5 Questions with a Local Grinder: Ben Abrahams Quips on Poker-Playing Tourists

Ben Abrahams grew up in Boston and moved to Las Vegas in 2013 to chase his dream of becoming a professional poker player. The road to success wasn’t easy and, like most poker players whose income is mostly dependent on a card game where luck is a partial factor, there were some pitfalls along the way. But, at least for now, things are going well for the Bostonian.

Away from the table, Ben plays competitive soccer in leagues around town and is currently building a poker blog, ChaiPoker. He is active in charities and hosted a charity poker tournament at South Point in April 2018. The successful event raised $2,500 for the Clark County Parks and Recreation.

As a poker player, Ben tends to avoid the poker rooms most would consider among the best in town. Places such as Aria, Bellagio, Wynn, and Venetian, aren’t the casinos he prefers. Instead, he chooses to play at South Point, a nice property a few miles south of the Strip, and Caesars-owned casinos.

Abrahams enjoys the promotions offered at those card rooms. He has made a killing grinding the freeroll circuit. Certain casinos offer weekly, monthly, or quarterly freerolls for players who earn enough hours to participate. In one South Point freeroll, he made over $11,000. A year later, in the same tournament, he had his biggest score for more than $20,000.

I sat down with Abrahams to discuss the topic of tourists at the poker table. I think you’ll enjoy the insight and advice he gives for players coming to Las Vegas to play poker.

Which poker rooms do you recommend for a low-stakes player who is traveling to Las Vegas?

Ben Abrahams: I recommend the Flamingo and Caesars Palace for tourists coming to Las Vegas. The Flamingo poker room is laid back and they offer a variety of promotions including a weekly freeroll. Caesars Palace’s poker room is nice and the $2 per hour comps are great. The only thing I don’t like about Caesars is the place can get a bit loud when the dance club nearby is popping.

How easy is it to spot a tourist at the poker table?

BA: Tourists are easy to spot. If they’re drinking and generally unaware of the house rules and promotions, that’s usually a giveaway. But you still have to be careful. Just because they are a tourist doesn’t mean they don’t know how to play poker.

What are some of your favorite restaurants to spend your poker comps on?

BA: I really love Guy Fieri’s at The Linq. It has a great outdoor patio where you can do some people watching over by the Carnival Court outdoor club. If you want something quick and tasty, you can’t go wrong with Earl of Sandwich or Pin Up Pizza, both at Planet Hollywood.

Why do you prefer playing in Caesars poker rooms over MGM Resorts properties?

BA: The Caesars properties have a better rewards program. You can use your comps at any Caesars casino around the country, including here in Las Vegas. I use my comps for more than just restaurants. They’re good for paying for rooms and in the gift shop. I get free parking and two free shows per month. Plain and simple: the perks are just much better than what MGM players receive, in my opinion.

Do you find Las Vegas poker rooms to be more profitable than other cities?

BA: I doubt that poker itself is more profitable in Vegas than other cities, there just so many good players playing all different stakes. Sometimes, the best player at the table doesn’t even play full-time. However, with the number of rooms to play in, varying promotions, and the reasonable cost of living, all make Vegas a great place to live for a poker player.

Thanks for your time, Ben. Feel free to check out his new blog over at ChaiPoker.com to learn more about the Las Vegas grinder lifestyle.

Author: Jon Sofen