While Las Vegas these days is known for more than just gaming –– first came the superclubs, then the celebrity chefs, then the NHL and NFL –– casinos still represent the beating neon heart of the city. With so many options though, it can be hard to know where your money’s best spent, and it’s actually worth diving a little deeper to find out where you should play based on your own gaming interests. Some folks want to play the most up-to-the-minute slots, whereas poker enthusiasts may look to soak in the atmosphere of the vaunted rooms that have hosted the top pro tournaments. Whatever your number, Vegas has it covered. So let’s have a look at the aces in the deck where gamers are concerned.
Vegas in summer is hot. July sees average lows of 81, average highs of 105, and it can be toward the end of October before the mercury regularly dips below 75. Why does this impact where you decide to game? Well, on the one hand, you don’t particularly want to be outdoors in that blazing heat. On the other, it seems a shame to be indoors with such sunny weather, particularly if you’re traveling from colder climes. And that leads us to swim-up blackjack, which provides the best of both worlds.
Offered by Caesars Palace and the Tropicana, this kind of blackjack experience sees guests shaded under balconies while they stand tableside in the cool water. It’s about as far from the gritty high-stakes Vegas image as you can get within city limits; stakes are generally lower than indoor card rooms and the vibe is more focused on having a drink and a good time. But in that sense the swim-up blackjack options achieve exactly what they’re meant to.
Slots are everywhere in Sin City. You have the choice of 1,400 machines to play on before you even get out of McCarran International Airport! For the serious player though, it’s worth thinking about where the potential best returns are to be had (referred to in slots as Return To Player, or RTP).
Conventional wisdom has always been that the best value was to be found off the Strip. However, in 2021 Las Vegas Then And Now found that Strip slots were on average “looser” –– meaning more generous with winnings –– than downtown Las Vegas casinos. This is good news for both the casual tourist, who’s going as much for the experience as the gambling, and for the pro, who can factor in that the glitzier venues (usually) have a higher quality of complimentary drink!
Poker in Vegas is whatever you want it to be. Looking to channel the spirits of the mobsters from a bygone era? Head to Binion’s Gambling Hall at Hotel Apache. Hit up the linked properties of the Horseshoe and Paris Las Vegas if you want to play in the salons that professionals like Daniel Negreanu and celebrities like Master of Ceremonies Vince Vaughn will grace in the 2022 World Series Of Poker Finals.
If you’re newer to poker, the card room at Planet Hollywood is worth investigating. The property is more famous for Zappos Theater (home of Britney Spears’s groundbreaking 2013 residency that paved the way for Vegas becoming the place to be for contemporary artists). Gaming-wise, the venue’s biggest news was being the first to introduce skill-based electronic games in 2017. This means the poker room isn’t quite the high-rolling, tense affair of the whale pits elsewhere on the Strip. Lower-value games and a player base of mostly tourists mean it’s accessible without sacrificing quality, and have helped to establish Planet Hollywood’s as one of the most underrated poker rooms in Las Vegas.
Given that roulette is a game of pure chance, your choice of where to play this one should be pretty simple. Still, there are some questions worth considering. For instance, does the casino offer European roulette? The European game only has one zero on the wheel, meaning the house advantage is only 2.7%, as opposed to American roulette, where having both the single and double zero slots means the property’s edge almost doubles at 5.26%.
The good news is you can typically find either option just about anywhere. You can play either after catching a Cirque du Soleil at the Mirage, or by heading downtown to the oldest and smallest hotel on Fremont Street –– the Golden Gate –– squeezing roulette into any sort of Vegas experience you want to enjoy.
Hopefully this has helped prepare you for an optimal gaming experience in the world’s greatest casino resort hot spot. Thanks for reading, and please check out our gaming section content for more info on casino tourism in Vegas and beyond.