To hear their marketing department tell it, the Las Vegas Club is all about “real values, real people, classic fun.” In translation that means $2 shots, $2 hot dog & beer combos, and slot machines that still accept coins. It also means a compact, 48,500-square-foot casino floor featuring eighteen table games, including eight tables just for blackjack, most of which still pay 3:2 for a natural 21.
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Las Vegas Club Tables & Games
Two basic games of blackjack are offered at the Las Vegas Club: a double-deck version dealt by hand and a six-deck version dealt from a shoe. The former, with table stakes of $25~$1,000, offers a slightly better chance of winning, with a dealer who hits on soft 17, no doubling down after splitting (DAS), no re-splitting of Aces (RSA) and no surrender; it has a House edge of 0.60%. By comparison, the $5~$500 six-deck table allows DAS, but because there are so many more decks in play, the House advantage is 0.64%.
For quite some time, the Las Vegas Club has featured a table with a $5 single-deck game that has what it calls “The World’s Most Liberal Blackjack Rules.” These rules include doubling down allowed on 3 or 4 cards, an automatic win for any six-card hand totaling less than or equal to 21, late surrender, and unlimited splitting, including Aces. Note, however, that a natural blackjack pays only even money, which is hardly a “liberal” rule at all. The same game is now offered at the Las Vegas Club’s sister property, the Plaza Hotel & Casino, but better single-deck games can be found elsewhere downtown; even 6:5 blackjack is better than 1:1.
Serious players may wish to steer clear of the few tables that deal from Continuous Shuffling Machines. Another aspect of the Las Vegas Club’s blackjack games to avoid is the “Lucky Lucky” side bet that pays 2:1 for a final total of 19~21 and higher bonuses for combinations such as 30:1 for the unsuited 6-7-8 and as much as 200:1 for three suited sevens.
In many respects, the Las Vegas Club might be thought of as the Plaza Hotel & Casino’s “sassy little sister”. They may share clothes—all of the entertainment and dining listings on the Club’s website, from Louie Anderson Live to Oscar’s “Beef, Booze & Broads” Steakhouse, are actually located across the street — but what differentiates the two is the party-like atmosphere that comes from being positioned at the head of the Fremont Street Experience canopy, immediately adjacent to a band shell where live music booms out night after night. In fact, the runway of the Las Vegas Club’s “Fetish” Party Pit opens right onto the promenade, so it is hard to tell where the foot traffic ends and the casino begins. It’s a bit like playing blackjack outdoors on the street, which can be a lot of fun for those who don’t mind all of the distractions. The Plaza, by comparison, is a complete wall flower.
Royal Rewards for Frequent Blackjack Players
In July 2013, the Las Vegas Club introduced a new loyalty program called Royal Rewards Players Club. Every new member receives a free entry into the “Royal Reels $1,000 Daily Slot Tournament,” featuring the downtown’s largest daily tournament prize pool with 10 winners daily. The program also features the downtown’s only loss reimbursement guarantee, paying back up to $100 in first-day slot losses. Thereafter, players earn tier credits for table games, slots and video poker play to advance in status from Jack to Queen, King and Ace. For blackjack players, “tier credits are earned based on the odds of the game and the length of time played. For example: If you play blackjack for one hour, betting an average of $25 per hand, you will earn 125 tier credits.” Membership rewards include hotel room discounts and upgrades, dining and show discounts, and casino tournament invitations, among others. Note, too, that the new program is tied into the same system as the Plaza Hotel & Casino across the street.
The Inside View
Las Vegas is constantly reinventing itself and the mere existence of the Las Vegas Club is a testament to its resilience. The original Las Vegas Club came on the scene in April 1931 and (in name, at least) it is the only survivor of that era’s first downtown gambling halls, including the Boulder Club, which brought neon signage to Fremont Street, and the Meadows Club, once regarded as “the finest casino in Las Vegas.” The first “Vegas Club” building was torn down before the current structure was erected at 18 Fremont Street in 1961. The tower was added in 1996. Ownership has changed hands several times since then, and the current majority owner, Tamares Real Estate, has allegedly invited comic magician “Amazing Jonathan” to be involved in the Club’s next renewal. Although a new gift shop and snack bar have opened on the casino floor since then, all of the guest rooms of the Las Vegas Club Hotel and Casino closed in April 2013 and remained shuttered the rest of the year, still awaiting much needed renovation.