Local Casinos

" How does one rank a gaming pit? Given the high level of subjectivity, it's simply not possible. If you ask the opinion of a thousand different people you will get a thousand different answers.

For instance, do you like high society or do you prefer more casual surroundings? Some people find the Bellagio too pretentious, while others would never gamble elsewhere. O'Sheas has a loyal following while others consider it one step above (or below) a gas station restroom. When making a list, the preferences of the author override everything else.

What I look for in a gaming pit may not be what you look for, and it's not feasible to take a scientific poll.

For the most part, gaming pits which bring me back tend to offer a combination of the following: uniqueness, intangible ""look and feel"", abundant eye candy, competent drink service, good odds, friendliness, comfort, and most of all ... fun.

Instead of being literal, rankings are simply fun and vicarious, so try not to read too much into them.

That being said, if there is a gaming pit on the list which you have yet to try, it may be worth a stack of chips and a few hours of your time. Who knows ... it just might become one of your favorites too.

1. Las Vegas Club Fetish Pit

""The Las Vegas Club? Never heard of it.""

Don't feel bad, probably half of all Las Vegas visitors have never heard of this small property. Located at the far western edge of the Fremont Street Experience, this gambling pit takes the top spot because it has cheap gaming, good odds, above-average drink service, a stripper pole in the center of the pit, and the best dealer costumes in town.

While the dealers at most other properties wear the same costumes every night, you never know what you will get at the Fetish Pit, and that's half the fun.

This pit is new and does not yet have an established track record, but for my money, it's the gaming venue to beat at the moment.

2. The Tropicana Pool Pit

Swim-up Blackjack is a gimmick, but a fun gimmick nonetheless. I make it a point to play swim-up at least once every season, and it has yet to lose its silly appeal. When you are done losing all of your money (play until you lose so you don't have to babysit a wad of cash near the water), simply fall off of your seat and swim off into one of the most underrated pools in Las Vegas.

3. Planet Hollywood Pleasure Pit

This pit is just plain fun. It has a certain intangible quality that is hard to define, but overall, it feels a little more enjoyable than other Strip skin pits. It may be the high-quality women shaking their assets, the subconscious knowledge that it's not a chain property (yet), the music, or the fact that service and friendliness is typically above average. Since ownership of this property is slated to change in the near future, the Pleasure Pit may or may not retain its position, so stay tuned.

4. Imperial Palace Dealertainer Pit

Imperial Palace brought about the ""Dealertainer"" concept, and while a silly novelty, it's still a gaming experience that you will get ©""Only in Las Vegas"". It's not often that you can order Elvis or Michael Jackson to split your 8's, and it's even more rare to have them serenade you while doing so. If you really want to have some fun, take a seat at the MJ table, and when the waitress asks you if you need anything ... respond ""Yes, I would like a glass of Jesus Juice mixed with propofol and a pair of MaCaulay Culkin's underwear."" The only thing better than playing in the Dealertainer pit is getting kicked out of it.

5. Stratosphere Double Down Pit

The two most compelling reasons are right before your very eyes. What more do you need? Friendly and attractive dealers make this a fun place to play, and since it is adjacent to the Poker Room, you can satisfy most of your gaming needs in a 100 sqft area. The Stratosphere has lost visitor mindshare in recent years with the decay of the North Strip, therefore this pit remains one of the best-kept secrets in all of Las Vegas.

6. Caesars Palace Pussycat Pit

The skin pit that started it all.

Las Vegas is not a bastion of originality. To the contrary, we are an unofficial extension of Hollywood, complete with terrible movies which bear our name. Vegas comes up with virtually nothing of its own, and the town makes a living largely by copying the creativity of others. If something works in one casino, other casinos will hop on the bandwagon just as quickly as they can. This is exactly what has happened with the skin pits.

It would be unconscionable to champion the imitators without paying due homage to the originator. When the Pussycat Pit is cranking, it still ranks as one of the most entertaining gaming venues in Vegas.

7. Palazzo Gaming Pit

Many have tried the ""open casino"" concept, but the chosen are few. The Palazzo has one of the most inviting gaming areas in Las Vegas due to its wide aisles and bright design, and it is possibly the only casino in Las Vegas that would be suitable for a Claustrophobics Anonymous meeting. There is nothing wrong with the status-quo ... but the Palazzo provides a great alternative to dark, labyrinthian casino floors.

8. Sahara Pit/Dollar Pit

Yes, I said Sahara. Finally a pit that isn't predicated on the notion of overtly-attractive females. The dealers and waitresses in the Sahara tend to be on the more, uh, ""mature"" side ... but from a gambling perspective, the Sahara pit is easily the most ""flexible"". There are few other places in Las Vegas where you can spread a table bet from $3 to $5,000, and this range is what makes the Sahara a great pit for the middle-class. Although the $1 Blackjack isn't what it used to be (it has gone from 3:2 to 6:5), the pit still has a variety of $3 tables with standard odds. Given its equidistance from Downtown and the Bellagio, and its location on both the Monorail and Deuce, it's also one of the most convenient casino floors in all of Las Vegas.

9. Wynn Gaming Pit

As easy as it is to take issue with Wynn the man, it's hard to deny the quality of his casinos. The Wynn is the very definition of ""nice"", and the comfort and service is hard to beat. While not scantily dressed (they are considered ""classy""), the women are usually in the 7-9 range, with a handful actually hitting the elusive 10. The attached Encore deserves a nod as well, although I still prefer the feel of the Wynn. Were it not for the guilt of playing here due to the tip stealing debacle, it would rate higher and I would play here more often.

10. Gold Spike ""Sexy"" Pit

The Gold Spike has what one might consider an ""anti-casino"" gaming pit. It's almost like gambling in your own living room while the girls next door deal your cards ... while your cranky mother-in-law stands around yelling at everyone. Consisting of only 4 tables and a unique level of informality, it became a favorite of mine when it first opened.

Unfortunately, there was an incident in June of this year. I brought 15 people to play in the property, and after arriving I was taken aside and scolded by the pit boss for not giving them enough notice so that they could call in another dealer. It's rare that a casino will give someone a hard time for bringing them business, yet this is exactly what happened to me. Not only that, but they greedily jacked up the limits to take advantage of our group and I've yet to go back.

That being said, the dealers are attractive and approachable, ""profanity"" is allowed, the normal limits are low, the odds are full, and the intimacy of the pit is something that goes against the grain.

Six months ago, I would have rated it higher. Under more competent pit management, it has greater potential, but as of now it is clinging by a thread to the last spot.

" " Most of us have been there. Some people consider it a rite of passage. If you don't get booted at least once, then you're not trying hard enough.

For the most part, the casino frowns on anything you do that does not directly benefit the house. As a matter of fact, you can be an axe murderer and you will still be welcome so long as the casino can still make money off of you. Even if you are a low roller, getting kicked out of a Vegas casino is quite uncommon. This does not mean that it is impossible, however. In no particular order, below are some of the most common things that will get you booted.

1.  Win

This is not a joke. If you win too much at Blackjack, or even Craps, sometimes you may be banned from the particular game, and in some cases you may be asked to leave altogether. The rationale for the casino is that people who win too much know how to count cards or set dice -- but it sometimes happens that just plain lucky players will no longer be welcome.


This rule is usually only invoked on table games in which a superior play may gain a theoretical advantage. If you win at slots, you will almost always be welcomed back, and usually with sweet comps. The house figures that you will eventually lose back everything you've won on video games, and more often than not -- they're right.


2.  ""Profanity""

This may be the most common reason for getting kicked out. Even though there is no such thing as profanity, much like the Easter Bunny and Democracy... some people still believe that it exists.

3.  Slot Walking

Slot walking is the practice of playing or cashing in someone else's credits. Once a player leaves a machine, the house lays claim to any unplayed credit left on machines, and they even assert claim over any money that is left on the floor or in other common areas. Anyone who has spent any appreciable time in a casino has probably slot walked a little (there is no reason to call security to return a nickel), but scavenging credits, chips, sports tickets, etc. can get you booted if caught.

4.  Break Into the Casino Vault ... Ninja Style

Hollywood would never lie to you. If it works for Brad Pitt and George Clooney, it will work for you. Just try not to get caught. Steve Wynn keeps his cherished ""Just For Men"" hair coloring in the vault, and he's been known to choke a person or two just for getting close to it. Even though this may get you kicked out of the casino, look on the bright side, it might also secure you a place in the Las Vegas Mob Museum.

5.  Exercise Your Second Amendment Right

Even though no law exists to prevent the lawful carrying of firearms in Las Vegas casinos, security still doesn't want to see them inside. ""Customer Safety"" is often cited as the reason, but this probably isn't the whole story. An armed society is a polite society, but let's face it, the house doesn't want to have to be polite.


Fortunately, most casinos already hire highly-trained security guards to deal with pesky photographers, so you probably won't need a firearm anyway.

6.  Offer Sexual Favors For Money

This one is a bummer, because it is by far the easiest way to make money in a casino. Were it not for this rule, I would never have taken up poker in the first place. Why risk pushing all-in when you have a sure thing. This rule also works in reverse. If you ask the cocktail waitress for a lapdance, or offer the dealer money to go back to your room, you may get ejected. Then again ... you may also get a date.

7.  Take a Photograph.

Don't ask me how I know, but this is one that will get you tossed quite regularly. Even though it is perfectly legal to take photographs inside of casinos, some places will still come down hard on you for doing so. If you want to expedite your ejection, locate the cocktail waitress with the worst aim, point your lens toward her, and watch hilarity ensue.

8.  BYOB

You can walk beer and house drinks around the casino floor, but sit at the table with your own bottle of Jack Daniels and things will get ugly fast.


Given that casinos prefer customers drunk, this rule has always struck me as somewhat counter-intuitive, but the more the house can control, the better.

9.  Demand Replays

After a losing hand of Blackjack, wait for the cards to be cleared, then stand up and declare that the dealer miscounted your cards and that you actually had 21. If you win, wait for the table to be cleared, and then insist that you were short paid. Do this every four or five hands. Another twist on this particular ruse is to ask the pit boss for comps. After every single hand, summon the pit boss and say ""Can I have a free room now?"" You won't last long, but you'll be my personal hero for having the balls to try it.

10.  Bring the Kids

As silly and common-sensical as it sounds, I've personally witnessed this time and again. Casino security is ever-vigilant for the presence of junior, and if you linger just a little bit too long in the casino with your kid, a tap on the shoulder is inevitable. Given that a casino can lose its gaming license for allowing minors to loiter, it is hard to blame the house for enforcing this rule.

11.  Quote from the Movie ""Swingers""

The casino will not kick you out, but many locals will seek to have you banished from the city altogether. While Swingers' quotes are particularly offensive to anyone with an IQ greater than 60, this rule applies to quotes from just about every other Vegas movie as well.

12.  Steal Mike Tyson's Tiger

See above. Getting kicked out of a casino is a small price to pay for reenacting your favorite movie scene. For bonus points, you may want to steal a police car and marry a stripper. Don't worry about the repercussions. In case you hadn't heard, what happens here stays here!

13.  Be a Repeat Offender

If you mess up really badly, you will be ""trespassed"" from a casino. What this means is that if you come back, you are guilty of the crime of trespassing and can thus be arrested by the police. Most casinos have hundreds of video cameras and automated biometrics, so even if you are wearing a disguise, the risk is typically greater than the reward.

14.  Be Obnoxious

This one could fall under the ""profanity"" rule, but sometimes just being a jerk can get you kicked out. Being too loud, being too drunk, criticizing the play of other players, challenging other patrons to fight, etc. After ""profanity"", this is probably the next most common reason for being tossed.


15.  Cheat

This one is fairly obvious, but unlike the above reasons, it is an absolute guarantee. If you are caught cheating in a Vegas casino, not only will you get kicked out, but you may get two beatings... once by casino security, and once by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. After they are done with you, be prepared to spend some quality time in the Clark County Detention Center. For these reasons, cheating in Las Vegas is highly discouraged, especially if you have an aversion to forcible sodomy.


"" First time in Las Vegas and not sure on how to spend your days? No worries, our blogger Rex has put together his list of 17 Must Dos for first time visitors. Enjoy!

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1.  Gratuitous Erotic Show

No other city in the USA has shows quite like ours.  Cheesy and low-budget, they straddle the line between a strip club and dinner theater, and are generally suitable for singles and couples alike.  There is no strip club hassle and the intimidation factor is nil.  There is music, there is dancing, and most importantly ... there are boobs.  What's not to love?


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment > PEEPSHOW>

2.  Buffets

Considered by some to be the Walmart of Vegas dining options, they are nonetheless a staple of the culture.  From the lower-end-but-still-good Sahara to the gourmet Wynn and Bellagio buffets, standing in long lines to get into one of these feedbags is a must.  Every city has restaurants, but only Las Vegas has perfected the art of the buffet.  Overall quality has declined slightly since the buffet heyday of 1998-2005, but these ""restaurants"" still represent the greatest bang for your Vegas dining buck.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Food & Drinks> Las Vegas ... We Have Good Food Here>

3.  The Bellagio Fountains

Originally designed as a bidet for Rosie O'Donnell (it turns out they weren't large enough), the Bellagio Fountains are the archetypical ""free"" attraction in Las Vegas.  The fountains ""dance"" roughly every half hour to a variety of different songs, and they have been a crowd favorite on the Las Vegas Strip for more than a decade.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> The Bellagio Fountains>

4.  Gamble

This one should be obvious, but some people actually come to town and skip this step.  While there are many non-gambling things to do in town, Las Vegas is, was, and always will be a primary gambling destination.  Coming to Las Vegas without spending at least a few hours gambling is like wearing a burqa to the beach.  You should play all of the ""traditional"" games at least once.  Craps, Roulette, Blackjack and Slots.  Anything beyond that is gravy.  If you don't know how to gamble, a large number of properties have lessons.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Gambling> Sunday at Sam's>

5.  The Fremont Street Experience

At 1,500 feet long, it's the world's largest electronic sign.  Combined with a half-million watt sound system and more than a dozen unique animated shows, it is an awe-inspiring experience that cannot be described ... it must be seen.  While you're there, stop in one of the dozen casinos lining Fremont Street and enjoy Vegas' best gaming odds in a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Downtown> Rex: On Downtown Las Vegas>

6.  The Bellagio Conservatory

This place is the antithesis of the Las Vegas image.  It's quiet, subdued, and filled with families.  Still, it must be seen.  The conservatory is filled with displays and animatronics made mostly out of flowers, and aside from the Rose Parade in Pasadena, there is really nothing else quite like it.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> Summer at the Conservatory>

7.  The Mirage Volcano

This recently redesigned staple is now ""volcano-ier"" than ever.  If you've never seen a volcano erupt from 30 feet away, now is your chance.  Along with the Bellagio Fountains, this is a staple attraction which is considered a ""must-see"" for all first-time Vegas visitors.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> First Eruption: The New Mirage Volcano>

8.  The Stratosphere

Nearly twice as tall as the Seattle Space Needle, The Stratosphere Tower is the tallest freestanding tower in the USA.  Not only should you visit the observation deck at least once, but the ""Big Shot"" is the only *must* ride in Las Vegas.  This attraction catapults you up the spire in open air 1,000 feet above the ground, and is currently the highest thrill ride on planet Earth.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> On Top of The World>

9.  An Impersonator Show

Elvis, Shitney, Christina Aguilera, Michael Jackson ... be they dead or alive, rest assured that they are still performing at a hotel in Las Vegas.  Cirque Du Soleil shows are great, and they have a much higher budget and production value, however much like the Gratuitous Erotic Show ... Impersonator Shows are part of the Las Vegas culture, and are more representative of the traditional Vegas experience.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> The Way We Were>

10.  The Eiffel Tower

The Vegas Strip's ""other"" observation tower.  Not as tall as the Stratosphere, but its center-strip location offers a completely different view.  The tower must be visited at least once, but given the lack of air-conditioning at the top ... a trip is best taken at night or during a non-Summer month.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> The Strip> Looking Back From Above>

11.  Pools

Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Golden Nugget ... no doubt about it, we have the best swimming pools in the world.  If it's your first visit, and it's Summer, choose a hotel with a highly-regarded pool and spend the day on the beach or in a tropical paradise.  Vegas pools are resort destinations in and of themselves.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> Striking Gold in Downtown Las Vegas>

12.  Sirens of T.I.

Previously the ""Battle of Buccaneer Bay"", this free show in front of Treasure Island has been updated to be slightly more ""adult"" in nature, but it's still appropriate for all ages assuming you aren't Mormon or Amish.  Viewing angle and distance is of paramount importance for Sirens, so it is highly recommended that you secure a spot in the ""splash zone"" before the show begins.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> The Sirens of TI>

13.  Strip Clubs

Get it out of your system.  You've no doubt heard about Vegas Strip Clubs ad-nauseum, and dropping a couple of hundred dollars in one is a Vegas rite of passage.  Just don't expect too much.  Contrary to the hype, our clubs are actually less raunchy than those found in other areas of the country.  Few of our clubs are fully nude, and there are periodic campaigns to eliminate lap dances altogether.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> Is Rex The Most Handsome Man In Las Vegas?

14.  The Las Vegas Monorail

Be the first person to ride it!  Even though this transit system opened in 2004, it is still awaiting its initial passenger.  This could be you.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> The Strip> Tales From The Rails>

15.  Rio Show in the Sky

The Rio Masquerade Show in the Sky offers singing, dancing, and passenger floats that run along tracks on the ceiling of the casino.  Since you can't see it anywhere else on the planet, you must see it here at least once.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> The Rio Masquerade Show In The Sky>

16.  Red Rock Canyon

Drive twenty minutes west and you are no longer on planet Earth.  You're on Mars.  At least you might as well be.  Well, except for the whole ""lack of oxygen"" thing.  And gravity.  And wild burros.  Okay, it's nothing like Mars, but it has some of the finest desert scenery in the state and it won't take more than a couple of hours out of your day.


Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Attractions & Entertainment> Red Rock ... The Canyon and Casino>

17.  Steal Mike Tyson's Tiger

This one is self explanatory.  Everyone in Las Vegas steals Mike's tiger at least once.  Not only that, but we all get involved in hilarious hi-jinx while trying to return it.  Don't be the only person to forgo this ritual.  For bonus points, attempt this caper in a stolen police car while high on the fictitious drug known as Roofilyn.  If you get caught, smile, pop a Mentos into your mouth and shout ""What Happens Here Stays Here!"".  The cops will laugh and release you so long as you consent to be electrocuted in the genitals by a 12 year old boy.

Blogs>The Real Las Vegas> Reviews> Hollywood Does Las Vegas>

All Images and videos are from Rex blog, The Real Las Vegas.

" " Online casino players have it great as far as taking advantage of tons of exclusive casino bonuses, but one big advantage of playing at live casinos is that many offer free drinks to players.

Those ""free"" drinks can turn into pretty expensive ones if Lady Luck isn't on your side at the roulette or craps tables, but at least a beer or cocktail on the house can take some of the sting out.

We can't help turn your luck around, but we can pass along a few quick tips for getting the best free drink service while at the casino.

Free drink strategy is far less complicated than learning perfect basic strategy at blackjack, so you'll be sipping cocktails in no time.

1) Shoot for the Moon: The cardinal rule of getting the best drink service is to aim high and be specific. Never order a screwdriver, as you're guaranteed to get the cheapest vodka they have lying around.

Always ask for a top shelf brand like Grey Goose and orange juice, as the worst thing that can happen is the cocktail waitress will tell you that your specified liquor isn't available and that you'll have to order the cheaper vodka.

2) Feed the Machine: If you're just looking for a quick beer or drink, take a seat at many of the bars scattered throughout casinos that have video poker machines and feed a $100 bill in.

Poke around the different games and wait for the bartender to take your order and serve you.

Nine times out of 10 they don't care whether you're actually playing or not and just look to see that you put money in the machine, so once you get your drink cash out and enjoy the free drink.

3) The Higher the Better: If you play table games at higher limits (green $25 chips and up) you'll tend to get slightly faster service and they'll often accommodate more drink requests.

If you're playing penny slots, the odds of getting elaborate mixed drinks are pretty low; play blackjack at $200/hand and they'll pretty much serve you anything from the bar that you ask for.

4) The Swankier the Better: The nicer Vegas strip casinos such as the Wynn, Venetian/Palazzo and Bellagio tend to have more complimentary drink options available for players, whereas you shouldn't expect much other than the bare-bones basics at the Imperial Palace or O'Sheas.

It may be convenient to gamble where you're staying, but sometimes you're better off walking a few blocks to a nicer casino - especially if they comp your favorite import beer there or other drinks.

5) Tip Well Early: Cocktail waitresses definitely remember big tippers.

It can add up to more than a few extra drinks if you make an early impression with a big tip, as you often get much faster service.

" " As one of the most glamorous cities in the world, it may come as no surprise that many couples opt to have their wedding in Las Vegas. With more than 50 wedding chapels in town and plenty of other stunning wedding locations, finding that perfect spot to say ""I Do"" is easy.

If you are interested in getting married in Vegas, spend some time researching the available options as you plan the wedding of your dreams.

Location, Location, Location

As any good event planner knows, location can make or break your wedding plans. The best place for your wedding is a Vegas spot that can accommodate all of your guests and that represents your unique preferences as a couple. Looking for something small and intimate? Consider a ceremony in one of the city's many tiny wedding chapels. Planning a lavish affair? Then be sure to check out some of the many chapels and reception centers found in some of the best-known hotels in Vegas.


The elegant Bellagio Hotel offers two stunning wedding options. Couples can opt to say ""I Do"" inside the hotel's luxurious indoor wedding chapel, or may instead choose to wed outside with the famous Bellagio fountains and music playing in the background.

The elegant Bellagio Hotel offers two stunning wedding options. Couples can opt to say ""I Do"" inside the hotel's luxurious indoor wedding chapel, or may instead choose to wed outside with the famous Bellagio fountains and music playing in the background.

Other possible options to consider include the wedding chapels at the Mandalay Bay Hotel, the Excalibur Hotel or the Treasure Island hotel. Each offers its own unique set of features, so it is important to do a little research before deciding which option is best suited to your plans. For example, Mandalay Bay features a modern chapel perfectly suited to brides searching for contemporary elegance. The Excalibur, on the other hand, showcases an ancient, Old-World European atmosphere that appeals to brides searching for a unique wedding experience.


Choose Your Vegas Wedding Experience

Getting married in Vegas can involve as little or as much planning as you desire. Many hotels offer comprehensive wedding packages that take care of virtually every detail. All you need to do is show up. Other wedding options require a bit more planning, and may involve finding accommodations for your guests, choosing a caterer, buying flowers and hiring a photographer.

The package that you choose may depend largely on your own preferences and budget. Pre-arranged hotel packages can range widely in prices, but they tend to cost slightly more than some other budget alternatives. However, planning your own wedding details can involve the expense of hiring a wedding planner, purchasing wedding decorations and hiring caterers, entertainment and photographers. Spend some time researching your options, then compare prices to determine which is right for your unique financial situation.

Getting married in Vegas can be an exciting, unique and beautiful way to celebrate your union. From the world-class dining, lavish wedding locations and vibrant nightlife, you and your guests will have the time of your lives during this special celebration. With a little planning and help from close friends and family, you can have the wedding of your dreams in one of the best cities in the world for glamour, love and romance.


" " In the ongoing How to Beat the House Series, Casino Guide will reveal how players throughout the history have managed to beat the casino and describe what strategies they've used. It can be anything from having a piece of ducked tape attached to the elbow, with which a casino hustler can steal fellow players' chips, to throwing a pair of dice so rhythmically artsy that the outcome can be predicted.

First out is Richard Marcus, one of the most successful casino cheaters ever.

Richard Marcus is a now retired casino hustler who - for three decades - has scammed casinos in Las Vegas and around the world for millions of dollars, without getting arrested even once. Craps, Roulette, Baccarat and Blackjack were his favorite games, and his best discipline was what casino cheaters call past posting.

Past posting is a simple way of cheating, yet it demands that you are dexterous and have nerves of steel.

You simply post, say, five $10 chips at a roulette table. When you miss your number, nothing happens and you lose your bet; but when the ball lands in the selected socket, you quickly approach your wager. And now comes the tricky part: Without anyone seeing what you're up to - neither a floor person nor the eye-in-the-sky - you place a high-denomination chip in the bottom of your pile of chips.

When the croupier then pay your bet, you say something like ""hey, you paid me too little, I bet $1,050, not $60."" And when the croupier examines your wager, he will se that that it consists of five $10 chips plus one $1,000 chip and not six $10 chips as he first thought.

However, in the late 80s, casinos started installing cameras above every table so they could see what every player did all the time. This was supposed to put an end to past posting. But Richard Marcus invented a way to beat the cameras, one of the most brilliant casino cheats ever created, The Savannah.





" " Casino Players with sharp minds can beat the house: Blackjack players who count cards, colluding card sharks, players who work together with cheating dealers etc. There are, however, players who have used technical devices to beat the casino. We're going to investigate them in the second article in the series How to Beat the House.

Roulette Scam at the Ritz Casino

In the spring of 2004, two men and one woman walked into the Casino at The Ritz located near Piccadilly Circus in London. They sat down by the roulette table and started placing high-denomination chips. Everything seemed normal - just a couple of new high rollers in town.

And they were lucky, very lucky, and could later that night leave the casino with £100.000 in winnings.

The subsequent evening, the team returned to the casino for another session - and it turned out to a really profitable one. They could walk out with another £1.2 million, £300.000 in cash and a check for the remaining balance.

However, the casino-security team sensed something was wrong and went back to look at the security tapes.


A Mobile Phone Calculated the Outcome

The casino employees saw something interesting: One of the team members looked at a mobile phone from time to time. They decided to inform the police.

Later that night, Scotland Yard entered the team's hotel room and found a significant amount of cash and a number of mobile phones. When they examined the phones the realized how the team had managed to win that much money. The phones were equipped with a piece of software that approximately calculates where the ball will land after each roulette spin - a system called sector targeting.

Sector targeting is quite simple. You determinate where the ball is released, and then where it is after, say, two spins. With these variables it's possible to roughly calculate where the ball will end up. The problem is that it's impossible to do with just the mind - a program must do the calculation for you.

So the roulette players weren't sending a lot of text messages. It was a new form of casino hustling.

Below, you can watch a video about sector detecting and also learn about a device that can help you beat the dealer in blackjack.




Find out more about beating the house

" " The problem with coming up with a list of places that are not on a Las Vegas tourist map, is the fact that Vegas tourist maps don't omit much. Almost every rundown property or semi-notable point of disinterest is represented by either a small star or a black dot.


The last time I looked at the fold out map contained in an in-room magazine, such obscure places as Arden, NV, the Wild West Casino, and the Wynn Resort were noted.  Most maps even have housing designations such as Summerlin, Desert Shores, and The Lakes noted on the page.  This being the case, finding places that most maps omit can be a challenge.

This will not, however, stop me from trying.  While some of the places below will probably be on some maps, they certainly are not considered ""must-see"" tourist destinations.

Since I am the type of person who actively seeks out places which are undiscovered, under-discovered, or just plain out of favor with the public at large -- I could make a several page list of places I go that most others don't.

Because of this, this is a hard list to create.  What do I include and what do I omit?  Since all of the places enjoy a certain amount of obscurity, there would not be a huge difference between #1 and #100.

It would simply depend on my mood and memory at the specific point in time that I was typing the list.  Were I to type the same list tomorrow, it would probably be completely different than the one I am typing today.

You have to draw a line somewhere, however, and at this point -- we will draw this line at the round number of 15.

As such, join me as I attempt to extol the virtues of the path less traveled in Las Vegas and its immediate surroundings.

1. Sunrise Manor

The only time most tourists visit Sunrise Manor is when their airplane flies over it on their way back to the East Coast.  Sunrise does not have any attractions per-se, with the exception of one ... the finest view in the entire Las Vegas Valley.

Whether it's to watch fireworks, observe air shows, or to use as my own personal fortress of solitude, Sunrise is a frequent destination when I want to go somewhere to do absolutely nothing.


2. The Arts District

Most people have been to The Strip and Downtown, but few people have bothered to do more than quickly drive through the area in-between.  Frankly, it's hard to blame them.

Not much happens down here that the average tourist from Iowa would be interested in, but for those who like to explore the path less traveled, those who visit Harlem on their trips to NYC, those who look for the soul of the towns they visit ... it might be worth a visit.

Otherwise known as 18b, ""Rexville"", or Central Las Vegas, it is where drug dealers and prostitutes ply their trades outside of strip clubs, motels, wedding chapels, and furniture stores.

Since most people go out of their way to avoid the area, it can be spooky and deserted -- especially at night.  This is our ""inner city"".  If you can forgive the lack of glamor and excitement, you just might find a taco stand, custard shop, art gallery, or rock of cocaine that makes the excursion worthwhile.


3. First Friday

Sort of a twist on the entry above, First Friday is a celebration of our fledgling and questionably existent ""Arts District"".

Since there are only a few galleries, the ""Arts"" distinction mainly exists to make the area sound less dangerous to white people.  That being said, First Friday is fairly entertaining.

It draws local music talent from polished bands to 60 year olds with acoustic guitars and a boombox as backing instrumentalists.  Everyone from bedheaded wannabe artists to breakdancers are well-represented, and it's a good way to check out the area when it is actually populated with people.


4. Alta Drive

Our Beverly Hills.  Just like the more opulent version in Los Angeles, our old money area is remarkably close to our inner-city.  Summerlin and Green Valley just don't have the same connotation.

They are new, sterile, and full of McMansions.  If you want to see where the real money of Las Vegas lives, the rich people with deep roots in Vegas, the people who aren't faking it with huge mortgages and low equity, the real deal ... take a drive through Alta and explore the area of 1-2 miles on either side of this street.


5. White Cross

It's a pharmacy, it's a diner, it's a place to arrange $20 fellatio ... it's all of the above.  Well-known among locals, but fairly obscure to everyone else, it's worth a visit.

Tiffany's Cafe inside is a good, reasonably priced eatery, and is a viable alternative to eating in the casino for the third morning in a row.


6. Blue Diamond

At the southern end of Red Rock Canyon, Blue Diamond is a small mining town originally designed in the shape of the State of Nevada.

Only 20 miles outside of Las Vegas, it's in a completely different world.  With a desert backdrop and an omnipresent wild burro population, it's probably like no place else that you have ever seen.

Blue Diamond is a great place to get out of the city while still being 30 minutes from all of the action.


7. Commercial Center

A sex club, a couple of gay clubs, a fetish clothing store, a couple of Korean grocery stores, an optometrist, a famous billiard club, a liquor store, a spa, business offices, restaurants, a jeweler, dry cleaners, a church, a bookstore, travel agency, and a wig store.

What more could a human being actually need?  Located four blocks from the Vegas Strip, this is probably the most unusual strip mall in all of America.  Whether you need to be cornholed or you just have a craving for kimchi ... this is your place.


8. The Neon Boneyard

Rarely does anyone recommend that you visit a place that is not even open, but there is something about doing chin-ups on a barbed wire fence to get a peek at vintage Vegas signage that makes it that much more ... interesting.

Sure, you can wait until the place officially opens and pay an entrance fee like a civilized person, but where's the risk in that?  The Neon Boneyard is in a rough neighborhood, with the possibility of gangbangers knocking you over the head, and the omnipresent threat of a razorwire cut makes the crappy photographs you procure that much more meaningful.


9. The MAX

It's a train, it's a bus, it's both, it's neither.  The MAX is the future of transit in Las Vegas, but you can ride it today.  Not only that, but it's the greatest way to tour beautiful and scenic North Las Vegas.


10. Rub-and-Tug Row

We proudly advertise nudie shows, scantily-clad waitresses, and strip clubs in our magazines, but for some reason ... we refuse to go the extra step and tell you how to turn the blue gourds we have given you into a slightly more fleshy color.  As a tireless ambassador of goodwill to our fine city, this is where I come in.

Located on Paradise Road between Sahara and St. Louis,  Massage Parlor Row can send you home with some of the best therapeutic stress relief in the city.  With an unloaded gun, you'll also find that you save large amounts of money not buying ladies drinks, nor trying to impress the opposite sex with your sizable bankroll.


11. Dino's

This bar is a Rexville institution.  You never know what you will get on any given night, because anything is possible.  Transexuals, angry war veterans who hate transexuals, tone-deaf karaoke singers, neighborhood locals, and self-loathing hipster suburbanites are all well-represented. If you are sick and tired of ""theme bars"" in the local casinos, this place is the cure.


12. ""Real"" Downtown Las Vegas

Yes, we have a Downtown.  Not Fremont Street, but an actual business center.  We have courthouses, bank buildings, street hot dog vendors, and a plethora of other businesses in our urban core, and it's actually busy and bustling during the day as is most any other city of our size.

While it's probably not much different than other Downtowns, it's ours nonetheless, and few tourist maps indicate its presence.


13. Lake Las Vegas

It's on a tourist map, but not many tourists actually visit the place.  To some extent, this is a shame.  It's more like an European city than Paris, Forum Shops at Caesars, or Venetian's Grand Canal Shoppes.

Lake Las Vegas is much like a small island gambling destination, and is well worth the trip at least once.  The Hoover Dam is nearby, and when the new bridge opens this year, it should be easy to get in and out of the area.


14. The Air

Be it from a helicopter or an airplane, Las Vegas is one of those places that look more interesting from several thousand feet in the air.  Even though Vegas is a relatively new city with ""only"" 2 million people in the metro area, it can look downright huge from up high.  Unfortunately, this one can be expensive.

Helicopter rides are not cheap, and you typically have to have aviator buddies to get into the air.  Word has it that you can ""rent a pilot"" at North Las Vegas Airport, but I've never tried it myself and I doubt it's that simple.

If you want to truly explore the Vegas Valley in a way that few others can, it may be worth looking into.  An obvious cheaper variation would be the Stratosphere, but that is probably still on a tourist map.  For now.


15. The ""Las Vegas Strip""

Few people are aware of this, but there is a four mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard between Russell Road and Sahara Avenue that is lined with casinos and hotels.  Some people unofficially refer to this area as ""The Strip"".

Given a consolidation of ownership and poor gaming odds, this area is understandably shunned by the typical Las Vegas visitor.




Gambling is a highly personal endeavor, and each person has his or her own rules with which they adhere. In my opinion, the most important rule of all is simply to have a set of rules. Gambling with no game plan whatsoever may be fine for the casual gamer, but it can spell disaster for anyone who tackles the casino on a regular basis.


Even though most rules are highly flexible and adaptable to the individual, there are some basic tenants which apply to just about everyone.

For this reason, I have been commissioned to make a list of the 30 most important rules while gambling in Las Vegas ... as I personally see them. My own personal ""Gambler's Manifesto"" if you will.

Why 30 rules?

Well, why the hell not?

Sure, I could have stopped at 29 1/2 like most people, but I go the extra mile.

So, without further ado, I present the most comprehensive list of Las Vegas gambling rules ever compiled ... or at least those that came to mind over the last couple of weeks during my own gaming sessions.



1. Don't Gamble Drunk

In my opinion, this is the most important rule of all. It is also the most violated rule. There is a reason that the house plies patrons with booze, and that is because alcohol is a drug which promotes impulsive and reckless behavior. If you drink excessively while gambling, you most likely will lose everything. If you do manage to win, you'll be easy to rob on your way back to your room.


2. Don't Get Caught Cheating

I suppose ""getting caught"" is the operative phrase. It's hard to define exactly what is and is not cheating in the casino. If you accidentally see your neighbor's cards, is that cheating? If the machine accidentally overpays, is that cheating? What if you see the dealers hole card or you try to count cards? If you decide to enter a moral grey area, at least make damn sure you don't get caught. The repercussions will be swift and severe.


3. Use Your Player's Card

Unfortunately, this is a rule I violate constantly. I have so many player's cards, that carrying them all is a burden. I'm out of slots in my wallet, and I tend to shove them all in the bill compartment. Because of this, I often don't bother with them. The problem is, when I find myself on a monster, impromptu, coin-in run ... it often goes unrecognized by the house. Note that using the card is not playing for comps. The fact that I often play without a card is proof that I do not chase comps. Not playing with a card, however, means that I have given away untold freebies over the years for play that I would have given to the house anyway. Whether you play $1/night or $10,000/night, be sure to use your card. It adds up quickly, and you just never know when the urge for a marathon session is going to strike. Not using your card is the equivalent to leaving money on the table.


4. Don't Swear/Cuss

This is not a rule I agree with, but it is one that I have had imposed upon me. Some people still believe in the Tooth Fairy, some believe in Jesus, and some believe in ""Cuss Words"". Fighting this mini-religion is a losing cause. Instead of raging against the machine, figure out what ""cuss words"" your local casino observes, and avoid using them. It's just easier.




5. Tip Fairly

Due to tip pooling and the omnipresence of tip jars and outstretched hands, ""fair"" tipping is becoming a nearly unquantifiable entity. Las Vegas would have you believe that ""fair"" tipping means emptying your wallet at the feet of every person you encounter in this town. As such, I hesitate to add this to the list, but the fact is that most dealers still depend on tips because their corporate masters simply do not want to pay them a fair wage. This being the case, pushing a couple of chips to the dealer ever so often is still a good idea ... even though it is getting harder to justify.


6. Pay Attention

I've lost my share of money misreading the board, forgetting what my pocket cards were, getting absorbed with what was on the television, or watching the waitress shake her ass while walking across the room. For these reasons, I have learned to focus over the years. Pay attention to what is going on in the game, and you'll have more money to relax with later. The only thing worse than losing is having the victory within your reach, and dropping the ball.


7. Don't Forget to Redeem Your Tickets/Chips

You would be surprised by how many times people mail me chips or tickets to redeem for them. Once tickets are stuffed into your wallet, it can be easy to forget they exist, or it may be very inconvenient to go back through every property to cash out. For this reason, I always cash out large tickets or wins immediately. In Vegas, you also run the risk of the casino becoming insolvent between trips. Vegas casinos are second only to U.S. banks as risky places to hold your money.


8. Have a Goal in Mind

My goal in any given session is to double up. If I achieve this, I walk. If I don't walk I will give it back. Period. When you are gambling, you will eventually lose, and the longer you play, the more you will statistically lose. Booking profits frequently, and playing with ""won"" money instead of principal is the absolute best way to gamble if you can catch a lucky break early.



9. Bet for the Dealer

When playing Blackjack, I prefer this to outright tipping. Almost all interaction with dealers are phony and insincere. They honestly could not care less where you are from or if you are having a good vacation. Most of them probably wish you would keel over and die in your seat. At least they would get a break. Betting for the dealer is the only time they sincerely care whether you win or not. They pay more attention to you, and they genuinely cheer for ""you"" when you win and groan when ""you"" lose. Straight tips are taken for granted with a nod and a tap. Betting on the dealer's behalf is a more fun way to tip.


10. Don't Give Away Points

Sports teams get paid whether they win or lose. Most teams, especially professional teams, have little incentive to score a given number of points. They just need to score one more than their opponent. For this reason, spotting points to a professional team is an illogical endeavor. If I am positive that a team will win, I take the money line and give up the vig. Teams strive to win, not to achieve a specific point differential. On the other side of this coin, if a professional team is being given a large number of points, I will often take it. The '07-'08 Patriots were the best team I ever religiously bet against, and won nearly every time.



11. Don't Play Tired/Sleepy

Studies have shown that being tired is almost as bad as being drunk with regards to mental tasks. This is one of the reasons why my favorite time to play is in the morning. It also helps that the early morning is when tables are full of tired people. If you are alert you have an advantage, if you are tired you have a disadvantage. Playing tired will make you more prone to mistakes, and tired people also have more trouble controlling their emotions, leading to playing on tilt.


12. Don't Critique the Play of Others

It's my goddamn money and they are my goddamn cards. I don't care if you would have played it differently. If I did care, I would have asked you. I, and others, are free to play like morons if we so choose. If you want to bankroll me, I'll play your way. Otherwise, shut the f**k up and worry about your own hand. Chances are, you are nowhere near as good as you think you are.


13. Don't Blow Smoke into People's Faces

Smokers can be the most obnoxious and unsympathetic drug users on the planet. A larger-than-usual number of smokers are oblivious to the comfort of those around them. I wish they could find a way to shoot up instead. Whether it is flicking a cigarette out of a car window and starting a wildfire, using playground sandboxes as ashtrays, or blowing smoke in the face of others ... smokers have a pathological unawareness of their own habit, and they feel it is an affront to their ""rights"" to even exercise a modicum of courtesy. Just because you can do something doesn't mean you should. Smokers are their own worst PR, and for this reason, the legislative backlash against them will continue. Try to be reasonable ... before it's too late and the drug is banned outright.


14. Don't Play for Comps

I've been guilty of this in the past, but I've learned my lesson. Years ago, I was determined to get two free buffet comps at Red Rock. I plugged money into a Video Poker machine and watched my point totals go up and up and up. By the time I had earned enough points for my meals, I was down $300. In essence, I paid $150/person for the buffet instead of $25. In Las Vegas, comps are never worth what you lose, or are expected to lose. If they were, the casinos would quickly go out of business. Play as you normally would, and pay no attention to the points. If you get something, let it be a pleasant surprise, but don't chase it. No matter how lucrative the comp, you are always better off buying it with your own cash than trying to win it via excessive play.


15. Don't Bring Kids to Gamble

This one should be self-evident, but if there is one thing I have learned in life, it is that nothing is self-evident. Last summer, I almost tripped over a stroller that was strategically parked next to the Las Vegas Club Fetish Pit of all places. There is nothing wrong with bringing kids to Vegas. There are a lot of things for them to do here. Hanging out near the gaming tables isn't one of them. Bring a family member to babysit your kids, or just forgo gambling when you bring Bratford and Shitney.


Check back next week for part 2...

" "

Yes, it's that time again...

Last week we brought you Part 1 of the 30 Must Follow Rules For Any Las Vegas Casino Gambler... it's now time for part 2.

16. Speak English

This rule is almost exclusively for the poker room. Speaking in a language other than English makes other players uncomfortable and helps facilitate collusion. For this reason, most rooms disallow it. Even though 70% of Las Vegans cannot speak English ... you should.



17. Gamble Only What You Can Afford to Lose

When I leave home with X amount for a gaming session, I consider that money gone as soon as I lock the door behind me. I do not take a single penny to a casino that would cause me any hardship to lose. Losing puts me in a bad mood and it gets me annoyed, but it never makes me unable to pay for a necessity. When I have a nice win, I treat myself to a nice dinner, gadget, or buy little gifts for others. The money is disposable, and it is earmarked for entertainment every bit as much as a concert ticket or dinner reservation. Of course, I try to get the biggest bang for my buck when I gamble, and the better I do the more fun I have ... but I am never under the illusion that gambling is a good investment.


18. Don't Fight/Argue

For Christ's sake, you're not in High School anymore. I can't think of anything more idiotic than grown men threatening each other. No matter how cool and badass you think it looks, the reality is that you just look like a stupid douche with poor self-control. If you are willing to spend a night in the Clark County Detention Center to teach some stranger a lesson, then I submit that you have absolutely no life. I don't give a damn what people say about me at the table, or anywhere else for that matter. I simply don't care enough about most people to give them any level of control over my emotions. If anything, I find it amusing and somewhat flattering that they would care enough about me to formulate such strong opinions. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. If someone tries to get under your skin, there is no bigger insult than simply not giving a damn. If you allow yourself to be baited into arguments and altercations, then you have self-esteem issues that should be addressed before hoppingon a plane to Vegas.


19. Don't Fart at the GamingTable

Honestly, this one should go without saying, but you would be astonished by the number of times a lethal cloud hangs over the table as everyone struggles to ignore the fact that someone unleashed a weapon of mass destruction, singeing the nose hair of everyone within a 15 foot radius. Please ... just .... don't.


20. Don't Bet The Favorite

This is a way of playing sports at a deep discount. Due to the risk/reward scenario, I rarely bet the favorite. Instead of betting $100 on the sure thing, I'll bet $10 on the underdog. Over time, I believe that I have come out further ahead with this method. My risk is much lower, and while I win far less often, when I do win ... I win far more. There are no sure things. If there is one thing I have realized while betting sports, it is that the favorite loses an uncanny number of times, while the long-shot comes through far more often than their odds would indicate. Because of this, the underdog is almost always the value bet with the superior risk-reward.


21. Watch What You Eat

If you are going to eat Indian food or some other food that smells like the business end of a monkey's ass, for god sake, do it before going to bed. Breath mints just compound the problem.


22. Don't Criticize the Dealer

There is nothing worse than the asshole with too much self-esteem who goes off when the dealer screws up. Dealing cards to complete strangers can often be a nerve-racking experience. It's something that most of us could never do. In addition, you never know what the dealer is going
through. Maybe one of their kids is sick, maybe a relative just died, maybe they are just having a bad day. Sure, they can call in sick, but in this town ... doing so is risky from a job security  perspective. Dealers make mistakes all the time. Once an hour, at minimum. If you cannot deal with this fact, and you think the humans behind the table should be infallible machines, do everyone a favor and stay home.

This goes double if you are seated at a low-limit table. The lower the limit, the more inexperienced the dealers will be, and the more forgiving you should be.

If you want a higher level of perfection, save up and play in the high limit room. On the casino floor, you are going to have to endure mistakes, and rarely (if ever) are they intentional.


23. Cut Your Losses

It is common for people to go ""on tilt"" when they get creamed early in a session. Instead of walking away, too many people are convinced that they can make their money back if only they gamble a little longer. Don't catch a falling knife. Once you are down 50%, you will need to double up just to break even. If it were easy to double up, no casino on the planet would be in business. The odds that were against you when you lost during the first hour are still against you in the second and third hours.



24. Don't Talk on Cellphone while Gambling

For some reason, people find it difficult to talk on the cellphone while performing other tasks. They also like to advertise that they have a cellphone. I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is. Cellphones were novel and elite in 1995, but in 2010, even dirt farmers in Mexico have iPhones. At least the gay ones do. Even though I hate talking on my cell phone, I can do so without making a major production out of it when I have no other choice. I wish other people could master this talent. (Hint: the sound does not go further the louder you speak). If you have yet to figure out how to use the technology without making a spectacle of yourself ... just don't.


25. Don't Be Obnoxious/Loud

If you are from New York or New Jersey, resist the urge to re-enact the Sopranos for everyone at the table. If you are exceptionally cool, leave something to the imagination. Let us envision your charm instead of beating us over the head with it.


26. Don't Split Tens

Given that there is little statistical difference between splitting tens against a 6 or standing, I don't know why this is so frowned up. I only know that it is, indeed, frowned upon. Splitting tens is the easiest way to clear a table or engender ill-will amongst your table peers. Don't do this unless you are prepared to be criticized by everyone else in the casino. Sometimes I split anyway, and I refer people to Rule #12. Few people comply with my request to obey said rule, and I become the cancer of the casino.


27. Leave The Pets at Home

I swear to God, I've seen this with my own eyes. Twice. One time, a lady had her designer dog tucked into her handbag while she played Hold 'em, and another time, a guy thought it was cool to play Blackjack with his iguana perched on his shoulder. I have nothing against well-behaved pets, but others might. If you are that obsessed with your pets, buy 50 cats and become a shut-in like other psycho pet people. Sure, it's novel to bring your animal to the table, but it's also kind of a corny scream for attention.


28. Wash Hands Well After Handling Money/Chips

If you have ever been in a casino bathroom, you know why this is necessary. People crap, urinate, pick their nose, and then grab their chips and bring them to the table. Living in this town, I get sick all the time. There are just too many germs from too many parts of the world to build up an immunity to all of them. Washing your hands after handling money and chips is probably the easiest way to lower your risk of getting the plague while in Vegas.


29. Stick w/ your Bankroll

There is nothing more depressing than the death march to the ATM machine. If you take $500 to gamble, and you lose it, don't get more money. Call it a vacation and see the shows, eat, or invest in a happy ending. It's easy to justify enlarging your bankroll if you go through it too quickly, but you will just lose more money. You have to be disciplined in gambling to have a fighting chance.


30. Enjoy Yourself

When it's no longer fun, it's time to walk. Much like crack, the dopamine surge that accompanies gambling does not last forever. Usually, gambling is fun when you first start, and becomes more mundane as time drags on. Fortunately, you can reset your receptors with a period of abstinence, at which point the game once again becomes enjoyable. When you notice the fun fading and you begin going through the motions ... walk, do something else, and play again later. Taking frequent breaks from gambling makes gambling more fun.