Vegas -- A Binion's revival
Binion's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, 11/5/06
LAS VEGAS -- It's the big hair that I notice first from across the room while I'm sitting at a $1/2NL table at Binion's.
Then as she turns to the side, I notice her face -- it's Brandi Williams, one of the hosts of the Ultimate Poker Challenge, which Binion's has taken over from the Plaza.
Sometimes TV and real life aren't good friends, but this girl is totally beautiful.
She's there to film an episode of the TV poker show. Crew members have to tell poker players not to stare at the camera while she walks down the poker room's aisle to introduce a segment.
Just beyond the poker rail, several people are seated at the bar stools of the snack bar. Nearby a gift shop kiosk sells T-shirts, poker bears (no cats??) and postcards. A bunch of guys are watching the NFL games from plasma TVs above a refurbished stage.
I don't know about you, but this is no longer the old Binion's, which until very recently had a very dark and worn-out flavor. This is a remodel that wants to be relevant in 21st century gambling.
This, of course, totally makes me happy. Binion's, the former Horseshoe, is the Old Course. It's where the first World Series of Poker champions were made and the best players played the highest stakes poker in the world.
Every time I walk under downtown Las Vegas' lights, I feel its history behind me. I don't feel that among the newer palaces along the Strip.
It's an interesting thing. I wonder what could have happened had Harrah's kept the Binion's property instead of selling it off and just keeping the WSOP and Horseshoe brands. It would have said that Harrah's is interested in the revival of an important gambling area in Las Vegas. You would think the location will be very desirable someday.
Maybe it's some bean counter's loss. For me, Binion's and the new poker room at the Golden Nugget have moved downtown up several notches in my impressions of places I want to be and play in Las Vegas.