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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Gaming and Dining Values Await in Las Vegas

24 October 2007

There's a lot more to a Las Vegas vacation than "The Strip", home to the high profile mega-resorts. If more value for your gambling dollar and good food at reasonable prices is a priority, seeking out what are known as the "locals" establishments can be well worth your while.

The famous Las Vegas buffets are not the value they once were at the bigger casinos. Many of them have evolved into virtual fine dining experiences. Prices have escalated to the point that many vacationers think twice before choosing them, opting instead to spend the same money for sit-down dinners at regular restaurants.

Affordable buffets are still very much alive at many popular off-strip gaming destinations, including the new South Point on South Las Vegas Boulevard, Gold Coast on West Flamingo, and all of the Station Casino branded properties, just to name a few.

One of the most popular, however, is the Firelight Buffet at Sam's Town on Boulder Highway. The venue was even featured by dining diva Rachael Ray in one of the Food Network travel specials. Breakfast is $4.99, lunch $7.99 and dinner $9.99. There's also the fresh seafood and fish fry buffet every Friday for $16.99.

After you've stuffed yourself, pay a visit to the casino at Sam's where you'll find five-dollar craps with 20-times odds, five-dollar double-deck blackjack, and video poker with solid pay tables. It's the brand of gambling for which the locals places are famous.

The highlight for quarter video poker players at Sam's Town is a royal flush progressive that's seeded with $1,500. The carousel has five 9/7 Double Bonus machines (99.11 pay back) and five 9/5 Double-Double Bonus machines (97.87 pay back). It's not uncommon to see the progressive climb to $1,800 or more. When you factor in non-progressive quarter royals pay $1,000, you realize what a great value the game really is.

There's also a bank of quarter machines with metered Double-Double Bonus progressives for a royal; aces with a kicker; four aces; two's, three's or four's with a kicker; and five's through king's. The pay table is 9/6 (98.98 percent pay back).

Don't forget about The Palms, which is more than just a haven for star gazing. If it's great video poker you're seeking, your wish is granted the minute you walk in the door. A bank of 10 Double-Double Bonus quarter machines each with a 10/6 (10-to-1 for full houses, 6-to-1 for flushes) pay table, which translates into 100.07 percent pay back using expert strategy.

Continue your journey into the Palms and you'll discover a bank of 12 Double-Double Bonus quarter machines with weaker 9/5 pay tables but reinforced with progressive jackpots for a royal flush; aces with a kicker; two's three's or four's with a kicker; and five's through king's.

If dollar video poker is your game, the Palms features a bank of 10 Double Bonus games that just don't get any better. The pay tables are 10/7 (100.17 percent payback), plus there are progressive jackpots for a royal flush; straight flush; four aces; four two's, three's or four's; and four five's through king's.

Green Valley Ranch, a Station Casino property in nearby Henderson, also has a selection of quarter Double-Double Bonus video poker with the coveted 10/6 pay tables.

One final Vegas tip: If all you're looking for is a snack, don't miss the jumbo beef hot dogs with all the trimmings served from a cart for seventy-five cents in South Point's race and sports book.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp