Hilton Honors Coming To Tropicana

My friends and I stayed at Planet Hollywood on one of my first trips to Las Vegas mostly for one reason. At the time Planet Hollywood was a Starwood Property. Not only could some of us use Starwood points and status from work travel, but the lesser travelers could earn points towards free hotels anywhere in the country.

Vegas may be the greatest travel destination in the world, but it’s not the only place to visit. Having a partnership with a national hotel chain is a nice perk for travelers even if people in this town (like me) don’t believe it there are people that want to travel places besides Las Vegas.

Planet Hollywood is now a Caesars Total Rewards property. While that’s not as cool for the world-wide traveler at least they offer discounts to locations outside of Las Vegas. Tropicana is the latest casino to jump on board the national hotel program.

Four days after telling you about a Vegas rumor that DoubleTree was taking over the Tropicana‘s hotel, it’s now official…

Hilton HHonors members will both be able to use and earn points with stays at the Trop.

While partnering with a national hotel chain isn’t an exciting marketing move it’s a nice perk for the traveler. Tropicana may not be the most exciting place but it’s not embarrassing property at all and is not the worst way to introduce new visitors to Las Vegas.

If I wasn’t so familiar with Vegas and have so much “equity” in Total Rewards properties I think this might attract me to staying at Tropicana at least once to see what it’s like.

Get Ready For Elvis and Sexy Blackjack at LVH

LVH (formerly Las Vegas Hilton) has been in financial trouble for a while. They’re currently in foreclosure and expect to find a new owner soon. In the meantime the LVH is getting new management with the Navegante Group. Navegante Group is known for turning around casino properties.

In 2005 Navegante was contracted by Tamaras Group to take over the existing operations as the lessee/manager of four hotel/casino properties in downtown Las Vegas: the Plaza, Las Vegas Club, Western and Gold Spike. Navegante, in conjunction with Tamaras, was responsible for a rapid and dramatic turnaround, taking the properties from major losses to positive cash flow. In May 2007, Navegante provided Tamaras with notice of termination of the lease agreements.

I’m pretty sure that Sexy blackjack didn’t begin at Gold Spike until after Navegante Group moved on from managing the property, but the image of mixing cheap gambling with good odds and Elvis sounds like fun and might be the only reason I’d return to LVH.

As you can see below, Elvis is already sexed up with his lei outside of LVH.

LVH Elvis

I was at LVH on Friday for the SuperContest seminars and spent maybe 45 seconds in the sportsbook. Even though there was nobody near me smoking the sportsbook was super smokey just like the last time I went to the SuperBook. It’s a great space, but smells so bad that it’s almost impossible to breath.

Great marketing and history draws people the SuperBook, but if they don’t get some bleach and ventilation then it’s all for naught because nobody that likes to breath (like me) will return.

Maybe new management will do that, but since sportsbooks only effect 1% of a casino’s income I expect nothing good to happen to the sportsbook. And that’s a shame.

Most Overrated Sportsbooks In Las Vegas (2012)

Yesterday I shared my list of favorite sportsbooks to watch and bet on games in Las Vegas. Frankly, most sportsbooks are fine as long as there is a game on and room to sit but those are my favorites.

Today, I’ll discuss the two most overrated sportsbooks in Las Vegas that many seem to like, I just don’t prefer them. Hence, these two sportsbooks are overrated to me.

  1. LVH (Formerly Las Vegas Hilton) – The LVH sportsbook is legendary. So much so that’s it’s put on a pedestal by sports geeks like me. When I finally made it to LVH it was for a Saturday during the college football season. The LVH sportsbook is huge and there is a lot of seating (both desk and lounge chairs) and TV’s. There is even a little room that has been upgraded with couches to watch games. Further, LVH will open their theater for big games. So, why is the LVH sportsbook overrated? Because it’s a filthy, outdated sportsbook with a poor location. It’s a place any sports geek should visit once to see and determine for themselves. It was just too gnarly for me to ever return.
  2. M Resorts – M Resorts is home to the first Cantor Gaming sportsbook in Las Vegas. When walking around the 5 year old casino, you get a feeling that the place is still new. Unfortunately when you enter the sportsbook if feels old. Technology has come a long way and you can see it here. There’s nothing wrong with the M Resorts sportsbook, but it’s not the be all and end all that many make it out to be. Besides the older looking TV’s, the seating is similar Cantor Gaming work stations that are seen in all their sportsbooks just old. There is a VIP area with couches, but unless you bet over $10,000 per game don’t expect special treatment.

Neither the LVH or M Resorts sportsbooks are bad. They just aren’t as great as many will say. LVH is dirty and M doesn’t cater to most gamblers. M is a beautiful casino and even though the sportsbook is just ok it’s about 15 minutes away from the Vegas strip and worth the trip if you have time. Unfortunately the same can’t be said for LVH, but it’s worth experiencing once in your life.

Next week, I’ll come back with some underrated sportsbooks in Las Vegas. They aren’t places I frequent, but places I’ve been and have treated me well.

Hilton Dead – Long Live LVH

Las Vegas Hilton is just about gone with the Hilton brand name coming down from the ubiquitous sign today. The hotel will run under the LVH moniker, similar to the way that Atlantic City Hilton is now ACH. It’s not difficult that these names are just money saving place holders until the properties can be sold to new owners and renamed.

In the meantime, there are a lot of memories that coincide with the Hilton brand name. Much like the Sahara, I’m indifferent. It’s not a place I have any memories from this casino.

VIVA LA LVH!

Photo: Matthew Adams on twitpic

Stratosphere or Hilton…Who Would You Kill?

I was reading this article about Goldman Sachs denying that they’re foreclosing on the Las Vegas Hilton in order to keep the Stratosphere alive and I got to thinking which of these casinos would I rather see go away.

The Hilton “speculates that Goldman Sachs Mortgage Co. may have orchestrated events to favor its interests in the Stratosphere to the detriment of the Las Vegas Hilton, but does not offer a single fact to support those suspicions,” Goldman Sachs’ filing said.

I’ve recently visited both casinos and have mixed feelings. First of all, I think both the Strat and Hilton are going away sometime soon. I thought that Station would take over the Hilton because they share financial backers (Colony Capital), but I’ve recently learned that Colony and Station aren’t interested in the Hilton.

Anyway, the while visiting the Hilton it felt big, old and dirty. That sportsbook was only passable because it was so big. Still it was dark and dirty. Meanwhile, the Strat has been recently remodeled and the casino looks pretty fresh and the room I saw was clean. It would be a shame to see that cleanliness go away.

Neither of these casinos will ever play a part of my life because of their location and independence from the rest of the strip. Neither seem to have much of a future and I don’t think saving one versus the other makes much of a difference in my life.

Station Casinos Football Contests – Week One

A few years ago I realized that the only fun for me in fantasy football was the draft. I was egged into a couple fantasy leagues the past couple of years, but hardly paid attention. This year I finally cut fantasy football out of my life and I feel much better for it. I was stoked just to bet on a couple of NFL and NCAA games a week and be done. However, over the past couple years I’ve been hearing about these football contests at the casinos so I considered entering one. One contest turned into seven, so my time that I used to devote to fantasy football will now be given to these contests.

There were lots of options but, because I am new to contests, I didn’t plan on dropping $10k on the world famous Hilton SuperContest. I ended up choosing Station CasinosLast Man Standing” contests for a variety of reasons. The “Last Man Standing” contests are only $25 each and end as soon as I lose a game (which could be this week). There is an NFL and NCAA contest and since I’m researching both each week anyway, I figured that I would do both and I’m doing two of each so I have a total of four entries for “Last Man Standing.” The other reason is that Red Rock Casino is down the street (and my home casino) from my house so putting in my picks is easy. This contest is simple. Pick one game from a list made up every Wednesday against the spread per entry. Done.

The other contest I ended up joining was the “My Great Giveaway” Contest. This was also a $25 contest and I purchased two and I got a third entry for free. All fees are returned as slot dollars at the end of the season so this is, theoretically, free.  This contest involves just picking winners and there are a lot of prizes beyond cash.

I’m stoked for football season and having a few bucks riding on the games doesn’t hurt. Much like in the past contests I’ve done, I’ll be listing my picks for “Last Man Standing” only. I look at the “My Great Giveaway” as more pot luck than skill. Since I have Free Picks and Fun for my sports content, I’ll post picks there weekly instead of here. I’ll also tweet the info if you follow me.

This will be the only blog that will go on both AC2LV and Free Picks and Fun, so keep your eyes peeled. Here are my picks for the week if you’re still reading.

Last Man Standing – NFL

  • Eagles – 4.5
  • Bucs -1.5

Last Man Standing – NCAA

  • Miss State – 6.5
  • Iowa -7.5
  • I wanted to go with Ohio State, but the game wasn’t on their list.

Hilton Out…Sahara In?

Colony Resorts (part of Colony Capital) announced yesterday that they’re ending their relationship with Hilton at the end of the year and that Las Vegas Hilton would be no longer and that a new brand partnership announcement would be announced before next year.  While looking for other brand partners for Colony Resorts, I can across this press release announcing a strategic partnership between SBE and Colony Capital from January.

sbe, a leading hospitality, real estate development and lifestyle company, today announced that an affiliate of Colony Capital, LLC, a private, international investment firm, has made a strategic investment in its enterprise. The partnership will focus on the national and international expansion of sbe’s award-winning hospitality platform.

I don’t really see the Sahara name moving over to the Hilton location, but it would be funny to see.  They may opt to bring the Station Casinos brand to the Hilton and make that more of a locals casino.  They may also opt to take a non-casino brand to Las Vegas similar to what they did with the Hilton brand.  I think something similar to the former idea is more logical, but we’ll see.

Las Vegas Fireworks!

Here’s a quick rundown on where you can find 4th of July fireworks in Las Vegas – even though some don’t go off on the night of the fourth.

  • July 3 – Caesars Palace
  • July 4 – Mandalay Bay
  • July 4 – Hilton
  • July 4 – Station Casinos Green Valley Ranch, Aliante Station, Red Rock Resort, Fiesta Rancho and Texas Station.

For more details check the Las Vegas Sun.  If you’re on the east coast, check the Atlantic City schedule.  Video from Mandalay Bay last year below.

Rumor: Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas Hilton For Sale?

Robin Leach has been on fire with somewhat interesting rumors this past week.  One of his quick hits this week is that Mandalay Bay and Las Vegas Hilton may have new owners soon.

I’m hearing that a group of well-heeled moneymen has decided that it’s time to start buying again in Las Vegas, and they have started discussions to bid on Mandalay Bay or the Las Vegas Hilton

There seems to be a few investors looking to get into Las Vegas casinos with properties being available at bottom dollar.  Investor John Paulson has been the most recent money man getting in on the action, purchasing almost 10% of Harrah’s.

This is only rumor and it’s from Robin Leach, so I’m not going spend much thought on what the future may hold for the properties.  I wonder who else is sniffing around.

Louis Theroux “Gambling In Las Vegas”

I was checking the TripAdvisor Atlantic City message board and saw a link to the 2007 documentary by Louis Theroux “Gambling In Las Vegas.”

This is a cool look behind at a weekend of gambling with high rollers at The Hilton.  This shows the fun parts and bad parts of gambling.  You can watch the youtube videos, in 10 minute segments below or you can buy a Louis Theroux box set if you want to own it.

The rest of the documentary after the jump

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