El Cortez is located just east of the Fremont Street District in downtown Las Vegas. The area around El Cortez was considered unsafe for many years. That has completely changed. The Fremont East District has been completely revitalized. It is now full of life with niche bars and restaurants.
El Cortez was built in 1941 and is one of the oldest Las Vegas casinos. El Cortez has a reputation as a locals’ casino. It offers good gambling, great comps, and affordable dining prices.
The casino at El Cortez is best known for its Single Deck Blackjack. This game allows players to double down on any two cards, but not after splitting. The dealer hits a soft 17 and a natural blackjack pays 3-2, not 6-5 like most Las Vegas single deck games do. This makes it the best blackjack game in Las Vegas. There are 11 tables and the bet limits are $5 to $500.
There are three $3-$1,000 Double Deck Blackjack tables. Players may double any two cards and after splitting.
El Cortez has been known to back off card counters. Simply varying bet sizes may draw suspicion from the pit bosses. Unlike other casinos that ask card counters to leave, El Cortez generally allows these players to return to the blackjack tables on future trips.
There are two $1 minimum roulette tables with two zeros. These games have quarter chips. There is a $10-$1,000 baccarat table and two craps tables with $5-$1,000 limits. Craps allows up to 10 times odds.
There are two table games in video form with $1 minimum bets. There is a Shoot to Win video craps game and a Dealers Angel blackjack game that allows double down, doubling after the split, and surrender. The dealer stays on all 17’s.
The El Cortez casino floor is split into three sections. The south section includes a variety of old coin video poker machines, a keno room, and a video poker bar. The central area is mostly table games and the sports book. The north casino floor is home to a wide selection of nickel and quarter coin operated video poker machines. Full pay Jacks or Better and good Deuces Wild and Joker Poker games are available in this section.
The sports book is operated by Station Casinos. Players may deposit for Sports Connection there. That is Station Casinos’ online and mobile sports betting service.
There is no poker room at El Cortez. It closed in December 2013.
There are 364 hotel rooms at El Cortez. The Cabana Suites are the newest. The others are older rooms that are not as modern as the Cabana Suites. These rooms may be reserved for about $30 during the week and $60 on weekends. Remodeled rooms go for about double that amount.
There are three dining options at El Cortez. Subway is the casual option. There is also the 24-hour Café Cortez. It serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The prices reflect a locals’ café, not one located in a casino. The menu is limited on weekdays after 10:30pm. The Flame Steakhouse is the high end, but affordable, dining option available at El Cortez.
El Cortez is one of the few Las Vegas casinos that will deliver food directly to slot machines. Many items from the café will be delivered by the staff. Players do not need to be high rollers to qualify for this service.
There are three bars at El Cortez. There are two video poker bars at either end of the casino. Each offers 8/5 Bonus Poker as the best game. The Parlor Bar and Lounge is the high end bar at El Cortez. There are many lounge chairs in the seating area, as well as a long bar for patrons. There is also an appetizer menu served at the Parlor Bar.
El Cortez is located on Fremont Street one black east of the Fremont Street Experience. Its crossroad is Sixth Street.
The second level of El Cortez offers a hair salon for men that will take guests back a generation. Services include a straight razor shave.
The Parlor Bar offers two lounge acts. There is a Frank Sinatra impersonator on Wednesday and Thursday nights. Other nights offer John Brooks doing his tribute to Elvis. Weekends offer guests a chance to take over the microphone for karaoke.