The Riv is like your kinda-cool grandma. There's a lot of potential, but it's just not that cool. Nestled between two vacant lots, the Riv is close to almost nothing. The show quality is low, and there are plenty of hidden fees added to show tickets. The rooms are actually pretty nice, updated, and have great views. The pool is old school deep and oval. Tables seem high for this low end joint.
This casino dates from the 50s. It has been having severe financial problems for years. One big problem is the lack of foot traffic. There just aren't any tourists walking on the strip that far north. This is because there is only one neighboring casino--the Circus Circus. Another neighbor, the Sahara, just closed. There is a huge and unfinished casino next door; the Fountainebleau was started and like 70% complete before the financing collapsed.
The best blackjack game here is the virtual machine. Be sure to play the one that pays 3-2 for a blackjack. There is also a virtual roulette game that is quite popular.
The poker games here are full of tourists and are among the best on the strip. But there is usually a game only at night.
There is a small Sports book and a bar with inexpensive beer too. But stay away from the eatery next to the sportsbook: it's called Crazy Leroy's and I became very ill after eating there once.There is also a British pub with good sandwiches.