Las Vegas is peppered with slots-only casinos—gambling houses that are bigger than bars, but not full-service casinos, because they don’t have table games. These places cater almost exclusively to locals, so the restaurants tend to be good, and the gambling is often better than the norm. Some look a little rough around the edges, but if you look past what’s on the outside, you can find a few gems.
One of the best is the Eureka Casino, located on East Sahara Avenue, halfway between the Strip and Maryland Parkway. If you know the area, you’ll understand what I’m getting at with that “rough edges” comment, but there’s security inside and out like a major casino, and there’s plenty to like inside.
True to the slot-house formula, the Eureka has a center bar and a restaurant. The bar is a good one, with several draft selections starting at $1.50 for Bud, but it’s the restaurant that really shines. Insiders know about it, because they’ve followed its chef, Sheridan Su, from his time working in places such as Joël Robuchon and Comme Ça, through his Great Bao food truck, and then a restaurant of the same name inside a beauty salon (no kidding). Last year, he went to the Eureka to open Fat Choy.
Don’t be fooled by the humble surroundings—this joint serves fine grub, including rice and noodle dishes, potstickers, wonton soup, a wicked short-rib grilled cheese and Su’s famous bao sandwiches. If you like this sort of French-influenced Asian fare, you’ll flip. But even if you don’t, there’s a monster ace in the hole: Fat Choy makes one of the best burgers in Vegas. The half-pound Angus cheeseburger is $8, but the one to try is the Fat Choy Burger, made with beef and short ribs and topped with a fried egg, bacon, cheese and roasted tomato for $10.
If you play, your Eureka moment will come when you check out the video poker, with some of the best low-stakes schedules in town. The bar has several games with progressives that make them potentially positive plays (returning over 100 percent). The royal flush on the 25-cent 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe game, for example, needs to be only $1,200 to have a theoretical breakeven return, and anything above that yields a player advantage. At 50 cents, the same game is breakeven at $2,400, and at $1, the 9/5 Double Double is breakeven at $7,800.
On the floor you’ll find more, including 9/6 Jacks or Better returning 99.54 percent and a Jokers Wild game that pays 99.92 percent. That Jacks or Better game is available at 5 cents, 10 cents and 25 cents, but you can do even better for nickels playing one of the city’s few remaining Full Pay Deuces Wild games that potentially returns 100.76 percent. You have to play perfectly to get that result—and you probably won’t. But you don’t have to do anything special to get that burger.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and LasVegasAdvisor.com.