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setzer

Came from a family, some of whom has lived, ate, and breathed Vegas. I finally started going out to Vegas during Summer 2013.

I mean, where else can you get away from everyone and everything (i.e. the Midwest) and just walk around, eat, drink, gamble, and all that bad stuff until the sun comes back up?
Living: Illinois US
Going:
Staying: Caesars Palace
Playing: Craps

Ratings & Reviews

Golden Gate

Golden Gate

Probably the classiest downtown joint, and every time I went in was a good experience, whether it was for a quick or long gamble or just for food or drinks. Though many of the dealers at the tables were still new, they were very friendly and only added to the good experience. Everything in the casino was excellent - still 3/2 blackjack, good craps, good roulette, and drink service was quick, just as with the sister property The D. This will be one of the places on my short list to stay at my next trip here. December '14 Update: All blackjack tables now use automatic shufflers (but has not yet happened at The D) - something I never really liked. Summer 2015 Update: Stayed here for a couple nights on a comp. The room was small and not much to write home about, but for such an old building, I'd be willing to set that aside. Still one of the best gambles downtown nonetheless.

Cromwell

Cromwell

Really, really fun casino to play at. Table mins are slightly lower than what you would normally find at Caesars or Cosmo, makes The Cromwell very approachable. The crew - from the dealers to the pit bosses to the cage people - really go out of their way to make you feel welcome, and that goes a long way for me, at least.

Caesars Palace

Caesars Palace

Stayed here at Caesars during Summer 2015. Besides that fact that Caesars is extraordinarily huge (which is not really a bad problem at all), I pretty much loved all of it. The hotel staff were welcoming and great to deal with, many of the bars I went to were top-class, and the casino was playable and enjoyable. Of course, this place has had about 50 years of practice :)

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas

Returned in December 2015 and partook in what Cosmo has offered (hasn't stayed yet - working on that), and I was even more impressed than from my last trip. Yes, you're going to pay a bit more (and gamble a bit more - most blackjack tables are at least $25, craps at least $15), but you the premium treatment you get is worth it. Cosmo is now one of my more favorite places on The Strip to hang out, drink at, gamble at, etc.

The D

The D

There are a few shortcomings with The D, but overall, it was a pretty good property. The two biggest cons would be the lack of room service (may or may not be important) and the swimming pool, which was just a saltwater "postage stamp" with a hot tub with no services. Other than that, everything else was impressive and was everything I wanted in a casino resort. Bar service was great; in the casino, the dealers and the people managing both the pits and the slot machines were courteous and helpful, and it's a good gamble (3/2 blackjack as with Golden Gate, good craps, good roulette). If they would add an outdoor patio like the nearby 4 Queens, Binion's, and the Nugget, I would probably change my rating from a 4 to a 5. This is on my short list of places to stay my next trip. December '14 Update: It was an even better experience here in all aspects.

Monte Carlo

Monte Carlo

This was the very first place I stayed in Vegas. It's what I would normally expect as far as the casino is concerned. The hotel could have had more class to it, and nearly all other casino hotels I've been has had better rooms than here, but if you're not super-picky or have big tastes for rooms, it isn't terrible, to say the least. I thought the bar/lounge scene was a little lacking here, especially when compared to what is offered at the Aria or the Cosmo. The pool was decent, and definitely a good place to hang out in the mid-afternoon in 100-plus degree weather. Summer 2014 Update: Went back here on my venture out to The Strip (was staying downtown), and for some reason it looked a little better, but I can't put a finger on it as to why. The whole casino and hotel are pretty clean and well-kept, the bartenders at the Hit Lounge can make some mean, but good, cocktails, and the casino itself is still good. The only real big con, as with most casinos, is the transition to 6/5 bjackjack. I still see this as a good value relative to its location on The Strip.

Binions

Binions

Decent old-fashioned country-theme gambling joint. The dealers and pit bosses just ooze experience and wisdom. Now, they do have the cowgirl dealers at both the bjackjack and craps tables, but when they come out (usually around early evenings), that's when they also jack up the table minimums, so be careful there. Didn't do any blackjack here, but I do recall it is 6/5, now. Of notable interest is that this was the only place that still has double-deck handheld blackjack, which is something you don't see anymore. I'd like to stay here, but they need to reopen the hotel in order or that to happen :)

Paris Las Vegas

Paris Las Vegas

The ambiance was good; some say it would be tacky, but here that's expected for a themed resort. The bars and restaurants (Martorano's was awesome) were good overall. My only gripe is that the casino layout is a little on the odd side and can get confusing to walk around. That said, it was an OK gamble, with many blackjack tables with $10 or $15 with 3/2 and surrender rule. My one craps session was also memorable, especially at 2:00am on a very lively table. Also, good access to the other casinos, such as Planet Hollywood or Bally's. (Addendum from Dec '15 trip) Le Village Buffet was pretty decent. That said, I got an excellent table facing out towards the promenade, where I could eat, sip my booze, and people-watch all at once.

The Linq Hotel and Casino

The Linq Hotel and Casino

Got to stay at the Linq in December 2015, and overall I was very impressed with all the improvements that have been done with the property. It was my first time using the fully-automated checkin/checkout, which went without a single hitch. The room was a bit on the small side, but it was clean and had everything I wanted (which isn't much). I didn't get to gamble in the main casino (or whichever part of it) that much, but I spent a small percentage of my time and money at O'Shea's, which was very fun. Make some tweaks with the main casino to make it more inviting, I could change my rating from a 4 to a 5.

Planet Hollywood

Planet Hollywood

Probably on par, as far as class is concerned, as Paris, but still less than Caesars. Both the hotel and casino are fairly solid; I just wished there was a little more action when I was playing there. Maybe next time...

Mandalay Bay

Mandalay Bay

If it wasn't so far away from everything else on the strip, I'd be willing to rate higher. That said, everything about Mandalay Bay is pretty solid, very nice staff, large casino, there's nothing much bad I can say.

Downtown Grand

Downtown Grand

Decent-looking hotel and casino; everything is clean and well-kept. The bad thing is, from what many people have also commented, is that there's no action here; the casino and bars are rather empty when they shouldn't be. The casino is also a little hard to find; they only have one green/red neon sign that points to it. Most joints put a clear, sometimes in-your-face "CASINO" sign in front of most nearly all their casino entrances for a reason; this place has not done that. December '14 Update: They did put a couple more signs on 3rd to point people to the casino. It's just a matter of convincing people to walk down 3rd (which IMO is relatively safe) to get there. Summer 2015 Update: Not a bad gamble here, and all the dealers seem pretty nice. Same rating as before, though :|

El Cortez

El Cortez

Very classy joint, especially for it being so far off the beaten path down Fremont East. Still has that musty "chalkboard" smell to it, but it's an excellent gamble with good dealers and people that come here.

Four Queens

Four Queens

Not a bad gambling joint at all. However, I found that the blackjack tables (which is I think now 6/5) are rather difficult to get in, but the other table games are satisfactory on quality and rules, though read carefully on some of the blackjack tables, as some have some special variants with wonky rules. The personnel here were pretty courteous and went out of their way to help you out and made you feel welcome here. Summer 2015 Update: Had to bring it down to a 3; the pits weren't that terribly accessible. It wouldn't hurt to put a couple more "regular" blackjack tables than all the variance games I saw.

Bally's Las Vegas

Bally's Las Vegas

I was very surprised about the casino here. It was an excellent gamble overall, and one of the few casinos I've ran into that offer both 3/2 blackjacks and the surrender rule. I'll also note that the dealers and even security people were very courteous and helpful. Summer 2015 Update: Sorry, but I had to downgrade to a 3 due to that doggone bazaar that's now in front; it now looks like there is no casino between The Cromwell and Paris.

Plaza

Plaza

It's kind of cheap and slightly lower-end for downtown, but I tend to gravitate over here for some reason, though. I've never really had any good luck here for some reason. Not the best place, but not the worst, either.

New York-New York

New York-New York

NYNY has improved their facade (and a much needed one) the past year or so, and the area between NYNY and Monte Carlo looks a lot more eye-pleasing than it used to be. That said, the casino could've been a bit better, though FWIW I didn't have much good luck there. That said, it's getting there.

MGM Grand

MGM Grand

It's big, and, well, it's big. The bars and casino are decent but approachable at the same time.

Flamingo

Flamingo

Ugh! That's about all I can say. I try to come back and try to enjoy something outta the place, but there's nothing.

Harrah's

Harrah's

The casino has fallen into a rather sad state of disrepair as of 2015. Much of the main floor was a cluster. Don't get me started with the bathrooms...

Vegas Club

Vegas Club

Ugh, you can tell a casino is truly lousy when they personnel right outside the doors trying to entice people walking down Fremont Street to come in. The casino had a very musty smell to it, and I could tell that the gaming wasn't very enjoyable (though I didn't bother to partake in any gaming here). The dancers/dancing dealers (an obvious attempt to rip off what the Golden Gate and The D have done) were just, ugh. Also, why is your corner entrance now dominated by a tourist T-shirt shop? December '14 Update: They've improved the front entrance slightly but has a long way to improve. Next thing they need to do - fix their lights!

Ten Things

1: Fremont St. Experience (woot woot!)
2: Annoying the pitbosses by doing chants for the shooter at the craps table
3: Places with nice go-go girls (that mean not the Las Vegas Club)
4: Starting at about noon and going to bed sometime the following morning.
5: Starting at 4:00am because you're used to getting up at 6:00am and seeing the casino still packed
6: Walking the Forum Shops
7: Hitting a big one at the slots or video poker


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