Bill's has been spared the rake because nobody will dare to build a new hotel on the Strip for years to come. So, this little joint right in the heart of it all will stay. And it's kept most of its cool soul intact. Is it elegant? No. But it's old-school, dark woods and a refreshing change from the behemoths around it.
Room Quality: Good for the price. The rooms are big, with Victorian furniture and great views of the Center Strip. TVs are nice big plasmas. This is a small hotel, and the casino is a bit smoky, but the rooms are cool. The bathrooms are small, but not uncomfortably so, and they have a weird shape. The Flamingo Hotel-facing rooms are quieter (although you get to hear the air conditioning system from the Flamingo), but the view ain't as hot as the ones facing Flamingo Road. The tubs have a window you can open onto the world. We use them to yell to passers-by below that we are naked and wet.
Service Quality: Fine as long as you don't need pampering. The hotel is small so it's a short walk to the elevators and the staff is attentive to your needs. Also, with only 198 rooms, there is never much of a line for check-in. Room service can be cheap since you can order the specials from the coffee shop. They also provide free shuttles to the Gold Coast and Orleans.
What You Get Bottles of in the Bathroom: Shampoo, conditioner and lotion. This is Harrah's holy trinity of bath bottles. We're not sure but we think the shampoo must be Jesus.
Clientele: The whole gamut. We see lots of young people attracted by the low table limits, and we see lots of older folks who know a good deal when they see one. This place has a lot of loyal repeat customers, too.
How's the Pool? There is none. They do let you into the Flamingo next door with your key, though. And that's a pretty good pool.
Table Games: Blackjack, craps, roulette, Let It Ride, Pai Gow, 3-Card Poker. This is a small casino, so the less popular games only get one table each. It's also a bit smoky and can look a little dog-eared. Not scary run-down, just like it's been around awhile. Like grandma and grandpa. Oh, one of the craps tables was an abomination called Rapid Craps, which has no chips, just terminals that you interact with. Ugh.
Bet Minimums: You're might find more $10 games than $5. That's a little rich for our blood, especially considering the crappy Harrah's rules. Roulette is $3, which is sort of low. For the low limits, expect the unplayable 6:5 single-deck garbage. Craps is 3x4x5x odds.
Machines: Slots from those dreaded penny-players on up. A lousy selection of video poker, with zippo full-pay. You'll find a decent number of nickels (and dollars for you high-rollers). Plenty of pennies, but they don't take pennies, they take dollars and let you bet pennies (lots of pennies).
Cocktails? Good service. This place is a decent choice if you like your cocktails fast. The increasingly lovely cocktail waitresses come often.
Who Gets Comps? If you play a lot here on the slots, you will get some decent mail offers and they'll comp you well while you're staying there. The slot club is a generic Bill's Club, which suggests that Harrah's didn't think it'd be around long.
Steakhouse at Bill's: The steakhouse is exactly as advertised. That is, they serve steak. It's old, old school, all red with high-backed chairs, dark walls and lots of people to refill your water glass.
Victorian Room: Good food for a coffee shop and one of the few coffee shops worth eating dinner in. If all you want is simple nourishment, there are cheaper, less delicious places. They have a fairly extensive menu with decent Chinese options during the day.
If you're wearing a turtleneck, you can get your caffeine fix at Seattle's Best Coffee.
Bill's Lounge: Cheesy lounge acts perform nightly. They aren't cheesy enough to be entertaining, but they are cheesy enough to annoy you while you gamble. The inexplicably popular Big Elvis (he's very fat) packs them in in the afternoons with a mediocre Elvis impersonation.
Drai's: Give them credit for being an ultralounge long before every other copycat in town thought to do it. This small, classy lounge doesn't even get hopping until about two a.m. or so. There are DJs spinning and overpriced cocktails to serve as a classy way to top off an evening of drinking forties in an alley.
Number of TVs: About 30 with some plasmas and one big screen for the horse bettors.
Number of Seats: Sixty-four. None of which will make your butt sigh and say, "Now this is heaven!" Although, the 40 for the horses are less comfortable than the 24 sports loungers.
How Many Betting Windows? About 10, with electronic signboards.
Free Drinks? A cocktail waitress does make it through the sports book every now and then. Cool!
Snack Bar? A tiny hot dog stand feeds the hungry masses.
Minimum Wager: $5 for sports, $2 for racing.
Number of Tables: Three tables, right by the hot dog cart in the sports book.
Comfort of Chairs: These are the average Harrah's chairs. Really nothing your rear end will be thrilled with.
Closed Room or Open to Casino? Closed room? Are you kidding? It's not even in a room. It's just some space in the casino. It could disappear overnight.
Game Spreads and Limits: A $2-$6 spread limit and $1-$1 no-limit game. So, it's low limit at least.
How Crowded is the Room? Not crowded at all. Maybe that's because it's pretty lousy and, oh, there are six bigger and better poker rooms within walking distance.
Comps? One buck an hour is pretty standard for comps.
How Good Are the Players? Poor play and a few ringers trying to grind the fish down. The location right on the Strip draws a lot of people with little to no experience.
What Else Do I Need to Know? This room is pretty bad. It's just three tables, they aren't full very often, and the noise from the slots and Strip are overwhelming.