Over the past year, we have taken a number of poker road trips. We’ve visited rooms in the middle of cities, such as The Jack in Cleveland, and rooms in the middle of nowhere (hello Ebro!). However, if you’re looking for both stunning vistas and great poker, we have some recommendations for excellent poker rooms in beautiful settings. From the mountains to the desert, from rolling hills to the beach, we offer the following idyllic locations.
The Mountains: Monarch Black Hawk
There are few travel experiences as stunning as driving through the mountains outside of Denver, rounding a corner, and finding yourself in Black Hawk Colorado. Black Hawk is a former mining town with a mere 127 residents, but a whopping 18 casinos. Black Hawk sits in a striking tree-lined canyon. Walk outside, and you will be overwhelmed by a vertical natural beauty rivaled in very few places. Black Hawk currently houses four poker rooms. The poker room at the Monarch matches the natural beauty of its setting, with a long gas fire on one wall, wood shutters, fieldstone accents, and lush carpeting underfoot. When you depart Black Hawk in either direction, you will find yourself in the midst of the Colorado mountains and all of the natural majesty and outdoor activities Colorado has to offer.
Honorable Mention: The three other poker rooms in Black Hawk (Bally’s, Isle Casino, and Ameristar) share this beautiful setting. However, Monarch takes the win as the most beautiful overall room of the four.
Rolling Hills: Foxwoods
Foxwoods once featured the largest poker room on the East Coast. While the room has shrunk over the years, it is no less attractive to play in. Set in the Connecticut woods, Foxwoods is surrounded by lush woodland. If you are fortunate enough to spend the night on a high floor of the attached Fox Tower facing toward the southwest, the only structure that will break up your woodland view will be the nearby Mohegan Sun casino. The surrounding woods offer numerous walking trails, small lakes, and golf courses. A mere 20 minutes away you will find historic Mystic, Connecticut a town brimming with quaint New England charm, history, and maritime adventure.
The Beach: Atlantis Paradise Island
While the Atlantis Paradise Island Casino does not offer poker on a daily basis, it does occasionally host large tournaments. The WPT, PCA, and partypoker have all been held at the Atlantis in the past. At the top of any list of poker rooms in beautiful settings, the Atlantis merits a mention. Set on Paradise Island in the Bahamas, it’s surrounded by clear blue water and gorgeous lagoons. While we have not been lucky enough to play poker there, we have visited the hotel, water park, and Dolphin Cay. All of these experiences we would recommend if you find yourself playing the tournament circuit and washing ashore here.
Honorable Mention: The Bahama Mar is hosting the PCA in 2023 and offers a similar island vibe.
Riverside: Casino de Montreal
The OK Poker Room has just recently reopened at the Casino de Montreal after more than two years of closure due to the pandemic. While tournaments have not yet returned, we hope that they will soon. Montreal, as we have discussed before, is a city featuring both beauty and ugliness side by side. The Casino de Montreal sits on the Ile Notre Dame in the St. Lawrence river. The building itself was designed for Expo 67, and later turned into a casino. It is surrounded by parkland and, of course, the river. One word of warning: while you can walk to the Casino de Montreal through the surrounding parks (we have done it!), it is not recommended. The traffic flow is terrible for pedestrians, and finding an entrance by foot is near impossible.
Honorable Mention: If you are looking for a casino set on a river by a major North American city, might we suggest the MGM National Harbor.Poker rooms and beautiful surroundings seldom coexist. But there are some notable exceptions that the Poker Pilgrims want to share with you.Click To Tweet
The Desert: Sandia Poker Room
Rounding out our list of poker rooms in beautiful settings is the Sandia Poker Room. Located on the northeast side of Albuquerque, NM, it sits at the base of the Sandia Mountains. The Sandia Resort and Casino, built in traditional southwestern style, is attractive in its own right. However, stepping outside the casino reveals a southwestern landscape of great beauty. The Sandia resort has its own golf course and is just minutes from the mountains and from the Sandia Peak Ski Area, Tramway (which we strongly recommend), and numerous mountain trails.
Honorable Mention: Red Rock Casino in Summerlin Nevada lies just outside of the Red Rock Canyon conservation area with its stunning landscapes and rocky hills.
Our future travels will hopefully allow us to add to this list of poker rooms in beautiful settings. But, for now, we enjoy reflecting back on these locations as poker players and devotees of great landscapes.
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