At long last, Resorts World — a mega-resort featuring the Strip’s newest poker room — opened to the public on Thursday night. The spacious card room hosts 30 tables, including a high-roller room, all inside a luxurious casino that is 13 years in the making.
On Nov. 1, 2006, the iconic Stardust Casino, which opened on the north end of the Las Vegas Strip in 1958, was demolished. In 2007, Boyd Gaming began construction of its Echelon Place project on the Stardust’s grounds, but that plan was halted in 2008 due to the tough economic times.
Five years later, Boyd sold off the location to Genting Group, which immediately set out to build Resorts World, a casino hotel that was expected to partially open in 2016. But the groundbreaking for the future resort was delayed numerous times, and construction didn’t even begin until late 2017.
Fast forward to 11pm on Thursday, June 24 when the casino finally opened to the public, becoming the first new resort on the Las Vegas Strip since the Cosmopolitan in December 2010. Thousands of guests stood outside the casino leading up to the grand opening.
Many waited hours to get in as admission was limited to one entrance, while others gave up and went home. The long, jam-packed line extended nearly a half-mile along Las Vegas Boulevard. Only VIPs were invited to a pre-opening ceremony and granted early access.
The grand opening weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with temps dipping down to the mid-80s, a bit cooler and more pleasant than the usual 100-degree temps this time of year.
Can Resorts World’s poker room compete?
The Resorts World poker room is the 21st active card room in Las Vegas, which is still 10 fewer than the pre-pandemic days. On Saturday afternoon, more than 36 hours after the casino opened, seven low-stakes games were running out of 30 tables (25 regular tables, two high-roller VIP tables, and three private tables).
The card room will have its work cut out competing against more established rooms in town, like Aria, Bellagio, Venetian, and Wynn, four of the most famous poker rooms in the world.
For now, the games played appear to be limited to low-stakes cash games ($1/$3 and $2/$5), along with the occasional mid-stakes games ($5/$10). The card room doesn’t offer any daily tournaments at this point, but those may be added in the months to come. Games are played eight-handed and there are no plexiglass dividers at any of the tables, much like everywhere else in town now that the pandemic is beginning to fade away.
A look inside the new casino
Resorts World has far more to offer than just a poker room. The state-of-the-art facility features a slew of restaurants, a spacious casino floor, a gorgeous pool, and a modern sportsbook.
On Saturday, the casino was packed full of excited guests getting their first glimpse at the brand-new resort. Lines were, as expected, quite long, especially at the cashier’s cage and the players club. Resorts World has a mix of high-end and affordable dining options, including a food court, which was rather crowded this weekend.
The resort features an innovative casino and is the first in Las Vegas to use cashless technology at all table games. Casino chips include radio-frequency identification technology (RFID) with sensors implanted at every table so the casino can monitor every bet made. This is a convenient benefit for players who will no longer feel they aren’t being fairly rated for their play. The casino will know exactly how much a player is betting when evaluating their play.
Customers can still use cash at a table game, but it isn’t necessary. All they need is a player’s rewards card hooked up to a virtual wallet, and the dealer can scan their phone instantly for access to additional chips. Table games were mostly packed on Saturday, although there were a few tables with open seating, and players seemed to enjoy this innovative feature.
Resorts World is located across the street from Wynn, one of the most luxurious Las Vegas casinos, and just south of Circus Circus, an old-school Vegas casino that has seen better days.