Sights and Gambling Delights of Laughlin

Approximately 20 miles southeast of Bullhead is the old mining town of Oatman, AZ. It was here that newly wed Clark Gable and his actress bride Carole Lombard escaped during their honeymoon to avoid the droves of reporters and photographers.

Main street in old Oatman has the obligatory complement of “touristy” souvenir shops, a couple of restaurants, and watering holes, but its main attraction is something no other town has: Wild burros that roam the street mingling with the visitors and bumming carrots that may be purchased for a dollar a bag! The animals are descendants check the page of the diminutive beasts of burden that accompanied the gold miners into the hills of Oatman in the early 1900’s.

Special Attraction on Weekends

A special attraction on weekends in Oatman are appearances by the Ghost Riders, a group of men who take you back in time by putting on a good old-fashioned gun fight right in the middle of main street. A couple of groups of “bad guys” get into a scuffle over who’s going to rob the local Wells Fargo office, but along comes the sheriff to save the day and the town, but not without guns blazing! They put on a great show, it’s all in good fun, and it’s all for a good cause: After the show the gunfighters pass the hat to collect funds for the local children’s hospital.

Just outside of main street Oatman you can visit the Gold Road Mine and go on a guided tour that takes you an eighth of a mile into the mine shaft, which opened in 1902 and was still being mined as recently as last year.

Now for the gaming highlight of Laughlin: Blackjack! We stayed at Harrah’s Laughlin, where an outstanding 2-deck “pitch” game (cards dealt face down) was played. I’ve played similar games elsewhere, but the penetration (the depth to which the cards are dealt before a shuffle) was never that great. Most of the time an entire deck is cut out of play, but at Harrah’s Laughlin, only half a deck or less is cut out! It makes for an exceptional game, especially if you keep track of the cards and there are only a few people playing at your table. You can double down on any two cards, but you can’t double after splits. What’s more, a $5 table was easy to find.

Harrah’s Player’s Club

If you have a Harrah’s player’s club card and use it locally at the properties in Joliet or East Chicago, Indiana, the playing “equity” you have on the card is good at all Harrah’s destinations across the country, including Laughlin.

Another great blackjack game I found on Casino Drive in Laughlin was played at the Pioneer Gambling Hall & Hotel, a destination that has more of a “locals” flair to it than the more luxurious Harrah’s. But if you like blackjack you shouldn’t miss the great single-deck game that’s played there. I found a $3 minimum table and sat down with a couple of other players. I discovered that if you keep track of the cards and get several deals out of the deck before a shuffle, it’s possible to take advantage of some great betting opportunities. Many times the count was decidedly in favor of the players. When the count was against me I kept my bets at the $3 minimum, but when it zoomed up in my favor, I upped my bets to $20 and $25 without incurring the wrath of the pit supervisors.

The Pioneer also has some good food. The buffet is a winner, especially the prime rib. And if you like shrimp cocktail, stop by the snack shop. You’ll be treated to a big cup chock full of little shrimp nestled in a tangy sauce for just $1.99.

There are lots of other culinary and refreshment delights to be found on Casino Drive in Laughlin. The Colorado Belle has a Micro-Brewery, Harrah’s has a world class buffet, and there are terrific “red eye” specials at most of the casinos every night.
Don’t be afraid to experience Laughlin, Nevada both as a vacation destination and a great gaming experience.