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Last year, a simple tip on skipping the line at sportsbooks during March Madness came in handy for many readers. And, it will likely do the same for many others when it comes to this weekend's Big Game.
So, what's the tip? Betting with your mobile phone is the quickest and easiest way to get a bet placed with a sportsbook.†Over 60% of people in the US own a smartphone†and, chances are that if you're in Las Vegas for the Big Game, you'll have one with you. You won't get a "free drink" ticket if you wager with an app, but if you're at an all-you-can-drink Big Game party, that probably doesn't matter. Not waiting in lines when you're in Vegas is the best way to have the most fun.
The resort fee will include the following:
El Cortez / Gambling / Downtown Vegas / Gambling Gourmet / Dining / Downtown / Eating / → All Tags
Ever get hungry while on a hot streak in the casino? It happened to this guy a few months ago. I was in the middle of an epic Mississippi Stud Poker session and couldnít walk away from the table. Black ($100) and Purple ($500)(!) chips were flying in my direction for nearly ten hours. It was the kind of session at the tables that doesn't happen very often. It would have been irresponsible to leave, but after my stomach had started to yell. This might not have been a big deal if I had lunch or dinner beforehand.
Eventually, this epic session had to end so that I could get a bite to eat. If the Flamingo had table-side food service I may never have left. If there's ever another session this good, hopefully, it takes place at El Cortez.†El Cortez has something called the Gambling Gourmet†which brings food to you while you gamble. Here's how El Cortez describes it:
Closings / El Cortez / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Poker / → All Tags
2013 was a tough year for poker rooms in Las Vegas and it ended with the closure of one of the oldest rooms in town. †
The final days of 2013 brought the closure of the "poker room" at El Cortez. Poker room is in quotes because the one at El Cortez was made up of three tables that seemed as if they were just sort of tossed in an awkward corner of the casino. We'd estimate the players age was near 98. The average number of oxygen tanks was 1.5 per person.
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Las Vegas is a beautiful and unique city. Thereís scenery for everyone whether youíre roaming the Vegas Strip looking at the fountain show at Bellagio, out in Red Rock Canyon looking at rock formations you wonít see anywhere else or downtown lost in the haze of lights on Fremont Street. These are all great backdrops for pictures to take home.
There are some places in Vegas that are more meaningful than others. It could be the casino where you hit a big jackpot or the hotel where you got hitched. These places never get old. Recently, this writer has spent a lot of time in Downtown Vegas and has fallen in love with the exterior of El Cortez. The building is really unlike any other in Las Vegas. Itís a freestanding casino-hotel that feels as if itís from another time, which it is.
There are good blackjack games and there are bad blackjack games in Vegas. Thereís only one great blackjack game in Vegas. Where? First, letís look at the basic rule that makes for a good blackjack game. A good blackjack game starts by paying 3:2. For every $2 bet, you win $3. So, for a $10 bet youíd get $15 for blackjack. There are other rules, but in an effort to keep things simple, letís keep it to the payout. Youíll find good blackjack at some casinos on The Strip, but they usually start at tables with a $25 minimum. Most blackjack games you see with minimum bets under $25 fall into the bad category.
Bad blackjack is a game that pays 6:5 when you get blackjack. For every $5 bet, youíd win $6. So, for a $10 bet, youíd only receive $12. When looking at a $10 wager, this isnít much money, but over time, it adds up. The casinoís advantage in these 6:5 games is much larger, about 300% greater. No bueno.
Vegas Observations / Vegas Rants / Casino Promotions / Souvenirs / Vegas Gifts / Swag / Promotions / Vintage Vegas / Off Strip / El Cortez / Silver Sevens / → All Tags
When was the last time you came across a casino giveaway that really caught your interest? For this VegasChatter writer, itís been awhile. I long for the days when casinos would dole out logo glassware, jackets, hats, and lighters. Doing an eBay search for vintage Vegas ashtray is nearly enough to make me take up smoking. Many of these casino gifts were unique and are now highly sought after collectables. Times have changed, and promotional items Ė- especially on The Strip Ė- are hard to come by.
On The Strip, the pickings are slim. Smaller casinos like Slots a Fun and Casino Royale are your best bets for scoring freebies, and used decks of cards are about as good as it gets. Signing up for a playerís card might give you a shot at some Free Play, but forget about anything interesting to take home.
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When visiting El Cortez, itís 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, Iíve 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.
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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.
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The length of the average stay in Las Vegas is between three and four nights, and thatís 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, thatís 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, thereís not a much more direct way to say ďgo home!Ē
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 hotelís 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.