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Prop bets, Mario’s balls and the world’s best Buffalo chicken dip

Friday, February 4th, 2011
Mario Batali's meatballs for sandwiches and pasta

Meatballs by Mario.

We love football — especially betting on football —  and no game is more fun to bet than the Super Bowl.  Flat bets are great but what we really love all the crazy “prop” bets that are circulating  this time of year.  How long will it take Christina Aguilera to sing the National Anthem?  Will Fergie show up to perform at half-time dressed as a Cowboys cheerleader?  Yep, those are just a couple of the bets available at offshore betting sites like bodog.com.  In Vegas, where Nevada gaming regulations restrict prop bets to those directly related to specific game statistics, there are still plenty of “off-road” opportunities.  Check out this article at National Football Post on the five best prop bets for this Sunday’s big game. For more info, check out these lists on EastCoastGambler.net as well — Super Bowl Prop Bets, Steelers and Prop Bets, Packers.

Now on to part two of our headline — Mario’s balls.  So we’re watching “Good Morning America” last Friday and they’re doing a special segment on what to serve at your Super Bowl party and the chef du jour is Mario Batali of New York’s Babbo and Las Vegas faves B&B and Carnevino fame.  He suggests making, among other things, meatball heroes for the big day.  The recipe looked so good and we were so intrigued (mix the meat for 10 minutes!) that we just had to make them ourselves.  We are here to tell you that these are the BEST meatballs on the planet. Really.  We made a huge batch to have with pasta or serve on sandwich rolls but honestly, we simply want a big bowl of them topped with a little homemade marinara and a sprinkling of pecorino Romano cheese.  Here’s the ABC video on Mario Batali’s meatballs plus the meatball recipe.  (Use panko breadcrumbs in place of the fresh ones.)

And last, here’s an appetizer we make every Super Bowl and always get back rave reviews and an empty serving dish.

The Best Buffalo Chicken Dip

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts (about 2 lbs)
  • 1-12oz. bottle of Frank’s Hot Buffalo Sauce
  • 2- 8oz. packages of cream cheese
  • 1 cup each of Ranch and Blue Cheese salad dressings
  • 8 oz. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Poach chicken breasts in enough water to cover for 30 minutes or until done.

Drain and when cool enough to handle, shred chicken then combine with the hot sauce.

Spread in a 13×9 baking pan.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

In a sauce pan, combine cream cheese and both dressings, stirring until smooth and hot.

Pour mixture evenly over chicken.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.

Sprinkle cheese on top and bake uncovered for another 10 min.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with tortilla chips, crackers, celery sticks (or just a big spoon.)

Have a great Super Bowl Sunday!

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Casino-themed holiday gifts to make them smile

Wednesday, December 8th, 2010
Poker hoodie gift from Amazon

This "Powered by Poker" hoodie would be a great gift for any card player to find beneath the Christmas tree.

Looking for gifts for casino players?  We’ve got lots of ideas for you.  From stocking-stuffers to more substantial offerings, we’ve picked gifts for slot machine players and card players – ones we know they will love.  There’s still plenty of time left to shop online and we’ll be posting some of our fav picks from Amazon.com’s extensive gift catalog right up until the bitter exciting end of this year’s holiday shopping season.

Best Gifts for Cards and Poker Players:

Whether you are just learning to play poker or looking for advice on advanced strategy, this is one of the books to own and read.   Harrington on Hold ’em is one of the few books players agree on — it’s a five-star guide to winning the game of poker.  One reviewer says,  “This book paid for itself immediately. Some of the fundamental concepts in this book seem extremely obvious once they’ve been pointed out to you, but cost real money until you grasp them.”

Buy this Christmas stocking for the card player.Instead of a stocking stuffer, how about the entire stocking?  Accented with a royal flush, this Playing Cards Christmas Stocking will definitely make any card player smile come Christmas morning.

Hand held Texas Hold 'em video game from AmazonA fun little goodie to put into the stocking: this World Series of Poker Texas Holdem Handheld Video Game.

Here’s a colorful addition to any Christmas tree and especially one belonging to a poker player — this holiday ornament representing stacks of poker chips.

Poker chip ornament from Amazon

Home poker parties continue to be all the rage these days and this Poker Platter With Aces is a perfect gift for entertaining. An optional set of Poker Snack Plates is also available. Poker serving platter gift from Amazon

Want more gifting ideas for casino players? We’ve assembled a huge variety of gifts to choose from in our storefront Casino Gifts Guide. (Don’t miss the cute ornaments featuring the poker dogs.  Yep, those ubiquitous “Dogs Playing Poker.”)

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Harrah’s changes name to Caesars Entertainment

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

While we were tied up baking pies, simmering cranberries and brining our turkey last week, Harrah’s Entertainment was busy officially becoming Caesars Entertainment Corporation.  From all reports, the new name is considered by the company to be more connotative of the higher-end casino experience Caesars wishes to portray as well as being more well-known internationally.

According to the Company’s own press release, “The Harrah’s name will continue to be one of the company’s primary brands, along with Caesars, Horseshoe, Total Rewards and World Series of Poker.

“In recognition of Caesars’ status as the world’s preeminent and most respected casino brand, we have changed the name of our parent company to Caesars Entertainment Corporation,” said Gary Loveman, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Caesars Entertainment. “The change reflects our evolution as the industry’s leading provider of branded casino entertainment.”

We don’t care a whole lot about the name change but what we do wish they would change is their video poker pay tables.  We would be happy to “All Hail Caesars” if we saw more 9/6 games in their casinos.

More information:  Here’s an interesting article on the Pokerati.com website about the name change — “Harrah’s Inc. is now Caesars Corp. – we think..

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South Point Casino to host free video poker classes this summer

Friday, June 11th, 2010
South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa

Free video poker classes plus a low $42 room deal make South Point Casino in Las Vegas a great summer stay value.

South Point Casino in Las Vegas will be hosting a series of free video poker classes this summer featuring pro player, author and columnist Bob Dancer. The 10-week session begins June 15 with classes held every Tuesday at the casino’s Showroom. Classes start at 1 p.m. with a beginner’s class from 1 to 2:30 p.m. followed by an intermediate class from 3 to 4 p.m. The schedule changes during the final four weeks of the session when there will be one class beginning at 1 p.m.  The schedule along with topics and more information can be found on www.bobdancer.com.

Video poker is one of the most popular casino games and learning proper video poker strategy can have a huge impact on your bottom line.  Different games require different “holds” and knowing which cards to keep when playing a specific game version can spell whether you come out ahead or you let the casino keep your cash.  Luck  will always play a part but having a clear understanding of the game will give you a better outcome on your video poker play.

During this summer’s class run, Dancer will teach two games for the very first time and those are the popular 8-5 Bonus Poker Quick Quads and the 15-9-4-4-3 Deuces Wild version of Ultimate X Poker. Both versions — along with many other favorite video poker games — are from leading manufacturer, Action Gaming.  (If you haven’t played these games, check out the company’s videopoker.com site where you can play video poker for free.)

Stay and Play details Hotels.com is offering rooms at South Point Hotel, Casino, and Spa for as low as $42 per night PLUS receive a FREE VIP coupon savings booklet containing hundreds of dollars in discounts at spots on and off the Strip including the popular Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.


Summer Sale - Save up to 40%

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Find Bellagio Las Vegas slot tournament news and more at BellagioSlots.com

Tuesday, July 7th, 2009

We love The Bellagio hotel and especially the beautifully-designed Bellagio casino and now we have even more to love about it thanks to a new website section recently launched by parent, MGM Mirage.  Check out the cool new BellagioSlots.com where you can find all kinds of great information on upcoming special events like casino slot tournaments and players club promotions; news on recent jackpots and winners — including photos of the lucky players — plus details on the super popular “Holiday Gift Shoppe” which will be held November 28 – December 13 this year.  (And don’t forget about this special summer deal at The Bellagio:  play your favorite games this summer between June 1st and August 31st and earn double Holiday Gift Shoppe points!)

There’s also a section on the site that we particularly like which pictures all the “slot hosts” and gives their individual email addresses so you can get personalized attention to your questions or comments.  Also, be sure to check out the page that gives you “Slot Floor Updates” including details on all the newest additions to the gaming floor.  We’re really looking forward to playing the new video poker variations from IGT/Action Gaming, “Ultimate X Poker™” and “Good Times Pay Poker™,” when we visit The Bellagio later this month.

Here’s another item of interest from the Bellagio Slots website and we’re quoting them directly:  “Compared to official data published by the Nevada Gaming Control Board, during the first two months of 2009 Bellagio’s average payback on its slot machines was over 2.75% better than the rest of the Las Vegas Strip! In fact, Bellagio’s payback percentage has been consistently higher than the Strip average since 2005.”  So we just added another reason to love the Bellagio casino!

Looking for a great rate at The Bellagio?  Check out The Bellagio at hotels.com for the summer’s best deals on The Strip.

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Two Times the Rewards at MGM Mirage

Monday, May 25th, 2009

MGM Mirage has some great news for slot club players!  Not only will the wildly popular “Players Club Holiday Gift Shoppe 2009” take place over TWO weeks this year but to sweeten the deal even more, the club is doubling the points earned on slot play beginning June 1 and continuing through August 31.  (Las Vegas properties only.)

Players Club members have been accruing Gift Shoppe points since January 1. Gift Shoppe points are completely free and club members accrue them automatically – no extra sign-ups required.  Plus, these points are in addition to other slot club points and benefits.

Players can redeem Gift Points at the fabulous year-end Players Club Holiday Gift Shoppe 2009 which will take place during the two week event happening November 28 – December 13 where you can get watches, jewelry, electronics, home & sporting goods, Gift Cards, FREEPLAY® and more!

Check for details at MGM Mirage’s website at playersclub.com or at the players club desk at each casino location.    Click Here for the Best Las Vegas Hotel Deals!

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A Big Win at Harrah’s Ak-Chin

Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
Poker Buddy scores with a double Royal Flush for a cool two grand.

Poker Buddy scores with a double Royal Flush for a cool two grand.

P.B.:  “Harrah’s Ak-Chin Casino is announcing their Alaskan cruise contest winners tonight.  Do you want to go out for it?”

Me:  “Not really…I’m kinda’ tired today.”

Three hours later —

Me:  “Okay, I got my second wind.  Let’s go out and see if we won a cruise.”

P.B.:  “Yeah, let’s go but I don’t want to play too much.”

Me:  “Nah, me neither.”

Two hours later —

See above photo!  Poker Buddy hits for $2000 on a quarter Triple Play DDB video poker game.  Dealt four to the Royal Flush, he pulls the queen twice for TWO Royals.  Cha-Ching!

Hmm, maybe we should not “want to play too much” more often?  (No cruise by the way.)

Got any stories you wanna’ share?  We’d love to hear them so tell us about your big wins in the comments section of this post.

Want to practice your video poker strategy for free online?  Just go to videopoker.com to play your favorite games on the ‘net’s largest non-wagering video poker site.


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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!

Hotels.com Road Trip Tool

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Divorce Las Vegas Style — Splits and Separations

Saturday, March 14th, 2009
Steve and Elaine Wynn head for divorce court again.

Steve and Elaine Wynn head for divorce court again.

While this isn’t a Las Vegas news site so to speak, I do keep up on — or try to keep up on — what’s happening in Las Vegas and when it’s something I think readers would be interested in, I do like to mention it here.

What has struck me as interesting lately is all the news about “splits” — both corporate and personal — happening these days in Las Vegas.  Here’s a quick rundown on what’s caught my eye lately:

Split #1 — Steve and Elaine Wynn filed for divorce.  While no one on the outside can ever know what’s going on within a marriage, this news made me sad.  I would think that having a string of successful properties, stock prices that haven’t tanked like the rest of the industry, and what would appear to be a “wynning” working relationship would allow them as a couple to sit back, relax and enjoy their family and what they have built together.  And it’s not like this is their first trip to the courthouse — they divorced once before and got remarried.  But, again, that’s just my opinion.  Read more about the Wynn divorce here.

Split #2 — “Cannery Casino Resorts and Crown Terminate Merger Agreement; Crown to Make Investment Into CCR” is the headline on a press release I received this week.  (more…)

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M Resort Opens In Las Vegas with Fireworks

Monday, March 2nd, 2009

Lots of interesting news reports and posts out today about the new M Resort, Spa and Casino that opened in Las Vegas (or I should say Henderson) Sunday evening.  CEO Anthony Marnell III, joined by his wife and Henderson mayor, Jim Gibson, cut the ribbon to open the property to the estimated 4,000 guests who were admitted to the new property at 10 p.m.  A display of fireworks was used to highlight the grand opening celebrations.

You can check out some terrific opening night photos by visiting ratevegas.com as well as read a “players” look at the new M Resort from David Matthews at his “Gambling in Space” blog.

And don’t forget to look for my interview with Anthony Marnell III in the March issue of “Casino Player” magazine.

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New M Resort Will Focus on Food, Value to Attract Both Locals and Visitors

Thursday, February 19th, 2009
The new M Resort opens March 1 in Las Vegas.  Image courtesy of the resort.

Nine dining venues will be a major draw of the new M Resort which opens March 1 in Las Vegas. (Image courtesy of the resort.)

When the new M Resort, Spa and Casino opens its doors on March 1, Chairman and CEO Anthony Marnell III  will be able to gaze down upon the legendary properties designed in part by his father’s company, Marnell and Corrao Associates.  With a pedigree that includes work on such resort icons as Wynn Las Vegas, Caesars Palace, Bellagio, Mirage and more, the newest generation of the Marnell family is bringing mega-resort luxury, amenities and design innovations to a 90-acre spot on the “South Strip.”

Perched 400 feet above the lights of the Las Vegas Strip, the new $1 billion-plus resort – located about nine miles from Mandalay Bay – uses this vantage point as a key design element in the positioning of the resort’s nine restaurants, 390 guest rooms and suites, as well as the lavish outdoor swim and stage complex called  the Villaggio Del Sole Pool and Entertainment Piazza. (more…)

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Video Poker Tournaments A Perk for Players

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009
Video poker machines wait for tourney players at Bally's Las Vegas.

Video poker machines wait for tourney players at Bally's in Las Vegas.

One of the benefits of joining a casino’s players club is getting invitations to free tournaments — slots, video poker, table games, even bingo — along with the free hotel stay and other perks that go with the invite.  (Of course, you have to have past play in the casino to receive these types of invites.)

In a previous post, I mentioned that our last trip to Las Vegas was planned around a video poker tournament that we played in at Bally’s Las Vegas.  The tournament consisted of two 10-minutes sessions (one per day for two days) and it is no exaggeration when I say neither of us could hit anything during the tournament play.  No four-of-a-kinds, no straight flushes and certainly no Royals.  We both held four to the Royal, three aces, three low cards, three high cards — you name it — and still couldn’t hit for anything.  Funny thing though, while playing “for real,” we both did pretty well.  All those hands we couldn’t hit on in the tourney, we did, in several instances, pull off in the casino.

I’m thinking about this because we’re playing later this week in another video poker tournament — this time here in Phoenix — and I’m hoping that our luck will have a change of heart and maybe one of us will end up “in the money” this time out.  But, as always, even if we don’t win it’s always fun to compete, meet and talk with other players and generally just go out and have a good time on the “house’s” dime.

By the way, I’ve been practicing my Double Double Bonus tournament-style “holds” at videopoker.com, a great site for free, non-wagering game play.

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