Reno El Dorado Casino Review
Although the El Dorado is one of the oldest hotel-casinos in Reno’s northern downtown area, you’d never guess it. Inside and out, everything seems shiny and new – even things normally aren’t shiny and probably aren’t new. Compared to its connected neighbors, the Silver-Legacy and Circus-Circus, there is no doubt that it is the most modern and the most reminiscent of Las Vegas’ coveted strip.
One of the calling-cards of the El Dorado is their long-term show. They had an impressionist for about a year, and the current gig is a Johnny Cash tribute show. The good news about this is that you don’t have to worry about missing it because of that pesky business meeting going too long; you can always catch it tomorrow. The bad news is that the next time you’re in town, they might very well be doing the exact same show.
What it lacks in entertainment variety, it certainly makes up for in bars and restaurants. The second floor is almost overloaded with places to catch a drink or a meal. Brew Brothers is a personal favorite – they offer eight micro-brews, plus one or two seasonal brews, and they have a mostly American menu with a few twists. Roxy is a fairly up-scale restaurant with an attached martini lounge, complete with lounge-singer. If you prefer your cocktails to be a little more interesting, Cin Cin has a wonderfully traditional Italian farmhouse atmosphere, and the bartenders specialize in making drinks you’ve never heard of before. And, of course, if you have a partner that insists on dancing in between drinks, the BuBinga nightclub is an option on the weekends.
But while places like the Circus-Circus obviously focus their efforts on the non-gambling attractions, there’s no denying that the gambling floor is the core of the El Dorado. There are no fewer than three separate escalators leading from the hotel/shopping area down to the casino, so that, no matter where you are in the property, you’re always being funneled toward the games.
The gambling area is a stark contrast with those of its neighbors. Here, you could easily think you’re in Vegas; it’s huge, there are a mind-boggling amount of bright, flashing lights, and it’s easy to get lost in. All that being said, there’s more to the El Dorado than just an assault on your senses. For all you poker-lovers, there’s a huge poker room at the center of everything, surrounded almost entirely by windows. There are an exceptionally large number of blackjack tables, so if you’re into 21 and it happens to be a busy night, don’t you worry – you’ll find a seat in no-time. And if penny slots are too small for you, but you don’t feel like making the jump to quarters, there are not only nickel slots, but also 2 cent slots, as well. The sports book is very up-to-date, with screens shining out of every individual booth. On the downside, the variety of poker games that are offered seems rather small.
If the shiny décor and focus on games isn’t enough to give you the Vegas feel, there’s one more thing that makes the El Dorado stand out – it’s treatment of VIP members. While I didn’t see any particularly interesting promotions (almost every single one was for progressive games of various kinds), I did note that an entire area of the second floor is devoted to the VIP Lounge. I can’t give specific details, because I wasn’t allowed inside, but if the rest of the property is any indicator, it would likely impress even the most devout Vegas devotee. In addition to the lounge, there’s a nifty side-room on the casino floor that’s a bit removed from the hustle and bustle. Inside are four player’s club machines, allowing players to peruse their options in relative privacy.
Ultimately, the El Dorado is easily the best Reno option for people who want a Vegas-like experience. High rollers will feel at home, the younger crowd can party at BuBinga, and the seniors can happily sip a “Dean Martini” while listening to a crooner on the mic. There’s no question, though – whether you’re there for a night or a week, and whether you’re there for a drink or some tunes, you will hit that casino eventually. It practically begs you to come inside.
Written by Kenny Stoneman in March 2014.