The Land of Lincoln may be known for many things, but gambling is not one of them. Horse racing is the oldest form of betting in Illinois, with roots dating back to the 1830s, and the state’s lottery was one of the initial ones to spring up in the Midwest in 1974. Unfortunately, there are no tribal or commercial casinos in Illinois. Riverboat gaming establishments are the only option for casino-style games of chance enthusiasts, made possible via the Riverboat Casino Act of 1990. It is there where Illinoisans can take in some premium card action. Naturally, online poker games offered by offshore interactive gaming platforms are always an option. These sites provide competitive digital tables, with the added perk of users getting to enjoy promotions such as weekly/monthly Rakeback deals.
Even though many laypeople believe that the world’s most popular card game has seen its best days, that is not entirely correct. Poker still enjoys a great deal of popularity and is far more played now than pre its boom period. Attendance of WSOP Main Events has stabilized to a 2007 level due to a growth of the game’s international player base. Online activity is also currently experiencing a five-year high. Thus, some may even say that poker is amidst a renaissance, marching towards reclaiming its former glory. Those Illinoisans that want to play it in an authentic casino atmosphere can do so at the venues listed below.
Grand Victoria Casino
Developed via a partnership between the Hyatt Hotel Corporation and Gold Strike Resorts, the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin opened its doors in 1994. In 2018, this establishment got sold to Eldorado Resorts, which now operates this floating venue under its rebranded name – Caesars Entertainment. The gaming floor of this locale covers almost 30,000 square feet, housing more than one thousand reel spinning and video poker machines, twenty-nine table games, and a poker room. The latter is active Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 AM to 4 AM. It mainly focuses on no-limit Texas Hold ‘Em and Limit Omaha games. Buy-ins for such options range from $30 to $1,000. The Grand Victoria Casino offers a Bad Beat Bonus at 1-3 and 2-5 No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em tables.
Situated along the Ohio River, card gamblers can find this Harrah’s riverboat casino on 100 East Front Street in Metropolis. It became operational in 1994, opening as a joint venture between Merv Griffin and Players International. It got brought into the Harrah’s fold in 2000, with the corporation acquisition of Players International. It boasts a 25,000 square feet gambling area home to around eight hundred slots and twenty-five tables. Poker-wise, there are five tables here, spreading Texas Hold ‘Em running from 12 PM to 6 AM on weekends.
Bally’s Quad Cities
Formerly known as Jumer’s Casino, Bally’s Quad Cities is a gaming venue in Rock Island owned by the Bally’s Corporation. It got up-and-running in December 2008 by the Jumer family, which sold this property to Delaware North in 2011, who passed it on to the Bally’s Corporation in 2021, leading to its rebrand. It now features a five-story hotel, two bars, and four restaurants. Bally’s Quad Cities is one of the most massive brick-and-mortar casinos in Illinois, with a game floor that sprawls 42,000 square feet. There, gamblers can find one thousand reel-spinners and video poker machines, as well as twenty-four table games. The establishment’s poker room is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 PM to 12 AM. It offers Texas Hold ‘Em, Seven-Card Stud, and Omaha.
Hollywood Casino Aurora
Found in the western suburb of Chicago named Aurora, made famous by Wayne’s World, the Hollywood Casino is a Penn National Gaming-operated riverboat gambling attraction. It started welcoming guests in 1993 and was the Hollywood Casino Corporations’ first riverboat casino. The gaming space here sprawls 53,000 square feet, offering one thousand slots and twenty-six game tables. Poker action here takes place at seven tables that provide Limit and 1-2 No-Limit Texas Hold ‘Em. The Bad Beat Jackpot here is also in play.
Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino
Docked upon the Illinois River in East Peoria, the Par-A-Dice Hotel & Casino pairs Illinois hospitality with Vegas-like excitement. Boyd Gaming operates this docked riverboat, which many consider the top gaming spot in central Illinois. It is a contemporary super-yacht that features 24/7 electronic gambling entertainment on its over one thousand devices. There are also twenty-one table games here and five poker ones. The latter group operates every day from 9 AM to 6 AM. Common complaints about the Par-A-Dice poker room include that it lacks a manager and that its tournaments have poor structures. Naturally, that is due to the low amount of tables available. Also, there are no comps here.
About the Author
Shelly Schiff has been working in the gambling industry since 2009, mainly on the digital side of things, employed by OnlineUnitedStatesCasinos.com. However, over her eleven-year career, Shelly has provided content for many other top interactive gaming websites. She knows all there is to know about slots and has in-depth knowledge of the most popular table games. Her golden retriever Garry occupies most of her leisure time. Though, when she can, she loves reading Jim Thompson-like crime novels.