Diverse Gaming Options
Updated July 2011
Casino action draws thousands to Nevada. Since legalizing most forms of gaming in 1931, the state has remained a top attraction for thrill-seekers. Las Vegas is the mecca for those interested in wagering, with such high-profile events as the World Series of Poker as well as acres of casino floor space dedicated to slots, cards, sports betting and more. But there are other gaming experiences to be had throughout the Silver State, including options for new players and gaming in the rural areas:
- Learn to play poker. For years, poker has garnered attention on television and in casinos, but more recently, the industry has focused on the beginning player. Casinos are capitalizing on the poker trend by offering beginner lessons on poker, specifically Texas Hold’em, as well as tournaments with a low buy-in and hefty pay-out. Poker rooms are the new entertainment venue for bachelor and bachelorette parties, birthdays and even regular ol’ get-togethers with friends. Some Las Vegas casinos that offer free poker lessons or beginners tournaments include the Luxor and the Stratosphere. Reno casinos also are in on the action with ladies’ night tournaments at the Silver Legacy casinos, among others, and weekly poker tournaments and promotions are offered throughout the Reno-Lake Tahoe region.
- Casinos — the way it was. Nevada’s rich, Wild West heritage includes shootouts in saloons and boomtown busts. Visitors can taste that colorful Nevada spirit at casinos in such rural communities as Elko, a town on Interstate 80 in Northern Nevada. Here, 10-gallon hats outnumber cell phones and horsepower comes under a leather saddle, not a fiberglass hood. Elko is home to the annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and its vibrant Basque culture means visitors can fuel up on a hearty Basque meal before dancing with Lady Luck at the casino tables.
- Hollywood connection. In eastern Nevada, Ely’s Hotel Nevada and Gambling Hall is a jackpot (pun intended) of gaming history. The hotel was once a hot spot for Hollywood stars on their way from Southern California to Sun Valley, Idaho. Many stars and entertainers performed at the hotel: find out who by viewing their names on the Walk of Fame in front of the establishment. Many of the hotel’s rooms are dedicated to the performers who graced the casino stage, and memorabilia lines the walls. When the hotel was built in 1929, it was the tallest building in Nevada and the state’s first fireproof building. Check out www.hotelnevada.com for information on the hotel’s history and attractions.