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