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The Top Five Cities To Launch Your Poker Career: Part One

A Look At The Places That Just Missed The Cut


Note: This is part 1 of 2.

After looking over your records (you are keeping records, right?) you notice that you turned a nice profit at the tables the last year or so. Maybe it was much more than a small profit. Perhaps you won a couple of tournaments, dominated your home game, or are considered one of your local poker room’s top players.

Perhaps you are asking yourself if you have what it takes to play full-time, as a poker professional. If so, where do you go, geographically, to take a shot?

Due to a lack of games and stakes in the majority of the United States, if you are truly serious about taking your game to the next level, you might consider a move to a part of the country with better options.

Thankfully, these days poker players have more options than ever. In decades past, poker players were restricted to just a few cities nationwide. Today, there are hundreds of card rooms from coast to coast that spread low, mid, and high-stakes games around the clock.

Card Player has scoured North America and has come up with a look at the top five cities where a player can access the types of games that make launching a poker career possible.

But before we get to the top five, let’s look at some of the places that just missed the cut. These regions have top-rate card rooms but the surrounding areas may lack of multitude of options. Nonetheless, they have more than enough games to get started.

Foxwoods CasinoConnecticut

Connecticut is home to just two casinos, Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun, that are located just 10 miles from each other. Mohegan Sun has a massive poker room with 42 tables, but that is dwarfed by Foxwoods and its 104 tables. Both rooms offer a wide variety of small-stakes games with the occasional high-stakes games running during a big tournament series.


Believe it or not, there are 26 card rooms in the state of Oklahoma. Besides the five largest, you’d be hard pressed to find more than a $1-$2 no-limit game and low stakes limit hold’em action in most of them. The state is home to wonderful poker properties such as WinStar Casino in Thackerville with 46 tables. The Choctaw Casino in Durant, which hosts a CPPT event, and Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa each have 30 table rooms. Other notable poker rooms include the Riverwind Casino and Firelake Grand Casino in Oklahoma City, with 24 and 19 tables respectively.


There are 15 poker rooms in Mississippi, most of which are split between Tunica and Biloxi. Although Tunica used to be a regular stop on the tournament circuit, that honor has been shifted toward the coastal city of Biloxi and the Beau Rivage Casino, which has 16 regular tables and adds more during a series. Other notables rooms in the state include the Gold Strike, Sam’s Town, Imperial Palace, and Harrah’s.

Parx CasinoPennsylvania

The state of Pennsylvania has become the second largest gambling market in the U.S. in recent years and unsurprisingly, poker has played a big part. The Philadelphia area leads the way with the Parx Casino and its 61-table card room. Harrah’s, located in the same city, has a 35-table room of their own. Just an hour drive north in Bethlehem is the Sands Casino Resort, with another 30 tables.


Casinos are a recent addition to the state of Ohio, which has opened a total of four properties in Cleveland, Toledo, Columbus and Cincinnati. The four poker rooms have a total of 117 poker tables, but they are spread far apart. It would take about four hours to drive from Cincinnati to Cleveland, which isn’t ideal for a player looking for variety.

Random Poker Facts, According To Bravo Poker Live Data

1. On an average weeknight, there are upwards of 500 $1-$2 or $1-$3 no-limit hold’em cash games running in the U.S. at any given time. There are nearly 150 $2-$5 games, around 50 $5-$10 games, and usually around 15 $10-$20 games. Those numbers increase by about 25 percent on weekends.

2. High stakes games, which are no-limit games of $25-$50 or higher and limit games of $100-$200 or higher, exist with regularity at only 15 casinos nationwide, the majority of which are in California or Nevada. The biggest games occur at the Borgata, Parx Casino, Commerce Casino, Aria, and Bellagio.

3. Mid-stakes ($30-$60 and above) to high-stakes limit hold’em games do not exist regularly outside of Las Vegas, Atlantic City, and Los Angeles.

4. The most popular game outside of $1-$2 no-limit hold’em is $4-$8 limit hold’em.

5. Small-stakes pot-limit Omaha games are scattered throughout the United States, but the only place to regularly spread it for higher than $5-$10 everyday is at the Commerce Casino in Los Angeles.



almost 8 years ago

Oklahoma you regularly find 2-5 nl at any casino; 2-5 Plo at Riverwind Winstar Lucky Star and Durant. Weekends you can find 5-10 nl and Plo at these same places. Also 10-25 and 25-50 at Winstar and Durant.


almost 8 years ago

Ridiculous article. 1 - you cannot make a living playing low stakes. I don't care if you're Phil Ivey. The games at Foxwoods, my home casino, as well as Borgata, where I also play a lot, are capped. That means the skill level is as close to zero as can be. There is a reason they are capped - to minimize the skill of the better players and give everyone a better shot a winning, or as we say in CT, lucking. Whoever wrote this is clueless..


almost 8 years ago

@keeentd, what do you mean they're capped at Foxwoods? What games are capped (and how so)? I've played 1-2 and 2-5 and railbirded just about all the others and I'm not sure I ever saw such a thing.


almost 8 years ago

Pretty poorly written article, at least for Mississippi. Gold Strike and Sam's Town closed their rooms last yea rand Harrah's is closing in about 2 months. The new poker room at the Horseshoe in Tunica is very nice with 20+ tables. Do some research next time.


almost 8 years ago

Any time you try and make your entire living from poker, you're asking to spend a few nights on the couch of the "Busto Monster"

I've bought two sets of Michilen X-ice tires for my car, furniture, and clothes with poker winnings. However, the money I put in play represents about 2% of my salary. In the long run, good play balances out variance. However, day-to-day bills have no variance.

Quit trying to make a living, or you'll end up like Justin Bonomo, Chino Reem and all the rest. Just use poker to supplement your salary and you'll be fine.


almost 8 years ago

I too am disappointed at the inaccuracies in this report. Here are two that really should be corrected:

In the section on Atlantic City you write "Stud specialists will have trouble finding games outside of Atlantic City..." While this is true for most of the country, this is not true for the casinos in Connecticut, where stud abounds. In fact, there is much more stud at Foxwoods Casino than in all of the Atlantic City casinos combined.

In the section on Connecticut you write, "Both rooms offer a wide variety of small-stakes games with the occasional high-stakes games running during a big tournament series". This is demonstrably false -- and shows that the writer didn't do his/her homework. There are regular high stakes games that are spread daily at Foxwoods: $75-150 stud, $5-10 no limit, and often $150/300 mixed games. These run all the time -- even when there are no big tournaments. Also, there are always many mid-stakes games including: $20/40 stud, $20/40 hold'em, $2-5 no limit hold'em, and $2-5 pot limit Omaha. Mid stakes games also run daily at Mohegan Sun.

I suspect that the writer or writers of this article are based in Las Vegas, and just never got around to visiting the rooms in Connecticut or even checking on their Bravolive ap. Too bad. Even a phone call to ask what was being spread would have revealed these obvious errors.


almost 8 years ago

I love the comments about playing poker for a living. Everyone seems to know what its like or if it can be done or not and I'm sure they have never even tried. I've been doing it for 7 years, It is possible, it is being done and you can make a great living at it. If you do not believe it can be done, then I would not attempt it because you are in the wrong mindset.