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2009 WSOP Preview: Around the Rio

Rio exterior fireworks

With so many hours and days to spend at this year’s World Series of Poker, you might want to take advantage of all that the host venue, the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, has to offer. Most veteran WSOP Players enter the Rio using the convention center entrance and WSOP valet parking, skipping the casino entry fronting Flamingo Drive. While it is true that it’s over a quarter-mile hike from the Amazon Room to the Rio casino floor, the Rio actually has a lot to offer. So, as long as you’re there….

Let’s start with the food offerings. Just before you reach the casino floor you’ll pass the Sao Paulo Café, one of the better full-menu cafes in Las Vegas. A few steps further and you’ll find Buzio’s Seafood, which will be packed on any dinner tournament dinner break. Next, you’ll hit the casino floor; to your right you will find the All American Bar & Grille, where we can only say — try the beef. Tucked down the hallway towards the Ipanema Tower is Antonio’s Restaurant, a higher-end choice, with good to excellent reviews.

Two buffets are also available at the Rio. Down at the west end of the casino floor is the Carnival World Buffet, which has made several “Best of” review lists. At the complete opposite end of the casino, which stretches in an arc that curves to the east and north, you will find the Village Seafood Buffet, which we personally recommend for fish and seafood of all kinds. Down at this end of the casino, you are in the Masquerade Village and you will find another dozen or so food options. This is also where the free Masquerade stage show and overhead parade goes off every hour.

Of the other food options here, one can consider RUB Barbeque and The Wine Cellar among the top picks. You will also find the elevator to the VooDoo Steak House and, more interestingly, the VooDoo Lounge, which hosts some of the top club action in Las Vegas and has one of the more spectacular Strip views from the west side of town.

If you head back down to the other end of the casino again, to the Carnival World section on the west end of the casino, you will find the regular Rio poker room, which should have cash games at any time. Used last year as a tournament overflow area, the expanded WSOP tables make it less likely this room will be needed this yar for that purpose. Next to the poker room are the Lucky Strike Lanes, available for your bowling and prop-betting pleasure, and the casino’s sports book is nearby as well. Outside the entrance here is where you will find shuttles to several other Strip hotels.

In between, roughly in the center of the casino you are in the Ipanema Court. The highlight here is the I-Bar Ultra Lounge sitting center stage in the middle of the casino floor. You’ll also find the high-end Mardi Gras Cigars and a very adequate Mah Jong Chinese Kitchen.

Welcome to the World Series of Poker at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Enjoy your stay.

Note: PokerNews is not affiliated with either the Rio All-Suite Hotel and Casino or the World Series of Poker.

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