There are Casinos in most popular tourist areas and all of the large cities. They are usually part of a large hotel; however they are not huge casinos like in Las Vegas. They are fairly informal places, and dress codes are neat but casual. Minimum bets in most places start at 500 Colones (about $1).
The most popular Casino game is 21 also called “Rummy”, which is similar to blackjack but with tico rules. You get two cards, you can then ask for another card or stay with the two you have if you have 21 or close to 21. As in blackjack, the idea is to get as close to 21 as possible without going over, with face cards counting as 10 and aces counting as one or 11. All the rules just mentioned are just like blackjack. Here is where the game differs from the Las Vegas version: if your first three cards are the same, three of a kind, or a straight (6, 7, & 8 of the same suit), you have a ‘rummy’ and you are paid double. And if your three of a kind happen to be three sevens (which is 21), you get an even higher bonus. If you get 21 with two cards or get five cards without breaking 21, there’s no double bonus as you get in many other international casinos. Splitting pairs is allowed as is doubling down.
Some of the other games include roulette, where the numbers are drawn from a lottery tumbler rather than spun on a roulette wheel. There are also electric slot machines; however most are different than the Las Vegas style. There are also other, uniquely tico, card games you’ll need to learn before you can play
A modern and contemporary city, San Jose sits in the very center of Costa Rica. An exciting place to visit with excellent hotels and accommodations, top class restaurants, a plethora of museums, cinemas and theatres; this city never sleeps. The nightlife here is exciting and vibrant as well, as San Jose is packed with bars, nightclubs, discos and live music, which goes on till early hours of the morning. Fast paced and cosmopolitan, San Jose is the city to head for if you are interested in having some fun.
If you enjoy the bright lights of city life, then coming to San Jose is a must for you. For those who enjoy gambling and cards, there are around 11 casinos in San Jose city. Mostly located in the popular touristy area, most casinos in San Jose are part of a large hotel. Nothing like the bright and shiny casinos of Vegas, the casinos here are more informal, with a casual and relaxed dress code.
A variety of card games are played in most casinos, including a Costa Rican version of Rummy. Some other popular games as Tico casinos are roulette and electronic slot machines. One thing to keep in mind is that many of these casino games have their own Tico rules, so it is important that you learn the rules first before you begin to play.
Some of the popular casinos in San Jose include the Barceló San José Palacio Spa & Casino, the Best Western Irazu and the Hotel Presidente. Scattered all over town these casinos not only attract many local players, but plenty of foreigners as well.
The Balmoral Hotel, the Casino Club Colonial, the Gran Hotel Costa Rica, the Hotel del Rey, the Hotel Radisson Europa, the Hotel Royal Dutch and Casino, the Quality Centro Colon and the Tryp Corobici, also have casinos on their premises as well, where you can play a variety of games.