Gambling City

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Loose Slots and Loads of Goodies

Author: Mark Pilarski

Dear Mark: Do you have a preferred place to play quarter slots in Las Vegas? Which casinos have the best returns? I am going there next month. Meri W.

Regrettably, Meri, when it comes to slot machines, there is no definitive return for slot paybacks at any one individual casino like those for video poker just by using ones head and analyzing a paytable. Luckily, casinos in downtown Las Vegas are competitive and liberal with their returns.

In Las Vegas, The Strip, in theory, returns 91.37%
on 25¢ slot machines, while the Downtown casino slots return 94.77%. As you can see, Meri, the quarter slot machines downtown pay out slightly more than those on the Las Vegas Strip. Not only are those returns among the best in the Las Vegas area, they are among the best payback percentages anywhere in the US.

Playing quarters, Meri, puts you in the category of the low roller. So, what you should do is not only play downtown, but pick a casino with liberal player benefits.

So, what is my favorite? I think the best cluck-for-the-buck can be had at the El Cortez. The El Cortez is the longest continuously-running hotel and casino in Las Vegas, widely seen by locals as a decent low-end comp house, has a slew of the Las Vegas Review BEST OF LAS VEGAS AWARDS, and yes, some of the loosest slots in town.

Being the “old schooler” that I am, I find El Cortez to be one of the few casinos in Vegas where customers can still enjoy classic coin-operated machines. There is nothing finer than the sound of winning as quarters hit the drop bowl.

Dear Mark: Any chance you can share your Final Four picks and the eventual winner of your NCAA Bracket. Jason K.

This year, Jason, was the first that I have not filled out a bracket in over 30 years. I certainly wasn’t induced by Quicken Loans billion dollar grand prize, where filling out a perfect bracket and forcasting the correct result of all 63 games was one in two to the 63rd power, which just happens to be one in nine million trillion (1/ 9,000,000,000,000,000,000).

So picks here, sorry Jason, I did not. I decided this time to just root for teams where I have paid/pay my son Nick’s tuition: University of Cincinnati, University of Michigan and Duke. Presently he is on the long road to a Ph.D, so I just may need to consider again and take a shot at that Quicken Loans bracket.

Dear Mark: I do not play poker, or gamble, but someone where I work told me that there is a poker hand named after me. My name is Joe Bernstein and you can use my full name in your column. Have you ever heard of it? Joe B.

I have, Joe. In Hold' em, a Joe Bernstein is when one's first two cards is a 6-9. It was named for a famous gambler of the 20s-30s.

Gambling Wisdom of the Week: “Winning isn't going to change your life. So don't bet so much that you can get hurt. If that's what betting is all about for you, wear dog tags so they know where to ship the body.” – Larry Merchant, The National Football Lottery (1973)