According to the Center for Gaming Research at the University of Nevada, 12% of visitors head to Vegas purely to bet, yet annually over 70% of visitors will have a little flutter at some point during their stay. If you’re going to hit the tables you don’t want to look like a “Newb” so here’s a quick guide to Vegas gambling slang.
Fish - Novice gambler
Green - $25 chip
Black - $100 chip
Limit - The least or maximum bet accepted at a gaming table
Pigeon - A player who chases their losses
Cage – Safe area where cash is stored
Pit - Staff area behind the tables
Pit boss - A casino boss who oversees numerous table dealers
Pencil – Authority, for example, pit bosses have the pencil to grant players free rooms, drinks or other services
Juice – Power, a high stakes player or senior member of hotel staff will have juice. Juice can help you get the best rooms, tables, seats and service
Stiff - Player who doesn't tip the dealer after winning
Eighty-sixed - Thrown out of a casino for cheating
Low roller - Low stakes gambler
High roller - Big stakes gambler
Whale - The grandest of high rollers who will bet upwards of £1,000,000 in a single Vegas visit.
1. Las Vegas translates as The Meadows and was originally named after the spring fed grasslands that cropped up on the edge of the desert.
2. Mobsters are famed for having played a huge part in building Las Vegas but money to fund the casinos and hotels also came from Wall Street Banks, pension funds and even the Mormon Church, all keen to take advantage of the boom in gambling.
3. Mobster Bugsy Segal named his hotel and casino The Flamingo after his showgirl dancers long legs.
4. Vegas is now respectable after many of the mafia run hotels were bought out by giant conglomerates.
5. FedEx CEO saved his company from bankruptcy in the 1970s by gambling their last $5,000 at a Vegas blackjack table. His winnings were enough to cover the company’s $27,000 fuel bill.
6. In 2004, Brit, Ashley Revell, sold everything he owned including his home, car and clothes, flew to Las Vegas and bet all the proceeds and bet $135,300 on red for a single spin of a roulette wheel. He won!
7. Vegas hosts over 100,000 weddings a year! Ceremonies can last as little as 20 minutes or you can have the full Elvis (“Thank you very murrrch.”).
8. It would take 288 years to spend one night in every hotel room in Las Vegas.
9. Las Vegas’ XS nightclub serves a $10,000 cocktail! "Make mine a double."
10. The light canon that fires out the top of the Luxor hotel fires a beam of 30.2 billion lumens (the equivalent of 30.2 billion candles!).
11. The Hilton hotel once had a gift shop dedicated to selling nothing but Barry Manilow merchandise.
12. It’s illegal to hula-hoop on Fremont Street in downtown Vegas. There, don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Vegas is one of the craziest and party loving cities in the world and perhaps nothing epitomizes Vegas more than former mayor Oscar Goodman.
Goodman was mayor of Las Vegas just as the city decided to embrace its reputation as Sin City, after a brief and failed attempt to market itself as a family-friendly destination. Goodman was the perfect spokesman and self-claimed “The Happiest Mayor in the Universe.” And would often attend public events with showgirls on either arm.
He once upset local parents when during a question and answer session with a 4th grade class, when he answered that his favourite pastime was drinking gin. He answered later complaints, "I can’t tell a lie. If they didn’t want the answer the kid shouldn’t have asked the question."
He was hugely popular with the voters and stood for three terms during which time he cleaned up the crime hotspot of downtown Vegas. The law limits the office of mayor to three terms, so in 2011 the Happiest Mayor in America sadly stepped down. But the happy news is he was replaced by his wife Caroline who travelled with Chippendales rather than showgirls.
The “Entertainment Capital of the World” Vegas was once considered the destination where performers ended their careers (Elvis played a record breaking 837 sold out shows at the Las Vegas Hilton). But Celine Dion bucked the trend by performing while there at the height of her popularity. Other big name stars soon followed suit including Britany Spears, Maroon 5, Elton John, Kanye West, Drake and more.
Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Sammy Davis Jnr, Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop were the kings of casino-land. Their partying was legendary as Vegas became their own personal playground with gang welcomed in every bar and casino in town. Sinatra went on to play hundreds of sold out shows later in his career but it wasn’t all plane sailing. At one point, owing to segregation laws Sammy Davis Jnr was banned from staying in the same hotel as his white cast members. Frank and the boys refused to perform unless Sammy Davis was treated the same as the rest of the guys, which increased pressure on the state government to bring segregation to an end.