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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

20 July 2001

Planning a trip to Las Vegas in the near future? Each month we'll spotlight a different casino so you'll get a better idea of what each resort has to offer. This month, let's put on our bulletproof vests and venture downtown to the Four Queens.

Remember when "my dad could beat your dad?" Well, the Four Queens has some bragging rights of its own. It has the largest slot machine in the world, the biggest blackjack table in the world, and probably the best gourmet restaurant in the city.

Built in 1964, the Four Queens started out as a pint-sized property with 120 rooms and a mouse-hole casino. How it got its catchy name is simple enough to explain. You see, owner Ben Goffstein had four daughters: Faith, Hope, Benita, and Michele.

Over the years, the Four Queens (now owned by the Elsinore Group) has grown in size and stature. It has also become a big-time slot sanctuary with 175,000 members in its Reel Winners Club and 30,000 members in its Club 55, one of the few slot clubs for seniors. (Pretty soon there'll be slot machines that take social security checks.)

Here's what to look for at the Four Queens:

The World's Largest Slot Machine. Listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, the Queen's Machine is almost ten feet high and nearly nine feet long. It can be played simultaneously by six people who have a chance to win up to $50,000, or a much better chance to lose every dime they have to their name.

The World's Largest Blackjack Table. It seats 12 players and requires two dealers. The table is four feet deep by 11-1/2 feet long, uses 27,864 inches of plywood, 16,496 inches of Formica, 864 inches of vinyl, and 6,408 inches of felt. I know, because I measured it the other night (much to the dismay of the people who were playing at the time).

Hugo's Cellar. I've never heard a bad word said about this gourmet restaurant. When each lady is seated, she is presented with a beautiful long-stemmed rose. (They gave my mother-in-law a snapdragon.) Dinner begins with breads and cheese. Then comes your salad served tableside. Now an "intermezzo": raspberry sorbet in a miniature ice cream cone. This is to cleanse your wallet, I think they told me. Now comes your entree. This is followed by chocolate-dipped fruits served with fresh whipped cream.

But wait, you're not finished yet. There's a pastry cart and after-dinner liqueurs, and the house specialty -- Kona coffee prepared in a glass bubble at the table and sweetened with chocolate chips and whipped cream. If you're on an expense account, try the sampler appetizer for two: beef, swordfish, chicken, and shrimp cooked on a sizzling granite slab tableside. At any rate, say goodbye to that $100 bill hidden behind your driver's license. Hugo's Cellar is expensive.

Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson