Frugal Gambling, a Monster Prime and Killer Happy Hours


Dollar blackjack is back—and on the Strip, no less. The Riviera is dealing blackjack with $1 minimums 24/7. It’s currently the only casino in Las Vegas to offer a dollar game around the clock, but don’t get too excited. When I stopped by at 5 p.m. on a Monday, only one table was in operation, and all six spots were occupied. So but don’t be surprised if you show up and can’t get a seat. As expected, the game doesn’t favor the player—a six-decker with the dealer hitting soft 17 and natural blackjacks paying 6-5. That results in a house edge of about 2 percent against basic strategy, compared to 0.5 to 1 percent on most blackjack games. But don’t sweat it. If you’re playing $1, your expected loss is 2 cents per hand, or about a buck an hour.

• More frugal gambling is available at Ellis Island, where you can play the Craps Happy Hour with $3 minimum bets from 3 to 6 p.m. daily. Plus, they’ll even pay for you to come play. Take a cab to Ellis Island and show your receipt to get reimbursed up to $20 in slot free-play. They round it up to the nearest $5, so you can actually come out ahead on this deal. Of course this offer is aimed toward Strip tourists, but there’s no rule against local use.

• On the other side of the ledger, the players lose one at Casino Royale, where the long-running promo offering 100-times odds on craps has been discontinued. It’s now down to 20-times odds, which still matches Main Street Station for tops in town. The good news is you can still get a bottle of Michelob for a buck at Casino Royale’s main bar 24/7, which gets my nod for best drinking deal in town.

• Occasionally, a monster prime-rib special hits town, and this is one such time. Anthony’s Burgers & Brews at M Resort has a Friday-only deal that includes a terrific cut of prime rib, with clam chowder, baked potato, vegetable and rolls for just $15. Hours are 4 to 10 p.m.

• The M is also one of two casinos to institute new property-wide happy hours, meaning several restaurants or bars run specific specials. For example, Marinelli’s has half-price appetizers, while Hostile Grape offers wine discounts. The other happy-hour deal is at the Cosmopolitan and includes all of its awesome third-floor restaurants—Blue Ribbon Sushi, Comme Ça, D.O.C.G., Estiatorio Milos, Jaleo, Scarpetta and STK. There’s a happy hour somewhere every evening of the week, and all seven run concurrently from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday.

Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and, a newspaper and website dedicated to finding the best deals in town.