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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

10 November 1999

Your Complete 5-Minute Guide to Las Vegas

When you check into your hotel in Las Vegas, be on the lookout for special deals. Even if you paid the regular price for your room, you can usually get any advertised lower rate if you ask for it. Be wary of those three-day two-night packages, though. I have a friend who bought two of those -- and wound up staying six days and four nights.

If you don't like your room, complain about it. If you do like your room, complain anyway. They may knock a few dollars off the price when you check out just to keep you happy.

You'll be eating out a lot, so a word of caution: the restaurants make most of their high-end profits on wine and mixed drinks. I know it's hard, but stick to iced tea. It's only $l a glass, and refills are free. Drink booze in the casino where it's free.

Speaking of the casino, it's time to play!. Don't worry if you don't know how to play any of the table games. The other players will tell you what to do, whether you ask them or not. Play the ones, though, that offer you the best odds for your money: blackjack, craps, baccarat, video poker. Pick up a handy little Basic Strategy card on the games in the casino gift shop. Stay away from the casino's high profit games: the Big Six, double 0 roulette, keno, and nickel slot machines. Don't play poker unless you know the other players personally.

One of my favorite games is at Circus Circus where some guy tries to guess your occupation for $5. If he's wrong, you get a free set of plastic coasters. I got five sets in one night for just $25. It makes you wonder how these people can stay in business.

Oh, and another thing. Don't let the dealers intimidate you. Sure, they all pack guns -- but I've never heard of a dealer using one. Unless you don't tip.

Consequently, I have prepared a handy tipping guide that will get you through your Las Vegas visit alive and in one piece.

  • Dealers -- anywhere from $1 to $5, or make a bet for them alongside your bet. You'll have a friend for life.
  • Cocktail waitresses or bartenders -- $1 a round for two people.
  • Valet attendants -- $1 to $2.
  • Doormen -- $1.
  • Cab drivers -- Fifteen percent of the total fare, never less than $1.
  • Maids -- $1 a day.
  • Bellhops -- $1 a bag.
  • Keno runners -- $1 occasionally.
  • Slot attendants -- Two to five percent of jackpot winnings.
  • Buffet -- $1 for each person.
  • Showroom servers -- $5 to $10 for a drinks-only show, $10 to $20 for a dinner show.
  • Restaurant waiter -- Ten to 20 percent of the total bill.
  • MaĆ®tre d' -- $10 to $20.
  • Mayor of Las Vegas -- $50.
  • Governor of Nevada -- $100.
Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson