Play Blackjack With Judah Friedlander

You can win a chance to play blackjack with comedian Judah Friedlander.  Most people know Friedlander as the frizzy haired guy with the silly trucker hats from 30 Rock but he’s been doing stand-up for a while and been in quite a few movies.  Check the contest details and see below for the details.

Las Vegas Video Poker Research

I usually do a little video poker research before a trip gambling and this time is no different.  Below are the casinos that I may venture into.  I won’t play this much video poker, but it’s good to have the knowledge.

There aren’t any surprises.  Palms has the best pay tables.  While the strip doesn’t have anything close.  For all the crap people give Harrah’s properties, at least they have $5 9/6 Jacks or Better games.  I don’t play much that high, but I do dabble each trip.

It’s unfortunate that Venetian and Palazzo pulled their 9/6 Jacks or Better games before my last trip to Vegas in December.

As always this information comes from vpFREE, which is a phenomenal resource for video poker information.

Aria Resort & Casino‎
last updated: Mar 10, 10 03:34 AM UTC

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
$5 1 Play / outside high limit room. $8 CI = 1 pt.
$5 3/5 Play / Slant/ outside high-limit

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
$1, $5 1 Play / location unknown

98.98% DDB 1-1-3-4-6-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800 DDB (FP)
$1, $2, $5 1 Play / MG / outside the high limit room

98.91% DW44 1-2-3-4-4-9-15-25-200-800 LV Airport/Illinois Deuces
$1, $2, $5 1 Play / MG / outside the high limit room

98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
$1 1 Play / location unknown

97.30% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-50-800
$1 1 Play / Prog / Unknown

Bellagio Las Vegas
last updated: Mar 10, 10 03:31 AM UTC

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(3)    $10        1 Play                Slant     outside high-limit area
(2)    $10        3/5 Play            Slant     in high-limit area
(2)    $10        10 Play                Slant     in high-limit area
(5)    $25        1 Play                Slant     in high-limit area
(2)    $25        3/5 Play            Slant     in high-limit area
(1)    $25        10 Play                Slant     in high-limit area
(5)    $100        1 Play                Slant     in high-limit area
(10)    $5        1 Play                Slant     outside high limit room

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
(2)    $2, $5        1 Play    SP    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(5)    $5        1 Play    SP    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(5)    $5        3/5/10 Play    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(3)    $5, $10        1 Play        MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(2)    $5, $10        3/5 Play    MG        Slant     in high-limit area
(2)    $5, $10        10 Play        MG        Slant     in high-limit area
(2)    25¢, $1        1 Play    SP            Slant     near intersection of corridors to elevators and buffet.

99.11% DB 1-1-3-5-7-9-50-80-160-50-800
(2)    $2, $5        1 Play    SP    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(5)    $5        1 Play    SP    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(5)    $5        3/5/10 Play        MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(3)    $5, $10        1 Play        MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(2)    $5, $10        3/5 Play    MG        Slant     in high-limit area
(2)    $5, $10        10 Play        MG        Slant     in high-limit area

98.98% DDB 1-1-3-4-6-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800 DDB (FP)
(2)    $2, $5        1 Play    SP    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(2)    $5, $10        3/5 Play    MG        Slant     in high-limit area

98.01% BP 1-2-3-4-5-7-25-40-80-50-800
(6)    50¢        1 Play    Prog            Slant     near Snacks snack bar
(10)    $5        1 Play    Prog    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area

97.81% DB 1-1-3-5-6-9-50-80-160-50-800
(10)    $5        1 Play    Prog    MG        Slant     outside high-limit area
(10)    25¢        1 Play    Prog            Slant     near Jasmine Restaurant
(5)    25¢        1 Play    Prog            Slant     near Caramel Lounge
(4)    25¢        1 Play    Prog            Slant     near Circo Restaurant (10 Coins)
(5)    $1        1 Play    Prog            Slant     near Fontana Bar

Continue reading “Las Vegas Video Poker Research”

Odds For The Masters

The Masters begins tomorrow morning.  I won’t be touching this with a 10 foot poll.  As of now Tiger Woods is just 3 1/2 – 1.  Those are not odds I like.  I prefer larger odds. I haven’t thought about golf all year so I have no idea who I’d choose.

Odds from are below.

Adam Scott +6000
Alvaro Quiros +10000
Angel Cabrera +5000
Anthony Kim +2000
Ben Crane +20000
Ben Curtis +12500
Bernhard Langer +20000
Brian Gay +15000
Camilo Villegas +2500
Chad Campbell +8000
Chris Wood +25000
David Duval +10000
David Toms +10000
Ernie Els +1200
Fred Couples +3000
Geoff Ogilvy +3000
Graeme McDowell +10000
Henrik Stenson +5000
Hunter Mahan +5000
Ian Poulter +3000
Jerry Kelly +25000
Jim Furyk +2500
John Merrick +25000
John Senden +12500
Justin Leonard +8000
KJ Choi +6000
Kenny Perry +8000
Kevin Na +15000
Lee Westwood +2000
Lucas Glover +10000
Luke Donald +6000
Mark OMeara +50000
Martin Kaymer +5000
Matteo Manassero +50000
Michael Campbell +30000
Miguel Angel Jimenez +15000
Mike Weir +6000
Nathan Green +20000
Nick Watney +5000
Oliver Wilson +15000
Padraig Harrington +1500
Paul Casey +3000
Phil Mickelson +1000
Retief Goosen +2000
Ricky Barnes +15000
Robert Allenby +8000
Robert Karlsson +12500
Rory McIlroy +3000
Rory Sabbatini +10000
Ross Fisher +8000
Ryan Moore +8000
Ryo Ishikawa +15000
Scott Verplank +15000
Sean OHair +5000
Sergio Garcia +5000
Shingo Katayama +15000
Soren Hansen +15000
Soren Kjeldsen +25000
Steve Flesch +15000
Steve Marino +10000
Steve Stricker +2000
Stewart Cink +8000
Thongchai Jaidee +25000
Tiger Woods +350
Tim Clark +5000
Todd Hamilton +50000
Tom Watson +25000
Trevor Immelman +10000
Vijay Singh +5000
YE Yang +10000
Zach Johnson +6000
Field +1000 (Any Other Golfers)

Seven Stars Insider – April

Seven Stars Insider is back with more information for Harrah’s, Total Rewards, players. Of the subjects covered in this edition, I’m most curious about texpress at Ceasars Palace.  I’m into technology stuff like that.  On to the newsletter.

Seven Stars Insider – April 2010

NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at  You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at

Signature Event Scheduled For New Orleans

Choose the weekend of April 22 – 25 or April 29 – May 2 and journey to Harrah’s New Orleans.  The weekend includes cocktail parties, dinners, local tours and the annual Jazz Fest.  Click here for a copy of the invitation.  If you haven’t received information, contact your host.

Harrah’s Resort Offers Dedicated Self-Parking

Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City now has a dedicated Seven Stars self-parking area.  You’ll need to use a valid player’s card to access the gated area; however, several visits found the gate open so anyone could park there.  When leaving the garage, there is a special Seven Stars Club/Diamond express lane which allows you to bypass the booth attendant by swiping your player’s card to open the gate.  Caesars, Showboat and Bally’s all have similar express lanes, and Caesars has a gated Seven Stars Club parking area on the seventh floor of its self-park garage.

$500 FreePlay, 3 Nights In A Suite, $100 Dining Credit

The Atlantis Casino Resort and Spa in Reno is offering $500 in FreePlay, three nights in a luxurious suite and a $100 dining credit to all current Seven Stars Club members, as well as those who were Seven Stars Club members last year (April 1, 2009, to March 31, 2010).  For details, go to

Caesars Palace Goes High-Tech

Texpress – At check-in opt in for Texpress at Caesars Palace and you can do everything from find your Total Rewards balance, check any special offers you might have, get hours of operation and menus for Caesars 12+ restaurants, and more.  Simply go to any one of the 14 Total Connect 42” digital screens located throughout the casino.  Tap your special room key on the sign and your personalized messages will appear.  If you have a special restaurant offer, take your key to that location, give it to an associate and your offer will be activated – no vouchers or promotional codes needed.  While at this point Texpress is just a test program, you will have access to this at least through the end of June.

Yes, There’s An Ap For That! – Dubbed a “virtual concierge,” a new iPhone ap is being called the “ultimate electronic pocket guide” offering things to do, as well as famous features and tidbits on Caesars Palace’s history.  You can take a virtual tour of hotel rooms, review dining options and menus, and view a map of the casino floor.  The Special Offers function will alert you to offers just for you, and you can send an e-postcard where your picture appears on the Caesars Palace marquee.  Download the ap through the iTunes App store or call **7777 on your iPhone.

Upgrade To My Sands Preferred Card

The Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., will upgrade new My Sands player’s card members to its blue Preferred card.  Simply show your Seven Stars Club (or Trump Signature) player’s card when you sign-up.  In addition to the standard benefits – same-day comps, free alcoholic beverages on the casino floor, etc., players earn comps at a higher rate, get free valet parking or special Preferred-Level parking in the self-park garage, priority access at the My Sands Card Center, and access to a small private section of the High Limit area which serves hot and cold hors d’ouevres, cookies and other treats.  This area also has a small bar, but drinks are not complimentary; though you can use your comp dollars, and prices are extremely reasonable.  Visit for more information.

Buffet For A Day

If you like casino buffets, the Las Vegas Harrah’s properties have a special combo offer that’s hard to resist.  For $29.99 during one 24-hour period you can sample the following buffets: Flavors at Harrah’s, Le Village at Paris, Carnival Word at Rio, Paradise Garden at Flamingo, Lago at Caesars Palace, Emperor’s at Imperial Palace and the Spice Market at Planet Hollywood.  Luxor has been offering something similar, but just at its own buffet, and Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City has an all-day buffet offer, as well.  The Taj deal is scheduled to end April 30, but may be extended.

What’s Your Recommendation For The Annual Seven Stars Trip?

Lots of people reported poor or marginal experiences on their trips.  Some loved Caesars Palace, others hated it.  The Grand Biloxi had several negative reviews, as did Rincon and Ak-Chin (mainly because of their “isolated” locations – especially Rincon where the individuals felt a bit misled in terms of its distance from San Diego and area attractions).  Harrah’s New Orleans got unanimous raves.  However, one reader was so impressed with her trip to the Flamingo in Las Vegas, she wrote a four-page trip summary.  “Overall, the Flamingo made this feel like my first REAL Seven Stars trip, and is definitely the property I’ll return to!”  You can view her full report by clicking here.

Are You Exclusively A Harrah’s Player?

Some people are so loyal, they won’t even play anywhere other than their favorite Harrah’s casino; others “play around” at a number of Harrah’s casinos, but wouldn’t even consider playing at another chain’s casinos.  What about you?  Are you also a “regular” at any non-Harrah’s casino?  Do you hold another casino’s premium (similar to Diamond level) or ultra-premium (similar to Seven Stars) card?  Send me an email ( and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course – with everyone in a future newsletter.

Baseball Futures

I love baseball.  I have many ties to baseball, but growing up on the east coast baseball season usually meant spring was just around the corner.

I’m a Yankees fan.  I grew up a Yankees fan and I’ll always be a Yankees fan.  With that said, I would be looking to the National League for any baseball futures bets.  I don’t see any surprises in the AL.  However, the NL has a chance at an upset.  Odds are below.

Odds are from

Arizona Diamondbacks +3000
Atlanta Braves +2000
Baltimore Orioles +6000
Boston Red Sox +600
Chicago Cubs +1500
Chicago White Sox +2000
Cincinnati Reds +3000
Cleveland Indians +6000
Colorado Rockies +2500
Detroit Tigers +4000
Florida Marlins +3000
Houston Astros +10000
Kansas City Royals +10000
Los Angeles Angels +2500
Los Angeles Dodgers +2500
Milwaukee Brewers +5000
Minnesota Twins +2500
New York Mets +4000
New York Yankees +275
Oakland Athletics +4000
Philadelphia Phillies +600
Pittsburgh Pirates +10000
San Diego Padres +10000
San Francisco Giants +3000
Seattle Mariners +2000
St Louis Cardinals +1200
Tampa Bay Rays +1200
Texas Rangers +2500
Toronto Blue Jays +10000
Washington Nationals +10000

Managing the playoffs in baseball is different than any other sport.  The game changes.  Pitching staff strategies change.  A team only needs 3 starting pitchers.  Maybe 4.  Because of that I look towards NL teams with a few good starting pitchers.

The San Francisco Giants at 30-1 are the team I’m taking a chance on.  The other team of interest to me is the Colorado Rockies at 25-1.

The baseball season takes so damn long that I’ll probably forget about this because I don’t like to have too much tied up for this long so I’ll keep any action low.

Go Yankees!

Go to for all sports betting fun.

Rapid Craps!

Rapid Craps is a new way to play craps and not an illness from bad Chinese food.  The name gives giggles and is too easy to poke fun at.  I’ve never seen the game, but thanks to Five Hundy By Midnight I had a few chuckles about Rapid Craps.  The game wasn’t in Atlantic City when I was there a few weeks ago, so consider this a Vegas exclusive.

I love craps and rapid craps is the newest in a line of “Rapid” games from Shuffle Master. As described in the press release:

Rapid Craps™ combines a traditional craps table and live dice throwing with up to 20 touch-screen betting terminals. By automating many of the game’s elements which make it costly to operate, Rapid Craps increases game productivity and security.

I don’t really like roulette, but the redeeming quality of the game is the social interaction between the players.  I fear that Rapid Craps would do the same for the game – especially with room for 20 players.  Something doesn’t jive here with me.  I will look at this game and probably stay away.  If that changes on my next trip I’ll let you know.

Check the PDF for pictures and more details.

Total Rewards 1 – Players Club 0

This morning I saw that BlogWorld was announced for October in Las Vegas.  I’m not sure that I’ll be able to make the expo, but I figured I’d see if there were any comp rooms available in case I could make it.

Players Club

Since BlogWorld will be at Mandalay Bay I looked at my Players Club account to see if there were rooms at an MGM property.  Not a bad site, but not very functional.  Rooms cannot be booked through the site.  You’re just given the information for your comps.

I saw that I had 3 comp nights at Luxor, but the offer only went to June.  I called Luxor VIP services to see if they could offer the same in October and was told they would charge me (and my credit card) full rate and adjust if offers come through.  Offers are only made available once a quarter.  I thanked the woman and told her I’d probably go elsewhere if I can get an offer today.

Total Rewards

After that call I went to check my Total Rewards (TR) account to see if there were any comps available at the Harrah’s properties.  My TR account showed me that I had comps available at 4 properties.  Not too shabby.  Since the offer was available I booked at Bally’s since I’ve never been there and it was the closest comp room to BlogWorld.  It was easy as pie and done in about 5 minutes.


Harrah’s Total Reward program is the grand daddy of all comp programs.  I’ve read multiple articles that say it is the best.  MGM’s Players Club is still, relatively, new and developing. In fact, I recently posted an article how MGM is trying to improve Players Club

Nothing done here was wrong here as most casino offers only come out quarterly.  For a person like me, that plans almost everything in life well in advance, the ability to book a comp room 6 months out is great.

There may be plenty of things Harrah’s doesn’t do well (6:5 blackjack, poor video poker pay tables and mediocre customer service) but Total Rewards shows comp offers and easily makes them available.  That gives Harrah’s a big edge on the competition and gives them my business again.

MGM is trying to improve Players Club and a great place to start would be linking all of their properties reservation systems together and making offers available more in advance.  I’m looking forward to seeing if Players Club can catch up with Total Rewards.  They have a big hill to climb.

NASCAR Betting On The Rise

I’ve made a couple of posts on betting NASCAR races around the past couple of Daytona 500 races.  Few people have told me that they actually bet on any NASCAR events.  From what I’ve read NASCAR television ratings are dropping so the fact that betting on NASCAR is on the rise is a little surprising.

“We have grown every year in NASCAR wagering,” Hilton manager Ed Salmon told ESPN. “Our odds to win handle has increased an amazing amount from when we started in June of 2004.”

Ya learn something new every day.  I don’t know NASCAR well enough to bet on it, but I have noticed myself watching it a little more than I used to so maybe I’ll dabble in this down the line.

Allen Iverson Has Some Problems

I came home to the end of a report about Allen Iverson having some personal problems.  As it turns out he’s been kicked out of casinos in Atlantic City and Detroit and has gambling and drinking problems to go with an upcoming divorce.  I just checked to get the details.  Here’s the report.

I like Allen Iverson as a player.  He was gritty.  I love the small scrappy types.  Hopefully he can get his life together.  Good luck AI.

Seven Stars Insider – Feb March

Seven Stars Insider is a great resource for Harrah’s players looking for information and ways to possibly improve their Total Rewards experience.  The Total Rewards system is a little confusing so the more info the merrier.  As the disclaimer says in the newsletter this info isn’t only for Harrah’s top tier players.

Sign up for Seven Stars Insider on their site.

Seven Stars Insider – February/March 2010

[NOTE: While this newsletter was originally designed exclusively for Seven Stars Club members, there is useful information for anyone who has a Total Rewards® player’s card and/or plays/stays at a Harrah’s property.  Please feel free to pass this on to your friends.]

Planet Hollywood Becomes Part Of Total Rewards April 1

By now you probably know that a subsidiary of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. has assumed ownership of the Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas.  As of April 1, Harrah’s Total Rewards program should be fully integrated, enabling guests to earn and redeem Reward and Tier Credits every time they play at the casino.  Points earned in Planet Hollywood’s loyalty program, A-List, will automatically convert into Total Rewards credits at the time of the Total Rewards integration.  This is similar to what happened when Harrah’s purchased Caesars several years ago.

Harrah’s Cherokee Now Serving Alcohol On Limited Basis

Alcohol is now being served at Harrah’s Cherokee from 7 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon until 2 a.m. on Sundays. Note, though, that only non-alcoholic beverages are complimentary and you cannot use comp dollars to purchase alcohol.

Aces Closes

In preparation for recently approved table games in Pennsylvania, Aces Diner at Harrah’s Chester closed in mid-February.  Not a big loss, in many guests’ opinions.

Snow Days In Atlantic City

Once again, Harrah’s angered its most valued customers by closing its Diamond Clubs the last Thursday and Friday of February “due to inclement weather.”  Meanwhile, the bars at Showboat Thursday night were packed to capacity, and most other Harrah’s food and beverage outlets around the city were open for business.  By Friday, there were no significant weather problems that should have delayed most guests or employees from getting to Atlantic City.  As a matter of fact, Trump Marina’s Chairman’s Club was open both Thursday and Friday, as was the Borgata’s Amphora Lounge.  Trump Taj Mahal’s Chairman’s Club was closed Thursday, but offered eligible players coupons for the buffet at a reduced rate (10 comp dollars for a lunch or dinner valued at $21).

Seven Stars Insider Site Updated

Google did a wholesale conversion of all its Web sites, and caused a number of sites – including Seven Stars Insider – to lose much of its original formatting.  This has since been fixed, some factual errors corrected, and information on several properties updated.  If you visit a Harrah’s property and find incorrect information on the site – or information that needs to be updated, please send an email to  In addition, as always, we are looking for reports on properties currently not represented on the site.  If you can provide any insights, again, please send an email to

Did You Attend A New Year’s Eve Celebration?

Not a big response to this question, but everyone who commented had “raves” (especially for the events at Harrah’s Resort and Bally’s in Atlantic City).  See specific comments below:

  • “My husband and I attended the party at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City.  It had a Moulin Rouge theme in one of the upstairs ballrooms.  The dinner was wonderful – an ‘11’out of ‘10’.”
  • “We attended the party at Bally’s in Atlantic City.  It was an excellent event, just as good as previous years’.  [The 12-piece band] played and sang everything from the ’40s through ’90s rap music.  The meal was lobster, shrimp and filet mignon.  We did not expect it to be that good.  Recent events at Bally’s had been very disappointing.  One previous dinner featured a chicken cutlet and one stuffed shrimp.”

What’s Your Recommendation For The Annual Seven Stars Trip?

A lot of new members, in particular, would appreciate your thoughts on where to take the annual trip.  Did you have an outstanding experience somewhere, or, conversely, is there some property you wouldn’t send your worst enemy?  Send me an email ( and I’ll share your thoughts – anonymously, of course – with everyone in a future newsletter.  (Be sure to check out some tips for your annual trip by going to


P.S.  Back issues of the Seven Stars Insider newsletter are available online at  You will need Adobe Acrobat to view them, but this is a free program available at

Darryl D. McEwen, Publisher

Seven Stars Insider