- Factoid:Blackjack played right (and few people do) has the lowest house advantage of any table game. Even so, statistically at one-half percent (.5%) you will lose $5 per hour playing $10 BJ.
Factoid: Blackjack crash course:
1.) If the dealer's up card is 6 or less, then hit until you have at least 12, then stand.
2.) If the dealer's up card is 7 or more, then hit until you have at least 17, then stand.
3.) When your total is 9, 10 or 11, double when the dealer's up card is less than your total.
4.) Always split two 8's or two Aces. Never take insurance or play BJ that doesn't pay 3:2 for BJ.
1.6 Leave the kids at home!
There are pros and cons to the concept that Las Vegas is a family vacation destination. That was certainly true a decade ago, but the direction of Las Vegas has changed ...a complete about face from that of the early 1990's.
The "family fun" marketing pitch has now been replaced by "adult pleasure." Its new direction is "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas!" as you have no doubt noticed in its TV ads. The message now is that Las Vegas is the place for the middle-class affluent looking for a fantasy weekend getaway ...a Disneyland for adults.
Las Vegas is not for Kids
The "something for everyone" concept has been greatly de-emphasized over the past few years and the family friendly resort is now only a small niche market. The historic "G-rated" orientation of Las Vegas is now more "X-rated."
For one thing, casino operators have come to the realization that young adults with toddlers contribute very little to their reason for existence: gambling. No one under 21 can enter a casino in Las Vegas much less play the slot machines ...unless they are just passing through to get to another destination such as a restaurant. So Sin City went back to the drawing board and redesigned itself.
If you are under age and found gambling or loitering in a gaming area, the hotel staff will ask you to leave. The legal drinking age in Nevada is 21. There are NO "under 21" clubs in Vegas. An unaccompanied kids (under 18) curfew (on the strip) exists on weekdays (Sunday/Thursday) from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.on weekends (Friday/Saturday/Legal holidays.)
The multi-millon dollar transformation began in the mid 1990's. Las Vegas largest hotel, the MGM Grand used to have a family-friendly "Emerald City" Wizard of Oz theme and featured an outdoor amusement park complete with all sorts of midway rides. The Wizard of Oz identity and theme park are now past history; replaced by topless striptease shows, "sensual" lounge clubs and a "Classic Hollywood Movie" theme. The huge lion-centered entryway was scrapped and rebuilt.
Even the Wet'n'Wild water park - a fixture on the strip for more than a quarter century - has closed. And the rumor is that its 27 acres will become still another mega-resort.
The Bellagio does not allow children inside their hotel at all unless they're registered hotel guests, something many parents angrily find out when they try to enter with their kids.
The pyramid-shaped Luxor has reoriented its focus from family attractions to high-rolling casino play. Its secondary New York and space travel themes have disappeared altogether.
The pirate theme at Treasure Island and the sidewalk "Battle of Buccaneer Bay" - the sinking of a British ship - has been scrapped. Now featured is a new modern version using sexy showgirls called the "Sirens of TI". Their 25,000 square foot game arcade has been reduced by eighty-percent. Even the Treasure Island name and sign has been replaced. It is now called just "TI." Bottom line: Pirates are out. Sex and adult partying is in.
Children are not totally unwelcome.
There are still some attractions for the whole family in Vegas. The Circus Circus' still has their Adventuredome and free Circus acts. And we see a lot of kids at the medieval "Rennaissance Fair" themed Excalibur hotel.
Mandalay Bay’s Shark Reef is a family favorite as is the live flamingos and penguins at the Flamingo. Youngsters are welcome at the Mirage’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat (kids under ten are free.) The Lance Burton magic show at the Monte Carlo was definitely family oriented, but it unexpectedly closed September 4. 2010.
The erupting volcano and white tigers at the Mirage, the dancing waters outside the Bellagio, and the Masquerade Show in the Sky at the Rio are also free attractions that everyone can enjoy.
You can, of course, take the kids shopping with you. The free laser Fountain Shows and aquarium at the Forum Shops can be fun. MGM World at the (MGM) Showcase Mall and their lion habitat (with real lions behind plexiglass) are family oriented.
If you must bring youngsters with you, I recommend staying at the Excalibur with its free shows for kids (puppets, jugglers, and magicians) or Circus Circus featuring a carnival-atmosphere, giant arcade and full amusement park. And there is a firm that specializes in Las Vegas activities for youngsters aged 6 and up called Exploring Las Vegas for kids.
But my opinion - and that of many others - is that Vegas is simply not a good place to bring your kids. Most of the major hotels are backing away from the idea that Vegas is a good family vacation spot. In fact, they are saying it isn’t with an explosion of topless shows, after-hours nightclubs ...even sexy (almost unisex) bathrooms.
For example: the men's and women's "semi-communal" bathrooms at Mandalay Bay's Rumjungles nightclub are separated only by a short wall that both sexes can peer over while they freshen up. And on Wednesday nights, their China Grill hosts the Red Dragon nightclub complete with unisex bathrooms and translucent stalls that light up when you enter.) The Sin is back in Sin City.
NEXT PAGE: 2.1 LAS VEGAS PLANNING AHEAD....⇨