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Downtown / El Cortez / Downtown Vegas / Burgers / Eating / Dining / Deals / → All Tags
When visiting El Cortez, it’s important to remember where you are and manage your expectations. El Cortez is one of the most historic casinos in Vegas and may have been the casino that truly started the Downtown Vegas revival when it was renovated seven years ago. With all of the more recent renovations, though, the ones at El Cortez feel more vintage than they were intended. Aesthetically, El Cortez is a mid-level Downtown Vegas casino. Still, we love El Cortez.
Besides some of the best gaming odds in any Las Vegas casino, El Cortez also has some of the most random and cool casino promotions. Personally, this writer learned how to gamble at El Cortez and it holds a special place in my heart. For months, I’ve noticed that El Cortez had a $5 beer and burger special available at Cafe Cortez. With all of the new restaurants coming on board in Downtown Vegas, I've been a little too distracted to try it, but finally had the opportunity to dive in recently.
Gambling / Video Poker / Downtown / Main Street Station / The California / Las Vegas Club / Downtown Vegas / Plaza / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / El Cortez / Golden Nugget / Fremont / Four Queens / Downtown Grand / La Bayou / Mermaids / → All Tags
Last week, we reported that Downtown Grand lowered its video poker pay tables shortly after they opened. Nobody was happy to see this reduction so quickly, but Downtown Grand's video poker only went from bad to worse. Most people concerned with playing good video poker games wouldn't have played the better option at Downtown Grand, anyway.
The reaction to Downtown Grand's video poker pay tables led us to check out how other downtown casinos compare. According to vpFREE2, there are plenty of good video poker games to be found downtown. Here's a list of the best games in each casino with percentage of return. They're broken down only by the best game(s) offered. Click on each game listed to find details on how many of those games are in that casino, where they are located, and what other good video poker games are available.
Vegas Observations / Budget Vegas / Hotels / Hotel Rates / Hotel Charges / El Cortez / MGM Resorts / Caesars Entertainment / → All Tags
The length of the average stay in Las Vegas is between three and four nights, and that’s exactly what many casino operators want it to be. You might be inclined to think that the house wants you to stay forever. The long-standing myth about pumped-in oxygen designed to keep you awake and gambling certainly suggests as much. It may seem intuitive that the longer you stay, the more the casino will make; but, that’s often not the case. In fact, many casinos have policies in place designed to limit the time you spend at their properties.
El Cortez has the most straightforward policy about over-staying your welcome. Guests who spend more than seven nights a month in the hotel are penalized with an additional nightly fee. Short of sending security up to pack your bags, there’s not a much more direct way to say “go home!”
Recently, our Ramblin Gamblin posted a review of downtown's El Cortez, inviting us to keep the hotel in mind when looking for a decent stay option, for the price and digs. If you had asked this writer for an opinion last week, I pretty much would have said the same thing having had my first stay there earlier this month. However, it was my second stay last Friday (the 13th, no less) that now makes me reluctant to say the same. If you're up for a twisted tale of reservations, credit cards, and hotel policy, keep reading to share in my Vegas Rant.
Downtown Vegas / El Cortez / VegasChatter Reviews / Hotel Reviews / Downtown / Cheap Vegas / Vintage Vegas / Fremont East / Survival Strategies / Fremont Street / → All Tags
Earlier this year, we suggested 10 things you should know about Downtown's El Cortez. While the loose slots and cheap table games in the casino are favorites among locals, El Cortez has also been welcoming out-of-towners to its hotel for more than 70 years. This writer recently took a ride up the elevator and explored a room in the hotel’s 1980 tower expansion.
As a frequent visitor to the El Cortez casino, I knew this wouldn't be a luxury resort. This place is old. So old that it has landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places. Even so, I've never had a bad time when visiting. When I need a break from the pretentiousness that can be overwhelming at Strip resorts, El Cortez is always there as a beacon of humility. After discovering that Tower rooms were on sale for just over $20 on weekdays, I jumped at the chance to spend a couple nights.
Downtown Vegas is changing rapidly. Every time we walk around, we find something new and different. Most of the new businesses are non-gaming establishments which bring a new customer than the older bars and casinos with gaming are used to. These new customers are forcing existing venues to change the way they do business. While, on the ground, actions are happening quickly, the same can't be said online. Take the historic El Cortez as an example.
This writer uses El Cortez as home base when visiting Downtown Vegas. On a recent mid-week visit, we were directed by security to make a U-turn when trying to enter the attached parking garage. This parking garage is now only available to Ruby and Diamond members of Jackie's Club. This isn't a big deal since the alternative parking garage is just across the street, but who knew that there are now high rollers perks at El Cortez?
Sportsbooks / Main Street Station / The California / Las Vegas Club / Downtown Vegas / Plaza / The D Hotel / Golden Gate / El Cortez / Golden Nugget / Fremont / Four Queens / William Hill / Station Casinos / Downtown Grand / → All Tags
Downtown Vegas is great in so many ways and is getting better by the day. There are new restaurants and bars popping up nearly as quickly as we can say Downtown Vegas. Gambling is alive and well there, too, but there's one thing that's lacking for sports bettors. Unlike casinos on the Vegas Strip, not every downtown Vegas casino has a sportsbook. Sure, you can watch the games at many bars, but you can't always wager and watch at the same place. With football season coming up, we thought we should rundown the sportsbooks in Downtown Vegas:
The Plaza introduced a big, bright renovated William Hill sportsbook earlier this year (seen above) and they share it with sister property, Las Vegas Club. This is probably the largest sportsbook in Downtown Vegas with easy access to Pop Up Pizza. There are plenty of tables and chairs for you to eat. It's almost as if they're encouraging us to eat pizza. Twist our arm.
Drinking / Aria / Flamingo / Mandalay Bay / The D Hotel / Encore / Margaritaville Casino / El Cortez / Red Rock Resort / Palazzo / Drink Service / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
Besides friends -- new and old -- and good times, there's one thing that goes with a gambling session in the casino and that's a decent drink. Or, five. Recent sessions have reminded us that size matters when it comes to drink service. Bigger isn't always better. In fact, bigger usually isn't better when it comes to having a few cold ones.
Playing blackjack at Mandalay Bay recently reminded us how big that casino actually is. It struck us for two reasons: 1) It took us a while to find an open table with rules and minimums that fit the bill (3:2, $15) and 2) it took forever to get a drink. The slow drink service wasn't entirely the cocktail waitress' fault. She was the only waitress for a busy pit of tables. These things happen. It was a good thing that we just finished dinner with bottomless wine (!) at Charlie Palmer Steak and didn't really need more drinks.
Gambling / Craps / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / The D Hotel / El Cortez / Golden Gate / Las Vegas Club / Riviera / Stratosphere / Binions / Four Queens / Casino Royale / Main Street Station / → All Tags
The best games in the casino aren't always the games with the best odds, but it's nice when they are. Craps happens to be both. The casino only has a house advantage on pass line (or come) bets of 1.41%. This is among the smallest advantages the casinos have on gamblers. We can further minimize that house advantage by playing craps games that allow us to place higher odds behind our pass line bet. Pass line odds come with no house advantage and help shrink the overall house advantage. Why not take advantage of what's technically a free bet?
We'll play craps (or any game) wherever we happen to be, but it's nice to know where the best odds can be found. This helps us plan outings to specific casinos that meet our social and gambling goals. Many Strip casinos have 3-4-5x odds (3x odds on the 4 or 10, 4x odds on the 5 or 9 and 5x odds on the 6 and 8) (good eye rollie) so it often doesn't matter which casino you play at on the Strip. 3-4-5x odds isn't bad, but you can find better if you look for it. There's much more variety in craps odds in Downtown Vegas.
UFC / UFC Fight Week / MGM Grand Garden Arena / Mandalay Bay / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Events / South Point / The D Hotel / El Cortez / Golden Gate / Golden Nugget / → All Tags
UFC Fight Week isn't the UFC pumping out its chest to tell people how awesome they are. It's a week-long interactive celebration of the Mixed Martial Arts league that gives fans amazing access to fighters. You can meet your favorite fighters, step into the Octagon, participate in a Q&A with some of the best fighters in the history of the UFC, and more.
UFC Fight Week begins (for the general public) Thursday, July 4 with meet and greets and a free concert in Downtown Vegas and culminates on Saturday, July 6 with the UFC Fan Expo and UFC 162 at MGM Grand Garden Arena. Here's a more detailed list of the events taking place:
Ten things you should know about the El Cortez? Make that eleven.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reports that the El Cortez has secured a place on the National Register of Historic Places:
Constructed in 1941, the El Cortez remains one of the oldest establishments on Fremont Street and the only one to continue operation under its original name.
EDC / Electric Daisy Carnival / Hotel Rates / Gold Spike / El Cortez / Artisan / Circus Circus / Orleans / Riviera / Hooters / Stratosphere / Golden Nugget / SpringHill Suites / Luxor / MGM Grand / Aria / Bellagio / → All Tags
Even though Electric Daisy Carnival isn't until the end of June (June 21-23), hotel rates are already significantly higher than they were for EDC this time last year.
If you're planning on attending this year's party, be sure to act quick! We've collected the initial rates below from some of the hotels we recommended last year. EDC also did everyone a solid when they partnered with a few of the bigger hotels, including Luxor, New York-New York, MGM Grand, Aria, and the Bellagio. You can check the discounted rates here. As of now, some of them are cheaper than the hotels below. For example, Circus Circus is cheaper if you go through the EDC website at $87/night, and a room at the Luxor is $135/night.
By the way, three-day passes to EDC are still available. They're priced at $500 for those over 21. Single day admissions aren't being offered this year, but a lay-a-way plan is!