Best Cheap Blackjack On The Vegas Strip

Cheap Blackjack Cards
Blackjack

There are about as many good cheap blackjack games on the Vegas Strip as you might have expected. In other words, there aren’t many. Where you do find good cheap blackjack you should expect that there are only one or two of these tables at most of the casinos listed below. They should be easy to spot since you’ll probably see a large crowd at these tables so you might have to wait for a seat.

For simplicity, I’m using $15 as the cut off for cheap blackjack and just listing the house edge of the games. I’m also listing the casinos alphabetically, and not by the smallest house edge. You can see the full survey here. The list is great and has information on all blackjack at every casino in Las Vegas.

Bally’s – House Edge: 0.57
Caesars Palace – House Edge: 0.57
The Cromwell – House Edge: 0.57
Excalibur – House Edge: 0.66
Flamingo (and Margaritaville) – House Edge: 0.57
The Linq – House Edge: 0.57
Harrah’s – House Edge: 0.55
New York – New York – House Edge: 0.48
Paris – House Edge: 0.57
Planet Hollywood – House Edge: 0.57
SLS Las Vegas – House Edge: 0.48
Treasure Island – House Edge: 0.46 and 0.48
Tropicana – House Edge: 0.57

Updated: March 10, 2017

Random Vegas Info From MGM Resorts

Random Vegas Info from MGM Resorts
Random Vegas Info from MGM Resorts

I’m easily amused. I find random information like the infographic above and the notes below fun and relatively useful. Thanks to this blog post you can now amaze your friends with useless Vegas knowledge from MGM Resorts like:

“Hey, did you know that Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York served 100,000 pints of Guinness?”

  • 7,982,550 pillows fluffed at MGM Grand
  • 3.2 million people who visited The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
  • 1 million Hershey’s Kisses distributed across Las Vegas to celebrate the opening of Hershey’s Chocolate World at New York-New York 
  • 729,753 pizza slices served at Shawn McClain’s FIVE50 Pizza Bar at ARIA
  • 267,436 toilet paper rolls used by the Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo
  • 100,000 pints of Guinness gulped at New York-New York’s Nine Fine Irishmen
  • 96,719 pounds of crab legs cracked at The Buffet at ARIA
  • 52,640 massages and facials enjoyed at Spa Bellagio
  • 46,363 margaritas sipped at Hecho en Vegas at MGM Grand
  • 34,580 costume changes by the Jabbawockeez at Luxor
  • 11,336 shows performed by The Fountains of Bellagio
  • 8,464 ice cream flavor combinations offered at BLVD Creamery since its May 2014 opening at Monte Carlo
  • 5,704 corks collected at Rock ‘n Roll Wine Amplified Festival at MGM Resorts Village
  • 5,472 roses distributed by Boyz II Men during “I’ll Make Love to You” at The Mirage
  • $5,000 – The most expensive dish purchased; 26 Fleurburgers sold at Fleur in Mandalay Bay
  • 1,117 ice buckets in the shape of FDR’s hat box, in the suites at Delano Las Vegas
  • 520 victories at Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings
  • 360 pounds of caviar spooned at The Buffet Bellagio
  • 3 new white lion cubs at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage

 

Ranking MGM Las Vegas Hotels By Revenue

Bellagio Las Vegas Hotel And Fountain Show at Night
Bellagio At Night

Ranking casinos owned by the same company comes in handy more often than you think. If you’re looking for cheaper rooms, just look to the bottom of the list. If you’re looking for the most players club comps, just look to the bottom of the list. If you’re looking for better gaming odds, you’ll typically look at the bottom (but not always) of the list . If you want to hang with the masses, look to the top of the list because that’s where the money is being spent.

Last week MGM Resorts International reported their quarterly earnings. As part of that information it was easy to pull out how the casino hotels in Las Vegas were doing. In fact, it was real easy since the awesome Stiffs & Georges blog already did it.

  1. Bellagio, $303M
  2. MGM Grand, $255M
  3. Mandalay Bay, $205M
  4. The Mirage, $142M
  5. Luxor, $83M
  6. Excalibur, $70
  7. New York-New York $69M
  8. Monte Carlo, $69M
  9. Circus Circus, $51M

The revenue is fairly in line with how Mlife has the properties ranked when you’re looking for players club comps. If you’re looking at Monte Carlo or New York-New York I recommend you making your plans sooner than later because they should climb the priority chart when the construction is completed next year.

The Mirage is also undergoing a few renovations to freshen it up but it shouldn’t climb much, if any, on the MGM Resorts hotel rankings.

My final thought is more about the revenue for the MGM Resorts hotels than the rankings. It looks like the kiddie corner of the Vegas Strip (Mandalay Bay through Excalibur) is going pretty well. The better the hotels on the south end of the Vegas Strip do the more families and kids it will attract and the less chances that they will have me return as a curious visitor.

If this kiddie corner is creating a niche for MGM Resorts to make more money then it’s a win-win for the company and for me.  It keeps kids away from the casinos I like in Las Vegas and makes MGM Resorts more money.

Photo: Wandermom 

Word Of Advice To Slot Players

Hot Hot Penny Slot Machine
Hot Hot Penny!

One of my go-to references for gaming odds and strategy is Wizard of Odds. I often reference their strategy guides when I’m unsure of the specific math behind game strategy. While looking for some information on slot machines over the weekend I found something that I needed to share.

Most players play penny video slots. Based on past research, I find the house edge on those to usually be set from 6% to 15%. In general, the nicer the casino, the tighter the slots.

I’ve noticed this over the years on both ends of the spectrum. Even though casinos have to meet specific return minimums from slot machines within legal parameters of their respective gaming commissions but I’ve noticed that all hotels cater their slot machines to their customer.

As the quote states I’ve also noticed that the nicer the casino the tighter their lower denomination slot machines tend to be. At the same time the higher denomination slot machines in those high-end casinos tend to be a little looser. The same can be said for some of the lower end casinos who cater to penny slot players. Their penny slot machines will likely return a couple more percentage points.

Casino companies are just marketing to their customer. Wynn, Encore and The Venetian want a higher end customer than Circus Circus, Luxor and Excalibur and their gaming reflects that.

This is just low roller and high roller hotels catering to their customer. There’s nothing shady going on but it is something to be aware of when choosing where you gamble. 

The Pirates Will Live At Treasure Island!

Sirens of TI Boat at Treasure Island Las Vegas
Sirens of TI

A couple of weeks ago Eater Vegas reported that Treasure Island was planning to make changes to its strip frontage. My first thought was that the strip mallification was extending north. My second thought was that the TI Sirens Pirate Show would get axed. Well, it looks like Sirens of TI will remain!

If you’re worried that the addition will mean the end of Sirens, don’t be. Government filings specifically state that the project would be “compatible” with the “design and costumes associated with the pirate ship performance.”

I’ve never watched the entire Sirens of TI show in its entirety. It’s not very good but it’s one of the few remaining attractions that are still in tact from Las Vegas in the 90’s. I’m not very nostalgic of old Vegas (from the 50’s & 60’s) because I didn’t know it.

My memories of Vegas begin around the time of Vegas Vacation ($5 on DVD) and with the fountain show at BellagioThe Mirage volcano and Luxor pyramid. Sirens of TI isn’t on my list of memories but it makes me think of those things and that’s enough to make me care.

The Vegas strip is undergoing massive changes and we’re all losing the different parts of what Vegas used to be. I’m all for change and look forward to a whole new strip in the next few years. Having said that, I’m glad some of the unique characteristics that made Las Vegas a place I came to love remain in tact.

Enjoy Sirens of TI!

Cheap Hotels On The Vegas Strip

Las Vegas lost almost 300 cheap hotel rooms when Bill’s Gambling Hall closed in February. The plan was to replace it with a ultra-cool-young-hip-celebrity-friendly boutique hotel. Caesars Entertainment did that by partnering with Gansevoort and Victor Drai for the new Gansevoort Las Vegas.

As with every new casino Gansevoort Las Vegas will open with prices starting at the top of the market, currently $249, and why not? Last year at G2E a rep from MGM Resorts said that across all of their properties room occupancy is at 90% or more. Cosmopolitan says that they’re regularly almost at 90% capacity. Room rates will continue to rise with increased visitation. Last year I wrote about that the low rates at luxury hotels in Las Vegas were nice while they lasted but things are changing.

Don’t worry there are still plenty of hotel rooms on the Vegas strip (let alone downtown and off strip) that can be had for as low as $20 a night. Of course, you get what you pay for. Here are the least expensive hotels on the Vegas strip.

  • Bally’s
  • Best Western at Casino Royale
  • Circus Circus
  • Excalibur
  • Flamingo
  • Luxor
  • The Mirage
  • Monte Carlo
  • New York New York
  • The Quad
  • Stratosphere
  • Treasure Island
  • Tropicana

There are almost as many luxury hotel rooms on the Vegas strip as there are non-luxury hotel rooms. Las Vegas hotel room rates will continue to rise as demand increases with the better economy. The excess room supply that hurt Las Vegas during the recession will allow overall room rates to remain relatively stable in the future.

For the most part you get what you pay for in Las Vegas and you won’t get the same quality amenities at these hotels as you would at new and/or luxury hotels. This list is a great place to start if you’re looking for hotels with less expensive prices on the Vegas strip. If you’re looking to save even more money look away from the strip. Check out the list of cheap places to stay in Las Vegas.

For now…VIVA LAS VEGAS!

Photo: Las Vegas Guide

Hate Resort Fees? Stay at Casino Royale

With Caesars Entertainment adding a resort fee to all of there hotels in Las Vegas beginning March 1, almost every casino on the Vegas strip has a resort fee. That is except for one.

The Best Western at Casino Royal is the only hotel with a casino on the Vegas strip that doesn’t have a resort fee. The rooms at the Best Western have recently been renovated so they should be what you’d expect at a top notch Best Western.

So, if you want to take a stand on resort fees but still want to stay on the Vegas strip Casino Royale is your only option.

Personally, I don’t care about much resort fees specifically (although I got a little cranky when I saw a $7 resort fee on my $35 room at Silverton). I care about the bottom line. The total cost of the room. The Caesars resort fees will raise all of their room rates by $10-$25 or somewhere from 10% to 40% depending on when and where you stay.

Adding $25 to a $250 room at Caesars Palace this may not be much of a big deal but if you’re staying at The Quad, for example, $10 is about a 25%-40% increase. That’s a hefty increase for a budget hotel.

When all is said and done Bally’s and Harrah’s may still be among the better bargains on the strip along with Monte Carlo and Luxor. Time will tell.

If you reserve rooms with now on the Caesars Semi-Annual sale you won’t be charged a resort fee and you’ll get a discount of 10%-25%.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

MGM Resorts Offering The Coors Light Of Wifi For Free

I like a little girth to my beer and tend to drink darker beers. Coors Light is the beer I’ll drink when I want the flavor of beer but not feel the full effect of a real beer. A couple weeks ago MGM Resorts announced that would be offering free wifi across all of their Las Vegas properties. At first I was stoked…you know me, I love free wifi. Here’s the headline:

Eight MGM Resorts offer free Wi-Fi on the Las Vegas Strip

Great! I spend a lot of time on the Vegas strip and offen grab free wifi to do a couple hours of work. Unfortunately the free MGM wifi is like a light beer and may not be so useful for people like me.

Basic internet access is available with the system for anyone located in public areas such as the lobbies, pool areas, casinos, and restaurants at the named resorts. Use of the internet service will not require a password. Hotel guests will get an upgraded service as part of their stay, and convention attendees or others in need of more bandwidth can upgrade to top internet speeds for a fee.

The new system is expected to be up to 30% faster…

The free wifi service being offered by MGM Resorts is a throttled wifi service. The MGM Resorts free wifi for the public will be 70% of the speed that hotel guests or convention attendees will get with their resort or convention fees. If you’re just stopping by one of the MGM properties you’ll be relegated to the slower speed.

The free MGM wifi isn’t useless. The free wifi at MGM Resorts properties will be good for checking email at speeds quicker than 3G but not for people that are wifi bandwidth hogs like me. I’m a multi-tasker that often has multiple tabs open on a web browser while instant messaging, uploading photos, downloading a podcast, etc. so the throttled speed isn’t perfect.

The wifi speed will be sufficient for most people using mobile web or email but I don’t see the MGM wifi bringing me into their properties to grab a lunch and do a little work. It’s unfortunate, because I’m always looking for an excuse to spend time at Bellagio. I’ll stick with the hotels that offer full access to their wifi connection like The Venetian.

If wifi at 70% speed is enough for you then you can access it at BellagioMandalay BayMirage, and MGM Grand right now with New York-New YorkMonte CarloExcalibur, and Luxor coming on board later this year. I believe Aria has been offering free wifi since it opened.

 

Mandalay Bay Getting Major Facelift

Mandalay Bay has been undergoing a major facelift over the past year or so and will continue through much of this year. It’s about time.

Owner MGM Resorts Internationalembarked on a massive renovation of the 3,000-room resort, the first since it opened in 1999. Construction began late last year and is expected to be completed by summer.

A second phase of construction, slated to start this summer, will rebrand The Hotel as the Delano Las Vegas, with a projected 2014 opening date. MGM officials would not disclose the cost of the projects.

Las Vegas casinos, generally, do some kind of renovation every 6 to 8 years so these changes to Mandalay Bay are a little overdue. Most of the renovations have been annouced piece by piece and none stand alone as being awesome but when but together they have a little more meaning. Vegas Chatter breaks down the changes nicely.

  1. Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil Production
  2. Light
  3. The Delano
  4. A New Adult Day Club Experience
  5. Citizens Kitchen
  6. Another Light Group Restaurant
  7. A New Food Court
  8. Resto Redos
  9. The Casino
  10. A “Lobby-Lounge Experience”

Unfortunately the Mandalay Bay hotel rooms will NOT be renovated as part of the overall updates to the property. I guess that’s a good incentive to spend money on the more expensive rooms at The Delano or Four Seasons.

When I first started visiting Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay was my go-to casino to stay. They had beautiful and large rooms that were always a decent price. The rooms had an amazing oatmeal soap that I’ll never forget. They also had a light in the closet that turned on when the doors were opened. These two things were luxurious to me at the time.

Since I moved to Las Vegas I’ve barely spent time at Mandalay Bay because it’s secluded from the rest of the strip. Having low to mid tier properties (Luxor and Excalibur) blocking it from the rest of the strip does not help. Hopefully these renovations build a new life into Mandalay Bay and give me an excuse to go back in time.

Photo: flickr – judithlynn

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

Best Craps On The Vegas Strip

Craps Table At Luxor
Craps Table At Luxor

As the year ended I looked at the best craps in downtown Las Vegas and didn’t find anything too surprising. Main Street Station has the best odds for a craps game downtown.

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.

  1. 100x – The Cromwell
  2. 10x – SLS Las Vegas, Stratosphere
  3. 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
  4. 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.

Photo – flickr jcnikon