Most Underrated Sportsbooks In Las Vegas (2012)

A couple weeks ago I gave a list of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas and the most overrated sportsbooks in Las Vegas. Today I want to highlight a few underrated sportsbooks in Las Vegas to watch and bet on the games.

The casinos stretch from the Las Vegas strip, to Summerlin and downtown Vegas. While, these may not be the best places to watch games they’re all excellent.

  • Red Rock – Because of its off the Vegas strip location, not many people talk about the Red Rock sportsbook and that’s what makes it underrated. It’s a great place to watch sports if you happen to be out in the burbs. There is a lot of room, they give drink tickets for wagers and they count bets towards your Station Casinos players club.
  • El Cortez – This sportsbook was renovated a few years ago. Last year they teamed up with Station Casinos so you can earn players club points with your bets. While not huge, this sportsbook is clean and a decent place downtown to watch and bet the games.
  • Mandalay Bay – This is the southern most casino on the Las Vegas strip and it’s not the newest, but it’s pretty large and gets overflow from Luxor and Excalibur to make watching games here exciting. If you play video poker you can drink for free here while you watch the games. Consider that a bonus.
  • Tropicana – This was Cantor Gaming’s first strip casino remodel that re-opened last year (while M Resort is technically on the strip it’s about 4 miles away). The sportsbook has that bland Cantor Gaming feel with the red work stations, but it’s a really large room with a lot of space to spread out. Because it’s so new, the TV screens are only second to Venetian.

More Vegas Beer Love

When did Las Vegas become a beer city?  It must have snuck up on me.  Oktoberfest is in full swing and I’ve already told you that Tropicana will be hosting a late Oktoberfest in a few weeks.  Now, I just caught wind that there is another beer festival coming to Las Vegas.  This time downtown is getting in on the action.

The Golden Nugget is doing it’s own Beer Festival October 14 and 15.  It appears that there will be over 300 beers from 25 different breweries.  Sounds like a great time to me.  They are even going to have an Oktoberfest pool party with a german band and food.

Apparently this is the second year of this festival.  I don’t know how I have been in the dark this long, but I’m guessing that I can’t be the only one.  Fifty dollars seems a bit hefty, but it appears that it includes unlimited samples, sliders, wings and sausages.  Once you take that into account, I think it sounds like a great deal.

So on October 14 and 15, why don’t you head downtown and have some craft beer.  And if you’re anything like me, when all is said and done, it’ll be convenient to have a craps table so close by.

Buy “Beerfest”


That Was Quick. Nikki Beach Done at Tropicana Las Vegas

Nikki Beach Las Vegas
Nikki Beach

This weekend Tropicana Las Vegas ended it’s relationship with Club Nikki and Nikki Beach. This also included letting go, or reassigning the staff.

Effective Friday night, the Tropicana has cut loose its Miami Beach-based nightclub, pool club and restaurant operator. Tropicana Vice President of Food, Beverage and Retail Tom Recine confirmed today that employees working in Las Vegas for Club Nikki, Nikki Beach and Cafe Nikki have been notified that they are no longer working at the Trop.

It can be argued that the clientele Tropicana was seeking to stay at the casino wasn’t the same as the people who might frequent Nikki Beach, but that doesn’t wash with me. Wynn has Encore Beach Club which brings in the meatiest of meatheads, while the casino tries to cater to a different client with their casinos, rooms and restaurants. The pool party crowd and casino crowd don’t often cross paths.

Further, I’m not sure that the pool party crowd knows or cares about the Nikki Beach/Club brand. If that’s the case, then why would Tropicana want to pay for the name. Just guessing here, but I’m going to say the promoters that came with the Nikki name didn’t bring in enough money to make the deal worth it.

Moving forward Tropicana has a newly renovated pool area and club. Pool parties and clubs are seen as money makers, so this won’t go away. Las Vegas is a copycat market so don’t expect anything new from Tropicana. There is plenty of time until pool season begins and the nightclub can remain dormant for a while as Las Vegas heads into a slow period before the holidays. I would expect Tropicana to bring in promoters that know Las Vegas similar to how Hard Rock has local promoters for Rehab.

On a side note, the “Vegas Insiders” on Travel Channel just became out of date with this closure as they included numerous shots from Nikki. It only took a week.

Oktoberfest is Headed to the Tropicana 

Vegas, a city not typically known for quality brews but rather bottle service and expensive alcohol, is starting to embrace beer culture.  A while back, a year-long beer festival was announced for the empty land behind Flamingo (it has since been postponed), Vegas 7 just hosted a beer festival, and now Oktoberfest is coming to the Tropicana.

Now, Oktoberfest is typically held in September not October, but that isn’t stopping the Tropicana.  From October 20 to October 30, Oktoberfest will be alive and well on the Las Vegas Strip.  As you can see by the website, details aren’t announced and with the event only a month away, I can only presume that it is because this is being planned late.

I am going to be in Vegas anyway on the weekend of October 22, so you better bet I will be attending this.  I am hoping for many many liters of beer, lots of pretzels and maybe even some lederhosen.  I’m also excited this is happening at the Tropicana, which is quickly becoming one of my favorite spots on the strip.

Even more important, it is NOT being held at the very lame Hofbrauhaus Las Vegas (which is nothing like the real-deal in Munich).  Let me know if you plan on attending!  Prost!

First New Vegas Show On Travel Channel in Years

It was Sunday night and I was relaxing on the couch watching the last football game of the day – Philadelphia Eagles at Atlanta Falcons. Between the action in the game I saw a tweet from Vegas Tripping’s own Misnoper about a new show about a new Travel Channel show about Las Vegas.

Vegas Insiders is one of the first new shows about Las Vegas on the Travel Channel in about 5 years, with most of their programming from about 10 years ago so I was looking forward to it. The show is part of Travel Channel’s “Ultimate Travel” series this month. The show itself looks like an infomercial for a VIP Hosting company called Vegas Knights. I don’t know if that was specifically bad, but the hosts weren’t very entertaining. If the show didn’t have so much Vegas eye candy it would have been turned off right away, but it was Vegas so it stayed on TV. Also, it was late by the time I got around to the show so it helped put me to sleep.

Much like with the other Travel Channel programming “Vegas Insiders” is the kind of show I’d watch if there was nothing else on and I didn’t want to move from the couch, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to see it. That being said, it’s a show based on Vegas with shots of Tropicana, Cosmopolitan, Caesars Palace and more so I will look at this again.

Cantor Gaming Continues on its Plan of World Domination

It wasn’t too long ago that sports betting meant that you placed a bet at the begging or halftime of a game, you watched the game, and then collected on your win afterwards.  Sports betting is one of the few games in the casino that if you are skilled enough, you can win.  These types of games are pretty much limited to sports betting, poker, and blackjack. (ED: Craps has better odds than all if you can find 100x odds)

With Cantor Gaming recently announcing that they will be managing the newly remodeled Plaza’s sport book, a revolution in sports betting is taking place.  Cantor currently runs the sport books at Tropicana, Cosmopolitan, M Resort, Hard Rock, Venetian, and Palazzo.  Cantor provides for live-action betting throughout the sporting event.  So if you are watching a basketball game you can bet during the game on whether a player will make an upcoming free throw, or during a football game  you can wager on what the next play might be.  Basically you can place bets the whole time the game is going through an electronic terminal. (ED: I tried this a couple years ago and didn’t really like it)

This doesn’t change a thing for those who just like to place a bet, take the ticket, and redeem it when the event is over.  However, for people who want more excitement when betting, it’s an awesome idea.  I played with it some at The Cosmopolitan and I have to say that it is quite addicting.  I suspect it won’t be long until we hear about Cantor gaming taking over another sport book.

(ED: I’ve covered a bunch of the Cantor Gaming moves over the past year at Vegas Chatter if you want more.)

If A Casino Does A Weekly 72 Hour Sale Is It Really A Sale?

I don’t follow many casinos on twitter anymore.  Most of them violate my personal twitter etiquette and I don’t want their useless crap mixed in with crap that is useful to me.  Anyway, over the past few weeks I’ve noticed a lot of casinos offering 3-day sales each week.  For example, Tropicana seems to be one of those casinos to have a sale every week.  Here’s proof of the end…kinda…

Topicana Las Vegas 72 Hour Sale
Topicana Las Vegas 72 Hour Sale

Let’s use Tropicana as the example; They’re not the only casino offering a “sale” 60% of every week and they’re not the only casino to offer discounted rates when they’re not offering these “sales”.  So what makes these sales useful to the consumer if prices are always discounted?

It’s general knowledge that most businesses offer their cheapest rates midweek anyway so besides sexing up their discounted rates these sales don’t seem to really offering anything special – especially if they’re offering the same special deals every week and then discounted rooms on the days where there isn’t a sale.

If these sales aren’t really special and most of the casinos are just retweeting positive mentions of their property then why would you or I follow them?  The answer, for me, is I won’t.  I’ll just find something else to waste my 30 seconds on if you’re not providing me anything special or interesting or useful.

This Dude Won $15 Million At Tropicana

Don Johnson Blackjack Player
Don Johnson

Don Johnson is the dude that won $15 million in Atlantic City last year by playing blackjack.  He won $6 million from Tropicana, $5 million from Caesars and $4 million from Borgata in 6 months.  His action was too high for Resorts and Trump Taj Mahal (and probably the other Trump properties too).  He seemed to be working on his own, with his own special methods.

Johnson, who declined to call himself a professional gambler, would not divulge his betting strategy. However, he emphatically said he is no cheater and denied being part of any gambling ring.

“I’m not breaking any laws,” he said. “I’m beating them with my own skills.”

It’s pretty clear he was out to make money and not for a good time with booze and fancy meals.  Further,

Jim Wortman, a former Atlantic City casino executive and nationally recognized gaming expert, said it was entirely plausible for one player to win so big at the blackjack tables – if he had sound knowledge of the game, deep pockets and exercised self-discipline.

“There are a lot of people who have the knowledge and who have the bankroll, but they fall short of discipline and start changing to losing hands,” said Wortman, gaming director at the Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management at the University of Houston.

Discipline and bankroll is something I don’t have and that’s why I gamble for fun.  Maybe someday I’ll grow older and become a smarter gambler, but I like my Grey Goose a bit much when I’m at the blackjack table.

Photo: Atlantic City Press

Las Vegas Blvd. & Tropicana Corner Video Poker Check

I’m planning a day and night at the MGM Grand coming up soon so I figured I’d check the video poker pay tables available (from vpFREE, as always) and at the casinos on the four corners of Las Vegas Blvd. and Flamingo Tropicana.  I was a little surprised by what I found.

Tropicana doesn’t have a denomination under $2 for 9/6 Jacks or Better (my game) and the MGM Grand has $1 9/6 Jacks.  New York New York has 9/6 JoB as low as a quarter!

Seen as the lowest quality of the four properties it’s most surprising that Excalibur’s best video poker game is a 9/6 Bonus Poker (98.9), but that is available as little as a nickle denomination. I would play that, even though BP isn’t my favorite game.

See below for all of the video poker pay table for the casinos on Flamingo and Las Vegas Blvd.

MGM Grand
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(1) $1, $2 100 Play Up in high-limit area
(2) $1, $2 50 Play Up in high-limit area
(12) $5    1 Play MG Slant outside the high-limit area to your left
(3) $5    1/3/5/10 Play Slant in high-limit area
(3) $5    3/5/10 Play Up just outside of high-limit area
(9) $5, $10, $25 1 Play    Up in high-limit area
(6) $10, $25 1 Play Slant in high-limit area towards Grand Wok Restaurant
(1) $25    1 Play Up in high-limit area
(2) $25    1 Play Slant in high-limit area
(4) $25    3/5/10 Play Up in high-limit area
(1) $25, $50 3/5 Play Up in high-limit area
(4) $100 1 Play    Up in high-limit area
(1) $100 3 Play    Up in high-limit area

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
(12) $5    1 Play MG Slant outside the high-limit area to your left
(6) $5 1 Play Slant in high-limit area

98.91% DW44 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-25-200-800 LV Airport/Illinois Deuces
(4) 25¢    10 Play    Slant between Crazy Horse Theatre and Lion Habitat
(4) 25¢ 50 Play    Slant between Crazy Horse Theatre and Lion Habitat

97.30% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-50-800
(?) 25¢    1 Play Slant scattered around casino
(12) 25¢ 1 Play    Prog Slant near hotel registration
(12) $1    1 Play    Prog Slant outside high-limit area
(6) $5 1 Play    Prog Slant in high-limit area towards Grand Wok Restaurant
(1) $100 1 Play    Prog Slant in high-limit area

New York New York
99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(17) $5    1 Play MG Bar @ Times Square Bar
(?) $5 10 Play Slant in high-limit area
(?) $5, $10 3/5 Play MG    Slant in high-limit area
(?) $5, $10, $25 1 Play    MG Slant in high-limit area
(8) 25¢, $1, $2    1 Play MG Slant    Near hotel entrance (no comps)

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
(17) $5    1 Play MG Bar @ Times Square Bar
(?) $5, $10 3/5 Play MG    Slant in high-limit area
(?) $5, $10, $25 1 Play    MG Slant in high-limit area
(8) $5 1 Play Slant near cashier
(8) $5 1 Play Slant near doors to valet
(8) 25¢, $1, $2    1 Play MG Slant Near hotel entrance (no comps)

98.98% DDB 1-1-3-4-6-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800 DDB (FP)
(8) 25¢, $1, $2    1 Play        MG        Slant     Near hotel entrance (no comps)

98.91% DW44 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-25-200-800 LV Airport/Illinois Deuces
(8) 25¢, $1, $2    1 Play        MG        Slant     Near hotel entrance (no comps)

98.48% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-30-30-30-50-800
(17) $2    1 Play Bar @ Times Square Bar

98.14% DB 1-1-3-5-6-9-50-80-160-80-800
(8) 25¢, $1, $2    1 Play MG Slant    Near hotel entrance (no comps)

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(2) $2, $5 3/5 Play Slant high limit room on All Star Poker machines

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
(2) $1, $2, $5 3/5 Play    QQ Slant high limit room
(4) $25    1 Play Slant high limit room
(2) $1, $2, $5    3/5 Play QQ Up high limit room
(2) $1, $2, $5    3/5 Play Up high limit room
(2) $1, $2, $5    3/5/10 Play Slant high limit room on All Star Poker machines
(2) $1, $2 1 Play SP Slant high limit room on All Star Poker machines
(2) $1    3/5 Play STP Slant high limit room on All Star Poker machines
(2) $2    3 Play STP Slant high limit room on All Star Poker machines

98.98% DDB 1-1-3-4-6-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800 DDB (FP)
(6) 5¢, 10¢, 25¢ 1 Play    Prog Slant on the other side of the $1 DDB prog near the Sherwood Forest Bar (PROG RF on 25c)
(?) 25¢, 50¢, $1 1 Play Slant scattered around casino
(6) $1 1 Play Prog Slant $1 PROG (RF) near the Sherwood Forest Bar

98.91% DW44 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-25-200-800 LV Airport/Illinois Deuces
(?) $1 1 Play Bar @ bar across from Little Johns Snack Bar
(8) $1 1 Play Up across from Little Johns Snack Bar

Cantor Gaming Made $400 Million in 2010

I was doing some podcast catch up today and found some interesting information on he latest Center for Gaming Research podcast with Lee Amaitis, CEO of Cantor Gaming

Among other things, I learned that last year Cantor Gaming made $400 million dollars.  Amaitis mentioned this was only at one casino (M Resort), but they’ve been working with Legasse Stadium since it opened so I have to imagine that includes both properties.

It will be interesting to see the growth with Cantor Gaming’s expansion into Tropicana, Hard Rock and soon the Cosmopolitan. I don’t think revenues will triple, but that number will definitely grow.

It’s an interesting podcast if you’re interested in sports betting operations.  Click the image below to access the podcast.