Neon Trees Owe Vegas Something

I just learned that Neon Trees now have the #1 song in the country, with “Animal.”  I guess that Camp Vegas commercial is having an effect somewhere.

Neon Trees – Animal
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If you dig the Neon Trees you can buy here. Digital and Physical (aka CD)

How will the Cosmopolitan get Customers?

It has to be difficult being an independent casino is Las Vegas as there aren’t partner casinos to share customers with.  Because of that it’s no surprise to see the Cosmopolitan team up with a partner, Marriot, with a large database of customers

The partnership gives the nearly 3,000-room Cosmopolitan access to Marriott’s vast customer database, and gives its 33 million members their first Las Vegas Strip option to stay and win rewards points.

“A lot of those customers are going to Las Vegas every year and not staying in a Marriott product,” J.W. Marriott, Marriott International’s CEO, told The Associated Press. “Now they can go and stay in a Marriott product.”

As important, if not more, the Cosmopolitan will still have a separate gaming club.  The two will likely act similarly to how Planet Hollywood and Starwood worked together before Harrah’s took over.

Thoughts On The Venetian

This was my first time staying at the Venetian and I still like it as a casino, but probably not as a place I’d like to stay.

The vibe in the casino is nice and relaxed but fun and the crowd is in the middle of the age types – somewhere between younger people and older people.

One of my favorite places in the casino was the sportsbook.  It’s pretty big and since it wasn’t NFL season it felt like a respite from the rest of the casino.

One great thing is that the Venetian sportsbook still gives out drink tickets with bets.  I received a few with my losing bet, but at least I was able to cash them in for a few awesome glasses of Blue Moon.

While I was at the sportsbook bar I cashed on 4 aces in Double Double Bonus Poker!  I was only playing $1 since I threw it in waiting for my beer.  Too bad.

I found the Venetian pretty crowded all day and night as there were a lot of tourists and families with children.  I’m a single dude and screaming kids are not what I want in Vegas.

The Grand Canal Shops were crowded with browsers, shoppers, eaters and drinkers.  I tried to avoid the shops during operating hours because of all of the people, but was happy to sneak in to grab some coffee at Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf.  Also, during regular hours the shops also had this CREEPY live statue.

The Venetian has done a great job branding themselves as a semi upper class family hotel without being stuffy.  It’s taken years to get that kind of equity.

On the other hand the Palazzo, which is relatively new, has not yet reached a similar critical mass.  The Shoppes were dead like they were on my other two visits.  However, for the first time in three visits the casino floor was PACKED on a weeknight.  Maybe there is a turnaround slowly happening at the Palazzo.

Food options are another thing I liked at the Venetian.  There is both quantity and quality.

The food court by the casino is easy to get to and has a nice variety of food as well as free wifi.  The full service restaurants are good as well and Delmonico is one of my favorite steakhouses in Las Vegas.

I tried First Food and Bar, which is hidden between the two hotels, and it was excellent.  It wasn’t too crowded and had interesting food such as cheese steak dumplings and ahi tuna nachos.

One negative for me as a solo traveler this trip was that there was no iphone reception inside of the Venetian Grand Lux Cafe.  I hate eating alone and keeping my head buried in my phone is usually a good trick to pass the time.  Unfortunately I couldn’t do that while eating lunch inside the restaurant.  So I scarfed down this BBQ pork sandwich and headed out ASAP.

On a better note, I was able to sit “outside” the following morning and grab some steak and eggs.  My favorite hangover remedy.

Overall, I enjoyed the Venetian and will likely continue to make it a place to visit when I’m in Vegas, but I don’t see myself staying there again. There are a lot of positives about the casino, but the wear on the rooms and the hordes of families and tourists give me reason to go elsewhere.

However, the Palazzo is both empty enough for me most of the day, but crowded enough at night in the casino to feel alive.  If given the chance to return, I would highly consider the Palazzo.

Camp Vegas

I’m sure this “Camp Vegas” commercial has been running all summer, but I’ve only really noticed it for the past few weeks and a lot since I returned from Las Vegas.  To be frank I’m not so happy about it.  The song “Animal” by Neon Trees has been played way more than I could like.

I get the idea for the campaign – we’re adults, let’s go to Vegas and rage this summer.  Woo Hoo!  We can party with models from the TV !

Judging from the youtube comments, I’m not the only one that feels cynical about this commercial.  I get the idea of the commercial, but I’m not sure it really makes a connection with potential travelers.  I’m not even sure the entire campaign will resonate with their target of low 20’s pool partiers.

We’ll find out if the campaign was successful or not when the tourism traffic is released at the end of the summer, but I can’t see this campaign having a strong effect either way.

I can’t wait to see what the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority has planned for winter.  What happens in Vegas…

Grazie Upgrade, Upgrade!

I was chatting with some locals at the Diamond Lounge at Rio after I got knocked out of the poker tournament on my last trip to Las Vegas and they tipped me off that I could get my Grazie card upgraded at Venetian/Palazzo if I show them my Harrah’s Total Rewards Diamond card.

So, of course I upgraded my Grazie card from purple to gold, but it was a little late on the trip to have any real effect.

Unfortunately the upgrade is only for 3 months and my first impression was not good.  I could not get a later checkout than normal and the room rates I was given were higher than I have ever seen.

There are quite a few perks with the gold card, but most important to me is access to the 24 hour Gold Club and 50% increase in points for play.  Here are the extras you get with an upgrade.

•    Guaranteed suite availability 72 hours prior to arrival

•    Complimentary suite upgrade*

•    Invited guest check-in

•    Early check-in and noon late check-out*

•    Complimentary shuttle bus service to and from the McCarran International Airport (limit 2 guests)

•    Valet – Front-of-the-line priority service

•    Venetian Gold Club Lounge access

•    Slot Rewards points- Up to 50% more

•    Priority Concierge phone line

•    Priority show and restaurant reservations*

•    Phantom – Receive $25 off Orchestra or Golden Circle-level seats

•    10% off select non-sale items at Venetian & Palazzo-owned retail shops**

◦    Venetian: Apothecary, Baccarat, Emporio D’Gondola, International News II, Mercato III, Newstand 2, Ricordo, Venezia, and Pool Shop

◦    Palazzo: Apothecary, Café Presse, La Fortuna, Prosecco, Seasons and Pool Shop

•    Gondola Ride- 20% off tickets

•    Canyon Ranch SpaClub ® – 10% discount on services**

•    Azure – Complimentary entry for 2 (Thursday-Sunday)***

•    Tao Beach – Daybed rental with $100 F&B purchase (Monday-Friday)*

•    Tao Beach – Line pass and complimentary entry for 2 (Friday-Sunday)*

•    Tao & LAVO Nightclubs – Line pass and complimentary entry for 2*

There is a lot of *stuff* given to gold card member, but most of it doesn’t interest me.

I have to get 10,000 points on my next trip to keep the status.  I’m pretty sure I won’t, but it would be sweet if I did.  They count cash spending 2-1 for points, so I’ll earn a few bucks drinking wine and eating steak, so ya never know!

Beyonce…kick it.

Why I Play Video Poker

Two years ago I realized that a friend of mine was getting better comps than I was by playing video poker in Atlantic City.  I was appalled by this.  I never thought that a game that grannies played would be given better treatment by the casinos than the table games I played.

This was the catalyst for me learning more about advantage play, payouts and percentages over two years ago.  It’s also partially the reason I started ECG.  Hopefully people can learn from my experiences – good, bad, drunk and over-caffeinated.

Since my $15 bets in blackjack weren’t accumulating comps in the way they I wanted them to, I devoted that money to learning how to play video poker.  I thought that maybe this would help my comps a little while making me a more efficient gambler.  I still play $25 hands when I play blackjack, but I tend to stay away from low limits for reasons beyond comps.

Since I began playing video poker, my comps have certainly gotten better and I’ve been able to extend my gambling day as I enjoy playing video poker in the morning before the rest of the casino is awake.  I’ve also come to learn what I like and dislike with all games and I’ve learned a lot about my own tendencies when I gamble.

This blog started as an into into my video poker play during my recent trip to Las Vegas, but was a little too long for an intro.  Look for my video poker play later this week and why I think video poker in Vegas is lame.

Venetian Suite Review – Meh

I’ve stayed at the Palazzo for my past two trips to Las Vegas and enjoyed the suites both times I stayed.  This time I figured I’d stay with (Enrico) Palazzo’s sister (whoa) the Venetian.  Poor girl’s insides haven’t aged very well.

The Palazzo is still relatively new, so I was expecting a little wear and tear on the Venetian suite, but there was a little more than I expected.  Fortunately, the bathroom was still in excellent shape.  The shower and tube were spotless and cleaned daily.

The vanities both had marble tops and gold fixtures.

Unlike the Bally’s room I had in Atlantic City there was nothing gaudy about anything in the bathroom.

Unlike the Palazzo suites, the door to the water closet does not shut automatically.  That’s a good thing.

Continue reading “Venetian Suite Review – Meh”

In Running Sports Betting Coming To Hard Rock Hotel

In running sports betting is expanding by another casino in Las Vegas with a recent deal struck between the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino and Cantor Gaming.   Additionally a new sportsbook will be opening in 2011.

“Cantor Gaming has created an entirely new and exciting approach to betting on sports,” said Joseph A. Magliarditi, President and CEO of Hard Rock Hotel & Casino. “Instead of the action stopping once the game gets under way, with In-Running that’s precisely when the action starts. This opens up a whole world of opportunities and we’re pleased to be able to offer this innovation to our customers.”

Hard Rock Hotel & Casino will begin work on a new race and sports facility with Cantor Gaming, slated to open in spring 2011.

More betting options is a good thing, but I wasn’t very excited by my first attempt with In running betting at Legasse Stadium last year.  I may try it again, but I don’t see when.

It’s nice to see the Hard Rock creating a new sports book.  The old book was about the size of a postage stamp.  The increased size may actually give a reason for a sports better to visit the Hard Rock.  I wonder if they’ll have go-go stages.

$10 Free bet still available at Bet Revolution. Code is EAST10.

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Guest Blog on Vegas Chatter!

I’m so stoked to have contributed to Vegas Chatter that I need to share!  It’s an update on my free wifi findings on my last trip to Las Vegas.

Today, we have a special guest post from EastCoastGambler who details his harrowing WiFi experience on a recent trip to Vegas. Enjoy!

I love contributing to other blogs and hope to do so again.  You may recall I was lucky enough to contribute to Solo Friendly last year, talking about how I roll solo.

Harrahs Not Going Public…Yet

Last week almost 10% of Harrah’s shares of ownership were registered with the FCC.  Immediate thoughts were that the company would be going public, but that isn’t likely right away.

The SEC form used to register those shares, called an S-1, is the same one used as the first step toward an initial public offering, or IPO. Based on the S-1 filing Thursday, The Wall Street Journal erroneously reported that Harrah’s was planning an IPO.

The registration, made on behalf of hedge-fund manager John Paulson, does not necessarily mean those shares will be sold on public markets. The decision to trade Harrah’s shares publicly rests with company management, which has indicated no immediate plans to do so.

John Paulson is a billionaire investor who made a ton of money betting against sub prime mortgages when the real estate bubble crashed.  He will do something with his 10% ownership of Harrah’s, but the 4th quarter isn’t the best time for an IPO so I look for him to be patient and time this perfectly.  He has enough loot stashed where he doesn’t have to rush things.  At the first moment of clean air he’ll be ready to move.