Baseball is my game of choice when I’m at the sportsbook. I’ve loved baseball for my whole life. I play multiple games a week, in part, because it’s nice having a little action while I’m watching the games. When football season gets here I’ll be playing college and pro and when the NBA season kicks off I’ll play that. All of these sports give me a major sport, that I enjoy, to wager on all year around.
I step outside of the sports that I like every now and again when there are major events that I know I’ll be reading about and be curious to watch. I’ll wager on March Madness, Daytona 500 and some of the major Golf tournaments throughout the year. This year I bet on Jason Day to win The Masters. He hung around for the entire tournament and forced me to watch the whole tournament before finally losing. I had a bet on Graeme McDowell to win The British Open and he was out before the first day was even over. Losing stinks but I was able to enjoy my weekend.
Last weekend, at the PGA Championship, I had Henrik Stenson (25-1)and he made me miserable. I couldn’t turn away from the tournament but I couldn’t watch it because I didn’t really care about anything but my bet. He was in and out of contention all weekend making me curious enough to stay near a TV so I could always keep an eye on the bet. The odds for most of these players are somewhere between 20-1 and 50-1 so there is potential to collect a nice win on the line.
I used to play golf pretty often but haven’t played in a while. At this rate I’m not sure I’ll pick up the sticks any time soon. The longer it is since the last time I played golf the less interested in watching the pro game I am. Still, I have a little curiosity about gambling on these tournaments because it’s nice to hit a relatively long shot regardless of my enjoyment watching the game.
Betting on golf can be awful because of that. If my player has an awful first day or two then I have no hope to win my bet. If the player does well I’m stuck watching. Wagering on golf a lose-lose proposition – especially because I can’t pick a winner.
Betting on golf can be great for some people who enjoy the game because you can spend 4 days in a sportsbook rooting for a $5 bet which may pay as much as $500. I’m not one of those people and I think I’m done betting on golf…until the next time I can bet on Jason Day at 20-1. Damn, I think I’m already back.
Ryan Seacrest loves craps and there are pictures to prove it on TMZ. Unfortunately, it seems as if the dice didn’t roll his way on a recent trip to Monte CarloCasino (Monaco not Las Vegas).
Our eyewitness on scene says there was no limit posted on the table so its unclear how much the A.I. host dropped … but after 30 minutes of rollin’, we’re told he lost a majority of his stack and eventually decided to play some roulette instead.
My love for craps is no secret and I write about it as often as I can. Craps isn’t the most mainstream game so whenever I see the mainstream media covering a celebrity playing the game I get a little giddy.
I’m holding out hope that some day I’ll end up rolling dice with one of the random sports stars that frequent the poker room at Red Rock Resort since I’m there fairly often. Many former athletes, like Orel Hershiser, have made the Red Rock poker room their Vegas home when they want to play the game and not be bothered.
If you’ve seen the documentary “Lemmy” you may have noticed that Lemmy from Motorhead plays slot machines at Red Rock. It’s more likely we’ll end up next to one another.
Last night @ericrz sent me a tweet with this pretty cool video for Scoshe Bluetooth SmartROLL Electronic Gaming Dice from the E3 (video game) Expo this week. I love craps and the demo was setup to show how the bluetooth dice worked with a craps game on a tablet. Check it out.
The crap demo looks super cool but at first glance the technology for SmartROLL looks like it would be better suited for a digital version of a board game than a craps game.
Seeing technology like this from a non-gaming conference excites me for what I’ll see at the next Global Gaming Expo (G2E) later this year.
SmartROLL will be available to the public later this year. You can find more info on SmartROLL on the Scosche website.
When I first heard about Downtown Grandopening next year I was stoked for multiple reasons. Between the new bars, restaurants and the new hotel the plans for this downtown casino seem as big as a lot of the Vegas strip casino openings. In total, Vegas Chatter says there will be 17 bars and restaurants as part of Downtown Grand but that’s not the most exciting part of Downtown Grand.
Downtown Grand’s gaming can and will spill onto Third Street. Third Street between the coming Pizza Rock(taking over the Celebrity Theater) and the Downtown Grand is privately owned. Executives say they have the licensing to bring gaming to the streets and will do so. And, that includes table games and slots.
That’s right…gambling in the streets! A couple of weeks ago I wrote that my dream casino bar would be outdoors and this almost makes that dream come true. While not specifically a bar with TV’s outside there will be gaming in the warm summer nights.
Even though the initial renderings don’t show 3rd street being closed off to automobile traffic I have to imagine that it will be at some point. It doesn’t make good sense to have blackjack and craps tables rolled out into the street for a beautiful night of gaming if there’s potential for cars to drive by. Although the image of this Wayne’s World scene with casino games if fun…GAME ON!
You may remember the blogger meat up I wrote about last year from Ranch House. These meetups are always a good time with good people and sometimes include good food and good drinks. This time it was all of the above. We met up at Trevi which is inside the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace. Trevi is one of the first restaurants you’ll see when you walk into the Forum Shops from the Caesars Palace casino.
I’ve been to the Forum Shops over a hundred times and never noticed Trevi but I’ve walked by it every time I’ve been there. To my defense I’m usually in a rush heading somewhere in the netherworld deep inside the Forum Shops. I get lost almost every time I’m at the Forum Shops because I don’t pay close attention and I’m not directionally inclined. Back to Trevi.
Trevi has dining inside and “outside” of the restaurant. The “outside” dining is a fenced of part of the forum shops which seats you close to the pretty fountains. If you sit too close to the fountains you’ll realize how loud they can be. The airy feeling is nice but head inside if you don’t want to be seen or would prefer less noise.
While everyone else was sampling the fancy cocktails or some wine I decided to fix a craving I had with a perfectly made Grey Goose Orange and Soda. This picture looks so good that I want two or three more like I had at Trevi. Right. Now. This was the perfect way to begin the night.
We ate family style and the first course brought the excellent meatballs at the top of the page and this very cool chicken parmesan appetizer. What could make chicken parm cool? Look at the picture…the cheese is in the middle. There was little sauce which is just the way I like it and this made the dish very neat and easy to manage. That’s not always the case with chicken parm.
Between the meatballs and chicken parm I barely touched the main courses. I wanted to keep room for dessert and I dipped into something called gooey chocolate cake. The outside may look dry but when I dove inside and grabbed some of that hot fudge everything was all good. The fresh berries made for a perfect palate cleanser.
The small plates above shared with a friend would make for a perfect happy hour. Trevi’s happy hour is called Trevi Time and they offer similar plates for $6. Not bad.
This wasn’t an ordinary day on the Vegas strip. You may remember the tragic shootout last week where three people died and a car blew up. That closed part of the strip so I decided to cut my travel during the day in two. This is why traffic didn’t seem too bad.
I worked from The Venetian food court for a couple hours before heading to dinner. While drinking one of the best latte’s ever I noticed this incredibly animated dude sitting across from me. Unfortunately he took off shortly after I took this picture and we didn’t meet but I think I’d like to play craps with him some day.
Note: The food and drink were complimentary but my thoughts are my own. If you want to see more pictures from dinner at Trevi, check out the tumblr.
Old Vegas became Downtown Vegas over the past few years because of a myriad of changes to the area. There have been a lot of additions to the area but the places I care most about are the casinos. Many of the Downton Vegas casinos have been renovated over the past few years. Some renovations are better than others. Here are my favorite Downtown Vegas casino renovations.
1. the D – The D casino used to be Fitzgeralds but a complete overhaul of the property last year turned it into something entirely new and awesome. I know I’ve been inside The Fitz but I have no memory of it. The D has two very contrasting floors of its casino. The first floor is incredibly energetic (and loud) with great craps and good 3:2 blackjack. The loud music gives beats that the Go-Go dancers in between table games can dance to. Upstairs has a more mellow vibe with slower music and more machine games. This is where you’ll find Sigma Derby, old video poker and slot machines. It’s a fun contrast and easily one of my favorite places downtown. Photo: Yelp
2. El Cortez – El Cortez was the first casino to renovate and the renovations almost seem old compared to the other casinos in downtown Vegas. The renovations being a little older than the other downtown Vegas casinos allows El Cortez to easily have the most real vintage feel. Besides having great gaming rules (3:2 blackjack, 10x odds craps) rules and cheap gaming ($5 blackjack, $3 craps) they give away free ice cream and free pie periodically. I love El Cortez. Photo: AllVegasPoker.com
3. Golden Gate – Golden Gate is the oldest downtown Vegas hotel and last year’s renovations go a long way to keep that vibe. The renovations were all done to a roarin 20’s theme. The casino is very small and can be claustrophobic to some but that coziness brings great energy to the tables. Golden Gate has the same owners as the D so much of the gaming is the same. The main difference is that the video poker here is not very good and some of the blackjack games use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (I hate CSM!). Most of the dealers at night are also G0-Go dancers. That doesn’t hurt. This is probably my favorite downtown Vegas casino to play craps (ironically, no go-go dancers are craps dealers). Photo: Priceline
Honorable Mention. Gold Spike – Gold Spike is a tiny casino off Fremont Street. The casino is made up of 4 blackjack tables. That’s it (I think). Gold Spike is fairly useless with the exception of $5 sexy blackjack. $5 sexy blackjack isn’t really sexy but it’s fun. Gold Spike is more of a change of pace than anything else. Drink service is super quick since it’s small and never busy.
Other: The Plaza – This is my least favorite of the renovated casinos downtown. There is just no vibe at all here. It’s clean, big and new but that’s about it. Odds are if I’m at this end of Fremont Street I’m probably across the street rolling dice or eating pancakes at DuPar’s inside the Golden Gate.
When I wrote about the change of Old Vegas to Downtown Vegas I highlighted my love for El Cortez. El Cortez has a lot of history and great gambling. Throughout the year they do little things to incentivize people to visit. Here are some of my favorite promotions they ran last year.
FREE WHITE CASTLE – The sliders at White Castle are an east coast late night staple but they don’t have any restaurants in Las Vegas. Enter El Cortez who periodically offers free White Castle burgers to guests. I don’t even like White Castle sliders but I flipped out when I saw this. I’ll eat a free burger! Unfortunately they don’t fly the burgers in from an actual restaurant. They just purchased the microwavable sliders you can get an any gas station. This is fun but actually kind of nasty for a midday snack.
FREE KLONDIKE BARS – It should come as no surprise that the summer in Las Vegas is HOT. What better time to have ice cream than when it’s 120 degrees outside. El Cortez is located just north of the Fremont Street Experience canopy and that means a few minutes in direct sunlight for most tourists. Free ice cream is a perfect midday treat! This summer I saw a sign that wins you a free Klondike Bar from the El Cortez if you hit a jackpot in Video Poker for $25 or more on a Wednesday. I actually saw this promotion two years ago too. I’ll eat free ice cream!
FREE PIE – A free slice of pie is one of the favorite recurring promotions at El Cortez. Not only will the El Cortez will bring you drinks to the gaming table or machine but a few times a year they will also serve you a slice of pie. The pie changes depending on season. I’ve seen apple, blueberry and pecan pie (below) offered. I’ve never been at the El Cortez when they are serving pie but I’d definitely take them up on the offer for a slice of pie!
FREE STEAK – You know I love steak and the prospect of winning a free steak dinner is something that I could normally find myself playing Video Poker for. There are two unfortunate parts of this promotion. 1. I had a pretty bad experience at the steakhouse at El Cortez (See review for The Flame at Vegas Chatter). 2. I don’t like to play the coin-in machines where the sign is located. Call me dainty but I’m over the coin dirt on my hands. This is available all year long. The only way I’d visit The Flame again is if my steak was free.
These are just some of the fun promotions El Cortez offers their customers. These are all fun promotions and are the kind of independent thinking that attract me to a casino. The cost of most of these items are about $1 but to tell someone that I won a Klondike Bar or was served a slice of pie at the craps table is priceless.
I hope strange and different promotions like this continue at El Cortez and the other Downtown Vegas casinos.
Most gaming on the Vegas Strip is worse than those offered in downtown Vegas but that’s not entirely true when it comes to dice. Craps on the Vegas strip is almost the same at every casino but there are a few locations that stand out being better than the rest. Here’s the breakdown.
100x – The Cromwell
10x – SLS Las Vegas, Stratosphere
3-4-5x – Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Casino Royale, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The Quad, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Palazzo, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Venetian
2x – Circus Circus, Wynn/Encore
3-4-5 Craps is the norm on the strip and that’s fine. Regardless of the odds craps still has some of the lowest house edges in the casino. The difference between 3-4-5 and 100x odds is fairly small and not enough to make me go somewhere I don’t want. That said, if Cosmopolitan or somewhere nice had a 100x odds game they would likely find me at the table.
Note: If you know different odds at any of the casinos please leave a comment. This craps survey was updated 3/2018.
I’ve been talking about a lot of the upcoming changes to the Vegas strip lately. I’m all for change and I’m pretty stoked about what the future of the Vegas strip will bring. It won’t be the Las Vegas that I came to love over the years but that’s what Vegas is and I’m cool with it.
When I first started visiting Las Vegas we used to take part of a day to visit “Old Vegas”. We saw what Vegas used to be. It was fun to go from Bellagio to the El Cortez and see the difference between new luxury and old n dirty. This was before renovations began to Old Vegas around 10 years ago. What’s happening to the Vegas strip has been happening downtown for years and its awesome.
The first downtown renovations I remember happened to one of my favorite downtown Vegas casino – El Cortez. The burnt felt was replaced around 6 years ago. Around that time they stopped asking if “El Cortez can buy me a drink” and beer stopped being served in dented cans. Bottles only. The charm was gone and so was I.
I needed to let the changes to soak in. This was just the beginning and I wasn’t ready for a new and modern El Cortez (or anywhere for that matter). Old Vegas was becoming Downtown Vegas.
Downtown Vegas is still old, technically. The renovations to many of the casinos and bars are just lipstick on a pig. New paint, new felt. Low brow fancy, but not really fancy. In addition to renovations there have been a lot of new bars and restaurants popping up in Downtown Vegas. You can see some on the wikipedia page for Fremont Street.
It took a while for me to be OK with the changes to Old Vegas. Now, downtown Vegas is one of my favorite parts of Las Vegas. If I just want to grab coffee and wifi I’ll head to The Beat. If I want to play craps, I’ll head to Main Street Station, the D or El Cortez. If I’m in the mood to drink? I’ll head to Mob Bar and get a cheap crash pad somewhere. There is a lot of fun to be had downtown and, even though it took me a while, I dig the change from old Vegas.
I’ll go into brief detail with some of my favorite changes to old Vegas…err downtown Vegas next week.
You may have noticed that I’ve been posting where the best video poker in Las Vegas is recently since I’ve had trips staying at Main Street Station downtown and at Encore on the Vegas strip. A few weeks ago I was asked where the best craps games can be found in Las Vegas. Interesting.
I thought I knew the answer but wasn’t entirely sure. I only know the craps odds at casinos I visit but I don’t know the craps odds at every casino in Las Vegas. I’m not that good. At least I wasn’t.
Countless searches showed only very old craps odds – like pre-2010 old. I finally found odds that seem fairly up-to-date on Wizard Of Vegas. Here are the breakdowns of the best craps odds at downtown Las Vegas casinos (sorted best to worst).
Main Street Station – 20x Odds
The D – 10x Odds
El Cortez – 10x Odds
Golden Gate – 10x Odds
Las Vegas Club – 10x Odds
Binions – 5x Odds
Four Queens – 5x Odds
Golden Nugget – 3-4-5x Odds
The Plaza – 3-4-5x Odds
California – 2x Odds
Fremont – 2x Odds
You’ll notice that Gold Spike is missing from this list of downtown casinos with the best craps. I don’t believe they have craps. They have Sexy Blackjack and I don’t think they could promote Sexy Craps so they just stick with blackjack.
It should come as no surprise that Main Street Station has the best craps downtown. Craps at Main Street Station has almost even odds. Probably the best thing about craps at Main Street Station is that it’s affordable for most gamblers.
Playing full odds at a Main Street Station craps table is $100 on a $5 bet. This is one of the most affordable smart bets you can make in a casino. Full odds on 100x or 1000x times a $5 bet is pricey even though the returns are as close to even as you will find at a craps table.
The Wizard of Vegas survey hasn’t been updated since the D replaced Fitzgerald’s but most of the list seems up to date. Feel free to comment if know of different odds. I’ll be glad to update this list.
Photo – flickr jcnikon (PS: I know this picture isn’t downtown, but the downtown craps table pics weren’t interesting)