One common question Las Vegas tourists ask is if Fremont Street and downtown Las Vegas are better than the Las Vegas Strip. It depends on what you are looking for during your vacation.
Fremont Street Experience is the major downtown destination for visitors. This includes the Viva Vision light show on the canopy. Some of the oldest Las Vegas casinos are located along the Fremont Street Experience.
The Las Vegas Strip is home to some of the world’s largest resorts. Most Las Vegas luxury casinos are on the Strip.
Comparing downtown Las Vegas casinos to Las Vegas Strip ones
Las Vegas Strip casinos tend to be much larger than those found downtown in and around the Fremont Street Experience. However, the odds in the Strip casinos tend to be worse than what is found in downtown Las Vegas. Sometimes, it depends on the game.
I noted in an earlier article that Fremont Street Experience casinos exclusively deal all three of the worst blackjack games in Las Vegas. In most cases, the other blackjack games in these casinos rival the 6:5 ones found on the Strip, especially for lower limit players.
There are several other downtown Las Vegas casinos that blow away the Strip for low limit blackjack games. El Cortez, Golden Gate, Plaza, California and Fremont deal 3:2 downtown Las Vegas blackjack as low as $10. At El Cortez, this includes the only 3:2 single deck blackjack game in the entire Las Vegas market.
This beats the value at nearly all Las Vegas Strip properties. Most of those casinos deal all 6:5 blackjack below $25. Sometimes, it takes $100 to get a 3:2 Las Vegas Strip blackjack game. There are some exceptions.
Treasure Island deals 3:2 six-deck blackjack for $10. This includes surrender and re-split aces up to four hands. The Strat also has this game for $10. Treasure Island has 3:2 double deck starting at $15. It is $25 at The Strat.
Las Vegas blackjack advantage: It depends. Downtown Las Vegas value casinos like Downtown Grand, El Cortez, Golden Gate and Plaza blow away all Las Vegas Strip casinos. The D and Circa are also good. Otherwise, the Las Vegas Strip wins due to all the terrible blackjack games found at some Fremont Street Experience casinos.
Downtown Las Vegas casinos tend to beat the Strip for craps value. Not only are the limits lower, half of downtown Las Vegas casinos offer 10 times odds or better. The only Las Vegas Strip casino with 10 times odds at craps is The Strat. All others offer 3-4-5 times odds.
Downtown Las Vegas Strip minimum bets tend to be $10 or $15. Downtown Grand offers a $5 craps game. Las Vegas Strip craps is often $15 or $25. It is rare to find a $10 craps game on the Strip.
Las Vegas craps advantage: Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas demolishes the Strip on video poker quality, especially at lower limits. However, you must know where to find these good games.
The best video poker game in downtown Las Vegas is at Plaza. It is full pay Joker Poker. It returns 100.65% with perfect play. It is available in the quarter denomination. California, Four Queens and Plaza have 10/7 Double Bonus, which returns 100.17% with perfect play. Four Queens is the best place to play that game since it pays some comps on the game.
Four Queens has the best bar video poker in Las Vegas. It has $.50 and $1 10/6 Double Double Bonus. It has a short pay on a straight flush to keep it slightly below 100% with five coins and perfect play. Four Queens also offers some of the best pay tables for video poker variants. I consider the Four Queens players club to be the best in the entire Las Vegas market for comps and points at video poker.
Plaza has 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe (99.64%) and 9/6 Jacks or Better (99.54%). Most downtown Las Vegas casinos, including ones on Fremont Street Experience, offer games like 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.17%) and 9/7 Double Bonus (99.11%). The bars at The D and the sportsbook rail at Circa are great places to find the 8/5 Bonus Poker game.
There are no 99% games under the $5 denomination on the Las Vegas Strip. Quality video poker there is reserved for high limit players.
Las Vegas video poker advantage: Downtown Las Vegas
Downtown Las Vegas dominates roulette value in Las Vegas. That is because Plaza has single zero roulette starting at $15. That is typically a $100 game on the Strip. There are also far fewer triple zero roulette tables in downtown Las Vegas. However, you will find them at some Fremont Street Experience casinos, including Binion’s, Four Queens and Golden Nugget.
Las Vegas Strip roulette players will find triple zero roulette at most casinos. Higher limit players will be able to play single zero roulette. The minimum bet for this is usually $100. Some of these tables are European Roulette. This means that the player receives half of an even money bet back if zero is called.
Las Vegas roulette advantage: Downtown Las Vegas, especially Plaza, for low limit players. The Strip wins for high limit players.
Another activity at Fremont Street Experience is the SlotZilla zipline. I do not recommend doing this. I think it is overpriced for what it is. Even worse, Kristina got stuck on it when we tried it. They had to close SlotZilla to retrieve her by scaling the line a block as she hung above the street. They did not offer us a refund or re-ride. It was just too bad.
She is not the only person that I have ever seen stuck on SlotZilla. I find it to be a common problem. It took the fire department to get someone down a few years ago. Riders that get stuck tend to end up around the Whiskey Liquor Bar at Binion’s, based on my observations sitting in that bar’s Fremont Street Experience viewing area.
If you want to do a similar zipline in Las Vegas, there is one at the Linq Promenade. Fly LINQ offers locals $10 off, something SlotZilla does not do. I have never been on Fly LINQ. Riders must wear protective gear on it. That does not motivate me to try it.
It may not seem like a zipline, but SkyJump at The Strat is, and it is my top choice for it. Riders go down a set of cables from the 108th floor of The Strat tower down to the second floor. I have done it twice. It is exceptional. This is my last video of it. There are locals discounts available for SkyJump.
My 2020 SkyJump video
There are three other amusement rides on top of the Strat. I find all of them to be fun. However, those afraid of heights will want to avoid these rides.
Las Vegas amusement ride advantage: Las Vegas Strip in a landslide
There are some inexpensive comedy shows in downtown Las Vegas. Plaza has comedy headliners on many weekends in its showroom. It also has an outdoor arena. Downtown Grand is home to a regular comedy show in its Fremont Room.
Fremont Street Experience has concerts. Most seem like cover bands. The better known acts tend to be decades past their peak popularity. The Viva Vision canopy has hourly free shows during evening hours.
The Las Vegas Strip offers a massive variety of entertainment options. Many are free, like the Mirage volcano show, Bellagio Conservatory and its water show. The Las Vegas Strip offers many more entertainment venues. This includes large productions and concerts with performers that are currently popular. However, expect tickets to these shows to be expensive.
Shows advantage: Las Vegas Strip
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