Vegas Strip Is The Brightest Spot On Earth

I was doing some reading over the weekend when I came across a cool article from NASA with pictures and discussion about viewing cities across the world from space…at night. The article is a few years old but there are lots of cool pictures. Of course, I’m mostly focused on Las Vegas (photo above).

The “Vegas Strip” of casinos and hotels—reputed to be the brightest spot on Earth—stands out in the center of this image due to both its brightness and its diversity of light colors.

This isn’t anything that’s news to people that frequent Las Vegas, but this is a unique view of Las Vegas and I wanted to share that. I’m assuming that the giant green dot of light that stands out at the bottom of the photo is the light beam that shoots out of the Luxor. Pretty cool.

If you’re a world traveller the entire article is worth a glimpse, if only for the pictures.

Best Video Poker On The Las Vegas Strip

Royal Flush Video Poker at Red Rock Resort
Royal Flush!

I’ve been taking a look at the best video poker from Atlantic City to Las Vegas recently. Today I decided to look to see which casinos offered the best video poker on the Las Vegas Strip. The Vegas strip does NOT include places just off the strip like Palms and Hard Rock Casino.

Most casinos offer good video poker games in their high limit rooms with games starting at $5 so I decided to look at the best video poker games under $5 since that’s what more people play.

The good video poker games listed here are between 10 cents and $2 with max bets from 50 cents to $10. The pay table percentages are all based on max bets. Once again casinos are listed from best video poker to worst.

  1. Circus Circus 100.25% Aces and Eights
  2. Excalibur 99.58% Triple Double Bonus
  3. Luxor 99.54% Jacks or Better (JoB)
  4. New York-New York 99.54% JoB
  5. Treasure Island 99.54% JoB
  6. Mandalay Bay 99.20% Loose Deuces Wild
  7. Aria 99.17% Bonus Poker (BP)
  8. Casino Royale 99.17% BP
  9. Riviera 99.17% BP
  10. Tropicana 99.17% BP
  11. MGM Grand 99.11% DB
  12. Mirage 99.11% Double Bonus (DB)
  13. Wynn 99.11% DB
  14. Caesars Palace 98.45% JoB
  15. Flamingo 98.45% JoB
  16. Palazzo 98.45% JoB
  17. Planet Hollywood 98.45% JoB
  18. Venetian 98.45% JoB
  19. Bally’s 98.01% BP
  20. Cosmopolitan 98.01% BP
  21. Encore 98.01% BP
  22. Harrah’s 98.01% BP
  23. Paris 98.01% BP
  24. The Quad 98.01% BP
  25. Monte Carlo NA
  26. Stratosphere NA

The biggest surprises from this research is that there are positive returning machines on the Vegas strip (Circus Circus) and that the Stratosphere has absolutely no playable video poker games according to vpFREE. Monte Carlo has playable video poker but all are $5 machines.

All information from vpFREE2, the best place to research video poker. Each casino links to their respective page on vpFREE.

Also see: Best Video Poker Downtown Vegas. Best Video Poker in Atlantic City.

I practice video poker with the WinPoker app on my iPhone. It’s $9.99 and worth every penny. It’s the best way to practice video poker.

Coming Soon From MGM: FREE ROOMS (+ $100 Resort Fee)

Yesterday, Vegas Chatter, revealed that MGM Resorts is raising their resort fees across the board at their Las Vegas hotels and casinos.

Bellagio, MGM Grand, Aria, Vdara, The Mirage, Mandalay Bay — now $25 (previously $20)
Monte Carlo — now $20 (previously $15)
New York-New York, Luxor — now $18 (was $15)
Excalibur — now $15 (from $12.50)
Circus Circus — now $8.95 (up from $7.95)

Hotels charge a separate resort fee to give the illusion of cheap room rates. As hotel companies continue to raise resort fees in an effort to make their room rates look more competitive or cheaper than other hotels in the market it’s hard to imagine that one of these companies won’t discount their rooms so much that it looks as if the room is free.

Imagine this scenario in the future: The fee for your room at Luxor is $1 but it actually costs $100 after the resort fee. Meanwhile, down the street, you’re much newer room at Cosmopolitan also costs $100 and the don’t charge a resort fee.

Your net room fee is the same at $100 in this case. Where will you stay? A lot of people would choose the $1 room even if it’s the same price as the newest rooms in Vegas because of the fee they see up front. People are, generally, lazy and  simply didn’t do the math.

Resort fees suck, but we all have to deal with it. When pricing rooms you should always add the resort fee to the room rate to get the actual price you’ll have to pay for the room. It’s a pain in the butt, but it will give clarity when comparing room rates. Check here for a list of current resort fees and what you get.

At the end of the day the power is always with the consumer and your money. It is your choice to spend, or not spend, money on resort fees and the companies that charge them. If you don’t like the MGM resort fees then you probably shouldn’t stay, eat, drink or gamble at their properties. The dollar speaks louder than words.

On a personal note while I don’t like resort fees, per se, they don’t really bother me. I don’t mind doing the work to come to an all-in price to see if I’m getting a good or bad deal when going on vacation. Sometimes the resort fee that covers in-room wifi for an extra $10 is fine. Other times it’s not. I depends on the purpose of the trip and location.

There have been trips where I don’t mind paying $20 to sit in my Palazzo suite and use wifi because I’m feeling lazy, while there are other times where I’ll stay at a Caesars property and don’t mind going somewhere off site for wifi.

Warning: More Legionnaires Disease at MGM Resorts Hotels

Another MGM Resorts hotel in Las Vegas has come down with Legionnaires’ disease. Three people who stayed at Luxor have contracted Legionnaires’ disease since last spring. Unlike last year at Aria, when 6 people survived a bout with Legionnaires’ disease, one of these people passed away.

Three guests at the Luxor have contracted Legionnaires’ disease since last spring, including one who recently died as a result, the Southern Nevada Health District announced today (yesterday).

Well, that’s definitely not good. Don’t worry MGM says this time, they’re going to do sometime to combat Legionnaires disease.

Gordon Absher, vice president of public affairs for MGM Resorts International, said authorities immediately began remediation — super-heating and super-chlorinating water to kill the bacteria — when health district officials notified the resort last week.

“We take this very seriously,” Absher said. “Health of our guests and our employees is of paramount importance to MGM Resorts.”

This is nothing to joke about, but if MGM Resorts really took the health of their guests seriously they wouldn’t have waited for someone to die before bringing out the heavy artillery.

I’m not going to lie, I don’t know much about Legionnaires disease, but when I visit casinos I usually bring hand sanitizer with me and ALWAYS wash my hands when I use the rest room. This isn’t going to protect me that much, but at least I’m trying.

Casinos are the only place I’m a germaphobe. Most house keeping I’ve seen doesn’t seem too sanitary and guests at the hotels are even worse.

The conspiracy theorist inside tells me not to think these issues that are making people sick are not just with MGM Resorts properties, but 25% of the hotel owned by one company can’t be good.

Seriously, buy some of these Purell wipes. People are dirty.

Photo: Flickr

Cosmopolitan Announces Players Club: Identity

The Cosmopolitan has been slowly ramping up operations as we head closer to its grand opening in December.  Today they announced their players club called “IDENTITY.”

I love a players club I can sign up for and view online and I’m happy to see all clubs moving this way.  I’ve signed up and I’ll be ready to roll in December! I’ll have a giggle every time I see this name because it makes me think of the Carrot Top and FANTASY commercials I used to hear in every cab ride in Vegas a few years ago.  Whisper with me…IDENTITY!  Additionally, it sounds like a men’s fragrance.  OK, I’m done giggling.  Thank you.

Criss Angel Magic Kit

I was flipping channels one night and saw a commercial for the Criss Angel Magic Kit.  I had a chuckle as the commercial was very campy and almost looked like a parody of a real commercial.

There are plenty of people that like Criss Angel, judging by the longevity of his show at Luxor in Las Vegas.

I like sports, not magic so I’m not going to judge beyond this hokey commercial. Evidently he dated Holly Madison, so that’s cool.

If you want to wow your friends at an upcoming Halloween party – getcha Mindfreak on by clicking the image below.

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.

Conclusion

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.