Golden Nugget Poker Room Review: A Taste of Old Las Vegas
The Golden Nugget poker room is located in the famed Golden Nugget in the heart of downtown Las Vegas across Fremont Street from the legendary Binion’s Gambling Hall.
This room’s High Roller Suite is the home of the legendary television show High Stakes Poker for seasons one, five, and six, and several episodes of NBC’s Poker After Dark and Face the Ace have also been taped here.
If you want a change from the Strip, then the downtown vibe at the Golden Nugget poker room offers a welcome change of pace.
Environment and comfort
The Golden Nugget poker room hosts 13 smoke-free tables with a rich décor that maintains the casino’s gold rush theme. From golden felted tables to spotlight lampshades that emit low levels of filtered golden light to extremely comfortable, velvet-backed chairs, this poker room is quite appealing. Several flat-panel televisions are placed around the room giving tournament players valuable information at close range. Each table is equipped with an automatic shuffler and mobile phone chargers, and players have access to the casino’s free WiFi.
The room is enclosed on three sides and there are two entrances from the casino: one by the podium and the other in the tournament area. Therefore, the Golden Nugget poker room is pretty quiet. Occasionally, the tables near the rails might get a little smoky, but generally, the room is very smoke-free.
Granted, while the Golden Nugget poker room is smaller than Binion’s main poker room, the former does host a higher number of live cash tables. Because of its smaller size, however, the Golden Nugget poker room can feel a bit cramped when crowded.
Live cash games
The Golden Nugget poker room spreads several different games including Texas Hold’Em, Omaha, Stud, and other mixed games.
Cash games that are always available:
- $1/$2 NL Hold’Em, $100 minimum buy-in
- $2/$4 Limit Hold’Em, $20 minimum buy-in
Other games can be requested. There is no cap at the No-Limit tables, making them bigger than most of Las Vegas’ other $1/$2 games.
Additionally, private tables can be reserved.
Daily Golden Nugget poker tournaments
The current Golden Nugget poker tournament schedule is comprised of four daily No Limit Hold’Em tournaments and a special Sunday tournament.
- Monday-Saturday 11 a.m.: $70 buy-in, 20,000 starting chips, 20-minute levels
- Sunday 11 a.m.: $125 buy-in, 15,000 starting chips, 20-minute levels until level nine, then 30-minute levels, $5,000 guarantee.
- Monday-Sunday 3 p.m.: $50 buy-in, 5,000 starting chips, 20-minute levels
- Monday-Sunday 7 p.m.: $70 buy-in, 10,000 starting chips, 20-minute levels
- Monday-Sunday 10 p.m.: $50 buy-in, 5,000 starting chips, 20-minute levels
For all tournaments, late registration and unlimited re-entry is permitted through the first break.
There is no rhyme or reason as to when tournaments will be busy. Some will attract only enough players for a single table, while others have enough players to fill four or five tables, and these amounts can vary widely from day to day.
The Summer Grand Poker Series
The Golden Nugget is also home to its Grand Poker Series that runs alongside the World Series of Poker as well as other Las Vegas casinos’ summer poker series. This Series is considered to be among the very best tournament series for lower-stakes tournament players in Las Vegas. The Grand Poker Series is held in the casino’s very large Grand Ballroom that holds a whopping 57 tables.
The Golden Nugget Grand Poker Series 2018 will be held from 29 May through 3 July. Click here for the complete schedule.
The Golden Nugget Grand Poker Series 2017 represented the Series’ tenth season. The 2017 season hosted 90-plus different events with buy-ins ranging from $110 to $1,000. The Golden Nugget also hosts several Seniors events during this time. Last season’s Series finished with a $500K guarantee, $570-buy-in No-Limit Hold’Em tournament that saw Darrell Smith defeat Robert Stan.
Many of the lower buy-in tournaments also offer guarantees, usually ranging from $25,000 to $100,000. During the 2017 Grand Poker Series, there were three daily events—at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., and 7 p.m.—which included No-Limit Hold’Em, Omaha 8 or Better, Pot Limit Omaha, Seven Card Stud, Seven Card Stud High/Low, Razz, Triple Draw, Badugi, and other mixed games. The Series also held several mega satellites for the $500K Main Event.
Golden Nugget poker room promotions
The Golden Nugget poker room offers several different Hold’Em promotions. If quad 2’s or better are beat, the table is eligible for the progressive bad beat jackpot. At the time of this article’s writing, the bad beat jackpot sat at slightly more than $17,000. Once this jackpot hits, it resets at $10,000.
There is a daily progressive high hand jackpot for quads and straight flushes. Whoever hits any of these receives whatever the posted amount is for that particular hand. These prizes range from $50 to $599. If any of these hands hit between 2:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., then the jackpot doubles. If a lucky player makes a royal flush, s/he wins no less than $200 up to the uncapped progressive amount. As is the case with all of these jackpots, both of the player’s hole cards must play.
24K Select Members earn $2 per hour in comps that can be used at any Golden Nugget Las Vegas restaurant as well as Landry’s Restaurants nationwide.
Discounted hotel room rates are also available for poker players, especially during the Grand Poker Series.
Even though the Golden Nugget poker room is more luxurious than Binion’s poker room, it still lacks in several amenities. For one, there is no tableside food service, and while there is a bar just outside of the poker room’s entrance, drink service can be slow and the cocktail waitresses are known to have attitudes. Additionally, the restrooms are across the casino, so any players who leave to use the facilities are virtually guaranteed to miss some hands.
The Golden Nugget poker room uses the Bravo room management app that provides a detailed account of available tables, waiting lists, promotion payout amounts, and other relevant information. Players can also call ahead and have their name placed on the wait list.
The room also validates parking, and the Golden Nugget’s spacious parking garage is quite convenient and within very close proximity to the Hotel and Casino.
Golden Nugget staff
The Golden Nugget poker room attracts a wide variety of players from all backgrounds and all skill levels. The uncapped buy-in for no-limit games does, at times, draw deep action that may not be amenable to short buyers. Generally, however, the room is a nice mix of locals and visitors, and everyone seems to be quite civil, thus making the room a pleasant place to play.
Poker room manager Andy Rich has been in the business for more than 20 years, and his experience shows. The room is well-run, the floor staff is quite competent, and the dealers are knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly. The Golden Nugget poker room uses both hired dealers and extra board ones—you can differentiate between the two by their attire—and even those who are not regular dealers generally do a good job.
Overall, the Golden Nugget poker room generally receives mid to high marks across the board. The majority of complaints discuss the oftentimes cramped feel to the small room and the lack of amenities frequently found in other Las Vegas poker rooms.
Have you played in this famous room? Please share your thoughts and experiences below.
Until next time.
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