THE HISTORY OF POKER
Even though the poker world's focus is on Las Vegas during the WSOP, poker is also an international game. There are plenty of card rooms outside the USA that often do not get the same attention or praise as the iconic venues everyone talks about.
This article looks at some of these lesser known but equally lovely card rooms and finds out what makes them unique and why any serious poker player should consider visiting them if they have the chance.
HOLLAND CASINO—AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS
Holland Casino is a state-owned company in the Netherlands, with casinos operating all over the country. However, the biggest of its casinos is in Amsterdam. While it might not enjoy the same glamor as the Vegas establishments, it has its own refined and relaxed vibe, making it one of the best places to play poker worldwide.
One of the largest tournaments hosted by this venue is the Master Classics of Poker (MCOP), organized every November. The tournament buy-ins can go up as much as twenty-five thousand euros, and it is not uncommon to catch some professionals at these events. In addition, the winner gets a unique trophy handed out by Holland Casino, known as a bordje.
Like in many European cities, many poker games in Holland are Pot-Limit Omaha (PLO). So, if you love playing PLO, visiting the Holland Casino is a no brainer. Other than the lively action and a packed clientele, the casino's hospitality and atmosphere are something worth experiencing at least once in your life.
BARCELONA CASINO—BARCELONA, SPAIN
The Barcelona Casino opened in 1978, but it may surprise you to learn it did not open in Barcelona. In fact, it opened around 40 kilometers away from the city. Since the regulations in Spain did not permit casinos to operate in metropolitan areas, the venue had to be located away from the city it was named after.
However, by 1999, the Barcelona Casino was shifted into the city after obtaining approval. Since then, it has been located on the ground floor of Hotel Arts Barcelona. The move also allowed the casino to expand from 2,000 square meters to 7,000 square meters to accommodate additional facilities like restaurants and clubs.
The cardroom has been a featured destination of the European Poker Tour since 2004 and is considered one of the best places to play poker in Spain if you're looking for some great action.
CROWN CASINO—MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
Home to the Aussie Millions, the Crown Casino located in Melbourne has established somewhat of a reputation as a poker hub. Starting in 2013, it also began to host the World Series of Poker Asia-Pacific, making it one of the most prominent destinations for competitive poker.
The Crown Casino Poker Room is a dedicated space in the Crown basement. Still, the casino's complex extends up to almost two city blocks, making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere. The poker room has 50 tables with plenty of action on any given day.
Players can expect a world-class experience during their stay at any of the three hotels connected to the casino. A great vacation destination, the Crown Casino is also worth a visit for any poker player worldwide.
PLAYGROUND POKER CLUB—KAHNAWAKE, QUEBEC, CANADA
The Playground Poker Club is a relatively new card room located in Quebec, Canada. The club focuses mainly on poker and has 75 poker tables with an area of over 128,000 square feet.
Over its short history, it has already hosted several prestigious tournaments such as Season IV of the WSOP International Circuit, PartyPoker's Premier League in 2013, and the World Cup of Cards in 2017.
Although it might lack the glamor of history associated with the other venues we've covered so far, Playground Poker Club seems to be made for the poker purists. It has also been a lucky venue for some players as two bad beat jackpots worth more than $1 million were hit at the casino within two years between 2017 and 2018.
AN INTERNATIONAL GAME OF CHANCE
Even though the live poker venues in North America get the most attention and action, the game's global appeal is evident when you look at what's on offer in other parts of the world.
Many thought online poker would start cutting into the revenue of live poker, but it seems like online poker has improved live poker for some. Every year many make their first trip to a card room or casino with fresh hope and ambition, and many are looking for a casino closer to home than Nevada.