Las Vegas at sea? Today’s cruise ships host a variety of gaming options ranging from games for first timers to high stakes gambling tables for more seasoned players. Most of the medium to large ships offer Blackjack, countless slot machines, Caribbean stud poker, Roulette and craps.Casino size and choice of games ranges from basic to large and lavish Vegas style casinos. It is important to know that while ships are permitted to open their casino in international waters, they are closed while in port.If gaming is a particularly important part of your cruise, keep in mind that on some itineraries such as Bermuda, where you dock for several days, gaming time is limited. Also, note that due to Hawaii laws, there are no casinos on NCL America ships based there, including Pride of Aloha, Pride of America and Pride of Hawaii. Similarly, casinos can stay open when cruising Alaska’s Inside Passage unless they are within three miles of a port.TournamentsTournaments continue to gain popularity on most cruise ships with larger casinos. Carnival Cruise Lines, Royal, NCL and Princess are among those that feature slot and blackjack tournaments.In the last several years the growing popularity of Texas Hold-em Poker has induced some of the lines to add live poker tables and conduct “no-limit” gambling tournaments one or more times during the cruise. And last year, the finals of the World Poker Tournament were held on board a Holland America ship.Princess Cruises recently added automated Poker Pro tables to some of its ships. And don’t forget about Bingo which is making a comeback due to new games and higher jackpots.Special PromotionsIf you enjoy gaming, ask your cruise specialist to research any upcoming promotions or gambling tournament that may be of interest to you. And when you get on board, be sure to introduce yourself to the casino floor manager to get an update on casino happenings on your particular cruise.Alas, the “free” drinks of Las Vegas are not a tradition on board cruise ships but the pit bosses CAN buy you the occasional beverage if you are spending a lot of time (or money) trying to beat Lady Luck. For information on upcoming gaming cruises, check out CruiseJungle community boards.Players ClubsThe Ocean Players Club, is operated by Carnival Corporation on the ships of the World’s Leading Cruise Lines consisting primarily of Carnival Cruise Lines, Princess Cruises, Holland America, Costa Cruises, Cunard and Seabourn. Membership in the Ocean Players Club is free and enrollment is coordinated on board with the casino host.This club has something for everyone,regardless of the playing level. There are awards for playing the slots and adjustable betting limits for the high rollers. Players can earn points used for free gifts, discounts on onboard services, complimentary beverages and discounts on future cruises.Celebrity Cruises has something for novice gamers and high-rolling enthusiasts alike. In addition to standard games, such as blackjack, American roulette, Caribbean stud poker, three-card poker, craps, Texas hold ‘em plus video and slot machines, the line also holds black blackjack, poker and slot tournaments on each voyage.In fact, Celebrity has its own VIP player program called the “Blue Chip Club” for certain guests who qualify. They can earn points, which translate into rebates on future cruises and at various onboard areas. Each voyage also features bingo, where you can compete for money and prizes.