Category Archives: Gambling

Go Go Claw Slot Machines Grab Attention at The D Las Vegas

There’s a new slot machine at The D casino, and it’s grabbing the attention of guests.

The D has two Go Go Claw slot machines, and they’re the first and only such machines in Las Vegas. And possibly the world. We would find out, but that would require “exerting effort,” so
you know that’s not happening.

We’ve got all the scoop about this new slot machine.

Just like the arcade game, except you can actually win occasionally.

The Go Go Claw slot machine comes from Aruze Gaming, the same folks behind the Roll to Win Craps game cropping up across town.

The claw slot machine was inspired by the old-school arcade game. The game is also referred to as a “toy crane” or “skill crane.”

There are lots of claw game hacks online, literally none of them work with Go Go Claw.

The Go Go Claw slot machine is getting quite a bit of play at The D, probably because it appears to be skill-based.

We say “appears,” because a slot machine can’t really be skill-based. If it were, people would learn to beat the machine and the casino would lose money. Casinos aren’t charities.

Still, even the illusion of skill makes a game more enticing to some, and here’s how the Go Go Claw game works.

Players first select a denomination to wager. Bets can range from $5 a try to $100.

Go Go Claw slot machine

Greater risk, greater potential reward. It’s like the stock market, but with a big-ass claw.

The balls in the machine have no intrinsic value (they contain generic paper bills).

Go Go Claw slot machine

Shout-out to Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill.

The machine determines the “Ball Prize” value and the prizes increase based upon your denomination.

For example, for a $5 bet, the prize can be worth $10 to $1,000, or even more if it’s the progressive jackpot. The numbers get quite big at the $100 bet level.

Go Go Claw slot machine

These are some valuable balls.

Once play is initiated, the player moves the claw with a joystick.

The claw drops, and if it retrieves a ball, the player wins the prize.

Here’s a look at Go Go Claw in action.

It seems fairly straightforward, but of course it’s not. That’s why you have us!

While the game has some built-in suspense, the skill of the player has pretty much nothing to do with winning a prize.

The rules of the game provide some insights into how it all works.

The rules state: “If a first attempt to deposit a prize ball in the win box is unsuccessful, it is possible that an additional attempt may be presented twice only.”

That’s right. Even if you don’t retrieve a ball, you could get another shot at it. Possibly two.

The rules continue, “If a prize ball is not deposited into the win box on a third attempt only, it is possible that the determined ball prize is still awarded via an onscreen notification.”

In some ways, this is entirely awesome. Even if you screw up, the machine forces you to get a prize.

Alternatively, it’s pretty clear what the player is doing has little if anything to do with winning a prize.

On a traditional slot machine, a random number generator decides who wins and when, and the reels are just for show.

Similarly, on the Go Go Claw slot machine, the outcome of your attempt is predetermined. If you are going to win, you’ll win no matter what. If you’re a highly-skilled ball-grabber, but
the machine decides you’re not winning, your ball’s going to drop, sorry.

Amidst the game’s “Notices,” it says, “The physical components of the game are used to exhibit the game result randomly determined by the software.”

Another “Notice” says, “The average payout of the game is not affected by the player’s operation of the claw.”

In layperson’s terms, it’s theater.

Sorry to burst your bubble.

As with the traditional arcade game, claw strength is critical to snagging and holding onto a ball, and claw strength is adjustable to ensure the proper payout on the machine.

In other good news, slot machines are highly-regulated, so you can rest assured the claw slot machine will be much more generous than the game at your local carnival midway.

In truth, you could sort of just play the game with a blindfold and the results would be the same.

Our top tip is to watch until the progressives are maxed out, then take a turn. We have no idea if that will work, but we needed a photo caption.

That said, knowing more about how slot machines operate doesn’t really add to the fun, and gambling is all about fun.

Everyone knows the random number generator (RNG) decides a player’s fate on slot machines, but it’s the spinning of the reels that makes slots so amusing.

Same with Go Go Claw. The game gives players something more interesting to do than hit buttons.

Unlike traditional slot machines, the game also attracts a crowd. It’s a great group experience, as you can see in our video.

A downside for the casino is most players drop $20, try the game four times (at $5 a pop), and move on. This hit-and-run customer isn’t the most lucrative for casinos.

Another issue for casinos is there are relatively few “decisions” with this game. There’s a 30-second countdown timer for each attempt to keep things moving, but decisions are critical to the profitability of a slot machine or any casino game. That’s why blackjack dealers who deal quickly are more valuable to casinos than slow dealers. More hand, more results, more revenue. It’s just math.

No pressure.

The players tend to be younger than the average casino customer, so there’s that. Casinos and game manufacturers have tried for years to attract younger players, but most “skill-based” games have failed miserably.

Go Go Claw is familiar to many people, so there’s no real learning curve.

It also taps into a competitive part of the brain, which could theoretically lead to longer play.

We definitely observed a pattern of guys trying to impress female companions, just as many do at carnivals when they attempt to win stuffed animals with the ultimate goal of having sex. With their companions. Don’t make it weird.

Anyway, Go Go Claw is a hoot to play and watch, even knowing the outcome is preordained.

We didn’t personally see anyone win a big jackpot, but we’ve seen such wins shared in social media, so hope reigns.

As mentioned, if you’re looking for Go Go Claw, they’re only at The D for the moment. It’s sort of a field test to see if the machine’s are viable.

There’s one on each floor of The D’s casino, one by Longbar and another at the top of the escalators.

Fun fact: When claw machines were introduced in 1951, they were considered “gambling devices.” Regulations we relaxed in 1974, and their popularity took off. Now, they’re gambling devices again. Ah, the circularity of the universe.

Let us know what you think of the new claw slot machine at The D and we’d be curious to hear if you think such machines have staying power, or if they’re just another case of slot machine makers dropping the ball.

Do you know this blog at all?

Tuscany Casino Dumps All Live Table Games

Lots of Las Vegas casinos are cutting labor costs by replacing select live table games with electronic versions, but few have eliminated dealers completely.

The off-Strip Tuscany, however, recently shut down and removed all its live table games.

Tuscany casino

Cussing at a machine is the new cussing at a dealer.

At one time, Tuscany had about 11 table games, but that had been whittled down to five in recent months.

Tuscany isn’t the biggest casino in town, but it’s a microcosm of recent cost-saving trends.

The harsh reality is electronic table games don’t take breaks or vacations and don’t require health insurance. They’re also touted as being more appealing to younger players (not exactly relevant at Tuscany, but that’s what the machine manufacturers claim).

Here’s a quick walk-through of the former table games area at Tuscany. It’s a little wobbly for discretion reasons, not rum reasons.

The pandemic caused Las Vegas casinos to tighten their belts, and another small casino, Casino Royale, eliminated its table games in July 2020. That was a swift kick to the chicken tenders, as Casino Royale had some of the liveliest craps tables on The Strip.

In some cases, table games aren’t removed, they’re replaced by machines requiring fewer dealers.

For example, a number of casinos now offer Roll to Win Craps. The electronic table has one dealer, down from the traditional three (four if you include the boxman).

Roll to Win Craps Las Vegas

This table at Harrah’s consistently draws a crowd due to lower table minimums. These games are here to stay.

Ultimately, the removal of table games is a result of evaluating demand and business needs.

Visitors frequently note $5 minimum games are increasingly difficult to find, but that’s because if you calculate labor costs, these games can actually lose money.

Here’s a surprising fact: One player at a $25 minimum table is ultimately worth as much or more to the casino as a full table of $5 players.

In the case of Tuscany, we’re told table games just weren’t a big draw. The cost-benefit analysis resulted in their permanent closure.

Tuscany casino floor

We still love you, Tuscany, it’s just a little weird.

It’s a shame, because table games are part of the fabric of the Las Vegas casino experience.

A casino without a craps table is like diet Coke without Captain Morgan. You can do it, but it’s a very different experience.

While blackjack tables may not be Tuscany’s strong suit, the casino is still a great place to play other games like video poker. The pay tables are generous, even at the bar.

We are not a math person, but the pay tables at Tuscany are known for being sexy.

Tuscany’s Pub 365 is reliably good, and the casino also boasts a new Circa Sports sports book.

Related: Whoever negotiated that deal needs to get a promotion. From the right angle, it looks like Tuscany has been rebranded.

Thanks to our college theater classes, we will not make the mistake of saying the Circa sign upstages the Tuscany sign. It steals the spotlight, however.

We understand Tuscany’s sports book has been crushing it, which we would not have really predicted, although sports betting is admittedly a smidge out of our wheelhouse.

Parking remains free and easy at Tuscany, so there’s that.

While we didn’t play the table games at Tuscany often, we’re sorry to see them go.

Every time a table game closes in a Las Vegas casino, an angel loses its wings. And lately, there are a lot more wingless angels.

WSOP Announces Schedule for 2021 Tournament at Rio

The world’s premier poker event, the World Series of Poker (WSOP), is back in 2021, and the schedule of events are official.

The WSOP takes place from Sep. 30 to Nov. 23, 2021 at Rio Las Vegas, and includes 88 bracelet events.

Bracelets are a big deal to poker players, despite them being mostly dudes. We don’t judge.

It’s time for a gratuitous photo of dogs pretending to play poker!

WSOP dogs

In casinos, a “flea” is a low-stakes player who pesters staff for freebies.

The 2021 WSOP follows a weird event last year, as competitors couldn’t play in-person due to the COVID-19 crisis. There was a virtual tournament, but the winners pretty much know their
accomplishments will have an asterisk attached to them.

All due respect, Damian Salas, whoever that might be.

Due to online gambling regulations, the only U.S. contenders in the 2020 WSOP were from Nevada and New Jersey. Like we said, weird.

The WSOP should rebound in 2021, including the WSOP “Main Event.” This is the big kahuna of poker competitions, with a $10,000 entry fee.

The “Main Event,” officially known as the No-Limit Hold’em World Championship, happens Nov. 4-17, 2021.

WSOP chips

The WSOP Main Event prize pool was $80,548,600. This ain’t your grandpa’s poker night.

The first WSOP was held in 1970 at Binion’s. The very first WSOP had only seven players, and the winner was decided by a vote of the seven players. The winner was Johnny Moss.

In 2004, Harrah’s Entertainment (now Caesars Entertainment) bought Binion’s Horseshoe. Two months later, Harrah’s sold Binion’s and kept the Horseshoe and WSOP brands.

Today, the WSOP draws thousands of players to Rio and winners take home millions in winnings.

The 2019 Main Event attracted 8,569 players.

If everyone could stop wearing hats and sunglasses indoors, that’d be great.

The 88 bracelet events locked in for 2021 have colorful names, including “Super Turbo Bounty No-Limit Hold’em,” “Mixed Triple Draw Lowball,” “Pot-Limit Omaha Deepstack,” “Limit 2-7 Lowball Triple Draw” and “Crazy Eights No-Limit Hold’em 8-Handed.”

Of course we know what all of those are, we are a noted poker expert.

Most poker involves: 1) seeing a couple of cards, 2) trying to stay emotionless, 3) pushing chips into the center of the table, 4) using jargon like “big blind” and “bubble” and “check raise,” and 5) losing and having a temper tantrum. (The tantrum thing is mostly that one guy.)

You’re welcome and enjoy your millions in winnings!

The WSOP is a non-smoking event. Dogs don’t play by society’s rules.

Online and in-person registration for the WSOP opens in August.

You can find the complete WSOP schedule on, coincidentally, the WSOP Web site.

It will be great to see poker the way Mother Nature intended again! Specifically, lots of people crammed into Rio’s Pavilion Room taking part in endless hours of mind-numbing tedium punctuated by moments of high-stakes OMFG.

Let’s shuffle up and tantrum again!

Wynn Rewards Loyalty Club Offers Tier Matching

Wynn Las Vegas rolled out a new customer loyalty club card on Dec. 21, 2020. Now, for a limited time, the company is offering tier matching.

Until recently, players at Wynn and Encore could join the Red Card program, but it didn’t have tiers.

Tiers are a big deal to gamblers, because the higher the tier, the better the perks.

At Wynn, the perks include free play, comp dollars and exclusive room offers.

Hard to beat this threesome. Unless it’s an actual, you know.

After the launch of Wynn Rewards in Las Vegas (it had been around awhile at Encore Boston Harbor), players could attain three tiers: Red, Platinum and Black.

With tier matching, a player can use an existing loyalty club card from a competing casino to get a comparable tier level at Wynn Las Vegas.

For example, a Chairman level player at Golden Nugget gets a Platinum card at Wynn. A Diamond player at Caesars gets a Platinum card at Wynn. A Noir player in the M Life system (MGM Resorts) leapfrogs to the Black tier at Wynn Resorts.

You can see all the details on the Wynn Las Vegas Web site, or just get eye strain trying to read the following chart.

This is the tallest graphic we’ve ever had on our blog. The sacrifices we make for you.

Tier matching is a common practice among casinos, as it’s a way to acquire new players who are loyal to their favorite resorts.

Here’s the tier matching information for MGM Resorts, and here’s more from Caesars Entertainment.

If you’re dumping your Red Card for Wynn Rewards, recycle! The card makes a great “crumber.”

We have a virtually limitless supply of stupid ideas. Check out more alternate uses for your players club cards.

This is the first time Wynn’s loyalty club has offered tier matching, do don’t miss out. It’s a great way to make your favorite casino jealous, and you can never have too many dining and spa credits, free play or other goodies.

The opportunity to tier match ends August 31, 2021, so don’t procrastinate. You know how you are.

Classic Keno Lounge to Close at Four Queens Casino

The keno lounge at Four Queens isn’t fancy, but it’s a fixture of downtown, and it’s going away.

The last day for the Four Queens keno lounge is May 31, 2021.

The closure was confirmed by lounge staff.

It’s weird how you can miss something you never did there.

The lounge’s manager says they’re working on getting the keno team into other positions at Four Queens or its sister casino, Binion’s.

Keno lounges are increasingly rare in Las Vegas, as they don’t make a lot of money and take up valuable floor space better used by offerings that generate more revenue, typically slot machines.

Labor costs in keno rooms aren’t insignificant, either.

The keno lounge manager says Four Queens has something in the works for the space, just off the main casino floor near the security desk, but wouldn’t share the plans just yet.

In Vegas, even the things that never change change.

For many, memories of keno rooms are some of the fondest. Back in the day, keno “runners” would collect wagers in restaurants, but now we’re not aware of any Las Vegas casino
that has them.

Keno rooms face some of the same challenges as poker rooms, many of which have also gone away. The pandemic made the situation even worse. About a third of all Las Vegas poker rooms have closed permanently in the last year.

Poker even went away at Binion’s, the original home of the World Series of Poker, although it’s expected to return.

While keno doesn’t make a lot of money for casinos, they’re an old-school amenity and players will have to seek out other options.

Downtown, there are keno rooms at The D, Fremont and Plaza.

If you thought we were going to skip this opportunity, you don’t know this blog at all.

It’s worth mentioning the decline in keno rooms isn’t all sad. Live keno has the worst odds in a casino, with a house edge approaching a whopping 30 percent. By comparison, the house edge in roulette is about five percent.

In a way, the closure of a keno room is saving novice gamblers from themselves.

Still, keno has always sort of suited the Four Queens brand, a place for value-seeking visitors to kill some time while taking advantage of comped drinks.

Thanks to Patrick Q. for passing along this tip about the closure of the keno room at Four Queens.

When we hear what’s in store for the keno lounge space at Four Queens, we’ll let you know. In the meantime, dibs on that epic stained glass sign or at least some vintage balls. Which, we should add, would make a great band name.

Big-Ass Slot Jackpots Kick-Start Las Vegas Recovery

The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority spends millions of dollars marketing Las Vegas, but lately, the town has been promoting itself with a flurry of massive slot jackpots.

Things kicked off with a $2.1 million jackpot on a Monopoly Millionaire machine at Cosmo, and the hits just keep on coming.

The jackpot was $2,101,093.50, actually, but who’s counting?

There was another big win at Venetian on a Wheel of Fortune machine for $2.9 million ($2,946,335.63, to be exact).

Roger is a noted physician or dentist or popcorn ceiling installer, probably.

Yet another mind-boggling jackpot hit at The D a short time later. The lucky winner snagged $1.2 million (for posterity, $1,222,784.35) on a Buffalo Grand machine.

Please don’t write on slot machines. Somebody has to clean that up.

Just when the euphoria was about to subside momentarily, South Point dropped a bombshell.

Two words: Mega. Bucks.

Which, technically, is one word, but when you win 10-freaking-million, you can slice Megabucks up into as many pieces are your heart desires.

Money can’t buy you love, but it can pay for a limo to the Bunny Ranch.

While Vegas is no stranger to multi-million dollar slot jackpots, they do seem to be happening with a much greater frequency just as Las Vegas is opening up again fully following a year of challenges related to the pandemic.

So, why are these big jackpots hitting so often? We’re pretty sure it’s related to how much play the machines are getting.

There was a lot of pent-up demand for Vegas, and visitors have come back in large numbers, fueled by a need to party, as well as stimulus checks, unemployment checks and tax refunds.

The more play machines get, the more frequent the payouts. It’s the law.

Megabucks

When Megabucks hit, machines across Las Vegas reset to $10 million. Oh, like you’d turn that down.

No, actually, it is sort of the law. Las Vegas casinos have to adhere to strict guidelines about slot machine payback minimums. (Machines can’t pay back less than 75 percent. The vast majority pay much more, with some approaching 100 percent payback.)

Beyond the regulations, though, it feels like the machines are collaborating to spark excitement about Las Vegas at a critical time.

So, come get yours.

We look forward to sharing our own million-dollar jackpot soon! Because, you know, good things come in, well, fives.