Gambling in Las Vegas, Las Vegas, Nevada
Concierge.com's insider take:
Gambling remains Las Vegas's bread and butter, and it's still the reason most people come here. Even if gambling is not your thing, give it a shot: Spending an hour or so at a low-stakes blackjack table is a blastas long as you know your own limit. As with restaurants, you can judge a good Las Vegas casino by the number of locals playing there. Near the Strip, that's the Palms, where the comps and drinks come fast. The Palms also has one of the best poker rooms in town, where dealers remember regulars. Careful, though: The action moves fast.
For high-limits gambling, where the minimums start at $100 and push $1,000 in games such as baccarat, blackjack, and roulette, the Wynn and Bellagio have separate rooms away from the masses; the dealers and staff are also extremely attentive. The lowest minimums on table games such as blackjack, roulette, and craps can be found in the Station casinos such as the Red Rock Resort off the Strip (www.stationcasinos.com), or downtown at the Four Queens, Binion's Horseshoe, or Golden Nugget—usually to the tune of 25-cent roulette and $2 blackjack. Low minimums draw crowds, so expect to wait for a seat.
Slots are everywhere. Make sure to get comp points as you play: The Wynn has a new tracking system that uses your room key. And everybody should see a genuine bingo hall at some point: It doesn't get more real than the big room at the Plaza, located downtown. Think old ladies and crazy people waiting for B22.
Cigarette smoke is ubiquitous, but for nonsmoking areas, check the tables and poker room at Bellagio, the Mirage, and large sections of Harrah's and the MGM Grand. Finally, cocktail waitresses bring free drinks to anyone playing slots or table games, or in the sports book—a $2 tip is customary.