Binions Poker Room, Las Vegas Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel 128 E. Fremont Street Las Vegas, NV 89101 1-800-937-6537 Binion's Gambling Hall & Hotel For the second time in as many years I stayed at Binions in November 2007 during my annual fall vacation in Las Vegas. Downtown and Fremont Street is certainly not for everybody, but I much prefer the atmosphere there than the amusement park feel of the strip. Not that I don’t like sight seeing on the strip, it just wears out after a few times. There is just something I like about downtown and the whole Vegas history better than the strip. Located in the upper center section of The Fremont Street Experience across from The Golden Nugget, and just a quick walk to The Plaza, Binions is set at the heart of Downtown and is one of the oldest Hotel/Casinos in Vegas. Being the birthplace of the WSOP, Binions (formerly Binions Horseshoe Club) is certainly steeped in history. There are historical reminders everywhere in the poker room from the “Poker Hall of Fame” wall memorializing poker legends from “Wild Bill Hickock” the late David “Chip” Reese, to the Gallery of Champions featuring every WSOP winner through 2005. That was the last year that the Main Event was held there. A look down Freemont Street towards the Plaza at the very end. A night time shot of the casino entrance on Fremont Street. Pros · Plenty of room and tons of tables (over 100) · $2.00 per hour unlimited comps! (cash tables only) · No rake for high hand/bad beat jackpots · Excellent staff · Deli with AWESOME food, and steak house upstairs. You are allowed to eat at the poker tables. · More Tournaments than you could imagine · It is the birthplace of modern poker · Any game, any time and NO LIMIT! Cons · Not very “flashy” or attractive · No high hand/bad beat bonus (would have liked that with my one and only Royal Flush I hit!) · Some of the tables are old and worn · Location is downtown, not on the strip · Must take your receipt to the poker room to comp your meals. Cannot just swipe your player’s card at the restaurant. Games/stakes available Basically any game, any time as long as they have a dealer on staff that can deal the game you want. I find it unlikely that you could ask for a game they couldn’t accommodate as long as you have enough players to fill a table. From their website: “We offer $2/4 to $10/20 Limit Hold’em, $1/2 to $2/5 blinds No-Limit Hold’em, and $4/8 Omaha 8 or better on a regular basis. If you would like to play a different game or limit, just ask one of our friendly team members to start a list for you. We will spread any game or limit we get an interest in.” Decor and atmosphere If you are looking for a decadent, plush poker room Binions will surely disappoint. Aesthetically it is pretty basic and laid out in a large, open area as soon as you come in the main entrance and registration desk to the hotel. Most of the walls are papered with what appears to be very old red wallpaper with a felt design. Hardwood walkways and rails separate their large tournament area from the cash game section, but everything is wide open and the room is probably one of the largest poker rooms in Vegas. It is HUGE! Just to the right of the main entrance in the tournament section is their TV area with lighting and a nice final table for their large tourneys. Just on the other side of the tournament section is a radio booth where a live radio show is broadcast. There are probably 20 or 30 tables in the tourney section, and they have an overflow area down past the Deli/Snack Bar for even more players if needed. The cash game area is slightly smaller, but there is plenty of room. There are probably 10 to 15 cash tables available. This is a shot from the tourney area looking back towards the cash game tables. Tournament area with the TV final table in back. Final table TV broadcast. The Binions cowgirls at the final table broadcast! Actress, Model and host of The Ultimate Poker Challenge and Cash Poker, Brandi Williams! (CLICK HERE for her website!) Dealers Everywhere I have played has dealers that range from fantastic to average to not so good. Binions is no exception. Most of the dealers move the game along very well, and like to have fun while doing so. Out of all the dealers, the one that really sticks out to me was a petite red haired lady and I believe her name was "Kat". Just an awesome dealer with many years pitching cards right there at the “Shoe”. Man, the stories she could tell! I spend most of my time on the cash tables and many times they would bring in another crew of very competent dealers to deal the larger tourneys. The dealers on the cash tables definitely like to have fun and let the players have fun as long as it doesn’t hold up the game or influence the play. Should a decision need to be made by the manager, the booth is right there by the tables. Like most casinos, they use ShuffleMasters imbedded into the tables, and Kem cards. Quality of opponents Here is where things can get a little subjective! I usually go in the fall with the World Tavern Poker League folks so if you can imagine 300 to 500 bar poker players all getting loaded and slinging money (if they have any) around, then the play can get pretty loose at times. This much action and drunk players seems to attract lots of local low stakes cash game pros who circle the schools of little fishies! I have gotten to know several locals in my time there and look forward to seeing them again each year when I go. Be very careful of them because there are several exceptional players that you will never see on TV, but make their living grinding it out there on the NL cash tables. Most are very nice folks when you get to know them. Chips - (CLICK HERE for some great scans.) Cash chips - Standard Paulson Top Hat & Cane (RHC) $1.00 - Light blue with pink edgespots $5.00 - Red with Gold, Lavender and Green edgespots $25.00 - Green with Gold & Grey edgespots $100.00 - Black with Hot Pink & Blue edgespots $500.00 - Purple with pink & white edgespots * At the cash tables you are allowed to use cash, but only $100 dollar bills. Tournament (No cash value) Chips Standard Hot Stamped Paulson Top Hat & Cane (RHC) 25 - Green 100 - Black 500 - Lavender 1000 - Yellow 5000 - Blaze Orange 10,000 - Dark Gold A nice stack of $5.00 chips. (CLICK HERE for some great scans.) Additional perks Unlimited comps for cash game play! I never pay for a meal, drink or souvenir EVER! Just play lots of poker and rack up the comps! But, you have to be sure and go to the floor manager and verify your comps if you have played longer than 12 hours in any one session. For some reason, their computer will not allow the comps for this long of a session unless management verifies them. Final Thoughts As I said, Downtown and Binions is not for everybody, but I have just really fallen in love with the place. No, it is not the nicest place in town but the rooms are clean and the beds are comfy. And besides, I am only spending a small amount of time sleeping, lol! But if you are looking for lots of action Binions is the only place to play poker in Vegas in my opinion! I hope you enjoyed my review. The Gallery of Champions Wall. Just think of the talent on this wall!!! Poker Hall of Fame Wall. This and the Gallery of Champions has been moved to a new location in the front between the cash game area and tourney area. The man who started it all, Mr. Binion himself!