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Gambling on the Strip
Wynn Las Vegas & Encore casino
As you might expect, the action at Wynn is both sophisticated and decidedly pricey. Blackjack minimums start at $15, with a few single-deck games that pay the reduced 6:5 for naturals; hotel guests can also play 21 poolside at the Cabana Bar. Craps minimums are similar to blackjack. A single-zero roulette wheel is usually open in the high-limit room, though the minimums are high. The slots run the gamut from pennies to a $5,000 machine. Amazingly, Wynn has tried to attract local video-poker players with full-pay machines at higher denominations (very rare), though the schedules change unexpectedly; check the Las Vegas Advisor for their comings and goings. The keno lounge is one of the most comfortable in town. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); Big Six; blackjack ($15–$10,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $10); Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($50–$10,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (26 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker.
The Bellagio’s casino draws celebs such as Ben Affleck and Drew Barrymore, but its ostentatious luxury verges on vulgar: the upholstery, carpets and striped canopies are a clash of colors and patterns. As you might expect, table limits are higher than at most Strip properties: minimums are often $25-$50 and it’s difficult to find even $10 blackjack. Still, the race and sports book is one of the most comfortable in town, and the poker room has replaced Binion’s as the mecca for pros, sharks and big-time players. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); Big Six; blackjack ($10–$10,000); Caribbean stud; craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $5); casino war; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($25–$15,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (40 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker; slots.
Mandalay Bay casino
The 135,000sq ft casino is airier than many, with 2,400 machines (including nickel video slots that take up to 45 or 90 coins), but you have to hunt for good video-poker machines. Table games—122 of them—include blackjack, roulette, craps, Let it Ride, Caribbean stud, pai gow poker and mini baccarat. You’ll also find a poker room where you can get your fix of seven-card stud and Texas or Omaha hold ’em. The race and sports book has 17 large screens, enough seating for some 300 sports fans, a bar and a good deli. Games: Baccarat ($100–$15,000); blackjack ($10—$15,000); craps (3x, 4x, 5x; from $10); keno; Let it Ride; mini baccarat ($25–$15,000); pai gow poker; pai gow tiles; poker (10 tables); roulette (single & double zero); three-card poker.