SLS Las Vegas held its grand opening Saturday. It is on the property that once hosted Sahara, a legendary Las Vegas landmark that ceased operations in May 2011.
USPoker visited the property to check out its casino games. We also took pictures that are located at the bottom of this article, including some before and after shots.
Arriving at SLS Las Vegas
There were a few changes to the entrances of the property compared to how it was configured under Sahara. There is no longer any way to enter the casino from Las Vegas Blvd. The only entrance at the front of the property is the taxi drop off area where the Sahara dome used to be. The Las Vegas Blvd frontage has patio seating for restaurants and what appears to be an emergency exit, but no way to enter.
Arriving from the Strip parking deck has also been altered. There is no longer a corridor that connects the front and back of the property on the ground level outside the parking deck. Hotel guests should use the rear parking deck elevator if arriving from Las Vegas Blvd or use the Paradise Road entrance. Casino guests that self-park should use the parking deck elevator closest to Las Vegas Blvd. Valet is available at both entrances.
Smaller Casino Floor
The gaming floor at SLS Las Vegas is about 60,000 square feet. This is about two-thirds the size of the Sahara casino floor. The portion of the Sahara casino floor that was NASCAR themed on the north end of the building was converted to dining and entertainment. This accounts for most of the difference.
SLS Las Vegas Available Games and Limits
The number of table games at SLS Las Vegas is high considering the casino floor size. Almost all of the tables were staffed for the grand opening.
The minimum bet for most games was $10. This included blackjack, baccarat, craps, Crazy4Poker, Casino War, Let it Ride and Ultimate Texas Hold’em. Pai Gow Poker had a $15 minimum. The only games with a minimum bet lower than $10 during this visit were Big Wheel and Three Card Poker.
The casino was extremely busy. It seems likely that $5 games will become more common after the grand opening excitement passes.
Here is an estimated count of each table game on the main casino floor. This includes the lounge area but excludes high limit.
- Blackjack/Blackjack Switch (31)
- Double Zero Roulette (11)
- Baccarat (5)
- Craps with 3-4-5 odds (5)
- Pai Gow Poker (3)
- Ultimate Texas Hold’em (3)
- Three Card Poker (3)
- Crazy4Poker (2)
- Let it Ride (1)
- Casino War (1)
- Big Wheel (1)
The blackjack minimums started at $10. Some tables, even on the main floor, had minimums up to $100. The max bet was $2,000 at lower limit tables and $10,000 at higher limit ones. The higher limit blackjack tables we surveyed were usually double deck.
The single deck games pay 6-5 on blackjack. Players may double down on any two cards.
The double deck tables pay 3-2 on blackjack. Players may double on any two cards.
The six-deck games pay 3-2 on blackjack. Players may double down on any two cards, surrender and resplit aces.
No SLS Las Vegas blackjack tables allow double down after splitting, according to a Facebook discussion with management, however, a player has reported that he was able to split on the six-deck game on the main floor. All blackjack games hit a soft 17.
Update: We are told by a high limit player that six-deck tables in the salon stay on all 17’s. These games have a $100 minimum bet and allow double down after splitting, surrender, and resplit aces.
SLS Las Vegas Video Poker
SLS Las Vegas promised during its Facebook Q&A that it would spread some good video poker. It delivered, although lower limit players will need to select the correct machine.
Video poker machines that offer denominations from $.05 to $5 have separate pay tables for games up to $.50 and games of $1 or more. For example, Bonus Poker pays 7 on a full house up to the $.50 denomination. It pays 8 on a full house when playing $1 and higher denominations. This makes the lower limit games return 98% on five coins with perfect play, while higher limit players will see a return of 99%.
This theme occurred on every game. Bonus Poker Deluxe pays 5 on a flush at the $.50 denomination and below, while it pays 6 on a flush at $1 or more. Double Bonus Poker returns 6 on a flush at lower limits and 7 on higher ones. Double Double Bonus pays 5 on a flush at $.50 and lower, while paying 6 on a flush at $1 and higher.
Hidden Video Poker Machines Return Around 100%
Low limit players should check out the machines that only display $.05, $.10 and $.25 denominations. There are four by the sports book along the corridor to Bazaar Meats. There may be more. The casino was very busy so it was difficult to check all of the machines as most were occupied.
All of the games on these machines return 99.9%+ when playing five coins and using basic strategy.
Sample of 99.9%+ Return Games
- Double Joker 99.97%
- Double Double Bonus 99.96%
- Deuces Wild 99.96%
- Super Aces 99.94%
- Joker Poker 99.92%
(Returns courtesy of Wizard of Odds)
SLS Las Vegas Sports Book
The SLS sports book is operated by William Hill. It is located in a lounge area. It is a full service book that offers deposits and withdrawals for the William Hill mobile app that may be used anywhere in Nevada. It is open from 8:00 a.m. until 11 p.m. daily.
The Code Players Club
Our friends at Vegas Chatter were able to get information on the SLS Las Vegas players club.
The Code pays $.01 per point earned when playing with the card. Players receive the following return based on the points awarded:
- Slots: .67%
- Video Poker: .2%
- Specialty Video Poker (presumably the 99.9%+ games): .07%
Table games are rated based on a number of factors, including the time played, average wager, and house edge of the game.
SLS Las Vegas Poker Room
There is no poker room at SLS Las Vegas. Here is a before and after shot of the Sahara poker room in the days before it closed and what it looks like today:
I went behind the curtain. There are six blackjack tables and a roulette wheel in there that were open but had no players. It is also a lounge. I was stopped when I tried to take a picture of it. The escalators that used to be located across from the poker room have been removed.
More Before and After Pictures
More SLS Las Vegas Pictures
It was difficult to get pictures inside the casino. It was extremely crowded and many shots did not come out due to guests walking in front of the camera. I was also stopped from taking a couple of photos in the gaming area by employees.