Prague, a city famed for its lively nightlife, is home to over twenty casinos, some of which are definitely better than others. Many are open around the clock, but in general, the peak hours for gaming are from 10 pm to the early hours of the morning. That is when the casinos will tend to be busiest, and when you’ll experience the liveliest atmosphere. Drinks are often free while you’re playing, but you may find the supply of complimentary alcohol suddenly dries up if you seem to be on a winning streak!
Food is normally available until 11 pm unless you happen to be playing in the casino of a hotel that has 24-hour room service, but some casinos also provide a free buffet. Entry to Prague’s casinos is usually free of charge, but you will need to show your passport or Schengen ID card, and the majority apply a dress code. A trip to a casino is a very enjoyable way to celebrate a stag night or a birthday, but for many, it is just like a regular leisure activity.
Best for Beginners
The most famous casino in Prague is the Ambassador Casino on Wenceslas Square, right next to the Ambassador Hotel. Founded in 1992 by the VIP Club company, this welcoming and relaxed casino is perfect for beginners and more experienced players alike, with no door charge and no dress code. Euros, Czech crowns, and US dollars are all accepted, and players receive free non-alcoholic drinks.
Although the capacity is relatively small, the Ambassador has 50 slot machines, three American roulette tables, two blackjack tables, and a total of nine poker tables; four cash poker, two playing Texas Hold ’em, one Russian poker table and a further two tables in the VIP poker room. From 8 pm till 10 pm there are ‘just for fun’ options where you can play various games without risking any money. Of course, that means you can’t win any money either, but it’s a great way for novices to get comfortable playing and to pick up the rules.
The Peoples’ Choice
In the center of town is the ever-popular Banco Casino which hosts a cash poker game every night after 8 pm. Buy-in costs can be found on the website, and the casino accepts euros or Czech crowns in exchange for chips (crowns will get you the better exchange rate). Drinks are free while you are playing, and the casual dress code specifies no shorts or trainers. Other house games on offer include Texas Hold ’em, blackjack, pontoon and American roulette. The nearest metro is Mustek or Namesti Republiky.
The New Kid on the Block
Viva Casino is a relative newcomer to the Prague gaming scene, but it’s already very busy, and the venue has an excellent reputation. Located inside the Marriot Hotel at V Celnici 10 (Namesti Republiky metro), Viva Casino bought out the old Millennium casino, which opened in 1999, and is now the largest casino in the Prague area, with over 100 slot machines and 12 gaming tables: Four for roulette and eight for card games. Viva opens at 3 pm and closes at 5 am. An a la carte dining menu is available as well as a complimentary buffet and free drinks. All the usual table games are available, and euros, dollars, and crowns are all accepted. If you are wearing shorts or trainers, you will not be allowed entry.
Doing the Business
The Prague Hilton in the business district (not the Hilton Old Town) at Florenc metro is home to the Casino Atrium. Although relatively small this is another highly popular choice for blackjack, poker, pontoon, roulette, and slots, not to mention the open buffet from 9 pm. Beer is free while you are playing and although the dress code is casual, no shorts or trainers are allowed. The Casino Atrium is open from 5 pm till 5 am and crowns or euros are accepted.
For Seasoned Players
The Hotel President at Marie Curieovych 100 also has an excellent casino, known as the Casino President or simply the Prague Casino. With 3100 square feet of floor space, it’s open from 10 pm until 4 am and has a strict smart dress code, banning jeans and t-shirts alongside shorts and trainers. The fast-paced gaming style makes this a casino more suited to experienced players than beginners. In addition to all the expected table games, the President also offers Caribbean poker– five-card stud that is played against the house. There are seven gaming tables plus two poker tables and 15 slot machines. Euros or crowns are accepted.
Outside of the Casinos
Those looking to place a bet outside of the casinos can go to one of the many sports bars to be found all over Prague. At the bars, it’s possible to place a bet on a match or game across the counter. Slot machines can be found in most ‘pivnice’ and ‘herna’ bars, but these aren’t ideal environments for gaming and don’t offer the same level of comfort and security as you would find in a major casino.
A better bet (no pun intended) would be to venture online where many virtual casinos offer a sophisticated standard of gaming either against the house or with players from around the world at any time of day or night. One of the best-known providers of online gaming is the well-respected and sleek 888casino established back in 1997 and one of the pioneers of the internet casino experience. Those choosing to play online casino games will be joining over 25 million members worldwide that enjoy playing award-winning games including online slots, blackjack, roulette, baccarat and live poker.
Online casino gaming is fun, and the thrill of placing money on a game adds immeasurably to the excitement, which is why so many people keep coming back for more. The experienced gamer plays for the sake of playing and the entertainment it provides rather than just to win money; at the end of the day he or she knows they are likely to emerge with a lighter pocket, but that is accepted as a fair price to pay for a night’s enjoyment. While some games are just a test of one’s luck, others like blackjack and poker involve some skill, and one can improve one’s chances through practice and concentration. Prague is a great city in which to experience the glamour and sophistication of the casino experience but remember, don’t bet more than you can afford to lose.
• Prague has over 20 casinos
• Many are open 24-hours, but from 10 pm to 2 am are peak times
• The Ambassador Casino is a suitable place for beginners
• Viva Casino is Prague’s largest
• The President Casino is for more experienced players
• Online gaming is a safe and fun alternative
• Play for fun – winning is a bonus