You might not realize that there is an entirely different part of Vegas than the Strip.
Welcome to Freemont Street - part of the old, downtown part of Vegas. Here, the casinos are smaller and smokier, but offer you a lot more bang for your buck. The slots are much more loose, offering you a bigger win on that 20 cents play (if you're playing the penny slots.) This year's penny slot favorite award goes to the Elvis penny slot. If you bet the max of 60 lines (that's 1 cent per line), you can play up to three spins. If you win on the first spin, you're bumped to the second, if you win the second, you're bumped to the third. If you get the bonus, well, you're just lucky enough to not only win the money, but you get to hear ol' Elvis sing (guess which song makes the applause-o-meter above you register the highest.) Or, you could get to put pictures of Elvis (hopefully the cute, skinny ones) in an album, or guess which album will hit platinum status. It's a cool, interactive game. I really brought the BF over to the penny slot dark side!
And if you're looking for single-deck blackjack? Forget it if you're on the Strip, but on Freemont, it's not hard to find. Combine that with a $5 minimum bet (the minimums go up during busy times, like Sat. night) and you've got yourself a blackjack hootenanny. We had a dealer at Binions, Terry, who taught me more about how to play blackjack than any book ever did. If the dealer is showing a "2", chances are that he's going to win. That's his best card. If the dealer is showing a 3, 4 or 5 in single deck blackjack "There's a 10 coming and you don't want it. Make the dealer beat you." Always assume that the dealer has a 10 card under whatever he's showing. Always hit on a 16 ("Have you ever seen a dealer stand on 16?") and double down on a hand of 11. It was awesome. I had to borrow money from the BF, because at another table I'd previously lost the last of my gambling money, but here, with Terry's help, I won back enough to pay BF back and leave with a little extra.
And after you spend a whole day gambling away your shirt, around dusk you can take a moment and look up to enjoy the Freemont Street Experience - a show that takes place on the canopy above you that's filled with millions of tiny light bulbs. It's amazing how they make the images look so "movie like" with those lights - plus it's put to music.
Here's the full video of one performance. It's about 6 minutes long, my arm got tired holding the camera, but it's pretty cool video, if I do say so myself.