Binions Las Vegas

Once one of the premiere spots in Las Vegas, Binions Casino Hotel was synonymous with great gambling. As the city carved its identity out of the desert, Binions Las Vegas was owned and operated by a legend, and catered to some of the country's biggest names in gambling, not to mention the gangsters that were once a major part of the city's image. Eventually, the city's center migrated away from the downtown area, but the high class gamblers (not to mention some of the mobsters) stuck around for years afterward.

Binions Las Vegas
Binions Las Vegas

Binions Hotel is definitely one of the most unique in Vegas. Mostly removed from the neon and flash that define the city, Binions is dedicated to the idea that gambling, not bright lights, bring in the customers. Binions Casino Hotel was once again thrown into the spotlight with the huge marketing success known as the World Series of Poker. And though that has moved effortlessly to the Rio, Binions Hotel still has one of the most popular poker rooms in all of Las Vegas. It seems that tradition is hard to kill, even in a city as noted for ephemeral joys as Sin City. It doesn't hurt that there are 25 tables available for operation, a huge amount, even by Vegas standards.

Though losing the World Series was a huge blow to Binions Las Vegas, it remains one of the top reference points for any true gambler, and continues to bring in plenty of tourists, despite its non-strip location. The name sells, even if no one with the last name Binion has any affiliation to the company anymore. And for a new generation, the hotel's regal past is more or less meaningless. They come for the poker, for a break from the usual of the Las Vegas strip, for the value that downtown Las Vegas offers.

Nowadays, Binions Casino Hotel has revamped its image (though has done little to remodel the casino since its heyday, preferring a more sophisticated, old world look to its interior) as a middle-class hangout - giving up on competing with Vegas mainstays like the Bellagio, the Paris or Caesars, Binions has given itself completely to the growing popularity of poker, primarily Texas Hold 'Em - both limit and no-limit. For many, playing cards at Binions Las Vegas - where the World Series was invented, after all - is like playing guitar at a Rock and Roll camp. The memories of the greatest poker players of all time seem inextricable from the dark cedar, brick walls and soft felt of the tables. It's this kind of reverence that seems totally misplaced in a town like Las Vegas, but is right at home within the remembrances of past greatness that has passed through Binions Hotel. And if the current setup is any indication, there is plenty chance that there will be further examples of greatness to add with the passage of time.

Top image: Matthew Straubmuller (flickr)

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