As most residents will be aware, gaming remains prohibited in Montreal and the province of Quebec. Nevertheless, the city is home to a thriving community of card players across a variety of games and pastimes.
Anyone seeking to combine their love of cards with travel should rest assured there are plenty of accessible gaming destinations within reach of La Belle Province. Each of which offers their own unique, cultural experiences.
Below, we explore three cities that you can easily fly to from Montreal’s Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport, each renowned for its card-playing scene and distinctive charms.
Las Vegas, Nevada, USA: The ultimate card player’s paradise
Las Vegas is known as the global capital of entertainment and gaming. Subsequently, this corner of the Nevada desert should be at the top of your card-playing priority list. A direct flight from Montreal to Las Vegas takes just under six hours – and there’s a three-hour time difference to acclimatise to as well.
As soon as you arrive, the dazzling lights of the Las Vegas Strip will greet you, where all of its world-class casino floors await. Whether you’re into poker, blackjack, or baccarat, the city boasts a plethora of competitive gaming options.
Blackjack players will find most Strip-based resorts offer a wealth of blackjack game options. Aria and The Venetian are typically two of the most popular among tourists. These both offer single-deck games too. Insurance is usually offered at all tables, but the general rule of thumb is to avoid it to prevent increasing the game’s house edge, whether playing it physically or online.
Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA: Old-school gaming on the East Coast
If you’d rather venture to America’s East Coast rather than West Coast, look no further than a flight to Atlantic City in New Jersey. Direct flights to ACY are few and far between, with indirect options typically the order of the day. Connections via Toronto, Orlando and Tampa are usually the easiest route from Montreal.
Known for its iconic boardwalk, Atlantic City also enjoys a rich history in gaming, with this seaside destination becoming the number-one gaming destination on the East Coast in the mid-20th century. Even citizens living in glamorous destinations like New York City used to flock to Atlantic City for a seaside break. Its iconic casino resorts like Borgata, the Trump Taj Mahal, and many more remain in operation, serving up a host card-based table games. Blackjack remains a perennial favourite, along with all manner of poker variants, baccarat and wheel-based games like roulette.
Borgata is one of the best places to play blackjack. Ocean is also another credible option, where the dealer must also stand on soft 17, a rule that’s in favour of the player.
Monte Carlo, Monaco: Elegant gaming at Casino de Monte-Carlo
For card players with a penchant for luxury, indulge in a flight from Montreal to the French Riviera. Direct flights from Montreal to Nice are widely available during France’s peak season, starting from April through to October. Air Canada and Air Transat both offer direct flights, which cover 3,829 miles and take just over eight-and-a-half hours.
From Nice, it’s a short train ride east to the alluring principality of Monaco. Monte Carlo is an administrative region of Monaco and it’s where all the action is for entertainment. The F1 Monaco Grand Prix is raced in this area, while casino gaming is largely reserved for the iconic Casino de Monte-Carlo.
Blackjack is once again one of the most popular card games at the Casino de Monte-Carlo, as well as the adjacent Casino Café de Paris. There’s also Ultimate Texas Hold’em, where you must build a poker hand that’s better than the dealer’s. Casino de Monte-Carlo is also one of the original homes of the baccarat variant Punto Banco. They even offer Punto Banco tournaments with some serious prizes.
Go where the cards lead you
Montreal’s card players have a choice to play regulated, legal games overseas. A world of gaming awaits if you’re prepared to take a flight to destinations where cards aren’t just shuffled but are woven into the cultural fabric.