O’Sheas Casino Has Been Gone Five Years, But It’s Not Forgotten

The beloved O’Sheas Casino closed at noon on April 30, 2012. Five years later, diehard fans of O’Sheas still feel the sting of saying farewell to what had been a 23-year run on the Las Vegas Strip.

O'Sheas Las Vegas

O’Sheas was old-school Vegas, baby. Yes, including the venereal diseases.

O’Sheas Casino was closed to make way for the Linq Hotel & Casino. On its closing day, O’Sheas customers came out in force to knock back one last beer, play a final hand of “Strip Poker” and wish Lucky the Leprechaun good luck.

O'Sheas closes

They called it “Strip Poker” because it was played, literally, 10 feet from the Las Vegas Strip.

O’Sheas opened in 1989 and was a rare stand-alone casino on the Las Vegas Strip. It wasn’t part of a resort and didn’t have a hotel.

O’Sheas was known for its cheap eats, low table minimums, live music and beer pong.

O'Sheas closes

O’Sheas may have been beat up by the time it closed (note the duct tape), but at one time, it was ready for its close-up. In fact, O’Sheas was featured in “Vegas Vacation.”

In time, a new O’Sheas would open in the Linq. The new O’Sheas opened Dec. 27, 2013, and has become the most profitable part of the Linq Hotel & Casino.

Still, it’s not the original O’Sheas. Although, Lucky the Leprechaun (his real name is Brian Thomas) returned, so, in a way, the O’Sheas legend lives on through his mischievous exploits.

O'Sheas closes Lucky

Fun fact about Lucky (Brian Thomas): He rarely shakes hands. To avoid catching colds via visitors from around the world, he prefers to fist bump.

Many memories of the closing day of the original O’Sheas Casino are still surprisingly vivid.

Longtime customers said “goodbye” to their favorite dealers.

Lucky poured free shots from atop the bar.

Guests signed a memory wall that was supposed to be put up at the new O’Sheas. (It never was.)

O'Sheas Casino

It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Gamblers made their bets on the final spin of the roulette wheel. The very last number called at O’Sheas Casino was 31, black.

Emotions ran high as customers were ushered out of the building and employees wondered about their jobs. Most moved on to other Caesars Entertainment resorts in town.

O'Sheas Lucky

At the time, Lucky’s future with Caesars Entertainment was anything but certain. The outpouring of love was a sight to behold.

Our most vivid memory was of a reflective moment with Brian Thomas. As the doors closed at O’Sheas, it all began to sink in, and all the hugs and fist bumps in the world couldn’t keep the tears at bay.

O'Sheas Lucky

Of all the Las Vegas photos we’ve taken over the years, this ranks as one of our favorites.

Five years on, the number of low roller-friendly casinos on The Strip has dwindled, and the closing of O’Sheas feels like a turning point in many ways. Yes, the old girl was run-down, but for its devotees, O’Sheas was a bastion of value and unpretentious, shot-fueled good times they’ll always remember.

Enjoy a few more photos from the closing of O’Sheas, below.

Did you see a freak show or big cat magic show at O’Sheas? Did you ever rub the belly of the frog statue at Burger King for good luck or grab a taco at El Gringo Loco? Did you get a tattoo or have your fortune read there? We’d love to hear your O’Sheas memories.

The Original O'Sheas Casino Closes

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6 thoughts on “O’Sheas Casino Has Been Gone Five Years, But It’s Not Forgotten

  1. mkhnks

    I’m guessing the closing of O’Sheas was one of at least two times we were in the same place at the same time, long before we’d chat for 15 minutes during World Series game 7 (that’s a sports thing) at the Filament Bar or discuss your 15 minutes of fame on Chuck Woolery’s couch.

    Funny story: My friend was still working for a major airline and I was one of her airline husbands, which isn’t as awesome as it sounds. Nonetheless I was able to use her airline for cheap airfare, although that often meant connecting through a hub airport. I had taken that week off in 2012, as we were going to go to Guatamala for a rock concert. Seriously.

    Family matters back here in the midwest forced my friend to cancel our travel plans. I could have went to work that week, but given I had already cleared my schedule, I flew to Vegas on Sunday night the 29th, booked four ridiculously cheap nights at The D, rented an ugly, simple Kia and drove over to the strip on Monday morning to be a part of the closing, which I read about or heard about by chance.

    I had photos and video, and never saved it to anywhere other than a computer that has since died. I am an idiot.

    The closing of O’Sheas was a blast, so when Riviera closed two years ago, I made it a priority to be there that final morning, and damn was I disappointed.

  2. William Wingo

    I played some Blackjack there, long ago.They had Reno doubling rules–hard 10 & 11 only–and it wasn’t posted anywhere, so I didn’t find out until I tried to double a soft hand.

    I don’t have any other vivid impressions of the place; but I agree that the disappearance of the “low-roller” houses is a sad development. There were a few others like the Boardwalk and Foxy’s, all long gone now.

    But I guess that’s progress.

  3. Steven Brown

    I seem to recall that original O’Sheas was an annex of the Flamingo and operated on their gaming license. The Flamingo used O’Sheas as a break in casino for their dealers and there were times in which you could tell it.

    There were three trips in which I spent a decent amount of time at the original O’Sheas, as for two of them, it was the “home base” for a group of us that were out there because it was conveniently located as most of the members of our group were staying at either the Flamingo, Imperial Palace or Harrah’s. My first hands of live poker were in the poker room at O’Sheas (The first tournament I played there, I busted out in about 10 minutes.). I remember them having a tiny bar that was barely big enough for the bartender that was offering Guinness and a shot for like $5.

  4. spikeygirl19

    I loved the old O’Sheas. My husband and I had a lot of late drunken nights there. From cheap food and drinks to hilarious antics you couldn’t find anywhere else in The Strip, we were very sad when it closed. We karaoked there over Christmas in 2008 and my husband got heckled for wearing an Edmonton Oilers t-shirt. We also would always get approached by people with some kind of story including a guy who lifted his shirt and told me he’d been shot multiple times so I should give him chance. The new O’Sheas has failed to capture the magics the old one had and it truly is missed.

  5. Bouldersteve

    Good post Scott. It’s fun to remember the past Vegas. I really enjoyed O’Sheas. I wish I could tell some good stories but I had such a great time I cannot remember. Sometimes blacking out has its drawbacks. The new O’Sheas is not the same but then It really could never be.


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