Category Archives: Blackjack

Bond Lounge Opens, Infusing The Cosmopolitan Las Vegas With Even More Awesome

There are a lot of things to love about The Cosmopolitan, and it just got another awesome thing: Bond Lounge.

Bond Lounge is an expansion of the popular Bond Bar, and features a party pit with a number of table games, ballet bar dancers and a friendly team of comely dealers.

Bond Lounge

Your average party pit just got schooled at The Cosmopolitan.

The party pit at The Cosmopolitan is unlike other popular party pits in Las Vegas casinos. Specifically, The Cosmo takes the high road. The dealers are tastefully dressed in black romper-style outfits, with their hair in buns.

The dancers, who perform on platforms with illuminated ballet bars, aren’t really go-go dancers, they’re more performance artists, with tasteful costumes and actual dancing talent.

Bond Lounge

We’re loving these tables. The lights are dramatic and are synchronized with all the other tables.

The table limits are very reasonable for The Strip, and a welcome departure from the higher table limits which have kept some low-limit gamblers away from The Cosmo’s casino.

There are about 16 table games, including a roulette table and a Casino War table.

Most of the tables are blackjack, of course, the vast majority of which have a $10 minimum. The blackjack games are either eight-shoe games or double deck games. The shoe games pay 3-to-2, with the double deck games paying 6-to-5.

Bond Lounge

Las Vegas didn’t invent attractive dealers, it just perfected them.

We love the new casino area, and our only gripe is that the music is about 30% too loud, not uncommon in party or pleasure pits on The Strip, unfortunately.

The nearby Bond Bar has become one of our favorite places to play video poker and sample the nearly-perfect signature cocktail menu. The cocktails run $12-14, but are free while you’re playing, of course.

Bond Bar at Cosmo

Friendly bartenders, delicious drinks and loose (at least for The Strip) video poker makes for a very happy us.

During our most recent visit, we had our best Bond Bar cocktail yet, the Pineapple Express.

This exceptional panty-dropper cocktail has Cariel Vanilla vodka, Kalani coconut liqueur, caramelized pineapple, pineapple and lime juices and vanilla-walnut simple syrup. This sweet concoction has edged out our next favorite, the It Takes Two to Mango cocktail.

Pineapple Express cocktail

Oh, Pineapple Express, is there any way we could have an IV of you?

We’re happy to report the video poker at Bond Bar is surprisingly loose, especially given the quality of the cocktails being served, gratis.

Four deuces

If “cha” and “ching” made sweet love, this would be their baby.

If you haven’t been to The Cosmopolitan recently, it’s time to fix that! You won’t be disappointed by the Bond Lounge or Bond Bar.

Although, granted, your Deuces Wild results may vary. As a Las Vegas blog, we’re a personal friend of Lady Luck, after all.

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A First Look at Cosmopolitan’s New Party Pit at Bond Lounge

Big changes are afoot at The Cosmopolitan, including an expansion of one of its many charming lounges, Bond.

Bond is the first lounge you encounter when you enter the hotel from Las Vegas Boulevard. It’s got some serious bling, and gets you into the mood for the Cosmo experience.

Bond lounge Cosmopolitan

The Cosmo has several of the best-looking lounges in Vegas, and Bond is one of those.

A construction wall now extends from the back of Bond into what was an underwhelming section of the casino, previously full of slot machines.

Given the revamp in the works, prepare to be whelmed.

Cosmopolitan Las Vegas

You see a construction well, we see an invitation.

We’ve got a first look beyond the construction wall, into what will be a new party pit at Bond. The party pit will feature 16 new gaming tables, as well as performers atop a “ballet bar.” We don’t know what that is, but we believe it involves both a bar and, quite possibly, ballet.

Bond lounge

We hear there will also be a woman on a swing. We aren’t entirely against this concept.

It appears the Cosmopolitan is getting serious about attracting gamblers into its hotel along with the foodies and club-goers. Pedestrians along Las Vegas Boulevard should be able to see the Cosmo’s new party pit at Bond, and performances by nubile young women tends to be a draw in Las Vegas casinos. (Just ask The D and Golden Gate, downtown.)

Rumor has it the newly-expanded Bond will have lower table limits, too. Uncomfortably high table limits are pretty much the only thing that’s been keeping this blog from spending its retirement fund at the Cosmo’s craps tables.

While the Bond party pit expansion is taking place, the Bond bar remains open. We took advantage, playing some video poker and sampling something from Bond’s extensive cocktail menu.

We’re glad we did, because we loved our drink, called “It Takes Two to Mango.”

Cosmopolitan cocktail

Bonus points for an adorbs name, “It Takes Two to Mango.”

The “It Takes Two to Mango” cocktail has Smirnoff Mango vodka, mango puree, apricot simple syrup, lime and La Spinetti Moscato, a fruity white wine.

There’s also a leaf of some kind floating in the drink, so technically, you’re also getting roughage, which is extremely healthy. Not to mention mangoes are rich in pre-biotic dietary fiber, vitamins, minerals and poly-phenolic flavonoid antioxidant compounds, which we knew off the top of our head, thanks.

This signature cocktail is not only scrumptious, it’s free when you’re playing video poker at the bar. The machines are a tad tight, but after a couple of these mango beauties, you’ll barely notice.

The Bond expansion seems to be in the home stretch, so we look forward to visiting again when we don’t have to breach security to get a better look. The things we do for you.

By the way, today (Dec. 15, 2013) is the third anniversary of The Cosmopolitan opening on the Las Vegas Strip. Happy birthday, Cosmo, and please accept that cash we fed into the video poker machine as our birthday gift!

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Why Is Blackjack Called Blackjack?

Chances are even if you play blackjack, you haven’t given much thought to why it’s called blackjack. Here’s why.

When “21” came to America, gambling halls needed a way to promote the game. They offered bonus payouts, including one that paid extra if a black jack (a jack of either spades or clubs) was dealt along with an ace of spades.

As the game became more popular (it’s the most popular casino card game in the world), the bonus payouts became less common and the informal name was the one that stuck, blackjack.

blackjack

The Sahara was the first casino in Las Vegas to hold a blackjack tournament, in 1978.

The precursor to blackjack was a French game popular in the 1700s, Vingt-et-un (French for “21”).

There are other kinds of blackjack, of course. A blackjack is a short, leather-covered club, for one. It’s also a small oak tree with black bark found in the eastern U.S., as well as a type of weed (Bidens pilosa).

There’s also a drinking cup called a blackjack, and there’s a mineral called blackjack, a variety of sphalerite, whatever that might be.

A “blackjack” was also the term used to describe the skull and crossbones flags popular on pirate ships.

Black jack flag

The blackjack flag is also known as the Jolly Roger, and honestly, haven’t we all been rogered at blackjack from time to time?

One more bit of blackjack trivia: In a two-deck game, if you get an ace as your first card, your chances of getting a blackjack are a solid 31%.

Now, go play. Just don’t make any silly side bets.

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Three Iron-Clad Reasons It’s OK to Make a Sucker Bet in Las Vegas

Blackjack is one of the most popular table games in Las Vegas, and casinos have an array of side bets (commonly known as “sucker bets”) to wring a few extra bucks out of your bankroll.

We recently tried our hand at a blackjack sucker bet called “21+3 Extreme” at Golden Gate, and we had an absolute blast.

With the “21+3 Extreme” sucker bet, you play a little Three-Card Poker while you’re playing blackjack. You combine your first two cards with the dealer’s up card, and get paid for a straight flush (30-to-1), three of a kind (20-to-1), straight (10-to-1) or flush (5-to-1).

If cha had a baby with ching, this would be the result.

If cha had a baby with ching, this would be the result.

The “21+3 Extreme” side bet has a horrific house edge of 20.11% (six decks). Just awful, and we loved every minute of it. See all the math for the “21+3 Extreme” blackjack side bet.

Here are three reasons it’s OK to make a sucker bet in Las Vegas!

1. You’re in Las Vegas

If you want to do math, become a particle physicist. You’re here to blow off a little steam and defy the odds. Loosen up. Turn off the analytical part of your brain and unleash the part that knows how to party. Here’s your new sucker bet mantra: You’re in Las Vegas. Now, let’s have some fun.

Photos are not allowed at live table games in Las Vegas casinos. We are not a good listener.

Photos are not allowed at live table games in Las Vegas casinos. We are not a good listener.

2. Sometimes, Sucker Bets Pay Off

Once you know what you’re up against, you now get to ignore everything you know. This is what differentiates us from other creatures in the animal kingdom. The crazy part is sucker bets pay off. They’re only sucker bets if they don’t, right? If they pay off, they’re called “sound retirement planning.” During our session at Golden Gate, we made more from our side bets than from our hands of blackjack. Blackjack get get a little robotic, and side bets add a little whimsy to the proceedings. It’s called gambling. Gamble.

3. Jamie

The benefits of sucker bets can’t always be measured in “percentages” or “common sense.” If you’re making a sucker bet at the Golden Gate, for example, we’re just saying. There’s nothing that amuses a go-go dealer more than drunk tourists making sucker bets and winning. Why? Because the more you win, the bigger their tips. And Sin City’s “Circle of Extraordinary Happiness” is complete.

Tips. We said tips.

Tips. We said big tips.

Note: While you can find the “21+3 Extreme” sucker bet at other Las Vegas casinos, you can only find Jamie at Golden Gate, sorry.

So, we’re not saying to go crazy with sucker bets. To win, you’re relying heavily on flukes of fate. But Las Vegas exists as a testament to fate flukes. If people didn’t win sucker bets, we’d be writing this sentence in the middle of a barren desert right now.

Once in a while, if you want to up the unpredictability factor, give a sucker bet a try. And don’t forget to tip your go-go dealer, like Jamie. Whose borrowed choker didn’t have her actual name on it. Which we suspect you didn’t notice. Shame on you.

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Circus Circus Las Vegas Has a Red Light District

What will those crafty Las Vegas casino wizards think of next?

Circus Circus has a special promotion in its Party Pit (motto: “We test the limits of the term ‘party,’ daily”), where when red lights start flashing, blackjacks pay double.

Roxanne doesn't have to turn these on. The casino floor managers handle it.

Roxanne doesn’t have to turn these on. The casino floor managers take care of it.

The lights go off at random times throughout the afternoon and evening, up until 11:00 p.m. To get double on blackjacks, you have to make a $10 minimum bet.

It's official: Flashing is permitted in the casino at Circus Circus. You heard it here first.

It’s official: Flashing is permitted in the casino at Circus Circus. You heard it here first.

The benefit to gamblers isn’t bad, although the chance of getting a blackjack during a particular window is somewhat small. Apparently, at one time, the lights went off at regular intervals, but advantage players showed up and bet big just for the duration of the promotion, then left, so the lights go off at random times now.

The flashing red lights give the Party Pit a certain flair, and probably keep some players around longer waiting for the next red light special. Which it the ultimate goal of any casino, of course.

Even if this form-over-substance promotion might not blow your skirt up, there’s still a lot to love about Circus Circus Las Vegas.

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