After you’ve visited Las Vegas a handful of times, it can be all too easy to start fancying yourself an expert on the area. Regulars who make the journey to Sin City a few times a year are definitely more knowledgeable than rank rookies, don’t get me wrong on that account.
But for every Las Vegas regular out there, you’ll also have folks who pass on myths and misconceptions about the city that they’ve always believed to be true. This can lead to confusion for first-time visitors, as they plan their trips around advice that isn’t exactly accurate.
You have probably heard or relayed erroneous tips about Las Vegas. Myths are widely shared amongst regular players and newbies alike.
Many people believe the expression “86’d”—or banned from the property—is old-school mobster slang for taking a cheater eight miles out into the desert and burying them six feet under. Others are positive that the casinos only let local players win, knowing they’ll likely return and drop their winnings back to the house.
To help you avoid falling for the most popular urban legends, I’ve put together the following list of five things you think you know about Las Vegas that happen to be wrong.
1 – Favorable Games Like 3 to 2 Blackjack and Single-Zero Roulette Are Extinct on the Strip
It’s true that mega-corporation casino operators like MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment have largely moved away from game formats that are advantageous to the player. These days, you’re far more likely to find blackjack tables in the heart of Las Vegas, paying out the inferior 6 to 5 rate on blackjack, and roulette wheels featuring two green “0” and “00” spaces that favor the house on even money wagers.
In fact, a few of the big business casinos like Planet Hollywood and New York-New York began experimenting with Triple Zero Roulette last year, further enhancing the house’s inherent edge in the process.
In case you’re unaware, the original European single-zero version of roulette creates a house edge of 2.70% across the board. That’s a very reasonable rate for players to tackle when playing a pure game of chance, but way back when, enterprising casino operators added a second “00” space to create American double-zero roulette, nearly doubling the house edge to 5.26% as a result. And on the insidious Triple Zero Roulette tables, unsuspecting players must fade an obscene 7.69% house edge, making the game practically unbeatable over the long run.
The same holds true when blackjack pays out 6 to 5 instead of the once standard 3 to 2 rate. When you bet $10 and hit blackjack on a 3 to 2 table, you’ll receive $15 back in profit, but a 6 to 5 table dilutes your profit to only $12, sending $3 in savings to the casino’s coffers.
Pure single-zero roulette can still be found at The Cromwell for a $25 minimum bet, or at the Venetian and Palazzo for a $100 starting limit. Those stakes are a bit steeper than most recreational players prefer, I’ll admit, but this trio of casinos definitely proves the #1 myth about Las Vegas to be false. Head here to learn more about the best places to play roulette when you’re on The Strip.
As for 3 to 2 blackjack games, the Aria has no less than 18 tables running around the clock with minimum bets between $50 and $100. If you would rather play at more comfortable stakes, head to Bally’s to find six tables with a limit of only $10.
2 – Las Vegas Is Just a Concrete Jungle Offering No Opportunity for Outdoor Adventures
For folks who don’t particularly enjoy casino gambling, bars, or nightclubs, Las Vegas can feel like the lamest place on the planet. Nothing but neon lights, concrete buildings, and sidewalks as far as the eye can see.
Or so you might believe… In reality, that misperception is based largely on the tendency to confine a trip to Las Vegas exclusively to the Strip. And indeed, even if you venture a few miles from Las Vegas Boulevard, the city can seem like a never-ending series of strip malls stretching to the horizon.
But as it turns out, the area is full of hidden gems that are perfect for outdoors enthusiasts who love hiking, rock climbing, kayaking, or simply enjoying the silence of nature.
Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area is probably the most popular outdoors attraction around, and it’s only a 30-minute drive northwest from the heart of the Strip. Even better, the upscale suburb of Summerlin is home to Red Rock Casino Resort, which is only a stone’s throw away from the picturesque canyonlands, campgrounds, and hiking trails that lend the venue its name.
Valley of Fire State Park, located an hour or so north of Las Vegas, where visitors can explore ancient Native American dwellings. Other outdoor locations to consider on your next excursion to Sin City include, a 180-acre park featuring botanical gardens and other natural wonders.
Oh, and if you enjoy watersports or swimming, make the trek to Lake Mead National Recreation Area to experience one of America’s largest manmade reservoirs.
3 – Casino Dealers Like to See Players Lose Their Shirts
On the contrary, when you sit down to enjoy a table game in Las Vegas, the last person rooting for you to lose is the dealer.
The pit bosses and managers, on the other hand, are definitely in the business of separating players from their chips. Dealers, however, have no financial incentive to wish a losing session on most players.
And as you might suspect, losing players don’t usually feel like digging through the lint in their freshly cleaned out pockets to toss the dealer their last few dollars.
On the other hand, when a gambler is running hot and hitting every hand, spin, or roll, they’re usually happy to spread the wealth by tipping generously and often. Blackjack dealers will even go so far as to subtly assist inexperienced players with basic strategy, asking “are you sure?” when somebody hits on a clear stand spot, or preempting the error by leading off with “the player stands, correct?”
4 – It Never Rains
Las Vegas sits dead center in the Mojave Desert, surrounded by sand and scorched by temperatures that reached a high of 113 degrees last July.
Thus, visiting during the summer months means you’ll almost always experience cloudless skies and relentless sunshine that turns the town into an oven. But that doesn’t mean Las Vegas is always hot and dusty, not by a longshot.
If you want to see Las Vegas monsoon storms for yourself, get out here in February, when four days of precipitation combine to generate nearly an inch of monthly rainfall.
5 – Locals Who Offer Unsolicited Advice Are Usually Skilled Players Looking to Help
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a longtime regular at my favorite local casino—the Gold Coast located just west of the Strip on Flamingo—offering bad advice to tourists.
Whether they’re doing this out of simple ignorance or actual malice depends on the regular, but every day, it seems like I hear the same old story.
“Those machines are always cold on Monday, it’s much better to play those penny slots on the weekend.”
“I have a system for beating baccarat, it’s actually pretty easy to learn too, just visit so and so’s website.”
“Triple Zero Roulette doesn’t decrease the odds for me, I’m only betting on the green spaces anyway.”
“Don’t bother signing up for a Player’s Club card, this joint doesn’t do you any justice unless you’re betting big bucks.”
And the list goes on and on… If you’re new to Las Vegas, either the casino gambling scene or the city itself, don’t take the locals’ word as gospel—present company excluded, of course.
Just because somebody has spun the slots every weekday for 20 years and counting doesn’t mean they know a lick about game selection, payback percentages, or other aspects of slot strategy. The same goes for table games, video poker, keno, bingo—you name it.
Locals like to offer unsolicited advice for any number of reasons, but unless you can readily verify that advice via multiple Google hits on reputable sources, you shouldn’t take the bait.
Las Vegas has such an unmistakable allure because you never know what you’ll find when you visit. Every last one of the 40 million people who make their way here every year has their own preconceived notions, both about the city itself and its staple industry. Those notions aren’t always on the money though, and now you know full well which myths and misconceptions about Las Vegas to leave behind.