Vegas Casino games
Rules for casino games vary from venue to venue, with some so draconian that your chances of winning are slim to none. Some casinos, however, offer rules that are very player-friendly and, when augmented by a good players' club, provide an average return a cut above that of the competition. Yes, Virginia, there really are better and worse places to play each casino game.
Not unexpectedly, player-friendly rules aren't par for the course in the buzzo-glitz hotels on the Strip. But if you poke around the lesser constellations, you'll find rules that cut the house edge to as little as .14% for some games. Working with professional gambler and Unofficial Guide to Las Vegas contributor Anthony Curtis, here are our picks of the best places to play each game.
A little casino called the Alamo, located in a truck stop at the corner of Blue Diamond Road and Dean Martin Drive, has two single-deck tables with the best rules in Las Vegas. The games pay 3-2 on naturals, dealer hits soft 17, late surrender is allowed and an unbusted six-card hand is an automatic winner, which results in a skinny basic-strategy edge for the casino of only .14%. It's strictly small stakes, with limits from $5 to $100.
Since you can't tell definitively whose slots pay best (they can't be analyzed like video poker machines), picking a casino with strong player benefits and an overall policy of liberal gambling is as good a way to choose as any. El Cortez downtown fits that bill perfectly. And in addition to being one of the best gambling houses in Las Vegas, EC is also a good low-end comp house, so your players points from quarter slots will go farther here.
Evidence still points to the Palms as being another that's among the loosest for slots in general. Lots of promotions and a good slot club make it the pick at the dollar level (but video poker provides much better returns). Dollar slot players earn comps fast, and this is one of the best places in town to use them.
Others try, but they can't sustain their craps promotions like this little casino located smack at the center of the Strip. Casino Royale still deals 20X odds on its craps games. This generous odds multiple makes it the best in town in this category. Main Street Station downtown also offers 20X odds.
Quarter Video Poker
Finding 100%+ gambling isn't easy, but you can find it on the quarter games here. The good ones are on the second floor, including a bank with a sign that reads "Over 100% Payback." But the best machines are at the Vue Bar, where progressive-jackpot meters rise quickly to create frequent high-return situations.
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Dollar Video Poker
Hundreds of machines here pay at the 9/6 Jacks or Better level (99.54%). Add the generous South Point slot club and other benefits and you're playing at a 100% theoretical return level 24/7. Plus, whereas many casinos now reduce players club benefits on machines with the best schedules, South Point pays full benefits on all machines.
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