The Greatest Casino Game To Play After Skiing in Lake Tahoe

It’s not very flashy, located in a section separated from the more popular slot machines and table games that define the major portion of gambling income for this South Lake Tahoe Casino. Behind a bar, separated from the main gambling floor by a staircase and devoid of many glittery lights you will find the Sigma Derby, the single greatest casino game in Lake Tahoe.

The count is down to 3, 2, 1 and go!! The bell rings and plastic horses jump out of the gate, rocking back and forth as they accelerate while 10 other people cheer for their horses. The crowd draws attention from those at the bar 10 feet away, more so sometimes than the craps tables on the other side of the gambling floor. As the horses turn the corner, the #2 horse comes slowly from behind and take the lead and the win! After two minutes, more excitement has been created in this seemingly calm corner of Montbleu Casino than anywhere else on the gambling floor.

The idea for the game is very simple, as it should be when alcohol is involved. Each race consists of five horses that run around the track. You are given the opportunity to bet on two horses, which you think will come in first and second place. If they do, you win. The odds are shown on the interior of the table beforehand, which range from 2:1 to 200:1.

The excitement found here is generated purely from the game itself, not the risk of money. This is partly because Sigma Derby is a QUARTER game. That’s right, not much money making or losing going on here, just pure fun. This is the type of game that people return to time and time again because it has what the other games don’t. It brings back the simplicity of playing a game at home with friends. The social aspect is just as important as what is happening in the horse race. In some ways, it transforms into a bar scene, which could be why Montbleu decided to place it right next to a real bar. There are stools and a countertop to place your drinks, and the cocktail waitresses take your orders. The game table is shaped like a rectangle, creating a round-table effect that allows all players to see and talk to one another. Between races, the atmosphere makes it easy for players to discuss their strategies with one another for the next round, celebrate their wins and wallow in their losses. This is the core of the game, it permits to you be totally over-enthusiastic and dramatic with ten other people over… one quarter. Simply put, it’s about the experience.

The Sigma Derby also has another thing that no other game in town has; it dispenses real quarters! Unlike the digital only machines that give you a paper receipt, a win here brings you that satisfactory sound of quarters piling up on top of one another. This means you need a real bucket to hold them, which you can use to proudly display your big time winnings for all to see.

The quarters feature isn’t the only old school quality that adds to the experience with this machine. Everything from the cheap plastic horses to the square button interface with red lights adds a simplicity that takes away the seriousness. It’s just like a board game, not overly complex but interesting enough to facilitate a light and fun atmosphere. Keep in mind thought that it was manufactured in the 1970’s, so it might break down once in a while or steal your quarter. If it does, be careful in how you complain because they might shut down the whole game for the entire evening since they can’t service it until the next morning.

Be sure to get there early if you want to play on the weekends, because Sigma Derby fervor spreads quickly and those who have the spots are tough to give them up sometimes. In fact, this game is so addicting that there is even a blog for Sigma Derby enthusiasts and a tournament to establish the best Sigma Derby player in the world!

After a day of skiing or snowboarding in Lake Tahoe, the Sigma Derby is the best spot to relax and have some fun with your friends and maybe make some new ones. It is better than the bar in some ways, because it immediately gives everyone at the table something interesting to talk about. In addition, if you are gambling you are getting free drinks! You just can’t top this game. So, if you want to experience a super fun, cheap and social casino game you must check out the Sigma Derby at the Montbleu Casino.

Also see our guides to deals on:  Tahoe Lift Tickets, Alpine Meadows Lift Tickets and Sierra at Tahoe Lift Tickets