El Cortez Hotel & Casino

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Address: 600 Fremont Street, Las Vegas, NV 89101, USA

If you are coming to Las Vegas to gamble, please be sure to read the El Cortez Gaming review below. The El Cortez is located in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada. It’s kind of detached though. Picture a street, the El Cortez is at one end and then, about three blocks up or so, the rest of the downtown casinos are on the other end. The El Cortez is very inexpensive as rooms in Las Vegas go. It’s an older casino that was made famous from many promotions like their Social Security contest. The casino recently underwent new renovations. While some pictures might depict the El Cortez as being glamorous, it’s not.

The El Cortez is on the lower end of tourist casinos in Las Vegas—even for downtown. Non-smokers will want to stay away from the El Cortez. This casino has low ceilings and was built a long time ago. Those that don’t smoke will hate the El Cortez the moment they walk in. No matter what measures they have taken recently, the smoke smell is still unbearable. The El Cortez does offer some of the lowest table limits around. For instance, they have a 25 cent Craps table. What a perfect way to learn the game or have some fun without losing your shirt.

There really isn’t any entertainment to be had and the food is adequate. The real reason to stay at the El Cortez would be to save some money and walk up to the other casinos. If you love Keno, they do have one of the better places to play. The Keno lounge is a good size and they offer great payoffs. Keno lovers enjoy 40 cent live Keno 24 hours a day. The El Cortez is known for their giving attitude. Many good players receive meal comps and more.

If you come to Las Vegas to gamble, rather than simply see and be seen, El Cortez still offers some of the best action in town. There are over 1,000 slots, video poker, and electronic keno games giving players the choice between using tickets or listening to the coins cascade into the catch. Coin denominations run from a penny to $5. Blackjack players know ElCortez for single deck and double deck games with full pay 3:2 – pretty hard, no, impossible to find on The Strip. If you want to take a serious bite out of the house edge on Craps you’ll need 10x Odds, and El Cortez still offers them. Minimum bets are usually $3 with $1 minimum Proposition bets.

There is nothing too exciting about their baccarat rules and commissions, pretty standard, but they do have a  Pair Bet (optional side bet). The keno lounge is a good place to take a break, and you can play right at your table (with wait service) while you grab a bite or have a drink. The Sports book is connected to Station Casinos as of late 2013 (this review) so this means you can grab the App, load your account and place bets from anywhere within Nevada, then just swing back by El Cortez to cash in your winnings.

The sign above the  Ogden Street entrance used to proclaim “32% Looser – Certified Slots” and if you go by readers of the Las Vegas Review Journal’s votes for best paying slots in 2012, it is probably still true. A huge sign on the 6th Street side used to say “Serving Downtown Since Bugsy Ran The Joint” (1941), and you can still sit and play Texas Hold’em and 7 Stud with Jackie Gaughan – he’s 93 now and still might make you feel a bit like a donk when he reads your tells. He bought the property back in 1963 and lives in the Hotel. If you want some old world style Las Vegas Gambling and aren’t afraid of a little cigarette smoke, El Cortez is a must – Elvis (or a reasonable facsimile) is still in the building by the way!

There may only be three tables at El Cortez but it is the last place Downtown offering 7 Card Stud. It is possible to run into legends playing here. You will usually find them spreading Texas Hold ‘Em $1-3 game and $1-6 on the last card. It can be smoky smelling here, even with the new ventilation that was installed in the building in 2006. The decor and lighting will take you back in time, it’s a bit dim but the screens definitely provide enough light to play. Comps run in at $1 per hour and table side service is consistent, roughly 3x per hour.

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