New High Limit Room Adds Flair to Downtown’s El Cortez Casino

Downtown’s El Cortez recently opened a new high limit room, and it adds a fresh burst of color to the classic casino.

A highlight of the new high limit room is a wall-sized, eye-catching photo of the El Cortez neon sign.

El Cortez

El Cortez cleverly used an image that looks like neon, but without the cost or trouble. Because, frankly, neon is a huge pain in the ass.

The high limit room is next to the casino’s cage. The space formerly held high limit slot machines, several of which we spent more time with than our own family.

Also worth nothing in the new high limit area is the fancy new El Cortez carpet.

The carpet was recently upgraded from one that (how do we put this delicately?) had been around awhile. About 13 years to be exact. Here’s the new carpeting.

El Cortez carpeting

It’s a myth casino carpets are designed to keep customers looking up at slot machines. They are designed to camouflage stains while making you feel like you’re hunting big game.

The previous carpet was so well-known and beloved, the casino actually sold sections of it in the gift shop. The supply of carpet pieces sold out quickly. Only in Vegas!

At the moment, the modest high limit room has two blackjack tables and four slots.

It’s expected a baccarat table will be added soon.

There are four slot machines.

El Cortez

The slot selection in high limit isn’t expansive, but you only need one. Just be sure to pick the right one.

In the past, El Cortez didn’t exactly scream “high roller,” but casino management has seen more interest in higher table limits, apparently.

Currently, the El Cortez high limit room tables have limited hours of operation, offering blackjack on Fridays and Saturdays only. Guests can also reserve a table.

EL Cortez

No matter how much you’d like to, please do not make out with this wall.

El Cortez is one of our favorite places to play downtown. The value is undeniable, and it’s on a shortlist of casinos that still have a throwback vibe.

While we were at El Cortez, we said goodbye to Naked City Pizza. The restaurant space has been walled off.

El Cortez

Naked City wasn’t just closed, it was erased.

El Cortez opened in 1941, and was the former stomping ground of casino legend Jackie Gaughan.

Another claim to fame (if you can call it that) for El Cortez is it was once owned by a gaggle of mobsters: Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lansky, Gus Greenbaum and Moe Sedway.

Moe Sedway later went on to invent two-wheeled, self-balancing transportation devices.

Now that we think of it, “gaggle” may not be the best collective noun for a group of mobsters. Maybe a “family” of mobsters? Or better yet, a “whack” of mobsters?

El Cortez

We love it and we hate everything.

El Cortez is a great jumping off point for the Fremont East entertainment district and quirky Downtown Container Park. It’s a two-minute walk east from downtown’s Fremont Street Experience.

Cheers to El Cortez for evolving, and for inspiring us to seriously consider putting up a wall-sized El Cortez sign in our home. Let’s get those bad boys in the gift shop, already.

8 thoughts on “New High Limit Room Adds Flair to Downtown’s El Cortez Casino

  1. Michael Alexakis

    The wife and I once tried to walk into the El Cortez, I think they were giving out free cake, we were repelled at the door by a toxic mix of tobacco smoke and casino fragrance… Lloyd Bridges in his Sea Hunt diving suit would have struggled to breath. Note to casino management: Fragrance is important, there does need to be a certain amount of smell of something other than smoke, just don’t go nuts… I will try again to enter the El Cortez on a trip without the wife, I do appreciate Las Vegas history, but my love of breathing is a big factor…

    1. BST

      I also had the unpleasant expireience of walking in El Cortez and being overwhelmed by casino fragrance immediately. Probably tobacco as well but I wasn’t in long enough to decipher.
      I’ve gambled in El Cortez several times prior and no overdone fragrance at that time. That was a few years back. I’ll never be able to now if that scent stays:(

  2. Andrew

    My eyes are hurting just looking at it, think about spending a couple of hours gambling in there.
    They could have used some dark,chocolate/tobacco and cream like colors with proper light sconces but now, let’s make a clusterfuck of mardi gras and Jay Sarno’s garbage all rolled up into a Harrah’s-Mirage from the early ’90ies.

  3. Matt

    Fun project. If you look at the El Cortez wall sign thru the green glass on the high limit entrance. The sign will be green. Same for the red glass the sign will be red. I got some cool pics of the El Cortez wall sign thru the colored glass it completely changs it

  4. Ben

    That’s the greatest thing I’ve ever seen! It looks like a 1950’s era Havana casino threw up all over the room. I don’t know what I love more; the fantastic sign wall or the wolf pack of slots.

  5. mattbob77

    I used to like El Cortez. Five dollar single deck blackjack, $3 craps, great steaks at the Flame. But on my last few visits, I got the feeling they are trying to make it more than it is. All the table minimums were up, and video poker schedules degraded. Maybe all this is necessary to stay afloat, but if I want higher table stakes I’ll probably go someplace not quite as…..uh…….vintage?

  6. GregM

    Where did all the $ VP machines go? Pre-pandemic there was a row of around 10 or so, in the “tower” (sunken area near Subway) and there were at least 20 in the high stakes area. On my last visit there were 2 $ VP left in the tower and only about 10 in high stakes. I hope they relocated them.


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