I waited until the morning of June 5 to hit the Las Vegas Strip for the first time since it reopened. There were 16 open casinos on the Strip on June 5. There are 12 still closed. Excalibur is the only one closed with a firm opening date, June 11.
I started at Sahara. I then drove to The Strat, Circus Circus, Treasure Island and Caesars Palace. From there, I walked south to Cosmopolitan and up to Encore on the other side. I went back to the car at Caesars Palace and drove to New York-New York to check it and MGM Grand out.
One hot topic is the usage of masks. Caesars Entertainment properties requires table game players to wear one. Otherwise, it is optional. The usage was in the range of 20 to 25 percent on the Strip. It was nearly zero at Cosmopolitan and may have reached one-third at the Caesars properties, Wynn and Venetian. Casinos will give you a mask upon request if you arrive without one.
I parked in the Sahara parking deck and immediately noticed something different. I parked close to the Strip and used the elevator to go to the ground. When I got there, a new wall prevented me from getting to the front door. I was forced to walk to the rear of the property behind the pool to get inside.
Once inside, there was little going on in the casino. There were a few table game players. Most limits were $5 or $10. It took $15 to get a 3:2 blackjack game. For $50, it stands on all 17s. Baccarat was also $50. Pai Gow and lower limit baccarat are closed indefinitely.
Sahara announced a reservation system for table game seats that seemed to not be in use. It also has ropes to prevent railbirds from getting too close to the action. Northside Cafe is open for dining.
The Strat, formerly known as Stratosphere, was not very busy. It offered some $5 and $10 games in the pit closest to the sportsbook. A supervisor told me the company hoped to open some proprietary games that night. There is a new stadium gaming setup on the floor. It replaced part of the pit. It was not operational yet. The casino floor near the north tower was blocked off. This includes the high limit slot area.
The tower is open normal hours. Rides, including SkyJump, operate from 2pm to 10pm. Top of the World Steakhouse and 107 Skylounge are both open.
Circus Circus had some major changes. Its table games are closed until business conditions improve. The pit at the top of the stairs is gone. A stadium game was setup in part of the lower floor’s pit. It has 6:5 blackjack and 00 roulette, each with a $5 minimum bet. The only place I saw plexiglass was between these stadium seats and at some of the $1 coin slots. The rides and midway are open.
Slots A Fun
Slots A Fun was sadder than usual. The front entrance was walled off. None of the restaurants were open. There are about 50 slot machines and a half-dozen $1 video table games.
In continuing with the theme, Treasure Island was very slow. It had a few tables open. The options were $25 6:5 single deck and 3:2 double deck blackjack with $15 Three Card Poker. These are higher than the usual $10 limits. Craps was scheduled to open that evening, but I could not get a minimum bet. The high limit salon is closed indefinitely.
A new stadium gaming system was being installed. It was not ready to go live. The existing system was active with its $3 3:2 blackjack, which is $1 on weekdays, and $1 00 roulette.
Caesars Palace was the busiest of all the casinos I visited on the Strip. It still had two pits entirely closed and its high limit salon was nearly empty. Its main pit had some reasonable action. All blackjack tables that were open paid 3:2. The minimum bet was $25 for this. Craps, baccarat and Pai Gow Poker were also $25. Other games were $10 or $15. Table game players must wear masks and cannot smoke at the table.
The food court had two restaurants open. Most of the major dining options were shuttered.
Bellagio had several changes. It included plexiglass on all tables. There are hand washing areas throughout the casino. The tables had some action but the pit was far from busy.
Some tables were moved around. Craps and 3:2 blackjack were $25. Stand on all 17 blackjack games started at $100, as well as baccarat. Proprietary and 6:5 blackjack games were $10 or $15.
There was nothing different in the gaming at Cosmopolitan between the last table game survey and my June 5 visit. The only difference was seats removed from the tables. It was reasonably busy without being packed. Its high limit salon was business as usual. I could count the number of non-employees wearing a mask on one hand.
Flamingo expanded its electronic table game pit. Its table game limits were lower for Pai Gow Poker and proprietary games but higher for blackjack and craps. Masks are required at table games. Smoking is not permitted at the tables.
Otherwise, there was nothing different from normal times beyond the missing chairs at tables and slots. Pitch blackjack games are still dealt that way. The expansion of the video tables was not finished yet. The video table games are craps, roulette and 6:5 blackjack with another Interblock machine that was not titled yet. The food court was open. Otherwise, I did not find any open restaurants.
Like the other Caesars properties, masks are required at table games and no smoking is permitted. The poker room was empty. The table limits were the same as usual. The double deck game was still dealt as a pitch. There were no additional video table games. Quick-serve options were the only food I found open.
All table games were gone at Casino Royale. I asked two employees if the games are ever coming back. The answer was no from both. There were no other differences besides a few slots being turned off. All the fast food restaurants were open.
Venetian and Palazzo
Venetian/Palazzo was the first casino I encountered on the Strip with a temperature check. I had walked from Caesars Palace to Cosmopolitan all the way up the Strip on the other side to this point. I still passed the test. It was quick and simple.
The first place I checked out was the poker room. It had 19 tables running, all five-handed. From there, I went to the stadium gaming. It was the same as was there before except that I could not find sic bo on it.
The table game pit was slow but not deserted. Some of the limits were the lowest I have ever seen there. Craps was $10. Pai Gow Poker and Spanish 21 were $15. Baccarat had a $25 minimum bet. The other games had typical minimum bets.
Palazzo had similar games to Venetian open. The difference was that Venetian was exponentially busier. There was little activity at Palazzo.
Wynn and Encore
Wynn/Encore was the second and last Las Vegas Strip casino I entered that required a temperature check. The security guards I encountered doing this were excessively polite. It was so quick that by the time I got to the podium, I was already cleared to continue into the building.
Wynn and Encore placed plexiglass on about half the tables. It seemed like the company gives players the option as there was a mix of these two choices open throughout both casinos.
Neither casino was busy. Wynn had some action. Encore had very little. The minimum bets are about what you would expect at Wynn and Encore on an evening. The carnival games and craps were $10. It took $25 to get a 3:2 blackjack game. The Pai Gow Poker and Tiles tables were also $25. The higher limit games had the normal minimum bets.
MGM Grand had a security guard at a podium at the Strip entrance. However, I did not feel like he was doing anything besides observing patrons entering the casino. The first thing I noticed was that the Level Up lounge was cleaned out of fixtures. MGM Grand’s website says it is temporarily closed.
The casino was the slowest I have ever seen it on an exponential level. All table games have plexiglass. Craps was $10 with some carnival games at the same limit. It only took $15 to get a 3:2 blackjack game. That is the lowest I have seen it in about four years there. The other games had typical limits.
New York-New York
New York-New York was my last stop. All tables were plexiglass. The only carnival games open were Three Card Poker and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Both were $10, as were double and triple zero roulette. I overheard a player at triple zero complaining about the extra zero on the wheel when there was an open seat at the double zero table steps away. It was sad and amusing at the same time.
Craps was $25. The same minimum bet applied to 3:2 blackjack.
I played at New York-New York after finishing
New York-New York has a bank of classic Gamemaker video poker machines. One of the games is Let it Ride. I play five stacks for $1.25 each. It is fun to play the game at a quick speed. You cannot make the mistake of pulling a bet stack back when the hand is a winner. The software does not permit it.
The drink service was excellent. The casino was very slow, so I figure I was one of the few patrons in the server’s section. At the same time, the drink service is usually good there anyway.