"GTA Online" helped get me through a hard part of my life. When you spend THAT much time with a game, you can't help but write about it.
An Almost "Single Player" Experience
With the Diamond Casino Heists update, Rockstar has given the GTA community a chance to make big money without the big hassle. With each iteration of heists, Rockstar makes it less of a pain in the ass to set one up. The Casino Heists can be done in an Invite Only session without the worry of being blown up from the sky by some idiot who spent shark card money on a Mk 2 to ruin your progress.
To start an Invite Only session from any public session, just pause the game, go to Online, and select "Creator." Once in the Content Creator, you can pause the game again, go to Online, and select Invite Only. This will save you having to exit back to Single Player and going through the long loading screen back to Online. The meat of the Casino Heists are done through Free Roam Preps, some of which just won't activate if you're in a Public Lobby for some reason.
How "GTA Online's" Casino Heists Work
There are three steps to every Casino Heist:
- Scoping out the entrances and Points of Interest only have to be done the first time you ever set up a heist. Each time you do a new approach you will have to identify the Vault Contents which can either be Cash, Artwork, Gold, or Diamonds (if it's an event week).
- Putting together your henchmen, getting the Preps done, and gathering the tools you'll need to pull off the Heist.
- The Heist itself which is probably why you're really reading this. God help you.
Scoping Out the Casino is done for the first time after meeting Lester in Mirror Park. You won't have to do this mission every time you start a new heist, but it's useful to do it as many times as you need to discover all entrances and useful points of interest. After which doing the heists will be a breeze.
The Casino Model can be purchased for $130,000, which unlocks all possible entrance and exit points. The other two items, Door Security ($425,000) and Vault Door ($900,000), are only good for practicing the hacking and drilling minigames. Any of these practice items you purchase will not reset when you start a new heist.
Points of Interest
You are not required to get all of the Points of Interest, but they do unlock certain things in the Prep stage that will make your heist go easier. Take a picture of the following:
- The Valet out front. This will unlock the Level 2 Keycard Prep mission.
- Any of the eye security cameras on the casino floor and security cameras on the roof areas. This will make security cameras visible on the minimap during the heist.
- Any keypad and security guard standing around the Casino. Keypads will be by a number of locked doorways.
- The Blueprints in Agatha's office which will unlock the practice Vault Door.
What's in the Vault?
After you Scope Out the Casino itself the next mission will be to discover the Vault Contents. The first three times you do the Casino Heists you're forced to get Cash. From your fourth time, and onward, you will randomly get Cash, Artwork, or Gold. Diamonds are a possibility but only on specific event weeks. To know when Diamonds are available check the Rockstar Newswire, Reddit, or your most trusted YouTube clickbaiter . . .
Each loot type adds a different gameplay variation to the heist. For example Artwork is the fastest to grab, Gold will make you more money but your characters will run slower, etc. If at any point you don't like the loot you've discovered you can always exit the game and relaunch the mission. Or you can do something novel like just go with it . . . I recommend the latter option.
The Scope Out mission can be launched as many times you like to check every Access Point and P.O.I. (or skipped entirely if this isn't your first time doing a Casino Heist) but the Vault Contents mission must be played every time. The mission requires you hacking a Duggan security guard's phone (which by the way you will sometimes get a two-star Wanted Level no matter how well that goes). Then you head to the Casino to hack the security cameras.
Once inside the Casino you'll have to open up your cellphone and select the hacking app in the lower right corner. Once you find the hotspot you can access the security cameras. While cycling through the camera feeds you will spot the following Points of Interest:
When you get to the Vault camera feed you will either spot a briefcase of Cash, a couple paintings leaning against a counter, Gold Bars on a cart, or Diamonds in a briefcase (if it's an Event Week). If this isn't your first time doing a Casino Heist just skip straight to the Vault camera feed and look for one of the above loot items. No reason to dilly-dally on money making right? If this is your first time look for the Points of Interest in the screenshots above.
Choosing the Approach and Assembling a Crew
There are three ways to do the Casino Heist; The Big Con, Silent and Sneaky, and Aggressive. The structure of this article is going to focus on strategies for the heists in that order. Each one has the same Free Roam Prep missions in addition to the selected Approach.
Apart from getting a snarky 12-year-old begging for money, and a random player(s) that will screw everything up, you will also need to pick some henchmen. A lot of the characters you can choose in Single Player make a return in addition to others that require some perquisites met. For the most part they all offer the same perks depending on your Approach.
Support Crew (Gunman):
The Gunman, if you've ever seen a heist movie, is as interictal as a Driver (hang on that info is below). Picking a Gunman will determine what weapons you'll bring with you on the job. Depending on the Approach, the choices will be different.
- Skill: Poor
- Cut: 5%
- Perquisite: None
- Big Con Weapons: Micro SMG or Double Barrel Shotgun+Ceramic Pistol
- Silent and Sneaky Weapons: Micro SMG+Vintage Pistol or Machine Pistol+Combat Pistol, Stun Gun
- Aggressive Weapons: Sawed-off Shotgun, Micro SMG, Molotov or Heavy Revolver, Micro SMG, Molotov
Read More From Levelskip
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 9%
- Perquisite: None
- Big Con Weapons: Carbine Rifle, Assault Shotgun, Ceramic Pistol
- Silent and Sneaky Weapons: Carbine Rifle+Heavy Pistol, Assault Shotgun+Pistol .50, Stun Gun
- Aggressive Weapons: Assault Shotgun, SMG, Proximity Mines or Carbine Rifle, SMG, Proximity Mines
- Skill: Good
- Cut: 7%
- Perquisite: Must own a Hanger
- Big Con Weapons: Sweeper Shotgun or Machine Pistol, Ceramic Pistol
- Silent and Sneaky Weapons: Assault SMG+Combat Pistol or Bullpup Shotgun+Heavy Pistol, Stun Gun
- Aggressive Weapons: Assault SMG, SMG, Hand Grenades or Pump Shotgun, SMG, Hand Grenades
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 10%
- Perquisite: Must own a Bunker
- Big Con Weapons: Mk 2 SMG, Mk 2 Bullpup Rifle, Ceramic Pistol
- Silent and Sneaky Weapons: Mk 2 Shotgun+Pistol .50, Mk 2 Carbine Rifle+Pistol .50, Stun Gun
- Aggressive Weapons: Mk 2 Pump Shotgun, Mk 2 SMG, Pipe Bombs or Mk 2 Assault Rifle, Mk 2 SMG, Pipe Bombs
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 8%
- Perquisite: You have to rescue him from a Police Van random event in Sandy Shores. Look for a blue dot, on the minimap, at night.
- Big Con Weapons: Sawed-off Shotgun, Compact Rifle, Ceramic Pistol
- Silent and Sneaky Weapons: Combat PDW+Pistol .50, Assault Rifle+Pistol .50, Stun Gun
- Aggressive Weapons: Heavy Shotgun, SMG, Sticky Bombs or Combat MG, SMG, Sticky Bombs
Support Crew (Driver):
The Driver is your next choice, no matter the Approach selected they are more important than most people make them out to be. Sure you can "just steal a street vehicle and hide in the Sewer" but you're gonna need a good ride to haul ass up to the High End Buyer for maximum profit. A fast ride helps with that . . . Each driver provides a selection of cars, but also a "switch vehicle" which isn't really necessary if you follow this guide. Once you have completed the vehicle Prep for one of the following Drivers I recommend upgrading ONE of them to Level Three (for $25,000), and changing the color to something you can describe to your partner. "Grab the [insert color here] car" will be a useful tip when you're making the escape, especially if they don't have a mic. By the way please use a mic . . .
- Skill: Poor
- Cut: 5%
- Perquisite: None
- Vehicles: Asbo, Blista Kanjo, Issi Classic, Sentinel Classic, (switch vehicle) Regina
- Skill: Good
- Cut: 7%
- Perquisite: None
- Vehicles: Drift Yosemite, Jugular, Retinue Mk 2, Sugio, (switch vehicle) Emperor
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 9%
- Perquisite: None
- Vehicles: Ellie, Gauntlet Classic, Komoda, Sultan Classic, (switch vehicle) Taxi
- Skill: Good
- Cut: 6%
- Perquisite: Must own a Motorcycle Club
- Vehicles: They are all crap.
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 10%
- Perquisite: Must own a Bunker
- Vehicles: Everon, Outlaw, Vagrant, Zhaba, (switch vehicle) Mesa
Support Crew (Hacker):
The Hacker doesn't seem to have as much of an impact as the Gunman and Driver, but they are the epidemy of "time is money." The Hacker you pick will determine how much time you have in the Vault before the gas is released and the alarm goes off. Though greed is only good depending on the approach. If you decide to brave a few extra seconds in the gas you WILL have to shoot your way out on the Big Con and Silent and Sneaky Approaches. With the Aggressive Approach . . . well you knew you would have to regardless . . .
- Skill: Poor
- Cut: 3%
- Perquisite: None
- Time in Vault: 2:26 (undetected) 1:45 (detected)
- Skill: Good
- Cut: 7%
- Perquisite: None
- Time in Vault: 3:00 (undetected) 2:05 (detected)
- Skill: Good
- Cut: 5%
- Perquisite: Must own a Nightclub.
- Time in Vault: 2:52 (undetected) 2:01 (detected)
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 9%
- Perquisite: Must own a Terrorbyte (and to do that you need a Nightclub)
- Time in Vault: 3:25 (undetected) 2:23 (detected)
- Skill: Expert
- Cut: 10%
- Perquisite: Blow up all 50 Scanners around the map
- Time in Vault: 3:30 (undetected) 2:26 (detected)
Henchmen Prep Missions
No matter which Approach you pick a lot of the Preps will still be the same. The Henchmen Preps require that you acquire some useful tools to make the job possible. Depending on who you pick in the Gunman category will determine mission difficulty. However Driver only has a couple possible missions, and Hacker will have the same two missions no matter the Approach picked. All of the following could be in any randomized order. I recommend you do these missions as a VIP/CEO and own a Buzzard Attack Chopper. Some of these missions require attacking enemies in a remote area and they all involve covering a lot of ground.
- Coastal Smugglers: Fly to the Palomino Highlands and kill the smugglers on the beach. A Buzzard Attack Chopper is really useful for this, as well as flying along the coast. Once the smugglers are dead just fly the marked Tula to the Sandy Shores Airfield. Yes helicopters will chase after you but it's no big deal. Remember you can enter hover mode by pressing Right on the D-pad. (Note: This mission seems to appear if you have picked a low-grade weapon loadout.)
- NOOSE Vans: Four red indicators for NOOSE Vans will pop up on the map. Drive to each one, and use a Sticky Bomb from the ground, to blow open the doors of each van until you find the one with the weapons. The only thing more annoying on this mission than having to lose the police in a slow Van will be not being able to close the swinging doors . . . (Note: This mission is most likely to appear when your Loadout has long range weapons selected.)
- Fort Zancudo Weapons: If you don’t own a Hanger at the military base this mission will be a little more difficult. You’re going to get a Wanted Level either way but at least owning a Hanger will give you carte blanche on WHEN the battle starts. Shoot the two soldiers at the entrance of the area, then attack from the right side taking cover. If you use explosives, and somehow manage to blow up the Barrage, the weapons will not get destroyed. You would then have to make two trips, but it might be easier to lose the cops. (Note: This mission seems to be most likely if you picked Chester McCoy or Packie as your Gunman.)
- Police Seizure: Go to the location and sneak through the marked area. Stealth in GTAV is basically non-existent so just “sneak” in the area then basically shoot your way out. However depending on the area you might have a chance to grab at least one weapon before you alert the cops. (Note: This mission seems most likely if you have Gustavo Mota as your selected Gunman.)
- Merryweather Base: Despite the title this is actually a fun mission, but it can be in one of a few locations. Depending on where you can either take them out from the air in a Buzzard, or on the ground from cover. Either way grab the Manifest, that one of them will drop, then use your Buzzard to intercept the Titan. Keep shooting it with missiles until it drops both Weapons. Then fly both to the Arcade. If you’re playing solo you won’t get chased by enemy helicopters until you grab the second Weapon. (Note: This mission seems to pop up if you picked Charlie Reed or Packie as your Gunman.)
- Rob the Gang: Drive to the targeted gang’s hideout and shoot the ones posted outside. A shotgun is obviously useful for the ones inside. The interior is the same as one of the Motorcycle Clubhouses. The two Weapons will be in randomized rooms in the building. Like usual it will take two trips to the Arcade if you’re playing solo. (Note: This mission is likely to occur if you're getting low end weapons for your loadout.)
Getaway Driver Preps:
- Police Station Impound: Drive to the Police Station and enter the garage. The interior is the same as an Import/Export Vehicle Warehouse. Stealth in this game is broken so you are going to end up in a shootout with a Wanted Level regardless. Take out the five cops then move the cars out of the way to grab the first Getaway Vehicle. Of course you can’t call Lester so you’ll need to use the underground tunnel. Deliver the first Vehicle to the Arcade then repeat the process (minus the shootout) with the second Vehicle.
- Illegal Importers: Go all the way the hell up to Paleto Bay and climb one of the nearby ladders of the Cluckin’ Bell Factory. From up here snipe the gang members to clear the area. For some reason the provided Cargobob will only let you grab one of the two Vehicles in my experience. Whichever one it does let you grab fly it back to your Arcade (you will have to land and then drive it into the yellow marker for it to count). Fly back to the location and drive the second Vehicle to the Arcade.
- “555 We Tip”: Like the classic mission from GTA: San Andreas. Drive to the hotel, knock out the Valet, take his uniform, and then wait for the target car to appear. WAIT for the driver to go into the hotel then jack the ride. Drive the Vehicle back to the Arcade, then go back for the second one.
- Race Track: Takes place at either the Los Santos Airport or Sandy Shores Airfield. There will be several racers driving laps around the runway, two of these will be the target Vehicles. Block or shoot the drivers, then take each Vehicle to the Arcade. If you can’t get the second car right away don’t panic! You can intercept them later somewhere else on the map, just follow the icon.
There are also a couple of missions, involving Merryweather, that you only get if you pick Chester McCoy as a Getaway Driver. These missions are not difficult, but let's both be honest with each other. You're only picking him as a Getaway Driver so you can get the Trade Price for a few of the vehicles added with the Diamond Casino Heist update. I'm not judging you for doing that, but I'm not going to write strategies for these missions since you're very unlikely to ever do them more than once.
- FIB Building: The most common mission no matter who you pick to be your Hacker. Drive to the crime scene and shoot the cops and agents there. You have to search the body of the one FIB agent by pressing right on the D-pad. (Note: If the game says their body is blocked just move any nearby vehicles out of the way.) Once you drive to the FIB Building, and take the elevator up, use your phone’s tracking app to find the hacking device. It will be a flashing white briefcase in a random location. Once you get downstairs you will get a three-star Wanted Level no matter how well things went upstairs. Drive to the underground tunnel to lose them, since . . . well you can’t call Lester during this mission.
- Noose HQ: This mission only seems to appear at nighttime, but is similar to the above one. Go to the location of the corrupt agent and search his body for the keycard (after you take him out of course). It doesn’t matter how silent you do it, you’ll get a Wanted Level regardless. You can lose the cops easily while flying to the NOOSE Headquarters, just avoid the cones of vision. Once at the HQ use the card on the marked keypad and open your cellphone to use the locator app. It’s the same interior as that one Doomsday Heist Setup “Server Farm”. Unlike police NPCs you won’t instantly alert the facility by stealth shooting the guards. Avoid the camera cones of vision though. No matter how sneaky you were getting the Hacking Device you will get a three-star Wanted Level once you’re back outside. Get in your Buzzard, and once again, avoid the cones of vision to lose the cops as you fly back to your Arcade.
Where to Escape the Police in Los Santos
Common Prep Missions:
No matter which Approach you choose there will be "Optional Preps" that can be done to make the Heist go smoother.
- Required?: Yes
- The Point: These Keycards are needed to enter the Vault during the heist.
One version of the mission involves getting two keycards from two different security guards. The first one is always a drunk stumbling from a bar. Use a melee weapon to take him out quietly, then search his body (by pressing Right on the D-pad). Then go to the motel and use a melee weapon on the security guard, and his “date”, then search him for the other Keycard. Using melee weapons will help you avoid a three-star Wanted Level.
The other version of this mission involves hijacking a Prison Bus. The driver is a bullet sponge, but get ahead of him to block the Bus and empty your AP Pistol into the cab. Drive to the Prison and calmly drive to the target’s guard tower. Don’t use a melee weapon on the guard at the tower, it could get obstructed on the environment during the swing/stab, it could alert the guard during the attack. If the prison goes on alert just switch sessions, those sniper rifle bullets suck. If everything goes well, search the guard’s corpse, then calmly drive the bus back out of the Prison.
- Required?: Not really, you can purchase to skip it for $70,000.
- The Point: Guards, and their cones of vision, will appear on the mini-map.
Before I start I want to let you know this mission can just be purchased for $70,000. Go to the location and Lester will text you the license plate of the target car. You’ll have to avoid the cones of vision as you search for the car. A sniper rifle’s scope is very handy for determining where the car is. However because the game’s stealth system is broken you’ll most likely end up in a shootout anyway. Once all of the guards are dead, go to the target car, open the trunk with Right on the D-pad, and take a picture of the roaster with your phone. After you send the picture to Lester you can call him to remove the Wanted Level.
- Required?: No, but it’s useful for certain Approaches
- The Point: It will determine how well equipped Duggan’s security force is during the heist.
For this mission it would be beneficial to own a Hydra, especially if you’re doing it solo. You have ten minutes to blow up ten shipments. If you don’t get them all you don’t fail, but security guards will have more powerful weapons and be harder to take down. This mission, in theory, does not matter if you’re doing the Big Con Approach. However destroying all ten shipments will leave guards with no armor and just pistols; which would make the Aggressive Approach a breeze. Taking out at least three shipments will eliminate the helmets and vests for the Silent and Sneaky Approach (making headshots easier).
- Required?: Only the first time you do a Casino Heist, it’s automatically complete on all subsequent Casino Heists.
- The Point: Well first of all you get to see Vincent again . . . Secondly you get the location, and cones of vision, for all surveillance cameras.
After the cinematic just chase down the car thief. Shoot him with an AP Pistol and get the Gauntlet back for Vincent. It doesn’t matter if it’s a little scratched up (or has a coup . . . a few bullet holes in it). Vincent will give you a flashdrive.
- Required?: Not really, you can pay $200,000 to skip it.
- The Point: Power Drills can be used to break open safety deposit boxes in the Vault, giving you and your crew a little extra money besides the target loot.
One mission involves stealing an annoying van from the Redwood Lights Track construction site. You then should shoot the driver, because if you try to block them they will get around you. Then just drive the slow van back to your Arcade.
- Required?: Yes, in my opinion. It is an optional mission but . . . (you can pay $100,000 to skip it)
- The Point: You will get a Level 1 or 2 Pass to prevent the Hacking Minigame at keycard panels (however you will still need to hack when you get inside the Vault).
Don’t even bother with the Level 1 Pass, before you launch the mission select the picture of the Valet/Dealer picture to get a level 2 pass. Having a Level 2 Pass will get you through all keycard doors (minus the gates in Vault) without the need for playing any hacking minigames. You’ll just need a quick tap of the right D-pad button. The mission is very easy. Just drive to the funeral home, knock out an undertaker, drive the hearse to the morgue, and play it cool. Don’t linger near anybody’s cone of vision, find the Valet’s body, and search his corpse for the pass.
The Croupier’s Pass is a little more fun, but just as easy. Go to the party, then smoke cigarettes and/or drink beer from your Inventory to blend in. Once Lester gives you the location of the Croupier search them for the Security Pass.
This “prep” can be completed at anytime in Free Roam. Just go to the Mask Shop in Vespucci Beach and select a category of Masks. You probably won’t use them depending on the Approach but you’ll have a “haha” factor in the start screen while you’re waiting for everyone to ready up.
Just a reminder; make sure you get the Level 3 Upgrade and paint the vehicle a color you can communicate to your partner. You can do this at any time after you have acquired the Getaway Vehicles while in the basement of the Arcade.
Other Adventures, and Headaches, with Heists in "GTA Online"
The Heist Setup Board
To help avoid repeating myself when you get to the Heist Setup Board always pick the High Buyer. Yes you will have to drive across the map but you will get a higher payout. The Switch Vehicle and Decoy Gunman are used for lowering your Wanted Level, but you can do this for free by driving into the sewer tunnel southeast of the Casino. So . . . save your money on that. As you can imagine the percentages change based on which Henchmen you hire, what you’re stealing, and how many players are involved. When it comes to the entrance and exit I will detail that in each Heist Approach.
The Big Con Approach
The Big Con, if we've learned anything from the Oceans trilogy (that's right I said trilogy) is that conning a casino is the easiest way to steal from the Vault. For you and your crew this is also the ideal Approach in my opinion. Apart from the Common Preps each Approach comes with it's own set of setup Prep Missions.
- Gunman: Karl Abqolaji with either of the weapon loadouts.
- Getaway Driver: Karim Denz with the Sentinel Classic (or anything you’re trying to get the Trade Price on, the car doesn’t matter)
- Hacker: Always Paige or Avi if you have them. Christian isn’t bad if you’re just starting out.
- Recommended Entrance and Exit Disguises: Gruppe Sechs Security and NOOSE
The Gruppe Sechs Security disguises are probably considered overused, but they are the best. You actually have a “Con” vibe rather than the “con your way in then sneak to the vault” thing the other disguises offer. I mean . . . pretending to be Mechanics or Bugstar Exterminators is cool, but after the initial entrance it’s basically just another form of the Silent and Sneaky Approach. The other plus to picking Gruppe Sechs Security is having your weapons already on you (though hopefully you won’t need to use them).
You can also disguise yourselves as Yung Ancestor’s entourage, after a couple easy missions, but like the Mechanic and Exterminator disguises you’ll still need to sneak down to the Vault. To unlock this option take the Casino Elevator up to the Rooftop Terrace to get a special cutscene. After which Yung Ancestor will contact you, giving you the option to do his side missions.
The Big Con Prep Missions
Here is a look at the Big Con Prep Missions.
Gruppe Sechs Van:
- Required?: Yeah! Goes nice with the uniforms you’ll get later.
- The Point: This will be your entry vehicle to the Casino (you NEED to take a picture of the door in the tunnel leading to the race track)
Go to the repair shop and try to get in the Armored Van. Kill the mechanics to get the keys, and search the body of whoever drops them. It’s going to be a slow drive back to the Arcade, but luckily you can call Lester if you get a Wanted Level.
Gruppe Sechs Disguises:
- Required?: Yes, between this and the above van mission it’s a two part Prep.
- The Point: These uniforms will keep you alive until after the vault part.
Go to the location and try to be stealthy. You will most likely get into a shootout, and have to lose the cops, but at least you can call Lester. Get a picture of the license plate and grab one of the duffle bags in the back. It will of course take two trips to deliver both of the disguises, but you’ll only need to lose the cops once.
- Required?: Not really, and since we’ll be going in as Gruppe Sechs Security they literally open the door for us.
- The Point: If you decide to ignore my advice and dick around as another disguise you'll have to drill your way into the Vault.
Just purchase whatever disguise you choose. It only costs $70,000, very useful if you plan to be NOOSE. In fact picking NOOSE is the only way that won’t get you shot once you exit out of the Casino during the heist. (Unless enemies spot you within their cones of vision.)
Yung Ancestor Missions:
Even if you came across Yung Ancestor the two missions he gives you are very easy (though annoying). I highly recommend having a Buzzard for the second mission in which you have to hunt down four Paparazzi.
The Big Con Heist
- Entry Disguise: Gruppe Sechs Security
- Exit Disguise: NOOSE
- Entrance: Security Tunnel
- Exit: Staff Entrance
Get in the van and drive to the Casino. The entrance is easy, just play it cool and park in the spot. Take the elevator by pressing Right on the D-pad. Only once or you’ll end up back at the garage. Keep your chill past the guards and cameras as you go to the Vault entrance. Both of you get up to the cardkey readers and press Right on the D-pad again to enter “swipe mode.” Unlike other games you do have a brief window for you both to swipe the cards even if there’s a total lack of communication. Go through the mantrap and wait for the short cinematic where the guard will literally open the door for you. (Note: If you picked another entry disguise you’ll have to use the Vault Drills at this point.)
Now that you’re in the Vault you’ll have a certain amount of time (see Hacker times above) to grab as much loot as you can. The loot points will be marked with alphabetical positions. You do not have to grab them in the first order if it’s Cash, Gold, and Diamonds. “A” and “B” should be saved for last. If you have an extra person with you let them focus on stealing from the lock boxes, but all of you focus on hacking the locked doors. Exit the vault BEFORE the timer goes down to avoid setting off the alarm. If you set off the alarm you will have to shoot your way out.
Once you’re at the top of the stairs knock out the patrolling guard (#1 in the screenshot above). Swing around the elevator making sure not to be seen by the guards (#2 above) in the control booth or the camera. Wait for the next patrolling guard (#3) to turn away then knock him out. In the third hallway, the one with the laundry room, wait for the guard (second screenshot above) to turn away before running in and changing clothes. Once outside avoid the vision cones of the NOOSE officers as you make your way to the vehicles.
Make your way through the underground tunnel to the other side. This is the same tunnel used in single player’s “The Jewel Store Job” Heist, just in reverse. Don’t emerge from the tunnel until the Wanted Level goes away. Head west on the highway and follow it along the left side of the game’s map. If you go the other way, which will take you back past the Casino, you will recover your Wanted Level.
Silent and Sneaky Approach
I can already hear you groaning, and I sympathize. If I have learned anything from GTA Online it’s that the stealth is a broken mess. However, there is a reasonable little delay in enemy reaction times with this Approach. Only get concerned if you have a random with you . . .
- Gunman: Charlie Reed with Bullpup Shotguns (I was never a fan of the Assault SMG though)
- Getaway Driver: Taliana Martinez with Jugulars (or any vehicle you’re trying to get the trade price on)
- Hacker: Always Paige or Avi if you have them.
I hope it goes without saying that you do not need to deal with every single guard you come across. There is a very direct path to the Vault, and to the exit, to have as little conflict as needed. Keep in mind that whatever guards you take out on the way to the Vault will be replaced after you’ve grabbed the loot. Shooting is viable but remember it’s not the main focus of this Approach.
Silent and Sneaky Prep Missions
Here is a look at the Silent and Sneaky Prep Missions.
- Required?: Yes but you might not end up using it. Wrap your mind around that for a second . . .
- The Point: Gives you and your team mate(s) Nano Drones to take out guards and cameras with. However they won’t drill into the Vault and steal loot for you.
A pretty easy mission. Just drive around town and snipe the Drones to pick up their parts. You will get a two-star Wanted Level after the second drone and a three-star after the third. You don’t have to exit the car to collect the parts. Save the Del Perro Pier drone for last and drive into the water to escape the cops. You can’t call Lester on this mission so it’s the smoother option. Once you’ve lost them return the parts to the Arcade.
- Required?: Yes, justifiably
- The Point: These will help you cut into the Vault
Go to the Fort Zancudo waterworks and blow up Clifford’s goons. Once inside the Warehouse shotgun the mercs in there and take the two Vault Lasers to the Arcade. You won’t get chased by enemy helicopters until you pick up the second laser, if you’re playing this solo.
Another mission that can occur is going to the Grand Senora Desert (just west of Sandy Shores Airfield) and having to sneak around some army guys. And by “sneak around” I of course mean “you’ll just end up shooting your way out regardless.” In this version of the mission you will need to lose the cops. Even with a three-star Wanted Level it’s easy to do this with a Buzzard Attack Chopper.
- Required?: No, and don’t bother paying for it either.
- The Point: It adds an option to your cellphone to knock out the power . . . for one fucking minute.
In this mission you need to steal a Cargobob, fly to the university, and grab the EMP device. You will need to lose a three-star Wanted Level (for some stupid reason apparently we’re now members of the Weathermen). It’s ok to land the Cargobob to hide somewhere, like that mine from single player but you know it’s even better to just not play this mission! You won’t remember you have it.
- Required?: No you can do the Job without them but the rappel equipment they come with is very useful.
- The Point: These suits come with rappel equipment which is useful for the whole structure of my walkthrough below. It also comes with Night vision Goggles which doesn’t mean jack in the walkthrough below . . .
Go to Humane Labs, sneak until you alert everyone by perfectly stealth shooting one guard, and then shoot your way down to the panel. Alternatively you can blast them from the sky while in a Buzzard. Hack the panel (you’re invincible while you do) then make two trips for both suits. You only need to lose your three-star Wanted Level once.
The other version of this mission goes the same way, but takes place at Fort Zancudo. As you can imagine that is a total nightmare! It’s one thing to deal with Merryweather, but a four-star Wanted Level along with the army getting involved, makes this mission a pain! It’s so bad you might just consider buying this one to avoid possibly getting this mission.
Silent and Sneaky Heist
- Entrance: Helipad (any of them)
- Exit: Staff Entrance
For the sake of variety, and to make it a legit stealth mission, we’re going in through the roof. Which means we need to rendezvous with the Cargobob in the LS River. Also make note of this area, you’ll be coming back to this tunnel entrance during the escape. If you drive too far from the blue/green helicopter symbol it will cancel the roof infiltration method. Parachute from the Cargobob, and glide down to the roof, avoiding guards and cameras once you land. Try to aim for the yellow marker. Once inside set up your rappel equipment and go down the elevator shaft. That was the cool part, now it gets tricky.
You have access to Nano Drones that can be equipped through the User Interface, under the "Inventory" section. These drones come with three knockout darts, and a built in stun gun for briefly disabling cameras. To get through rooms use the vents above the doors, but keep in mind Nano Drones will get you "spotted" just as easily as if you walked into a guard's cone of vision. Only take out whatever guards you need to. Mercifully you don't need to "synchronize" your kills if two enemies are close together. There is a small delay in-between being "spotted" and the guard raising the alarm. Most guards have very small patrol routes so no bodies will be discovered.
Take the stairs being careful of any guards that might be patrolling. (Note: Guard positions are- mostly randomized from heist to heist.) Use your Stun Gun to knock out the Surveillance Camera, do not destroy (i.e. shoot with bullets) more than two or the alarm will go off. At the bottom of the stairs go left, taking out any guards in your way. Swing around to the opposite corridor and Stun the Camera at the two entrances to the next room.
In the next room the guard positions might be a little different each time, but you’re going to want to take them all out carefully. First start by shooting the Surveillance Camera on the left, then take out the guards behind the desk. Once the path is clear head to the mantrap entrance. Synchronize your keycard swiping and head through the mantrap. When you get to the Vault entrance there will be no guard to deal with. The Vault Lasers work similar to the standard Vault Drills. TAP the Right Trigger/R2 as you carefully push forward on the Left Stick. This will prevent an overheat.
If you both managed not to set off the alarm you should have a decent amount of time to grab your haul. Like with The Big Con Approach mentioned above save the targets in the immediate room for last. Concentrate on hacking your way into the side rooms first.
After you grab the loot make your way back through the mantrap. There will be a new set of guards to deal with. Take them out carefully, like you did when you entered the Casino.
Once outside be stealthy. Well I mean . . . like you did in The Big Con heist. Avoid the blue cones of vision and follow the same route to the Getaway Vehicle. If you manage to get spotted don't panic! It's par for the course. Just drive to the underground (see screenshot way above, sorry for the lack of a jump link). Drive through the Los Santos sewer system then up to the buyer. Remember do not take the highway past the Casino, you'll just regain your Wanted Level. It's not a race, take the long way around.
Ok so picture this; you and a random player are trying to sneak into the Diamond Casino, and then that random screws something up causing you to just shoot your way through regardless. With this Approach you just skip to the shooting intentionally.
- Gunman: Patrick McReary or Gustavo Mota (Shotgun Loadout either way)
- Getaway Driver: Eddie Toh (Gauntlet Classic)
- Hacker: Definitely Avi or Paige
With this Approach you'll of course not have enough time to loot the vault, since the whole place will be on alert. The best Hacker is vital for the most profit possible. Then again so is the best Gunman . . .
Aggressive Approach Prep Missions
Here is a look at the Aggressive Approach Prep Missions.
- Required?: Yes and honestly I wish all of the Approaches used them.
- The Point: Thankfully you don’t have to hack the gates inside the vault.
Go to the redneck party, shoot the goons, and grab the Charges. Deliver each of them to the Arcade. Enemies will only chase you on the ground so bring a Buzzard to make this mission a quickie.
- Required?: Uhh yeah
- The Point: Like any good Michael Bay aficionado knows you need them.
A Sea Sparrow is a great aircraft to use on this mission (or a Tula if you are good at bombing runs). Go to Palleto Cove and take out the Merryweather guards at the dock. Once downstairs grab the scuba gear from the crate next to the small structure. Before you head over to the yellow dot snipe the Buzzard and Dingies from the end of the pier (or blow them up with that Sea Sparrow I mentioned). Once the area is clear dive down underwater to the crashed plane. The crates with the explosives are flashing green. You will unfortunately have to swim around a little to find them both. Once you do head back up to your helicopter and fly them both back to the Arcade.
- Required?: No but reinforced armor is always nice against all of those bullets you will face.
- The Point: Yes Moneybags, it's optional, go ahead and buy it to skip this mission if you would like. It would be a waste of money though, it's not hard to complete.
This mission, in my experience, has mostly taken place at the Humane Labs. Where it plays out exactly like the Single Player mission “Monkey Business.” At the beach put on the scuba gear and swim up the drain pipe. Once through the tunnel shoot your way past the soldiers. Grab one of the suits then head outside. Steal one of the Buzzard Attack Choppers and fly back to your Arcade. The three-star Wanted Level will be easy to lose while you’re flying there. Head back and retrieve the second suit, once you do Merryweather will fly after you in helicopters of their own.
(Note: You do not have to scuba dive to re-enter the building for the second suit. Just go to the yellow marker and head downstairs.)
Tunnel Boring Machine:
- Required?: Only to get you to the vault faster and make the mission less BORING . . . I'll see myself out . . .
- The Point: You COULD purchase this Prep to skip it, but it’s one of the easiest ones in the game. You also need it to make your own entrance into the Diamond Casino.
Go to the Tunnel Boring Machine’s location, literally just get in the trailer’s semi truck, and then drive away. Granted you might piss off some construction workers, or have to stop the trailer in route depending on the mission the game gives you, but still it’s very easy. Drive to the location in the Los Santos River. Along the way you will get a Wanted Level but Lester actually picks up if you call him this time.
(Note: As a reminder, in order to get this Prep Mission you need to take a picture of the construction going on in the Underground Tunnel.)
- Entrance: Sewer
- Exit: Staff Exit
Some may say this is the hardest Approach, but it’s actually the most fool proof if you are playing with a random person. There is nothing more straight forward than shooting your way to the vault, and the only way you could fail is by dying. Almost like a metaphor on para gliding. For this Approach we are going in through the Sewer. Because after all why get those Breaching Charges and Boring Machine otherwise? This is the best way in since the Vault will be a couple of rooms away after the cinematic. Once inside the Casino shoot your way to the mantrap entrance, taking cover whenever possible and eat Snacks to reheal. Though if you were successful with the Duggan Shipments Prep Mission there should not be too much opposition here.
Once you get to the entrance of the mantrap the most challenging part of this Approach will be getting your friend/rando-partner to sync up the button pressing. Don’t worry, just like the other Approaches there is a delay timer here too, just this time there are more bullets coming your way while everyone figures out how an A/X button works . . . No pressure though!
Once through the mantrap set your charges on the vault door and inevitably controller fumble and/or argue over which of you will pull up the cell phone and set off the charges.
The Vault has the same plan as the other Approaches except mercifully you have Thermal Charges to melt your way through the gates instead of an asinine hacking mini-game (yeah I said it you were thinking it). Same plan still applies, but with less time on the clock, save A and B for last. Grab what you can and head of the exit before the nerve agent kicks in.
Once out of the mantrap go through the security room on the left to avoid a lot of gunfire from the Duggan security forces. Shoot your way to the stairs and head up. As you could tell from the beginning cinematic you won't be heading out the way you came in. Shoot your way to the stairs and make your way up. If you don’t mind getting shot you can try to grab the extra cash inside the small room, just remember one of you has to hold the button in the security room. From here it’s the same as all of the other Approaches except in this case the shootout is intentional.
Once outside make your way past NOOSE agents, and since I have to mention it, switch to a weapon with more range if you were using Shotguns in the Casino. Fight your way to where ever the Driver dropped the Getaway Vehicles and get into the one you upgraded earlier.
Like the other Approaches head to the Underground Tunnel. Except this time you are sort of returning to the scene of where this all began. I guess time really is a flat circle, or whatever . . . ANYWAY drive through the tunnel and wait for the five-star Wanted Level to go away. Now just drive to the Buyer using the WEST/LEFT side of the map’s highway to avoid the Casino (or else you will get a new Wanted Level).
© 2021 Eric Seidel