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Archive for December, 2008

More Casino Resolutions for 2009

Wednesday, December 31st, 2008

Say good-bye to one of the worst years for the casino industry.

Onward with more resolutions we think casinos should make for 2009.  Getting butts into the chairs – gambling, restaurants, and show seats — is the Number One priority for stayin’ alive in ’09 so here are some ideas to help you do just that.

— Stop screwing around with your Player’s Club rules and regs – particularly as they affect your faithful players.  I have heard more complaints from players about this one issue than any other this year.  You have less money but so do we.  (more…)

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Casino Resolutions for 2009

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008
Gifts are great...just not mittens and backpacks.

Gifts are great...just not mittens and backpacks.

Lists, lists and more lists!  Best of, worst of, most notable, most notorious.  So as not to be left off the year-end bandwagon, this week we are going to list some New Year’s resolutions we’d like to see the casinos make for 2009.   (Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments section.)

To all casinos both large and small; please resolve to stop giving away dumb stuff.  I love “gifts” – quote marks used because we both know I have more than paid for them with my play — but puh-leeze make it something I would even remotely consider using.

For instance, I am the proud owner of Casino Arizona’s latest marketing giveaway — mittens and a scarf.  Uh, did someone miss the Arizona in that name?  If you’re trying to make an impact, wouldn’t you want to give a gift that has some sort of relationship to your business?  Yeah, black mittens and a fuzzy scarf immediately say “Let’s go to the casino…in sunny Arizona” to me.  The month before, a thin “stadium blanket” was the featured free gift.  (This fascination with cold weather is really starting to make me wonder if they know something we don’t and the newest Ice Age is upon us starting in the Arizona desert.) (more…)

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New Year’s Eve in Las Vegas — Lots of Last-Minute Room Deals Still Available

Sunday, December 28th, 2008
Celebrate New Year's Eve on the Strip with a fireworks show.

Fireworks will light up the sky on New Year's Eve in Las Vegas.

There’s still plenty of time to pack a suitcase and head to Las Vegas for a memorable New Year’s Eve celebration.  Las Vegas hotels — both on and off The Strip — are more affordable than ever this year with many offering dining and show ticket discounts as well as last-minute hotel deals.  (Really, if I hadn’t offered to host this year’s party for friends, I would so be loading up the car RIGHT NOW.) (more…)

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Phoenix Casino Guide for Valley Bowl Game Visitors

Saturday, December 27th, 2008

Check out our new “sister” site:  AZCasinoTravel.com for all your Phoenix and Arizona casino news, information and more!

Among all the visitors coming into Phoenix for the upcoming Insight and Fiesta bowls happening here in Arizona next week, there are bound to be a lot of casino gaming fans.  For those who like to play, here is a list of our Phoenix and Scottsdale area casinos along with casino-related info on dining, lounges, shows, golf opportunities and more.

Harrah's Ak-Chin is one of several Phoenix-area casinos.

Harrah's Ak-Chin is one of several Phoenix area casinos visitors can choose from to play slots, poker and more.

Casino Arizona:  Two locations, both of which are just off the Loop 101 freeway making them very accessible to all the major hotels and resorts.  Free limo service available by calling 480-850-7790. (more…)

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Christmas in Las Vegas – The Sequel

Wednesday, December 24th, 2008

Wishing you all a very happy holiday season. We’re off for a few days to enjoy time with family and friends — and, no doubt, a little spiked eggnog — but we’ll be back this weekend.

"Harrk the Harrald Angels Sing...."

"Harrk the Harrald Angels Sing"...(and play instruments, too!)

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus...."

"I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" -- who looks an awful lot like the next-door neighbor.

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Christmas in Las Vegas

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Hanging stockings at Caesars Palace.

Hanging stockings at Caesars Palace.

I think I see Santa!  (Are those dolphins or a Mirage?)

I think I see Santa! No, wait...it's just that big picture of Donny Osmond.

More photo fun all this week!

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Encore Resort at Wynn Las Vegas Opens

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2008
Steve Wynn at the entrance of the captivating atrium at Encore Las Vegas.  (Photo courtesy of Wynn Resorts.)

Steve Wynn at the entrance of the captivating atrium at Encore Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy of Wynn Resorts.)

It seems completely appropriate that the signature restaurant of the just-opened Encore Resort at Wynn Las Vegas should be “Sinatra.”  Owner Steve Wynn and “Ol’ Blue Eyes” have at least two things in common:  they do things their way and they are very good at what they do.

In a city, in an industry and in an economy that are all seeing their biggest downturns in recent history, Steve Wynn opened this glamorous $2.3 billion property on Monday — yes, a Monday! — during what is traditionally the slowest week of the year in Vegas.  Pure genius.  The timing is perfect for working out any slight bugs — and with Wynn’s legendary attention to detail, the problems are apt to be small — prior to the big New Year’s Eve holiday and the major conventions coming in early-2009.  I also like his approach of simply opening the doors to the public.  No massive grand opening events, it’s just like he says in the commercial:  “THIS is Encore.”  Let the resort speak for itself.

Using a “back-to-basics” approach — when those basics include paying attention to what makes a resort a Five Diamond experience — owner Steve Wynn, told The Associated Press that guests at the new Encore resort should expect “better service, nicer rooms, better lighting.  Themes that are corny get old quickly, but real and wonderful environments with great service are timeless.”

In addition to Sinatra, the 2,034-room Encore will feature four additional chef-driven restaurants including “Switch” – a dining experience where walls, ceiling and even server uniforms change colors every 20 minutes.  The resort also boasts the highly-anticipated exclusive new nightclub, “XS,” which opens for the first time at 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.  Also, long-time Strip entertainer Danny Gans will begin his run at Encore in February.

See photos of the resort on the Encore website here and video reports including interior shots are here at local Channel Eight’s Las Vegas Now(We’ll be making our maiden voyage to Encore in January so look for more coverage then.)


Wynn Las Vegas

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Look Up — Caesars Palace Lobby Features Intricate Lighting

Friday, December 19th, 2008
Details and more details surround this intricate light fixture at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

A lot of thought went into this intricate light fixture at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Things may not be looking up in Las Vegas — yet — but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.  Look up, I mean.  Here’s another entry in our “Las Vegas Look Up” series of posts and photos showing some of the striking design elements we’ve found in Las Vegas casinos.

Today’s entry comes from Caesars Palace — the registration lobby at Caesars to be exact.  For some reason, this light fixture really caught my eye.  From a distance, it reminded me of some sort of giant cell colony.  Don’t ask me why but when I looked up it instantly reminded me of something you’d see under a microscope.  Upon closer inspection — click on the photo to enlarge — those cells are actually etchings of classic Roman figures and symbols.

Check out, too, the intricate flourishes painted onto the ceiling surrounding the base of the fixture.   And, yes, that is accent lighting surrounding each of these accent lights!  I LOVE this lavish attention to detail that you always find in casinos throughout Las Vegas.


Las Vegas Hotel Sale

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Encore Las Vegas Opening — Updates and Coverage

Wednesday, December 17th, 2008

The spectacular new Wynn Las Vegas property Encore will be opening this coming Monday, December 22, with a sold out crowd for that specific night.  Rooms (including New Year’s Eve) are available beginning the 23rd.  Reservations at the original property, Wynn Las Vegas, can be had throughout the time period.

The new Encore website is up and running with lots of photos and information along with a video of the very cool Encore commercial showing owner Steve Wynn atop the stunning copper-colored tower.

For up-to-date information along with “live” reports from the opening celebrations, tune into a new website built specifically for this grand event.  This exciting new venture is helmed by the editors/bloggers of two popular Las Vegas websites, vegastripping and ratevegas.  Thanks to them, we can all ride along as they experience the exhilaration of opening night at the fabulous new Encore resort and casino.


Wynn Las Vegas

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Casino Promotions in Over-Drive to Attract Gamblers

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Has your mailbox been as stuffed with casino offers as ours has lately?   Thanks to the downturn in the economy, P.B. and I are hearing from every casino we ever stepped foot into over the years.  Stacks of promotional flyers for free room stays – now for three or four or more nights at a time! – and invitations to tons of slot, video poker, live poker and black jack tourneys inundate us.  (My mail carrier, Veronica, must think Doyle Brunson’s living in my guest room!)

We’re also being showered with bigger and better coupons for “free slot play.”  Even our local Indian casinos here in Arizona are not only joining in the marketing fray but upping the ante with $100 for Diamond members at Harrah’s Ak-Chin in Maricopa and $25 from Fort McDowell in Fountain Hills, just to name a couple.  Those same offers usually come with food coupons as well.  Free buffets, free dinners, free food vouchers – if you’re hungry they’ve got you covered.

Email offers?  Check.  Offers by phone?  Check again.  Leather jackets, Dooney & Bourke handbags, gift cards?  Check, check, check.

So what really gets us into the casino and sitting at a machine or table?  Locally, coupons for free slot play or cash are number one for us with merchandise giveaways a close second.  But only if the item is something we want like the Sony PSP® we got last year at Harrah’s Ak-Chin.

When we travel several times each year to Las Vegas, we do look at the offers we’ve gotten when planning the actual dates.  We especially enjoy slot and video poker tournaments and try to play in a couple of those each year.  Oh, and cash and free slot play and gift cards are good, too.  Merchandise doesn’t really get us to go to Las Vegas – too far for a leather jacket with “Caesars Palace” emblazoned on the back.

We’re curious.  What are your favorite offers?  What gets you to make the date?

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Payard Pâtisserie at Caesars Palace Showcases Chef’s Artistry

Monday, December 15th, 2008
The alluring pastry case at Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace.

The alluring pastry case at Payard Patisserie at Caesars Palace.

Making a visit to Payard’s exquisite bakery at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas takes on Holy Grail-like overtones because this place is NOT easy to find.  My advice — save yourself a lot of time and shoe leather and just ask any hotel employee to point you in the right direction.  (It’s at the back of the resort near the Café Lago buffet.  Look for the caramel-toned lighting and chocolate-colored curlicues facing the walkway.)

Once you do find it, you’ll be presented with two options for dining – either the casual counter-service-only café or the adjacent tiny jewel box of a restaurant.  The timing may decide for you since the café is open from 6:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. while the bakery counter serves from 6:30 a.m. until 11 p.m.  Either way, you can rest assured that the fabulous pastries and desserts are on both menus.

And fabulous is not an overstatement when it comes to Monsieur Payard’s artistic pastries and sweets.  Winner of numerous “Best Pastry Chef” awards, Francois Payard proves his culinary mettle in every buttery croissant, velvety mousse and perfectly-constructed tart and gâteau on the menu.   Our favorites include the lush Maple Cheesecake with Blueberry Compote, the classic multi-layered Raspberry Napoleon and the sophisticated Vienne with its masterful blending of dark chocolate, orange and caramel. 

Dessert flavors extend to the decor at Payard with its caramel-toned lighting.

Dessert flavors extend to the decor at Payard with its caramel-toned lighting.

Since man cannot live by dessert alone (well, you could but probably shouldn’t) Payard Patisserie offers breakfast fare including omelets and quiches plus a lunch/light dinner menu of sandwiches and salads including a Tuna Nicoise salad that will remind you why this is one of France’s most beloved dishes.  For a heartier appetite, the Roast Beef Panini on authentic ciabatta with caramelized onions is robustly flavored while the accompanying house-made spicy potato chips are addictive. 

In addition to the café and bakery, there is a retail store stocked with boxes of luxurious handmade truffles and candies as well as Payard’s signature gift baskets to take home.

WhereCaesars Palace

Hours:  Breakfast: 6:30am to 11:30am
              Lunch: 11:30am to 3pm
Pastry Counter: 6:30am to 11:00pm
Retail Store: Tue-Fri 6:30am to 11:00pm
Retail Store: Sat-Mon 6:00am to 11:00pm

Reservations: Tel.  877-346-4642

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Gifts for Casino Fans, Poker Players & More

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

*** Check out our current Gift Guide for the most up-to-date holiday gift ideas and prices. ***

We’ve got a few things to pick up in the stores this holiday season but most of our shopping is being done online this weekend.  Easy on the budget and the feet plus we can buy lots of unique gifts without ever leaving the couch!

So, sit back and relax, pour yourself a cup of cocoa, and shop for all the casino fans, poker players, and slot players on your list with our tailor-made gift guide.  We sorted through tons of items and websites to bring you our “Best Gifts for Casino Players.”

I’m giving P.B. a watch this Christmas and in my search found a great site with a huge selection of the most popular watch brands including Fossil, Citizen and more — both men’s and women’s — at phenomenal prices with free shipping and a 110% price guarantee.  Be sure to use the special coupon code “10off” to save an additional $10 on any watch purchase.

Here’s the link:
Watchco.com- HOLIDAY SPECIALS- BRAND NAME WATCHES- 40%-70% OFF!

A custom thermal from Bad Beat Clothing for the poker player on your list.

A custom thermal from Bad Beat Clothing.

Also, check out the custom-designed tee-shirts, thermals and more at Bad Beat Clothing.  This stuff rocks!  Speaking of poker, great article at Poker Listings about the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic that starts today at The Bellagio.

And here’s a quick-click way to access all of our holiday gift posts so far this season:
Gifts for Poker Players Gifts for Slot Players/Casino Gamers Holiday Gifts for Players JAQK Wines

Happy Shopping!

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