Monday, January 20, 2014

Off-Strip: Checking Out the Boulder Highway

Did you know the famous "Welcome to Las Vegas" sign on the south entrance to the Strip has a cousin on the Boulder Highway? If not, then you've probably not spent enough time on Boulder. As previously mentioned, it's home to one of our favorite funky blackjack hangouts, the Longhorn, and it's also home to some of the favorite locals hangouts: Sam's Town, Arizona Charlie's and Boulder Station, for example. On our way into town this morning we decided to investigate some of the lesser-known properties out Boulder Highway way.

Club Fortune gets our rave for this column, in part because the staff showed up to give us our player cards and our free slot play from American Casino Guide coupons two full hours before the player's club desk was due to open at 8 A.M. For all its cozy size it's a full casino, with live tables, a poker room, and a high limit area. If you take the Horizon Exit off of I-215, it's on Rainbow Drive (Horizon turns into Rainbow as it crosses  Boulder Highway).

Jokers Wild has blackjack as low as $2 minimum, as well as a $1 minimum craps table. If you like playing lower limits, either to limit your risk or because your bankroll is a little thin, just head here. New player's club members get to spin the wheel for a prize; I won a $10 dining credit, which went a long way in their restaurant. Brian got a water bottle, but it was a really nice water bottle.

"Look! It's My Casino!" "No, it's My Casino!" We could have gone on like that all morning. New members are offered a free gift and gambling and dining coupons, including two shots at $10 in free slot play, and there are plenty of free tournaments during the week to keep the locals coming back. Brian says if he'd known he owned a casino he'd have demanded his cut by now.

Not just off-strip, but's a few blocks off Boulder at the intersection of Pacific and the Emerald Island. A family-owned business, it offers multipliers on slot points, which can be exchanged for credit at the casino's restautants. Just about next door is the El Dorado, on Water Street. On the same Premier Rewards players card program as Jokers Wild, it would appear to be about the same as that casino, minus the $1 craps table.

Also on Water Street...who knew there was such a concentration of casinos in this neighborhood...the Rainbow is incredibly elegant for a glorified slot parlor, with comfy chairs and extravagant fittings and video monitors displaying widescreen views of European scenes. Shame it doesn't have a player's card program; somewhat surprising, as it boasts it's a "Peppermill Resorts Property." You just come here to play, an employee told us. Back on Boulder is the Skyline Casino, which will get short shrift in this column for also not having a player's card program. We're here to earn comps and free rooms and food and free play, baby!

The Wildfire gets points for being the first casino you run into after you take the Boulder Highway exit off I-215 northbound. A member of the Stations Casinos player card program, it's noteworthy mostly as a place to pick up cheap cigarettes ($4.44 a pack for name brands and even less for generics).

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