Sitting right next to each other, a few doors down from the Flamingo, are Harrah’s and the Imperial Palace. All three hotel/casinos are now part of the Harrahs empire but that’s where the similarities end.
On the site where Harrah’s stands today, the Holiday Casino and its legendary $1.99 breakfast buffets stood in the 60s and 70s. Although inside the casino floor has been renovated dozens of times, you can still see the bones of the old casino.
The Imperial Palace is an Asian themed casino and until recently most of the clientele were Asians. Ornate dragons are carved into the casino ceiling décor, although I’m not sure many tourists look up and notice.
Both venues have small poker rooms and neither is anything to write home about. They both advertise daily and twice daily small buy-in tournaments but neither room can muster more than a few tables each time. For the most part these tournaments turn into glorified Sit-&-Go operations, paying at most three finalists. Getting to the final table is no big deal – when you first sit down you may already be there.
What characterizes the Harrah’s Poker Room more than anything is the chill! The room is completely enclosed in glass and walls, entirely separated from the Sports Book next door and the casino floor outside the doors. The AC is pumped in at a high volume and the air has no where to go. In the summer months, patrons walking around outside and elsewhere with shorts and tank tops on will freeze in here. Bring your sweater; bring your jacket; bring your hat!
The Imperial Palace poker room is a moveable feast. It used to be located on the second floor, at the top of the escalator and to the left, opposite the showrooms. A few years ago it was moved downstairs to the casino floor opposite the small hotel check-in area. A short while later they moved it closer to the front door about 10 feet away from where it was previously. Nothing makes a difference. If there’s one table going, that’s a lot. Tournaments go begging for players and, as you might expect, payouts are small.
If you are a small time poker player, looking for a $50 or $60 Hold ‘em tournament or a $2/$4 limit table, probably you’re better off going into the Flamingo or walking up the Strip to the little poker room at the Monte Carlo. Both have friendly staff, a decent amount of players, and comfortable conditions.