5 Tips for Handling Gaming at Las Vegas Casinos

In Las Vegas, there is a lot more to do than just hop from one casino gaming floor to the next. Over the years, the city has become known for a number of other attractions that are as alluring to tourists as the poker tables and slot machines—and we came up with 5 tips for handling gaming at Las Vegas casinos so you can best explore them.

Vegas has developed one of the most vibrant culinary scenes in all of the United States. In a write-up of just some of the best restaurants in the city, LA Times highlighted world-class Korean BBQ, venues run by celebrity chefs, fine dining spots in eccentric atmospheres, renowned burger bars, and brunch spots and oyster bars. There’s a little bit of everything, and much of it is absolutely wonderful.

Bellagio Las Vegas.

Many visitors to Las Vegas today also focus as much on the bars and nightclubs as on any gaming floor. Bars like the Lucky Day Tequila & Mezcal House, Parasol Up at the Wynn, and the Bellagio’s Lily Bar & Lounge — to name a few — are unforgettable places to grab cocktails among friends. And pulsing, neon-lit clubs like Omnia and Hakkasan are widely renowned for their rave-like atmospheres and high-energy crowds.

Las Vegas
Las Vegas.

Even beyond specific attractions like restaurants, bars, and nightclubs, Vegas is also increasingly associated with, for lack of a better term, crazy yet thrilling activities. This is a town where you can enjoy breakfast while practicing at a shooting range, fly a fighter jet, ride a zip line and more — to say nothing of the roller coasters and bungee-type experiences right on the Strip. The thrill seeking, in other words, occurs well beyond the casinos.

Circa Resort & Casino adults only pool
Circa Resort & Casino

Despite all of these attractions having gained more attention in Vegas in recent years though, it is still the casinos that are at the heart of it all. The Vegas gaming floors and poker rooms remain unmatched in all the world for their combination of quality and quantity. And while they can sometimes overwhelm Vegas newcomers, they’re an awful lot of fun if you have a plan for how to approach them.

So for those who still have their eyes on the casinos in Las Vegas, we want to help with the beginnings of just such a plan.

Below are some of our tips for how to handle gaming in Vegas casinos.

1. Learn to play craps

For most people with only a casual interest in casinos, craps doesn’t stand out as a top option. For those who really know casinos though, it is just that.

Craps is a ton of fun (usually the most animated game on the floor), and it also happens to offer you some of your best shots at actually winning money. That’s not to say there’s a guarantee, but if you know how to play, you’ll be able to enjoy a casino experience in which you feel like you have a real shot. That’s not necessarily common, even as fun as Vegas casinos are — which is all the more reason why this particular game is worth your time.

2. Seek out the newest slots

The casinos are teeming with slot machines, and in many cases they still look and feel old-fashioned. These games still attract players, but if you sit down watching reels spin out 7s and BAR emblems, you may wind up feeling like you’re playing slots almost out of a sense of obligation.

There are, however, newer and more interesting slots, and you can typically get a good idea of which ones to look for by taking a peek at online casinos before you visit a real one. Online, too, there are a lot of old and outdated offerings, but the right platform can show you what you need.

The slot selection on Foxy Games has developed a specific reputation for collecting the best of the genre, as well as for updating regularly with “brand new titles.” And in many cases, the newest and best slots online — lately, titles like the Zeus series, Deal Or No Deal, and Leprechaun Gold — are also made available as physical slot machines in real casinos. Have a few in mind to look out for, and you’ll have much more fun with your time at the slots.

Circa Resort & Casino
Circa Resort & Casino

3. Enjoy the perks

Another vital tip for enjoying the Vegas casinos is to make a point of enjoying the perks! To some extent this just means enjoying the atmosphere. Treat Vegas gaming like a social activity rather than something particularly serious or solitary. Talk and laugh with your friends if they’re with you, meet some new people if possible, and get friendly with dealers if they seem amenable (though be aware that some aren’t).

As for specific casino perks though, it’s also worth noting that many Vegas casinos still offer complimentary drinks to guests who are gaming. Of course you should be safe and avoid going overboard, but enjoying a perk like this is ultimately part of the experience.

4. Don’t try to count cards

A lot of movies tell us that counting cards is more or less doable, and can lead to massive blackjack profits. Rain Man started this trend, The Hangover invoked Rain Man all over again, and 21 was entirely about a team of card-counting students.

Now, as the true story behind 21 shows us, card counting is doable. It’s not a magic trick, and it doesn’t require uncommon skill so much as thorough preparation. But most people still can’t do it, and nobody should do it. You won’t be arrested or beaten in a back room for trying, but you will be kicked out and potentially banned.

And in case you need more convincing not to try this, Huffpost did a pretty convincing write-up on how casinos prevent and/or spot card counters. The bottom line: Trying to count is a bad idea, and it’s more fun just to play the games anyway!

5. Know your limits

Our final tip to round out the list is simply to know your limits. We mentioned a lot of Vegas attractions that go beyond the games, and it’s no fun to blow your vacation budget at the tables and be unable to enjoy anything else.

The best strategy in Vegas is to hit the casino floor with an exact, planned amount of money you’re willing to play with. If you win, great; if you lose, it’s on to the next part of your trip (even if that means going back to the casino the next night).

More stories:

6 crazy yet thrilling activities to do in Las Vegas

The 10 best fitness destinations for spring

9 best travel products under $100 for your next trip

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Jimmy Im has traveled to 113 countries, stayed in over 600 hotels and has flown a million airmiles. He lives in New York City.

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