with a noble cause. Taking place over an exclusive 2-day weekend at Circa, this event marks the second annual partnership between Circa and the Baller Dream Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting young warriors fighting cancer.

Kicking off on Saturday, April 27, guests will indulge in the Game Show Gala Dinner held in the opulent Galaxy Ballroom. The main event unfolds on Sunday, April 28, at Legacy Club, where guests will gather for a cocktail hour right before the poker tournament.

What truly sets this tournament apart is its star-studded lineup of celebrity attendees. Rubbing elbows with the likes of baseball legend Greg Maddux, MMA icon Tito Ortiz, and other sports personalities such as Wally Joyner and Deryk Engelland, attendees will experience a weekend filled with unforgettable moments and A-list glamor.

Every dollar raised during this weekend will directly benefit the Baller Dream Foundation and its mission to support pediatric and young adult cancer warriors. From assisting families facing financial hardship due to a cancer diagnosis to providing essential resources like living expenses, travel assistance, and in-hospital diversion activities, the foundation’s impact extends far beyond the confines of the poker table.


More Vegas Casino Games to Play


While the Baller Celebrity Poker Tournament at Circa Las Vegas promises excitement, don’t forget that Vegas offers much more than just poker! While the Circa Casino may not feature regular poker games outside of tournament events, it boasts a vast array of other gaming options. With 1,350 slot machines, 55 table games, and more spread across its two levels, there’s something for every gambler’s taste.

Whether you’re drawn to the thrill of spinning the reels on a slot machine or prefer the strategic challenge of table games like blackjack or roulette, Circa Casino has it all. So, whether you’re attending a poker tournament or simply trying your luck at the casino, Las Vegas provides an unparalleled opportunity to play big, win big, and have the time of your life.