Are you on your first Vegas trip and feel like a fish out of water? Don’t worry. We’ve all been there and those that haven’t, haven’t lived. However, there are some things you’ll want to know before embarking on that first Vegas trip.

Planning Your Trip To Vegas

Planning ones trip to Vegas is an exciting and important part of the process. You’ll want to have a predetermined bankroll for how much you want to spend on the entire trip. Make sure to withdraw cash at your bank or at an ATM prior to getting on the plane. The fees that can be charged at a Las Vegas casino for excessive fees can be exorbitant as casinos capitalize on people desperate for cash.

Where To Stay In Vegas

Las Vegas is famous for its plentiful amount of hotels, motels and everything in between. While most of the action goes on near the strip there are also plenty of suitable options just off the strip. If things are going well, you shouldn’t be spending too much time in the room. In fact there are so many options on where to stay that you can usually find a pretty good deal well under full occupancy. Third-party sites such as Priceline, are usually good options for cheap or last-second deals.

Flying into Vegas

Flying into Las Vegas Airport, otherwise known as Harry Reid International Airport (airport code: LAS), is always thrilling. You’ll immediately be greeted by video poker machines (do not play them). To cab or uber? Uber and Lyft are generally cheaper than taxis to and from the airport. If you take a cab, you’ll want to be wary of the route your taxi is taking. Vegas cabs are notorious for taking excessively longer routes than are required.

Conversely, if you’re taking Uber, make sure your Uber does not begin the trip until you’re in the vehicle. Since almost everyone flying into the Vegas airport is headed to the strip, it’s not uncommon for people to go to the rideshare area and hop in the Uber (note: this is true for people leaving the airport also). The airport is only 3.3 miles from The Strip.

LAS airport to the Las Vegas Strip

Navigating The Strip

The Las Vegas Strip is a 4.2-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard South in Las Vegas, Nevada. It begins just south of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino at the intersection of Russell Road and Las Vegas Boulevard South, and it ends at the intersection of Sahara Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard South, where the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower is located. The most famous and iconic resorts and attractions on the Strip are located within this 4.2-mile stretch and the images you’ve seen of Las Vegas likely occur here or in the old town.

Open Container Laws

Las Vegas, famously, has no open container laws so feel free to buy a drink at a convenience store on your way to the strip. Try to avoid being obnoxious or overly intoxicated to avoid trouble, but have fun.

Avoid Walkers On The Strip

The competition is so high on the Vegas strip, companies regularly hire workers to stand on the strip and hand out promotional offers. You’ll likely immediately throw this piece of paper so don’t pick it up to begin with.

Know Where To Cross

In Las Vegas, there are a number of pedestrian overhead bridges that cross over Las Vegas Blvd (i.e. The Strip). These bridges help to separate pedestrians from the busy motorized traffic below. To access the walkways, there are elevators or escalators available for use but be wary of where these access points are. Most importantly, do not try to jump the barricade and make it on foot. Vegas is perenially near the top of the country in pedestrian deaths from vehicles because of people trying this exact thing.

Placing A Wager At A Las Vegas Sportsbook

Even if you’ve bet on sports online plenty of times you’ll feel like a stranger in a strange land upon walking into a Vegas sportsbook. However do not worry, all sportsbooks in Vegas have the same protocols. You’ll want to get a sheet with the daily lines for the day. These will be displayed on a giant monitor (depending on the sportsbook) behind, around and above the cashiers who place the wagers.

The sheets will have a number corresponding to every line that is going to be available for the day. Every line (or item that you can bet on) has a corresponding number. For example, Texas -6 against Oklahoma will have a number such as 1406. Oklahoma will have a number to be +6 such as 1407.

Since physical sheets can’t be updated and lines move, the dynamic displays above the cashiers will have the up-to-date lines for the relevant games. Once you’ve decided which bets you want to place, you’ll walk up to the cashier and tell them the number of the item and the amount you want to wager. Using the above example, you might say “I want $50 on 1406.” The cashier will take your money and print out a ticket. Do. Not. Lose. The. Ticket. If you win the wager, return it to the cashier and they’ll pay you out in cash. If it loses, feel free to join the millions of others that litter the ground of every sportsbook (or be socially conscious and recycle).

Making A Parlay At A Vegas Sportsbook

If you want to make a parlay at a sportsbook in Vegas you’ll just say the number of teams in the parlay, and the numbers corresponding to the lines that have action. For example, “I want a two-team parlay, risking $50, 1406 and 1407.” Want to include an over/under in your parlay that’s part of the same game? Then say “I want a two-team parlay, risking $50, on 1406 and the over (or under).”

Also note, now that the secret is out about correlation in parlays improve the bettors odds there are some restrictions about parlaying items in the same game. Depending on the sportsbook, you will be prevented from parlaying same game bets where the total of the game is within 2.5-3x the spread.

Sportsbook Etiquette

If you choose to watch the game at the sportsbook of your choosing, avoid celebrating out loud when the team you bet on makes a good (or definitive play). Remember that it is likely that someone else there was on the other side of the wager.

Casino Games With The Best Odds

As a general rule of thumb, table games are going to give you the best odds of any games in a Vegas casino. Theoretically, depending on how skilled one is at blackjack, one could expect to only give around a 1-2% edge on average (or even less) to the house when they sit down at the blackjack table.

We’ll run through some of the most popular and fun tables and video poker games, but a note on how to get started.

You’ll want to sit down at a table that has two necessary features an open seat and minimum bets in your price range. While not a rule by any means, you should sit down with at least 5-10x the minimum amount required to play a hand (though you can play only one hand if you really want).

  • You’ll want to sit down at a table that has two necessary features an open seat and minimum bets in your price range. While not a rule by any means, you should sit down with at least 5-10x the minimum amount required to play a hand (though you can play only one hand if you really want).
  • After a hand has concluded, place the cash on the table in front of you. The dealer will take the cash and give you a denomination of chips equivalent to the value in cash.
  • As the dealer shuffles, place your wager in the circle in front of you that corresponds to your seat location (there’s one for every seat).
  • Play. Have fun and good luck!
  • A waitress will come by and ask you for your drink order. These drinks are free but tips are expected.
  • When you want to cash out (hopefully), simply ask the dealer to “color your chips.” The dealer will then give you the fewest chips possible so that way you don’t have to carry 100 chips with you. For example, if you have $500 across 50 different chips, the dealer will simply give you 5 chips valued at $500. To redeem these for cash go to the cashier.

While there aren’t too many rules for how to behave at the casino, there are a few who really should know. First, do not pull your phone out at the table. If you have to take a phone call step away from the table, the dealer will understand and will not deal you out till you return (this happens frequently). Second, make sure that you have your bet ready to go after the previous hand is finished. Nobody, especially the casinos, enjoys excessive delays. Finally, you can tip your dealer or waitress with chips instead of cash.

Table Games

Outside of the sportsbook, table games are going to be your best shot, statistically, at winning money. However, while blackjack might be the most famous table game, there is plenty of really fun options. Let’s go through a few of them now.

Baccarat

The objective of the game is to bet on the hand that you think will have a total value closest to 9.

Pai Gow Tiles

Pai Gow Tiles is a traditional Chinese gambling game played with a set of 32 tiles. The objective of the game is to arrange the tiles into two hands, one with five tiles (the high hand) and one with two tiles (the low hand), that beat the banker’s hands.

Craps

Craps is a popular casino game played with dice. The objective of the game is to bet on the outcome of a roll or a series of rolls of the dice.

Roulette

Roulette is a classic casino game that involves a spinning wheel, a ball, and a betting table. The objective of the game is to correctly predict where the ball will land on the spinning wheel. Read more about Roulette strategies and advice.

Single Zero Roulette

Single Zero Roulette is a variation of the classic Roulette game (above) that uses a wheel with only one zero slot, rather than the traditional wheel with both a single and double zero. This version of Roulette has a lower house edge, making it more favorable for players.

Pai Gow Poker

Pai Gow Poker is a casino table game that is based on the ancient Chinese game of Pai Gow. In Pai Gow Poker, players use a standard deck of 52 cards plus one joker and compete against the dealer to create two hands that beat the dealer’s two hands.

Let It Ride Poker

Let It Ride Poker is a casino table game that is based on, and very similar to, five-card stud poker. In this game, players compete against the paytable and not against the dealer or other players.

Three Card Poker

Three Card Poker is a casino table game that is based on poker on traditional poker. In this game, players compete against the dealer to create the best three-card hand possible.

Crazy “4” Poker

Crazy “4” Poker is a casino table game that is based on four-card poker. In this game, players compete against the dealer to create the best four-card hand possible.

High Card Flush

High Card Flush is a casino table game that is played with a standard 52-card deck. The objective of the game is to create a hand of cards with as many cards of the same suit as possible.

Playing Video Poker

Video poker is a casino game that can offer players some of the best odds of winning without the awkward confrontation of having to sit and interact with people and dealers alike. However, the specific odds and payout percentages can vary depending on the game variant, the paytable used, and the player’s strategy. For now, let’s describe some of the most popular games.

Jacks or Better

jacks or better logo

This is the most popular and widely played video poker game and a personal favorite of ours. Played with a standard 52-card deck, the objective of the game is to create a five-card poker hand that contains at least a pair of jacks or better (and that’s where they get the name!). Learn more about strategies for playing Jacks or Better.

Tens or Better

Same idea as above, only you can get a winning hand by making a pair of Tens instead of Jacks. The added combinations of winning come at a cost of odds.

Deuces Wild

Deuces Wild is also played with a standard 52-card deck, but with all 2s (deuces) serving as wild cards. This means that a deuce can be used as any card to help create a winning hand. If you want to be prepared, we have a full article about Deuces Wild strategy.

Double Bonus Poker

Double Bonus Poker is a video poker game where the objective of the game is to create a five-card poker hand that contains at least a pair of jacks or better.