Binions Gambling Hall
Binion’s Casino, or Gambling Hall & Saloon, is located on Fremont Street in Downtown Las Vegas in the heart of the Fremont Street Experience. It was originally named the Horseshoe. It formerly had a hotel, which closed in 2009, as well as all the gambling action you could want along with fine dining and a venerable history. Every visitor here for a vacation or holiday should check this casino out because of the history and because of the many things there are to do in Fremont Street in general.
The History of Binion’s
Benny Binion was a gambler who lived in Texas in the 1940s who was finding the heat from the local police department too much to handle and decided a change was needed. Las Vegas was one of the few places in America where gambling was legal and it was still considered a part of the west so he made the choice to move to where he could find some action. In 1951, Binion bought the El Dorado Club as one of many casino ventures and finally struck pay dirt. He renamed the casino “Binion’s Horseshoe Casino” which is where many of his “firsts” started taking shape.
He was the first owner to think about the needs of the gamblers. His slogan was: “Good Food. Good Whiskey. Good Gamble.” This was a theme that many casinos had never thought about and it started a trend in Las Vegas. He was also the first casino owner to offer his customers air conditioning on a full-time basis. Anyone who has spent a summer in Vegas knows just how hot the desert climate can be and a gambling hall would be even hotter because of all the bodies crammed inside gambling. He also added nice carpeting to the floors in order to make the atmosphere more pleasant and to attract the high rollers who were looking for action.
Binion’s Horseshoe also had on display one million dollars to show just how much money passed through this casino. This was a favorite tourist attraction and thousands of people had their pictures taken with the pyramid of money. After buying neighboring properties, the casino grew into a hotel-casino and encompassed a full block on Fremont St. This was also the first casino to offer rooms for guests, and fine dining, and this set the stage for any new casino in Las Vegas — it became the model for all the Strip casinos. In 1970, he set up a poker game for ten of his friends with a huge buy-in. Some of the poker greats like Doyle Brunson attended this game and it turned into an annual affair.
This tournament was the initial session of the World Series of Poker, today one of the largest and biggest money poker tournaments in the world. While this place no longer sponsors the WSOP (the Rio now has that honor), anyone who plays poker should stop by and check out the Hall of Fame Poker Room. Finally, Benny was the first casino/hotel owner to provide free shuttle service to and from the airport directly from his casino. He was an innovator, understood that the customer comes first.
Hall of Fame Poker Room
All famous poker players have taken a turn playing at these poker tables, and those who are not so famous always want to pit their skills against the pros who still play there. They can relive the glory days of poker in Nevada in a contemporary setting and card room that is state of the art. Their poker room can compete with any of the newer casinos on the strip. The walls are loaded with photos from the golden age of the casino and there is a Hall of Fame wall that shows all of the poker players who have been inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame including the newest inductee, Linda Johnson.
Those who play in the poker room can be guaranteed two dollars in comps every hour of play, as well as table food service and deals on their room rates. There are also forty-two-inch flat panel televisions situated around the outer walls of the poker room showing all the sports a gambler could want with the lines on the games too. There are two full-service bars located at either end of the poker room for quick drink service and those who are waiting on an open seat for a game can enjoy a cocktail while watching for their name on the electronic seating board.
Video Poker and Slots
While they are famous for Texas Hold’em and other poker games, this does not mean that those are the only games offered to gamblers. There are plenty of hot new slot machines featuring many of the favorite new and old games that slot players love. These slot machines start a penny a pull and go up to the dollar and five dollar level in the high roller room. Video poker is also a huge draw and you can find games starting at the nickel denomination. The casino always wins awards given by local gaming websites and magazines as one of the loosest casinos on Fremont Street, which is a huge honor.
Other Table Games at Binions
If the slots, video poker and world famous poker room were not enough, there are also a wide variety of table games to choose from such as blackjack, craps and American roulette. Those who have a taste for the exotic or different can try out Pai Gow poker, Let it Ride, Three Card Poker or Texas Bonus Hold’em. There is a game going here that can satisfy the tastes of any gambler which is what Benny Binion had always prided himself on.
Some gamblers just want to bet on the horses, dogs or their favorite sport and the sports book is designed just for them. The hall has one of the most extensive sports books in Las Vegas and there are lines on just about any sport from the collegiate level to the pros. You can even bet on international sports and the Summer and Winter Olympics every two years.
Final Thoughts of Binions
While the establishment is no longer owned and operated by the late Benny, his legacy still lives on in the hearts of those who were his first customers and those who have come after. The new owners are maintaining the same customer based service that Benny employed more than a half century ago. The cocktails are free to gamblers and those who sign up for the player’s club can earn points for free food in many of the restaurants in the casino. Even those who are not gamblers can enjoy and appreciate the history of Las Vegas through the eyes and vision that Benny created. This casino/hotel is a must see for anyone who is visiting the LV area and who wants to see how the downtown area was created and the leading forerunner for all the casinos that would come after.