'Tis the season for gambling at (and in) the pools of Las Vegas

Gambling outside is one of the most fun experiences you can have in Las Vegas.

Marc Meltzer
Last Updated: May 26, 2017 11:47 AM ET

It’s that time of year in Las Vegas. The temperatures are hitting 100 degrees for the first time and, although it’s been pool season for a couple of months already, we're now entering peak pool season.

Some of us will choose to grab a book and relax by the pool, others will look for the most fun dayclub experience, and some families will take a leisurely drift down a lazy river - yeah, MGM Grand has a six mile long lazy river.

There’s a pool scene for everyone in Las Vegas. Caesars Palace alone has six different pool experiences.

Personally, I’m always looking for a new place to gamble. Mobile sports betting apps are great for a lot of reasons and gambling anywhere is one of the best features.

Gambling By The Pool

During the summer, the sportsbook apps allow you to place wagers while hanging out at the pool. You can be in a cabana at a dayclub and happen to have a game on and think there’s an in-game play that makes sense. The apps can make that happen. Maybe you’re so chill while floating down the lazy river that you remember a bet you forgot to place in the casino. Good thing you have your phone handy.

While betting on sports with a mobile app may be new to Sin City there’s always been a tradition of gambling outside in Las Vegas. There are casinos that offer poolside and in-pool gambling. Most of these casinos will offer poolside blackjack while a few even have a poolside craps table.

The casinos that offer gambling outside by the pool come and go but many have been offering the games for a few years now. Caesars Palace, Cosmopolitan, Downtown Grand, Encore, Flamingo, Golden Nugget, Hard Rock, Mandalay Bay, Plaza, Planet Hollywood, Red Rock, and Wynn are all offering poolside gambling this year. Caesars Palace and Tropicana both offer swim-up blackjack where you can gamble while sitting in the pool.

The poolside blackjack game that might be the most fun is at the Cosmopolitan. They offer poolside blackjack at Marquee Dayclub during the day on weekends and at night when the club is open (Friday, Saturday, and Monday).


Not The Sharpest Blackjack

You might be able to research games and make sharp sports bets by the pool but the same can’t be said for playing blackjack. These games are meant for recreational players just looking for another way to have fun in the sun.

The blackjack games offered at the pool are often some of the worst blackjack games at each casino. When you’re dealt a blackjack you’ll almost always be paid 6:5 instead of 3:2 regardless of the minimum bet. This payout increases the house edge for the casino threefold.

You’ll find this payout at many low limits tables and party pits on the Vegas Strip already. The rules are something to be aware of because it swings the house edge to the casino in a big way. This is not a blackjack game to play if you’re looking for the best bet in Las Vegas.

Poolside blackjack is a game you play because you want to gamble outside and gawk at people wearing very little clothing - remember that and have fun.

Roll Dem Bones

Flamingo, Golden Nugget, and Plaza each offer a single dealer mini-craps game at their pool. These craps games are played in small tubs that are about half the size of normal dice tables. In the past, each game has offered the same odds as the casino has inside.

This is the game you’ll want to play if you’re looking for a fair casino gambling experience by the pool. Sorry, there are no long swim-up craps tables in Las Vegas.

Pro’s And Con’s Of Gambling By The Pool

Make no mistake about it, gambling by the pool is gambling. Casinos may be distracting but you'll certainly find more things impairing your judgment when you're gambling outside by the pool.

Even if the odds in blackjack were optimal it’s nearly impossible to focus on just the game with all the scantily clad guests and employees. Remember the house edge is based on perfect play. Every wrong move you make plays into the hands of the casino. There are plenty of stimuli at the pool to take your attention away from making the best decision.

Having said all of this, gambling outside is one of the most fun experiences you can have in Las Vegas. I love all of the distractions. It’s nearly impossible not to look when someone walks buy. It’s so hot out that there’s never a time when a drink isn’t in hand. Some casinos have the music so loud that I want to yell at the DJ to get off my lawn! And I love it all.

Knowing the pro's and con's should allow you to manage expectations and manage your bankroll to have a great time at the pool this summer. Chances are good that I’ll already have had my first poolside blackjack session by the time you read this!

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