Sure, it looks sort of classy in here, with the Sterling Brunch and shiny casino ceiling. This is your father's casino, a middle-of-the-road joint. The location is great, though, the rooms are decent and rates are good compared to its high-falutin' neighbors.
Room Quality: Big, clean, sedate rooms. The joint does not scream or holler. It just goes quietly about its business of having very clean, large and better-than-average rooms. The Deluxe rooms are the updated rooms. The king-bed rooms have little sofas to pass out on. The rooms have big windows and built-in safes. If you like Hiltons, you'll love Bally's. Two-bed rooms have queens. The South Tower may give a better view of the Bellagio fountains if you can get one facing that direction. The North Tower rooms are bit nicer, though, and easier to get in and out of. The bathrooms have all you would expect, including hair dryers, and are a bit nicer than average. Also, this hotel's location at a prime intersection is hard to beat.
Service Quality: Good. In general, the workers here seem to think Bally's is something special.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Shampoo/conditioner and lotion. It's not generic crap. This is honest to goodness brand name stuff with pretty smells.
Clientele: Middle-agers. The place attracts people who aren't going for flash, just someplace plain but better than average. The crowd is mostly late-30s on up to about 110.
How's the Pool? It's a ginormous sort-of rectangle and fine for swimming and sunbathing, but not for swinging vine to vine, although the landscaping is pretty nice. The pool doesn't get too crowded, and there is a nice snack bar there. One other big advantage is that the pool is deeper than 3 feet; it actually has a 12' deep end, and that is rare in Vegas. This place also has tennis courts and another really shallow pool for kids.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Pai Gow, and others. There's nothing that will surprise you, but they do have a large Asian customer base, and a wider selection of Asian table games.
Bet Minimums: $5 at the slow times, moving up on weekends and during holidays. Craps can be as low as $5 with that 3x4x5x brand of odds that rolls off your tongue and makes a dent in your wallet.
Machines: From a nickel on up to the "Champagne" slots at $100. Heck, if we had $100 we wouldn't be hustling Three-card monte on the bridge in front of the Bellagio.
Cocktails? Fair cocktail service. They might not bring them around often, but when they do they sure are strong.
Who Gets Comps? $25 a hand bettor might see some buffets. Rooms, etc. for the people above that. The slot club for owner Harrah's links a lot of properties. It is nice to be able to gamble several places with a single card.
Bally's Steakhouse: It's good. The decor is New England Hunt Club.
SEA-The Thai Experience: SEA is an extension of a New York restaurant, specializing in Thai and Vietnamese food. As the name suggests, there's some seafood involved. Dishes they specialize in are grilled lemongrass chicken, Tamarind whole fish, classic pork chop, volcanic chicken and pineapple curry duck.
Sidewalk Cafe: A regular cafe serving burgers, breakfasts and salads. It's only open for breakfast and lunch.
Sterling Brunch: In the Steakhouse, they have the Sterling Brunch on Sunday mornings. It's the most expensive brunch in town, but they have all-you-can-eat lobster, caviar and all sorts of other extremely fancy gourmet foods that you're not supposed to wolf down.
Way way in the back is a little food court with an Ichiban Sushi, Nathan's and Sbarros. Nosh serves sandwiches and such. There's also a Java Coast coffee cart, to help you get a little morning buzz before you see sunlight, and an overpriced bagel and muffin cafe called Nosh. In season, the pool is served sandwiches by the Terrace Cafe. Tequila Grill is mostly a bar but does have tacos and such.
Indigo Lounge: "Real Vintage Vegas Excitement" is supposed to make you forget how damn expensive the drinks are, even though there is no cover. Judging from the talent, that means R & B lounge acts. It's the top-shelf booze in an opulent little room. If you got someone to impress, stop by.
Jubilee: This is a massive Las Vegas Revue show. It's a ridiculously overblown extravaganza, where, if we remember correctly, some topless showgirls sink the Titanic. They also recreate Samson destroying the temple, along with those crazy topless showgirls, just like in the Bible! If you like the old-fashioned spectacles where girls wear 40 pounds of feathers, this is the best bet in town.
The Price is Right - Live: It's a live recreation of the popular TV game show, except you have to pay to see it, it's live, and Bob Barker isn't there. Still, they give away prizes and you can only imagine how thick the tension gets when you see Plinko played in person.
Number of TVs: They have five big projection screens, about six large HD TVs on the wall and a handful of smaller TVs at the bar. The wall-mounts are for the horses and the others are generally for the sports.
Number of Seats: Around 250. All seats in the front are at long desks with individual TVs.
How Many Betting Windows? Twelve or thirteen, backed up by big electronic signboards, even for the ponies.
Free Drinks? High-limit sports bettors and every chump with a race ticket get drinks. They seem to be strict about this, or at least they were with us.
Snack Bar? No, so stuff a few hot dogs sandwiches down your pants at the nearby Nathan's Deli.
Minimum Wager: $5 sports, $2 for racing.
Other Notes: For you high-rolllas, there is a super swank VIP room with sofas and real nice TVs. It's cavernous and a bit noisy because of the floors and high ceilings. And, god knows, you want your sportsbook quiet as a church. Still, it's one of the best in town. It's not near the casino, but at the back of the property behind the Avenue Shoppes, on the way to the monorail.
Number of Tables: They have about ten tables in a fairly roomy room near registration. On weekends, you may see almost all the tables going. It's non-smoking, but big deal when the casino around you is lighting up.
Comfort of Chairs: Not too bad, actually. Our bums complained less than usual while resting on them.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? Not closed, just an area off the floor. It's near a bar and some table games, so it can get noisy at night.
Game Spreads and Limits: Mostly Hold 'Em at $3-$6, and no-limit at $1-$2 (occasionally $2-$5). You better know what the heck you're doing at the no-limit or the sharks will eat your shorts and shoes. Maybe your socks too. We once saw one guy eat another guy's sweatshirt.
Beginner Games or Classes? Not here, but weekdays are quiet enough for a beginner to get some help.
How Crowded is the Room? This is a successful room with enough players to keep it busy 24/7. Expect waits on weekends and the occasional weeknight.
Comps? A buck an hour plus a few Harrah's tier points, standard for the Harrah's joints.
How Good Are the Players? Some decent players at all levels, but definitely beatable tourists at the $3-$6 and sometimes the No-limit. The good news is, the bad players keep playing until all their dough is gone.
What Else Do I Need to Know? A rather plain room, but the action is good. This room reopened in a casino that gave up poker once already. When poker stops being popular on TV, expect this room to go away again.