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Clueless gambling advice needed for Vegas!

Clueless gambling advice needed for Vegas!

Old May 15, 18, 10:16 am
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Clueless gambling advice needed for Vegas!

Hi Everyone,

So I'm off to Vegas this week with work. I should have some free time to explore. I've been to Vegas very briefly before, and had a wander around, seen the sign, poked my head into the casinos, but not done much else. Now, gambling holds very little interest, but I thought seeing as i'm in Vegas, and i'm not paying for flights or accommodation, I might as well have a go.

So can anyone recommend some a "friendly" not too busy casino to head to? I'm planning on spending no more than $100, so ideally i'd want somewhere with cheaper games (IIRC the big casinos only have more expensive chips?). I'm staying near the Bellagio, so can get anywhere around the strip, or else grab an Uber and head elsewhere. Oh, and somewhere that does free drinks would be great!

Thanks for any advice!
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Old May 15, 18, 12:59 pm
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Hi,

Others maybe able to give better advice ( and you may want to get this thread moved to the dedicated Las Vegas forum) but if you are at the tables or slots at all casinos the drinks will be "free" ( you are expected to tip the waitress)

The Station casinos ( several of them around Las Vegas) will be cheaper than the strip and the casinos in downtown las vegas should also be cheaper. The tables in the strip casinos will have higher minimums at the weekend I believe

Regards

TBS
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Last edited by The _Banking_Scot; May 15, 18 at 1:14 pm
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Old May 15, 18, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by The _Banking_Scot View Post
Hi,

Others maybe able to give better advice ( and you may want to get this thread moved to the dedicated Las Vegas forum) but if you are at the tables or slots at all casinos the drinks will be "free" ( you are expected to tip the waitress)

The Station casinos ( several of them around Las Vegas) will be cheaper than the strip and the casinos in downtown las vegas should also be cheaper. The tables in the strip casinos will have higher minimums at the weekend I believe

Regards

TBS
Thank you! I didn't even see the Las Vegas thread. Doh! I was wondering why there was nothing on this thread about it!
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Old May 15, 18, 4:56 pm
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Hi,

And if you are flying with BA from LHR T3 as a BA Gold you can use all OW lounges in T3 ( Cathay is very good) - if you have not already seen the thread in the BA forum

Regards

TBS
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Old May 16, 18, 3:10 pm
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$100 bankroll isn't going to get you very far in Vegas. This is a reasonable guide to bankroll for a three hour session, and $100 means about $2 table game bets or nickel slots/video poker. Not a lot of places on the Strip are offering $2 table minimums or good odds at that low action (or really, much of anywhere in Vegas, but "I need to play at $5 minimums or less" is less ridiculous off Strip). This is true for video poker, slots or for table games- Strip gaming is for tourists and doesn't offer the best odds until you're playing with large sums of money (like $100+ a hand).

I'd head over to Ellis Island on Koval or Casino Royale and see if you can find a $5 table, that is how you'd be able to extend your action the longest. The microbrew beer at Ellis Island is $2.25, which is close enough to free. Their specials in the coffee shop are decent and good value. This also saves you the cost of an Uber since both are in easy walking distance of the Bellagio.

If you want to Uber it somewhere with low limits, in downtown Vegas the El Cortez has $3 craps and double deck blackjack, $5 single deck and some decent nickel slots/video poker. Both versions of blackjack offer better odds than the 6/8 deck shoes or (shudder) continuous shuffling machines you will find at Strip casinos. Avoid any blackjack where blackjack pays at 6:5. You want 3:2.
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Old May 16, 18, 3:56 pm
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It's very easy to gamble cluelessly. Just sidle up to any blackjack table and keep asking for cards until the count goes above 21.
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Old May 19, 18, 8:47 pm
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I'm going to give a long answer to this question because it might be helpful to others:

1) Where to play?

There are all manners of casinos in Vegas. Those on the strip are by far the most expensive, in terms of table minimums. A tiny percentage of tables might be $3 minimum (I think Hooters advertises $3 blackjack) but mostly you're looking at $5. Your options are Downtown, or off-strip. I find Ellis Island kind of small and dark, and the last time I was there, there was pretty much nobody at the only crap table. But there are lots of off-strip places, Ellis Island, Tuscany, Hooters, if you go the opposite direction Palace Station, but my fairly strong recommendation would be Orleans. It's quite large and well-lighted, high ceilings give it a spacious feeling, and you can almost always find a $5 crap table and it's rare to not find a $5 blackjack table (but on weekend evenings, no promises). As noted elsewhere, they all have free drinks but you should tip the waitress a buck or two. The minimum Uber fare in Vegas is, I think, $7.75, and Orleans would be a minimum fare ride from Bellagio, or you could walk it if you're staying south or west of Bellagio. (You'll have to take Tropicana across the freeway.)

2) What to play?

If you don't want to learn the rules, you're pretty much stuck with slot machines on the money wheel (that spinner that has symbols or dollar bills on it). Slots have lousy odds, and in practice you can't really hope to win, only to lose slowly enough that your money lasts a while.

By far the best bet for the uninitiated is the pass line at craps. Find a site that explains it. I once calculated that I could play craps for an expected cost of $2.65 an hour, not including tips to the waitress. Don't play anything but the pass line and the free odds bets. The house advantage is 1.4% on the pass line and 0% (yes, no house advantage) on the free odds, but the other bets on the layout have house advantages up to 16.7%.

If you want to play anything else, read up on it. A terrific site is WizardsOfOdds.com, which has strategy and odds on about any game you'll find. But if you want to play blackjack but not learn the basis book strategy, you'll increase the house advantage a lot. (Also, don't play the side bets like Lucky Ladies or whatever else they have, because the house advantage on those bets runs up to 25%). There is blackjack and blackjack variations (my personal favorite is Blackjack Switch), 3-card poker, pai gow poker, and some other card games. But you have to learn the rules and the basic strategy.

Roulette looks pretty simple and it is, but the odds are awful. House advantage of 5.26%, 3 1/2 times as much as the pass line at craps.

Bacarat is very very simple, and you can put on a tux and pretend you're James Bond, but I haven't seen a bacarat table outside the high rollers lounge in forever. They have something called "Mini-bacarat" but I'm not familiar with it It's similar to blackjack but the rules for hitting are fixed for both the player and the dealer, and you can bet on either the player or the dealer (but the odds slightly favor the dealer so you pay a commission on winning bets on the dealer).

3) What to expect?

Expect to lose. Someone noted that $100 isn't much of a bankroll for a $5 minimum, and I agree. I would estimate that maybe 1 time in 10-15, I lose $100 in an hour. My long-run estimate may be $2.65 an hour, but as the famous economist John Maynard Keynes said, "In the long run, we are all dead." Hope to not lose much, or to have your money last a while. Have a good time. Drink until you can't tell the difference between "Blessed be Mordachai" and "Cursed be Hamaan." (Jewish joke.) Talk to people. If it's not fun, find something else to do. If you go downtown and it's dark, catch the light show on Fremont Street, or if you're on the strip, the fountain show at Bellagio (which I never get tired of).
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Old May 20, 18, 9:33 am
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I'd look into a book on limit poker OP.

If you stick to LIMIT poker, you don't have to worry about going all in etc. Install the Bravo Poker app on your phone to see who's offering... IIRC the Golden Nugget has a game.

You can last longer in poker than many games since you aren't obligated to bet unless you're the small blind or big blind (2/8 or 2/10 decision points)
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Old May 23, 18, 10:05 am
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Originally Posted by redtop43 View Post
There are all manners of casinos in Vegas. Those on the strip are by far the most expensive, in terms of table minimums. A tiny percentage of tables might be $3 minimum (I think Hooters advertises $3 blackjack) but mostly you're looking at $5.
I don't think you meant it to read this way, but it may be interpreted as such, so I'd just clarify -- you will be very, very, unlikely to find $5 tables at the Strip casinos (maybe O'Shea's?), and if you do it's for something like Let it Ride where you really have to bet $10 or $15 to stay in.

By far the best bet for the uninitiated is the pass line at craps. Find a site that explains it. I once calculated that I could play craps for an expected cost of $2.65 an hour, not including tips to the waitress. Don't play anything but the pass line and the free odds bets. The house advantage is 1.4% on the pass line and 0% (yes, no house advantage) on the free odds, but the other bets on the layout have house advantages up to 16.7%.
You allude to it later in your post, but worth highlighting - volatility (swings) in craps can be very large. I think even $5 pass with 2x odds would really need a $200 bankroll to withstand a cold table. BTW, playing just the pass line can be boring. I often recommending come bets as well (with odds) which are effectively the same, but obviously now you're increasing your overall bet and that $200 can go very quickly with a few bad rolls. Lastly, I'd note that placing the 6 and 8 (in multiples of $6) have decent odds, I think about 1.5%, so I wouldn't shy away from that as well.

But if you want to play blackjack but not learn the basis book strategy, you'll increase the house advantage a lot. (Also, don't play the side bets like Lucky Ladies or whatever else they have, because the house advantage on those bets runs up to 25%).
Worth mentioning that the strip casinos have been increasing their house advantage over time with seemingly minor changes in the table rules. It's rare to find "Dealer stands on soft 17" even at $25 tables in the big casinos these days when it used to be widespread. Under $25, it seems as if a blackjack only pays 6:5 now, vs. how it's supposed to be 3:2. But I *think* you can usually still surrender on 15 or 16 against a 10, which IIRC is basic strategy. But I rarely play BJ anymore in LV...

Last edited by ijgordon; May 23, 18 at 10:13 am
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Old May 23, 18, 11:36 am
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You could also spend a couple hours at slot machines at Bellagio or any of the strip casinos (they have lots of them with 25-50 cent minimum bets). I know, it's not as cool as table games but it can still be fun and it's a nicer atmosphere than some of the smokey off-strip places. I had a few small wins there last week ($100 one day and $250 the next). I eventually lost it all back but it allowed me to keep playing for quite awhile and have a few "free" drinks.
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Old May 26, 18, 11:55 am
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Originally Posted by greggarious View Post
I'd look into a book on limit poker OP.

If you stick to LIMIT poker, you don't have to worry about going all in etc. Install the Bravo Poker app on your phone to see who's offering... IIRC the Golden Nugget has a game.

You can last longer in poker than many games since you aren't obligated to bet unless you're the small blind or big blind (2/8 or 2/10 decision points)
+1 to this. Mirage usually lays $3/$6 limit with a few tables going. There's also the $2/$4 game at the Flamingo but I don't recommend it for beginnersólots of local retirees use it as their social club and they will beat you every time. Mirage is all tourists and there's just not enough money at stake in a low-limit game to attract any pros so the games are pretty soft. Perfect for a beginner.

Skim Lee Jones' "Winning Low Limit Poker" before you go, play a tight game and you can enjoy the table for a long time on a $100 bankroll.
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Old May 26, 18, 3:16 pm
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Agree with txflyer77. I might add that the Excalibur has a 2-6 SPREAD limit game, which means that you can raise up to $6 at any time, even pre-flop if you want to. The games at the Mirage and the Flamingo are referred to as STRUCTURED games, because there is a structure to the betting. For example, at the Mirage the structure is 3-3-6-6 during the four rounds of betting in a hand.
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Old May 31, 18, 2:14 pm
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$2 or $3 blackjack downtown (God, I hope those games still exist). BJ is the most social game (most of the time the players will chat it up with each other), and will generally help a newbie out with strategy if you announce that you don't know what you're doing.

You can make $100 last for several hours at a low-limit table...plenty of time to drink your fill of free Corona&lime.

You will NOT enjoy poker, trust me.
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Old Jun 3, 18, 9:39 am
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The way I meant my post to be was: "You will find the occasional $3 table but mostly you're looking at $5 minimum off-strip, and at least $10 on the strip and often $15."

The point on poker is well-taken but both poker and blackjack require a significant amount of learning. I've played poker just twice. Once was a low-limit tournament at Circus Circus because I had a friend playing. The other was a $1-4 limit hold'em game at Bellagio. I had been kibbitzing a friend who is a good player playing $10-20 for about 10-12 hours, and he suggested I try to play on my own and just imitate his strategy. We were bridge partners and played at a fairly high level so I considered myself astute at "cards." I played for over an hour, didn't win a pot, and lost a bit over $100. I didn't really have a good time.

The point about come and 6/8 is well-taken also, but they will increase your volatility and the OP seemed mainly to want to play as long as possible on a $100 bankroll.

Slots are a reasonable way to pass the time but you will have a losing session probably 90% of the time, where at table games I'd say it's more like 60-65%.

I don't really ever remember playing where a dealer stood on soft 17, and I've been playing for 35 years. However, I won't play if blackjack pays 6:5. It just offends me. I mostly play at Four Queens which I think is 6:5 but I play blackjack switch there, so that rule change doesn't matter. (Blackjack switch always pays even money on blackjacks.)
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Old Jun 5, 18, 10:03 am
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Simply excellent!
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