Today’s featured dealertainer at The Quad is Scott as Garth Brooks.
Find out more about the dealertainers at The Quad.
Today’s featured dealertainer at The Quad is Scott as Garth Brooks.
Find out more about the dealertainers at The Quad.
This blog does not love commercials. We use our Tivo remote to blow by commercials on TV, and have clicked “Skip Ad” links since the very invention of the “Skip Ad” link.
But the ads in this blog post are different. They’re for Horseshoe casinos around the country, which is cool and all, but somewhat beside the point, because these videos actually transcend geography or a specific casino, even one with as sweet a history as Horseshoe. What are we talking about? Why, here’s one of the ads now.
Anyone who loves casino games recognizes this moment. It’s the moment of anticipation of a result, the outcome of your bet, whether it happens at a blackjack table, or craps table or slot machine.
Funny you should mention slot machines (well, somebody mentioned slot machines), because there’s also an ad featuring (wait for it) slot machines.
Who hasn’t had those moments? And if they haven’t had them, what sad planet are they from?
And just when all the craps players were starting to grumble about how they feel left out of the fun (not that a craps player would ever grumble about anything, of course), another video appears, as if by magic.
People sometimes say to us, “Pulse of Vegas, you’re an award-winning blog, right?” “Yes,” we reply, humbly. They continue, “Why do you seem to love casinos so much?” We sit them down, and try to describe that feeling when the decision is about to happen, when fate is in charge. That moment of anticipation, when anything is possible.
At which point, they tend to look at us like our hammock doesn’t reach both trees.
But, now, we can show them these videos. And they’ll get it. And hopefully, they’ll join us at the craps table.
It’s a little thing called “swim-up blackjack at Caesars Palace.”
This blog’s curious. Have you ever gotten a natural blackjack against, say, a dealer’s 6 and doubled down?
Oh, you heard us. You have a guaranteed winner, but you’re in Vegas, and everyone at the table’s cool with it, so you double down to try and get double your money (rather than 3-to-2, or 6-to-5, or whatever).
We’ve done it, and even if you’re betting at a $5 table, doubling down on blackjack can get the adrenaline going.
Are we recommending you do this? Um, no. The key to winning at blackjack is knowing “basic strategy.” That means given certain card combinations, you take actions that help minimize the house edge. (The house always has the edge, but some games, and bets, are better than others.)
Doubling down on a blackjack might not be our smartest move ever, but we sure had a blast. Did we make a “sucker bet”? You tell us, in the comments section.
You’d think this question would’ve come up sooner, but today we realized we had no idea why blackjack is called, you know, blackjack.
So, here’s the low-down. When the game of “21″ was introduced to the U.S., gambling establishments offered bonus payouts to promote the game. One of those bonuses involved a special, 10-to-1 bonus if the player’s hand ended up being an ace of spades in addition to a “black jack,” or a jack of spades or clubs.
While the bonus went away, the name given to this particular combination of cards stuck and eventually became the name for the most popular casino card game in the world, “blackjack.”
Now you know!
History tells us that about 15 minutes after the invention of gambling, there were gambling cheats. As gambling has evolved, so too have the methods of cheaters. Cheats are endlessly coming up with new ways to try and beat the odds.
Las Vegas casinos, of course, have a vested interested in cheating not happening. Some security measures are high-tech, like state-of-the-art surveillance cameras and face recognition software, but others are much more low-tech. Enter the simple discard tray.
Ever wonder why those plastic dealer discard trays at blackjack tables are red? Well, come to find out, they’re a response to cheaters who have attempted to use inks or “daubs” to mark cards. Such inks are invisible to the naked eye, but can be seen with special sunglasses or red-tinted contact lenses.
The translucent, red discard trays used in Vegas casinos act as a filter and allow dealers and casino security staff to spot potential cheats immediately.
The potential of card-marking is another reason casinos swap out cards so often, and why they’re so plentiful and inexpensive in your hotel’s gift shop.
Now you know!
Rules, schmules! This is Las Vegas, right?
There are no hard and fast rules in blackjack, except these hard and fast rules:
1) Never take “insurance.”
2) Always split eights and aces.
3) Never split fives or 10s.
On an only remotely-related subject, did you know that in some card games, suits have a “dominance order”? That order is typically (lowest to highest): club, diamond, heart and spade. The spade being at the top of the pecking order is where the phrase “in spades” originated, as in “to have something in abundance.” You’re welcome.
Now, practice up on your basic blackjack strategy before you hit the casino, so you know which rules to break! Like we said, it’s Vegas, baby.
Why are there “party pits” with scantily-clad go-go dancers in just about every Las Vegas casino? Hint: They’re popular.
Paris Las Vegas just unveiled its “Ooh La La Party Pit,” and as a hard-hitting journalist, this blog felt compelled to visit the new gaming and go-go area for some photos and video.
Hey, we don’t make up the news, we just tend to zoom in on it for uncomfortably long periods of time. If you don’t like it, start your own Las Vegas blog.
The Ooh La La Party Pit opens at 8:00 p.m. each evening. It features a go-go dancer runway, table games and a “Big Six” wheel for people with too much disposable income. But mostly that first thing.
During our visit to the new party pit, we took note of a table game we hadn’t seen before, called “21 + 3 Xtreme” blackjack.
Apparently, while you’re playing blackjack, a side bet pays for a three card poker hand (your first two blackjack cards and the dealer’s up card).
If your “Xtreme” (not a real word) side bet hits, a straight flush wins 30-to-1, three of a kind gets 20-to-1, a straight lands 10-to-1 and a flush pays 5-to-1. We would calculate the odds of hitting these side bets, but being in Vegas isn’t about math, it’s about having fun. And just never-you-mind that this is the blog of a casino company.
Check out the new Ooh La La Party Pit at Paris Las Vegas the next time you’re in the neighborhood.
If you play blackjack, you’ve seen the device below before, but you might not know what it’s called.
Hint: It’s the mirror used by a dealer to discreetly check to see if they’ve got a blackjack. (The horror!) So, what’s it called? Take your best shot. We’ll wait.
The next time you’re at a blackjack table, impress everyone by knowing these mirrors are called “peekers” or “peepers.”
Now you know, and thanks for playing! You did play, right? Don’t make us come over there.
Think you know your Vegas casino table game jargon? We did, too, until we heard about the blackjack “plug.”
When you’re playing blackjack from a “shoe” (the device that holds multiple decks of cards), two “cut cards” are used. One of these plastic cut cards is inserted toward the end of the shoe, so the dealer knows when it’s time to reshuffle, and the other is placed at the back of the shoe, so the last card in the shoe can’t be seen.
The group of cards between these cut cards is called the “plug.”
When it’s time to reshuffle the cards, the plug (at least at Flamingo Las Vegas, it varies by casino) is divided into three sections before being mixed back in with the rest of the cards.
So, now you know what a “plug” is. Which will serve you well in life. Assuming you want to work in the field of “Utterly Useless Gambling Trivia.” And who doesn’t?
The “Queen of Soul” herself, Aretha Franklin, is coming to Caesars Palace on July 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Rolling Stone magazine put the iconic singer at the top of their “100 Greatest Singers of All Time,” and she’s been entertaining audiences for decades. In 2005, she was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which, we should add, are going for a fortune on eBay right now.
Get your tickets to Aretha Franklin at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace.
Did you know there’s another way to hear Aretha Franklin in Las Vegas, at another “Palace”? And these shows are completely free!
One of the best singers we’ve heard on the Las Vegas Strip is Tamara, an Aretha Franklin impersonator who performs at Imperial Palace as a “dealertainer.” Tamara and her fellow dealertainers sing for guests between dealing rounds of blackjack. Or maybe it’s the other way around.
No matter which Aretha you prefer, music remains the soul of Las Vegas entertainment.
Well, that and strippers. But mostly music!
There’s always something new in Las Vegas, and that includes downtown. The historic area north of The Strip has been bustling with activity in recent months, and we’re not just saying it’s bustling as an excuse to type the word “bust” a couple of times. Probably.
During our last visit to the Golden Gate, the oldest operating casino in Vegas, we noted they’ve recently opened a high limit salon. And it’s precious.
The “intimate” high limit room has two shoe blackjack tables and one double-deck game. We hear the room may add a baccarat table in the near future.
The room features plush, high-backed chairs, in case your feet get tired from all the, you know, sitting you’re doing while playing blackjack.
The new high limit room isn’t all that high limit when you compare it to The Strip, with two tables having a $25 minimum and another with $50.
The tables are manned, or rather, “personed,” by the casino’s popular go-go dealers. In fact, the only tables we saw personed by male dealers in the entire casino were at the craps tables. This blog does not generally have a problem with this trend, as long as the dancer-dealers know what the heck they’re doing.
Let us know if you spot anything new in downtown Las Vegas, and we’ll use it as an excuse to visit and snap some pics.
No Las Vegas casino would be complete without playing cards. They’re used in blackjack and poker and a variety of other games, including Pai Gow poker, which in Chinese translates as “that card game this blog doesn’t understand because it may involve math.”
So, here’s a question about playing cards: Why are there 52 cards in a deck?
Come to find out, many believe our modern decks of cards can be tied to astrology. The four suits, for example, are said to represent the four seasons. Not The Jersey Boys, the other four seasons. Please try and stay focused.
The 13 cards of each suit represent 13 months of the lunar new year. A lunar month (“sidereal lunar month” to be precise) has 28 days, so if you multiply 13 months by 28 days, you get 364, which is the number of days in a year in something called the positivist calendar. (It’s actually 364 plus a festival day commemorating the dead, for a total of 365.)
You may have already figured out that our 52-card decks are related to the fact a year has 52 weeks.
For the record, this blog still hates math.
Here’s a bonus trivia item about playing cards.
Ever wonder why the ace of spades gets special treatment in terms of its design?
The fancy design got its start under the reign of James I of England.
He created a law requiring that an insignia (usually hand-stamped) appear on the ace of spades to prove payment of a tax by card manufacturers. That special tax existed in the U.K. until 1960, and the practice of putting an ornate spade symbol on the ace of spades stuck around.
Now you know!
We’re not sure “Sir Jac” would “Die 4 U,” but this talented “dealertainer” would definitely dance parts of himself off to entertain “U” and your fellow guests at Imperial Palace.
We love that Sir Jac (possibly not his birth name) never seems to stop dancing, even when he’s dealing blackjack.
Here’s a little peek at his time on the dealertainer stage at Imperial Palace, courtesy of one of his fans.
This blog is always up for trying its luck at casino games like roulette, blackjack and slots, and now those games are available free on Facebook with the Caesars Casino game.
The realistic roulette, blackjack and video slots games are completely free to play, with more games coming soon. Sorry, no craps yet! Nothing’s perfect in life.
With the Caesars Casino app, it’s all the excitement of playing in your favorite casino, with none of the risk (or cigarette smoke), so what’s not to love? Oh, and nobody’s trying to high-five you without your permission. This blog hates that.
We’re liking the bonuses, and as you play, you get other perks, and different game levels can be unlocked along the way, just to keep things lively. There’s a handy FAQ to quickly get you up-to-speed on the various games, but everything’s pretty intuitive if you’ve played the live versions of the games.
As you might suspect, since it resides on Facebook, the Caesars Casino is a fairly social game. You can gloat about your virtual casino accomplishments to friends, as well as being able to send them additional coins and video slot spins, blackjack hands and roulette spins. And unlike with games such as Farmville, your friends will actually enjoy hearing from you when you share your Caesars Casino updates. And if they don’t, are they really the kind of friends you want? We’re just saying.
We’re just kidding about the Farmville thing! (Actually, we’re just kidding about kidding about it. Farmville is annoying. This is a casino, not a farm. Casinos are fun. Farms smell. Moving on.)
If you’re digging the Caesars Casino experience, and deplete your virtual coins, you can purchase more with real-world money. Yes, quite a few people do this, actually. Hey, fun’s fun. Twenty thousand coins for $5 is a pretty inexpensive form of entertainment when you get right down to it. But there’s no obligation. Just be lucky, and you’ll never need to purchase a Caesars Casino coin in your life. Or have lucky friends who can give you coins. That works, too.
So, check out the new Caesars Casino. And if you’re curious: This blog is currently raking it in at roulette, having its posterior handed to it at blackjack, and holding steady at the “Road to Riches” and “Roman Triumphs” video slots.
Play in the Caesars Casino on Facebook, already.