A long time veteran of Las Vegas, Excalibur is in its 28th year of operation. Located right off Tropicana Avenue on the south side of Las Vegas Blvd., Excalibur belongs to MGM Resorts International. It is conveniently connected to Luxor which also connects to Mandalay Bay, and you can travel to all three via the tram.
The theme at Excalibur is modeled after Medieval Europe, and the property is as visual a casino there is from the outside with its many castles. When you walk in, however, it’s a bit of a letdown because suddenly, nothing stands out. There’s nothing particularly off-putting on the inside but it’s just like, what?…. What happened to all the creativity? Nevertheless, it’s a serviceable venue that tailors well to tourists who are trying to get a little more mileage from their dollar, and we do not expect locals to frequent this establishment.
The wonderful era of free parking and valet at all strip casinos have passed. Parking fees depend on how long you’re staying and your level of tier status in their player rewards program. Alternatively, if you don’t wish to accumulate status by gambling, you can apply for the M Life credit card. If you get approved for a card, you are automatically upgraded to Pearl status which exempts you from self-parking (but not valet).
At every casino, the most popular table game is almost always blackjack. At Excalibur, all the many blackjack tables pay 6-5 when dealt blackjack except for some of the table’s where minimums are upwards of $15. These tables almost always pay 3-2 and the dealer must hit on soft 17 for all the games.
If you like other variations of blackjack, Excalibur delivers three additional games: Free Bet, Blackjack Switch, and Zappit. Lastly, out by the slots area is a virtual blackjack game that has a live dealer with a $1 minimum.
During our last visit, $10 was the minimum for all the current craps games. The odds were not posted, but we can safely assume they were 3-4-5 as that is the norm for casinos on the strip. Like blackjack, there was another type of virtual craps located out by the slots that shoots foam dice by pushing a button, and that minimum was also $1.
Tables of $5 and $10 minimums were available, but the rules were no different as they each had two zeros. $3 roulette was also available, and it had an actual wheel, but given how different the setup is it makes for a totally different experience, and that game was also located within the slots.
– Three Card Poker ($5 min.)
– Casino War ($5 min.)
– Let It Ride ($5 min.)
– High Card Flush ($5 min.)
– Texas Hold’em ($5 min.)
– Crazy 4 Poker ($5 min.)
Despite how busy the floor was, there is no reason to think it would ever be difficult to get a seat. Considering all the other games available, we were surprised to see no variations of Pai Gow and especially Baccarat, as these are normally typical secondary games.
An exact slot count was unavailable during our visit, but as it goes with most casinos, there are hundreds (if not thousands) of machines scattered all around the gaming floor. The games offered were a mix between new and old. Some of the unique selections included Casablanca, Anchorman, Jurassic Park, and the Hangover II. Other popular selections were Wheel of Fortune, Willy Wonka, Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and numerous variations of Buffalo. Limits began at a penny and went up to $0.02, $0.05, $0.25, and $1. Excalibur hosts a variety of slots tournaments each month.
This was by far the weakest part of Excalibur and we were left thinking that it’s rare for anyone to go here. Located across from the sportsbook, there were no signs directing you towards high limit slots. Even though the casino was busy, the high limit section was empty. Many of the machines were old, and there were no walls to seclude it from any outside noise. Clearly the least amount of effort was put into this section and it only seems to be there because the casino feels it should have a high limit area. Not because it cares about making it worthwhile to play.
This idea was further demonstrated when we saw slots that accept bets as low as $0.05 – not exactly in the spirit of high limit. Otherwise you could wager for up to $100 a pull, with normal high limits starting at $5, $10, and $25. There were also a few video poker machines accepting bets of $0.25, $1, and $5.
Video Poker wasn’t any more impressive than the high limit slots. There weren’t that many machines, although most of them were near high limit slots. The only variation was Jacks or Better with a modest payback of 98.45%. Limits were $0.25, $0.50, and $1, and you could also find them at several of the bars.
The poker room is small and adjacent to the sportsbook. They’ll 2-6 Spread Limit Texas Hold’em, 1-2 No Limit Hold’em, and Omaha Hi/Lo. The spread and no limit games come together consistently, but the Omaha game is rare. Lessons are given every day at 12 PM, and daily tournaments are also available four times a day. The 9 AM buy-in is $40, while $45 is the cost for the 1, 5, and 8 PM events. Chip stacks begin at 5,000 with one reentry, and blinds increase every 15 minutes.
Small poker rooms like these often have bonuses like a Bad Beat Jackpot, but Excalibur does not. There is however an Royal Flush bonus of $500 where both cards must play. Additionally, an “aces cracked” bonus is given Monday-Friday from 10 AM – 3PM, and you also get to spin the big wheel for an extra bonus of $20-$100 whenever aces get cracked or you are dealt quads or better whether you’re playing one hole card or two.
There are definitely better sportsbooks than Excalibur, but you can also do a lot worse. The best thing it has going for it is the fact it is built more vertically, as opposed to horizontally like most sportsbooks. This design allows viewers to have a solid view of everything, including the betting board which is a decent size, so it constantly has every line on display.
Some of its drawbacks are the fact Excalibur is altogether a smoky casino and given the book’s sound quality is not mind blowing, it’s not hard to overhear the chirping sound of slots. Since Excalibur is one of MGM’s second tier properties, we were happy enough with the size of the sportsbook. There are several dozen leather chairs, additional high tables and chairs behind those, plenty of TVs with acceptable picture quality, and smoking is only allowed at the very back of the sportsbook.
A keno book is also included, and all the racebook seating has a desk and its own TV, but this book is aimed more at the sports bettors as all the horse racing TVs were small.
Despite just being a slightly above mediocre sportsbook, Excalibur doesn’t give you a break on drinks. You must bet $100 on sports and $10 on horses to attain a single drink ticket. Excalibur has a huge food court, but it is upstairs in its mall and the only nearby food option is a Starbucks.
The average nightly rate for the hotel is lower than any of its competitors, and you get what you pay for. The rooms are finely updated, but the standard rooms are only 352 square feet. Clearly this hotel is for people interested in finding a place to sleep economically more so than experiencing luxury. But if you do want luxury, you can get it with the Resort Luxury Suite which is 682 square feet, or the Royal 2 Bedroom Luxury Suite which is 1,034.
Prices for these suites are about what you would pay for a normal room at luxury hotel, and there is a military discount of 10%. Considering the standard room here can be booked for as little as $29 if reserved at the right time, it’s almost comical the mandatory resort fee is $40. The fee includes the Internet and access to the pool and fitness center, but more than anything it feels like you’re getting ripped off.
Though the spa is not included in the resort fee, its admission fee is modestly priced for its guests at $10 during the week and $15 for Friday to Sunday. If you are not staying at Excalibur, the cost will be $25 for the use of spa and fitness center.
The spa is 13,000 square feet. Services included massages, facials, body treatments and body wraps, nail treatment, waxing, and other enhancements. Various packages are available, and discounts are offered to Nevada locals and military members for any service 50 minutes or more.
Like the spa, the fitness center overlooks the pool. The spa is open 6 AM – 8 PM, and the fitness center is open 24 hours to hotel guests.
Before getting into the other restaurants, first we must tell you about Dick’s Last Resort. This thematic restaurant takes on a very unique form of entertainment. It’s essentially a show within the restaurant. The waitstaff is extremely rude. They constantly make fun of you and give you a hard time about anything and everything. Basically, this is the restaurant where the server and customer can finally say all the nasty things they were thinking and wishing they could say to each other.
On top of that, the American style food is good. Considering the entertainment provided, the price markups are totally reasonable. There is no other eating experience like this in Las Vegas, so if you are looking for a place that will gladly let you run your mouth as it mercilessly yet tastefully runs it back at you, don’t skip Dick’s Last Resort. It’s a hilarious time.
Excalibur also offers several more styles of food at inexpensive prices. The 24 hour food court and buffet are all standard options for a middle of the pack casino. In addition to those are a 24 hour Johnny Rockets, Buca Di Peppo for Italian lovers, Baja Fresh for Mexican, and the Drenched Bar and Grille sits next to the pool. If you want coffee or dessert, there’s Castle Coffee along with an Orange Julius/Dairy Queen.
Since Excalibur is not a high end casino, its lone fine dining offering is the Camelot Steakhouse. In addition to their fine cuts of beef is a selection of seafood, and Camelot is about $60 per person.
Those looking to make sure they get some drinking done have a number of selections. For starters, the Lobby Bar is open 24 hours. After that is the Sportsbook Bar and the Sherwood Bar, all of which accommodate very well for video poker players.
If you want to dance as well, there is no nightclub at Excalibur, but Octane has a DJ every Friday and Saturday night, and The Lounge also features live music along with drink specials in an upbeat yet laid back environment.