Downtown Las Vegas, what happened to you?

LV Bear

Administrator
#1
Years ago, I enjoyed playing blackjack and other advantage play games in downtown Las Vegas, and made frequent appearances there. Over the years, as my play increased to high stakes beyond what most downtown places would tolerate and the games continued their slow deterioration into mostly garbage, I went downtown less and less. In recent years, I have worked almost exclusively just one downtown casino, parking at it and never walking out onto the Fremont Street Experience.

In the last couple of weeks, being the most beautiful-weather time of year here, I decided to spend a bit more time downtown checking some of the other casinos that I’d eschewed for so long. Today’s reality of real-world downtown vs. my memories of fifteen or twenty years ago are startling.

I started my expedition from near UMC where I took care of unrelated business, then approached downtown via Charleston Blvd. to Main Street. It was my first time off the I-15 at the Charleston interchange since Project Neon concluded. I must say, with the exception of the idiotic HOV lanes on I-15, Project Neon has been a great accomplishment by NDOT.

The ancient Charleston Underpass, which marks the spot that fifty years or so ago was the end of I-15, is now awash in graffiti. Too bad no one thought to cover the unsightliness as part of the redevelopment project. At least it hasn’t flooded in the last decade as it used to do.

Driving north on Main Street, which is now inexplicably a one-way street, I felt like I was in the slums of Baltimore or St. Louis. An old favorite, Gamblers General Store, has moved across the street from where it used to be. Sadly, I doubt if many tourists make the several-block walk from Fremont Street to the store anymore. They would have to pass vacant and boarded-up buildings on both sides of the street, and homeless people aimlessly drifting about or sleeping against abandoned properties, some almost directly across from the Greyhound station. Graffiti and trash was everywhere! Despite the gleaming new City Hall being located on Main Street, it looks like the city has given up trying to maintain clean sidewalks. This has been a declining part of town for a long time, but it has never been like this. It was appalling.

The Fremont Street Experience itself wasn't clean and nice either. Street performers (buskers), probably bums and drug addicts, were in their little circles doing their mostly pathetic acts. It’s too bad Las Vegas has to be saddled with these creeps, some of whom are solidly a part of the city’s criminal element. I wish they would go away. Homeless people were also observed under the canopy, some with signs begging for money. Overall, the street felt like a cheap carnival, not what a world-class tourist city should feel like.

On my way out of downtown after one of my visits, I drove past crime scene tape surrounding a dead body just off Casino Center Blvd., which is now effectively the southbound portion of Main Street when exiting downtown, because of the one-way configuration. Not a good image for tourists!

Fortunately, some of the casinos are still worth a visit -- in fact, some of their blackjack offerings are better than they were a few years ago, if you’re willing to play short sessions (usually good advice anywhere in Nevada), at a bit less than high stakes. I don’t intend to provide a roadmap to these games, but they are there if you search carefully and have good game selection and casino comportment skills.

At the other extreme, Binion’s, once the popular last bastion of sometimes-playable Rule of Six governed single-deck blackjack in Las Vegas, no longer offers any blackjack, only 6:5 garbage games. On one of my visits, I noticed a sign lamenting that Binion’s is Unfair to Immigrant Labor. It didn’t specify “illegal aliens,” so is anyone who is not a natural-born United States citizen treated unfairly? Just them? LOL.

Four Queens, under the same ownership as Binion’s, is also not worth entering if looking for blackjack.

On a happier note, the Starbucks just off the street inside Golden Nugget is fast and efficient, the friendly staff handling a large volume of customers very well.

The Girls of Glitter Gulch no longer exists, replaced by the never-ending promise of progress. The construction of the Circa dominates the west end of the street, and isolates California Club outside the construction zone when driving past on Main Street.

I skipped the east end of Fremont Street, thus don’t have current information on whatever might be left of the once-moribund but supposedly-resurging Neonopolis, or The D, the Lady Luck-reincarnate Downtown Grand, or long-time sweatshop El Cortez. I might visit those dumps in the near future.

Having unexpectedly rediscovered a few playable games, I will now and again stick my head into the maw of downtown. Despite the sadness of seeing so much blight, I’m glad I wandered around down there.
 

johndoe

Well-Known Member
#4
I still like it better than the strip. The games are (mostly) comparable, with the proliferation of 6:5 throughout the city, and it's much cheaper to stay there. If you're in town for entertainment (or business), it's easy to amuse yourself for a bit, have a good bite to eat, and get back to your hotel without a lot of fuss or time required. Also there are big benefits by having lots of different casinos in close vicinity, even if there are only a few good games.

Yes, it's a circus, but that's OK for me, in small doses. I do wish the street acts were better overall though, and there were fewer bums milling about. It's still a safe area.

But for BJ, LV really only benefits from the sheer quantity of games and easy travel.

I'm only there 3-4 times a year though, so in low doses everything is more tolerable.
 

KewlJ

Well-Known Member
#5
As a local, I play downtown regularly. It is actually a pretty good spot for low rollers. For a mid level player like myself, it is borderline. You can begin to stick out depending on what time of day you play and especially if you don't play short sessions. But I do play short sessions....everywhere, not just downtown. I play 4 stores downtown, on a very regular basis. They aren't the best games in Vegas (one might be close actually), but these 4 locations help round out my playing rotation. I like to have around 30 games that I play regularly, so I am not seen too often and this contributes to that game plan.

The 4 games I play are spread out from main street to 6th, so that is 4 games in 6 blocks. I mean you can't beat that as far as quantity in close proximity, and as is frequently mentioned that is what Las Vegas is all about. :cool:

Now because I park at one end, and walk to the other and back, I hit 3 of these 4 twice each trip. That is 7 sessions. Takes about 2 hours usually and that includes a quick stop at the Donut Bar at 6th and Carson. Amazing donuts, not healthy, but truly amazing. I recommend everyone try this place. They usually sell out of donuts by about noon, sometimes earlier on weekends.

After the Donut Bar, I enter a back entrance of the Michigan themed casinos avoiding a couple blocks of Fremont, but when I leave that location I am on Fremont for 3 blocks or so to Main, with 1 stop in between. Johndoe described the Fremont street scene as a circus. I would say that is spot on. Occasionally there is a musical street performer with some talent that takes his/her performance seriously, but mostly it is just the homeless crowd doing whatever they can to hustle up money. I'll tell you what I could really do without is the "naked" performers. An old fat dude wearing absolutely nothing except a sock covering his genital region. An equally old topless woman with bowling pin shaped hanging boobs with a couple quarter size stickers covering her nipples. How the hell is this allowed? :oops: Yet people flock to them to take pictures and I presume give them a couple dollars to do so. I don't get it. :( But honestly, I barely even notice anymore. I just do my thing and move on.

add on: as for the homeless that actually sleep on the sidewalk on Main street from Fremont up to the Greyhound Bus Depot. Absolutely disgusting! The homeless situation throughout Las Vegas is just way out of control. :( I am stunned that a tourist destination puts up with this.
 
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Raven

Well-Known Member
#7
KewlJ said:
An old fat dude wearing absolutely nothing except a sock covering his genital region. An equally old topless woman with bowling pin shaped hanging boobs with a couple quarter size stickers covering her nipples.
weird boner just now. :oops:
 
#8
it's really terrible

One of my favorite games in Vegas was golden nuggets dd game
They took out almost every table of it in the main pit withing the last 5 months
 

MrFatCat

Well-Known Member
#9
tuck22 said:
it's really terrible

One of my favorite games in Vegas was golden nuggets dd game
They took out almost every table of it in the main pit withing the last 5 months
I played some of this while I was in town a few weeks ago, it was $25 min but to be honest I'd far rather play $25-200 dd than $10-200 of lousy AC eight deck! There was two tables of it right across an aisle from the craps games.
 
#10
yes there are now 2 tables of it
there used to be 5 so i could often play alone or with just one other person
every time i tried to play this trip there were at least 3 people at each table
while the six deck and single deck 6:5 they replaced it with sat empty

i generally play 50-300 or 50-400 on dd
nugget's high limit has das but i've had way more heat in high limit pits and never had an issue at the nugget at all so i've avoided it

ac blackjack is terrible although i might give ocean's 6 deck a try
 
#12
lvbear- i read some of those posts from 2008
It's amazing how much worse it's gotten since then
You posted about Binion's shuffling up too often in their single deck 3:2 game
Now all the have is 6:5 bj and not surprisingly nobody is ever in there
They have real geniuses running that place
 
#14
tuck22 said:
lvbear- i read some of those posts from 2008
It's amazing how much worse it's gotten since then
You posted about Binion's shuffling up too often in their single deck 3:2 game
Now all the have is 6:5 bj and not surprisingly nobody is ever in there
They have real geniuses running that place
It's horrible compared to the good old days. It changed when as Horseshoe it had to be sold by Caesars. Once it was no longer Horseshoe I don't think they have cleaned the carpets since then. The only redeeming quality I see.....and it's not for players, is to watch the dancers in the party pit for a short while walking by. :) At the beginning, they still had the good rules at the non party pit tables and 6-5 was only on the party pit. I remember the customer service in the old days; when they even let you marker for a big bet and allowed you to cover after the play. Oh well.............no more Binions alive that are associated with the place anymore. It's a shame.
 
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