By Chris Perras
You came to Guatemala to get away from it all. The rat race. The commercialism. The greed. And here we are telling you to check out a casino. Shame, shame.
In our defense, we’re always looking for new things to do around Xela to enrich your visit. And nothing says enrich like doubling down on eleven against a dealer’s six. Given our thirst for investigative journalism, once our writing staff heard about a casino in town, they piled into the XelaWho towncar and sped over post-haste. And talk about fact checking. Many of our writers stayed late and even came in on their days off to bring you this, a review of the finest – err, only – casino in town.
Located above Pizza Hut and Panaderia San Martin in front of Hiper Paiz, Fantastic Video Loteria is a gambler’s oasis on the blackjack and bookie-free streets of Xela. As for table games, they offer blackjack, Caribbean stud and LR, a poker spinoff. With a mere Q10/hand minimum bet – compared to $15 minimums in Vegas – their blackjack is a certified XelaWho bargain. If you like blackjack but don’t have the pisto to sit down at a table, they offer video blackjack for Q5/hand. Caribbean stud and LR are a bit more expensive, with minimums at Q25/hand, and not as good a play. In fact, short of slot machines, Caribbean stud is one of the most heavily weighed games against the player you can play at a casino, with house odds over 5%. Blackjack, on the other hand, offers a house edge under 1% if you know what you’re doing (and between 2-4% if you don’t).
If you’re more of a video poker or slots junkie, they offer both starting at one quetzalito per spin, with a variety of themes. If you’re itching to play roulette but left your gun at home, they’ve got you covered there too. Its reputation as a game for suckers is undeserved; with a house edge under 3%, it’s one of the most player-friendly games you can play.
As far as perks go, they won’t offer you a suite and a steak dinner for losing your bankroll, but, like Vegas, they’ll serve you free drinks (beer, rum, whiskey, etc.) while you play. It sounds like a scam to keep you there and get you drunk – and it is -but with such low minimums, it doesn’t turn out to be a bad deal at the end of the night.