Sahara Hotel and Casino

2535 Las Vegas Blvd South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Phone: (702) 737-2111
Toll Free Reservations: (888) 696-2121
Fax: (702) 791-2027

Website: http://www.saharahotelandcasino.com

I've stayed at this casino twice, once in August 2000 for two nights and another time in March 2002 for four nights.
 

PROS

$1 Blackjack

While every other casino on the Las Vegas strip have no blackjack tables with a minimum bet of below $5--and it's impossible to find tables under $25 a hand at certain times of day--one of the Sahara's main gimmicks and drawing points is the $1 minimum bet on about 90% of their blackjack tables...twenty four hours a day, every day.  Less advertised but also present are their $1 craps and roulette tables.  This makes the Sahara a great choice for those who like gambling and want to stay on the strip but don't have all that much to gamble with.  It's also a good place to learn how to play casino games you are unfamiliar with, as you won't be losing your shirt while you learn.
 

Very little carding

The first time I visited Sahara (August 2000), I was 20.  I attempted to gamble at a blackjack table four times, and two of the four times I played for over two hours without being carded.  On both of the other two, I played ten to twenty hands and was then asked for identification by the pit boss, after which time I had to vacate the casino floor.

When I returned in March 2002 at age 22, I gambled in excess of six hours a day for four days at Sahara without being carded once.  Furthermore, I did not see a single person be asked for identification during my entire stay.  I sat next to countless persons of whom I am absolutely positive were underage--some appearing to be as young as fourteen--and no one gave them a second glance.

So, if you are underage and want to gamble or you look young and simply don't want to be hassled for your license every time you sit down, the Sahara might be a good option for you.
 

NEUTRALS

Room & Amenities

The rooms are very cheap, with standard double occupancy hotel rooms usually between $29-$69 and suites ranging between $139-189.  Alas, what you pay for is what you get.  The standard rooms are very spartan, with exactly what you'd expect from a low-grade chain motel and no additional amenities.  One of the room lamps was missing its bulb during my second stay; we didn't bother to ask them to replace it.  I have not stayed in one of their suites and cannot comment about them. Sahara's outdoor roller coaster (Speed: The Ride) is considered one of the best roller coasters in Vegas, but we never went on it due to the steep price--somewhere around $20 a pop.

The staff

My experiences with the staff here have been extremely mixed.  A large percentage of the dealers are Asian, and their ability to converse with you in English varies wildly from dealer to dealer.  I've had some that I consider among my favorite dealers in Vegas, while others made me get up and leave the table in disgust over them not being able to understand my instructions or even my (universally recognized) hand signals.  The waitresses are generally friendly, but if you're sitting at a $1 table they don't exactly fall over themselves to bring you your drink promptly.  Room service performed their function adequately.
 

CONS

NASCAR

Going hand in hand with the cheap tables come the cheap people, and Sahara does everything but post a big banner outside that says "WHITE TRASH VACATION HOTSPOT!"  The main restaurant being named the NASCAR Cafe is your first clue you're not at the Bellagio.  Your second, third, fourth, and twentieth clues will be the hordes of men with missing teeth and wifebeaters walking around the casino and amazing you with their total lack of sound gambling strategies.
 

Distance from the central Strip

While the Sahara is on the Las Vegas Strip, it pretty much deliniates the northern border of the strip.  Travelling to the central Strip (New York, New York, the Bellagio, Paris) will be a $7 taxi ride...or a two hour walk.  Expect many blank looks (especially if you're among a younger crowd) when you tell people where you're staying.

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