WHERE TO PLAY JACKS OR BETTER VIDEO POKER ON THE LAS VEGAS STRIP

The Las Vegas Strip may no longer be the ‘gambling mecca’ of the world but it still attracts millions of visitors per year. In recent years, the casinos in ‘Sin City’ have been trying to diversify away from gambling. At one point, over 90% of a Las Vegas casino’s revenue came from gambling. Today, the majority of a casino’s revenue comes from ‘non gaming’ offerings. These include rides and attractions (like the ‘High Roller’ Ferris wheel), nightlife, concerts, shopping, restaurants, etc. There are many ‘old timers’ that are very disappointed that Las Vegas has ‘forgotten its roots’ and has lost what made it a unique place to live and visit. In many ways, it’s now minimally different from other tourist destinations like Disneyland, Orlando or Myrtle Beach.

The good news is that for the time being there’s still plenty of gambling to be had throughout Las Vegas and the entire state of Nevada. Although casinos are definitely trying to ‘diversify’ they’ve got a strong competitive interest in continuing to offer attractive games and posh casinos in order to attract business. Some casinos use better odds and player friendly rules to attract customers and these are the properties you should patronize.

FOR THE BEST ODDS GET OFF THE STRIP!

We’ll let you in on a secret that all ‘Las Vegas locals’ know and that many visitors are starting to understand–the best odds are found off ‘The Strip’. The idea is to play where the ‘locals’ play. This includes casinos off the strip, on Boulder Highway, in downtown Las Vegas and casinos in Henderson and North Las Vegas. The reason for this may sound simplistic but it accurately describes the competitive dynamic among Las Vegas casino properties. Strip casinos have plenty of attractions to bring in customers–fountains, volcanoes, Ferris wheels, world class dining and shopping, so on and so forth. Their casinos are full from the ‘foot traffic’ alone and since this is the case they don’t need to compete on the basis of superior odds.

Casinos off the strip don’t have amazing properties and world class attractions to bring in business. Instead, they try to offer things that the locals want such as good food and drinks, lively bars and nightclubs, generous comps and games with decent odds and player friendly rules. Since they don’t have fountains and volcanoes they’ve got to find other ways to compete. We’ll talk about the best places to play in the specific areas of town as well as the overall best in the Las Vegas area. But since any tourist coming to Las Vegas starts with ‘The Strip’ so will we.

THE BEST VIDEO POKER ON THE STRIP

We’ll repeat what we said above–you’re much better off getting off ‘The Strip’ to play video poker. If you’re stuck on ‘The Strip’ we can steer you in the right direction. Keep in mind that things change quickly in Las Vegas and that includes the odds offered by individual casinos. That being said, some casinos have established an enduring reputation for offering decent odds on video poker and elsewhere in the casino.

–The Cosmopolitan: The Cosmopolitan is my favorite casino on Las Vegas Boulevard for a number of reasons. It’s a great looking property with excellent restaurants and for gamblers it offers some of the best odds available on ‘The Strip’. This is particularly true in slots and video poker. You’ll find decent pay tables in all of the major video poker variations. One downside is that there are sometimes not many machines of certain rulesets or denominations but that’s not uncommon for casinos on ‘The Strip’.

–The Stratosphere: The properties at the Northern and Southern apex of ‘The Strip’ face many of the same challenges as off Strip properties. Places like The Stratosphere to the North and the Tropicana to the South have some unique attractions to offer–the Stratosphere has an amazing view of the Las Vegas Valley while the Trop has a first class sportsbook and good restaurants. The Stratosphere also offers some of the better video poker paybacks on Las Vegas Boulevard. You’ll find a better assortment of games here than just about anywhere else on ‘The Strip’. If you can’t venture out to a ‘locals casino’ the long trek to The Stratosphere is worth the effort.

–The Tropicana: The Tropicana has been renovated several times in the past few years and its now one of the most contemporary and sophisticated properties on ‘The Strip’. This isn’t a casino with attraction for the kids but instead good food, good drinks and decent gambling. As was the case with the Cosmopolitan you might not find a wide assortment of games but the ones you do find will likely offer a pay table as good as you’ll find on the Strip.