Best Live Poker Rooms In South Africa
While online poker undoubtedly has its benefits, sometimes you will want to take a break from your computer screen and interact with other human beings at the poker table. The good news, as far as this is concerned, is that South Africa has a wealth of live poker rooms and tables spread across its 1.2million square kilometres.
From No Limit Hold'Em to Pot Limit Omaha and from regular low buy-in cash games to World Poker Tour and World Series of Poker tournaments, the country's live poker scene has it all. Here are just some of the best places that you can go to play live poker in South Africa.
Emerald Resort and Casino, Gauteng
Located on Frikkie Meyer Blvd in Gauteng, the Emerald Resort and Casino made history in 2012 when it became the first ever African casino to host a World Series of Poker circuit event. The US$3,300 buy-in event was won by a South African player, Joe Rahme, for more than US$158,000 (R1.7m), while the 2013 version saw former World Series of Poker player of the year Michael Mizrachi take the top prize.
The Emerald Casino's poker room has six tables in action all year round, and hosts a weekly R300 tournament with a prizepool of up to R12,000. This means there is something for players of all budgets and abilities, whether you prefer tournament poker or cash games.
Address: 777 Frikkie Meyer Boulevard, 1900, South Africa
Phone: +27 16 982 8000
Emperor's Palace Hotel Casino, Johannesburg
The World Series of Poker Circuit is not the only major poker tour to come to South Africa. The expansion of the World Poker Tour has benefitted a number of countries around the world over the last few years, and South Africa is no exception. The first WPT event in South Africa took place at Emperor's Palace in October 2012, with German pro Dominik Nitsche winning the $3,300 buy-in main-event for six figures and South Africa's Alan Munitich taking home more than $150,000 for winning the high roller tournament.
Emperor's Palace, located close to O.R. Tambo International Airport, in Johannesburg, has also hosted two WPT spinoffs. The WPT National Series, with a R13,000 main event, has produced two South African champions in its run so far. Then in February 2014 the country hosted its biggest ever buy-in tournament, the inaugural WPT Alpha8 event, with a buy-in of $100,000, with top online pro Dan 'Jungleman' Cates seeing off the challenge of local player Kinesh Pather to take home the $500,000 first place prize.
The main casino offers eight Texas Hold'em poker tables, with varying stakes, so players of varying abilities can find a game at most times of day. The casino also offers a wide range of other games including slots, roulette and blackjack.
Address: 64 Jones Rd, Kempton Park 1627, South Africa
Phone: +27 11 928 1000
The venue of choice for a great number of South African poker players, Montecasino has a great range of regular tournaments of varying buy-ins. The casino, located on the corner of William Nicol and Witkoppen, has a specially designated poker area, with eight Texas Hold'em tables as well as a whole host of poker machines.
Its monthly R3,000 tournament is the biggest draw, but there are also popular weekly tournaments including a R1,500 freezeout on Sundays. There are also cash tables available daily, with a variety of limits catering to all budgets.
While these days there are not that many huge tournaments at Montecasino, the venue hosted the popular Montecasino Poker Challenge in 2012. Jarred Solomon, third on the all-time money list for South African poker players, won the R12,000 buy-in Main Event for R440,000, while Johannesburg's own Greg Tucker took home R400,000 for winning the high roller tournament.
Address: 1 Monte Casino Blvd, Johannesburg 2055, South Africa
Phone: +27 11 510 7000
This popular candy floss pink casino is positioned between the North West Province and Polokwane. On top of the usual array of entertainments offered by a casino, Carousel Casino is famous for its live poker rooms. Carousel City offers its own variety of poker called "Magic Poker," a variation on Stud Poker that uses one deck of cards and one joker, meaning you can add on a progressive bet to the usual game. The base value of this game begins with R50 000.
Address: Old Warmbaths Road, 0407, Temba, North West Province, South Africa
Phone: +27 12 718 7777
Carnival City is a premier destination for those travelling in the region. The casino hosts live Texas Hold ‘Em tables and Raise ‘Em Poker, a progressive table game with a base value starting at R10 000. It also features Lunar Poker which boasts the highest progressives in South Africa.
Address: Corner Century Rd, Elsburg Rd, Boksburg, 1540, South Africa
Phone: +27 11 898 7000
Gold Reef City
Gold Reef City, while an exciting destination in itself with its attached theme park, theatres, and luxurious hotel, also has three Raise'Em poker tables on offer, open 24/7. The minimum bet is R40 and the highest amount you can bet on the tables is R1000. On top of this, Gold Reef City also runs a bi-monthly poker tournament which you can buy in for R6000.
Address: Cnr Northern Parkway and Data Crescent, Ormonde, Johannesburg, 2159
Phone: +27 11 248 5000