Reason I like Bovada #2:

Good Odds

The odds are always against you when you gamble, which is an excellent argument for not gambling in the first place.  If you're gonna gamble anyway, then it pays to play at a casino that offers good odds.  I spent quite a bit of time looking for an online casino with better-than-average odds, and the result is Bovada.  Let me first tell you about the competition, though.

Many online casinos are stingy when setting the odds on their games.  They think they'll make more money by setting the games tighter, so the player has less chance of winning, but they're wrong.&nsbp; When players lose at a tight casino too quickly, those players much less likely to return.  Contrast that with a casino with good odds: Players get to play longer, which is a good experience, so they're more likely to return and become long-term customers.

Bovada has always offered games with good odds, knowing that if your money lasts longer, you'll be a happier, loyal customer.  Among their offerings are:

  • Two blackjack games returning over 99.8%
  • Single-0 roulette
  • Full-pay Jacks or Better (99.54%)
  • Nine other video poker games returning over 99%

You don't have to play at Bovada, but wherever you play, make sure they offer odds at least this good!

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

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Gambling problem?

  1. Call the 800-522-4700 hotline or get online help
  2. See these horror stories.
  3. Know that Parkinson's drugs encourage gambling.

Las Vegas Shows, and where to get discount tickets

Last update: September 2020

Mystere

Comps

You might be able to get free tickets from the casino.  If you're gambling, the casino will rebate some of your losses in the form of room discounts, meals, or show tickets.  You should never gamble just to get comps (that's like spending a dollar to save a quarter), but if you're gambling anyway, then be sure to ask for your goodies.  Once the Wizard of Odds treated me to the Van Halen show at Mandalay Bay where a casino host comped him free third row tickets.  Of course, your level of gambling likely wouldn't earn that kind of reward, but do be sure to try to claim what's coming to you.  See more on my page All About Comps.


Tix4Vegas

This shop sells tickets for up to half off, and is generally an awesome deal, but there are some catches:

  1. Tickets are good for that night's show only.
  2. You have to buy in-person, and the line is often 15+ minutes long.
  3. You can't see the prices until you go to the booth.  They're not on a website, and you can't call to check.
  4. Sometimes they sell only the pricier seats, and a discounted version of a pricier seat is often more than a cheap seat directly from the box office.  This is especially true of Cirque du Soleil shows.

They have locations all over the place:

  1. Showcase Mall (giant Coke bottle), across from NY NY.  There's one booth inside (where it's air-conditioned) and one outside, in the blistering heat.  Now that you read this tip, you know which one to wait at!
  2. Planet Hollywood, right outside.
  3. Casino Royale, right outside.
  4. Fashion Show Mall
  5. Slots A Fun
  6. Circus Circus
  7. Bally's
  8. Four Queens (downtown)

Their website has the list of shows, but not the prices.

Tip: Keep your Tix4Vegas receipt, then go back the next day and you can skip to the front of the line.


At your hotel

Most hotels offer discounted tickets for the shows playing there, to guests staying at the hotel.  So, if you're not particular which hotel you stay at, stay at one that has a show you want to see.


StubHub

Sometimes people can't make it to a show and they sell their tix online, with the most popular website for that being StubHub (which is way safer than craigslist, never buy there).  Of course, scalpers sell on StubHub too, but scalping is far less common on nightly Vegas shows than it is for touring shows.  Anyway, before heading to StubHub, check with the box office first to make sure that you couldn't get a cheaper price than what they're going for online.


Locals discounts

If you live in Vegas, all kinds of discounts are available to you, and your state-issued ID is your golden passport.  Start your adventure at Vegas4Locals.


Timeshare presentations

Timeshare companies all over Vegas will offer you free or deeply discounted show tickets if you go to a sales meeting where they try to sell you a timeshare.  If you just walk around the strip you'll likely be accosted by reps trying to get you to sign up, with their telltale mating call, "How long are you guys in town?"  They want to make sure you're not leaving the next day, because if so then you won't be able to do the presentation the next morning.  If you're not getting accosted, then head to the Showcase Mall (next to the giant Coke bottle, across from NY NY) and go to the desk in the middle and say, "Yeah, how do I get those free show tickets?"

In the presentation, be polite, but don't buy the timeshare no matter how good they make it sound.  Timeshares aren't a bad concept, but they are horribly, horribly overpriced.  A timeshare purchased from the developer is always a terrible deal.  If you really have your heart set on a timeshare, buy one at pennies on the dollar from someone trying to get rid of theirs, like on eBay or the timeshare resale sites.

If you don't push back, your "90-minute" timeshare will turn into 3 hours.  Here are tips for ending your presentation on time, or even early, based on the several presentations I've done:

  1. Low-ball your lodging costs.  At the beginning, they always ask how much you're spending on your hotel, so they can try to show you that you'd that much or less on the timeshare.  (That's not really true, they fudge their math, but that's a topic for another time.)  Once when they asked me that, I truthfully replied that I was using the $39 special at the Stratosphere.  The salesperson said, "Let me just get you your tickets.  No one who spends $39/night has ever bought a timeshare from us."
  2. Enforce the time limit!  As soon as you sit down with the salesperson for the sales pitch, ask how long it will take.  Whatever answer you get, tell them, "Agreed!  We'll definitely expect to leave at the end of that time."  At the one-hour mark, politely remind the agent about how much time is remaining.  Do the same 15 minutes from the end of the promised end time.  At the agreed-upon end time, wait for a chance to talk (because the salesperson usually talks non-stop), and if s/he doesn't stop after a couple minutes then politely interrupt, and say, "Well, it looks like the time is up.  Thank you, but we're not interested in purchasing the timeshare, we'd like to collect our tickets and leave now."  The salesperson will ask for "just a couple more minutes", which in reality would be another 90 minutes if you agreed (I'm not exaggerating, it happened to me), so say, "No, I'm sorry, we agreed to an end time, so we'd like to collect our tickets and leave now."  Repeat that as often as necessary.  The salesperson will then try to ask a different question, like "So why are you thinking the timeshare isn't a good deal for you?"  If you answer then you just got sucked back into the sales conversation, so instead say, "Well, that was a question for the 90-minute (or whatever) meeting, and that time is over, so we'd like to just collect our tickets and leave now."  If they still give you a hard time, say, "Well, you didn't keep your word about the 90-minute presentation, so we can't trust anything you told us in the presentation, so we're definitely not buying.  We'd like to collect our tickets and leave now."

Lists of shows

Current shows. Destination 360.
Comedy clubs: Las Vegas Online and Vegas.com.
Lounge Acts: Vegas.com and Review-Journal.
Here's my my review of Ka.


Some Las Vegas Shows
Show Type Where Yelp stars My comments
Cirque du Soleil MGM Grand Incredible dancing / martial arts combo, in a wordless fantasy.
Le Reve Cirque-style
Wynn [CLOSED FOREVER]  The production values of a Cirque show, without actually being a Cirque show.  Makes use of a stunning water-laden stage.
Love Cirque du Soleil
Mirage
Beatles+Cirque, though it seemed to be the worst of both worlds, not the best.  But most everyone else Loves it, so you probably will, too.
Mystère Cirque du Soleil
Treasure Island
A Cirque du Soleil variety show.  Very entertaining.
Nathan Burton Magic/Comedy
Planet Hollywood
Surprised the reviews are so good, since he did the same trick over and over and over again.  It was an amazing trick, but still.  Opening comedy was great.
V - Variety Show Variety
Planet Hollywood
Features a rotating cast of entertainers, so you never know what you're gonna get, except that it'll be top-notch.
Zumanity Cirque du Soleil
New York, New York
An adult (read: naughty) version of a Cirque du Soleil show. I didn't feel it was nearly as good as other Cirque shows, but the reviews suggest otherwise.

Show locations last checked: August 2015

Yelp reviews last checked: August 2015

Practice gambling with play money

Before you throw down your hard-earned cash in a casino, PRACTICE FIRST!  Learn the games with play money where it doesn't cost you anything if you lose.  Seriously.

I like Bovada's practice games the best, because you can play right away without registering for an account.  Most every other online casino makes you give up your email address just to play the fake-money games — ugh.  That's why Bovada is the only online casino that gets space on my site.  I hope other casinos will eventually start treating their visitors like human beings rather than walking wallets, but until they do, there's Bovada.  One click and you're in.

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