7th Annual Beerfest Weekend At Golden Nugget Sept. 17-18

Stella Artois Video Poker Bar At Red Rock Las Vegas
mmm….beer

The Golden Nugget has a history of hosting some of the most affordable beer, whiskey and wine festivals. This year is no different as they host the 7th annual beerfest weekend on September 17 and 18.

Tickets are relatively affordable at $54 or $59 (depending on when you buy). The best part of the fest is that there will be 125 types of beer. You can find more information here and in the press release below.

LAS VEGAS (August 25, 2016) – For the seventh year in a row, beer lovers are invited to the Golden Nugget Las Vegas’ annual Beerfest weekend event Sept. 17-18. Guests will be able to gather for the premier beer festival of the season in Downtown Las Vegas, and sample award-winning breweries paired with beer-inspired bites and live entertainment throughout the weekend. A portion of the proceeds will benefit The Animal Foundation.

This two-day beer weekend will feature the following events:

All American Craft Beer Tasting

Grand Event Center | Saturday, Sept. 17, 7pm

Enjoy a selection of tasty brews and soak up the sudsy venue at this special Grand Tasting affair. Guests are invited to tap into the season with a beer sampling extravaganza featuring over 125 selections of craft beers and breweries, paired with live music and culinary bites. $5 from every full priced ticket will be donated to The Animal Foundation. This event is priced at $54 pre-sale and $59 at the door per person.

Oktoberfest Pool Party

The Tank | Sunday, Sept. 18, 1 p.m.

Enjoy an Oktoberfest-style pool party at the Golden Nugget Las Vegas’ award-winning pool and shark aquarium, The Tank. Beer enthusiasts are invited to enjoy 125 different international and domestic beers while listening to DJ Paradice. Entry is complimentary and the event is open to the public. Beer will be available for purchase.

 Participating breweries for the weekend-long event include:

  • 21st Amendment Brewery
  • AleSmith
  • Alpine Beer Company
  • Anchor Brewing
  • Bad Beat
  • Ballast Point
  • Belching Beaver
  • Big Dogs
  • Big Sky
  • Boston Brewing
  • Brooklyn
  • College Street
  • Dogfish Head
  • Epic
  • Firestone Walker
  • Great Basin
  • Green Flash
  • Lagunitas
  • Left Hand Brewing
  • Magic Hat / Pyramid
  • Moody Tongue
  • Mother Earth
  • New Belgium
  • Ommegang
  • Oskar Blues
  • Pizza Port
  • Rogue Farms
  • Sierra Nevada
  • Speakeasy
  • Stone Brewing Co.
  • Tenaya Creek
  • Victory 

Tickets can be purchased by calling (866) 946-5336. For more information, visit www.goldennugget.com.

Best Cheap Blackjack in Downtown Vegas

Cheap Blackjack Cards 21
Blackjack

The majority of gamblers that visit Las Vegas aren’t high rollers. In fact, about 80% (arbitrary number in my head) are looking for cheap blackjack wherever they can find it. They’re also looking for good cheap blackjack games. You can find good cheap blackjack on the Vegas Strip but the options are decreasing every day.

It’s time to head to Downtown Vegas where good cheap blackjack isn’t too difficult to find. In recent years, we’ve seen gamblers migrating from the Vegas Strip to Downtown Vegas where the gamblin’s good (see the best craps odds in Downtown Vegas).

For simplicity, I’m using $15 as the cut off for cheap blackjack once again. I’m listing the casinos alphabetically and not by the games with the best house edge. Visit the survey on Wizard of Vegas to see the complete details of the games listed below and higher denomination games.

$5 Blackjack

Binion’s – House Edge: 0.66
California – House Edge: 0.60
The D – House Edge: 0.46 & 0.64
Downtown Grand – House Edge: 0.64
El Cortez – House Edge: 0.30 and 0.45
Fremont – House Edge: 0.60
Golden Gate – House Edge: 0.61
Main Street Station – House Edge: 0.60
Plaza – House Edge: 0.64

$10 Blackjack

El Cortez – House Edge: 0.30
Four Queens – House Edge: 0.57 & 0.60
Golden Nugget – House Edge: 0.48 & 0.60
Plaza – House Edge: 0.456

$15 Blackjack

Binion’s – House Edge: 0.60

Note: Most casinos have multiple games with a worse house edge. Make sure you check the rules before you play.

Updated: June 27, 2016

2016 MLB Season Win Total PECOTA Projections

MLB Logo
MLB Pecota Projections

Baseball Prospectus just released 2016 MLB Season Win Total PECOTA Projections. If you wager on baseball or play fantasy baseball you are probably familiar with the wealth of information available on Baseball Prospectus (BP).

If you’re not familiar with BP or PECOTA I’ll share some information after the standings. If you are familiar with BP and PECOTA you might find these projections helpful when looking at betting MLB season win totals and MLB futures (below).

This is only a snippet of the information from Baseball Prospectus. There are definitely some surprises and projections I don’t understand right now and will have to dig deeper to understand. You can see the full projections Baseball Prospectus.

American League PECOTA Standings Projections

ALPecota

National League PECOTA Standings Projections

NLPecota

What is PECOTA? Here’s some info from Baseball Prospectus.

(PECOTA) Stands for Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm. PECOTA is BP’s proprietary system that projects player performance based on comparison with historical player-seasons. There are three elements to PECOTA:

1) Major-league equivalencies, to allow us to use minor-league stats to project how a player will perform in the majors;
2) Baseline forecasts, which use weighted averages and regression to the mean to produce an estimate of a player’s true talent level;
3) A career-path adjustment, which incorporates information about how comparable players’ stats changed over time.

Check out the PECOTA section of the glossary for more on the system’s intricacies.

For reference here are the opening and current MLB World Series Futures odds from William Hill.

WillHillMLB

Here’s an even better reference and comparison for the 2016 PECOTA projections. Golden Nugget released season win totals. Here’s the first look from Covers.com.

NuggetMLBWins

See 2015 MLB PECOTA season win total projections here.

Golden Nugget To Host 3rd Annual American Craft Whiskey Revival on March 5

Whiskey And Dice
Whiskey And Dice
I’m not sure it’s possible to drink 24 types of whiskey in 3 hours but I think I’d like to try.

It will be possible to try that much (and possibly more) whiskey when the Golden Nugget hosts the 3rd Annual “American Craft Whiskey Revival” on March 5.

Tickets are $45 in advance and $49 day of show. I’m a novice when it comes to brown booze but this seems like a good deal if you’re looking to experiment with whiskey.

See more details on the 3rd Annual “American Craft Whiskey Revival” from the press release:

Golden Nugget Las Vegas is getting in the spirit of springtime with the American Craft Whiskey Revival, the third annual whiskey Grand Tasting event, on Saturday, March 5 from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. at The Grand Event Center.

The Whiskey Revival offers guests the opportunity to sample fine artisan whiskies, American craft spirits, moonshines, and barrel-aged beers from a variety of America’s great distilleries. In addition, guests will be treated to live entertainment and Southern cuisine, plus mixology and educational classes led by distillery owners and brand ambassadors.

The Grand Tasting will feature over 24 participating distilleries including:

  • Basil Hayden
  • Blanton’s
  • Bookers
  • Buffalo Trace
  • Bulleit
  • Death’s Door
  • Firestone Walker Brewery
  • George Dickel
  • High West
  • Hudson Whiskey
  • Jack Daniel’s
  • Jim Beam
  • Knob Creek
  • Maker’s Mark
  • Square One Organic Spirits
  • St. George Spirits
  • Amador Whiskey
  • Anchor Distilling
  • Templeton Whiskey
  • Michters

Advance tickets are available for purchase for $45 (plus tax and fees), and allow guests access to the Grand Tasting one hour early. Guests can also purchase tickets at the door for $49 (plus tax and fees). To purchase tickets, click here or call (866) 946-5336. Guests must be 21 years of age or older to attend the American Craft Whiskey Revival.

Sportsbooks In Vegas Crush The Public In Week 1 Of The NFL Season

NFL Logo
NFL

Casinos in Vegas have sportsbooks because they make money. Sportsbooks did great business in the first week of the NFL season. Underdogs were 10-3 against the spread (!) and 7-6 straight up in the first week of the NFL season.

Underdogs winning almost always favors the casino. While there are more educated sports bettors they still make up the minority of sports bettors.

From Linemakers:

“This was the best opening day we’ve ever had here,” said Golden Nugget sports book director Tony Miller. ”Just about every game we needed came through for us beginning with our biggest, the Falcons, and then the rest just followed suit like the Browns, Dolphins and then the Panthers. It wasn’t a good day for those that bet parlays.”

Note, it’s never a good day for parlay bettors. Casinos win over 35% of parlay wagers.

From Vegas Insider:

Wins by the Miami Dolphins (33-20 vs. the New England Patriots), the Atlanta Falcons (37-34 in overtime vs. the New Orleans Saints) and Buffalo Bills (23-20 in OT at the Chicago Bears) as dogs set the tone for a great day, according to Jay Kornegay, the (WestgateSuperBook’s Vice President of Race & Sports Operations.

From Covers:

Carolina was the biggest win for us, beating the Bucs,” Jeff Stoneback, sportsbook manager at the MGM Mirage, tells Covers. “That, then the Bills and the Bears tied for second. A short third was the Falcons beating the Saints.”

This sounds like a big win for the sportsbook operators but it could have been bigger. The Jacksonville Jaguars jumped out to a 17 point lead against the Philadelphia Eagles, who were favored by 10 or 10.5 only to lose by 17. Thankfully I teased this game to 17.5.

The first week of the NFL season was fun to watch and fun to bet. There was too much early game action for me to consider heading out to a sportsbook to watch. I had a single wager on the Tennessee Titans, a 7 team tease and my first two daily fantasy football games (more on this later) to track. I couldn’t handle tracking this much action in a public setting.

On to the next one…

Downtown Vegas Is Taking Me Away From Casinos And I Don’t Like It

Outside Of The Fremont Street Experience Downtown Las Vegas
Outside Of The Fremont Street Experience

It’s funny, gamblers always say that the Vegas Strip can learn something about keeping gamblers in their casino by offering better odds like Downtown Vegas casinos. I think it may be the other way around. Maybe the Downtown Vegas casinos need to improve their bars and restaurants like their counterparts on the Vegas Strip to keep gamblers like me happy.

A couple of weeks ago I spent a day and night in Downtown Vegas. I stayed at the Fremont Hotel because they always offer low room rates and no resort fee. My hotel room for the night was $32 after taxes. Not bad.

I went into this day away with no plan. My solo trips to Downtown Vegas have always been similar to someone going on a bender. I’d eat, drink and gamble way too much for a 24 hour period. This time my night in Downtown Vegas was different. I had a great time but it was a different kind of great time.

If you read this blog last week you saw daily updates of where I spent my time in Downtown Vegas.

  • I had a beer and chicken parm sliders for dinner at Triple George.
  • I grabbed a few beers and had some fun conversation at Nacho Daddy.
  • I had a flight of beer and then some at Banger Brewing.

Wow, I drank a lot of beer. There’s one thing missing from my night in Downtown Vegas. I hardly spent time in a casino and I barely gambled! This is very unlike me and I reflected on this on my drive back home to the burbs.

The casinos on the Vegas Strip are re-inventing themselves with new restaurantsbars and clubs to keep you on their property. My visits to the Vegas Strip haven’t changed. New restaurants and bars draw me to casinos on the Vegas Strip where I’ll inevitably end up gambling a little.

Eat, Drink, Gamble in one place – that’s my kind of fun. Let’s go back to Downtown Vegas.

Most of the new bars and restaurants are outside of the Downtown Vegas casinos. When I’m eating a great burger and drinking great beer at Pizza Rock there isn’t anything that says that I must go back out to the casino and gamble. The casinos in Downtown Vegas feel as though they’re becoming less relevant to me. They’re out of sight while I’m having fun eating and drinking and that puts them on the back burner.

Besides Andiamo Steakhouse at The D and Du-Pars at Golden Gate there really isn’t a restaurant destination inside of a Downtown Vegas casino that I feel like I ever need to visit. On the flip side every bar and restaurant I visited on my last trip to Downtown Vegas will be visited again.

As Downtown Vegas continues to re-invent itself the casinos may need to take note from the Golden Nugget and refresh their restaurants and bars every couple of years to keep old customers like me and attract new customers.

Many of my favorite casinos to gamble are in Downtown Vegas so it’s not like I’ll be avoiding the casinos there but I will certainly spend less money in those casinos when there are better bars and restaurants a short walk away.

It’s funny, gamblers always say that the Vegas Strip can learn something about keeping gamblers in their casino by offering better odds like Downtown Vegas. I think it may be the other way around. Maybe the Downtown Vegas casinos need to improve their bars and restaurants like their counterparts on the Vegas Strip to keep gamblers like me happy.

Best Craps Odds In Downtown Vegas

Golden Gate Sexy Craps Dealers
Golden Gate Sexy Craps

Craps is my favorite game in the casino. Besides being fun to play, craps gives the casino one of the smallest house edge’s of most casino games. Fun game and small house edge?! Sounds good to me!

You can actually decrease the, already small, house edge by playing greater odds. The higher the odds played the less the house edge. Today I want to look at the craps odds available in Downtown Vegas casinos. Since the higher odds decrease the casino’s advantage I list casinos from the best odds to worst odds.

20x Odds
Main Street Station
House Edge: 0.099% 0.065%

10x Odds
The D
El Cortez
Golden Gate
Plaza
House Edge: 0.184% 0.124%

5x Odds
Binion’s
Downtown Grand
Four Queens
House Edge: 0.326% 0.227%

3x-4x-5x Odds
Golden Nugget
House Edge: 0.374% 0.273%

2x Odds
California
Fremont
House Edge: 0.572% 0.431%

Even the worst odds in craps give the casino a smaller house edge than most games in the casino. Most people don’t like to max out their odds when playing craps because it’s too much action. I try to max my odds wherever I play. Minimum pass line bets in these casinos is usually only $5 so full odds isn’t too expensive.

The best craps odds don’t make the best games. I’ll get into my favorite Downtown Vegas craps games later. For more information check out Wizard of Vegas craps survey.

Golden Nugget Raises Room Rates $5

Golden Nugget Las Vegas On Fremont Street
Golden Nugget

Earlier this week the Golden Nugget added a $5 “Fremont Street Experience” charge to their room rates and people aren’t happy.

The Golden Nugget will not be charging a Resort Fee. Our Strip competitors are charging up to $25 in daily Resort Fees for use of certain hotel amenities regardless if they are used or not. Beginning July 1st, we will be adding a $5 Fremont Street Fee per day to room bookings. The Fremont Street Experience is an amazing 5-block attraction with free nightly light shows, bars, retail, unique vendors, and security. There are significant costs associated with maintaining the Fremont Street Experience and rather than raise hotel rates or charge high resort fees we have chosen to keep our rates low and implement a nominal $5 fee (80% less than Strip Resort Fees).

Base room rates at Golden Nugget for the next couple months range between $47 and $209. The $5 Fremont Street Experience price increase represents a room rate increase between 2% and 10%. The Cosmopolitan resort fee added about 10% to the cost of their rooms. It doesn’t seem like occupancy at Cosmopolitan was effected by the rate increase and it probably won’t hurt the Nugget because the surcharge isn’t as drastic to the customer.

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Hotel Room Rates

Hotels add resort fees on top of room rates so that third-party travel sites can’t commission on sales. Last year ago I hypothesized, jokingly, that we’ll soon see free rooms with $100 resort fees so that hotels can avoid paying companies like Expedia. Unless the government steps in to stop hotels from adding fees they will continue to use them as a way to increase room prices and avoid paying third-party booking companies.

Personally, I’ve lost so many times gambling at the Golden Nugget without ever winning that I won’t step foot in there. The price increase is annoying but it’s not out of line. If I didn’t have such strong feelings against the casino this small increase in prices wouldn’t keep me from returning.

That said, my next visit to Downtown Vegas will be a return trip to The D. I like that joint.

Photo: Golden Nugget

Casino Confidential Brings Binions To TV

Binions Downtown Las Vegas On TLC
Binions

Green Valley Ranch, Golden Nugget and South Point have been backdrop for TV shows in the past. Reality shows based inside casinos are awesome. They may not be good but they’re awesome.

TLC is bringing a new Las Vegas TV show set in a casino beginning April 4 with “Casino Confidential“. “Casino Confidential” is based on what happens with the staff at Binions Casino. Here’s what TLC says about the show:

Unruly high rollers, all-night party goers, and bachelor parties gone rogue; that’s Casino Confidential. For the staff at Las Vegas’ legendary Binion’s Casino, it’s all in a day’s work to make sure everything runs smoothly. In this high octane and no holds barred docu-soap all is exposed. With the extraordinary events and crazy characters that descend on the hottest party venue in Sin City.

The trailer for “Casino Confidential” doesn’t tell much more about the show but at least based in a casino and it’s not “Sin City Rules“. The downtown Vegas element should make for fun TV. Unfortunately I don’t appear in “Casino Confidential”. Regardless, my TiVo is set!

Hooters, Golden Nugget and Terribles Get New

People often ask for cheap places to stay in Las Vegas and I like to send people to hotels with new and clean hotel rooms first and formost. After new and clean rooms I look to the casino and then other amenities since that’s how I roll. In the past couple weeks a few non-major hotel & casino renovations have been announced. Here’s the rundown.

Golden Nugget Hotel Room

Golden Nugget – I don’t go inside this building anymore after too many bad gambling losses. That said, the Golden Nugget is probably the nicest, most luxurious, hotel in downtown Vegas. Golden Nugget room rates are easily the most expensive downtown and are comparable to hotel room rates on the Vegas strip. That’s how the Golden Nugget can pay for the Rush Tower, which opened just 4 years ago, to get new rooms called the Gold Club. I’m biased but I’d save my money downtown and get a remodeled room at the D, Golden Gate, Fremont or Plaza. You can find more renderings and details on the Gold Club hotel rooms at Vegas News.