Las Vegas, Nevada, is such a funny place. It's America on Steroids - gambling, cars, prostitution, big flashy lights, and big shows. We took a quick weekend trip to sin city for a medical conference, providing ample time to refresh my memory of the place. I also sought to find the best game in Vegas - which game has the best odds?
Walking around, I was amazed at how busy the city was until I realized I was visiting during spring break. You know you're getting older when you travel for spring break and don't even realize it's spring break. The sidewalks were more packed than in New York, although the transit in Las Vegas is a joke compared to New York. To be fair, some casino complexes have short-run dedicated transit lines, and a city bus runs the length of the strip. But actually getting places is owned by cars for hire, which are spread across the ten-plus lane roadways. Vegas does have a prototype tunnel for cars built by Elon Musk's The Boring Company, but it's an impressively stupid solution to something that a simple train would quickly solve. If there's one thing America is great at, it's avoiding the construction of proper trains and transit. As I said, it's America on steroids.
I've been to enough casinos to determine they're not for me. Is winning money fun? Sure, of course it is. But losing money absolutely sucks, and yet there was no shortage of people pumping slot machines who knew that the odds were stacked against them. For games like poker, you are playing against other people and using your skills, which is much more exciting than a guaranteed long-run loss in games like slots.
The Best Game in Vegas
The odds-best table game is craps. Besides having a hilarious name, craps is probably the most socially friendly game in the casino. There's a reason why craps is a filmmaker-friendly game featuring big groups of people celebrating. If you're unfamiliar, craps is played by a single person, 'the shooter,' who throws dice into a giant green table, and the participants are betting to predict the numbers that come up. It gets more complicated quickly - a free craps phone app would probably be a great way to learn how to play. For some bets at some casinos, the payout odds are 50/50 for your bet vs. the casino. It doesn't get any better than that.
This is a personal finance blog though, so I would be remiss not to say that the best game is not to play at all. Maybe one out of four people would win some money in all my group casino adventures. Everyone else would take a loss. And it's super important to cut your losses. I've decided to stop gambling entirely - I much prefer investing.
A Travel Lifesaver
On the way home, I also must share how clutch a lounge visit was during my return travel. My flight home was late on Sunday night, and I was starting a new job on Monday morning. Being a bit pressed for time, I was most thankful that my Capital One VentureX card provided free lounge access through Priority Pass to "The Club at LAS" in the Las Vegas airport. It's one of the "premium tier" cards with a high annual fee, but it pays for itself. I had completely forgotten to bring anything shaving-related on my trip to prep for my first day on the job. Not only did the lounge have free shaving supplies, but it also had individual bathrooms (with showers!) that I could use. On a compressed timeline, it was a lifesaver.