Almost three out of every four visitors to Las Vegas spend some time and money gambling. According to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority’s Visitor Profile, 74% of people visiting Las Vegas gambled in 2017. That’s the highest percentage of visitors to Las Vegas that have gambled in the past five years.
Unfortunately, the amount of time they spent gambling was the lowest over the past five years. Vistors gambled just over one and a half hours during their vacation. Las Vegas isn’t the same as it was 10 years ago. There are plenty of things to do that don’t involve gambling. Additionally, casino operators have changed the rules and payout schedules of some casino games to increase their revenue.
It’s not all the fault of the casino. Gamblers are playing games and making wagers that may not be the best use of their money. Side bets sometimes have a big payout, but they rarely pay actual odds of the bonus occurring. These bets often come with an even high house edge. In the short term, good things can happen and players may hit a jackpot. However, over time the long-term odds usually catch up.
Let’s take a look at how you can play the best versions of different games in the casino.
This is the most popular game with visitors in Las Vegas. You’ll find different rules at different blackjack tables. Sometimes a single casino can have so many options that you can lose your mind looking for the best game. Here’s a list of the best (and worst) blackjack games in Las Vegas. This is a great resource but let me offer a couple quick tips.
Blackjack Payout – A game that pays 3:2 for blackjack is better than 6:5 which is better than even money. While Hooters offers a $1 blackjack game it only pays even money for blackjack which is the worst in Las Vegas. Some electronic blackjack games pay even money too. While you may spend less to play these games, you’re playing a game that will take your money faster than a game with better rules. Bottom line, look for 3:2 blackjack to get the most out of your bankroll.
Location – Casinos on the Vegas Strip are typically more expensive than casinos downtown and off the Strip. Blackjack is no different. You’ll find more affordable games with rules that benefit the player more when you leave the Vegas Strip casinos. Unlike the Strip, many of the casinos offer blackjack games that pay 3:2 for under $25 per hand. This should keep your bankroll live for longer than the 6:5 games on the Vegas Strip.
Craps looks complicated but is a simple game when you remove the bad betting options. The craps games with the lowest house edge offer the best odds. However, you’ll need some cash to take advantage of the high odds offered in a couple of casinos. The Cromwell on the Vegas Strip offers 100x odds on passline and come bets. The house edge is almost zero (0.00006) but you’ll need a large bankroll to take advantage of this as the minimum bet is often $10 or $15.
You can head to downtown Las Vegas and play the 20x odds game at Main Street Station. This minimum bet is often $5 and the house edge with max odds is minuscule at 0.00029. You’ll spend $105 minimum per roll to take advantage of the odds. The best options might be the handful of craps games in downtown Las Vegas with 10x odds and a $5 minimum bet. This is a relatively small $55 bet for a game with a house edge of only 0.00055.
Even the worst craps games have wagers available with a low house edge. Just stick to the passline or come bets to take advantage of the low house edge. This means that you’ll miss the fun of the big payouts with a hardway or prop bet. However, your money should last longer.
One of the latest trends at table games is adding another slot to the roulette wheel. The simplicity of roulette makes is a popular game with most players. Most tables in Las Vegas casinos have 0 and/or 00 options. The single zero game has a house edge of 2.7%. Double zero is the version of roulette that you see in most casinos and has a house edge of 5.26%. Now there’s a new and worse version of roulette.
Casinos have added another slot on the roulette wheel. The new “000” roulette might have a logo instead of three zeros but the house edge with this additional slot is 7.69%. You can avoid this game just by looking at the layout of the table. The minimum bet for 000 roulette might be lower than the other games but that’s not always the case. Look around for the best roulette game in the casino. This new version is more difficult to win and your time gambling should be lower than the other games.
Marc Meltzer covers Las Vegas, gaming and men’s lifestyle for various outlets. Check out his blog at Edge Vegas.