Stratosphere Poker Room
The Stratosphere is on the northern end of the Las Vegas Strip. It is home to the 900-foot observation tower that can be seen throughout the Las Vegas Valley and miles outside of town. It is by far the tallest building in Las Vegas.
The Stratosphere is not considered to be on the Las Vegas Strip by many locals. That is because it is located in the city limits of Las Vegas, unlike all of the other resorts along Las Vegas Blvd to its south. The property is a bit of an island to itself. Only SLS Las Vegas is within a reasonable walking distance to it. Walking between the two properties at night is not generally considered a good idea among locals, even though it is probably safe to do so.
There are 12 tables at the Stratosphere poker room. Half of these are only used for tournaments.
Stratosphere Cash Games
The main game at the Stratosphere is $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em. The buyin range is $50-$300. Players may sometimes find a $2-$6 spread limit game, but this is very rare.
Stratosphere Poker Rake
The Stratosphere rakes 10% up to $4 in all cash games.
Stratosphere Poker Tournaments
The tournaments at Stratosphere are often referred to as the Sahara tournaments. That is because when Sahara closed in May 2011, many of the dealers and players moved over to Stratosphere. So did the tournaments and their structures. Unfortunately, the 11am and 11pm tournaments died and there is only one per day. This changes on high volume weekends, where the 11am tournament returns.
The daily tournament start time is 7pm. The tournament at Sahara was $45, but inflation has set in and it is now $50. The house keeps $19 of that as an admin fee. Players are allowed one rebuy of $20. Players may reenter before the first break if busting the rebuy.
The tournaments on Mondays and Wednesdays offer $20 bounties. This drives the buyin up to $70. The rebuy is still available.
Don’t worry about catching a bite to eat before making the 7pm tournament. Stratosphere buys pizza for all tournament participants.
Stratosphere Poker Promotions
The Stratosphere offers several poker promotions that are funded by a $1 jackpot drop per hand. Players earn $1 an hour in comps while playing cash games. This may be spent on food, sundries, hotel, or at the tower observation deck. Ruby’s Diner is located next to the poker room and will deliver food to the table. There is a pizza joint on the second floor, a popular option that players often choose.
There is a high hand promotion every two hours. The prize depends on the time of the day. There is also a bad beat jackpot that hits when a player loses aces full of 10’s or better.
The Stratosphere poker room is nothing special. It is a lower end room. Some may consider it smoky as the casino floor with busy slot machines is just a few steps away. It is also a bit loud as there is a doorway to a front entrance nearby. The restrooms are a short walk away, but the sports book is clear across the casino.
Most of the tables do not have automatic shufflers. The cash game tables do, but the tournament tables don’t. This can make tournaments slower than many players may be used to experiencing.
The Stratosphere poker room does not use the Bravo Poker system. Players are logged in manually, just like the old days.
Most of the dealers have years or even decades of experience dealing poker. Many date back to the glory days of Sahara. Players will not have to worry about there being any mistakes.
Personal Opinion of Stratosphere
We like the tournament and its structure. The single add-on is nice. The free pizza is a great bonus for the 7pm tournament. The dealers and floor are very experienced, but so are the players, so the games tend to be tight. We wouldn’t go out of our way to play here, but hotel guests and those staying at SLS Las Vegas should find the room acceptable for $1/$2 No Limit Texas Hold’em and tournament play.