Rio Las Vegas Review
Owned by Caesars Entertainment, the Rio has been open since January of 1990 and is an all-suite hotel. It is located right off the I-15 on Flamingo road and is less than a mile west of Las Vegas Blvd. Go a little further west and you’ll hit its neighbors the Gold Coast and the Palms.
Unfortunately, shuttle service to and from the strip is no longer available. It’s disappointing considering there would clearly always be use for it. Other means of accessing the strip inexpensively are Uber or taxi. Alternatively, walking is possible and relatively safe, but it’s rather unpleasant due to the several lanes of traffic constantly whizzing by.
Themed by Brazilian masquerade, the Rio has a lot more to offer than most off strip casinos in Las Vegas. Parking and valet are still free, and they have a wide variety of restaurants, bars, and other entertainment to go with one of the larger gaming spaces in town. It’s also home to the World Series of Poker every summer.
Casino at Rio
The 117,330 square foot gaming space had a great selection of table games for both the high roller and the casual gambler looking for a little buzz. They are all located within the most central part of the casino, with some of their games like baccarat having their own section. Since none of the Caesars properties try to make gambling an expensive endeavor, most of their games can be played for a $5 minimum.
Every baccarat game was lined up in its own row. As there were about six total tables, there should never be an issue getting a seat. Table minimums were $10, $15, and the $25 table offered the Dragon Bonus.
The casino’s most popular game has the dealer hit on all soft 17s and pays 6-5 odds on its $5 and $10 tables. The $15 tables pay 3-2 and can either be played with a full shoe or as double deck. We were surprised to see no other blackjack variations like Free Bet Blackjack or Blackjack Switch were available.
Multiple virtual blackjack games are also out by the slots with a live dealer. Minimums are $5 or $1 which is extremely rare to see.
All games were at least $10 with standard odds of 3-4-5. A virtual crap game for $1 is also within the slots.
Every wheel was the standard double zero with a $10 minimum. Virtual roulette with a live wheel is also available for $3.
Other Rio Table Games
– The Big Wheel ($1 minimum)
– Let It Ride ($5 minimum)
– Three Card Poker ($5 minimum)
– High Card Flush ($5 minimum)
– Crazy 4 Poker ($5 minimum)
– Ultimate Texas Hold’em ($5 minimum)
– Texas Hold’em Bonus Poker ($5 minimum)
– Mississippi Stud ($5 minimum)
– Keno Lounge ($1 minimum)
During our last visit to Rio, there seemed to be an abundance of Fortune Pai Gow Progressive ($25 minimum) tables. Only a couple were going at that time, but at night if several more get started, we figure lower minimums would be available. Pai Gow Tiles was also available with a $25 minimum as well.
Other than there being no additional blackjack varieties, this is certainly a well above average selection of table games. The staff was very friendly and smoke circulation is controlled well. The Rio always has a good vibe going, and at nighttime there’s always a few dancers working in the pit.
A view of the keno lounge from our last visit to Rio:
High Limit Table Games Room
The high limit section is secluded and impressively with large multiple entrances. There is no bar, but there are places to sit and relax. Baccarat and blackjack can be both be played at a $100 minimum. The rule differences in blackjack are you can surrender, the dealer must stand on soft 17, and you can split aces up to four times.
There was also one roulette wheel and it gave us quite a surprise. High limit roulette wheels are typically the European style with only one zero. Despite its $100 minimum, this one was the standard double zero. Not good.
Slots at Rio
More than 1,200 slots exist across the entire casino floor. They still have some of the old looking machines, but the vast majority were new and popular. Some of its noteworthy selections are Wheel of Fortune, The Walking Dead, Richie Rich, How to Marry a Millionaire, Animal House, Lock it Link, Buffalo Gold, Ultimate Fire Link, Anchorman, and Penn and Teller.
Betting limits begin at a penny and work their way up slowly to $1. We noticed most of the lowest limit slots were strategically placed on the outskirts of the casino floor. This area is right near self-parking and is easily the quietest part of the casino. This is strategy is to encourage you to head back towards the high energy action where the limits are greater.
High Limit Slots Room
The high limit slots are in the central part of the main casino floor. It has its own entrance, but we wouldn’t say it’s especially secluded since it’s very easy to overhear everything going on outside. The elevator to the Diamond Lounge is also right there. The Diamond Lounge is only open so many hours of the day, but if it’s busy there can also be a long line of people waiting to get in.
The size of Rio’s high limit slots room was above average, with a combo of modern slots and the old school machines. Some of the most popular games we noticed were Wheel of Fortune and Cleopatra.
The lower-denomination, $1 machines are the first machines you see as you walk in. We figure that’s also strategic to lure in players – if they start losing they’ll be tempted to start playing the $5, $10, $25, $100, or even $500 per spin. The high limit room is dedicated mostly to slots, but there was quite a bit of video poker there as well, with limits starting at $1 and increasing to $2, $5, $25, $50, and $100.
A view of the high limit room from our last visit:
Video Poker at Rio
There are more than 350 video poker machines spread throughout the Rio. Many of them are at bars and are a great gambling option for comped drinks. All different kinds of games can be played, and the payouts get as high as 99.54% for Jacks or Better, compared to as low as 98.01% for Bonus Poker.
Poker Room at Rio
The poker room has nine tables. It is in one of the casino’s corners, adjacent to the sportsbook. This isn’t a particularly popular room for cash games as sometimes games won’t start until the early afternoon. The only time it is ever going to be consistently busy and full is during the seven week long World Series of Poker.
They will deal 3-6 and 4-8 Limit Hold’em, as well as Omaha and some mixed games, but No Limit Hold’em is going to be its main game. The game going most often is 2-3 with a buy-in range of $200-$1,000, but the uncapped 2-5 game occasionally comes together with a $200 minimum. You can buy-in at 1-2 for $100-$300, but this game seldom goes.
There are some high hand bonuses – $50 for quads, $100 for a straight flush, and $300 for a royal flush. Monday to Thursday also pays $100 for the highest hand of the hour at 11 AM and noon.
Daily tournaments are also offered four times a day at 10 AM, 1 PM, 4 PM, and 9 PM. Buy-in is $65 with a $500 guaranteed prize pool.
Sportsbook at Rio
Rio has recently given its sportsbook a facelift and a fine job at that. There are over 30 TVs spread throughout and this constantly active sportsbook is evenly split with the racebook. There is a large video poker bar behind the sportsbook. You can’t see very well inside of it, but it has plenty of its own TVs.
There are many different places to sit in and behind the sportsbook including numerous spots reserved for VIPs, and over 20 very spacious and comfortable leather chairs with cupholders. The most notable drawback is since it’s not tucked away anywhere like a lot of sportsbooks are, some outside casino noise seeps in rather easily.
Regarding food and drink, it is close by to the Carnival World and Seafood Buffet, but more conveniently there is a deli right next to it with plenty of seating to still allow you to watch the games. Free drinks don’t exist anymore. You must bet $50 on sports or $10 on horses to get a drink ticket. It sounds ridiculous, but this is one of the best deals available.
You can also easily open an account at the sportsbook so that you may download the Caesars sports betting app. With the app, you’ve got access to all the lines. Live betting, which is betting on games already in progress is still a work in progress for the app. All we know is they are planning to have it soon. You can do it over the counter, but rarely. You’ll only see it for huge games like a Game 7, but sometimes they have it when the Vegas Golden Knights are playing.
Hotel at Rio
The all-suite hotel has over 2,500 rooms. 10% military discounts are given to active members and veterans as well as their spouses. Discounts are also available for teachers, students, and government employees. During many times of the year you can even get rooms at great promotional price in the neighborhood of $30, not including the $36.28 tax-inclusive nightly resort fee. Otherwise the standard suites can still often be had for under $100. The resort fee doesn’t include much. Just internet and access to the pool, business center, and fitness center.
– Rio Cariocas Suite (1,100 square feet)
– Rio Deluxe Masquerade Suites (1,100-1,700 square feet)
– Rio Super Suite (1,200 square feet)
– Rio Penthouses (2,400-14,000 square feet)
The smallest suites are all upwards of 500 square feet can be had with either a strip or mountain view. There is a large variety of other suites, many of which are the 1,100-1,600 square feet. Though they can be up to ten times the price of the regular suites during the hotel’s best promotions, these luxury rooms are relatively low priced to compared to what many ordinary strip rooms would cost.
If you really want the high life, the penthouses and villas start at 2,400 square feet and reach a palatial 14,000. They typically start at over $2,000 a night, and you’ll have to call to inquire about reserving them as these rooms are generally held for major gamblers.
They try to work with you at Caesars’ properties, so if you know you are going to be gambling a lot, certainly be aggressive in pushing for upgrades or comped rooms.
Spa and Fitness Center
The spa, salon, and fitness center are open daily from 6AM–7PM. Hotel guests only have to pay $10 to enter the spa, while non-hotel guests can drop in for $30. Military members always get 30% off. Nevada locals do too, except on weekends when it is reduced to only 20% off.
There are 15 treatment rooms including two couples’ suites as well as separate relaxation lounges for men and women. Some of their top treatments include Nu You Detox, Platinum Power Facial, and Micro Current Toning Treatment.
Restaurants at Rio
Including the buffet there are more than 10 diverse places to eat, most of which are casual dining that will cost upwards of $20 for a meal. The lowest priced options are the Sports Deli or Smashburger. Otherwise, you can choose from Royal India, Guy Fieri’s El Burro Borracho, Pho Da Nang Vietnamese Kitchen, KJ Dim Sum & Seafood, Hash House a Go Go, or the 24 hour All-American Bar and Grille.
Complete List of Eating Options
– Royal India Bistro
– Voodoo Steakhouse
– KJ Dim Sum
– Buzio’s Seafood Restaurant
– Village Seafood Buffet
– Carnival World Buffet
– Hash Hash a Go Go
– All American Bar and Grill
– BK Whopper Bar
– Sports Deli
– Pho Da Nang (Vietnamese)
If you want to enjoy upscale dining, just ride the elevator to the top of the Masquerade Tower and enter the VooDoo Steakhouse on the 50th floor. Here you’ll enjoy some great views of Las Vegas along with its wide selection of meat and seafood to go with its delicious sides and appetizers. If you decide to pay VooDoo a visit, expect to spend at least $75 per person.
Bars at Rio
There are numerous bars around the casino beginning with the Purple Zebra Daiquiri Bar. In addition to the sportsbook bar there’s also the iBar and Masquerade Bar, all of which have video poker and are open 24 hours. If you want live music without having to go to a nightclub, it goes every Friday and Saturday night at The Masquerade Bar.
The Rio also has a Wine Cellar and Tasting Room. Tickets are $45, and events are usually held two times a month.
Nightlife at Rio
If you are looking to keep the party going into the next morning, right above the VooDoo Steakhouse on the 51st floor is the VooDoo Rooftop Nightclub And Lounge. This indoor/outdoor club has great views of the city, and alongside a DJ you can dance and drink specialty cocktails from award winning bartenders all night. VIP bottle service is also available, and attire is only business casual as this club is more laid back than most Vegas nightspots.
Cover charges are free for everyone if they arrive between 8 and 10 PM. Otherwise Sunday to Thursday, Nevada local women are free, $10 for tourists, and $20 for men. Friday/Saturday is $20 for women and $30 for men.
Lastly, if you really like watching young and fit men dance, Chippendales plays twice every night seven days a week. Tickets are $55, and you can hang out in the Flirt Lounge with an all-male waitstaff before and after the show.