A favorite downtown casino offers big fun in a vintage Vegas setting
By Sean Chaffin
Ready for some old school Vegas? No trip to Sin City would be complete without a stroll through downtown – with its fabulous neon signs, Fremont Street Experience, street acts, and free concerts. And while the area may still offer a glimpse into old Vegas, the new cool, hip vibe created at some of the recently-renovated and rebuilt casinos makes for a great night out or vacation away from the Strip.
And one of the properties leading that downtown revival is the Plaza Hotel & Casino, located at 1 South Main Street across from the Golden Nugget and Fremont Street. The property was originally opened in 1971 and then reopened in 2011 after a $35 million renovation to its guest rooms and casino, plus the addition of a new reception area, restaurants, and lounge areas. Known among players for blackjack, poker, and craps, the Plaza is making another old school game new again – bingo.
When it comes to bingo, the Plaza lives up to its tagline – “The Place To Be Downtown.” The casino brings high stakes daubing fun to the third floor every night of the week with six daily sessions – the only bingo room in all of downtown Vegas. The Plaza also features the biggest payouts in Sin City. The bingo room recently completed a renovation and players have the opportunity to win some big cash including the $5,000 Bonanza Progressive, $15,000 Plaza Progressive Coverall, $10,000 Progressive Dual Daub, and the Triple Bingo $1,000. Daily bingo sessions run at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m., 5 p.m., 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Grab your dauber and lucky charm, there’s a session for everyone.
Bingo manager Weldon Russell says the casino staff goes out of its way to make sure players have a great time in a fun atmosphere. “The bingo room is not overwhelming in size and is staffed with friendly and helpful agents who seek to make everyone feel welcome,” he says. On an average night, “friends meet for a game of Bingo. They enjoy a few cocktails, maybe a bag of popcorn, and are made to feel at home by the Plaza’s bingo agents. The atmosphere in the room is fun and relaxed overall, yet when people win big, the room does get energized with excitement.”
Ready for some even higher payouts? Check out the Plaza’s $150,000 Super Bingo tournaments throughout the year in which players can take their shot at even bigger paydays. The Plaza even offers a special “Bingo and Hotel Package” for a fun-filled getaway. For $239 per person, players receive three nights at the hotel, two sessions of Super Bingo, two Super Bingo daubers, a free lunch each day of the tournament, a free gift, and pay no resort fee. As many as 800 players attend each event. Casino staff says the top five states coming to visit for bingo include Texas, Minnesota, California, Arizona, and Hawaii. When’s the next Super Bingo weekend? Dec. 11-13 and then Feb. 12-14. Win or lose, it’s a trip loaded with excitement.
HOTEL & CASINO
The plane tickets are reserved and now you’re ready for a stay in style downtown. The Plaza offers a great getaway and base of operations for a trip to the heart of old Las Vegas. The hotel offers guests plenty of comfort in more than 1,000 rooms and suites. Unique in-room black and white photography offers a glimpse to the property’s history and traditional spot downtown. The average room size is 325 square feet and all the amenities gambling fans have come to expect such as a terrific fitness center. Upper floors offer beautiful views of the mountains surrounding the city, Fremont Street, and the world-famous Las Vegas Strip.
“Palm Springs meets Las Vegas” is how the property describes the rooftop pool scene. With 70,000 square feet of space for lounging and hanging out, the Plaza boasts one of the largest pool decks downtown. Sip a cocktail in a private cabana or even play some craps or blackjack poolside. Maybe a relaxing dip in the hot tub is more your speed or a game of ping pong, pickleball, or tennis.
There is a bit of everything for a guest at this hotel-casino including event planners and caterers available for conventions, meetings, or a wedding in the property’s 30,000 square feet of event space or 19,000- square foot ballroom. The hotel even offers free airport shuttle service for hotel guests and free self and valet parking.
Ready for some gambling? Slot machine fans will delight in the Plaza’s more than 500 machines including numerous classics. Some favorites include Double Diamond,Triple Double Diamond, Double Red White and Blue, and Triple Strike as well as the latest HD and 3D action-packed games. For more of that vintage Vegas feel, check out more than two dozen classic coin slots that the property added in September 2015, which were previously at the classic Las Vegas Club – including Catch the Heat, Deuces Wild, and Jokers Wild. The casino hosts slot tournaments every Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday.
If table games are more your style, there are numerous games of every limit including favorites like blackjack, craps, roulette,mini baccarat, and more. Dice shooters will certainly enjoy the 10x odds on craps. The Plaza also claims the “world’s most liberal blackjack” and pays 3-to-2 all day on all regular blackjacks – a big plus for bettors. With the NFL season underway, a Sunday afternoon at the William Hill Race & Sports Book is perfect for football fans. Check out the action in style with 75 screens and comfortable seating and cocktail bar. William Hill also features mobile sports wagering in Nevada – just an app download away.
DINING, NIGHTLIFE & ENTERTAINMENT
After working up an appetite on the casino floor, the Plaza offers numerous dining options to suit any culinary desire. One of the property’s more popular establishments is Oscar’s steakhouse located inside the casino’s glass dome overlooking Fremont Street. Diners will enjoy the cool atmosphere for delectable steaks and sides as well as handcrafted cocktails. The restaurant is named for former Vegas Mayor Oscar Goodman and also boasts some of his favorite martinis.
Another nice option is Hash House A Go Go for some tasty comfort food with hefty portions. The Beer Garden offers the best in bar food with plenty of sports action on TV and the best brews. Pop Up Pizza is a casual pizza joint serving scrumptious gourmet pies,draft beer, and wine. Pizzas are handmade with fresh ingredients daily and the salads, bar snacks, and vegetarian and vegan pizzas are also popular.
Other dining options include: Zaba’s Mexican Grill, a combination of Mexican, Southwestern and Tex-Mex; Cafelatte with freshly brewed coffee, tea, espresso, cappuccino, and more; and The Pool at the Plaza Food Truck, featuring California-inspired seaside street food such as ahi tuna poke lettuce wraps, crispy rice paper tacos, and lobster rolls. And for a quick bite, The Plaza Food Court is worth a visit for eateries like Mc- Donald’s and Subway.
For a night of entertainment, check out The Scintas family music and comedy show inside the Plaza’s classic showroom. Or for a night of dancing and music, the Pool at the Plaza offers live entertainment such as DJs, concerts, and special events. The Beer Garden and Omaha Lounge also offer live entertainment from local bands and singers. The Plaza is also a great starting point to check the regular free concerts along Fremont Street. There is something always going on at this property to suit any mood.
The Plaza offers plenty of fun for everyone. A trip could include some bingo by day, a fine meal at night, and maybe even a trip down Fremont Street on the SlotZilla zip line attraction. Sounds like a nice jackpot!
Sean Chaffin is a freelance writer in Crandall, Texas. Email him at email@example.com or follow him @PokerTraditions. His poker book is RAISING THE STAKES: True Tales of Gambling, Wagering & Poker Faces and available on Amazon.com.
Grab the Plaza Perks coupon book worth more than $300 in casino deals. Also, throughout football season, the Plaza Las Vegas is running the “It’s Hip to Be Square” promotion. Customers can play their favorite table games to win squares throughout the week. Winners are announced after Thursday and Monday night football. Prizes include $50 to Oscar’s Steakhouse, $100 in promo chips, a two-night complimentary stay, and football memorabilia.