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Vegas Facts / Blackjack / 3 Card Poker / Baccarat / Sports Betting / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Gambling / The Strip / → All Tags
Itís no secret we love seeing new data on both gambling and Las Vegas. When you put the two together thereís something magical. The UNLV Center for Gaming Research recently released a paper detailing data from 2013 about gaming win, hold percentage, and handle (total amount bet) for casinos on the Vegas Strip. Whatís most interesting isnít the amounts bet or which games people played most, but how often casinos actually won from players. Each game has a built-in house edge so, theoretically, thatís how much the casino should win. Unfortunately, for the majority of gamblers thatís not the case in a big way.
Casinos won 33.03% of the money wagered in 3 Card Poker. Depending on the casino played, rules and bets made the house edge for 3 Card Poker somewhere between 4% and 7%. This is a big disparity. On the other side of the fence, casinos only win 11.36% of the money played in blackjack. This includes all types of blackjack games (blackjack switch), side bets (lucky ladies) and rules (6:5 for blackjack). Casinos still win less from blackjack than most other games.
The Cosmopolitan / Drinking / Gambling / Blackjack / Video Poker / Bond / Vegas Changes / → All Tags
There was a day where it could be said that the Cosmopolitan didnít get gamblers. It may be still be true that they donít get gamblers, but itís no secret the Cosmo has been trying to acquire gamblers. Over the past year, theyíve been making small tweaks to their casino marketing to draw in more gamblers to supplement their bottom line. One of the more drastic changes to the casino is with Bond Bar.
The Cosmo has copious bars throughout the property making it a favorite place for many to stop, relax and grab a drink. However, gamblers (like this guy) would drop $10 for a drink and head to a casino elsewhere. Thatís no longer necessary as Bond has gone from being just a loud Strip-side bar to being a loud Strip-side bar with video poker and table games.
Casinos / Blackjack / Sportsbooks / Horse Racing / 3 Card Poker / Gambling / → All Tags
When we think about casinos, we imagine thereís no way they can possibly lose money. The casino has a profit margin built into every game they offer. There may be less than a 1% advantage, but thereís still money coming their way. Itís a little surprising when you read the headline ďNevada Casinos Post Fifth Straight Fiscal Year Net LossĒ. However, this †article takes all revenue into account, not just the casino portion of the hotels in the state of Nevada. Seeing stories like this only make us more curious about how the numbers actually work. Luckily, UNLVís Center For Gaming Research publishes a lot of this information.
Since this is VegasChatter and not NevadaChatter, weíll look at Vegas Strip hotel data. Itís time for fun with numbers!
There are good blackjack games and there are bad blackjack games in Vegas. Thereís only one great blackjack game in Vegas. Where? First, letís look at the basic rule that makes for a good blackjack game. A good blackjack game starts by paying 3:2. For every $2 bet, you win $3. So, for a $10 bet youíd get $15 for blackjack. There are other rules, but in an effort to keep things simple, letís keep it to the payout. Youíll find good blackjack at some casinos on The Strip, but they usually start at tables with a $25 minimum. Most blackjack games you see with minimum bets under $25 fall into the bad category.
Bad blackjack is a game that pays 6:5 when you get blackjack. For every $5 bet, youíd win $6. So, for a $10 bet, youíd only receive $12. When looking at a $10 wager, this isnít much money, but over time, it adds up. The casinoís advantage in these 6:5 games is much larger, about 300% greater. No bueno.
Blackjack / Gambling / Casino Promotions / Promotions / Gold Coast / Plaza / Ellis Island / → All Tags
Last week, we took a look at some awfully disappointing casino giveaways. From complimentary socks to slices of pie, casinos havenít been overly generous with the freebies. This week, we take a look at some other casino promotions, specifically those aimed at blackjack players.
If youíve got a formal holiday event coming up, but still want to party, then Gold Coast has the perfect promotion for you. Players who hit a suited blackjack win a fashionable tuxedo t-shirt. The odds on receiving a suited blackjack when dealt any two random cards? Just over 1%, assuming a six deck shoe. It might take a bit of time to earn, but this shirt has class written all over it. We wouldnít give it up for anything, not even five free cans of beer.
Perfecting skill and winning casino games isnít easy. In fact, perfection is impossible since the casino has a built-in advantage in every game. At best, we want to play games with a small house advantage and an easy strategy to learn in order to maximize how long we play. Playing longer improves chances of hitting a hot streak or a jackpot. Here are a few resources we use for honing our gaming skills:
vpFREE: vpFREE2.com is a great site for video poker players or people interested in learning how to play. vpFree2 lists how much optimal returns are for different video poker games as well as which casinos have those games. They also detail exactly where you can locate the games on the gaming floor. The information is updated every few months so it may not be 100% accurate, but itís pretty darn good.
Vegas Observations / Downtown Grand / Blackjack / Video Poker / Gambling / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
Things change in casinos. Thatís why VegasChatter exists. Things changed for the worse while†Downtown Grand†was still in their soft opening phase and don't look like they'll change for the better any time soon. When we first walked through the casino on the opening day, we found†good returns on blackjack, but not much elsewhere. 3-4-5 craps odds arenít bad, but they arenít good, either. When we checked, video poker the Bonus Poker game was 7/5 (pays 7-1 for full house, 5-1 for flush). Again, not the worst, but not good, either.
As the days past, we read a few Facebook and forum posts about Downtown Grand changing the pay tables on their video poker games, but we didnít see before and after pictures to confirm these reports. When we checked the video poker at Downtown Grand for a second time, the pay tables were, indeed, changed. The same Bonus Poker video poker pay tables that used to be 7/5 were downgraded to only pay 6 for a full house and 5 for flush.
OpenThread / Gambling / Video Poker / Blackjack / Craps / Mississippi Stud Poker / 3 Card Poker / Penny Slots / Slot Machines / → All Tags
Trips to the casino are filled with ups and downs. Sometimes, there's a winning session and, sometimes, there's a losing session. The casino has a few percentage point advantage on every game so losing a little isn't really a surprise. We can deal with losing by small percentages. It's part of the territory. The sessions, however, where there's no winning at all is what really grinds this writer's gears.
On a recent trip to the casino, I couldn't shake off a cold streak. I played every game to see if I could change my luck and nothing worked. The first session started out at the tables with 3 card poker where I was actually up for a little before losing. Later, I played craps and that was a loser, too, mostly on my rolls. Gasp! I switched to Mississippi Stud Poker and that was a loser. The only win was $10 while killing time on a penny slot before dinner. After the break, the losing continued with blackjack, video poker, higher denomination slot machines and Mississippi Stud Poker (again) before I just gave up.
Gambling / Downtown Grand / Blackjack / Video Poker / Slot Machines / High Limits / Baccarat / → All Tags
Downtown Vegas is known more for low-limit gambling than high limit rooms, but that's slowly changing.
When The D and Golden Gate renovated their casinos, they included small high limit rooms. These traditional high limit rooms have some blackjack tables for people that prefer a little privacy when they play with bigger money. The D even has baccarat available since thatís one of the more popular games that was only available on The Strip. Since The D opened with baccarat, the Golden Nugget has added a baccarat area to their casino. High rollers are being welcomed to Downtown Grand with a separate high limit room featuring slot machines, video poker and blackjack as well as an Asian gaming room which features baccarat.
Vegas Observations / Downtown Grand / Craps / Blackjack / Video Poker / Sportsbooks / William Hill / Gambling / Betting / Openings / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / → All Tags
Downtown Grand is a beautiful hotel. The hotel happens to have a casino. The casino is beautiful because itís new, but itís not very big and doesnít feel very comfortable for a gambler. But, letís begin with the good news.
Limits on table games are $5 (during the day) as the property's opening week kicks off. Blackjack pays 3:2 as itís clearly marked on all tables. The small casino only has about 10-14 table games with about half being dedicated to blackjack. All games are dealt from a shoe which is nice, too.
We didnít get to check all the video poker machines, but we saw 7/5 Bonus Poker available on most. Many are connected to a Royal Flush progressive which helps increase returns to a better level. The high limits room has better 8/5 Bonus Poker games, but youíll have to do so on $1 3-play games there (that's $15 per game with max credits). These arenít the worst video poker returns, but theyíre not the kind of returns that will make Downtown Grand a destination for video poker players.
Blackjack / Riviera / Low Rolling / Gambling / → All Tags
The Riviera recently introduced a $1 live blackjack table. Itís important to note that this game is live and not a machine. Live blackjack dealt by humans is almost always more fun than a machine. You may find a blackjack machine game with $1 limits across the street at Slots a Fun now that they've removed all dealer games. The Riviera is now the only casino on the Vegas Strip with limits this low. The rules of this game only offer 6:5 pay when you get blackjack as opposed to the 3:2 payout you'd receive on a traditional game with good rules.
Openings / Drinking / Bars / Whiskey Down / MGM Grand / Gaming / Blackjack / Video Poker / → All Tags
Whiskey Down, a "high-end gaming lounge," will officially open Wednesday, August 28. The 24-hour venue, able to seat up to 64, will offer six blackjack tables and seven bar-top video poker machines. Whiskies will include "American, Canadian, Irish and Scotch." And, that's all we have to say about that. (For now.)