MGM Resorts Offering The Coors Light Of Wifi For Free

I like a little girth to my beer and tend to drink darker beers. Coors Light is the beer I’ll drink when I want the flavor of beer but not feel the full effect of a real beer. A couple weeks ago MGM Resorts announced that would be offering free wifi across all of their Las Vegas properties. At first I was stoked…you know me, I love free wifi. Here’s the headline:

Eight MGM Resorts offer free Wi-Fi on the Las Vegas Strip

Great! I spend a lot of time on the Vegas strip and offen grab free wifi to do a couple hours of work. Unfortunately the free MGM wifi is like a light beer and may not be so useful for people like me.

Basic internet access is available with the system for anyone located in public areas such as the lobbies, pool areas, casinos, and restaurants at the named resorts. Use of the internet service will not require a password. Hotel guests will get an upgraded service as part of their stay, and convention attendees or others in need of more bandwidth can upgrade to top internet speeds for a fee.

The new system is expected to be up to 30% faster…

The free wifi service being offered by MGM Resorts is a throttled wifi service. The MGM Resorts free wifi for the public will be 70% of the speed that hotel guests or convention attendees will get with their resort or convention fees. If you’re just stopping by one of the MGM properties you’ll be relegated to the slower speed.

The free MGM wifi isn’t useless. The free wifi at MGM Resorts properties will be good for checking email at speeds quicker than 3G but not for people that are wifi bandwidth hogs like me. I’m a multi-tasker that often has multiple tabs open on a web browser while instant messaging, uploading photos, downloading a podcast, etc. so the throttled speed isn’t perfect.

The wifi speed will be sufficient for most people using mobile web or email but I don’t see the MGM wifi bringing me into their properties to grab a lunch and do a little work. It’s unfortunate, because I’m always looking for an excuse to spend time at Bellagio. I’ll stick with the hotels that offer full access to their wifi connection like The Venetian.

If wifi at 70% speed is enough for you then you can access it at BellagioMandalay BayMirage, and MGM Grand right now with New York-New YorkMonte CarloExcalibur, and Luxor coming on board later this year. I believe Aria has been offering free wifi since it opened.

 

Best Craps On The Vegas Strip

Craps Table At Luxor
Craps Table At Luxor

As the year ended I looked at the best craps in downtown Las Vegas and didn’t find anything too surprising. Main Street Station has the best odds for a craps game downtown.

Most gaming on the Vegas Strip is worse than those offered in downtown Vegas but that’s not entirely true when it comes to dice. Craps on the Vegas strip is almost the same at every casino but there are a few locations that stand out being better than the rest. Here’s the breakdown.

  1. 100x – The Cromwell
  2. 10x – SLS Las Vegas, Stratosphere
  3. 3-4-5x – Aria, Bally’s, Bellagio, Caesars Palace, Casino Royale, Cosmopolitan, Encore, Excalibur, Flamingo, Harrah’s, The Quad, Luxor, Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand, Mirage, Monte Carlo, New York New York, Palazzo, Paris, Planet Hollywood, Treasure Island, Tropicana, Venetian
  4. 2x – Circus Circus, Wynn/Encore

3-4-5 Craps is the norm on the strip and that’s fine. Regardless of the odds craps still has some of the lowest house edges in the casino. The difference between 3-4-5 and 100x odds is fairly small and not enough to make me go somewhere I don’t want. That said, if Cosmopolitan or somewhere nice had a 100x odds game they would likely find me at the table.

Note: If you know different odds at any of the casinos please leave a comment. This craps survey was updated 3/2018.

Photo – flickr jcnikon

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.

Tosh.0 Goes To Vegas

I don’t watch what many people consider to be good TV. When he’s not airing videos of people vomiting, one of my favorite shows is Tosh.0. Last night he went off on a rant about Vegas before showing a short video of himself playing on hand of blackjack at Mirage. This kind of reminded me of paying off my lost Tim Tebow bet with Denver Gambler, but this is at least kind of funny.

The entire segment from Tosh.0 is below. Enjoy.

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.

Best Sportsbooks In Las Vegas (2012)

Earlier this year Forbes put together a list of the best sportsbooks in Las Vegas. I speculated that it may have paid for by MGM Resorts, by their numerous sportsbooks on the list. Between that list and talking about my favorite sportsbooks in Las Vegas on the Betting Dork podcast I wanted to come up with a list of my own.

If you follow my writing on Vegas Chatter, you already know some of the list. Here are my best sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

  1. Lagasse’s Stadium (Palazzo) – By far my favorite sportsbook in Las Vegas. Besides being a sportsbook where you can place bets and watch games, it’s a restaurant with decent enough food and waitress service. There is a lot of seating options as well as a patio with couches and a pool table. Lagasse’s Stadium also has it’s own little casino (blackjack, etc) if the games get boring. Take a look at a review I did after my first visit, so I can stop gushing.
  2. Red Rock Casino – I’m biased because this is my home casino. Distance aside, this sportsbook is one of my favorites for a few reasons. The Red Rock sportsbook is one of the larger sportsbooks in Las Vegas. It has 2 giant TV screens with ample auxiliary screens. There are about 16 lounge chairs to relax in and desk style seating for hundreds. The vibe here is always good, but it’s great during football season and perfectly relaxing during baseball season. Also, drink tickets are given and drinks are cheap after you run out of freebies. The only negative here is that it’s about 25 minutes off the strip.
  3. Venetian – The Venetian sportsbook is newly remodeled and that gives it the newest HD screens in Vegas. Besides having new crisp picture, the screens are huge. The lighting is also designed to enhance the viewing. While Cantor Gaming produces a very sterile, cold, not very comfortable (the seating feels like sitting at a work station) environment to watch games it’s impossible to dismiss how great the games look here. Cocktail service is slow and there are no drink tickets, but the screens here are beautiful.
  4. Mandalay Bay – I’ve spent quite a few Sundays watching football at the Mandalay Bay sportsbook. It’s nice sized with plenty of decent sized TV’s. There are desks and chairs for a couple hundred people. There’s also seating at the bar where you’ll have to buy drinks, but this seating is more comfortable. Even better is that just sitting at the bar playing video poker you can get free drinks. This is one of the few sportsbooks in Las Vegas that I’ve seen show boxing. The crowd is great and has a great draw for soccer if that’s your cup of tea.
  5. Mirage, Bellagio and Caesars Palace – Older sportsbooks that could use a freshening up with their TV screens and seating.
  6. Aria and MGM Grand – Aria is a newer casino and MGM Grand is recently remodeled. Both have nice screens, but aren’t very big.

That covers just about every sportsbook that matters to me in Las Vegas. There’s one glaring omission, which I’ll discuss separately when I get into the most overrated sportsbooks in Las Vegas.

 

Boom: Down Goes Dunes!

In light of the pending implosion of The HarmonVegas Inc. decided to list the Top 10 Vegas Strip Hotel implosions. I love implosions and figured this was a good excuse to visit the youtube archives.

For the next couple of weeks I’ll grab video of these 10 Las Vegas Strip Hotel implosions. We’re at the end of the list and at the most engaging implosion – Dunes. The implosion looks like a big party and was topped off with a $1 million fireworks show. If you’re going to get blown up, this is how to do it! This is a great end to the Top 10 Vegas Strip Hotel Implosions.

Opened: May 23, 1955

Closed: Jan. 26, 1993

Imploded: Oct. 27, 1993

With the slogan “The Miracle in the Desert,” the Dunes offered a desert oasis theme and featured a 35-foot-tall fiberglass sultan on its roof. The walls inside the Dunes were slanted, mirroring desert tents.

Through the years, the Dunes continued to add “Arabian Nights” themed elements including an onion-shaped dome. The hotel eventually added performers such as like Aztec Birdman, who performed ritual dances, and flying Indians to perform by the pool.

In 1961, the Dunes added the Diamond of the Dunes, a tower that was the largest in the state, bring the total number of rooms available to 400. In 1976, another 17-story tower was added, which brought the number of rooms to 1,300.

The Dunes hosted entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and offered the first topless revues on the strip, known as Minsky’s Follies.

In 1987, Japanese millionaire Masao Nangaku purchased the resort for $155 million. Nangaku could not make the Dunes successful and in 1993, sold it to Steve Wynn’s Mirage Resorts Inc. for $75 million. It was ceremoniously imploded on Oct. 27, 1993. The Bellagio occupies the site.

Destroyed In Seconds
Destroyed In Seconds

Las Vegas Video Poker Check

I have another trip to Las Vegas coming up next week so I decided to check video poker pay tables on vpFREE for games at the two casinos I’ll be staying.  For this trip I’ll be splitting time between the Mirage and Harrah’s.  I check check other casinos on my iPhone, so I only checked where I’m staying since I play video poker at these the most.

There isn’t much good video poker on the strip so I didn’t expect much.  However, when I checked the Mirage I got less than I ever expected.  There isn’t a machine under $1 that any smart player would recommend playing.  At least they have a good restaurant selection.

Here is the info from vpFREE, which is a must read before any trip to a casino if you play video poker.

Mirage (Last updated June 2010)

99.54% JoB 1-2-3-4-6-9-25-50-800 JoB (FP)
(4)$53/5/10 1 Play Slant bank 2 rows away from hi-limit, next to the table games
$5 1 Play Bar @ Kokomo’s Bar
(8)$5 1 Play Slant between Players Club and Caribe Cafe
(10)$5 1 Play Slant outside high-limit slot room
(1)$5 3/5 Play Slant in high-limit slot room
(1)$5 10 Play Slant in high-limit slot room
(3)$5, $10 3/5 Play Up in high-limit slot room
(1)$5, $10, $25 1 Play MG Slant in high-limit slot room
$5, $10, $25, $1001 Play Bar at the high-limit bar
(2)$25 1 Play Slant in high-limit slot room
(1)$25 3 Play Up in high-limit slot room
(3)$25 3 Play Up in high-limit slot room
(2)$25, $50, $100 1 Play Slant in high-limit slot room
(2)$100 1 Play Slant in high-limit slot room

99.45% BDW 1-1-3-4-4-9-20-40-80-25-200-400-800 BDW (FP)
(1)$5, $10, $25 1 PlayMG Slant in high-limit slot room

99.17% BP 1-2-3-4-5-8-25-40-80-50-800 BP (FP)
(8)$5 1 Play MG Slant between Players Club and Caribe Cafe
(1)$1 1 Play Slant near Players Club
(4)$10 1 Play Prog outside high limit towards atrium
(4)$25 1 Play Prog outside high limit towards atrium

99.11% DB 1-1-3-5-7-9-50-80-160-50-800
(5)$1 1 Play Slant $1 on west side of high-limit area
$10 1 Play MG Bar @ the new high-limit bar area

98.98% DDB 1-1-3-4-6-9-50-80-160-160-400-50-800 DDB (FP)
$10 1 PlayMG Bar @ the new high-limit bar area

98.45% JoB 1-2-3-4-5-9-25-50-800
(8)$5 1 Play Prog Up near Samba Restaurant Continue reading “Las Vegas Video Poker Check”

Kardashian Khaos: Kim’s and Koutrtney’s Oh My!

Big news in Las Vegas this week is Kardashian Khaos opening in August at Mirage.

Photo: Las Vegas Sun

I’m amazed that people are still into the Kardashian thing enough to open a store for them.  This is another place I don’t need to visit.  Thankfully it’s a klothing store and I can easily avoid it…unless Kim is in the house.

MGM Doesn’t Get It

I was just going to link to a good article on resort fees that the Las Vegas Sun had last week, but I got to a quote by MGM’s Gordon Absher that misses the point on resort fees.

Gordon Absher, a spokesman for MGM Mirage, which began introducing bundled resort fees two years ago, says the fees have spread at MGM hotels because “our guests see it as a convenience to have a single charge added to their overall bill” rather than a series of charges for things customers might not have expected needing, such as Internet access.

Show me one customer of MGM properties that would like to pay for services they don’t plan on using.  I’m sure Absher is just spinning company policy, but he sounds out of touch with his customers.