Walk into a casino on a busy night and it can seem like there’s a lot of action in the pit. Table games draw players in with their communal energy, potentially big payouts — and maybe even the feeling of dice or cards in your hands.
So which games are most popular amongst Las Vegas Strip players?
Michael Lawton, the senior economic analyst for the Nevada Gaming Control Board, said popularity is best captured by the number of units, or tables with each game, reported. That’s because a casino is licensed quarterly for a certain number of table games, but may not utilize all of them each month. In 2022, there were 2,678 table games on the Strip per month on average.
Lawton said there’s one game that shows up most: “When you walk in the casino, you’re going to see those blackjack tables.”
There were more than a thousand active blackjack tables per month on the Las Vegas Strip last year, according to data from the GCB. And blackjack takes the top spot in wagering, too: casinos took $7.3 billion in wagers last year.
According to statewide data from the Nevada Gaming Control Board, $25.8 billion was wagered on table games on the Las Vegas Strip in 2022. Casinos won about $3.7 billion of that, or about 14.3% of the total wagering.
Here’s a further look at the five most popular table games on the Las Vegas Strip last year:
It’s no surprise that blackjack, also known as 21, gets the most attention in Las Vegas casinos. With 1,090 tables to play per month on average in 2022, players spent $7.3 billion on blackjack last year. Las Vegas Strip casinos won $999.3 million back, or 13.7 percent.
Another big favorite on the Las Vegas Strip last year was baccarat. The card game is popular among international travelers, who had an average of 369 tables at which to play monthly last year, according to GCB data. Even with fewer places to play, players spent more than blackjack players. A whopping $7.8 billion was wagered on baccarat in 2022, and Vegas casinos won about 14.7 percent of the time, bringing the casinos’ win amount to $1.14 billion.
The famed dice game of craps brought in about $2 billion worth of bets at the approximately 176 spots to play monthly, on average. Strip casinos won $318.6 million, or about 15.7 percent of the wagers.
The roulette game was fairly popular in Strip casinos last year. There were on average 278 tables to play at per month. Roulette players spent $1.9 billion wagering on the game and casinos won back $379.3 million, with one of the highest win ratios in the casino at 19.8 percent.
3-card poker and ultimate Texas
Two poker variations tied for the fifth most-common table games on the Strip last year. Both three-card poker and ultimate Texas hold ‘em had an average of 88 tables at which to play on the Strip last year. Players seemed to favor ultimate Texas because they wagered $554.8 million on the game. Casinos won 23.7 percent of wagers, or $131.4 million. Three-card poker players, meanwhile, wagered $264.2 million while casinos won $87 million of those wagers, or 32.9 percent.
McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.