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

Will SLS Las Vegas Be Tropicana Of The North?

Tropicana Las Vegas Trop Plus Players Club
Trop Plus Players Club

Armen Yemenidjian, VP of Casino Operations, at Tropicana recently did an interview with the local ABC affiliate explaining Trop Plus Locals. Trop Plus Locals is a separate players club from the normal Tropicana players club with benefits just for locals like special parking, extra rebates and large dining discounts. It’s been around since last year but they’ve been promoting it a lot in the local media lately.

The benefits are great for locals and really lay the groundwork on how SLS Las Vegas can market itself to locals. SLS Las Vegas has been touting that they want to be the casino for locals on the north end of the Vegas Strip. This program is essentially a marketing plan on how a casino is doing that (or trying to) on the South end of the Vegas Strip. See video for details.

Lunching Outside At Bagatelle Beach

Bagatelle Beach Club At Tropicana Las Vegas
Bagatelle Beach Club

Eating and drinking outside? I’m in!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to have lunch at the new Bagatelle Beach at Tropicana. This was the soft opening and a great way to kick off Cinco De Mayo weekend before losing every bet I made on the Kentucky Derby. Since this was the soft opening I was among the first guests.

Comparing Bagatelle Beach to Encore Beach Club is only fair in that they’re the same concept but there’s nothing at Tropicana that’s done on the same level as Wynn so it’s really not a fair comparison. Besides I was at Bagatelle Beach for lunch outside and not to scope out bikini babes. Note: Every person serving lunch was a dude, the bikini waitresses seem like they are only for pool customers.

Bagatelle Beach is set up with separate areas for people who want to party at the pool and people who just want to grab lunch. There dining tables set up in a shaded are that are fairly secluded and above the action of the beach club. There are also a few booths closer to the pools with coverings providing shade as you can see below.

Lunch area - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Le Diablo - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Lunch began with a cocktail called Le Diablo. I don’t normally drink tequila but I usually enjoy a drink with fresh berries and ginger beer so I figured I’d give it a whirl. Since I was so early the fresh blueberries hadn’t arrived so they used strawberry instead. Both drinks were tasty but the original concept of the drink was much better. I always recommend sticking with blueberries when they’re part of the recipe. Additionally, ginger beer is probably my favorite mixer for cocktails.

Lunch - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

For lunch I had a chicken and turkey club on a croissant. The sandwich was good but nothing particularly special.  At $12 (maybe $14) this was priced similarly to most restaurant sandwiches on the strip. Combined with the al fresco dining and drinks this made for a fine base of food for the day. I wouldn’t be upset eating this sandwich again but I wouldn’t go out of my way for it.

Iced Coffee - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

Since I had to drive after lunch I took it easy on the tasty boozy drinks and imbibed a few cups of iced coffee. I don’t look at a day/beach club as the kind of place that many people are ordering iced coffee so I was pleasantly surprised they had it available. While not the highlight of the day it was a nice way to close it.

Booth View - Bagatelle Beach Tropicana Las Vegas

I saw some friends dining out in the booths as I was winding down my lunch so I grabbed this sweet view of the entire Bagatelle Beach complex which comes complete with Hooters in the background.

Bagatelle Beach isn’t for everyone. The music is very loud since this is a day club and the DJ mix is today’s EDM (Deadmau5Calvin Harris) and hip hop (Lil WayneDoctor Dre). I enjoyed the music and thought it added to the vibe but it’s not for everyone.

I only visit the Tropicana a couple of times a year or so and this may be one of the few times I visit during 2013. The Tropicana isn’t a hotel many people I know visit so there’s rarely an excuse to stop by. Actually, most people I know don’t even stay on the south end of the strip unless they have a conference at Mandalay Bay.

I would return to Bagatelle Beach if someone else wanted to go there for lunch but probably wouldn’t go out of my way to return. I’ve already recommend Bagatelle Beach to a couple of people as a place to dine outdoors on that end of the Vegas strip.

Lunch was paid for by Bagatelle Beach but my thoughts and pictures are my own.

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

Hooters, Golden Nugget and Terribles Get New

People often ask for cheap places to stay in Las Vegas and I like to send people to hotels with new and clean hotel rooms first and formost. After new and clean rooms I look to the casino and then other amenities since that’s how I roll. In the past couple weeks a few non-major hotel & casino renovations have been announced. Here’s the rundown.

Golden Nugget Hotel Room

Golden Nugget – I don’t go inside this building anymore after too many bad gambling losses. That said, the Golden Nugget is probably the nicest, most luxurious, hotel in downtown Vegas. Golden Nugget room rates are easily the most expensive downtown and are comparable to hotel room rates on the Vegas strip. That’s how the Golden Nugget can pay for the Rush Tower, which opened just 4 years ago, to get new rooms called the Gold Club. I’m biased but I’d save my money downtown and get a remodeled room at the D, Golden Gate, Fremont or Plaza. You can find more renderings and details on the Gold Club hotel rooms at Vegas News.

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

Best Video Poker On The Las Vegas Strip

Royal Flush Video Poker at Red Rock Resort
Royal Flush!

I’ve been taking a look at the best video poker from Atlantic City to Las Vegas recently. Today I decided to look to see which casinos offered the best video poker on the Las Vegas Strip. The Vegas strip does NOT include places just off the strip like Palms and Hard Rock Casino.

Most casinos offer good video poker games in their high limit rooms with games starting at $5 so I decided to look at the best video poker games under $5 since that’s what more people play.

The good video poker games listed here are between 10 cents and $2 with max bets from 50 cents to $10. The pay table percentages are all based on max bets. Once again casinos are listed from best video poker to worst.

  1. Circus Circus 100.25% Aces and Eights
  2. Excalibur 99.58% Triple Double Bonus
  3. Luxor 99.54% Jacks or Better (JoB)
  4. New York-New York 99.54% JoB
  5. Treasure Island 99.54% JoB
  6. Mandalay Bay 99.20% Loose Deuces Wild
  7. Aria 99.17% Bonus Poker (BP)
  8. Casino Royale 99.17% BP
  9. Riviera 99.17% BP
  10. Tropicana 99.17% BP
  11. MGM Grand 99.11% DB
  12. Mirage 99.11% Double Bonus (DB)
  13. Wynn 99.11% DB
  14. Caesars Palace 98.45% JoB
  15. Flamingo 98.45% JoB
  16. Palazzo 98.45% JoB
  17. Planet Hollywood 98.45% JoB
  18. Venetian 98.45% JoB
  19. Bally’s 98.01% BP
  20. Cosmopolitan 98.01% BP
  21. Encore 98.01% BP
  22. Harrah’s 98.01% BP
  23. Paris 98.01% BP
  24. The Quad 98.01% BP
  25. Monte Carlo NA
  26. Stratosphere NA

The biggest surprises from this research is that there are positive returning machines on the Vegas strip (Circus Circus) and that the Stratosphere has absolutely no playable video poker games according to vpFREE. Monte Carlo has playable video poker but all are $5 machines.

All information from vpFREE2, the best place to research video poker. Each casino links to their respective page on vpFREE.

Also see: Best Video Poker Downtown Vegas. Best Video Poker in Atlantic City.

I practice video poker with the WinPoker app on my iPhone. It’s $9.99 and worth every penny. It’s the best way to practice video poker.

Hilton Honors Coming To Tropicana

My friends and I stayed at Planet Hollywood on one of my first trips to Las Vegas mostly for one reason. At the time Planet Hollywood was a Starwood Property. Not only could some of us use Starwood points and status from work travel, but the lesser travelers could earn points towards free hotels anywhere in the country.

Vegas may be the greatest travel destination in the world, but it’s not the only place to visit. Having a partnership with a national hotel chain is a nice perk for travelers even if people in this town (like me) don’t believe it there are people that want to travel places besides Las Vegas.

Planet Hollywood is now a Caesars Total Rewards property. While that’s not as cool for the world-wide traveler at least they offer discounts to locations outside of Las Vegas. Tropicana is the latest casino to jump on board the national hotel program.

Four days after telling you about a Vegas rumor that DoubleTree was taking over the Tropicana‘s hotel, it’s now official…

Hilton HHonors members will both be able to use and earn points with stays at the Trop.

While partnering with a national hotel chain isn’t an exciting marketing move it’s a nice perk for the traveler. Tropicana may not be the most exciting place but it’s not embarrassing property at all and is not the worst way to introduce new visitors to Las Vegas.

If I wasn’t so familiar with Vegas and have so much “equity” in Total Rewards properties I think this might attract me to staying at Tropicana at least once to see what it’s like.

Rumor: Which Vegas Casino Filed Chapter 11?

Dave McKee from who writes the awesome Stiffs & Georges blog threw out an interesting question on twitter this morning about a Las Vegas strip casino going belly up (or restructuring debt) by filing Chapter 11.

He didn’t say “Company” so you rule out MGM Resorts, Venetian/Palazzo, Wynn or Caesars properties immediately. Duetche Bank has been looking to sell the Cosmopolitan before the end of the year for a while now so you can understand why that’s not in the running. That doesn’t leave many properties to left on the strip for possible Chapter 11.

Who ya got from the remaining strip properties?

  • Tropicana
  • Casino Royale
  • Riviera
  • Treasure Island

Unless Phil Ruffin is looking for a tax write off, I don’t see him divesting of Treasure Island so soon and I haven’t heard a peep about Casino Royale ever.

That leaves Tropicana and Riviera as possible casinos to file for Chapter 11. Both have had financial trouble, but after a relaunch of the Tropicana went nowhere and President Tom McCartney left there hasn’t been much positive good talk about the property. In fact, the only real news from Tropicana has been about it’s club not opening.

Meanwhile on the other end of the strip Riviera has been trying to create a niche for itself with constant marketing and promotion. I’m not sure this is working, but it’s difficult to imagine that it’s not helping. Of course, it may not be working which would give cause for Chapter 11.

I don’t think silence is can’t be a good thing here and I’d have to imagine that Tropicana is the strip property about to announce Chapter 11.

Cantor Gaming Adds Another Sportsbook In Las Vegas

Cantor Gaming Adds Another Sportsbook In Las Vegas..Blah Blah Blah. Instead of writing about each addition I figure I’ll give a guide to each Cantor Gaming sportsbook and list highlights.

  • Lagasse’s Stadium (Palazzo) – Restaurant, Bar, Stadium Seating, Mini Casino, Outdoor Billiards, Skyboxes. Easily the best sportsbook. Anywhere.
  • Venetian – Biggest and brightest sportsbook TV’s I’ve ever seen. A lot of room. Bar with video poker in back of book.
  • Tropicana – Huge with ample seating. Feels like mission control. Can enter without going into casino via MGM Grand bridge.
  • Cosmopolitan – This place is tiny and awkward. The only reason to go here is because it’s in Cosmo and close to Holsteins Burgers and Marquee.
  • Palms – Small and crowded sportsbook that has an adjoining poker room. If you don’t mind the click clack of chips in the background, this is fine.
  • Hard Rock – Small sportsbook that, besides football season, is never really crowded. Drink service is minimal so BYO.
  • MResort – This is where is all began for Cantor Gaming. With all of the new sportsbooks, this sportsbook looks and feels old. It can use an update.
  • Silverton – Silverton is considered a locals casino and is located between Mandalay Bay and M Resort. This sportsbook fits perfectly with the casino and is a sneaky great place to watch a game.

There are upsides to Cantor Gaming sportsbooks, like the new, beautiful television screens and nifty technology, but you will not receive a comp drink unless you’re betting $10,000 per game, you won’t receive any casino comps and you’ll be lucky to see a cocktail waitress walk by to get you a drink.

This list will be updated as Cantor Gaming adds more casinos.