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Playing Poker in New York City

Playing Poker in New York City

Visiting the big apple and want to enjoy a fun poker night?

You probably heard about it or saw it in the movies. These underground poker clubs, which are probably a part of NYC’s fabric as its diners or corner bars. NYPost wrote a great article about the seedy world of underground NY poker clubs. You should read it before you arrive. However, you should know it’s not legal.

Full-fledged casinos haven’t been able to crack the NYC metro yet, but there are plenty of other Poker options elsewhere in the state. Upstate New York has much more choices of where to play poker, with four casinos that opened since 2016 and joined four existing tribal casinos which offer live poker games.

The tribal casinos that have poker rooms are located in Seneca Niagara (in Niagara Falls), Seneca Allegany in Salamanca, Turning Stone in Verona and Akwesasne in Hogansburg. The other casinos include Resorts World Catskills in Monticello, Rivers Casino, and Resort in Schenectady, Del Lago Resort & Casino in Waterloo, and Tioga Downs Casino Resort in River Road Nichols

If you’re a smoker, or not, you should know that all casino poker rooms in the state of New York are indeed smoke-free. However, the tribal casinos do provide smoking areas within their venues.

NYC Food for the Soul, and for some Poker Focus

In order to play good poker – you need to eat well.

So if you love food, you’re in luck: New York City has about a bajillion restaurants. It’s one of the best cities in the world to visit if you want to try a wide variety of great food. For you, visiting some of the most-talked-about restaurants in the city will be right up there with having a great poker night, seeing the sights, walking across the Brooklyn Bridge, catching a Broadway show, and strolling through Central Park.

In the Age of Instagram, you’re likely bombarded with great restaurants to try while visiting New York. But which ones should you start with? Below are several New York restaurants you should check out that are worthy of the hype. But be warned: you’ll likely have to wait in long lines.

Serendipity 3

Located on East 60th Street, this iconic Upper East Side restaurant has been around for decades. It’s been popular with celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Cary Grant, Cher, Ron Howard, Selena Gomez, and Kim Kardashian, and has been seen in several movies, including the romantic comedy Serendipity (2001), starring John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale. You’ll need to make a reservation far in advance if you’d like dinner and dessert, but you might be able to get in for just dessert without a reservation — if you’re willing to wait in a long line, that is. Serendipity 3 is best known for their desserts, with their most famous dessert being the frozen hot chocolate. They also serve classic American desserts like pie, carrot cake, and drug store-style sundaes.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack started out as a hot dog cart in Madison Square Park in 2001. It now has hundreds of locations, with locations in 28 states (including D.C.) and 15 countries (including the U.S.). There are more than a dozen locations in NYC, so take your pick (but if you want to avoid an extra-long line, we recommend avoiding the Times Square location). It’s also one of the more affordable high-quality fast food options, so it’s a great choice if you’re looking to save some money.

Shake Shack now serves more than just all-beef hot dogs and hamburgers. Depending on the location, they also serve breakfast, chicken sandwiches, frozen custard, milkshakes, wine and beer, dog treats, and more. If you’re not sure what to try first, start with what they’re most well-known for — burgers like the ShackBurger or SmokeShack. Add some fries and a milkshake to keep things classic.

Levain Bakery

Although more than twenty-five years old, Levain has become even more popular in the Instagram Age. So popular, in fact, that this Upper West Side staple has opened up several more locations around the city, and even one in the Hamptons. They’re also opening two new locations in NoHo and the Upper East Side, which will make it easier for tourists to get to. Right now, the original location on West 74th Street can be quite a trek for tourists, so these new locations are on the right track.

So, what should you get at Levain? Levain is famous for big, thick cookies that are crispy on the outside and gooey on the inside. They only serve a few different flavors, but their most popular ones are the chocolate chip walnut cookie and the dark chocolate peanut butter chip cookie. Just make sure you decide on what you want before it’s your turn to order — or face the consequences.


The two main Eataly locations are the Flatiron location and the Downtown location. You can’t go wrong with either, but the Flatiron location is usually the one that’s most recommended to newcomers. If you can, make a reservation online so you can avoid waiting in a super long line.

Eataly offers a variety of food and an Italian market, so it’s pretty much a food lover’s paradise. You’ll be greeted with great wine, coffee, and fresh produce, pasta, and cheese, among so much more. It’s best to go with a group of people so you can try a wider variety of dishes. No matter what, definitely order a pasta dish with gelato for dessert.