Live Poker Room Reviews by ProfessionalRakeback

Ace Jack

Here at, we are primarily focused on providing the best information about online poker sites. In addition to our main pursuit, we also tackled related topics such as online gambling, sports betting and casino games.

As part of our effort to provide the best poker information on the internet, we have had our expert reviewers visit and review many live poker venues, mostly in the United States. This page is dedicated to listing all of our live poker reviews as well as providing additional insight into how we vet a poker room and what you should be looking for if you want to play live poker.

Live poker reviews from a rakeback pro

What to look for in a live poker site


When deciding where to play live poker, there are a number of critical aspects to consider. For most people, location is the most important factor. You can only travel so far from home to play poker comfortably, so unless you have a specific trip planned, you probably want to check out the poker rooms closest to you.

If there is more than one poker room in your area or a place you are traveling to, you may want to start looking a little closer at what each room has to offer, including the bets available, promotions, poker variants being spread, and rake.

Blind levels and buy-ins in the cash game

A bag of money

One of the most important factors when choosing a live poker room is the stakes offered and buy-ins allowed. Typically, the lowest bets you’ll find involve $1/$2 or $1/$3 blinds. Bayins vary from room to room, but it is common to see a minimum buyin of $100 with a maximum of $300-$500 for such games.

If you’re looking for bigger buyins and higher stakes, it really depends on your location. In Las Vegas, you can easily find action at $5/$10 and $10/$20 blind levels every day. In smaller areas, finding cash games and higher stakes tournaments can be significantly more difficult.

Rake considerations

Two speeds

All poker rooms charge a rake or a percentage of every pot played that is returned to the room. Most live poker sites tend to rake 5%-10% up to a certain maximum (perhaps $5 or $10). Of course, the lower the rake and cap percentage, the better it is for players in general.

In the event that the pot is won before the flop, it is customary not to collect a rake from the pot. If you ever come across a live poker place that seems to collect pots before the flop, it’s probably not a great room to play.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as some poker rooms will rake $1 or $2 pre-flop for specific promotions available such as bad beat jackpots, leaderboards, or other high hand promotions.


Many live poker venues will offer high hand bonuses or bad-beat jackpots at their cash game tables. In these cases, it is likely that the room will collect a small amount from each pot (this is in addition to the standard rake) which will contribute directly to such promotions.

For very experienced poker players, these types of promotions are not ideal. Luck is the main factor in winning these types of promotions. While Bad Beat Jackpots can certainly add to the excitement of the game, the money that is taken out of each pot will hurt your bottom line if you are unlucky enough to take advantage of these bonus funds.

More valuable to regular grinders are the comp points or reward points that you usually accumulate while playing the tables. At most card rooms, especially those associated with a destination casino resort, you can spend these points on dining, entertainment, hotel rooms, etc. Points usually won’t improve your returns dramatically, amounting to no more than $1 or $2 per hour in most cases, but they work as a sort of live poker rakeback.

In card rooms that are part of large gaming conglomerates, such as Caesars or MGM Resorts, your game can generate lucrative marketing offers for you. You may be presented with room discounts or bonuses, dining credits and other benefits not only at the location where you played, but also at others around the country owned by the same corporate group.


The majority of live poker sites run tournaments daily. The size and scope of these tournaments varies dramatically from venue to venue, but most live poker venues tend to serve smaller stakes tournament buy-ins under $100 for their daily events.

The benefit of holding small events is that live poker rooms will attract new players and amateurs who want to play poker and have fun without risking a lot of money. While these types of tournaments don’t actually bring much profit to the poker rooms, they can act as a promotion or catalyst to attract new players who will hopefully want to play cash games or participate in a bigger tournament one day.

Major live card rooms also host prestigious tournament series from time to time. The granddaddy of them all is the annual World Series of Poker, but the rest of the year features various regional WSOP Circuit events, Heartland Poker Tour stops, World Poker Tour festivals and other special series with big prize pools and exciting, multi-day poker tournaments. action.

Live Poker Sites

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Here at, our experts have traveled to many parts of the United States and beyond to play live poker. As part of this effort, we’ve reviewed many live poker rooms to help you decide if you should jump into the action and try out a particular card room. Please feel free to browse our comprehensive list of live poker site reviews below:

  • The Lodge (Round Rock, TX)
  • Texas Card House (North Austin, TX)
  • Shuffle512 (Austin, TX)
  • Action’s Card House (Ontario, Oregon)
  • Ontario Poker Room and Social Club (Downtown Ontario, OR)
  • Golden Nugget (Downtown Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Horseshoe (Las Vegas, Nevada)
  • Mandalay Bay (Paradise, Nevada)
  • Canterbury Park (Shakopee, MN)
  • MGM Grand (Detroit, Michigan)
  • Beau Rivage (Biloxi, MS)
  • The Borgata (Atlantic City, NJ)
  • Tropicana (Atlantic City, NJ)
  • Turning Stone (Verona, NY)
  • Tioga Downs (Nichols, NY)

Play online poker from anywhere


As many of our readers already know, our main focus here is internet poker. Trusted and reputable online poker sites are widely available to players in the United States. To learn more about the best online poker sites, please feel free to review this guide to US online poker.

Although there are some doubts about the legality of online poker, rest assured that playing online at an offshore site is completely legal. To learn more about this topic, feel free to check out this detailed page on the legality of playing online poker in the USA.

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