Monday, October 3, 2016

My favorite casino? The one where Frank, Deano and Sammy played


I’m not a regular online gambler, but I occasionally write articles about Internet casinos and sometimes I take a seat at one of their Blackjack tables. When I visited the bgo online casino recently, I got to thinking about the first time I gambled in a Las Vegas casino. It was in the early 1990s when I went to Vegas to attend Comdex, the huge trade show for the personal computer industry. After exploring the booths and exhibits all day, a friend and I would stop at the Sands to play a few hands of blackjack.

The Sands was an iconic hotel and casino with a name that was known to people who had never been to Las Vegas. In its early days, the Sands was linked to Vegas mobsters like Meyer Lansky and at one time it was owned by famously reclusive businessman Howard Hughes. In the1950s, Frank Sinatra and his Rat Pack buddies Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. performed and hung out at the Sands. The 1960 movie Ocean’s 11 was filmed there and photos of the Rat Pack stars still decorated the walls 30 years later.

By then, the place was in a downward spiral and by 1996 it would be imploded to make way for the Venetian. But but it was just right for us. With the tourists hitting the glitzier casinos, we could easily find a low-stakes blackjack table and our favorite dealer, Nick, who was talkative and helpful. He explained when to take a card, when to stand and how to split, double down or buy insurance. We gave him a nice tip and he gave us coffee mugs. They probably had a lot of them to unload before the dynamite crews arrived.

When I return to Las Vegas in a couple of months, I’d like to be more prepared to gamble than I was when I was a newbie at the Sands. And unless I can find another Nick to teach me the finer points of Roulette, Craps and PaiGow, I’ll be practicing at some of the many online casinos that now populate the Internet.

I recently checked out the BFC Playground where I got some free chips to get me started after I registered. And I tried the BetCoin Casino where I could use Bitcoin cryptocurrency to play a number of traditional and exotic games. But bgo seemed to have something for everyone. It offered many of the same games I see in Vegas and it gives new players free spins on its Starburst slot when they sign up.

The bgo casino looked like a great spot for slots players. The site lists more than 200 different slot games including Wheel of Fortune and some others that I remember from strolling through Las Vegas casinos. Wandering around the bgo website, I also found Bingo rooms, where new rounds start every few minutes, and plenty of table games. Poker comes in 14 flavors (Dueces Wild, Jacks or Better, etc.), some Blackjack versions I’ve never heard of (Double Attack, Pontoon) and 16 styles of Roulette.

While I drop in at Internet casinos mostly to work on my meager gaming skills, I’ve encountered more skilled players who say they earn a nice side income in the digital world. Many online casinos offer something that you can’t get in a real-world casino: the ability to play multiple table games simultaneously.

Multi-tabling lets players view several card tables or roulette wheels on their computer screens at the same time. In a way, it’s like how my Aunt Mildred played Bingo at the church with four or five cards. It reminded me of the time Backgammon expert Paul Magriel came to town and played me and about 20 other people in the space of about 15 minutes. And no, I didn’t win.

Playing multiple games, especially at low stakes, can increase the chance of multiple wins. An article posted at The 405 said “there are a number of people playing on 20 tables at the same time and making a tidy profit in the process.”  But another article at Online Betting warns that there is a thin line “between increasing your profitability through multi-tabling and wiping it out altogether.” Other sites suggest that multi-tabling might be best suited for games like Roulette where there are few decisions and less strategy to think about.

I might be tempted to try multi-table Roulette, but I will probably just stick with the version of multi-tabling that I already understand: splitting a pair of face cards at the Blackjack table.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.


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