Downtown Las Vegas Reopening Trip Report Part II

I was up late the night before covering the 12:01am June 4 Las Vegas grand reopenings. That made it difficult for me to get up early to do more. When I finally got motivated, it was late in the afternoon. My wife and I decided to go downtown to check out the four casinos that opened in the morning.

The properties were Binion’s, El Cortez, Four Queens and Plaza. None had any noticeable temperature checks during our visit.

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We parked at Plaza. The parking deck was nearly empty. I am a regular there and had never seen it like that before. We entered the third floor and noticed the bingo room was active. When we got downstairs, we saw a few tables open with a handful of players. The only games dealt were blackjack and 00 roulette. Craps will be the next game to return. The pit is only open from 3pm to 1am this weekend. Hours will be adjusted based on demand.

Plaza turned off most slots that are not on the outside of banks. The exception is if the bank was circular and already had proper spacing. This includes the three Joker Poker machines. Plaza also has one of the two 10/7 Double Bonus machines open, as well as about a dozen of its full pay ones. The Omaha Bar has a special section in the back for couples. Otherwise, every other machine is off.

Plaza’s CEO Jonathan Jossel greeted us when we arrived. He was about to do a live segment for the local Fox affiliate. The reporter asked if I would like to talk about why I chose the Plaza to visit. That is not really my thing, so I politely declined. I tried to get a picture of the interview. I was stopped by security.

Plaza closed its Brightside cafe permanently, it appears. It was walled-off with its sign removed. It is no longer on Plaza’s website. Hash Hash A Go Go and Oscar’s have yet to reopen. The dining options are Pop Up Pizza and the food court


Binion’s was a bit busier than Plaza. Seats were removed here instead of machines turned off in several banks to allow couples to play. The pit had its usual variety of games, which does not include any real 3:2 blackjack tables. The only interesting this about this stop is discovering the poker room had been removed. I asked around and was told that the tables were in storage. Binion’s hopes to bring the poker room back when the world is closer to normal.

Most table games were $5. Pai Gow Poker was the exception. Its minimum bet was $10.

Four Queens

Four Queens seemed relatively normal. It had $5 table games, except for $10 for its only 3:2 blackjack table. The bars were open with all machines on. This allows couples to play and move a seat over. The rule is one empty machine between guests that are not in the same party. Other machines were a combination of staggered on and off or missing chairs.

Hugo’s Cellar, our favorite restaurant, reopened with the casino. Its cafe and some fast food options are also available.

El Cortez

El Cortez wins the award for the highest percentage of mask wearers during the tour of the first two days. It may have been around 50 percent. Most machines were on. When a player sits, the games on either side are reserved for the spacing. It was the only casino downtown with plexiglass. It was on about half the tables so players had a choice. The limits were $5 for craps and 00 roulette. It was $10 for all blackjack games, as well as Three Card Poker, Ultimate Texas Hold’em and baccarat.

It was not all work

My wife and I played some Joker Poker at Plaza. After that, we had a snack and drink at Whiskey Liquor at Binion’s. We could not sit at the bar or on the rail. The bar only had a few seats for couples and those were taken. Otherwise, every other seat was blocked off. The seats along the rails were entirely every other covered. It seems Binion’s was expecting only singles to show up and sit alone. We sat at a table instead.

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