Blackjack continues its ascendance in the pits, although Asian games are gaining in popularity. A variant of pai gow played with cards, pai gow poker, is growing. While some games, like Red Dog, are fading, variants of poker like Let It Ride, Caribbean Stud Poker and three-card poker are coming on strong. Slot machines have almost caught up with tables and they, too, are changing, with video screens displacing reels. Branded titles, such as Wheel of Fortune, are becoming more popular.
Showroom entertainment still has singers and comedians, but there are plenty of innovations. The Riviera, Tropicana, Harrah’s and Boardwalk Holiday Inn have their own comedy clubs. This is the age of the production show. Steve Wynn has done the most to shake up the entertainment scene, bringing in Siegfried & Roy to headline The Mirage’s theater in a high-cost, high-profile show. Magicians like Dixie Dooley, Rick Thomas, Steve Wyrick and Lance Burton followed in Siegfried & Roy’s footsteps. Wynn then brought Cirque du Soleil to Treasure Island; its Mystère was a different kind of Las Vegas show. MGM Grand countered with the stage spectacular EFX, which at this point stars David Cassidy.
Most casino lounges still feature live music, with a tremendous selection available: dancing at Cleopatra’s Barge (Caesars Palace), big band at the Gold Coast Dance Hall, “island sounds” at Harrah’s La Playa Lounge, Cajun music at The Orleans’ Bourbon Street Cabaret, country and western at Sam’s Town’s Roxy’s Saloon and “Jazz on the Strip” at Riviera’s Le Bistro are just some options. Outside of casinos, you can party at The Beach or Drink. And, if you want to get onstage, karaoke at Ellis Island is your friend.