For a taste of true Las Vegas high-roller poker, the Aria poker room is the place to play! Owned by MGM Resorts International, the Aria opened in 2009 and has since become quite popular with tourists and locals alike.
A number of poker pros also favor this opulent, state-of-the-art poker room, including Phil Hellmuth, who can frequently be seen wearing an Aria cap, and Phil Ivey, who has a dedicated high stakes room named after him.
The room’s aesthetic is modern and ultra-luxurious, featuring 18 tables and 6 high-roller tables, automatic shufflers, a dedicated poker cashier cage, an elevated upper high-limit section, and the aforementioned “Ivey’s Room” for the highest stakes games.
The Aria poker room also offers a wide variety of cash games, tournaments, text message seat notification, table side food, free beverages (including Fiji water), top shelf liquor, high-definition flat screen televisions, comfortable chairs, nearby restrooms, and chair massage service.
The Aria poker room is among the most luxurious in all of Las Vegas, with extremely comfortable chairs, ruby red felt on the tables, and excellent table lighting. However, a common complaint is that the tables are a bit crowded for ten players, and there is an obvious lack of cup holders despite an abundance of side tables. Whether you look at this as crowded or just a bit more intimate, the Aria poker room is a great place to rub elbows—sometimes quite literally—with some of the poker world’s most renowned pros, many of whom are locals.
Another common criticism is that the room can get a bit noisy. And there isn’t an established waiting area. One of the biggest complaints is that MGM Resorts, along with most other Strip casinos, charges for parking unless you’re a higher-level M-Life Rewards member (Gold, Platinum, and Noir), or play at least 75 hours of cash games in a year. For everyone else—even registered hotel guests—parking fees apply.
Cash games at the Aria poker room
The Aria poker room spreads numerous cash games 24/7. And on busy weekends, the room spreads higher stakes cash games. Additionally, Aria is also the home to the Las Vegas Pot Limit Omaha (PLO) crowd.
Cash games that always run (unless otherwise noted):
- $1/$3 NL Hold’Em
- $2/$5 NL Hold’Em
- $5/$10 NL Hold’Em
- $1/$3 PLO
- $2/$5 PLO (weekends)
Cash games that run on busy days or when requested:
- $10/$20 or higher NL Hold’Em
- $25/$50 or higher PLO
Buy-ins for all of these games range from around 40-100 big blinds.
Not unlike most other Las Vegas Strip poker rooms, there is a high-stakes area that spreads mixed games such as Omaha High/Low, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High/Low, Badugi, Razz, Triple Draw, and Razzdugi. Limits range from a low $9/$18 to in upwards of $100/$200.
Because the ARIA poker room is not large, there can be long wait times for a seat, especially on weekends. However, the ARIA does use the Bravo Live poker room management system, which allows them to track playing time, and allows players to check tables and wait lists from the convenience of their phones, and then call ahead to have their name added to a list.
The ARIA’s rake is ten percent up to $5 for all cash games below $5/$10, and high-limit games are assessed a time charge. While most Las Vegas poker rooms adopt a $4 maximum rake, the ARIA’s $5 rake is commensurate with other high-end poker rooms, such as the Wynn and Bellagio. Also, like other higher-end rooms, there are no bonus drops or promotions.
Aria poker tournaments
The ARIA offers several daily No-Limit Texas Hold’em tournaments:
- Monday-Thursday at 11:00 a.m.
- Monday–Thursday at 1:00 p.m.
- Friday–Sunday at 11:00 a.m.
- Daily at 7:00 p.m.
The 7:00 p.m. and the 11:00 a.m. Monday–Thursday tournaments have a $125 buy-in for 10,000 chips, re-entry permitted through level four, and 30-minute levels.
The 11:00 a.m. Fridays–Sunday tournaments have a $240 buy-in, 20,000 in starting chips, re-entry through level six, and 30-minute levels. The field averages 70 people, and the top price is usually around $2,500–3,000.
In some cases, due to special events, regular tournaments are suspended.
Players can also access up-to-the-minute tournament information on Bravo.
Aria poker room staff
Whereas dealers and poker room staff are generally friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful, many of the ARIA’s negative reviews charge some of the staff of being rude, particularly floor persons. Another common grievance is slow chip runners. But, overall, most of the reviews extol the staff’s virtues.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the food is delicious but a bit pricey. But the added convenience of table side delivery offsets the additional charge. Players also have the option to order from many of the ARIA’s excellent restaurants. Some have mentioned that cocktail and food service could be quicker and friendlier, but food and beverage service is one of the areas at which the ARIA excels.
The bottom line
Overall, reviews run the gamut from singing the the ARIA poker room’s praises to lambasting poor service and customer care. Generally, player reviews congregate at the positive end of the spectrum.
Have you played in this opulently famous, world-class poker room? Please share your experiences and thoughts below.
Until next time.
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Read more from Upswing Poker:
- The Wynn Poker Room at the Encore: An Unbiased Review
- Best Poker Tournaments in Las Vegas
- How to Choose a Poker Room Where You Can Maximize Winnings (and Happiness)
Natalie Faulk is a Las Vegas-based freelance writer/blogger and the author of several books. She is an avid low-stakes (for now) poker player and huge Vegas Golden Knights fan.