From a pure gambling perspective – which is what this blog is about – Albuquerque, NM is one of the best gambling bargains in the US.
If you’re looking for the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, or the wet air of Atlantic City, you aren’t going to find it in Albuquerque. But what you’ll find is a beautiful city with super friendly people (some of the people who are too friendly, you need to avoid…more on that later), lots of activities, such as skiing and snowboarding, summer nature activities, Native American Arts, and real southwestern food, not that stuff they sell at Chipotle.
You’ll also find discount gambling in clean facilities and friendly and professional dealers an staff.
First, before I launch into the praises of one of my favorite gambling destinations, let me state that the one sever downside of New Mexico gambling is that the casino is not allowed, via state law, to serve or comp alcohol. Casino patrons aren’t even allowed to consume alcohol while on the gambling floor. It must be consumed in designated areas of the casino.
With that out of the way, let’s get into the positives and why I think every gambler needs to make a trip to Albuquerque at least once or twice in their lives.
When a gambling destination competes against an alternative destination, sometimes, that gambling destination will run promotions. Albuquerque casinos run some of the best craps and blackjack promotions in the country.
The Santa Ana Star Casino and the Sandia Resort and Casino runs a Free Buy 4 and 10 craps promotion. This means that you can buy the 4 and 10 in craps for no commission, making the game a zero house edge game. Allegedly, you also do not need to make a house edge bet, such as a pass line bet, to market the free 4 and 10 bet.
Just to test this out, for an entire day, I played just the 4 and 10 only. Neither casino personnel at either Santa Ana Star or Sandia gave me a hard time about not asking any house edge bets.
Also, as of my last trip to Santa Ana Star, which was two years ago, the Santa Ana Star also had a triple/triple field bet. This means that the Field bet at Santa Ana Star had a zero house edge! The only such field bet in the country.
Nowadays, the Star has limited their promo 4 and 10 bet to $100, while Sandia limits theirs to $1000. So I’m usually at Sandia when I’m gambling in Albuquerque.
Zero house edge doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to win. It’s a casino, after all. Rather, zero house edge means that over the long run, you will gamble for free or for as cheap as possible, as long as you maintain discipline.
Zero house edge means that when you win, you win the mathematically maximum and true amount possible.
Both casinos also offer the traditional mix of casino games. All the blackjack games I saw were 3-2 games. I did not see any 6-5 blackjack, and most games were $5.
If you’ve been to any of the Albuquerque casinos, let me know what you think in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.
EDIT: According to my sources, as of last month, Sandia casino no longer offers free buy on the 4 and 10. However, I stand by the rest of this review. I just won’t be doing any serious gambling in at Sandia in the future.