Top 10 Poker Destinations That Aren’t Las Vegas

Melbourne Australia Casinos, Poker Text with Poker Cards and Chips
If you want to go somewhere and play poker, you’ll probably have to pack your bags and head to Las Vegas. It’s an international destination for those who want to gamble, eat, and spend.

With that said, Las Vegas isn’t the only place in the world with exquisite gambling opportunities. There are great casinos and poker rooms throughout the US and the rest of the world. If you’re thinking about doing some travel outside of Nevada, but still want to get in some gambling, you have options.

Here are 10 vacation destinations where you can gamble. And these aren’t just good gambling spots, they offer other interesting vacation activities. Not that you’ll be needing them (the poker action will be too hot), but maybe your family will enjoy the sun, surf, and shopping.

1 – Paradise Island, Bahamas

The name “Paradise” Island may actually be underselling this area’s natural beauty. Even before you step into a casino like the world-famous Atlantis, you can’t help but notice the icy blue waters, sunny beaches, and tropical wonders. Head in and play various types of poker in the home of PokerStars’ Caribbean Adventure.

How you spend your time in the Bahamas is up to you. The poker game is definitely hopping in Paradise Island, but there’s a lot of food, nightlife, and sand, too.

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Just don’t go during hurricane season. Mother Nature has not been kind to the Bahamas lately.

2 – Monte Carlo, Monaco

Las Vegas sells a luxury lifestyle to those who travel to its borders, but even the 24-hour neon lights of Vegas can’t compare to the glamour that is Monte Carlo. Like some of the other places on this list, Monte Carlo has plenty of activities to draw traveling poker players. There’s high-end shopping, amazing food, glorious beaches, and an F1 race of which you might have heard.

With that said, Monte Carlo also hosts the Monte Carlo Casino, home to the European Poker Tour Grand Finale, an amazing venue to find both high stakes and budget-friendly poker tables. That last part is key because it means that at least something will be affordable in Monaco.

3 – Southern California, USA

Lucky Lady Casino and Poker Card Room Sign, California State Flag
The roughly two-and-a-half-hour drive from San Diego and Los Angeles in Southern California is home to sandy beaches, seafood shacks, multimillion-dollar homes, zoos, and other attractions that make it one of the most desirable places to live in the US. It’s also home to over 30 poker rooms looking for more players.

Easily one of the most affordable travel destinations on the list, SoCal has a gambling venue for you. It also has beaches and other recreational activities for the family. A trip to Southern California can start as a nice family activity, which you slowly can turn into a poker destination trip.

4 – Macau, China

Ready to leave Sin City and head to the Las Vegas of Asia? Then buy your tickets and head to Macau, which hosts large casino shopping areas and sights like “Macau Tower” along its coastal regions. (By the way, “coastal regions” means it’s definitely cooler than Vegas…)

There are several amazing places to play poker in Macau, including the Wynn, the Venetian, and the Sands.

Yes, you read that right. Famous Vegas casinos have found their home in Asia, too.

Feel free to stay in one of these familiar locales or try places a little more steeped in Macau history like The City of Dreams Macau casino.

No matter where you stay, Macau offers a very Vegas-like array of shopping, eating, and gambling for anyone who ventures there.

5 – Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia, is one of the best places to visit in the world. The fact that they have 24/7 gambling at a huge number of casinos is really just icing on the cake. For those looking for a place to vacation, Melbourne offers beaches, nightlife, premier restaurants, and access to the crazy Australian nightlife.

For the gamblers, Melbourne offers several land- and sea-based casinos for your gambling pleasure. The Crown Casino is regularly touted as the best place to play poker. No matter which casino you choose, you will be treated to a wide selection of slots and casino poker games.

Also, interesting to note, in Australia, slot machines are called “pokies” and offer a fairly thrilling gaming experience.

6 – San Jose, Costa Rica

Costa Rica Casino Club Colonial, Costa Rica Country Flag
For the world traveler, San Jose in Costa Rica is a must-see. While it has yet to earn the official title of “Las Vegas of Central America,” it’s certainly a title it could claim. The city, which Costa Rican tourism sites refer to as very modern, hosts almost 20 casinos and world-class restaurants along with museums and great nightlife.

For those worrying about security in the area, most of the casinos are located in tourist areas, which tend to be more secure. The casinos are part of large hotel chains that would be familiar to US tourists. These include the Best Western Irazu and the Radisson Hotel San Jose Costa Rica.

In San Jose, you have a number of gambling options including poker, roulette, and electronic slot machines.

7 – London, England

England has long had legalized gambling and is a great place to take the family on vacation if they prefer history (or Harry Potter) over sun and beaches. London, however, has stepped up its casino game and features over one hundred standalone casinos for you to try.

Many forms of casino games are featured at these casinos, including poker, slot machines, roulette, and table games.

There is also sports and racing betting, including a number of tracks hosting the races themselves.

With that said, London is also a metropolitan city featuring some of the best shopping and food in the world.

8 – Prague, Czech Republic

Prague is another tourist location that features local flavor and history over fun in the sun. For many, though, that is enough, especially given Prague’s amazing food and local breweries.

However, for the gambler, Prague has a lot of casinos featuring a number of amenities and places to play. Check out Banco Casino, an upscale casino in Prague highly rated by those who visit.

Also, if you are up for a little road trip and you feel safe doing so, take the 90-minute drive to King’s Casino in Rozvadov (near the border with Germany), which features the largest poker room in Europe.

9 – Barcelona, Spain

Casino Barcelona in Spain, Flag of Spain
For most people, they don’t need much of an excuse to go to Barcelona. There’s food. There’s wine. There’s some of the best beaches in the world. There’s soccer. There’s art. There’s culture.

But, if you’re looking at this list, then there’s also poker, slots, roulette, and other ways to gamble. In fact, Barcelona hosts a number of very nice casinos, including Casino Barcelona and Bingo Poblenou, which has no frills on the outside and plenty of great gaming on the inside.

10 – Atlantic City, USA

The inclusion of Atlantic City on this list was somewhat debatable. There are plenty of international spots that could have been number 10 on the list (for instance, Italy). However, the casinos in Atlantic City have too much to offer in terms of both hotels and family activities that we couldn’t leave it off.

Atlantic City is famously home to nightlife spots and a boardwalk that is as renowned for its culture as its views. Overall, Atlantic City gets kind of a bad rap, but it’s really not a bad place to hit up a large poker tournament and offers plenty of diversions for all ages of visitor.

Conclusion

Some people love to gamble when they’re on vacation and there’s nothing wrong with that. The only real issue is when a gambler has a family and that family’s entire vacation only includes trips to Las Vegas (with its killer summertime heat).

Fortunately, the world has more to offer than one (admittedly amazing) gambling destination. There are a number of places to travel to inside the United States (Atlantic City or Southern California) for more budget-friendly travel spots.

If budget is less of a concern, then get passports and take the family to unforgettable international trips like Monaco, Melbourne, or Macau. If those trips aren’t for your family, but you still want to gamble, London is a shorter plane ride from many places in the US and Costa Rica isn’t terribly far.

Wherever you go, the main thing is that you have fun and play some great poker.