Category Archives: Las Vegas Casinos

Behold the Biggest Circa Las Vegas Resort Preview Photo Gallery in the World

Circa Las Vegas, the first new downtown casino resort for decades, opens Oct. 28, 2020.

As usual, we couldn’t wait, so we’ve put together the biggest pre-opening photo gallery of Circa in existence.

Vickie Circa

Nearly done, but Vegas Vickie’s already a knock-out.

During our recent visits, we got the witness the resort putting the final touches on Circa (which is why you’ll see some ladders, exposed wires and plastic-covered tables in the pics).

We can’t thank Circa enough for letting us get an early look at this amazing new Las Vegas destination.

The bottom line: We loved every inch of the place. If you get our drift.

Circa

This isn’t even her best side.

We were literally breathless seeing Circa’s massive sportsbook for the first time, and we are not even a sports person.

Rumor has it the manufacturers of Circa’s sportsbook screen, upon seeing it for the first time, were equally stunned. And they made the thing!

Circa sportsbook

Come get your swoon on, sports fans.

Circa’s restaurants were cranking out delicious food during an employee play date as bartenders and dancing dealers were put through their paces.

Thanks to Circa owner Derek Stevens, we were given the honor of being the first to share Circa’s chips (photo below).

The reveal of the chips was topped by Stevens’ “secret” project, the creation of casino plaques. He was giddy to share these beauties he describes as “highly desirable.”

Circa's casino chips plaques

One of each of Circa’s chips and plaques, please.

There was some truly unique and remarkable moments at the Circa play date, as Derek Stevens actually got to gamble at his own casino, a no-no for owners when actual money is being wagered.

Stevens tried his hand at video poker, roulette and craps.

Derek Stevens slot machine

Top casino tip: You don’t have to be a casino owner to get freebies. Always use your players card.

Fun fact: Stevens and his wife Nicole won $183,000 in pretend money at dice thanks to his wise choice to find a “virgin” shooter, his executive assistant, Yivi.

Circa is as beautiful as the renderings, and Circa has pretty much delivered on the hype, much of it ours. Yes, we’ve been a Circa cheerleader. That’s because beyond loving what we’ve seen and consumed so far, it’s objectively awesome. Circa is also the good news Las Vegas could use right now.

Mega Bar

Let’s just say Circa isn’t “under-barred.”

The only asterisk is Circa’s much-touted “adults-only” status isn’t technically accurate. A contractual loophole means kids will be allowed into the resort’s steakhouse, Barry’s. Hey, nobody’s perfect.

The centerpiece of Circa features the long-awaited return of Vegas Vickie, an iconic Las Vegas neon sign which sat above the former Glitter Gulch strip club.

She is absolutely glorious, and Circa is making the most of this newly-refurbished blast from the past.

We are confident enough in our masculinity to admit seeing Vickie lit up for the first time was one of several times we started opening weeping during our initial visits to Circa. Ditto our first Captain Morgan and diet.

Circa cocktail

Seal broken.

There’s far too much ground to cover in one blog post, so we’ll set you on your visual journey through Circa via our photo gallery.

There, you’ll get an inside peek at Circa’s special places (hello, high limit slot salon), its restaurants and menus, its artwork and its casino floors.

Circa screens

Want behind-the-scenes? You’ve got it. This is the hidden area where technicians can replace modules in the sportsbook’s video screen without the use of cranes.

We’ve made no effort to hide the fact we’re smitten. We love what Circa co-owners Derek and Greg Stevens (more from the latter on our next podcast episode) have done downtown and Circa is the crown jewel.

Big socially-distanced hugs to Circa for letting us share these work-in-progress, unretouched, plastic-wrapped, home stretch blemishes-and-all images.

Circa casino

Nothing beats that new felt smell!

Circa has already exceeded expectations and it hasn’t even opened yet! Say “hello” to our new home away from home, Circa Las Vegas.

Related: We get the question about how much Circa Las Vegas cost often. Since we’re the only one with the answer, here it is: While it’s never been officially announced or confirmed, our information is Circa resort cost $1.156 billion to build.

Source Says Cromwell Resort to Reopen Oct. 29

An employee says the lone remaining closed casino on the Las Vegas Strip, Cromwell, will reopen on Oct. 29, 2020 at 10:00 a.m.

Cromwell Hotel Las Vegas has been closed since March 18, 2020.

Cromwell

Welcome back, you boutique beauty, you.

The other Las Vegas casinos still closed due to the pandemic are: Palms, Rio, Main Street Station (Downtown), Fiesta Rancho (North Las Vegas), Texas Station (North Las Vegas), Fiesta Henderson (Henderson), Eldorado Casino (Henderson) and Eastside Cannery (Boulder Highway).

While Cromwell was closed, it played host to a reality TV show, “Love Island.” It’s worth noting we’re using the term “reality” very loosely here.

Cromwell is a beloved Vegas casino, with a player-friendly casino, the excellent Giada restaurant and the popular Drai’s Nightclub.

It’s unknown which of Cromwell’s venues will be back upon reopening.

The Cromwell

Sexy AF. Formerly, the quasi-sexy Bill’s Gamblin’ Hall and the old-school sexy Barbary Coast.

Midweek demand remains soft at Las Vegas hotels, but Cromwell only has 188 rooms, so it should fare relatively well upon reopening.

We’re thrilled for the employees of Cromwell, as it’s been a long period of uncertainty about the future of the resort.

We’ve heard several parties have explored a potential purchase of the casino at one of the most visible intersections in Las Vegas, the corner of Flamingo and Las Vegas Boulevard.

Caesars Entertainment Buys William Hill Sportsbooks

Casino giant Caesars Entertainment has made its first big move since merging with Eldorado Resorts. The company has acquired William Hill, the sports book folks.

Caesars is purchasing William Hill for $3.7 billion, and the deal is expected to close in the second half of 2021.

William Hill Caesars

For each share held, William Hill shareholders will get 272 pence. We have no idea what those are, but they sound adorable.

Sports betting has taken off in recent years, despite our best efforts, and it’s clear Caesars Entertainment wanted a bigger piece of the action.

The purchase of William Hill wasn’t without some drama, of course. Apollo Global Management was also interested, but Caesars made it clear if Apollo won the bidding war, Caesars would pull the plug on its deal with William Hill.

William Hill has an existing partnership with Caesars Entertainment, running its sports book operations at Caesars casinos in 16 states across the U.S.

It sounds like Caesars will sell off William Hill’s overseas assets, including in the U.K., where William Hill is based.

As we are not a sports person, we’re sort of baffled by the Caesars Entertainment purchase of William Hill.

Caesars has about $8.8 billion in debt already, and this seems a hefty investment in a part of the casino business that brings in relatively little revenue.

Sports books tend to be an amenity for players, like salons and poker rooms.

Sports book

Yes, this is exactly what everyone at every sports book looks like.

For example, in August 2020, Nevada casinos made $17 million from sports betting. That’s all Nevada casinos, combined. Before taxes and expenses.

While $475 million was wagered, the “hold” was a mere 3.58 percent.

We keep hearing people talking about the “fast-growing legal sports betting industry in the U.S.,” so we’re probably missing something.

Casino companies are obviously betting big on the potential future growth of online sports wagering, and online gambling in general.

Ultimately, such acquisitions tend to be about data. Yours, specifically. Each of these companies have valuable databases, and now they get to share.

It’s unlikely sports bettors will see many changes to their favorite sports books resulting from this deal.

Opinions vary widely about William Hill, with approximately one percent of its customers kvetching 24/7, but the company pretty much owns the sports book realm in Las Vegas.

William Hill Tropicana

Yes, we accidentally took a photo of the sports book at Tropicana. We were drunk.

Sports, in general, is taking up more Las Vegas bandwidth, given its new big league teams, the Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Raiders.

The bottom line: Good luck finding a Las Vegas bar or restaurant without sports on.

You can read more about “compelling strategic rationale” of the purchase of William Hill by Caesars Entertainment in the news release.

Or just read our superficial and clueless take on this “historic acquisition” again. You do you.

Here’s the Scoop on Planet Hollywood’s Reopening Plans

Planet Hollywood has announced it will reopen Oct. 8, 2020, following a months-long closure due to the pandemic.

As has been the pattern of late, Planet Hollywood is taking things slowly, and says its hotel will operate Thursday through Sunday only.

The most important part of Planet Hollywood, the casino, will operate seven days a week.

Planet Hollywood

So many memories. And so many partial memories, which are the best kind, actually.

Dining options will open selectively when Planet Hollywood does.

Guests can seek out sustenance at Gordon Ramsay Burger (formerly BurGR), Strip House, Cafe Hollywood, Earl of Sandwich, Starbucks and, just outside, Chick-fil-A.

Burger Planet Hollywood

One cannot live by burgers alone. The Oreo shake at Burger is a must-try.

Koi will remain temporarily closed, as will P.F. Chang’s, Yolo’s Mexican Grill and the Ringer sports bar.

Our beloved Spice Market Buffet won’t be reopening, and it remains unclear if it ever will.

Spice Market Buffet

We miss our visits to Gluttony Central.

Planet Hollywood’s two popular lounges, Heart Bar and Extra Lounge, will reopen Oct. 8 as well.

The resort’s freshly-rebranded William Hill sports book will be open, along with the resort’s spa.

The adjoining Miracle Mile Shops mall has been open since June 9, 2020.

Worth noting: Self-parking at Planet Hollywood is free, as was the case prior to the shutdown.

Now, all Caesars Entertainment casinos have free parking on The Strip, and we couldn’t be happier typing that sentence.

Crazy Girls statue

“Crazy Girls” may not be back yet, but the butts are, so there’s that.

The reopening of Planet Hollywood is a welcome turn of events. Rumors have been ongoing about a potential sale of Planet Hollywood, with the Seminoles (Hard Rock) being an often-cited suitor.

We’ve also shared industry chatter Twin River has kicked the tires at Planet Hollywood, too.

The announcement by Caesars Entertainment seems to put to bed any uncertainty about whether Planet Hollywood would reopen again under its current ownership. We’d have lost money on that bet.

Planet Hollywood

Welcome back, you beauty.

The reopening of Planet Hollywood is also welcome because the Strip-side walkway that runs along the resort has become a tad sketchy since cleaning crews and security became scarce during the closure.

The general rule: More foot traffic, less WTF.

When Planet Hollywood reopens, we’ll be another step closer to feeling some normalcy in Las Vegas again. The resort is a fixture on The Strip, and it was painful seeing it shuttered.

Let’s Planet Hollywood again.

Scaled Back Tropicana Reopens on The Strip

Tropicana was down, but it’s definitely not out. The classic casino reopened on Sep. 17, 2020.

Tropicana has been closed since the Las Vegas casino shutdown on March 17. Most casinos reopened June 4, 2020, but Trop choose to remain closed to gauge demand.

The old girl is back, although she’s been trimmed down a bit, so expectations should be adjusted accordingly.

Tropicana Las Vegas

Trop has some of the sexiest glass in town.

Tropicana’s showroom is dark, obviously, and dining options are few at the moment.

The resort’s best dining options are closed temporarily, including Robert Irvine’s Public House, Bacio, Lotus Asian Kitchen and one of our go-to steakhouses on The Strip, Oakville.

Trop reopening

Give it a minute.

The beverage situation is in flux as well, with Trago Lounge out of commission so far.

Guests can still get snacks and drinks at venues like Trop & Go, Starbucks and the Chill’m Bar just off the casino floor.

Trop

This is where they store the brain freezes.

The casino is taking things slowly as well, with fewer table games, but when it comes to gambling, something is always better than nothing.

There were rumors Tropicana might not open again under the current ownership as Penn National Gaming has said it’s up for sale, but we were happy to see Trop return while a sale is being sorted out.

Technically, Trop is owned by Gaming & Leisure Properties, Penn’s REIT (real estate investment trust). Long story.

Tropicana

Tropicana’s had its ups and downs, but it’s hard to imagine The Strip without her.

A temporarily streamlined Tropicana is still a great time, and there’s an ample selection of slot machines, or as we like to call them, “Retirement Windfall Delivery Devices.” (Actual results may vary.)

While Trop’s amenities may be limited for now (no valet), the resort’s pool and spa are open.

As is the case with lots of Strip hotels, Trop has some excellent deals at the moment, so you’ll want to take a look. Midweek rates are $39. That’s not great news for Tropicana, but it’s spectacular news for visitors.

We enjoyed our first visit to Trop since it reopened, although we did miss Trago and Oakville.

Trop

Same back at you, Tropicana.

Cautious optimism is probably wise at this juncture, but there are signs Las Vegas is ready to spring back to life, especially now that bars have reopened.

Tropicana has been a fixture on The Strip since 1957, and you’ll want to add it to your list of stops when you’re in town, even if you’re just checking out the casino’s glorious, 4,000-square-foot stained-glass ceiling.

Triple Zero Roulette is Pretty Much Everyflippingwhere in Las Vegas

It started innocently enough. An additional space showed up on a roulette table.

It looked innocuous, just one additional space on one table at Venetian back in 2016, no big deal.

Triple Zero Sands Roulette

The logo that started it all.

Then triple zero roulette popped up at Planet Hollywood and New York-New York. No big deal, right?

Well, it depends upon who you ask. Or possibly whom. Have you always been this obsessed with grammar? Lighten up, you’re reading a Las Vegas blog.

Math wizards were quick to point out each additional space on a roulette makes the game worse for players.

Longtime roulette players sometimes joke about triple zero roulette, “More ways to win!”

Um, no.

On a table with two zeros, the house edge is 5.26%. Not great, but a table with three zeros bumps the house edge up to 7.69%, or as we call it, the gambler discomfort zone.

Triple zero Harrah's

Don’t try to hide that extra spot, Harrah’s.

Prior to the pandemic, the proliferation of triple zero roulette raised lots of hackles. We should know, we were one of the main hackle-raisers.

Mid-pandemic, lots of things we used to get riled up about seem relatively trivial. Still.

There’s a reason you don’t hear much about triple zero roulette anymore. It’s pretty much everywhere in Las Vegas now.

We’ve visited a number of casinos in the weeks since casinos reopened in June, and we’re hard-pressed to remember a casino where there wasn’t triple zero roulette.

Triple zero Flamingo

Pretty sure Ben Siegel would’ve bugged out about this, Flamingo.

We’ve seen triple zero at Harrah’s, Flamingo, Four Queens, MGM Grand, Linq and others.

We used to keep a list of casinos with triple zero roulette, but that list seems almost quaint now.

We naively hoped lower demand would inspire casinos to dump triple zero roulette, but no such luck. So far.

Triple zero MGM Grand

Logos have more of a “Nothing to see here!” vibe than zeroes. Good going, MGM Grand.

So, why do people play triple zero roulette when there’s often a double zero roulette table nearby?

There are two answers: One, lower table limits. Two, they just don’t care.

Lower table limits make triple zero roulette tables tempting despite the greater house edge.

As for the “they just don’t care” aspect, we find ourselves in that camp lately.

We are a recreational gambler. We aren’t playing any game for hours on end. That’s true of most Las Vegas visitors, too. You’re lucky or you aren’t. It’s more about fun than math.

Triple zero Four Queens

We knew we were fighting a losing battle when we saw triple zero at Four Queens and its sister casino, Binion’s. Bonus points for the blue felt, though.

Ultimately, gambling is gambling. The odds are always on the side of the house.

If you’re gambling to make money, while possible, you may want to find other pursuits.

One of the worst things that can happen is to let frustration about odds or rules or pay tables overtake your enjoyment of the gambling experience.

Unless it has to do with paper straws being used in your drinks. Those ruin everything.

Triple zero roulette Linq

Is now really the time to risk irking players, Linq?

While it’s not fun having to report triple zero roulette tables are everywhere in Las Vegas, there are bright spots!

For example, downtown’s Plaza hotel has a single zero roulette table on its casino floor.

Plaza single zero roulette

Behold the unicorn of roulette tables, single zero at Plaza.

Cromwell has a single zero table, too. We miss you, Cromwell.

A few other Las Vegas casinos have single zero as well, but they’re typically tucked away in high limit salons where table minimums can be sky high.

Our advice is to find a roulette table with solid drink service and friendly dealers, and just play for fun.

Lucky Luck will either smile upon you or plant her boot firmly in your posterior.

Gamble for the memories, not the return on investment.

And also avoid keno, because the odds absolutely suck.

But mostly gamble for the fun! Life already has plenty of math.