Ligaz11 Review of 1997 American Casino Guide

Each year, Steve Bourie, in collaboration with others, puts out his American Casino Guide. The book is an amalgamation of most of the information one would want or need before setting foot in any casino in the United States. The book generally achieves its goals and manages to present its information economically and in an entertaining manner.


Bourie’s collaborators, which include Anthony Curtis of Las Vegas Advisor fame, Stanford Wong of Current Blackjack News fame, Max Rubin, author of Comp City, and many more. Collaborators like this lend the book instant credibility, and it is warranted. The information presented in this book is trustworthy, which is no small qualification.


The book starts with some advice on how to get around in a casino. There are mini-essays on using casino coupons to one’s advantage, what bets are good ones and what bets aren’t, how to get “comped”, and how to take advantage of slot clubs. The authors use real examples liberally, which give an honest portrayal of what the casino patron should expect.


The next several essays on are various casino games. You learn how to look for good slot machines, how to play video poker, blackjack, roulette, and craps. The book is honest about this; unless one is very skilled (at video poker or blackjack) or very lucky, the authors tell the readers that they can’t expect to win money, but they do tell one how to get the most enjoyment for one’s money by avoiding the worst bets. The descriptions of how to play these games are as accurate as in any book. We then have several very amusing descriptions of how various casinos have erred in the past by not calculating the odds at their games correctly, or giving away too much in promotions. We end this section with a list of casino myths which, if taken to heart, could save a superstitious reader some serious money and aggravation.


The meat of the book is a listing, by state, of every casino open. The address and phone numbers of every casino are listed, along with such information as what games are played, how many rooms and suites are available and what their “rack rate” (basic nightly room price) is, and how large the casino floor is. Additionally, where applicable, we also can find out special features of the hotel, how many restaurant are available, and whether or not special discounts, fun books or other promotions are available. The information is presented concisely, just the important facts.


Over 500 casinos are covered here, so there are bound to be inaccuracies. For example, even though the Dakota Magic casino on the ND/SD border has been open since May of 1996, it isn’t mentioned here. Also, even though the Orleans in Las Vegas opened in December of 1996, it also gets no mention. Paradoxically, the Hacienda, which closed in December of 1996 is listed. In the author’s defense, there is a lot territory to cover here, but there shouldn’t be inaccuracies in major Las Vegas properties, at least. Finally, at the end of the book are a few coupons, but I haven’t found any to be of value.


One thing I would like to see in this guide is, apart from the ligaz11 room price ranges, what sort of action is catered to at each location. For example, rating each casino if <$1, $5-$10, $10-$25, $25-$100, or >$100 action is most welcome. These numbers don’t always correlate well to room rate. for example, Binion’s Horseshoe in Las Vegas will graciously accommodate heavy action without being an expensive place to stay. Also, there’s no real way to distinguish quality of accommodations other than price. For example, it’s hard to see the difference between the Hotel San Remo and the Golden Nugget, both in Las Vegas, by the information in the guide, but I know where I’d rather stay. Finally, the inclusion or exclusion of certain small casinos seems rather capricious. In Las Vegas, Joe’s Longhorn Casino is mentioned, but the Klondike isn’t. I’ve no idea why.


Still, this book is certainly valuable. I couldn’t imagine going to a gambling area for the first time without this book. In addition, it’s extremely valuable to be able to evaluate what one’s options might be in a new location. Even for familiar places, it’s handy to have the maps and phone numbers all in one place. Add this to the worthwhile gambling information, and the book more than pays for itself. One would have to be pretty hard core to want get an updated copy every year, but the book is a bargain for anyone seeking information on gambling in an area they aren’t intimately familiar with. I don’t travel to a region where gambling is allowed without this book.



This book is a basic guide to casino in the United States as of the beginning of 1997. Even though the data are not 100% accurate, and there’s some information that would be very useful that’s not included, this book is well worth its price if one plans to gamble in a region where one is not intimately familiar. The information on each casino mentioned is accurate, and the advice on what games to play and how to play them is valuable. The book more than adequately fulfills its promises.