Poker Coverage:

Golden Nugget Shines As The Crown Jewel Of Downtown Las Vegas

Storied Luxury Casino-Resort's Popular Grand Poker Series Now Running


Fads and trends come and go. But the classics are always in style.

As the Las Vegas landscape continues to change and evolve with just as many new casino openings as demolitions, the crown centerpiece of action in downtown Las Vegas remains at one place….the Golden Nugget. There is the Fremont Street Experience. Then, there’s the Golden Nugget experience, which is something far beyond expectation.

A Rich History and Tradition

Given all of the Golden Nugget’s modern amenities and luxury decor, it’s hard to believe this Las Vegas legend first opened in 1946. Casino icons Jackie Gaughan and later Steve Wynn left their mark on the casino hotel, which is now owned by Tilman Fertitta.

Tilman Fertitta is the sole owner and CEO of Fertitta Entertainment, Inc., which owns the restaurant giant Landry’s, Inc., the Houston Rockets, and the Golden Nugget Hotel and Casinos. He is a reality TV star, New York Times Best-selling author, speaker, frequent guest on popular TV business networks and is recognized as a world leader in the dining, hospitality, entertainment, and gaming industries.

Golden Nugget Las Vegas has 2,419 rooms, one of the largest properties north of the center Strip. In 2005, the Golden Nugget was purchased by Landry’s, Inc., New ownership embarked on an ambitious $100 million renovation project as Phase I, then completed its $70 million Phase II updates which expanded the resort and introduced additional venues. Then, Phase III saw the opening of the 500-room, $150 million Rush Hotel Tower. Never satisfied with merely being a piece of the larger casino landscape, the Golden Nugget set the highest standard for all resorts. The attraction continues to grow and change with the times.

The Nugget’s Golden Rule: A Poker Room with Players in Mind

If the casino, hotel, and restaurants are all standout experiences that attract visitors from all over the world, the same can be said for the storied poker room. There may be poker rooms in Las Vegas which are bigger and draw crowds with long waitlists, but no place runs as smoothly or offers a more ambitious menu of live games and tournaments than the Golden Nugget Poker Room.

Golden Nugget Poker RoomMuch of the credit for the creative niche that’s been successfully carved out by the Golden Nugget in this highly competitive Las Vegas poker market goes to Mr. Andy Rich, the longtime Director of Poker Operations. Andy has overseen many of the biggest and most prestigious annual events in the game worldwide, and his industry expertise is often sought out for radio and podcast commentary.

The Golden Nugget Poker Room has also hosted several popular televised poker shows, including High Stakes Poker, with its High Roller Suite being witness to some of the biggest and most dramatic pots in televised poker history, as well as Poker After Dark and head-to-head battles of Face the Ace airing on NBC. Many of these programs are still shown on television in reruns.

“I’ve been running the GNLV Poker Room for almost seven years now and I’m thankful to have been given this opportunity,” Andy Rich said. “This room is rich with tradition and history — there are less than sixty members of the Poker Hall of Fame, yet three of them were in charge of running this very poker room at one point in time. I’m not a mathematician, but that seems like a lot — I feel like I’m in good company.”

Unlike many other casinos which seem to treat poker as an afterthought, the Golden Nugget Poker Room is very much front and center adjacent to the main casino floor. The smoke-free poker room has 13 cash-game tables, with comfortable seating and plush decor. Televisions are also placed above each table and display tournament information at such close range so everyone can see the updates. Moreover, all tables are equipped with phone chargers. We all know how important that feature is when playing longer sessions.

Then, there are the games, promotions, and comps. Various poker games (beyond just Hold’em) are usually available, from low-limit up to no-limit action. There’s also a high-hand bonus promotion for cash games, where four-of-a-kind or a straight flush using both cards in your hand wins a bonus of the posted amount — typically between $50 and $599. Between 8 am and 2 pm the bonus pays double. There’s also a progressive bad beat jackpot that pays out the entire table if a player loses with quad deuces or better. The bad beat jackpot starts at $10,000 and grows daily. For more information, check the BRAVO app or call the Golden Nugget Poker Room directly.

As for comps, they are quite simply the best in the city. A 24K Select Member earns $2 per hour in comps for all live cash games. These comps can be used at any Golden Nugget restaurant (including Chart House, Vic & Anthony’s, and Grotto Italian Ristorante), as well as any Landry’s restaurant nationwide!

The 2021 Fall Grand Poker Series

With the poker tournament circuit going through many changes in recent years and Las Vegas’ poker events sometimes in disarray, one constant has been the Golden Nugget’s immensely popular Grand Poker Series.

Indeed, the Grand Poker Series has something for everyone with events that are remarkably affordable. The most impressive turnouts are often for the mixed game events, which are always well attended. Big guarantee no-limit Hold’em events have even drawn upwards of 3,000 entrants in the past.

“This year we have Omaha, Omaha eight-or-better, pot-limit Omaha, big O, stud eight-or-better, mixed triple-draw and several HORSE events,” according to Andy Rich. “Then there’s our marquee event — the $600 buy-in $500,000 guaranteed prize pool championship event which runs from Oct. 7-10.”

Check online at the Golden Nugget poker room site, or Card Player’s website for daily tournament listings.

The Golden Nugget: What’s Ahead?

The Golden Nugget Poker Room has survived the ups and downs over the years. Like any gold rush, booms and busts do come with the territory.

Look for the poker room to continue fostering a well-earned reputation as an epicenter of poker action which attracts a healthy mix of Las Vegas locals and out-of-town visitors. Look for this poker arena to remain one of the leaders in diversifying games and helping to promote other forms of poker. And, count on the Golden Nugget to expand its role as a terrific alternative for tournament players who want affordable buy-ins with potentially big payouts.

“My vision for our Poker Room is to continue mixing in new ideas with the famous old-school charms that we’re known for,” Andy Rich surmised. “We will keep on having incredible promotions and we strive to always listen to our customers and continuously make improvements to their experience. We’re the last poker room in Las Vegas that still allows cash to play and our uncapped $1-$2 no-limit games are legendary. Also, there’s free parking!”

For more information, please visit the casino homepage.