Tag: Vegas ObservationsView All Tags
There isn’t a topic in gambling that evokes more emotion than 6:5 blackjack. When Venetian and Palazzo made the switch from having 3:2 blackjack for every denomination to only offering 3:2 blackjack to players betting $100 per hand, the VegasChatter community was in an uproar. A 6:5 blackjack game has a house edge that is 1.39% higher than a 3:2 blackjack game which also translates to about a 300% difference. If you're only gambling once per year, this difference may not add up to much. If you play blackjack often, however, it adds up.
Blackjack has become the most played game in the casino, in part, because of its low house advantage. Some of the best blackjack games you'll find offer a house edge around .50%. For example, the $5 3:2 blackjack game at El Cortez only has a house advantage of 0.19%. While the 1.8% house edge you'll find with 6:5 blackjack is much worse than the 3:2 blackjack game most of us love, it's still one of the better bets in the casino.
Hillary Clinton was delivering a speech at Mandalay Bay last week when someone threw a shoe at her. It missed, but that was enough fodder for Saturday Night Live to hit Vegas with a zinger about its shoeless masses.
Vegas Observations / Video Poker / Players Clubs / MyPoints / Downtown Grand / Promotions / → All Tags
This writer sat down to play a little video poker at Downtown Grand before lunch the other day and noticed something a little different. (I know the video poker pay tables aren’t that great, but I wasn't risking much money.) After inserting the MyPoints players club card, I saw a variety of options from playing in a slot tournament on the same screen as my video poker game to cashing in free play. What really caught my eye was the ability to watch TV on the same screen. I could change channels, but really only ESPN seemed to make much sense on mute.
The option is a really cool feature for playing video poker in the casino, but still being able to keep tabs on a game. Looking a little deeper, I found out that it was made possible through the SYNKROS gaming system by Konami Gaming. This is the casino management system that runs when you insert your players club card into a slot or video poker machine.
If it's remotely related to Las Vegas, particularly anything having the word "Vegas" in it, we're up for chatting about it. We once read about Las Vegas, New Mexico just to obsess on our obsession. Fun Vegas fact: Due Date starring The Hangover's Zach Galifinakis was filmed in Las Vegas, New Mexico where there is also a Plaza Hotel.
So, one day someone tossed the term "Vegashamed" at us and.. yadda, yadda, yadda.. we ended up on Urban Dictionary spending a few
hours minutes browsing through all the Vegas-related entries. Let's see if readers are familiar with some of the cleaner ones:
The High Roller is open and has forever changed the Vegas skyline. With this new addition comes a new crop of Las Vegas tourists eager to get a good view of the new attraction. While it can be seen from many parts of The Strip, readers are asking which hotel rooms have the best view of the world's tallest observation wheel.
So far, VegasChatter reader strong2us has reported that the rooms in the back of Harrah’s (touted to have “mountain views”) have a clear line of sight to the High Roller. Another VegasChatter reader, Al D., reported having a great view from the 25th floor of Harrah’s. Here are the daytime and nighttime shots he sent as proof:
Vegas Observations / Fremont East / Downtown Vegas / Downtown / Plaza / Slotzilla / Bier Garten / Fremont Street / Fremont Street Experience / → All Tags
Downtown Vegas has seen a lot changes over the past few years, most of which has been documented right here on VegasChatter. Some would argue all that's new have been improvements, others would call it a mixed bag, while a few might even say it didn't need to be touched. From the injection of the Zappos culture into downtown to the buildout of Fremont East, changes have been many. There's also been the transformation of Fitzgeralds into the D. The Las Vegas Club's strategy of holding steady against a Binion's that slowly tries to re-invent itself while staying true to its roots. And of course, Downtown Grand's attempt to set itself apart from the rest of the old regime. And, that's just to name just a few.
Just under three years ago, excitement was building for the re-emergence of another classic downtown property, the Plaza. Since opening to a tepid response, the remodeled Plaza has seen its share of big changes right under its own roof. Mostly in its entertainment lineup, but also the introduction of a resort fee. And, what once looked like a survivor, Exposed Salon is (breaking news)... now gone.
Not all has disappeared or been replaced at the Plaza. Oscar's is still alive and well, though the restaurant within a resturant that was Simpatico went to culinary heaven long ago. Hash House A Go Go, still there. Poker, too, although in a different form. The announcement of a professional hockey team making its way to the Plaza means the pool deck will soon have a different look, and feel.. brrrr.
Openings / Pools / Pool Scenes / Downtown / Downtown Vegas / Downtown Grand / PICNIC / Vegas Observations / → All Tags
We were so eager to experience it that we labeled it one of 2014's top game changers. A new downtown pool experience perched on the rooftop of a new downtown hotel-casino. Surely, it would give the Golden Nugget a run for its money.
Before Downtown Grand made its public debut in October 2013, we had already fallen in love with the concept of its rooftop pool experience, PICNIC. There would be real grass! Anyone could drop in! There would be concerts and movie screenings! But, when we slipped up to the roof for a peek on opening day, we were disappointed to find turf of the plastic variety instead. We should have tempered our expectations then.
As promised, the Las Vegas Strip went dark this past Saturday in honor of Earth Hour. If you follow VegasChatter on the Facebook you may have caught some super (fan) video we posted the night the lights went out in Vegas:
“I miss the themed casinos.”
It’s one of the most frequent complaints we hear about Las Vegas. For every Aria or SLS that goes up, a Boardwalk or Sahara is erased. And, while themed casinos aren’t likely to make a comeback anytime soon, there are still a number lingering around. One is Texas Station in North Las Vegas. During a recent trip to the movies, this writer spent the better part of an afternoon exploring the locals destination.
Texas Station’s theme is apparent even before you step out of your car. The state flag is displayed proudly, and replica oil drilling equipment is scattered about. While the casino isn’t large, it does stand out because it’s a bit isolated.
Vegas Observations / The Cosmopolitan / Gambling / Video Poker / Crazy 4 Poker / Blackjack / Book and Stage / Queue Bar / Chandelier Bar / Bond Bar / → All Tags
Ever since it opened in December of 2010, The Cosmopolitan has been known for not getting gamblers. Despite having beautiful hotel rooms and suites, great fried chicken (among other excellent dining options) and being home to a nightclub that brings in some of the most money in the country, the Cosmo has continued to lose revenue. That's slowly changing as losses for the Cosmopolitan have lessened over the past year and a new focus on gamblers has begun. In fact, casino revenues increased 25% in 2013 from 2012.
Casino changes at Cosmopolitan haven’t been subtle. When you enter the resort from The Strip at night, you’re smashed in the face with the lights, a DJ and dancing girls at the new(ish) Bond gambling pit. There’s nothing wrong with another party pit on The Strip (besides the 6:5 blackjack). As you walk deeper into the casino, there’s gambling everywhere now. The once serene Chandelier Bar now has video poker. Even Queue Bar has been morphed into a gambling lounge with Pai Gow Poker and a few other table games. When you hop across the casino, you’ll be greeted by a couple hologram dealers throwing hands of (virtual) cards in the air and somehow spinning a detached roulette wheel.
Vegas Observations / Flamingo / Bellagio / Paris Las Vegas / Luxor / New York-New York / Drunk Vegas / → All Tags
The grandeur of Vegas can jade people pretty quickly, one thing after another raising the bar and making incredibly cool things seem mundane. But, nothing rekindles appreciation like a long night of drinking. Or, so we've heard. After indulging in a few during a recent bachelor party weekend, this writer found himself intoxicated
in with Vegas. Here were a few of my favorite sights:
Go-Go Dancers at Flamingo
Strolling past beautiful women in Vegas is nothing new, but for some reason, I couldn't resist the moving bodies I saw out of the corner of my eye while passing the Flamingo. Like a bug to a light, my shoulders turned, slowly closing the distance and stopping to stand in the entryway, my left shoulder on the edge of the doorway. Careful: Limit staring to five minutes, lest you draw attention from security or, worse, fall in love.
The fella above is Hans. He’s a sweetheart of a dealer at one of this writer's favorite low-rolling casinos. Late last year while waiting for some friends, another friend and I decided to play a little blackjack. Hans was beating me up pretty badly so I took a short break and let him crush the dreams of the other people at the table while remaining in my seat. While still seated, I decided to whip out the iPhone and catch up with email, tweets and friends on Facebook. It was cool. Hans didn’t seem to mind. Neither did the pit boss. We were all chatting and having a good time while he busted up other players.
After leaving the table it hit me that I wasn’t asked to stop using my mobile phone while others were playing blackjack. Back in the day, dealers and pit bosses would scold or reprimand someone using a mobile phone at the tables like a second grader. More recently, dealers and pit bosses would ask -- nicely -- if guests could step away from the table or put the phone away. Since my experience, I've noticed that dealers and pit bosses all around Vegas are easing up on the scolding. Gentle requests are still made sometimes, but not as often as the past. This has been my personal experience at casinos all over Vegas in the past few months.