post

Best Cheap Blackjack On The Vegas Strip

Cheap Blackjack Cards

Blackjack

There are about as many good cheap blackjack games on the Vegas Strip as you might have expected. In other words, there aren’t many. Where you do find good cheap blackjack you should expect that there are only one or two of these tables at most of the casinos listed below. They should be easy to spot since you’ll probably see a large crowd at these tables so you might have to wait for a seat.

For simplicity, I’m using $15 as the cut off for cheap blackjack and just listing the house edge of the games. I’m also listing the casinos alphabetically, and not by the smallest house edge. You can see the full survey here. The list is great and has information on all blackjack at every casino in Las Vegas.

Bally’s – House Edge: 0.57
Caesars Palace – House Edge: 0.57
The Cromwell – House Edge: 0.57
Excalibur – House Edge: 0.66
Flamingo (and Margaritaville) – House Edge: 0.57
The Linq – House Edge: 0.57
Harrah’s – House Edge: 0.55
New York – New York – House Edge: 0.48
Paris – House Edge: 0.57
Planet Hollywood – House Edge: 0.57
SLS Las Vegas – House Edge: 0.48
Treasure Island – House Edge: 0.46 and 0.48
Tropicana – House Edge: 0.57

Updated: March 10, 2017

post

New Name For Monte Carlo, Excalibur Expansion, Crystals For Sale, REIT and More From MGM Resorts Earnings Call

Jim Murren, CEO MGM Resorts

Jim Murren

Earlier today I listened to the MGM Resorts quarterly earnings call. The company has so much going on that they’re easily the most fascinating of the Vegas casino companies to follow.

You can read press releases and listen to the MGM quarterly earnings call here for specifics. Below are my notes with lots of information.

  • Jim Murren said MGM would like to participate in DFS in the future. They’re waiting for clarity in the area. This was last question asked if you’d like specifics.
  • Excalibur is underperforming and Jim Murren discussed idea of mid-scale retail expansion on the Vegas Strip to draw people into property.
  • Murren restated that Monte Carlo will have a new name next year. Outlook is very optimistic for the property.
  • Small note given to the fact that customer booking windows are growing
  • Crystals still on the market by MGM Resorts. There’s plenty of interest. They’re sorting through investors. Murren says it’s worth over $1 billion.
  • Mandalay Bay now has the 5th largest convention center in the US after recent expansion. Details on the expansion here.
  • 2016 should be best year ever for conventions at MGM Resorts. Even with Mandalay Bay expansion they still don’t expect to have enough capacity.
  • Press release on MGM REIT
  • MGM Resorts keeping 2 most profitable properties in Las Vegas out of the REIT (Bellagio & MGM Grand).
  • MGM REIT will be called MGM Growth Properties and be a separate stock offering planned for Q1 2016.
  • MGM Arena not part of REIT because it’s a partnership with AEG. REIT doesn’t include any partnerships like City Center.
  • Non-luxury MGM Resorts properties growing faster than luxury. For example REVPAR for non-luxury up 14%, lux up 6%
  • Aria hotel EBITA up 23% Year over Year. Vdara 0ver 40% EBITA increase.
  • MGM Detroit EBITA only ranks behind Bellagio, MGM Grand & Mandalay Bay. Better than The Mirage, New York New York, etc.
  • MGM hotel rooms had a 96% occupancy rate last quarter. Up 1% from same period last year.
  • Average Daily Room rate for MGM hotels was $141 last quarter. That’s up $10 (8%) from same time last year.
  • Circus Circus is interesting opportunity for MGM seemingly because it’s 100 acres of land on the Vegas Strip.
post

Random Vegas Info From MGM Resorts

Random Vegas Info from MGM Resorts

Random Vegas Info from MGM Resorts

I’m easily amused. I find random information like the infographic above and the notes below fun and relatively useful. Thanks to this blog post you can now amaze your friends with useless Vegas knowledge from MGM Resorts like:

“Hey, did you know that Nine Fine Irishmen at New York-New York served 100,000 pints of Guinness?”

  • 7,982,550 pillows fluffed at MGM Grand
  • 3.2 million people who visited The Adventuredome at Circus Circus
  • 1 million Hershey’s Kisses distributed across Las Vegas to celebrate the opening of Hershey’s Chocolate World at New York-New York 
  • 729,753 pizza slices served at Shawn McClain’s FIVE50 Pizza Bar at ARIA
  • 267,436 toilet paper rolls used by the Blue Man Group at Monte Carlo
  • 100,000 pints of Guinness gulped at New York-New York’s Nine Fine Irishmen
  • 96,719 pounds of crab legs cracked at The Buffet at ARIA
  • 52,640 massages and facials enjoyed at Spa Bellagio
  • 46,363 margaritas sipped at Hecho en Vegas at MGM Grand
  • 34,580 costume changes by the Jabbawockeez at Luxor
  • 11,336 shows performed by The Fountains of Bellagio
  • 8,464 ice cream flavor combinations offered at BLVD Creamery since its May 2014 opening at Monte Carlo
  • 5,704 corks collected at Rock ‘n Roll Wine Amplified Festival at MGM Resorts Village
  • 5,472 roses distributed by Boyz II Men during “I’ll Make Love to You” at The Mirage
  • $5,000 – The most expensive dish purchased; 26 Fleurburgers sold at Fleur in Mandalay Bay
  • 1,117 ice buckets in the shape of FDR’s hat box, in the suites at Delano Las Vegas
  • 520 victories at Excalibur’s Tournament of Kings
  • 360 pounds of caviar spooned at The Buffet Bellagio
  • 3 new white lion cubs at Siegfried and Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage

 

post

Ranking MGM Las Vegas Hotels By Revenue

Bellagio Las Vegas Hotel And Fountain Show at Night

Bellagio At Night

Ranking casinos owned by the same company comes in handy more often than you think. If you’re looking for cheaper rooms, just look to the bottom of the list. If you’re looking for the most players club comps, just look to the bottom of the list. If you’re looking for better gaming odds, you’ll typically look at the bottom (but not always) of the list . If you want to hang with the masses, look to the top of the list because that’s where the money is being spent.

Last week MGM Resorts International reported their quarterly earnings. As part of that information it was easy to pull out how the casino hotels in Las Vegas were doing. In fact, it was real easy since the awesome Stiffs & Georges blog already did it.

  1. Bellagio, $303M
  2. MGM Grand, $255M
  3. Mandalay Bay, $205M
  4. The Mirage, $142M
  5. Luxor, $83M
  6. Excalibur, $70
  7. New York-New York $69M
  8. Monte Carlo, $69M
  9. Circus Circus, $51M

The revenue is fairly in line with how Mlife has the properties ranked when you’re looking for players club comps. If you’re looking at Monte Carlo or New York-New York I recommend you making your plans sooner than later because they should climb the priority chart when the construction is completed next year.

The Mirage is also undergoing a few renovations to freshen it up but it shouldn’t climb much, if any, on the MGM Resorts hotel rankings.

My final thought is more about the revenue for the MGM Resorts hotels than the rankings. It looks like the kiddie corner of the Vegas Strip (Mandalay Bay through Excalibur) is going pretty well. The better the hotels on the south end of the Vegas Strip do the more families and kids it will attract and the less chances that they will have me return as a curious visitor.

If this kiddie corner is creating a niche for MGM Resorts to make more money then it’s a win-win for the company and for me.  It keeps kids away from the casinos I like in Las Vegas and makes MGM Resorts more money.

Photo: Wandermom 

post

Word Of Advice To Slot Players

Hot Hot Penny Slot Machine

Hot Hot Penny!

One of my go-to references for gaming odds and strategy is Wizard of Odds. I often reference their strategy guides when I’m unsure of the specific math behind game strategy. While looking for some information on slot machines over the weekend I found something that I needed to share.

Most players play penny video slots. Based on past research, I find the house edge on those to usually be set from 6% to 15%. In general, the nicer the casino, the tighter the slots.

I’ve noticed this over the years on both ends of the spectrum. Even though casinos have to meet specific return minimums from slot machines within legal parameters of their respective gaming commissions but I’ve noticed that all hotels cater their slot machines to their customer.

As the quote states I’ve also noticed that the nicer the casino the tighter their lower denomination slot machines tend to be. At the same time the higher denomination slot machines in those high-end casinos tend to be a little looser. The same can be said for some of the lower end casinos who cater to penny slot players. Their penny slot machines will likely return a couple more percentage points.

Casino companies are just marketing to their customer. Wynn, Encore and The Venetian want a higher end customer than Circus Circus, Luxor and Excalibur and their gaming reflects that.

This is just low roller and high roller hotels catering to their customer. There’s nothing shady going on but it is something to be aware of when choosing where you gamble. 

post

MGM Resorts Offering The Coors Light Of Wifi For Free

I like a little girth to my beer and tend to drink darker beers. Coors Light is the beer I’ll drink when I want the flavor of beer but not feel the full effect of a real beer. A couple weeks ago MGM Resorts announced that would be offering free wifi across all of their Las Vegas properties. At first I was stoked…you know me, I love free wifi. Here’s the headline:

Eight MGM Resorts offer free Wi-Fi on the Las Vegas Strip

Great! I spend a lot of time on the Vegas strip and offen grab free wifi to do a couple hours of work. Unfortunately the free MGM wifi is like a light beer and may not be so useful for people like me.

Basic internet access is available with the system for anyone located in public areas such as the lobbies, pool areas, casinos, and restaurants at the named resorts. Use of the internet service will not require a password. Hotel guests will get an upgraded service as part of their stay, and convention attendees or others in need of more bandwidth can upgrade to top internet speeds for a fee.

The new system is expected to be up to 30% faster…

The free wifi service being offered by MGM Resorts is a throttled wifi service. The MGM Resorts free wifi for the public will be 70% of the speed that hotel guests or convention attendees will get with their resort or convention fees. If you’re just stopping by one of the MGM properties you’ll be relegated to the slower speed.

The free MGM wifi isn’t useless. The free wifi at MGM Resorts properties will be good for checking email at speeds quicker than 3G but not for people that are wifi bandwidth hogs like me. I’m a multi-tasker that often has multiple tabs open on a web browser while instant messaging, uploading photos, downloading a podcast, etc. so the throttled speed isn’t perfect.

The wifi speed will be sufficient for most people using mobile web or email but I don’t see the MGM wifi bringing me into their properties to grab a lunch and do a little work. It’s unfortunate, because I’m always looking for an excuse to spend time at Bellagio. I’ll stick with the hotels that offer full access to their wifi connection like The Venetian.

If wifi at 70% speed is enough for you then you can access it at BellagioMandalay BayMirage, and MGM Grand right now with New York-New YorkMonte CarloExcalibur, and Luxor coming on board later this year. I believe Aria has been offering free wifi since it opened.

 

post

Mandalay Bay Getting Major Facelift

Mandalay Bay has been undergoing a major facelift over the past year or so and will continue through much of this year. It’s about time.

Owner MGM Resorts Internationalembarked on a massive renovation of the 3,000-room resort, the first since it opened in 1999. Construction began late last year and is expected to be completed by summer.

A second phase of construction, slated to start this summer, will rebrand The Hotel as the Delano Las Vegas, with a projected 2014 opening date. MGM officials would not disclose the cost of the projects.

Las Vegas casinos, generally, do some kind of renovation every 6 to 8 years so these changes to Mandalay Bay are a little overdue. Most of the renovations have been annouced piece by piece and none stand alone as being awesome but when but together they have a little more meaning. Vegas Chatter breaks down the changes nicely.

  1. Michael Jackson Cirque Du Soleil Production
  2. Light
  3. The Delano
  4. A New Adult Day Club Experience
  5. Citizens Kitchen
  6. Another Light Group Restaurant
  7. A New Food Court
  8. Resto Redos
  9. The Casino
  10. A “Lobby-Lounge Experience”

Unfortunately the Mandalay Bay hotel rooms will NOT be renovated as part of the overall updates to the property. I guess that’s a good incentive to spend money on the more expensive rooms at The Delano or Four Seasons.

When I first started visiting Las Vegas, Mandalay Bay was my go-to casino to stay. They had beautiful and large rooms that were always a decent price. The rooms had an amazing oatmeal soap that I’ll never forget. They also had a light in the closet that turned on when the doors were opened. These two things were luxurious to me at the time.

Since I moved to Las Vegas I’ve barely spent time at Mandalay Bay because it’s secluded from the rest of the strip. Having low to mid tier properties (Luxor and Excalibur) blocking it from the rest of the strip does not help. Hopefully these renovations build a new life into Mandalay Bay and give me an excuse to go back in time.

Photo: flickr – judithlynn

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr

 

post

Best Craps On The Vegas Strip

Craps Table At Luxor

Craps Table At Luxor

As the year ended I looked at the best craps in downtown Las Vegas and didn’t find anything to surprising. Main Street Station has the best odds for a craps game downtown. It’s also the most affordable with 20x odds on $5 bets.

Most gaming on the Vegas Strip is worse than those offered in downtown Vegas but that’s not entirely true when it comes to dice. Craps on the Vegas strip is almost the same at every casino but there are a few locations that stand out being better than the rest. Here’s the breakdown.

  1. 100x – Casino Royale – looks like this is now 20x.
  2. 10x – Riviera, Stratosphere
  3. 3-4-5x – Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The Quad, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Palazzo, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Venetian
  4. 2x – Circus Circus

Casino Royale has had 100x odds for years and even though Riviera tried 1000x craps odds for a while that’s gone and Casino Royale returns as the best craps game on the Vegas strip.

I’ve never been in Casino Royale and wouldn’t go just to play craps. 3-4-5 Craps is the norm on the strip and that’s fine. Regardless of the odds craps is still has some of the lowest house edges in the casino. The difference between 3-4-5 and 100x odds is fairly small and not enough to make me go somewhere I don’t want. That said, if Cosmopolitan or somewhere nice had a 100x odds game they would likely find me at the table.

Note: If you know different odds at any of the casinos please leave a comment. The craps survey on Wizard of Odds is about 9 months old.

Photo – flickr jcnikon

post

Best Video Poker On The Las Vegas Strip

Royal Flush Video Poker at Red Rock Resort

Royal Flush!

I’ve been taking a look at the best video poker from Atlantic City to Las Vegas recently. Today I decided to look to see which casinos offered the best video poker on the Las Vegas Strip. The Vegas strip does NOT include places just off the strip like Palms and Hard Rock Casino.

Most casinos offer good video poker games in their high limit rooms with games starting at $5 so I decided to look at the best video poker games under $5 since that’s what more people play.

The good video poker games listed here are between 10 cents and $2 with max bets from 50 cents to $10. The pay table percentages are all based on max bets. Once again casinos are listed from best video poker to worst.

  1. Circus Circus 100.25% Aces and Eights
  2. Excalibur 99.58% Triple Double Bonus
  3. Luxor 99.54% Jacks or Better (JoB)
  4. New York-New York 99.54% JoB
  5. Treasure Island 99.54% JoB
  6. Mandalay Bay 99.20% Loose Deuces Wild
  7. Aria 99.17% Bonus Poker (BP)
  8. Casino Royale 99.17% BP
  9. Riviera 99.17% BP
  10. Tropicana 99.17% BP
  11. MGM Grand 99.11% DB
  12. Mirage 99.11% Double Bonus (DB)
  13. Wynn 99.11% DB
  14. Caesars Palace 98.45% JoB
  15. Flamingo 98.45% JoB
  16. Palazzo 98.45% JoB
  17. Planet Hollywood 98.45% JoB
  18. Venetian 98.45% JoB
  19. Bally’s 98.01% BP
  20. Cosmopolitan 98.01% BP
  21. Encore 98.01% BP
  22. Harrah’s 98.01% BP
  23. Paris 98.01% BP
  24. The Quad 98.01% BP
  25. Monte Carlo NA
  26. Stratosphere NA

The biggest surprises from this research is that there are positive returning machines on the Vegas strip (Circus Circus) and that the Stratosphere has absolutely no playable video poker games according to vpFREE. Monte Carlo has playable video poker but all are $5 machines.

All information from vpFREE2, the best place to research video poker. Each casino links to their respective page on vpFREE.

Also see: Best Video Poker Downtown Vegas. Best Video Poker in Atlantic City.

I practice video poker with the WinPoker app on my iPhone. It’s $9.99 and worth every penny. It’s the best way to practice video poker.

post

Coming Soon From MGM: FREE ROOMS (+ $100 Resort Fee)

Yesterday, Vegas Chatter, revealed that MGM Resorts is raising their resort fees across the board at their Las Vegas hotels and casinos.

Bellagio, MGM Grand, Aria, Vdara, The Mirage, Mandalay Bay — now $25 (previously $20)
Monte Carlo — now $20 (previously $15)
New York-New York, Luxor — now $18 (was $15)
Excalibur — now $15 (from $12.50)
Circus Circus — now $8.95 (up from $7.95)

Hotels charge a separate resort fee to give the illusion of cheap room rates. As hotel companies continue to raise resort fees in an effort to make their room rates look more competitive or cheaper than other hotels in the market it’s hard to imagine that one of these companies won’t discount their rooms so much that it looks as if the room is free.

Imagine this scenario in the future: The fee for your room at Luxor is $1 but it actually costs $100 after the resort fee. Meanwhile, down the street, you’re much newer room at Cosmopolitan also costs $100 and the don’t charge a resort fee.

Your net room fee is the same at $100 in this case. Where will you stay? A lot of people would choose the $1 room even if it’s the same price as the newest rooms in Vegas because of the fee they see up front. People are, generally, lazy and  simply didn’t do the math.

Resort fees suck, but we all have to deal with it. When pricing rooms you should always add the resort fee to the room rate to get the actual price you’ll have to pay for the room. It’s a pain in the butt, but it will give clarity when comparing room rates. Check here for a list of current resort fees and what you get.

At the end of the day the power is always with the consumer and your money. It is your choice to spend, or not spend, money on resort fees and the companies that charge them. If you don’t like the MGM resort fees then you probably shouldn’t stay, eat, drink or gamble at their properties. The dollar speaks louder than words.

On a personal note while I don’t like resort fees, per se, they don’t really bother me. I don’t mind doing the work to come to an all-in price to see if I’m getting a good or bad deal when going on vacation. Sometimes the resort fee that covers in-room wifi for an extra $10 is fine. Other times it’s not. I depends on the purpose of the trip and location.

There have been trips where I don’t mind paying $20 to sit in my Palazzo suite and use wifi because I’m feeling lazy, while there are other times where I’ll stay at a Caesars property and don’t mind going somewhere off site for wifi.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas