The dice are still big, but you’re probably going to try your luck at blackjack. The game has been around for decades, but since Ed Thorp’s Beat the Dealer (1962) explained card counting, players can’t get enough of the game. Casino managers, betting that most players can’t properly use Thorp’s system, are happy to oblige them (as long as they don’t win too much). Slot machines are looking a little brighter: Bally’s Money Honey, the first electro-mechanical game, beeps and flashes—and has a top prize of $50. You might also play baccarat or pan, a social game (players bet against each other, as in poker) that has migrated over from the Philippines.
The Rat Pack has (mostly) left Sands, but you can catch Frank at Caesars Palace. This is the golden age of the showgirl. Most revues had featured a line of chorus girls, but in the past decade shows like Folies Bergere (Tropicana) and Lido de Paris (Stardust) put the showgirl center stage. Other casinos are competing with Vive Les Girls! and Casino de Paris (Dunes), Pzazz! ’68 (Desert Inn), and the classic revue is still hanging on, but it’s becoming less cluttered: Steve Lawrence and Eydie Gormé performed in the Sands’ Copa Room with comedian Corbett Monica, backed by Antonio Morelli’s orchestra and the Copa Girls, with nary a tumbler or accordion in sight. James Brown is headlining the Flamingo with Flip Wilson, Bob Newhart and Rosemary Clooney are splitting the bill at Desert Inn, and Woody Allen is at Caesars Palace, along with a guy named Frank you may have heard of.
The lounges are still where it’s at: Little Anthony and the Imperials or Fats Domino at Flamingo’s Driftwood Lounge. Louis Prima is at Sands. It isn’t all straight from the (relatively) recent pop charts, either: Tropicana’s Blue Room features the Dukes of Dixieland. And there’s comedy, too: Shecky Greene and Don Rickles at Sahara’s Casbar Lounge.