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Locals versus destination casinos15 January 2017
All casinos strive to attract players from out of their region, but if you talk to players at a casino in the Chicago suburbs, for example, you’ll find most of the players are from Chicagoland. But if you talk to players in Atlantic City, you’ll find they’re from throughout the Eastern seaboard, and those in Las Vegas could be from anywhere.
On a recent trip to Las Vegas, I was curious about whether the people I was playing blackjack with played at home, too, and why they still made time for a visit to a destination resort.
OLLIE: Some people escape our Minnesota winters with a few days in Florida, some go to Arizona or California. I go to Las Vegas. I love to play, of course, but I can do that at home. What I really love is that I can play and move around without the winter coat.
Even when the locals think it’s cold here, it feels pretty good to me. I was at The Orleans yesterday morning, where a lot of the customers live in Las Vegas. I was outside waiting for the valet to bring my car. The temperature was in the 60s and I was wearing short-sleeved shirt with no jacket. There was another guy out there in short sleeves, but everyone else was bundled up.
He called over to me, “There’s another Northerner!” Turned out he was from Boston, and we passed the time waiting for the valet talking about how all these people were bundled up in weather that felt pretty good to us.
RAYMOND: We’re playing blackjack now, but really, I come to Las Vegas to play video poker. Up around Chicago, the blackjack is better than most of what I can find on the Strip. So many places have this 6:5 blackjack that’s just awful. I won’t play of blackjacks don’t pay 3:2.
Even on six-deck games, they have those 6:5 pays on blackjacks. So I get off the Strip and look for better games. Off the Strip is really where you find the better video poker games, too, and that’s really what I came out here for. I do most of my blackjack playing at home, but save my video poker play for the couple of times a year I’m in Vegas.
NAN: Oh, I play some at home. Close to home, anyway. I live in Memphis and my husband and I drive to Tunica sometimes.
Really, I don’t play all that much. I’m here on business, attending a conference. While I’m here, I play a little blackjack and maybe a little slots, and go to a show. But really, the attraction of Vegas for me is that this is where our conferences are.
LARISSA: The games aren’t the main reason I come here. I come here to pamper myself in the hotel and the spa and the pool, and to go see some shows.
But while I’m here, I love to play, too. I play some in Philadelphia, and it’s fun. What’s different about the games here is that there are so many different ones.
The big difference I see in the games in Las Vegas is that there are so many different ones. Blackjack is my main game, but I play craps, too, and I’m not at all afraid to try new games to see if I like them. On any trip to Las Vegas, I’m likely to try a game or two that I’ve never tried before.
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Best of John Grochowski