It’s difficult to put your finger on exactly how the explosion of interest in poker began, but begin it did, sometime in the last decade or so – and now pretty much everyone from your grandmother to your kid sister plays, often at home or online. In Montreal, we’re blessed with Canada’s largest brick-and-mortar gaming house, Montreal Casino (or Casino de Montreal if you prefer). It’s an eye-catching building, in an easy to remember location; 1, Avenue du Casino, on Notre Dame Island, but if you haven’t visited yet, you may be surprised by the variety of stuff that’s going on inside.
Test your skills
Newbies to real-world casino gaming, even those that have played a little around the kitchen table, can sometimes find the experience a little intimidating. There’s a wide variety of games on offer here, so if you’re in any doubt as to which would suit your talents best, it’s not a bad idea to try out a few for free online first. Uptown Aces has blackjack and video poker, as well as a decent selection of slots. When you feel ready, you’ll find Montreal Casino is a friendly, modern spot with Caribbean stud poker, Texas hold’em (of course), several versions of blackjack, craps, roulette, and literally thousands of slots.
Fun at the slots is enhanced by regular tournaments, in which it’s possible to win $2,500 for a $20 entry fee. However, one of the attractions for many visitors is the range of other events and activities. Cabaret du Casino is a modern venue with dinner and brunch shows; upcoming attractions later in the year include Cabaret Burlesque and Montreal’s own Gino Vanelli, both starting in September. Le Qube theatre is also worth checking out; the program changes frequently, but promises “exponential fun” – which sounds good, no?
Eating & Drinking
The interior of the building has been updated recently, and the renovated gaming floors and restaurants are looking good. Dining options include Le Montreal restaurant, great for steak; Pavillon 67 buffet; Ajia, for a taste of the Orient, and deli-style fare at L’Instant. If you need a quick drink to get into the mood, you can choose from Le Poker, a modern bar with a view of the tables, as well as three new options including Dame de Coeur, located on the Promenade section.
The casino is open 24 hours; if you’re planning to play, make sure you feel confident before hitting the tables; but remember that there’s plenty to do here besides gambling, so there’s no need to feel pressured into anything.