1 Sep

Old School Gambling in Downtown Vegas

The best Vegas Downtown casinos, and why we love them.

The Best Vegas Downtown Casinos, and Why we Love 'em!

For those who take gaming seriously, the new Las Vegas party pits and costumed “dealertainers” of the Strip are side shows to be avoided. “Real” gambling still exists for those who know where to look for it and, not surprisingly, many of the best games in town are located along and around Fremont Street downtown.

Downtown Vegas Casinos Worth Visiting

The following Vegas gambling destinations are all located in the Downtown area, and all feature some of that old school Las Vegas charm that’s so terribly lacking on The Strip.

Binion’s Gambling Hall

Still remembered fondly for founder “Cowboy” Benny Binion (1904-1989) and as the original home of the World Series of Poker, the Hall of Fame Poker Room with its ten tables and large screen TVs offers some of the best deals in town, including a $4 rake on all cash games and $2 in comps per hour on rated live poker play, plus tableside food service and special room rates. There are daily tournaments as well as the annual Binion’s Poker Classic, plus poker promotions and other special offers.

The D Las Vegas

While all the other casinos in Las Vegas were changing the rules on Blackjack to take away what small advantage players might have playing with a single- or double-deck, owners Derek and Greg Stevens of the D (Downtown) decided to go strictly old school and offer payouts of 3-to-2 for natural blackjack hands on ALL versions of the game. That includes the five single-deck tables as well as games featuring the D’s sexy “Dancing Dealers.” The D is also one of the few places where old-school slot machines can be found that pay out in noisy coins, rather than soulless tickets.

El Cortez Casino

Frequently rated the “Best Locals Casino” in Las Vegas, this venerable gaming emporium established in 1941 is the very definition of “old school,” rocking the same facade it has had since 1952 and “keeping the spirit of classic Vegas alive.” Gamblers will appreciate the $3 minimum at the single-deck blackjack table paying 3:2 for naturals, the roulette that allows individual 25 cent bets, a $3 minimum craps table with the option of betting 10x odds, and a number of coin-paying slot machines, too.

The Golden Nugget

For those who equate “old school” with Europe, there’s nothing quite like the Nugget’s 14-table High Limit Room. Not for the weak of heart or light of wallet, this exclusive high-rollers area reflects the ambiance of private rooms in Monte Carlo, with its own bar and restrooms as well as the only single-zero Roulette wheel in the downtown area.

California Hotel and Casino

If craps players have a bucket list, playing at the famous tables of the California must be on it. This is the home of the “Golden Arm Club,” where membership requires throwing the dice for more than an hour straight during a craps game. It’s also the site of the greatest craps roll in the history, which occurred on May 28, 1989 when Stanley Fujitake remained the shooter for a world-record 3 hours, six minutes without crapping out.

Plaza Hotel Casino

It seems like not so long ago, almost every casino had its own bingo room, but nowadays the game has all but disappeared from the mega-resorts along the Strip and even from the older gambling halls downtown. The Plaza is the one exception, where only bingo room in Downtown Las Vegas can be found on the 3rd floor. Newly renovated, the bingo room offers six daily bingo sessions: 11am, 1pm, 3pm, 5pm, 7pm and 9pm. Several progressive prizes are available, too, from $1,000 Triple Bingo and $5,000 Bonanza Progressive to the $10,000 Progressive Dual Daub and the $15,000 Plaza Progressive Coverall.

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