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Arizona

Debuting Our New Site — “AZ Casino Travel”

Wednesday, March 18th, 2009

We started this website, RoyallyFlushed, because we love giving people information about how to make their casino trips more fun and, we hope, more profitable.  Since its start, RoyallyFlushed has grown to become a popular read for people planning a trip to Las Vegas as well as those who are looking for good general information on casinos and casino gaming, industry news and more.

Our initial idea was to do one site which would cover lots of great gambling destinations and give recommendations – and hot deal alerts! –  on where to stay, places to dine, where to shop and what sight-seeing and special events were not to be missed.  We’ve now decided that there is so much to see and do in so many of the good gambling spots we visit that it would best serve our readers to build some additional websites focusing on specific destinations.

With that in mind, we are pleased to announce our first “sister” site, AZCasinoTravel.com.  With 23 casinos spread throughout the state plus so many special things to do and see here in the Grand Canyon State, we felt we had more than enough to work with in building an info-packed site for visitors to our beautiful state. In addition to our casino guide and reviews, we’ll also keep readers up-to-date on the best deals on Arizona hotels, dining, golf, shopping and all types of vacation activities.

This new site is the first in what will be a family of websites our readers can go to for help in planning a casino trip that includes not only where to play but also where to stay, dine, shop, play golf and more.  (We think you’ll find these sites helpful in planning any trip to the specific destination – with or without gaming!)

Also, because these sites will be more location-oriented, we hope our readers will feel comfortable in asking for suggestions, posing questions and leaving comments about each spot we feature.

Click on the name – AZCasinoTravel – to visit our new site now and let us know what you think!

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A Very Vegas Valentine’s Day Weekend

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009
A pre-dinner cocktail in this red and gold jewelbox of a lounge at Wynn Encore will start your Valentine's Day off right.

A pre-dinner cocktail in this red and gold jewelbox of a lounge at Wynn Encore is perfect for Valentine's Day.

Romance, NBA basketball —  “Love & Basketball,” anyone? — Friday the 13th and President’s Day all wrapped into one spectacular three-day weekend.  And you, you’re still waiting for a reason to go to Las Vegas?  I don’t even know where to start to tell you about all the cool things you can plan for a Valentine’s Day weekend trip to Las Vegas.

Okay, I lied; I do know where to start. Let’s begin with some romance, Las Vegas-style, and where you might think about staying for this Valentine’s Day with your honey.  (Hey, guys, you had your Super Bowl Sunday so now it’s time to grab your best girl and head back to Vegas for a different kind of fun!)

Top Romantic Hotels in Las Vegas

Wynn Las Vegas
and/or Wynn Encore – We’re putty in Steve Wynn’s hands when it comes to all that glitz and glamour plus all the RED used throughout the new Encore will make you think you’ve landed inside a giant scarlet satin heart.  (If you can walk through that place and not think about romance and Valentine’s Day, we’ll need to check your pulse on the way out.)  Add in some of the best, most indulgent restaurants on the Strip – Alex, Botero, SW, Bartolotta –  luxurious spas, and the hottest new “ultra-club” in town, XS, and you’ve got the makings of a memorable weekend without ever leaving the two adjoining properties.

Bellagio
–  Elegance personified not only in the rooms but throughout the entire hotel.  Yards of jewel-toned silk swags in the casino; an indoor garden that just begs to be strolled while hand-in-hand with your SO; a virtual chocoholic’s wonderland at Jean-Philippe Patisserie plus a shopping gallery full of baubles and bangles perfectly poised for gift-giving  (be sure to check out the heart-shaped charms at Tiffany’s) all contribute to a sophisticated yet utterly romantic atmosphere.

The Palazzo – All brocades and crystal, marble columns and burnished gilt — this younger sister to the flashier Venetian is like the Little Black Dress of Vegas resorts.  Understated, timeless and yet fashionable with enough pizzazz – LAVO Bar and Restaurant, Jersey Boys in the showroom, a Canyon Ranch Spa and Barneys New York in the shopping arcade – to never be boring.  (If your sweetie loves shoes – duh! – let her shop the displays at Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin for a guaranteed winner of a Valentine’s Day gift.)

Paris Las Vegas
–  Huh?  Are we kidding?  Au contraire, mon ami.  We’re suckers for that whole French vibe, fake as it may be.  (Uh, this is Vegas, remember?  Fake is this town’s middle name.)  Give us  steaks at Les Artistes, the Forest Fruits berries and cream concoction at Le Creperie, dinner or simply drinks at the Eiffel Tower restaurant with its magnificent view of the City and, our favorite three-hour lunch spot, Mon Ami Gabi  just off the front entrance, and we are saying merci and beau coup with the best of them.  (And, let’s face it, we’re Harrah’s Total Rewards Club® members and get great deals here!)

Red Rock Casino, Resort and Spa
– Nope, not on the Strip, but with its own very hip, very romantic vibe, a “get-away-from-it-all” feeling, and a great selection of restaurants:  the T-Bones Chophouse is a favorite of locals while Cabo Mexican Restaurant offers stunning views of the surrounding red rock landscape.  And bars, particularly the Hollywood- chic Cherry nightclub, one of the most popular clubs in Vegas even without a Strip address.  (Plus, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t call a cab, spend a night enjoying the Strip and then head back to “the Rock” for your own very private celebration.)

Next post, we’ll give you some romantic spots for dinner a deux while you’re in town.

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Moments, Memories & Great Plates – Looking Back on 2008

Friday, January 2nd, 2009
A gorgeous view of the mountains and a moonlit Colorado River as seen from Harrah's Laughlin.

A gorgeous view of the mountains and a moonlit Colorado River as seen from Harrah's in Laughlin.

I think one of the best ways to recall a year is to sort through the photos I’ve taken over the past twelve months.  They bring back lots of great memories either through the specific image or by tweaking my brain into remembering what all happened on that occasion.  To break down a whole year into a few paragraphs isn’t easy, especially when I’m fortunate enough to say lots of great stuff happened in the past twelve months.  So rather than doing a monthly blow-by-blow, I chose to pick out some highlights from our year in gaming.

Best Casino “Hits”P.B. – Dealt four 4’s then hit for two out of three kickers on the draw playing Triple Double Bonus Spin Poker Deluxe™ with a payout of $1190.  C.C. – Dealt four 3’s and a kicker playing TDB Spin Poker Deluxe™ with a $1600 payout.

Best Discovery:  The Diamond Lounge patio over-looking the Colorado River at Harrah’s Laughlin, Nevada casino.  A great spot for relaxing with a drink, especially on a warm full-moon night. (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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Bellagio Glass Artist Dale Chihuly’s Work on Exhibit in Phoenix

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008
Dale Chihuly's exquisite glass art adorns the ceiling at The Bellagio.

Dale Chihuly's exquisite art glass adorns the ceiling at The Bellagio in Las Vegas. (Click on the photo to show detail.)

I have been a huge Dale Chihuly fan for years.  Even before seeing his masterful installation at The Bellagio in Las Vegas, I had admired his bold work at exhibitions in Washington, D.C. and in New York.  I even have a beautiful peach and gold  “Chihuly” rose bush in my garden — which is about as close as I’ll ever come to owning anything with his name on it.

So you can imagine how excited I was to see that his fanciful glass works are now being shown here in Phoenix at our beloved Desert Botanical Gardens.  Whether you are visiting the area or a resident, fans of his Bellagio work will definitely want to plan a visit to the gardens to see “Chihuly: The Nature of Glass.”  It should be especially interesting to see his intricate works of art set against a backdrop of our stark native plants. 

The show will be here until May 31, 2009, so there’s plenty of time to plan a trip to the gardens.  Advance tickets are mandatory so visit the garden’s website for more information and to see some gorgeous pictures of just a few of the wildly colorful pieces included in this exhibit.

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Black Friday Shopping? No, This Was Way More Fun Than Shopping

Monday, December 1st, 2008

So it’s now the Sunday evening after Thanksgiving and I haven’t set foot in a store all weekend.  (Well, except for the grocery store and that was just a quick stop for bread to make turkey sandwiches!)  No Christmas shopping, no bargain-hunting, no “Black-Friday-up-at-o’dark-thirty-to-hit-the-mall” stories, nothing … nada.  Instead, P.B. and I headed out to Harrah’s Ak-Chin in Maricopa for Black Friday where we played our favorite video poker game, Spin Poker.™ 

Harrah's Ak-Chin in Maricopa, Arizona.

Harrah's Ak-Chin casino in Maricopa, AZ.

Harrah’s was actually pretty crowded Friday, probably due in part to people using the free slot play coupons — good for the holiday weekend only — like the $100 ones P.B. and I had just received in the mail.  (Way to get people in the doors, Ak-Chin marketing!)  Plus Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are when the qualifying drawings are held for the $1,000,000 giveaway finale coming up on December 28 at Ak-Chin so I’m sure lots of players came out for that, too.

We had a fun day at Harrah’s — much more fun than slogging through the stores looking for some Holy Grail of gifts.  We each started out playing Triple Double Bonus games on nickel Spin Poker Deluxe™ and not hitting much at first but then the cards started coming and we each hit for some aces, some deuces, and then threes with a kicker.  I even hit for a Royal Flush in hearts.  P.B. had the “best pay of the day” (we always have a fun competition going between us) with his four aces and a kicker on two lines which paid a little over $440.  We stayed most of the afternoon and left with a little more than we walked in with so a good trip in more ways than one. 

Oh, and on a side note, the bank of new Wizard of Oz™ slot machines was crazy-crowded with people gathered around watching the players and rooting them on during bonus rounds.  People love these new Wizard of Oz machines!  Guess you have to get there early to snag a seat at one. 

The rest of the weekend I’ve spent pulling together the holiday “Gift Guide” along with the other gift suggestions you’ll find here on our site — all for you to give to the players on your holiday list.  The Internet is a wide and wonderful place if you know where to look!

And how did you spend your holiday weekend?  Get any gaming in you want to tell us about?

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Gila River’s New Lone Butte Casino Opens to Enthusiastic Crowd

Friday, November 21st, 2008
A colorful canopy greets visitors to the new Lone Butte Casino in Chandler.

With lights that change colors like an Arizona sunset, a soaring canopy greets visitors to the new Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, Arizona.

So what does it sound like when every one of a casino’s 850 slot machines are ALL being played at once?  You would know — or you would have heard — if you were at the grand opening yesterday of Gila River’s new Lone Butte Casino in Chandler, Arizona.  Casino-goers flocked to the handsome new gaming facility for a first look and to try their luck at one of the new machines.  Guests not seated in front of a machine or at one of the 24 table games milled around eagerly waiting for the opportunity to play.  Even the new “High Limit” area was crowded with players hoping to hit it big.

The Gila River Community is to be commended on this classy addition to the Phoenix gaming scene.  The interior is light and bright and highlighted by the use of natural materials like sandstone.  (more…)

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Two New Indian Casinos Opening This Week

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Into the doom and gloom surrounding the gaming industry’s biggest players — as well as the national economy — come the openings of two Indian casinos this week in the Southwest.

Wednesday, the Navajo Nation, America’s largest Indian tribe, will open their first casino, the $30 million Fire Rock Casino near Gallup, New Mexico.  The 65,000 square-foot space will feature a bingo hall, blackjack and poker tables as well as 400+ slot machines and marks the end of a long road to bring gaming to the Navajo tribe. (more…)

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Weekend Events Around Phoenix Casinos

Thursday, November 13th, 2008

Lots of fun things to do this weekend in and around Phoenix casinos.  Enjoy these events and a stop to play your favorite games including live poker and blackjack, lucky slots and more in the Valley of the Sun.

At Fort McDowell, enjoy the Orme Dam Victory Days celebration including a powwow and the All-Indian Rodeo with bull riding, calf roping and more.  East of Fountain Hills off Arizona 87 east of Fort McDowell Road (follow the signs). The carnival starts tonight at 5 p.m. and events continue through Nov. 16.  Complete calendar here. (more…)

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New Gila River Casino on Pace to Open November 20

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008
Workers recently installed this sign at the new Gila River Casino, Lone Butte.

Workers recently installed this sign at the new Gila River Casino, Lone Butte.

The new Gila River casino, Lone Butte, at Loop 202 and Kyrene Road in Chandler, Arizona is coming together nicely for the scheduled November 20 opening date.  I am really looking forward to playing in this new Phoenix-area casino which is slated to have 850 slot machines, a 750-seat bingo hall, new high-limit player areas and exciting table games including Fortune Pai Gow Poker Progressive, Let It Ride Three-Card Bonus and Three-Card Poker.  And, for a non-smoker like me, the thought of a state-of-the-art smoke removal system built right into the facility makes me swoon.

In grand opening promotions, casino customers can play their favorite games for cash and prizes including a new Pontiac Soltice which will be given away on December 4th.  Prior to the main event car giveaway, the “Luck Has a New Home” promo will award cash prizes to players from 6 – 10 p.m., November 5, 12 — at the current Lone Butte location —  and on the 26th at the new casino. (more…)

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Head to Harrah’s Ak-Chin for this Super Promo

Sunday, October 26th, 2008
Harrah's Ak_Chin Casino gives players a "mystery multiplier" on Monday.

Harrah's Ak-Chin Casino gives players a "mystery multiplier" this Monday.

Just a quick Sunday “drive-by” post for players in the Phoenix area.  Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino in Maricopa has a terrific special promotion going on tomorrow – Monday – for Total Rewards Club (TRC) members.  Swipe your card at the Total Rewards center to receive a multiplier of 10x, 15x or even 20x on Bonus Reward Credits earned on play from 6 AM until midnight.  (The website reads 6 a.m. – 5:59 a.m. but I was told midnight when I called to check on details.) 

Be sure to swipe your card at the TRC desk BEFORE you begin play.  That’s also when you’ll learn your “mystery” multiplier. 

If you have any questions about this promo, be sure to ask a casino host or the folks working the TRC center desk. 

Good luck!

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How To Turn a $25 Coupon into $1200

Saturday, October 25th, 2008
While maybe not a fortune, Fort McDowell had $1200 waiting for me.

While maybe not a fortune, Fort McDowell had $1200 waiting for me.

Sounds like an infomercial, doesn’t it?  The funny thing is – it’s true!   It happened to me this week at Fort McDowell Casino in Arizona and it proves – again – why you should use your player’s club card.

Earlier this week, P.B. and I decided to head out to “The Fort” to take advantage of some coupons that came in our quarterly “Fortune Club” mailers – one for $25 in cash, another for free dinners.  After we turned in our cash coupons, we sat down to play at a couple of All-Star Poker™ machines.   I chose the Spin Poker™ option – my favorite game – playing Double Double Bonus in the 10¢ denomination and, on my third hand, hit for a couple hundred dollars with four 2’s and a kicker.  About 10 hands later, I was dealt the ace, king, queen and ten of spades…held the four cards… held my breath…and YES!  Got the JACK for royal flushes on three lines and $400 x 3 = $1200 (and a W-9!) 

With the free dinners thrown in, this turned out to be a profitable trip for us and all because of a $25 coupon.  I think it’s more than we made in the stock market this week and a lot more fun!

There were a lot of people at the casino that same night, many of whom were cashing in coupons so The Fort’s promotion is paying off in terms of getting people in the door.  It would be nice to think that they – and casinos everywhere – would continue to offer decent incentives to frequent players, especially in this economy.  Jean Scott has a couple of really good articles this week on her blog at Anthony Curtis’ Las Vegas Advisor.  In an interesting post from October 18, she talks about the different ways casinos can react to the economic downturn and in a second post from October 23; she outlines some “Slot Club Changes.”  You’ll see, when you read them, how the two articles are related.

From my own perspective, while local casinos have no where near the competition that Las Vegas, Reno or Atlantic City casinos have, I would like to tell them that offering decent club incentives would keep frequent players coming in – good economy or bad.  Don’t give me $5 or $10 to show up – at midnight – or other ridiculously-low, crazily-limited “bonuses.”  You’ll weather the storm and build player loyalty to boot.  Win, win.

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