It had been many months since I took a day trip to Primm, sometimes referred to by its former name, State Line. I usually go during the week because the traffic on weekend can be brutal. I made this trip on Tuesday.
Primm and Jean are typically deserted during the week. Many of the table games are closed. The same can be said of restaurants and amenities. The amusement park at Buffalo Bill’s and the monorail between Whiskey Pete’s and Primm Valley Resort only operate on weekends.
My first stop was at Whiskey Pete’s in Primm. It is the oldest of the properties in Primm. It dates back to the days before there was a highway interchange. Guests at Whiskey Pete’s arriving from California had to drive to Jean and head back south on I-15 to get there decades ago before the area was completely developed.
Whiskey Pete’s was nearly empty. I parked right by the front door.
There were a handful of blackjack tables open. The dealers were idle. A couple of people were playing roulette. All other tables were closed. All blackjack tables pay 6-5 at Whikey Pete’s. The minimum bet is $10. Craps, Three Card Poker and roulette have $5 minimums. There is a $10 Face Up Blackjack that was closed.
The craps odds are 3-4-5 times. The Field only pays double on 12. A player that is accustomed to playing on the Strip may not mind these rules but serious players will find 10 times games or better in locals casinos and in downtown Las Vegas. Many Las Vegas casinos also pay triple on a 12 on the Field.
I went through the video poker machines to see if there was anything playable. There wasn’t. The best game I found was 9/5 Double Double Bonus.
I decided to move on. I could not come up with a single reason why anyone would stop here.
Primm Valley Resort
My next stop was Primm Valley Resort. I got another front row parking space and entered a deserted casino floor. The bar was empty. I checked out the bar video poker and it was full of unplayable games. The main casino floor’s video poker selection mirrored what I found at Whiskey Pete’s.
Primm Valley Resort is home to the only 3-2 blackjack game in Primm. It is a six-deck shoe with a $25 minimum bet and allows double down before and after splitting but not surrender or re-split aces. That table was closed. The only table games open were $5 craps and roulette with a few $10 and $15 6-5 blackjack tables.
Primm Valley offers the only Pai Gow Poker table in Primm. It was also closed. The same can be said of Face Up Blackjack, Three Card Poker and Big Wheel.
The next stop on my Primm trip was Buffalo Bill’s. It seems to be the least visited of the three properties in Primm. There were three cars in valet and 10-15 cars in the parking lot. The table games were almost entirely idle and few people were gambling.
Buffalo Bill’s offers all the same games as Primm Valley Resort except that it substitutes Pai Gow Poker with Free Bet Blackjack that pays 6-5. There is a half craps table that is used during the week and a full one for weekends. There were only four table game players during my visit. Two were on the small craps table and the other two were at a 6-5 blackjack game.
Buffalo Bill’s offers the best video poker out of the three casinos in Primm. The problem is that you have to play $5 denomination to get it. Those machines in the high limit section are 8/5 Bonus Poker and 9/6 Double Double Bonus. These games are near the shuttered buffet.
I found no reason to play these games. In fact, I left Primm without gambling at all.
Gold Strike Jean
I headed back north on I-15 and stopped in Jean at Gold Strike. It was not very busy but it had about as many players as all three Primm casinos combined. This surprised me as I encountered emptiness on my previous visits after new ownership took out all of the full pay games.
There are four tables at Gold Strike. One is a $5 single deck that pays 6-5. There are two $5 shoe games that also pay 6-5. There is also a $4 double zero roulette table.
I found one full pay game still left at Gold Strike. It is 9/6 Jacks or Better on a handful of Game Kings just inside the front door. It is only spread in the $1 denomination. I took advantage of the free $10 after wagering $200 on this game. That offer is made to any new player that creates a rewards card account.
I decided to play some video blackjack on the Dealers Angel machine that has been there for years. This game stands on all 17’s and permits double down before and after splitting. Surrender is available. It is better than any video blackjack game found in Las Vegas.
The house edge for this game is just 0.33%. The players card cuts this down to 0.23% before mailers. It also paid about 0.2% in comps, though I cannot figure out what I would ever use them on. It sounds like they give rooms away to players for about $10 in comp points but I had no use for that. Otherwise there is a Denny’s, snack bar and basic steakhouse.
I played the video blackjack for a couple of hours before hitting the road. It was by far the only fun game I found among the four casinos.
Gold Strike sent me a $50 free play and free hotel room based on my video poker and blackjack play. It was delivered by mail three days after my visit. I probably averaged about $8 a hand on the video blackjack game and $5 bets on video poker.
I walked around Gold Strike while I was there. I noticed the south hotel tower was reopened. When I inquired about it I was told that four floors of that tower had been remodeled and reopened by the new owners. MGM shuttered this 500-room tower in 2011 as business conditions in Jean failed to recover from the recession. The new owners must see some promise in Jean to remodel and reopen it.
I cannot think of any reason to stop in Primm. I guess roller coaster enthusiasts may want to check out Desperado on weekends. Overall, the gambling is terrible. The food prices that I experienced are, too. Gas prices are more than $1 higher than Las Vegas and all stations had the same price on my visit so make sure to fill up in the larger cities.
Jean was somewhat amusing. It was a unique experience in a casino that’s flirted with obsolescence for years. There is a movie car exhibit that some may find interesting. Otherwise, the only thing to do here is gamble, unless you want to hit one of their restaurants or need somewhere to crash. If you’re going to gamble here, play the $1 denomination Jacks or Better or video blackjack.