I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, craps is my favorite game in the casino. Besides being fun to play, craps gives the casino one of the smallest house edges’ most casino games. Fun game and small house edge?! That’s a perfect combination!
You can actually decrease the, already small, house edge by playing greater odds. The higher the odds played the less the house edge. Unfortunately, the Vegas Strip doesn’t really offer the diverse craps odds that you find in Downtown Vegas. Thankfully craps still has a tiny house edge no matter what the odds.
Here are the craps odds on the Vegas Strip along with the house edge for the casino for each game.
100x Odds The Cromwell House edge: Pass 0.021%, Don’t Pass 0.014%
10x Odds Stratosphere House edge: Pass 0.184%, Don’t Pass 0.124%
3x-4x-5x Odds Every other casino not listed House edge: Pass 0.374%, Don’t Pass 0.273%
3x-4x-5x are the normal odds offered at casinos on the Vegas Strip and just about everywhere else in the country. The house advantage playing maximum odds is still better than most games you’ll play in the casino.
Casino Royale has the best craps odds on the Vegas Strip but usually only has one table open so it’s difficult to get in on a game. The craps game at Casino Royale is one of the cheapest you’ll find on the strip with $5 or $10 minimums, so there’s that.
The bottom line with craps on the Vegas Strip – play wherever you want. The odds in most casinos are the same. If you’re looking for a good craps game with good odds head to Downtown Vegas. Here are my 3 favorite craps games in Downtown Vegas.
Thoughts: This totally makes sense. They’ve de-themed most of the hotel to the point of where it’s so bland the name doesn’t make sense. A new name announcement after construction is complete around the property and shortly before they open the new arena would work nicely. Maybe they’ll renovate the rooms in time for the new arena too.
Rumor: Riviera has been sold and new owners will close and demolish in favor of something unrelated to gaming.
Thoughts: This rumor about the Riviera sounds legit despite rumors about renovations. Despite these mainstream media outlets reporting about $20-$100 million dollar in renovations to the property in recent years the parent company is still having financial problems post bankruptcy. With Resorts World Las Vegas being delayed and SLS Las Vegas having its own problems revitalization of the north end of the Vegas Strip doesn’t look so hot right now.
Both of these are still rumors right now. Both bits of news make too much sense not to happen. We’ll see if they’re true shortly.
Update: 6/16 – Rumors are both finally confirmed. Monte Carlo will become MGM Park and Riviera will be imploded 6/14 and 8/14.
Shake Shack Las Vegas just opened at New York-New York and the burgers are pretty much what you’d expect. The design and layout of the restaurant are very cool and I’ll get to that another day.
I just want to focus on the food today. Specifically the famous ShackBurger.
The buzz on Shake Shack opening in Vegas was heard all around the country. People that have visited Shake Shack in other parts of the country compare the burgers to In and Out Burger. A fair comparison as they’re both fast food burgers and use fresh high quality ingredients.
The Vegas Shake Shack Las Vegas location offers a much larger menu than a In and Out Burger or normal fast food or quick serve restaurant. So it’s important just to focus on the burgers (and shakes, the restaurant is called Shake Shack). Okay, on to the food.
Nothing fancy here. I wanted my first meal to cover the basics so I ordered a ShackBurger, fries and their Shack-Made lemonade to drink. Before discussing the ShackBurger I need to talk about the star of my meal – them fries.
The crinkle cut fries are thicker AND crispier than any fast food fries I’ve had before. After a little googling and I found out that these fries were brought back late last year because of customer demand. I also learned that each batch is double fried and that helps with the crispness. Here’s a close up of the light, crispy french fries. I’m not much of a fry guy but they were gone before the burger. That never happens.
Believe it or not, there is a burger hiding under the lettuce in the photo above. Here’s a better picture of the ShackBurger.
During the day Downtown Vegas is a much different place than at night. I’ve always been partial to visiting Downtown Vegas during the day. Here’s why.
Fewer People – The canopy and free concerts on Fremont Street bring out hordes of people. I don’t like hordes of people. The confined space feels claustrophobic. I don’t want drunk people touching me for no reason. I’m also always in a rush and hordes of people slow me down.
See Everything – During the day you can actually see everything. The vintage neon signs are great and I truly enjoy them but they’re distracting. The signs are designed to draw the eye and they do a great job at that. Those signs are really all you see at night. During the day you can see everything Downtown Vegas has to offer.
Even Cheaper Gambling – Gambling in Downtown Vegas is always cheap compared to the Vegas Strip. However on weekend nights you’ll see some minimum bets around $10. Yes, that’s still low but you can usually find minimums around $5 when the sun is up. I can dig that.
The Freaks Come Out At Night – The buskers and mascots looking to make a buck are always out on Fremont Street. During the day you can easily just walk by them. Buskers multiply at night since there’s more people and more money. They just get in the way. No thanks.
I like Downtown Vegas a lot and I prefer visiting during the day. Unless I’m staying overnight you’ll rarely, if ever, catch me in Downtown Vegas at night. If you enjoy crowds and a chaotic environment you’ll probably love Downtown Vegas at night.
It’s been a while since I did a video poker check but since SLS Las Vegas is new and is supposed to have good video poker games I figured that I’d take a look.
On first glance there are some really good video poker options available at SLS Las Vegas according to vpFREE2.
When you look deeper into the pay tables you’ll see that most of the best video poker games at SLS Las Vegas are available on just 4 video poker machines. The best 8 video poker games are only available on these 4 low limits video poker machines (5¢, 10¢, 25¢) located between Sayers Club and Sportsbook Bar along the aisle.
Bonus Poker and the games below it on the chart above are available throughout the casino. You can see specific locations and denominations on vpFREE2.com.
I’m personally happy that there is 8/5 Bonus Poker available. That’s my second favorite video poker game. I don’t mind that the single games are $1 and up or that the 3-play games are 25¢ but it would be nice if they had some one line quarter games available.
There are a lot of great places to watch NFL games in Vegas today. It wasn’t always that way and it feels like forever since I first started going to Blondies at Planet Hollywood to watch NFL games on a Sunday. Blondies is tucked away in the back of the Miracle Mile Shopsand even though it’s always packed for NFL games it seems as if people still don’t know that it exists.
Blondies is an old school sports bar with booze, food, beer pong and lots of TV’s. Blondies isn’t a sportsbook so you’ll have walk about 2 minutes into the Planet Hollywood casino to make a bet if you don’t have an app on your mobile phone.
Blondies has become so popular in the past couple of years that they’ve started charging table minimums for watching games on busy days (like NFL Sunday). You can reserve a table for however many you want for the different time frames of games. There are different costs for different events.
We had to make a $100 deposit to reserve for a table for 4 people to watch the 10am games. The $100 deposit would come off of our bill. Four people eating and drinking $100 over a 3 hour period isn’t much of a challenge so the table minimum isn’t a big deal.
Having a guaranteed seat to watch all of the games with food and drink service is much more appealing to me than waking up early and squatting at a sports book.
The food is fine but not great. The waitress service is on point and there are lots of football fans wearing jersey’s and cheering for their favorite teams. Most importantly there more TV’s than may be necessary. There are so many TV’s that they have extras to show stuff like international soccer while football is going on. The ability to reserve a table might be the best feature.
Watching the games at Blondies almost feels like you’re not on the Vegas Strip. There’s a hometown bar feel. You might notice flags for all Philadelphia teams to the left in the picture. If you’re looking for a sports bar where you can guarantee your seat so you can eat and drink while your watch the games after you place your bets Blondies is a great option.
If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I had lunch at Umami Burger at SLS Las Vegas the other day. This was my second visit to Umami Burger. My first visit was on the first day SLS Las Vegas was open. While I really liked the first burger and fries I wasn’t paying close attention to the food. I was busy drinking, chatting, playing video poker and just looking around. This time around I was alone and more focused on my burger than checking out the new restaurant/sportsbook/beer garden.
On my first visit I split half of the Manly Burger and really enjoyed it although I thought it was almost too flavorful. The beef flavor was almost overpowered by the beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardo and smoked salt (fried) onion strips. Not to mention a mustard spread and house ketchup on the side.
A wise man recommended that I try one of the truffle burgers. I went into lunch with this and mind but was in the mood for bacon. None of the truffle burgers on the Umami Burger menu have bacon so I went back to the Manly Burger you see in the picture above. I added the off the menu cheesy tater tots for $5. Before diving into the burger I just want to say that you should ALWAYS ORDER THE TATER TOTS.
This Manly Burger tasted a bit more mellow than my first one. This time the ingredients we much more in balance than the first burger. If we were running this burger through a photo editor the beef flavor was enhanced, the cheese was dialed down and the bacon and onion rings provided a perfect accent. The flavors of the burger and toppings were in perfect harmony. I had a Rogue Dead Guy ale which complimented all of the flavors perfectly.
Looking back at both burgers I think that the sharpness of cheddar cheese is what was a little shocking on the first burger. Keep that in mind if you have a gentle tongue. The burger with less cheese spread really tasted much more like a burger. Call me crazy but when I order a burger I want to taste the burger.
I ate at the bar because I wanted to play a little video poker and have a couple of beers. The restaurant side of the bar only had the 3 play machines (the casino side has a few 1 line games). While waiting for my burger to arrive I snagged this sweet straight flush. The straight flush covered my lunch bill which was under $20 ($13 burger, $5 tots) and gave me a couple more dollars to spend on my next visit.
As I mentioned in my full overview of the Umami Burger restaurant/sportsbook at Vegas Chatter playing video poker while you eat allows you complimentary drinks. Not only did I make a few bucks with the straight flush but I had a couple “free” $9 beers.
It’s a nice touch that the bar on the restaurant side has more bar space to eat in front of the video poker machines. It makes eating easier than on the casino side although the video poker is a bit far.
I find it hard to choose a best of any food category but the burgers at Umami Burger are definitely among the best on the Vegas Strip. The service at the bar is great and I really like the sportsbook/sports bar setup. Umami Burger has definitely become one of my new hangouts on Vegas Strip.
It’s time for my semi-annual update of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas. There hasn’t been much change since the last time I detailed my favorite Vegas sportsbooks. Here are some things to note with my rankings:
I’m mostly concerned with great TV screens and comfortable seating.
Since I bet mostly via apps I don’t concern myself too much with finding drink tickets. Besides, they’re usually only good for a well drink, Bud, Miller or Coors. Bleh.
I care about access to charging my mobile phone.
Drink service is important as is access to grabbing a quick bite.
I like a clean environment. I don’t want to itch when I walk in or out of a casino.
Without a doubt there are no better TV screens at any sportsbook in Las Vegas than The Venetian. The combination of crisp color of the TV’s and the dark ceiling and perfect lighting make this almost like going to a movie theater. The seating is the same as every CG Technology (Cantor) sportsbook. The ugly red work desks don’t really matter since you’re watching the games. The chairs are comfortable office chairs. Each betting station has an outlet so you can charge your mobile phone, tablet or laptop. Even though the staff isn’t always nice there isn’t a better sportsbook to watch the games.
The Mirage was the Mecca of sports betting in the 70’s and 80’s 90’s but had fallen into disrepair until a couple of years ago. The space remains as one of the largest sportsbooks in Vegas but there is now a huge TV screen that takes up the entire wall and plenty of lounge chairs. They even installed some interactive tables that will come in handy for drink service and more (see article on Vegas Chatter). The sportsbook is open to the casino so the lighting isn’t as good as The Venetian but it doesn’t hamper visibility. It’s great to see this classic sportsbook restored to its glory.
I’ve come around on this sportsbook. I don’t really like MGM Grand because it’s huge and has way too many kids for Vegas. That said, the sportsbook here is large with many upgraded seats. It’s easy to watch games here since there are so many large screens. With its proximity to TAP sports bar (review on Vegas Chatter) and the Sigma Derby game make it a great location. Pro-Tip don’t use the restroom near the buffet. Instead head toward the Sigma Derby game to relieve yourself without the leftovers from someone’s buffet.
This is my local sportsbook so I may be partial. The space is huge with seating for hundreds. The three main screens are massive and change size depending on how many games are on. The downside is that they’re older and could use updating. I’ve been to many of the sportsbooks off the Vegas Strip and no other sportsbook matches the intensity of when there are football games being shown here. Additionally, drink service is quick and they do offer drink tickets.
2 years ago Lagasse’s Stadium was the benchmark for a great sportsbook. What’s happened? Poor service (which matters a lot since it’s a restaurant) and the same screens from when they opened. It’s still a good sportsbook when it’s not busy but there are now issues during large events and NFL games. 1) Seating is limited and reservations no longer secure space needed for large parties. 2) Mediocre restaurant service 3) Table minimums around $50 per person for most Sunday’s.
SuperBook has the best linemakers in Las Vegas. There’s no questioning that. Even though they don’t allow smoking in the sportsbook it feels like they do. Sitting at this sportsbook is not fun. The sportsbook smells bad and the air makes me itch. I’ll revisit after they complete the pending renovations. Maybe they’ll add a working air filter and new carpet.
My first impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive but not perfect. Nothing is perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already detailed some of the flaws from the first few days of business in a separate post.
The pre-opening moniker SLS Las Vegas used to describe the property was “affordable luxury”. That set up for the hotel to be fancy on a budget. For example there’s no way to make Ikea furniture feel luxurious but it can look nice. With that in mind I went in with limited expectations.
2. Casino Layout
I care more about the casino than most of SLS Las Vegas. The floor plan is only 60,000 square feet. If you ever visited Sahara this is 20,000 square feet less. The floor plan is small, which is fine but there are choke points that make it almost impossible to go to certain parts of the casino. The high traffic walkway by table area near the players club and The Griddle is tight and will always be busy. There are similar choke points on the slot floor that will be impossible to walk through because machines are packed so closely. Just scope out areas before sitting down at a table or machine.
Layout aside there are ample 3:2 blackjack games for $5 and $10. Craps has $10 minimums. There is decent video poker and all new slot machines. I dig all of this and wouldn’t mind gambling here. US Poker has a breakdown of most of the games.
Parts of the casino floor seem dark and that can make the tight casino feel almost claustrophobic on busy nights. This feels like a casino I’d visit during the day more than at night.
3. Umami Burger – Sportsbook – Beer Garden
This is the part of the casino I was most looking forward to. A sportsbook that serves good burgers and good beer? This might be heaven. It is and it isn’t. This isn’t a sportsbook.
Umami Burger a sports bar/restaurant with a patio and a place to bet on sports. Burger prices are between $12 and $15. Not too bad for the Vegas Strip. Draft beers are around $9-10 and bottles start at $5. There are no drink tickets from William Hill for sports bets as of opening but I think that will change. If you drink/eat at the video poker bar your drinks will be comp’d while you have money in play.
I really like this as a restaurant. Like I said in Vegas Chatterthis is a good sports bar/restaurant but it’s not a traditional sportsbook. It should be packed with sports fans for big events but expect to see kids and families in the mix on other days. Even thought it’s not a traditional sportsbook this is my favorite spot at SLS Las Vegas.
Note, you can still sit and watch games without spending any money. However, if there are paying customers for Umami Burger you’ll politely be asked to leave if you’re not spending money.