Las Vegas is one of the greatest gambling cities in the world, and the undisputed capital of the gambling industry in the United States. Founded in 1905, Las Vegas began its rise as a casino powerhouse in 1931, when gambling was legalized in Nevada. By the 1950s, Las Vegas casinos had exploded in size and popularity, putting to rest any doubt which city was the major gambling center in the United States. Even around the world, only Macau can claim larger gaming revenues than Sin City. Las Vegas casinos can be largely grouped into three distinct categories.
The Strip casinos are located on the Las Vegas Strip, and form the core of the resort destinations that attract tourists and other visitors to the city. The Downtown Las Vegas neighborhood is more similar to classic Las Vegas, with cheaper gambling and other attractions being favored over huge shows and expensive resorts. Finally, the off-Strip category covers all casinos that don’t fit neatly into either the Strip or Downtown areas.
Here at IntenseGambling we don’t do anything by halves, so this article is pretty extensive. If you’re looking for information on a specific casino, you can jump right there by clicking any of the links below. To view downtown or other casinos not on the main strip, you can use the links at the bottom of the table of contents below.
- Casinos on the Main Vegas Strip
Las Vegas Strip Casinos
When most people think of the Las Vegas gambling scene, the images that come to mind are of the Las Vegas Strip. This stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South spans over four files, beginning in Las Vegas proper and ranging through the unincorporated areas of Paradise and Winchester. Many of the Las Vegas Strip casinos are quite lavish, catering to high rollers and those looking for a luxurious vacation experience.
However, bargains can be found even here, with plenty of mid-priced and budget hotels dotted throughout the area, along with plenty of inexpensive gambling options. The following is a summary of the hotel/casinos that can be found on the Las Vegas Strip. We’ve organized this list geographically, starting at the north end of the Strip and travelling south, to give you a better feel for how this iconic gambling locale is laid out.
The Stratosphere is a massive hotel and casino, one that includes the tallest tower in Las Vegas – making it the 5th-tallest building in the United States. The Stratosphere is the northernmost casino on the Las Vegas Strip, making it the only strip casino that’s technically within the borders of the City of Las Vegas, since most of the strip is actually slightly south of the city. This allows the Stratosphere to serve as a dividing line between the Strip and the Downtown area, providing convenient access to everything Las Vegas has to offer. Most visitors find the Stratosphere to be a solid and affordable hotel and casino, if not particularly remarkable.
The casino offers a wide variety of games, including plenty of gaming options for travelers on a budget. Most table games have a $5 minimum bet, and slots start at the penny level. There’s a tiny poker room that’s barely worth mentioning, as well as an adequate sports and race book with plenty of televisions around to watch all the action you’re betting on. One interesting thing about the casino is the presence of some fairly unusual game variations. Most of these are holdouts from the casino that the Stratosphere was built to replace, Vegas World, which was known for being one of the most unconventional casinos in Las Vegas. To this day, the Stratosphere still spreads game variations like crapless craps and Double Exposure Blackjack that can’t be found at most casinos.
Once one of the most popular and attractive hotels on the Vegas Strip, the Sahara was the place to be for tourists and celebrities in the 1960’s. Today, the Sahara is one of the most affordable hotels on the strip, but that shouldn’t dissuade you from staying there if you want to save some money; the rooms are adequate, if not the kind of luxury you might think of when Las Vegas comes to mind. The Moroccan-themed Saraha is located on the north end of the strip, right off of the appropriately named Sahara Avenue.
The casino floor in the Sahara isn’t huge, so chances are you won’t be spending your whole vacation in the hotel. However, they do have all the classic table games, and limits sometimes go as low as $1, so you can get a lot of play for your buck. Watch out for blackjack tables that offer only 6-5 odds on blackjacks, though. There’s also a small sports and race book that is far removed from the casino floor. The Sahara also has a small poker room that spreads some low-limit games and decent poker tournaments, though there are usually only a few tables in action at any given time.
Overall, the Sahara Casino won’t knock your socks off. But speaking from personal experience, it’s a perfectly fine option for those looking to travel to Vegas on a budget, and is within walking distance of all the glamorous Strip casinos you might rather spend your time in.
If you’re looking for a Vegas Strip casino that’s great fun for the whole family, Circus Circus might be the place for you. It’s affordable, and most of the other people staying there will also be families, which gives the hotel a very different feel than the rest of the strip – including lots of children. The casino itself isn’t one of the most impressive, though there are plenty of cheap games for gamblers who don’t want to spend much. However, keep in mind that, as in most Vegas casinos, the lower limits also generally mean better rules for the casino. There’s a token poker room that has about eight tables and spreads only low-limit Texas Hold’em, as well as a reasonably sized sports/race book.
Perhaps the most unique aspect of Circus Circus – which is also the reason why it’s a popular spot for parents who want to bring children with them to Vegas – is the Adventuredome, an indoor amusement part that’s attached to the casino. There are rides, including a roller coaster, along with carnival games and lots of other attractions.
Circus Circus is one of the best choices for those in Las Vegas on a tight budget
Once upon a time, the Riviera was the biggest and most famous hotel/casino in Las Vegas. Opened in 1955, it is now one of the oldest casino resorts still standing on the Vegas Strip, and while it has since been surpassed in size and prestige by newer and larger resorts, it’s still considered an important part of the Strip’s rich history, and remains a popular attraction for Vegas veterans. As we move South on the Strip, you’ll notice that the casinos begin to cater to a less budget-friendly clientele.
The Riviera is still quite reasonable, but expect table games to start with at least a $5 minimum, with that number regularly getting higher during busy periods. Slot machines start with nickel machines and go up from there. As for poker, the Riviera is another casino that has a very small poker room, almost as if they just want to be able to say that they have one. The sports and race book is good sized, with about equal amounts of room for sports bettors and horse racing fans.
Encore is a brand new casino that just opened in 2008, attached to the Wynn. This luxury resort, along with the Wynn (both are owned by Wynn Resorts), is considered to be one of the world’s most outstanding hotels. Not surprisingly, this means that Encore is also one of the most expensive hotels in Vegas. The casino is expansive, with the gaming areas spread out to give each table or slots area a more intimate feel. Minimum bets can be $25 or higher, especially during busy periods.
There are also high limit areas that spread tables of blackjack, baccarat and other games with minimums of $1,000 or more! Surprisingly, you can find penny slots at Encore, along with extremely high limit machines. There’s no poker room, and not really a sportsbook either, though there is a window for making bets.
Opened in 2005, the Wynn stood out as a fantastic luxury resort as soon as it was build. Along with the newly opened and adjacent Encore, the Wynn is not only a top-class Vegas casino, but one of the finest hotels in the world, having one five-star ratings and awards from every major hotel authority in the world. It’s one of the most fashionable places to stay on the Strip, but it’s definitely not for those without a lot of money to spend.
The casino is fully stocked, and actually caters to a wide range of players, from the high-end clients who will be staying in the Wynn, to tourists who just want to drop in and see what it’s all about. Minimums start at $10, and penny slots can be found; of course, there are also nosebleed limits for those who like to play with more money on the table than most people make in a year. If you’ve ever wanted to play on a $5,000 slot machine, this is the casino for you!
So far, most of the casinos we’ve talked about haven’t had notable poker rooms, so the Wynn is the first one going into some detail on. There are over twenty tables in the room, and almost all of them will be filled nearly all of the time. Games start at $1-$3 no limit Texas Hold’em, and $4/$8 limit Texas Hold’em, Omaha and seven-card stud, with plenty of higher limit games available, too.
The race and sports book is also much nicer than most of those on the north end of the Strip, featuring plenty of televisions and nearly 200 seats for those who want to watch sports or horses, with the majority of the room devoted to racing.
Treasure Island is probably best known to most Vegas visitors for the very cool pirate-themed show that takes place outside of the hotel several times each night. While not exactly a luxury hotel, Treasure Island doesn’t fit into the budget column, either; by Vegas Strip standards, it’s pretty middle-of-the-road in both amenities and price.
There’s plenty of room to gamble here, with lots of table games and no shortage of slots. Given that Treasure Island fits right into the mid-range of Vegas casinos, it probably comes as no surprise to hear that limits have a wide range, with something for both the casual gambler and the high roller alike.
Similarly, there’s also a fairly average sports book, along with a small but quiet and enjoyable poker room. As far as gambling goes, there’s not much that stands out at Treasure Island, but it’s unlikely to disappoint you, either.
Another new addition to the Vegas Strip, The Palazzo opened at the tail end of 2007 and is now considered one of the most luxurious spots in Vegas. Every room is a suite, and the standard rooms are the largest on the Strip. With such high-end accommodations, you might expect the casino at The Palazzo to be for high rollers only.
But surprisingly, the casino is fairly tourist friendly, at least on the weekdays; during busy times, table minimums can go up to $25 or more, but during the week you’ll find plenty of $10 tables. There’s plenty of variety in the slot machines available, though there isn’t much in the way of video poker. The Palazzo doesn’t currently have a poker room, so if you’re looking for some Texas Hold’em action, you’ll have to go elsewhere. However, there is a rather large area for betting on sports, including a rather extensive sports bar if you want to eat while you watch your game.
Yet another luxury hotel in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, The Venetian was widely thought of as the top hotel in Vegas when it was opened in 1999. It has since been upstaged by the openings of newer and shinier hotels nearby, but that hasn’t changed the fact that it is still one of the most popular stops on the Strip for high rollers.
As with most of the high-end casinos, The Venetian caters to all comers when things are slow, then ramps up to service more wealthy gamblers on the weekends. You might see some games with limits as low as $5 during off-peak hours, but don’t expect to find cheap gaming during busy times; most games will start at $25 and up. There’s a huge range of slots, starting at penny games, and there are lots of video poker machines too, though reportedly, most offer less than the full pay tables.
One great feature at The Venetian is the large poker room, which fits 50 tables in a dedicated room. Most games are typical low limit games, but there is an area devoted to high limit games. They run daily tournaments; both these and the cash games are overwhelmingly Texas Hold’em games. The sports and race book is pretty large, and laid out in an area away from the main casino floor, making it a pretty quiet place to enjoy a game you’ve put some money on.
Image credit: LasVegas.com
This budget casino definitely appeals to low-limit gamblers and others looking to spend some time in Vegas without spending a whole lot of cash. The hotel is pretty minimalist, but the rooms are fine, and the great location right in the middle of the Strip means you can get to any of the swankier hotels within minutes. As we said, the casino is definitely for low rollers, and offers gaming options more commonly seen in off-Strip locations.
Most games are available with $5 minimums or less, with craps going as low as $3 at times! Craps games with a $5 minimum even offer 100x odds, which are hard to fine anywhere else on the Strip; when Craps goes down to $3, you can still get generous 20x odds. On the other hand, there’s a relatively small selection of slots and video poker machines. There’s no poker room, and no sports book at the Casino Royale, meaning your gaming options here are somewhat limited.
However, with all the promotional offers you’ll see for Casino Royale on the Strip, there’s a good chance you’ll end up playing here at some point during a Vegas vacation.
At the time of its construction (1989), The Mirage was the most expensive hotel/casino in history. Like many of the other older luxury casinos on The Strip, The Mirage is no longer the best-of-the-best. However, it’s still a nice place to stay if you don’t mind spending some money; this is definitely an expensive location, but you will get what you pay for. If you’re looking for affordable gambling options, then, you’ll want to look elsewhere.
As we’ve said time and again, you’ll find cheap games here on the weekdays – maybe $10 minimums at most table games – but you can forget about finding anything at that level when things get busy. There’s a typical selection of slots, ranging from penny machines all the way through high-limit slots that cost hundreds of dollars to play. Although they are few in number, The Mirage does have some full pay video poker machines too, which is a plus.
You’ll find the sports and race book to be quite luxurious, too. There are about 30 televisions to watch games and races on, with about an even split between the two; with well over 200 seats, there’s plenty of room to watch a race or game. The poker room has about 30 tables, most of which will be running anytime you walk in. Games range from low-limit $3/$6 games to nosebleed games in the high-limit area. Unlike most of the smaller poker rooms in Vegas, you’ll actually see Omaha and seven card stud games being spread on a regular basis, along with the more popular Texas Hold’em games. Poker tournaments are also held on most days.
The exploding volcano is one of the Mirage’s most memorable features
Harrah’s is one of the most famous names in gambling, so it’s no surprise to see one of their casinos located on some prime Las Vegas Strip real estate. The hotel/casino originally opened as the Holiday Casino in 1973, and was extensively renovated in 1997. Harrah’s doesn’t seem particularly notable from the outside, and in this case, that turns out to be a pretty accurate representation of what you’ll find in the hotel; it’s a pretty average, non-descript Vegas resort, with reasonable prices and nice (but not especially noteworthy) rooms.
Down in the casino, most of the games start with $10 minimums. As usual, these move up a bit during busy hours, but you’ll usually be able to find something affordable if you look around. Slot machines run from penny slots up through high-limits, and there is a small selection of video poker machines, though they don’t offer the best odds around. The Harrah’s sports and race book is rather nice, featuring a large number of flat-screen televisions. Interestingly, there are table games available in the same area, meaning you can watch what you’re betting on while gambling on blackjack at the same time!
The poker room is just off of the sports book, and features 12 tables of low-limit Texas Hold’em action, including small stakes no-limit games. There are also tournaments with relatively small buy-ins run on a daily basis.
While you’ll see a lot of reviewers classify the layout and style of the Imperial Palace as weird, or even creepy, it’s a pretty good value for a hotel located right in the middle of the Strip. It’s not a luxurious hotel, but it’s certainly above the “budget” options in terms of amenities.
One of the coolest things you’ll find here are the Auto Collections, which is the biggest display of classic cars in the world, featuring more than 250 antique and classic vehicles. Most are for sale, if you can get past the sticker shock.
The casino offers some surprisingly low betting limits, with $5 minimums even available on the weekends. Slot machines start at the penny level and top out at around $5, meaning that this isn’t exactly a hot spot for the high-roller crowd. There’s a tiny poker room, with six tables and only low-limit Texas Hold’em being spread, and some small daily tournaments available, too. Meanwhile, there’s also a sports and race book on the third floor, which features an enormous viewing area that holds over 200 seats for those who want to watch the events they’re betting on.
Located right next to Flamingo Road in the heart of the Las Vegas Strip, the Flamingo is a great value for anyone looking to stay at a nice hotel/casino without paying the steep prices the come with the newest luxury resorts. The Flamingo was opened just after Christmas way back in 1946, making it the oldest resort still open on the Strip today! While there are a few places that are cheaper than the Flamingo on the Strip, they’re generally not at the same level of quality, as the Flamingo features nice rooms (especially in their newer expansions).
The biggest downside is that, despite having a huge hotel, the Flamingo features a pretty small casino floor. Most games feature reasonable $10 minimums, sometimes even on busy weekends. There are no penny slots, but you’ll find plenty of nickel machines and some video poker. The Flamingo also has a poker room, which contains eleven tables spreading low-limit Texas Hold’em. There’s also a moderately-sized race and sports book that’s mostly devoted to horse racing.
If you’re looking to stay on the most opulent hotel on the Strip, Caesars Palace might be right up your alley. It’s an extravagant, Roman-themed palace that’s clearly aimed at the high-end market. When it opened in 1966, it was the crown jewel of Las Vegas, and while many of the newer resorts have taken some attention away from Caesars, it has held up very well, and is still one of the greatest luxury hotels in the city.
Not surprisingly, the gaming options are also geared towards high rollers. At the best of times, you can expect to see $15 minimums on table games, and it’s often $25 or more to play. Slot machines are a little better though, as along with the high-limit slots, there are also penny slots, and some full-pay video poker machines.
Caesars also features two big poker rooms, one devoted to cash game play, and the other exclusively for tournaments. The poker room is also one place where you’ll be able to find games even a budget traveler can afford; like most rooms, they spread $1/$2 no-limit and $3/$6 limit poker, along with games that are played for much higher stakes (though not as many nosebleed games as you might expect). Texas Hold’em and Omaha games are almost always running, and you’ll sometimes see other games spread as well. As you might expect from a high-end casino, there’s also a large sports and race book to service your betting needs. One cool thing is that most of the seats in the sports book come with tables that include televisions, so you can relax and watch the game in comfort while waiting for your bets to come in. This is one of the bigger and better books in Vegas.
A walk through Caesars Palace will bring you back to Ancient Roman times
You might notice a pattern developing for these mid-strip hotel/casinos – they definitely cater to the luxury market, and the Bellagio is no exception. This award winning hotel is another creation of Steve Wynn, and features an elegant design that stands in contrast to many of the more outlandish “theme” casinos on the strip. Of course, like the other luxury hotels, you’ll spend a lot to stay here, especially if you want one of the nicer suites.
The most famous feature here is the “Fountains of Bellagio,” the choreographed water show that takes place in the middle of the lake set in front of the Bellagio. If you’re walking down the Strip, you’ll often see the fountains going off and a crowd gathering to watch the free show.
The casino is pricey, but not as ridiculous as some of its neighbors. On most days, you’ll see at least some tables running at $10 minimums, though you won’t be able to find those games on the weekends. Video poker and slots machines are plentiful and run the gamut from penny games to those designed for people with way too much money to spend.
But what the Bellagio is probably best known for is its world-famous poker room, which is the home to “The Big Game,” the biggest and most expensive cash game in the world. Thankfully, there’s plenty of other poker action available for those of us who aren’t keen on losing millions of dollars in one night, with games running from the lowest limits all the way on up, in a variety of different games. There are over 40 tables, making this not only one of the best poker rooms in Vegas, but one of the biggest, too. Of course, the allure of the Bellagio attracts a lot of sharks, especially at the higher limits.
There’s also a nice race and sports book here, with nearly 200 seats and plenty of people ready to take your bets. Like the poker room, this is also one of the best books on the Strip, making Bellagio one of the nicer all-around casinos in Vegas.
Probably the most luxurious hotel on the strip, the Bellagio caters for the high end of Las Vegas tourists
Bally’s used to be known as the MGM Grand when it was first opened in 1973, and at the time was one of the biggest resort casinos in Las Vegas. These days, it’s not one of the premier attractions on the Strip, but it’s still a nice option for anyone looking for a good hotel without the expense of one of the sleeker, trendy resorts. There’s nothing that stands out, but everything about the rooms, hotel, pool and restaurants is pretty nice.
In the casino, you’ll find some games running for as little as $5, though busy times see these limits bumped up significantly. There’s not much in the way of video poker, but slots run from nickel machines all the way up to the very expensive “Champagne” slots. Bally’s has a really great sports book, with over 200 seats, many of which have their own individual televisions. You can bet on the horses here too, and there’s even a VIP version of the race and sports book to cater to the high-end bettors.
The poker room is small, but nice looking, and it fills up pretty well during peak hours. They mostly spread Texas Hold’em games, both in limit and no-limit forms.
Opened in 1999, Paris is a hotel and casino with the obvious theme of Paris, France. You’ll have no problem pointing it out on the strip, as the approximately half-scale model of the Eiffel Tower can’t be missed.
On the inside, Paris is a nice hotel that’s a little bit above average in both what you get and how much you’ll have to pay. Table games start at a mix of $5 and $10 minimums, and as always, these limits go up during the busier periods like weekends and holidays. There are penny slots up through ones that cost far too much to play, and a decent selection of good video poker machines.
One thing Paris Casino doesn’t have is a poker room, but there is a pretty sizable sports and race book with about 200 seats and more than a dozen betting windows. There are lots of televisions too, which are split about 50/50 between sports games and horse races.
Not yet opened at the time of this writing, the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a luxury hotel and casino that is scheduled to open for business on December 15, 2010. At nearly $4 billion, the Cosmopolitan is an ambitious project, and sits just to the south of the Bellagio on the Strip. The Cosmopolitan is being owned and operated by Deutsche Bank AG.
Until recently, Planet Hollywood Casino was better known as The Aladdin. It was rebranded in 2007 with a Hollywood theme, including a larger casino, new restaurants and clubs, and more retail space. Rooms are reasonably priced in the hotel, especially considering that they’re quite large.
Gaming options in the casino are pretty reasonable. You’ll occasionally find table minimums for as low as $5, though it’s usually a little pricier than that, especially during busy periods. Slot machines start at pennies and cover a wide range from there, but the video poker options are very limited.
In the poker room – a reasonably-sized place with about a dozen tables – you’ll usually find Texas Hold’em being spread everywhere you look, mostly at low limits. They also run three tournaments a day, with $70+$20 buy-ins. Planet Hollywood also runs a pretty standard (if a bit smallish) sports and race book, which is split pretty evenly between betting on sports and horse racing. It’s nothing to write home about, but if you just want to make an occasional sports bet, it’s plenty big enough to handle your action.
The Aria Resort and Casino is one of the central features of the new CityCenter, the massive complex that comprises seven buildings. The CityCenter was the largest privately funded construction project in American history, and the Aria – as well as the complex as a whole – definitely caters to the luxury end of the market. It’s costly to stay here, but the rooms are very nice and pretty large, with even larger suites available for big spenders.
The casino, on the other hand, is pretty standard and middle-of-the-road for the Strip. Most table minimums start at $10 or more; expect more on the weekends, of course. There’s the full range of slots, from high-stakes machines down to the lowly pennies, with quite a few video poker machines in the mix as well.
The poker room, though, is quite impressive. It has immediately made an impression as one of the nicer ones in Las Vegas, as well as one of the biggest; with 24 tables, there’s plenty of room to play. The vast majority of games being played are Texas Hold’em, with both low-limit and small stakes no-limit games regularly spread. The poker room is now a regular host of the higher stakes and nosebleed games featuring some of the top pros in the game. There are two reasonably priced tournaments held here on a daily basis, as well.
The sports and race book is nice, but smaller than you might expect. There’s a separate area for those who want to bet on horse racing, and the room as a whole is broken up into little areas with their own televisions, making it a fairly quiet place to enjoy a game or race.
The Aria is one of Vegas’ most impressive hotels and is home to some of the biggest cash games in the world
Okay, the Monte Carlo Casino– opened in 1996 – probably won’t make you feel like you’re actually in Monte Carlo. But it’s still a nice hotel, and a pretty good value, considering the room prices are pretty standard for the Las Vegas Strip.
The reputation as a good value seeps over into the casino, too. You’ll often find $5 minimum tables available, sometimes even when the casino is busy, a rare sight for a higher-end Strip casino. There are no penny slots, and there’s not much video poker, but you can play nickel slots all the way up to high stakes machines that take $100 per line.
The Monte Carlo poker room is small, featuring nine tables that usually only spread low-stakes Texas hold’em (in both limit and no-limit formats). There’s not a lot of traffic here, meaning you’ll rarely (if ever) have to wait for a seat. Tournaments are run twice on most days, with on early morning tournament and one in the afternoon. There’s also a small sports and race book that’s adequate, but not particularly notable. The room is broken up into areas for sports and racing, with a little bit more emphasis put on the horses.
If you’re looking for a hotel that really takes its theme to heart, you’ll love New York, New York Casino. There are replicas of famous New York landmarks spread around the resort, and the interior is more than a little reminiscent of the Big Apple – for instance, the retail area is modeled after Greenwich Village. The rooms themselves are pretty average, though it’s always kind of fun to actually be staying in one of the replica landmark buildings! The prices are about right for what you get here, so while it’s not an amazing value, you won’t get ripped off, either.
In the casino – where you’ll feel like you’re walking through Central Park – you’ll find games with mostly $10 minimums. The casino as a whole is pretty small, however, so the game variety is not the best, and the slots and video poker selections are not great. There’s no poker room, and the race and sports book is pretty small. Overall, this isn’t the best place on the Strip for gamblers, but despite that, it’s an enjoyable place to visit; few casinos have the kind of ambiance and thematic qualities that New York, New York provides, so plan to make a trip here while you’re in town even if you don’t want to play here.
When it opened in 1993, the MGM Grand Las Vegas was the world’s largest hotel and resort. It may no longer hold those titles, but the MGM Grand is still a massive complex, which includes 19 restaurants, five outdoor pools, a convention center and the MGM Grand Garden Arena, which hosts both concerts and athletic competitions. You might be surprised to learn that this is not one of the most upscale locales on the Strip, however; despite the enormous size, the hotel is really a mid-range destination that appeals to a wide range of tourists. The MGM Grand features the largest casino in Las Vegas, so it should come as no surprise that you can find just about any game you want here. Table limits are typical for the Strip, with $10 minimums being the norm most of the time. Slots range from one cent to $500 per play, and there are lots of video poker machines around, too.
As you’d expect, there’s also a sizable poker room here. The MGM Grand’s poker room features 21 tables, with low-limit and no-limit hold’em games being spread almost exclusively. There are daily tournaments, with some days featuring a second tournament in the evening.
Here’s another hotel/casino that really gets into their theme! Excalibur has a medieval, Camelot-themed motif, though this has been downplayed slightly in the last few years. While not quite as family-oriented as Circus Circus, the fun theme does attract a lot of parents who come with their kids, who can enjoy shows like the Tournament of Kings. Room prices are reasonable, though the rooms themselves are small and plain.
The casino offers some pretty low-stakes tables, with minimums as low as $5 common at all times. Slots and video poker are plentiful and available at any price you’d like to pay to play.
The poker room at Excalibur Casino is somewhat unique, though also small. There are a dozen tables, all running small-stakes limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em games, as well as some very inexpensive tournaments. On the bright side, the players who play in the room provide some of the softest competition you’ll find anywhere on the Strip. Rounding out the casino is a fairly sizable race and sports book that has over 100 seats and plenty of televisions. It’s not as huge as some of the big sports books on the Strip, but it’s plenty good enough for most gamblers.
The Excalibur is one of Vegas’s most easily recognized hotels with it’s medieval castle look and feel
Opened in 1957, the Tropicana is one of the older casinos still operating on the Las Vegas Strip. However, renovations made in 2010 have given the casino a much more modern feel, and the rooms – once seen as some of the most run-down and dated in the city – are now a solid value for the low-to-mid range price you’ll pay for them. Most casino table games have a $10 minimum bet, even on the weekends. There’s a decent selection of slots, ranging from nickel machines to some high-stakes options. One place where the Tropicana does stand out is in its video poker machines, where there are quite a few full pay tables to be found – a rare sight on the Strip.
Sorry, there’s no poker room in the Tropicana Casino, and the sportsbook is pretty tiny; they don’t even use the now-standard electronic boards to post lines, relying on hand-written odds instead.
You can’t miss the pyramid tower that makes the Luxor Casino stand out on the south end of the Las Vegas Strip. When it was built, the pyramid was the tallest building on the Strip. These days, the Egyptian theme has been downplayed significantly; the hotel and casino now feature a much more contemporary feel. The rooms are a little pricy, but they’re worth what you’ll pay. The casino floor features a nice variety of table games; expect to see $15 minimums on most games during the week, with $25 minimums more common on the weekend. Slot machines start at a nickel per play, and while there’s a lot of video poker, most of the machines don’t pay all that well.
The Luxor also features a small poker room with just eight tables that regularly spreads both limit and no-limit hold’em at small stakes. They do, however, run a lot of tournaments for such a low-key room, including a pretty inexpensive $45 tournament every day at noon.
The sports and race book isn’t anything special, but it’s definitely good enough if you’re staying at the Luxor. It’s about the average size for a Strip sports book, with about 100 seats, each of which comes with its own television.
The outside of the Luxor Hotel and Casino still features a look and feel borrowed from ancient Egypt
We’ve finally reached the southern-most part of the Strip, where the luxurious Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino can be found. The hotel is known for hosting numerous sports (including boxing and the UFC) in their Events Center, as well as for the massive Convention Center next door. Rooms are about as expensive as you’ll find in Las Vegas, but they’re also very nice, and very large. If you want to play table games at Mandalay Bay, expect to put down at least $10 during the week, and probably more on the weekends. There are a huge number of slots available at all denominations, but relatively few video poker machines around.
Considering the size of the casino, you might find the poker room a little disappointing. There are only nine tables, and you’ll only find Texas Hold’em being spread. There are poker tournaments held on a daily basis, most of which cost around $60 to play in. The sports and race books, on the other hand, are quite large, with hundreds of seats available for both watching sports and horseracing.
If you’re more interested in the classic feel of Vegas gambling rather than the glitz and glamour that now pervades the Las Vegas Strip, Downtown Las Vegas will likely appeal to you. The gaming, rooms, food and shows all tend to be less expensive here, and the games also tend to have better rules for the players. You won’t find the lavish resorts or massive retail shopping spaces that the Strip has, but the Downtown area – centered on Fremont Street – has some great deals and can be just as much fun as anything you’ll find on the Strip.
We’ve provided a short review of each of the downtown casinos which you can read by selecting any of the links below.
- California Casino
- El Cortez
- Four Queens
- Golden Nugget
- Las Vegas Club Casino
- Main Street Station
The former home of the World Series of Poker, Binion’s has a long and illustrious history that spans back to its opening on 1951. In recent years, Binion’s has scaled down operations somewhat; the hotel is closed, though it may eventually be renovated and reopened. However, the casino is still alive and well! Typical for the downtown Las Vegas casino scene, most of the table games at Binion’s start at $5 minimums, and during slow periods, you might find tables that offer even lower stakes. There are lots of slots and video poker machines, though the quality of games may leave something to be desired.
Not surprisingly, Binion’s Casino maintains a fairly strong poker room to this day. The 10-table cash game room mostly spreads low-stakes hold’em (both limit and no-limit), along with the occasional Omaha game. There’s a separate room for tournaments, and there are several different tournaments run on a daily basis, usually four each day. There’s also a tiny sports book here, but it’s mostly just for taking bets, not for sitting around and watching a game. There are a couple dozen chairs, each of which comes with its own TV, but many other casinos have more comfortable surroundings for sports bettors.
Binions will always be a household name in Vegas thanks to it’s long time hosting of the World Series of Poker
Opened in 1975, the California Hotel and Casino has, surprisingly, a Hawaiian theme. Situated near the Fremont Street Experience, “The Cal” is convenient to anything you might want to see or visit in the downtown area. The hotel features small but modern rooms, and since you won’t be paying too much for them, they’re a pretty good deal. You’ll find all of the most popular table games in the California’s casino, with most games running with $5 minimum bets. The California is best known for their slots, of which they have a full selection from nickels on up; there’s also a good selection of video poker machines. There’s no poker room here, but there is a pretty decent (if small) sports book. There are plenty of televisions and about 30 seats where you can watch your game.
The El Cortez is one of the favorite hangouts for Las Vegas locals. It’s a smaller hotel and casino, which keeps away a lot of the tourist crowd; it’s also one of the oldest casinos still standing in Las Vegas, having opened all the way back in 1941. The hotel rooms are large and clean, and still manage to be pretty cheap, making this one of the better values around – even if it is anything but glamorous.
As we said, the El Cortez is pretty small, and so is the casino. The classic table games like blackjack, craps and roulette are spread, but you won’t find too many of the newer or rarer games. However, you can find table games with minimums as low as $3, making it a great bargain for casual gamblers. Slot machines and video poker both start at a nickel, and you’ll find plenty of loose slots and video poker with good pay tables.
There is a poker room here, but it’s not one to brag about; there are just three tables, usually with two playing a spread limit Texas Hold’em game and the third running Seven Card Stud during the slower daytime hours. However, the rake is the lowest you’ll find in Las Vegas, so it you’re looking for a game just to say you played poker in Las Vegas, playing here won’t cost you much. El Cortez also runs a sports and race book that’s fairly sizable for a downtown casino, featuring about 60 seats, mostly for horseracing fans. There are a good number of televisions, too, so while it’s not as comfortable as a swanky Strip book, it’s a pretty decent place to make a bet and watch a game.
The Irish-themed Fitzgeralds Casino and Hotel began operations in 1979, and has been a regular fixture on Fremont Street ever since. The hotel itself is pretty unassuming and average, but like most Downtown hotels, you’ll get a good price for your room. There are plenty of options for gambling in the casino. There are around 30 table games, with pretty much all of the popular casino games being spread at minimums that go as low as $2 at times. There are about 1,000 slot machines, as well as a decent choice of video poker games (including some that have full pay tables).
There’s a small poker room at Fitzgeralds that runs low-limit hold’em on their six tables. There are regular (and fairly cheap) tournaments run three times a day, too. Fitzgeralds also has a small sports book that can take your action, though there are only a few seats to watch the game from.
Four Queens is the home of the Queen’s Machine, the largest slot machine in the world. Opened in 1966, the casino and hotel were named after builder Ben Goffstein’s four daughters. These days, Four Queens looks a little dated, though several renovations have helped keep it somewhat modern. The hotel is a good value for visitors, as you won’t pay too much for the clean and comfortable rooms available.
Like most downtown casinos, the Four Queens gives you a lot of gaming for your dollars. Table games often have minimums as low as $2-3, with $5 games much more common during busy periods. A good selection of slots and video poker includes slots as cheap as pennies, and video poker starting at a nickel per play. There’s a tiny sports book here as well, which is fine if you want to make a bet. However, don’t plan on actually watching a game here; there are just a handful of TVs and a few bar stools to watch them from.
Located right on Fremont Street, the Fremont is (unsurprisingly) one of the best places from which to take in the Fremont Street Experience. The hotel itself is fairly small, and the rooms there are among the smallest in Las Vegas; on the bright side, like most downtown hotels, they’re also pretty cheap, making the Fremont an excellent place to stay on a budget.
Like their hotel, the Fremont also features a small but clean casino. For the most part, you’ll find their table games featuring $5 minimums across the board. Video poker and slots start at penny machines and have a good selection of games and denominations. There’s no poker room at the Fremont, but you can bet on both sports and horseracing. Their book is actually pretty decent for downtown, with over 30 seats, each of which comes with its own television. It’s not huge, but for a small casino, it’s more than adequate.
The Golden Nugget is the largest casino in the downtown area, and also the one that is most similar to the luxurious strip properties. They do the most business in the downtown area, and have the biggest and best rooms in their hotel – though you’ll have to pay Strip-like prices to stay here, too. Although the Golden Nugget is an old standby in Las Vegas – it opened in 1946 – it is still one of the nicest places to stay, having maintained a AAA Four Diamond rating for the last 32 years.
One place where the Golden Nugget definitely fits into the downtown scene is in the casino. Their big selection of table games start with very reasonable minimum bets of $5; there are higher limit options available, but they’re not forced on you. There are a ton of slots and video poker machines, ranging from nickels through high-stakes machines.
The Golden Nugget Casino also features a reasonably-sized poker room, with 10 tables that spread both limit and no-limit Texas Hold’em games on a regular basis. There are four different no-limit hold’em tournaments held each day as well, making this one of the nicer downtown poker rooms to check out. As the gold standard of downtown casinos, it’s no surprise that the Golden Nugget also has one of the better sports and race books in the area. There are plenty of televisions and over 50 seats. While it’s not as big as the mega-books on the Strip, it’s a perfectly nice room to watch a race or a sporting event (and, of course, bet on it too).
Opened way back in 1946 the Nugget is still one of the best hotels in downtown Vegas
Technically, this place is now called the Vegas Club, but all the signage in the casino and hotel still features the older, longer name. This is definitely one of the oldest casino/hotels in Las Vegas, having first opened in 1930! Not surprisingly, this means it’s a rather small hotel, and the rooms are small and come with few amenities. That said, it is cheap, so it’s a great place to stay if you want to spend as little money as possible and don’t care about being pampered.
The casino matches the hotel: it’s small, dated, and not that impressive. On the bright side, you can usually play most games at a $3 minimum, making it one of the cheapest places to play table games in Vegas. There are plenty of slots, but only ranging from nickel machines up to dollar machines. You’ll also find a nice selection of full-pay video poker machines here. Looking for more? You won’t find it here, unfortunately. The Las Vegas Club briefly opened a poker room in 2007, but that has since closed. There’s no sports book either, so your gambling options are somewhat limited.
One of the newer downtown Las Vegas properties, Main Street Station Casino was opened in 1977 and sits on North Main Street. A skywalk connects the casino to the California across the street; both are owned by Boyd Gaming. The hotel is nice and modern, though without a lot of frills; it’s a good mid-priced option for those who want to stay somewhere better than a budget hotel, but aren’t looking for anything particularly fancy, either.
The casino features a full selection of table games, with minimums usually starting at $5 and sometimes going a little higher on the weekends. There are also a lot of slots and video poker machines, both of which start at the penny level. If you’re looking to play in the poker room, or want to place a bet on the horses…you don’t want to be here. The casino has never had either, and there are no plans to add any of these extra gaming options anytime soon. On the other hand, there is a bit of the Berlin Wall in the men’s bathroom (with urinals hanging from it), so that’s worth checking out, along with plenty of other antique odds and ends that adorn various parts of the hotel and casino.
Opened in 1971, the Plaza has one of the more run-down hotels in Downtown Las Vegas, which may explain why it is closing in November 2010. The hotel will undergo renovations that are expected to last for about a year and a half, meaning you can expect the hotel to reopen sometime in 2012. However, the casino will remain open throughout the renovations. Most games here start at $5, with even lower minimums sometimes available during the weekdays. There’s a good number of slot machines and video poker, but most of them are older machines; both games start at pennies, so you can definitely play on the cheap while you’re here.
The Plaza Casino has a poker room, but it’s not much to brag about. There are five tables in service, and most of the time, there’s only one game being spread: $2/$4 limit hold’em. Once in a while, you’ll also find a small-stakes no-limit game, but according to most reports, that is becoming a rare sight here. However, you can play in single-table no-limit hold’em tournaments whenever enough interested players are around to start one. Surprisingly, the Plaza actually has one of the best downtown sports and race books around, with over 100 seats available for watching games. Many of the seats have their own individual TVs, though these are only for horse racing. If you want to do some sports betting while you’re downtown, this is probably the place to go.
The “off-Strip” designation simply refers to all of those Las Vegas casinos that reside in areas other than the Strip or Downtown locales. While these casinos as a group are less well-travelled than their Strip and Downtown peers, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t some notable places that you should be willing to check out. Some of Las Vegas’ greatest casinos are off-Strip. We won’t be covering every single off-Strip casino in Las Vegas; many of them are quite small and barely noticeable to tourists and visitors. However, there are a few off-Strip casinos you should be aware of.
Here’s a rundown of the major off-Strip properties in Las Vegas:
A bit off the beaten path, the Green Valley Ranch is actually located in Henderson, Nevada and features a resort, spa and casino. It originally appealed mostly to local residents, but its upscale reputation has turned it into an attraction for tourists, too. It’s a great choice for those looking to stay in a luxury resort, without the noise and crowds of the Strip. This tends to attract a somewhat older crowd.
In the casino, you’ll find a pretty standard selection of table games that start with minimums of $5 (expect $10 and up when things are busy). There’s a good selection of slots and video poker machines, including many with good pay tables for the player.
Green Valley Ranch also features a pretty sizable poker room. They have 22 tables, which usually spread low-limit and $1/$2 (or sometimes $2/$5) no-limit Texas Hold’em. You’ll even find mixed games like HORSE once in a while. There are also cheap daily tournaments, including a weekly pot-limit Omaha tournament on Mondays and a Stud tournament each Wednesday evening.
The race and sports book is pretty impressive, too. If you enjoy watching horse racing, you’ll love the over 150 seats with individual televisions; there are also another 50 or so seats for sports, and a smaller VIP area as well. There are dozens of televisions around the room that show sports, too.
Just a couple blocks off of the Strip, the Hard Rock Hotel is close enough to allow visitors easy access to the famous Las Vegas Strip properties at a moments notice. The hotel definitely caters to young gamblers, so expect to see a lot of the 20-something crowd here. As for the rooms themselves, they’re actually pretty nice, though this isn’t one of the cheaper places to stay – especially compared to other non-Strip properties.
You can find your typical table games spread in the casino, with most games starting at $10 and up. You can even play blackjack in the hotel’s pool, if you want to be a bit more adventurous! Slot machines range from pennies up to $100 per pull machines; there’s also video poker, but the selection of games isn’t the best.
The luxurious 18-table poker room at the Hard Rock is one of the nicest outside of the big Strip rooms. Most of the time, you’ll find nothing but no-limit Texas Hold’em here, with the occasional low-limit game mixed in. There are daily no-limit hold’em tournaments, too. The Hard Rock also hosts a small sports and race book, with some small televisions and bar stools available to watch games or races. Obviously, there are many better places for actually watching the game, but if you’re already hear and want to make a quick bet, it’ll do.
The Hard Rock Casino is instantly recognizable by the giant guitar perched outside
Located just west of the Las Vegas Strip, The Orleans is a large hotel and casino that opened in 1996. Although it’s less than a mile from the major Strip resorts, the room prices here are very reasonable, especially considering that the rooms are pretty spacious, if not extravagant. There are a couple other cool things you won’t find in every hotel, too, like a movie theater and a 70 lane bowling alley.
The casino itself is quite sizable, but there’s nothing special about the variety of games on offer. Most table games start at $5, occasionally moving up to around $10 during very busy weekends. Slots start at a nickel, and there’s an excellent selection of full-pay video poker machines.
The Orleans Casino features a very big poker room that’s notable for having been around before the major poker boom of the last decade. There are 35 tables here, with a whole lot of Texas Hold’em supplemented by regular Omaha games, which are difficult to find in Vegas. Once in a while, you might even find a mixed game or two. Tournaments are spread daily; like the room itself, they’re mostly Hold’em, though Omaha and Seven-Card Stud tournaments are also available. The Orleans also has a decent sportsbook, though most of the focus is actually on horse racing here. There are over 100 chairs and around 40-50 televisions, most of which are devoted to the ponies.
Much like the Hard Rock Hotel, The Palms definitely caters to a younger crowd, though perhaps not to the same extent. It’s definitely an upscale destination, especially for an off-Strip hotel. However, the room prices are pretty reasonable, making it a popular destination for those who want a comfortable Vegas experience without paying Strip prices. The casino here has the typical fare, with all the classic table games along with a few newer additions. Most games start at $10. There are over 2,000 slot machines and plenty of video poker, much of which can be played for as little as a nickel.
There’s a small poker room here – or, to be more accurate, two small rooms. In total, they have 10 tables, with one room used for no-limit hold’em and the other mainly spreading limit games. Be warned: if you want to play here during the weekend, expect to wait for a long, long time. You can also take a look at the sports and race book here, which is quite large and features plenty of televisions for watching sporting events. However, the room really is horse racing-oriented, so sports fans may feel a little disappointed.
The Rio All Suite Hotel and Casino is located just to the west of the Las Vegas Strip. Opened in 1990, it was one of the first true mega-resorts in Vegas, and the first “all-suite” hotel to open here. The Brazilian theme isn’t very pervasive, but the rooms are fairly large – even if they might not actually meet everyone’s definition of “suites.” Still, they are quite nice, and you won’t pay outrageous prices for them. The casino here has one of the wider varieties of games around, from classics to new proprietary games that you won’t see in many other casinos. Most games start at $10, with that amount only getting higher when there’s a lot of traffic on the weekends. There’s a huge selection of video poker and slots, with machines starting at the penny level, but the Rio has a reputation for tight machines.
Being that The Rio is the host of the World Series of Poker – the world’s largest and most prestigious poker tournament series – you might expect to find a very impressive poker room here! Unfortunately, you should prepare to be disappointed. There are only 10 tables in the room, most of which spread a $1/$3 no limit Texas Hold’em game. They also hold some small daily tournaments, but nothing like the WSOP you see on television. The race and sports book is a little better; while it’s on the small side, there are plenty of desks for watching the horses that come with their own televisions, along with a decent number of televisions showing sporting events, though with few seats.
The Rio is the home of the world’s biggest poker tournament, the World Series of Poker held every July
The Suncoast is a small hotel and casino that’s far from the Las Vegas Strip and Downtown neighborhoods. For that reason, it appeals mostly to locals rather than tourists. Despite this, the rooms are fairly large and a great value; the two downsides here are that there are fewer than 400 rooms available, and that you’ll be nearly 30 minutes away from the Strip. On the bright side, there’s plenty to do if you stay here, including a large movie theater and a 64-lane bowling alley. And, of course, the casino.
You’ll find a normal selection of table games, most of which feature $5 minimums. Slots start at a nickel and go up from there, while most of the video poker action is at the quarter level. The Suncoast is also known for its expansive 600-seat Bingo Center that runs eight sessions a day. The race and sports book at the Suncoast Casino is surprisingly large for such a small establishment, with well over 100 seats and over 30 televisions. As with the majority of off-Strip books, most of the room actually caters to horse racing. There’s also an eight-table poker room that runs low-limit and small-stakes no-limit Texas Hold’em games on a regular basis. They also run occasional tournaments, always in no-limit hold’em formats.