5 Places to Play Poker in & Around Missoula

When you ask folks what comes to mind when they think of poker, you’ll usually get a few different answers. Some might say the Bellegio on the Las Vegas Strip. Some might say the smokey backroom of a bar. Others would talk about a poker night with their friends, with some beers around a kitchen table. The younger generation could tell you about poker websites and apps. But did you know there’s plenty places to play poker around Missoula? Each spring, the Missoula Downtown Foundation holds a Texas Hold’em poker tournament at Historic Hell Gate Elks Lodge Hall on Pattee Street, and it’s always a top draw for players and spectators alike.

Now, despite this tournament, Missoula and Montana more broadly don’t have what one might call a modern poker scene. There are not large casino resorts, and Montana has not joined the ranks of states embracing legal online poker just yet. With that said, there’s plenty of tables in the Garden City, and plenty of virtual stakes with online poker games like Zynga Poker you can brush up on your game before you have to put your money where your cards are. There’s a certain affection for poker in Missoula that can be seen around the hub of five valleys and beyond. Hellgate High School’s very own Steve Albini is playing the tables at the 2021 World Series of Poker finals in Vegas. So, let’s have a look at some venues closer to home.

SILVER SLIPPER CARDROOM

Just 5 minutes from the Southgate Mall, sandwiched between Brooks Street and US93, you’ll find The Silver Slipper Sports Bar and Casino, a popular Missoula venue with a dedicated card room. Games are held nightly – there’s a $100 buy-in, but all drinks are comped. The bar shows live college football, NFL and MLB, so if it isn’t your night, it’s a great venue to relax with a beer after you come off the table. Tables do fill up quickly, so calling beforehand to book is recommended.

THE SILVERTIP CASINO

2021 sees The Silvertip Casino welcoming poker players for its 26th straight year, and over that time period it’s consistently been voted Missoula’s best poker room. Located on South 39th Street, a little east of Campbell Park and the University of Montana Golf Course, the card room offers Texas Hold’em, Omaha High and Omaha Split 7 days a week. The famous 12oz ribeye in the casino restaurant will provide sustenance for  what’s hopefully an extended evening at the tables.

SILVER CREEK CASINO

If you’re coming to Missoula from out of town and want to play poker while you’re here, the Silver Creek Casino might be the perfect choice as it’s located inside Missoula’s Hilton Garden Inn hotel. The casino and bar are open 10am through to midnight daily, with poker tourneys taking place in the card room every weekend.

STOCKMAN’S POKER ROOM

Take a trip back in time at Stockman’s where at Stockman’s you will find the poker room is in the backroom of a bar – Stockman’s Bar and Cafe on West Front Street. Out front for vittles and libations, in back for cards. It’s not a smokey backroom. Montana outlawed smoking in bars in 2009 but its as close to the Old West as you’re likely to come across. Poker is on every night, with No Limit Texas Hold’em on Thursdays and Sundays.

VFW POKER

In addition to the main event Missoula Downtown Foundation tourney, the VFW – Ole Beck VFW Post 209 to give it it’s the full title – have live Texas Hold’em every Friday and Saturday. While the bar and the poker are fully open to the public, veterans get $10 worth of chips free when they buy-in. Tables can get busy, so calling ahead to reserve your spot is recommended. There’s also frequent live music, open mic comedy nights and trivia, so even if you can’t make the poker it’s worth stopping in for a drink. Maybe a few drinks, eh? It’s for a good cause after all!