Playing with the Big Boys
A hush falls across the elegant room as you slowly saunter across the Oriental carpet over to your favorite dealer. Beneath the glitter of crystal chandeliers, you slide into a comfortable leather chair that affords you a view of the other players. There’s the Count, gambling away the last of his family’s ancient fortune, next to the Argentine cattle baron. The waitress takes your order—top shelf liquor, of course—and you place your bet: $500 on the red. Welcome to the world of high-stakes gambling, far removed from the bling and the noise of the crowded casino floor, where fortunes are made and lost with the roll of the dice.
For obvious reasons, this sort of gambling is not for everyone. At many tables, the minimum bet starts at $100, and on big weekends—when there’s a heavyweight fight in town, for example—the minimums can exceed $500. Don’t expect to just stroll in wearing your flip-flops and board shorts. Dress codes for ladies and gentlemen are strictly enforced, and the dealers and waitstaff wear tuxedos and elegant dresses—this isn’t Hooters, after all. Gamblers who are looking for a crazy night out with buckets of free drinks might also be disappointed, because the atmosphere in these rooms is as refined as the decor, and loud, obnoxious guests who have been “over-served” will be escorted out.
Most of the larger, more established casinos have high-limit rooms with amenities like free hors d’oeuvres and cocktails, premium audio and video installations, and private restrooms. Wynn Las Vegas has an attractive outdoor balcony overlooking their swimming pool, Caesars Palace enjoys a reputation for top-notch service, and the MGM Mansion is known for the secluded atmosphere in their high- limit area. But regardless of which casino you choose, bring your wallet—and your courage.
Caesars Palace Las Vegas, 3750 Las Vegas Blvd. South ( 866/227-5938; www.caesarspalace.com). Wynn Las Vegas, 3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South ( 877/321-WYNN; www.wynnlasvegas.com). MGM Grand, 3799 Las Vegas Blvd. South (877/880-0880; www.mgmgrand.com).
When to Go: Year-round.