Best affordable blackjack on the Vegas Strip
My experience at Treasure Island has always been as a visitor to the casino until my recent overnight trip to check out the hotel rooms. The visits to Treasure Island are usually to play blackjack or for a drink or seven. One of the most fun nights I’ve had at Treasure Island was a day and night of drinking beer from a skull mug and being on the wrong side of an epic Denver Broncos comeback win. There may have been non-sports gambling but after three or four skulls of beer, things are a bit fuzzy.
Generally, I visit Treasure Island to play blackjack. They promote the casino as having great 3:2 blackjack and they deliver. Depending on the day, you’ll find a variety of 3:2 blackjack games anywhere from $1 for Stadium Blackjack to $25 games in the High Limit room. According to the most recent blackjack survey, there are more than 25 different 3:2 blackjack games with a house edge between 0.25532% and 0.63873%. Treasure Island simply has the best affordable blackjack in any casino on the Vegas Strip.
The High Limit room, like much of Treasure Island, has a strange layout. The table game area features blackjack and baccarat games. There’s a small lounge that opens for special occasions in one corner. On the other side of the room, the $5 and up high limit slot machine area is rather small and seem almost hidden in a passageway that leads into a low limit section of the same space.
The good news is that the High Limit slots area has everyone’s favorite, Top Dollar. The bad news is that the room also has about 20 penny slot machines. Not to be snooty but these games can be loud and might be obnoxious. My night at Treasure Island ended with a super fun loud obnoxious slot machine from Incredible Technologies. I’m not sure I’d enjoy the noise if I was playing $5 Top Dollar.
Table game players in the High Limit room probably have no idea that the slots spill into this small area of penny slots. The High Limit room has blackjack games starting at $25 and goes up to $15,000. There aren’t many High Limit rooms on the Vegas Strip that offer High Limit service to green chip players. This is a great option if you want a more serene environment to play cards.
Treasure Island Is Busy
One of the things that surprised me about my day at Treasure Island is how busy it was for a relatively uneventful mid-week day and night. The line at check-in had a steady flow of guests. There were packs of people walking through the property all day and night. Nearly every elevator ride was full and often had a short wait.
All of the restaurants were busy during my stay. I left the room around 5:30 pm for dinner and was astounded. My first stop was The Coffee Shop. I figured this would be a quick dinner so I could hit the casino early. Not so fast – after waiting almost 10 minutes for someone to take my order I left. The next stop was Gilley’s for some BBQ. Not so fast again – I was told the wait was at least 15 minutes. The food here isn’t worth the wait so I moved on. I headed to Richie’s Sub Shop and every table was occupied.
Great Salad and Great Scotch
Feeling defeated, I headed back towards the room where I planned on ordering room service. On the way to the room, I saw that Phil’s Italian Steakhouse was open. Happy Hour just ended but the bar seemed like a nice spot for a drink and a small dinner. A glass of Macallan 12 was only $11.50. This is usually $15-$20 at casinos on the Vegas Strip. Dinner was Phil’s Endive Salad.
This salad is their house specialty and it quickly turned into one of the best salads I’ve ever had. Phil’s salad isn’t a healthy salad – the main ingredient is thick cut steakhouse style slab bacon. Honeyed walnuts added a nice crunch and the sherry-shallot dressing brought everything together. I was so into the salad and the drink prices that I ordered my first Pappy Van Winkle.
Sometimes Vegas takes you places that you never plan on visiting. I’m really glad it took me to Phil’s and look forward to a return visit.
By the time dinner was over it was time to do a little gambling. Unfortunately, plans for an early sober blackjack session had to be scrapped after two drinks at dinner. Not in the mood for other table games I stopped off at the Breeze Bar for some video poker. The bartender asked what I’d like to drink so I asked what kind of scotch they would comp. Not happy with the answer I asked politely if he could comp Macallan. The answer was yes and we were off to the races!
The hand pours from the bottle were measured with a shot glass, which is fine. However, you have to keep your video poker play active and somewhat fast. Treasure Island uses the same drink monitoring system that you’ll find at Caesars Entertainment casino bars. The video poker paytables at the bar are what you’d expect. I played 6/5 Bonus Poker…at least they served Macallan!
The Bonus Poker paytable at Breeze Bar bumps to 7/5 if you play $1 credits which is a nice feature. The casino floor at Treasure Island is mostly slot machines. They don’t have a lot of video poker but there are a few playable machines for $0.50 and $1. According to vpFREE2.com, there are three machines that offer 9/6 Jacks or Better, 8/5 Bonus Poker, and a few other games that have returns above 98% just outside of the High Limits room.
The last note from my day at Treasure Island is that the tram to The Mirage will be closed until at least September. I was told it could be closed until the end of the year.
We visit casinos for different reasons. You should probably be visiting Treasure Island if you’re a blackjack player and want to play the best games on the Vegas Strip. If you’re a $25 blackjack player that feels under appreciated for your play at other Vegas Strip casinos you might want to explore Treasure Island’s High Limit area. It’s a small and personal venue so you might have a more elevated experience for being a green chip player then you’ll see at other nearby casinos.
Treasure Island is sort of a no-frills property so you’re not going to be in awe of the design. You won’t find a piano player or million dollar chandelier at the lobby bar. That said, if you’re looking for good gambling and affordable food and drink this casino is definitely a place that should be on your radar.
Final take away from Treasure Island: Good blackjack, cheap (and comp’d) Macallan, good service.
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