This is part two of our "room reviews" for Laughlin, Nevada. Click here to read part one.
Harrah's Laughlin (6 tables)
There are two tournaments a day at Harrah's; one at 10 AM and another at 7 PM. The morning event is $50 the evening is $150, you could make it $30 or $100 by skipping the pre-tournament add-on but the additional "add-on" chips are so large compared to the buy-in chips that no one doesn't take it. The cash game at Harrah's is $2/$6 spread limit Hold'em and for some reason it is the juiciest game in town. I can't explain this but in conversations at other casino poker rooms with many local players, the opinion is nearly unanimous. The loosest game in town is found at Harrah's. There are plenty of cash games in Laughlin and many, if not most, of them are $2/$6 but day in and day out the loosest game with the biggest swings is found at Harrah's. The bonus promotion here is called the "23 Jewels" which includes payouts for all ten straight flush possibilities (suits don't matter) and all thirteen four-of-a-kind hands. There is also a "hand of the day" which can be anything from a 'club flush with a jack' to 'kings cracked.' Just how 'active' are the cash games at Harrah's Laughlin? I saw at least one player each time I was there winning at the rate of over 20 big bets an hour; of course, if someone is winning at that rate, then of course….
Riverside (10 tables)
First thing you want to do at the Riverside is familiarize yourself every bonus and giveaway; they are all up on the walls but well worth reading. There are hourly bonuses for either High Hand or Aces Cracked depends on the time of day. There are weekly freeroll qualifications for all kinds of reasons, once of which has something to do with your zodiac sign and the color of your eyes. The monthly freeroll has a nice tidy prize pool but I don't have enough space to tell you how to qualify, expect that every twenty-third person to read this review apparently does qualify. Just let it be known that knowledge of the bells and whistles at the Riverside might win you more than your straight flush on the river.
The Riverside has 6:30 PM NLHE tournaments for $35. Saturday the cards are in the air at 4 PM. I liked the cash games here and they did have at least one Omaha H/L table in action. My only objection is that they should open tables near the windows first; the river view from the Riverside is so nice that even hardened poker players would appreciate it.
Colorado Belle (12 tables)
MGM Grand sold the Colorado Belle and the Edgewater to Sher Gaming late last year; the transition is just now beginning to show signs in the poker rooms. The room at the Belle is the largest in Laughlin with excellent lighting; free chicken tenders and a very knowledgeable staff.
Monday through Friday there is a $100 evening NLHE tournament (Thursday it's Omaha 8 or better). Sunday night the same NLHE structure but with a $200 mystery bounty, this is generally the biggest event of the week at the Belle.
They also have a gimmick that will drive poker purists crazy but it is what it is. They call it Pingo! It's basically a bingo card with poker hands. Get five in a row or any of ten other designs and win cash. Fill the entire card and win $500. The Hold'em bad beat was hovering at $30,000 last week and I was told the back-up pot is already around $20,000.
Edgewater (4 tables)
New ownership means a new poker room for the Edgewater. Even though the current room has a spectacular river view, the new room will upstairs with the Sports Book and probably a lot more conducive to the overall poker experience. New tables with auto-shufflers are on order and the expected new room should debut in early summer 2007.
The 10 AM tournaments at Edgewater are good for the first time player; even the local sharks are less aggressive here. The structure could use a little tweaking though, with 1,000 chips for the buy-in and each rebuy but then 4,000 for the add-on; this really isn't a poker tournament until everyone takes the add-on, which is fine if there is some gamble in the first hour but alas it's a game for new players and therefore very tight. Expect more events and gimmicks/bonuses when the new ownership is fully in place.
Aquarius (formerly Flamingo) (4 tables)
Every poker town has at least one little quiet room and in Laughlin that's the Aquarius. The makeover of the property in the transition from the Flamingo last year did not include an upgrade to the poker room. There is an early bird 9 AM tournament each day and a Wednesday Omaha tournament at 7 PM. Other than that the four tables at the Aquarius are generally fairly quiet with usually one limit Hold'em game in progress and nearly always an open seat.
Ed Note: Why go to Laughlin when you can sit laughin while playing at bodog