The main hotel/casino, on North Sierra Street, was originally opened in 1978 as the Sahara Reno. In 1981, the Sahara became the Hilton Reno, then renovated in 1989 and became the Flamingo Hilton. In early October, 2001, Park Place Entertainment agreed to sell the property to RFC Reno, LLC, a subsidiary of Capital One, LLC, with sale completion expected within about 30 days. Park Place Entertainment closed the Flamingo on October 23, 2001. The hotel was re-opened, by the new owners, as the Golden Phoenix, in April 2002. The casino was finally re-opened in the Fall of 2002. The 2003 movie The Cooler was filmed there during the remodeling. While the Golden Phoenix's Virginia Street Casino remained open, the hotel tower and casino on N. Sierra Street closed in 2005 and are currently undergoing conversion to the Montage condominiums.
As reported in the nationally syndicated gaming advice column written by Mark Pilarski, the Golden Phoenix was the site of the longest craps shooting roll in Nevada history. A shooter began his roll of the dice on Saturday evening, November 15th, 2003 at approximately 11 PM, and did not roll a "seven" (neither a seven "out" nor a seven "winner") until approximately 2:15 AM Sunday morning. This incredible turn cost the club a mere $70,000; however, due to the management's inability to keep an accurate count of their losses as they occurred, the table's boxman and the casino shift manager were terminated as a result of the players' good fortune.
The long roll broke the previous unofficial Nevada record established years earlier at the California Club in Las Vegas.
As of October 2006, the Virginia Street casino was closed and is currently undergoing a complete remodel. Only the structural steel and concrete was retained from the old building. The Montage condos will open in 2009 with retail and restaurants on the first floor. A plaza on the north side of the building that expands over the train trench is currently under construction. The plaza side of the building will be the location of the planned Ruth Chris Steakhouse.