Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room

Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room Review

Recently we wrote about the Resorts World Las Vegas, which holds the newest poker room on the Las Vegas Strip. Now we review the poker room at the Sahara, one of the oldest remaining casinos on the Strip. The Sahara sits at the very northern end of Las Vegas Boulevard, near the Stratosphere, and hosts a small but charming poker room.

Setting and Non-Poker Amenities

While the Sahara has undergone a number of renovations and ownership changes over the years, the Sahara first opened in 1952, and still has a bit of that old Hollywood playground feel. The property sports numerous pictures of Elvis, Dean Martin, Elizabeth Taylor and the like, and makes generous use of plush fabrics to create a luxurious vintage feel.

While the Sahara is smaller than many of the other Las Vegas casinos on the Strip, it houses all of the basic necessities. In addition to the small poker room, the Sahara has slots, table games, and a sports book. There is also a hotel, several dining options, and the ubiquitous Las Vegas theater. The day that we were there we ate an excellent lunch at Uno Mas Street Tacos and can definitely recommend it.

The Sahara was unfortunately under construction when we visited, so finding our way from the garage into the building was a bit of an odyssey. However, the parking was free, which is now a rarity on the Strip and thus appreciated.

Sahara Las Vegas

Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room Comfort

The Sahara poker room is quite small, with only seven poker tables. It is open to the casino. We were there mid-day and mid-week, so the casino was quiet and no smoke drifted into the poker room. However, we could imagine the room being quite loud and smoky on a busier day. There are a number of TVs on the walls, including a large four-screen monitor which covers much of one wall of the poker room.

The tables are well-spaced, the room is well-lit, and there are high ceilings. The decor is attractive and relaxing. The chairs are comfortable with wheels, adequate padding, and full adjustability. The tables feature auto-shufflers, padded rails, drink cups, and USB ports. The room is quite clean, as are the tables. As in so many poker rooms, the chips could use a wash. The cards are branded, but have small faces that make it difficult to see them across the table despite the well-lit room.

 

Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room

 

Poker Room Staff

Sahara Las Vegas poker room staff was inconsistent. When we visited we got a mix of dealers, from excellent at one extreme to barely competent at the other.  Overall, the dealers leaned toward below average. The floor, however, was excellent. He really knew his stuff and dealt with disputes fairly and competently. Tournament numbers were updated promptly and accurately. The waitress circulated only rarely and seemed vaguely disinterested in her job.

 



 

Players at Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room

The crowd at the Sahara poker room consisted of a mix of tourists and Las Vegas regs. The tournament players were diverse in age, ethnicity, and hometown. There were an unusual number of women in the tournament we played, which was a welcome change from other poker rooms on this trip. Playing styles were varied, from rock tight to wildly loose aggressive.

Sahara Las Vegas offers a casino with a significant nostalgia factor. The poker room is attractive and comfortable, but quite small.Click To Tweet

Cash Play Activity

There were two $1/$3 tables running on the Wednesday afternoon when we played the Sahara. One of them broke once the tournament got started. With such a small room and twice-daily tournaments, we sincerely doubt that the Sahara ever sees more than a couple of cash tables on most days.

Tournament Structures

The Sahara poker room runs a twice-daily tournament at 1:05 and 6:05 pm. For $60 you receive 20,000 chips, with a potential add-on at break of another 20k chips for $20. The rake is frankly outrageous, at $20 (33%). There is also the option of a single rebuy if you bust before the close of registration. Blind levels are a mere 15 minutes long for the first 6 levels and move to a merciful 20 minutes after that. While early levels increase slowly, they quickly accelerate. All in all, this is what we call a classic “bingo poker” tournament structure.

Overall Assessment of Sahara Las Vegas Poker Room

Sahara Las Vegas offers a casino with a significant nostalgia factor. The poker room is attractive and comfortable, but quite small. Due to the small number of tables, the Sahara does not get much cash action, and the tournaments have an extremely aggressive structure with an unacceptably high rake.

 

 

  • Comfort
  • Personnel
  • Tournament Structures
3.2

Summary

Sahara Las Vegas offers a casino with a significant nostalgia factor. The poker room is attractive and comfortable, but quite small. Due to the small number of tables, the Sahara does not get much cash action, and the tournaments have an extremely aggressive structure with an unacceptably high rake.

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