Downtown Las Vegas has been undergoing a metamorphosis for the past few years – modernized from being “Old Vegas” to a more up to date and hip Fremont Street without losing its historical feel.
For better and worse there’s no more burnt felt on the El Cortez blackjack tables. The Fremont Street Experience lights up much of downtown Vegas now where you’ll see bands performing on three different stages for free and people “ziplining” above your head. Downtown Vegas is a pretty magical experience bordering on sensory overload.
One thing that hasn’t changed is the gambling. While the Strip has changed many of the traditional gambling odds and rules in their favor, downtown is where gamblers can go to play the casino games they love and get the fair odds they remember.
On Oct. 13, the D Hotel and Casino (formerly Fitzgerald’s) will be celebrating their Grand Opening. While the casino floor has been brought up to today’s party standards with loud music, girls dancing in between table games and the longest bar in Nevada called Long Bar, the casino is also boasting about their traditional great gambling.
While many casinos on the Strip will only offer lower limits blackjack that pays out 6 to 5 ($6 for every $5 wagered) for getting blackjack, the D and most other casinos downtown offer a 3:2 payout. With all rules being equal, 6:5 blackjack has a house edge of almost 2% on an 8-deck shoe (1.93318% with perfect play to be exact), while paying 3:2 gives the house less than a .6% (.57519% with perfect play).
Cutting the house edge by almost two-thirds is smart. Every casino and every table is different so make sure you look at the rules before playing.
In addition to a good blackjack game, the D hotel has introduced craps with 10x odds. Odds bets can be placed behind your pass line bet or on your Come bet. Most craps games you’ll find on the Las Vegas Strip have 3-4-5x odds where you can place 3x odds on 4 or 10, 4x odds on 5 or 9 or 5x odds on a 6 or 8 being rolled.
No matter the odds, craps has one of the lowest house edges in a casino. The 3-4-5x odds gives the Strip casino a small house edge at 0.00374% while the D and some other downtown casinos with 10x odds only have a house edge of 0.00184.
Playing craps downtown can cut the house edge in half. Just be aware that not all downtown casinos offer 10x craps odds. Across the street from the D, the Fremont Hotel only has 2x odds for their $3 craps game. Much like blackjack, check the rules of the table before playing.
It’s not too difficult to find video poker games downtown that will return over 100% with perfect play. That’s right, over the long term there are some video poker games, such as Loose Deuces Wild, that will theoretically return more money than you put in.
High rollers on the Strip will be able to find some decent video poker offerings, but the quarter player is usually looking at a 7/5 Bonus Poker with returns of 98% as their best option.
The limits at the downtown casinos begin as low as a nickel for video poker and $3 for a game of craps or blackjack. The low limits at the table games bring out many novices learning to gamble so if you feel that your game may be adversely effected by other players, you may want to play a higher limit game. The odds never get worse when you risk more money.
Contact Marc at [email protected]