GTA Online Diamond Casino: A New Player’s Walkthrough
With the release of the GTA Online Diamond Casino Heist a couple weeks ago, I figured now would be as good a time as any to give my review of the Diamond Casino itself. I am an avid gamer, but only recently purchased GTA V – and its companion GTA Online – simply because time is a scarce resource and I was into other games. But I was excited to venture into the Diamond Casino to see what the hype was all about.
To gain access to the casino, I had to first purchase a membership. It is a simple process, requiring me to rev up the in-game web browser (it’s a fake GTA internet that allows you to browse sites related to the in-game world) and navigate to the casino’s web page. From there, I was able to pay $500 (game currency, not real money) to buy a membership. I’m not sure why this was necessary, especially because $500 is a pittance in Grand Theft Auto. Seemed like a silly hoop through which to jump.
From there, I drove to the Diamond Casino. The casino host recited a spiel and from there, I was free to roam. There are a few non-gambling areas: a bar where you can actually buy drinks, a shop to buy clothing for your character, and a VIP lounge that you can’t access until you buy a penthouse. That VIP access also makes higher-stakes casino games and extra missions available.
But let’s get to the gambling. I was given $5,000 in chips to start, but after the first visit, I had to convert my GTA money to casino chips by visiting the cashier, just like in a real casino. The casino also gives players a free $1,000 each day.
Inside Track is a virtual horse race betting parlor. Walking into this section of the casino, I was greeted with numerous betting booths, each with their own monitor, as well as a giant screen at the front of the room. Most of the people in the room are NPCs, or non-player characters, but real people can be found there.
Players can bet $100 to $1,000 per race. There is the “single event,” which players bet and watch on their own, about every 30 seconds, as well as the “main event,” which runs every five minutes. The main event is shown on the big screen and everyone in the room can bet on it.
Each race has six horses – two favorites, two mid-tier, and two longshots. Place your bet and cross your fingers. For my first race, I bet on “Flipped Wig” at 12/1 and he came in dead last, but I came back and put $100 “Divorced Doctor” at 7/1 and won! Easy money.
Inside Track is what you would expect from a virtual horse race. Bet money and hope you win. It’s all luck.
The blackjack tables are in a sunken area of the casino with the other table games. Keep in mind that you actually walk everywhere in the casino – you don’t just click on game you want – so you have to figure out the lay of the land just like in real life. The blackjack games use four deck shoes that are reshuffled after each hand. Dealer stands on soft 17 and players can take insurance. Minimum bet is $10.
I played ten hands and broke even, though it started dubiously with the dealer getting blackjack on the first hand.
Because the entire game is realistically animated, it goes much slower than at an online casino. While I love how it all looks, I wasn’t a huge fan of the camera angle, as it’s as if I was watching myself play as a bystander standing over my own shoulder. Because of that, it is sometimes hard to see the cards clearly. I could swivel the camera in all sorts of ways, which helped. There are also buttons to press to zoom in on my hand or the dealer’s hand (though the latter is pointless). Just takes some getting used to.
Three Card Poker
Standard three card poker with pair plus bets and everything. I generally got my ass handed to me (I was using proper strategy, not just guessing), except for one hand in which I got a straight flush.
One nice touch at the casino is that, to add to the immersion like in the rest of GTA Online, the NPCs carry on conversations. You poker fans would appreciate one of the things I heard from a casino patron while I was at the table: “This is fucking rigged!”
Again, nothing special to talk about here. You can place up to ten bets at a time. The camera angles make this game easier to follow. It starts with an overhead view of the table, then switched to a more angled view of the wheel. I broke even on a few bets.
Near the entrance of the casino, before you get to the table games, is the Lucky Wheel. We’ve all seen these things at casinos: a giant wheel that you can spin to win fabulous prizes. GTA Online players are given one free spin per day.
There are 20 spaces on the wheel. Five award reputation points (RP), which is what experience points are called in GTA Online. Four spaces give GTA cash, four give casino chips, and four award clothing. The rarest prizes appear once each on the wheel: mystery prize, a vehicle discount, and the vehicle that is displayed on a rotating podium. This is Grand Theft Auto, after all, so cars are a big deal.
I didn’t win anything special my first couple times, but lo and behold, on my third try, I won the car!
All of the slot machines at the GTA V Diamond Casino are single line. When you sit down at one, you can see the payout percentage (98.7 percent on all the ones I played) and pay tables.
Some machines have a $5 minimum and $25 maximum, while others have a $25 minimum and $125 maximum bet.
Most of the slot machines are straight forward. Some, like one called “Evacuator,” also have a bonus wheel. Names are generally silly, like “Impotent Rage,” “Republican Space Rangers,” and “Fame or Shame.” I did the best on the latter, profiting $75. Obviously, it’s all luck.
One fun interactive feature if you use a game controller instead of a keyboard and mouse, you can pull the handle of the slot machine by pulling down on one of the controller’s analog sticks. You can also mash the “spin” button on the machine by pressing a button on the controller.
Unfortunately, there is no poker at the GTA Online Diamond Casino. Overall, I found the casino experience in GTA Online to be a positive one. It’s not that all exciting – the actual missions of Grand Theft Auto are the draw – but it is a welcome tangent from the main game. It’s fun to wander around the casino, dabble in some gambling, and not worry about getting shot by another online player looking for trouble, as it’s a safe zone, of sorts. Everything looks great, and while the Diamond Casino isn’t as expansive as a Las Vegas Strip resort, it still feels like the real thing.
There is more to the Diamond Casino than just gambling. As mentioned, there are penthouse suites to buy and additional missions to tackle. And of course, with the new Diamond Casino Heist update, much more has been added to the GTA Online story. None of that is required, though, if you are just looking for a quick gamble.