Society & Culture & Entertainment Gambling

Don"t Blink, you"ll miss Jean, Nevada and the Gold Strike Casino

So there you are, driving to Las Vegas from Southern California, and you blink. That's it, you just missed the town of Jean, Nevada - and you missed the Gold Strike Casino. Definitely a black dot on a map and nothing more. In the middle of the desert. So turn around and catch a $7.95 prime rib dinner or play some nickle slots. Vegas is still an hour away!

The Gold Strike Hotel and Gambling Hall is a tiny oasis in a sea of sand and sage, with 35,000 square feet of gaming space.

If you are driving from LA, you already passed Primm, Nevada, which has several casinos and some fun for the kids (roller coaster, arcade - on weekends) at the California border, 12 miles back. Jean is your last chance to grab a sandwich, or bed-down for the night in a cheap $39 room.

As you approach Jean on Highway 15, you'll see a building that looks out of place, as all tall hotels do in the middle of nowhere, but the hotel is fine. There are 800 rooms, and the property is now owned by MGM Resorts. That doesn't mean they've upgraded the place to look like the MGM in Vegas, come on, the place allows dogs and cats in some rooms, but that's what some travelers need.

The Gold Strike is located at 1 Main Street, Jean, Nevada 89019 (800 634-1359). There is live music on weekends with people you've never heard of, Karaoke with people you'll want to forget, and a William Hill Sports Book to get a wager in on the games you're missing, but that's all good. This is a small, old-Vegas style casino that's cheap and fun.

It's like being in Downtown Vegas without the screaming-drunk 20-somethings.

The hotel also has an arcade and gift shop, and there are four different restaurants, all of which have breakfast, lunch and dinner. The property opened in 1987, but has been upgraded several times. The casino features nine table games, with blackjack, craps and roulette. The games don't open until 11am, and they close at 3am. 

Right now there are still some vintage reel-slot machines that are coin operated, not the newer ticket machines. The 400+ machines include some $5 slots, plus over 100 $1 slots. The rest are eight multi-denomination or they are penny machines. It's a pretty good mix, and you'll find something you like. The slot club (Signature Club) is tied to the MGM's M Life, so your points go with you.

If you are heading to Vegas for the glitz and glamor, the state-line clubs of Laughlin, Lake Tahoe, Primm and Wendover may not excite you. And, the Gold Strike may seem a bit dated, but if you want value for your money, and you're more interested in having a good time and enjoying a more intimate casino, you'll be happy you stopped-in.

As for how the club suits your bankroll, the multi-coin slots are quite reasonable, but keep in mind that the penny machines can require wagers on as many as 50-lines, so you'll be spending more than the name Penny implies. You can expect to find $3 and $5 blackjack games, and either $2 or $5 wagers on the craps game, and while you might find those limits on a few games in Vegas, it won't be many. Enjoy!

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