This was my third trip to Bogota in the past several years. On my first poker trip to Bogota, I failed to find many poker rooms (since there is virtually no information on the web), and the place I did find closed just a few months after I left. 6 months ago I went back and stumbled across the city's largest poker room on my last day. While playing there, I got a lead on many other casinos that offered poker and knew I'd need to go back. Since I love the city, and really enjoy the friendliness of the players, I was more than happy to return.
In my previous article on Bogota poker rooms, I commented on the friendliness of the people, the beauty of the women, the quality (and inexpensiveness) of the dining, shopping, and the low cost of reasonable accommodations, so rather than repeat myself, I'll just jump straight into the poker!
Bogota Poker Room Summary
The value of the Colombian Peso fluctuates significantly, but at the time of writing, $1 USD is worth approximately 2,900 COP. These are the USD equivalents for the games offered:
The airport is probably the best place to exchange your currency.
In addition to the 6 casinos listed above, there is also:
- Casino Golden Station: 2 tables, but no active games while I was there
- Casino Rock'n Jazz: 2 tables; no cash games, just a daily sit & go style tournament @ 7 pm
There are also plenty of other casinos in Bogota, so it is entirely possible that I missed a couple. However, I can confirm that as of May 2016 the following Bogota casinos do not have poker:
- Aladdin Casino: Carrera 10 #27-27, Local 153
- Crown Casino Palatino: Carrera 7 #139-07, Centro Comercial Palatino, Local 216 y 217
- Millionaires Casino: Carrera 15 #124-97
Calle 19 # 28-80 - Centro Comercial Calima Piso 3
The New York Casino Calima is located on the 3rd floor of the Calima shopping centre. There is also a small casino on the first floor, called Stars Casino, but it is just slot machines. Although the New York Casino has 3 tables, they only ever seem to use one. They play $1,000/$2,000 (35¢/70¢) no limit holdem, with a minimum buy-in of $100,000, with 5% rake (no cap). The game starts daily at 2pm and typically runs until 2 am.
The New York Casino is located right next to the food court, which stays open late, which is a bonus if you get the munchies late at night.
Carrera 7 #21-70
Don't let the crummy entrance fool you - Caribe Centro is actually a very nice, large casino. However, despite having plenty of machines and table games, they have just 2 poker tables. They play $1,000/$2,000 no limit hold'em and if you are interested in stakes this small (it's roughly 35¢/70¢ USD), then this is the best place to play. Although the rake has a ridiculously high cap ($50,000, or almost $18), they take less than 4%. The casino rakes $2,000 for every $50,000 in the pot. Thus, there is no rake until the pot exceeds 25 big blinds, and if the pot were $80,000, the rake would be just $2,000 (2.5%).
In additon to having the lowest rake in Bogota, the Casino Caribe Centro also offers a jackpot, for which there is no additional charge (they pay for it from the rake).
Caribe Centro offers a $60,000 buy-in ($21) tournament every day at 3pm, and the cash game typically starts around 7pm.
Calle 26 #62-47, Gran Estacion Mall
Located in the Gran Estacion Mall. They have 2 poker tables, but both were covered in tarp when I visited, and I was informed that they no longer have poker. However, several local poker players insisted that Casino Golden Station did in fact have poker, so either their information was old, or the lack of poker I witnessed was temporary.
Carrera 58 #127-29
|Hollwyood Casino Rake|
|$50k||$2k (4%)||$2.5k (5%)||-|
|$100k||$4k (4%)||$5k (5%)||$5k (5%)|
|$150k||$6k (4%)||$7.5k (5%)||-|
|$200k||$8k (4%)||$10k (5%)||$10k (5%)|
|$250k||$10k (4%)||$12.5k (5%)||-|
|$300k||$15k (5%)||$15k (5%)||$15k (5%)|
Hollywood Casino is probably the biggest and the nicest casino in Bogota, so its only logical that they also have one of the biggest and nicest poker rooms. They offer two tournaments every Monday to Thursday. The first tournament starts at 3pm and is a $30,000 freeze-out ($10.50 USD). The second tournament starts around 7:30pm and costs $100,000 to enter ($35 USD) with $50,000 rebuys and a $100,000 add-on.
The cash game starts around 5pm and runs until roughly 3am (5am on Fridays and Saturdays). Sadly, they usually only have a single table of $1,000/$2,000 no limit hold'em, for which the minimum buy-in is $100,000. The rake is one of the most competitive in Bogota, and the large intervals between rake triggers means that you will pay far less than the listed percentage on average. It's unfortunate that they can't seem to get a regular game of $2,500/$5,000, since they offer the lowest rake in Bogota for this limit.
Hollywood Casino also offer a jackpot, which they fund by taking $1,000 every flop.
Calle 82 #12-50
Luckia Casino has the nicest poker room in Bogota. Like Hollywood Casino they have 5 poker tables, but unlike Hollywood their focus is entirely on cash games. The tables open every day at 2pm thanks to a promotion in which all present players are entered into a draw, with 7 winning $50,000 ($17.50 USD). By evening they almost always have at least 3 full tables. At 7:30pm on a Friday, they had 2 full tables of $1,000/$2,000 no limit hold'em, 1 table of $2,000/$5,000 no limit hold'em, and 1 table of $5,000/$10,000 no limit hold'em. Pot Limit Omaha is available if enough players are interested, and shortly after I arrived we started a table of $5,000/$5,000 PLO with 7 players, and filled within 30 minutes. At least one table survives until 6am, when the room closes. Inexplicably, Luckia's poker room is closed on Sundays.
Regardless of the game or limit, the rake is 5%, with a maximum of $20,000. While this is a high cap ($7 USD), the percentage is low. However, the poker in Bogota is very loose, so several pots will hit the rake cap every hour. In addition, another $3,000 is taken from the pot once it reaches $50,000 to fund the jackpot. This means that on a pot of $60,000, 10% is leaving the table ($3,000 for rake and $3,000 for the jackpot).
The jackpot is a combination of a bad beat and high hand reward. Four-of-a-kind pays $100,000 ($35 USD), and the quads of the day pay double. A straight flush pays $500,000 ($175), and a royal flush pays $1,000,000 ($350 USD). You must use both hole cards, but there is no minimum pot size to qualify, nor is a showdown necessary. However, you must complete your hand before everyone folds, so I'd strongly recommend not semi-bluffing your straight-flush draws. I'd suggest betting your trips for value though - quads pays just $100,000. The bad beat jackpot was $16,000,000 when I was there ($5,614 USD), but I forget the qualifying requirements (obviously it's high).
Calle 82 #13-15
The Rock'n Jazz is a beautiful, well-lit, popular casino right in the heart of Bogota's entertainment district. Unfortunately, their poker room is just 2 tables, which they use exclusively for sit & go style poker tournaments. The tournaments start around 7 pm. The typical format is a $120,000 buy-in ($42) with $60,000 rebuys and a $60,000 add-on.
Luckily, the Rock'n Jazz is just a short walk away from Luckia Casino, so if you enjoy rebuy tournaments, you can still play cash games before or after (or both), and can eat at one of the many fantastic restaurants nearby in between!
Calle 134 Carrera 55 #5a30 Centro Comercial Paseo San Rafael, Local 316
This is another casino that is located inside of a mall. Although this a somewhat small casino, they do have a semi-private poker room with 2 tables (it is shared with 2-3 VIP tables). However, the poker tables are a little cramped, and overall the casino is a little dark.
Casino San Rafael have a rebuy tournament every Thursday at 6:30pm with a $300,000 buy-in ($105 USD). However, they typically fail to fill a single table. Monday to Friday they have a table of $5,000/$10,000 no limit hold'em, which starts around 4 pm. The less-than-helpful staff were unable to properly communicate the rake structure, but I was told that the cap was just $15,000, making Casino San Rafael the best place to play high stakes poker in Bogota (at least as far as rake is concerned).
Carrera 13 #82-85
Located in the Zona Rosa (entertainment district), this is a fairly large casino. They have a beautiful 4 table poker room, but sadly all they offer is a weekly multi-day tournament. If you like high stakes, multi-day tournaments, then the Crown Casino Zona T is definitely the place for you.
Every Tuesday to Friday, there is a satellite tournament at 2pm, which costs between $200,000 and $300,000 to enter and awards seats to that evening's tournament. The evening tournaments, which also run every Tuesday to Friday, start at 6pm and cost either $900,000 (Tue & Wed) or $1,000,000 (Thu & Fri) to enter. The top 10 players from each day qualify for the 4 table final on Saturday. Considering that the daily tournaments cost approximately $350 USD, this is a BIG tournament considering that it runs every week. Assuming 30 players register each day, that's a total prize pool of $114 million ($40,000 USD).
Occasionally, players will stick around to play $2,000/$5,000 no limit hold'em, but I'd strongly recommend against doing so. If you want to play cash after the tournament, head over to the Luckia, which is less than a block away. The rake at the Crown Casino Zona T is 10% with no cap. When this was first explained to me, I assumed that my Spanish had let me down and that my question was misunderstood. However, when I asked, "So, if the pot is $1,000,000..." I was blown away when I was told that the rake would be $100,000!
Online Poker in Colombia
Most online poker sites are legal to play on while in Colombia. To find out which poker site is best for you, click here.
I am constantly amazed at how poorly latin american businesses utilize the internet. Finding poker rooms in Bogota was a chore. If you search for "Luckia Casino Bogota", Google will tell you that the casino is "permanently closed" (it's not). This casino was officially opened in April 2013, but they don't even have a website...and this is the biggest, most active poker room in a city of over 8 million people! Look up Crown Casino Zona T on Google Maps and it will indicate that it is next to the Crown Casino San Rafael, when in reality it's about 50 streets away!
Bogota is an amazing city, and definitely worth a visit. The dining is excellent, and the prices for food and accommodations are outstanding. There is also plenty of poker, but not much higher stakes, and very little Omaha (which is funny considering that the locals give a LOT of action).
What do you think? Is Bogota worth a visit? If you’ve been there yourself, we would love to hear about your experience in the comments below!