Yes, I am giving the Horseshoe a 5 rating. How can anyone not? Even though they outlawed smoking (and whoever decided that deserves a swift and hard kick to the groin), this is still a great old room. The tables are well spread apart, the chairs are comfortable, and the nice dark and low ceilings make for a comfortable and intimate atmosphere. There are autoshufflers on one or two low limit tables, and the games on a run of the mill thursday night were nicely varied (2/4, 3/6, 4/8 with FULL kill, and no limit), which is something you don't see at the average strip or even downtown casino. The vibe was good. the condition of the room was fine. I'm sure the powers that be will be taking out the Horseshoe laden carpet eventually, since they have already changed all the signs, chips, and dealer name badges. Very unfortunate, however, the room itself is still perfect (with the exception of the pointless smoking ban). When you go to the Shoe, you expect a nice, dark, REAL poker vibe (which should be replete with smoke in the air), and for the most part, you get it. Definately a great room.
I am going with average here for the simple reason that the competition varies greatly by the limit being played. The 2/4 table had about 50% newbies and 50% experienced for the most part, whereas the 3/6 is a little tougher, and the 4/8 with full kill is pretty much a shark tank. I don't play no limit, so I can't attest, but my guess would be that it is not an easy clean. Even at the 2/4 game, there were some very old school locals mixed with the "just turned 21"ers. Some off duty dealers from other downtown properties were playing low limit (which I enjoy due to the conversation factor), and some oldies that have been in Vegas since 1959 and earlier, so I guess you could say they were experienced. However, the younger ones were easy to pluck (and easy to recognize), so I would say that overall, the competition is average.
Excellent dealers. Probably the best in Vegas. Older, experienced. One guy called himself a "newbie" because he had only been there since 1992. Very fast, efficient, and didn't waste the players time with stupid jokes or small talk. If a player snaps at them, they snap right back. Very competent and fast dealers. Perfect in every regard.
I know that most sat that they have to wait an hour for a beverage or more, but on Thursday night, between 6-9 PM, there was a cocktail waitress around about every 30 minutes or so. No problems here.
Very quick to open new tables when the list was more then 4 deep. Offered to play rakeless 3 handed if we wanted while we waited. Announced seats immediately when available. Plus, they had THREE managers there. This allowed for all aspects of the job to be taken care of. One floor decision while I was there and it was answered quickly and fairly. All in all, probably the most personable and efficient management team I am seen.
I love the fact that they don't take $1 out of the pot for cheesy high hand jackpots. When asked why they don't do bonuses one dealer responded "because here, we play REAL poker." I loved that, and I agree. There are no dollars per hour or comps offered here for playing. Just drinks and a comfortable atmosphere, and for the Horseshoe, that all anyone can ask for.