This magazine’s annual bar issue is my favorite of the year, and it’s a chance to update my lists on the best video poker bars in Las Vegas. Keep in mind that you can often do better in the casinos, but these are the best opportunities at the neighborhood watering holes around town (a number of them are also Bar Hall of Fame inductees).
I refer often in this space to the presence of 7/5 Bonus Poker being an easy indicator of a better video poker bar (“7/5” means that with one coin played, a full house returns seven coins and a flush returns five). This game returns 98 percent if you can play it perfectly. Not bad. A short list of bars that offer 7/5 Bonus Poker includes Loose Caboose on West Flamingo Road, Dylan’s Gaming Lounge, the Porchlight Grille, the Tap House, Frankie’s Tiki Room and Champagne’s. But this is the Hall of Fame issue, so we have to do better than that.
It’s not often that you find a bar schedule by itself (no promotions considered) that exceeds 98 percent, but they exist. Two examples are the Double Down Saloon’s Kings or Better Joker Wild game with a 98.4 percent return, and Sonny’s Saloon, where select machines offer 9/5 Jacks or Better with a $100 bonus on royals that returns 98.5 percent.
More common are 7/5 bars with liberal card-of-the-day wheel spins. Two good ones are the country bar Saddle N Spurs on North Jones Boulevard and Crowbar on West Flamingo Road. Others in this category are Brooksy’s on West Flamingo Road from 2–5 p.m. and 4–7 a.m. and the new Sagos at Spring Mountain Road and Decatur Boulevard, where all 4-of-a-kinds spin during Angels games. All of these bars return more than 99 percent on 25-cent games.
Of course, payback percentage isn’t everything. Home Plate on West Warm Springs Road runs frequent $20 matchplay promos (play $20, get $20 in free-play) and last year did it every Sunday during the football season. No Regrets on West Sunset Road awards $20 in free-play after $100 coin-in on Sundays and Mondays from 1 p.m.–3 a.m. (the best time to do it is 3–7 p.m., when quad 5s-Ks spins the bonus wheel). And while there’s no financial incentive involved, Dean’s Place behind Silverton deserves mention for its unique nonsmoking side bar.
Finally, credit is due to the creative bars that use meal comps as incentives. The best are Crown & Anchor East or West and Sagos on Fort Apache Road: All three offer comped meal incentives to those playing at least $20. Also in this category is the prime rib comp at Jackson’s (see Jackson’s review), where if you’re not already a member of the players club, you’ll also get a sign-up matchplay bonus of $20 after $100 coin-in.
Know of another good one? Send us the details.
Anthony Curtis is the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor and lasvegasadvisor.com.