Uber and Lyft Discount Tip

This is a great tip to save money during March Madness in Las Vegas, but can really be used for any group visit.

  1. Download both the Uber and Lyft apps before reaching Las Vegas. Download Uber here and Lyft here for iPhone.
  2. First-time users should use a free ride code before paying. Here’s a $5-$20 off Uber code and $20 off 10 Lyft rides ($2 off 10 rides).
  3. The first person in the group pays for a ride using one of the codes above.
  4. After the first ride, that person should share their code with the group so that the next ride will be free or discounted.
  5. The discount codes reciprocate so each time a friend uses a code, the person sending the code gets a discount code. It’s a circle of discounts that you can use all weekend long.
  6. Repeat as desired.
  7. Enjoy VEGAS BABY!

This should negate most travel costs if a group of four is in Las Vegas for a weekend.

Uber and Lyft are not only less expensive than taxis in Las Vegas but they’re more convenient. Lines for taxis can reach up to an hour-long during a busy weekend.

You typically won’t wait for a rideshare on the Vegas Strip. Picking up a rideshare is different from taxis. Here’s a list of where you can find the Uber and Lyft pickup locations at Vegas Strip casinos.

I use both services depending on which icon I see first. Uber is slightly less expensive. It will probably save a few dollars if you’re heading to downtown Las Vegas or off the Vegas Strip.

Daytime Is The Best Time For Downtown Vegas

Outside Of The Fremont Street Experience Downtown Las Vegas
Dusk! Time To Exit The Fremont Street Experience

Downtown Vegas is awesome. 

Downtown Vegas is a shit show.

Even since I first visited Downtown Vegas I made it a part of every vacation. Now that I live in Vegas it’s become a regular stop. Downtown Vegas is great but it’s like that two face like that woman on Seinfeld years ago.

During the day Downtown Vegas is a much different place than at night. I’ve always been partial to visiting Downtown Vegas during the day. Here’s why.

Fewer People – The canopy and free concerts on Fremont Street bring out hordes of people. I don’t like hordes of people. The confined space feels claustrophobic. I don’t want drunk people touching me for no reason. I’m also always in a rush and hordes of people slow me down.

See Everything – During the day you can actually see everything. The vintage neon signs are great and I truly enjoy them but they’re distracting. The signs are designed to draw the eye and they do a great job at that. Those signs are really all you see at night. During the day you can see everything Downtown Vegas has to offer.

Even Cheaper Gambling – Gambling in Downtown Vegas is always cheap compared to the Vegas Strip. However on weekend nights you’ll see some minimum bets around $10. Yes, that’s still low but you can usually find minimums around $5 when the sun is up. I can dig that.

The Freaks Come Out At Night – The buskers and mascots looking to make a buck are always out on Fremont Street. During the day you can easily just walk by them. Buskers multiply at night since there’s more people and more money. They just get in the way. No thanks.

I like Downtown Vegas a lot and I prefer visiting during the day. Unless I’m staying overnight you’ll rarely, if ever, catch me in Downtown Vegas at night. If you enjoy crowds and a chaotic environment you’ll probably love Downtown Vegas at night.

Coffee Tip: Order A Grande In A Venti Cup

Coffee Tip: Get a grande in a venti cup
Order a grande in a venti cup

I’m going to pass on one of the best tips I ever received in Vegas. I’ll never forget the moment I learned about getting a medium coffee (Grande) in a large coffee (Venti) cup. As an avid coffee drinker this changed my life forever. I even used this tip today!

I was wandering around the casino at Planet Hollywood way too late one night trying to drink a cup of coffee. As I was spilling the hot coffee I walked into a Starbucks employee who stopped to pass on a great coffee tip that I’ll never forget.

He said that I should order a Grande coffee in a Venti cup. 

The next cup of hot coffee I had that weekend was ordered that way and I’ve never looked back. In fact, I ordered my coffee that was this morning as I type this from a casino.

The extra room almost makes the cups stumble or wobble proof. Likewise you could also ask for extra room in your large coffee but why not save a few pennies?

May your future visits to the casino be without any burns from your coffee!

Photo: Flickr

PS: This is also a great tip for drinking hot coffee in your car.

Blue Chip Blues

$1 Chip At The Quad Las Vegas
$1 Chip At The Quad

I saw the Pulse of Vegas Blog post the new chips for The Quad yesterday and I got slightly upset. Upset probably isn’t the right word, bothered may be a better word.

Their $1 chips will be blue. I don’t like that. In my time gaming I’ve been using the color of the chips instead of the denomination when requesting chips. With there now being silver, whites and blues it makes that a bit more cumbersome and, seriously, who wants to ask for the blues when they’re at the casino. Nobody!

  • “Just green please” – playing $25 blackjack
  • “Just red please” – playing $15 blackjack
  • “Can I get some whites please?” or “Can I get silver please?” – tip time.

I use $1 chips to tip cocktail waitresses until I’ve had too much to drink, then it goes to up to reds ($5 chips). I think I’m going to have to go old school with my chip requests in the future:

“Can I get bullets please” – future tip time.

Even though it’s not PC to say bullets anymore it may be time to go that route when I ask for $1 chips since I don’t like asking for 1’s or blues.

PS: Imperial Palace officially becomes The Quad today. (Link goes to 30% off rooms at The Quad)

Photo – POV Blog


Casino Speak

I read about casinos and gaming a lot and come across quite a few business terms that I’m unclear on. Their meanings aren’t always logical. Sometimes they’re too logical. While going through some UNLVGaming Research Reports I came across a lot of definitions that I figured I’d share.

  • Win Amount: Cash-in minus payoffs; (for sports: the amount the sports books kept for the calendar year)
  • % Change: Percentage change in win from the previous year
  • % Win Drop: Win as a percentage of drop, AKA hold percentage, the percentage of money wagered that
  • the casino kept
  • Drop: Total amount bet by bettors during the calendar year
  • Total Gaming Win: Total amount won by casinos on all games and devices during the calendar year
  • % Total: Casino win as a percentage of total casino win
  • Win/Unit: Average win per unit for the calendar year
  • Positions: total number of slot machines, plus total table games multiplied by six
  • WP: Win per position
  • WPD: Win per position per day
  • Units: total number of slot machines or table games
  • Win Amount: the total amount won from gamblers
  • WPU: Win per unit: total win divided by total number of units
  • WUD: Win per unit per day
  • Win : Percentage of total money gambled (handle) that casinos kept; also known as hold percentage

There are more casino business terms that aren’t listed here and there are more day-to-day casino terms that I’ll pass on in the future. Craps seems to have a lot of lingo that a lot of people don’t seem to understand.

Craps having its own language is part of what makes it fun, but it’s also nice to lessen the feat and bring new people to the game.

Tweet me @eastcoastgamblr


Navigating G2E

This is my third time at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) and I always forget some basics about the conference so I figured I might as well prepare for next year and let other people know some smart tips ongetting to G2E at The Venetian and navigating once you’re there.

  • Arrive Early – G2E is the most busy convention of the year at Venetian since many people in the casino and gaming business are from Las Vegas. This makes parking a premium at The Venetian.
  • Use Valet at The Venetian – If you’re going to park at The Venetian use the valet located in the parking garage. This will save time looking for a spot. It will also save you time looking for a space and when you leave. It took me about 20 minutes to navigate out of the parking lot yesterday.
  • Park at The Palazzo – If you’re hell bent on not using the valet then park at The Palazzo. The walk from the garage to the Sands Expo Center is maybe two minutes longer, but there’s much less traffic.
  • Enter and Exit From The Rear – The main entrance is a cluster after 9am. The entrance from Koval has less traffic coming in and less chaotic leaving.
  • Wear Comfortable Shoes – The expo floor is huge and you’ll walk a lot. I saw at least three women walking barefoot and carrying their heels by 1pm. Don’t be that girl.
  • Beware Contradictory Policies – Even if you’re considered press it doesn’t mean you have typical press access. Security is instructed not to allow pictures or video. That’s controlled by the employees of the companies. Make a friend and they’ll let you take pictures. It’s annoying and counterintuitive, but that’s the deal.
  • Blend In – You can take pictures with your phone if you seem like you belong there. Again, counterintuitive but that’s the deal.
  • Don’t Be Scrrrrd – Like every conference some panels are better then others. If you’re not into it then just walk out.
  • First Food & Bar – This is a great restaurant and it’s kind of hidden in the Grand Canal Shops. Not a lot of people are aware of it since it’s not easily seen. Good food and great meeting spot.

This is a really well run conference, but the amount of people can seem overwhelming. A little preparation saves time and lessens frustration. Hopefully I’ll remember all of this next year.

**Update: arrive before noon for valet, both The Venetian & The Palazzo are only allowing hotels guests in the afternoon.

Cheap Places To Stay In Vegas

People are often asking what hotels in Las Vegas they can stay for cheap. My immediate response is downtown or check expedia to see what you can afford. When the question stays on the strip, it’s a little more complicated but not really. It’s just too much for a tweet.

I’m writing this as a reference of hotel/casinos to look at if you’re looking for cheap options broken down by area in Las Vegas.

When in Vegas for Business

When people think of Las Vegas, they often think of a city where people travel to for long weekends, spend lots of money on gambling and/or clubs, and then head home. But Las Vegas has a much different kind of customer, one that fills in the gaps for those long weekends: the business traveller.  Traveling to Las Vegas for business can be a different experience and Bloomberg has a guide for the business traveller.

This guide is awesome, but I’m not sure how it pertains to specifically business travellers.  Sure there’s no mention of day/night clubs and bars, but there’s plenty of information on gambling and strip clubs.  In my world, when people travel on business, there is a need to act professional. I’m not sure how strip clubs fit into all of that.

All of that aside, the article is full of good advice.  There is really good information that the occasional visitor wouldn’t know.  Things such as:

  • Cabs can’t pick you up on the side of the road
  • House edge for many popular casino games
  • Using a players card every time you gamble
  • Put all charges you can on your hotel bill
  • Avoid ATMs at the casino

I think the information in this article isn’t so much for a business traveller as it is for anyone who just needs to know some tips for having a good time in Las Vegas.  After all, who wouldn’t want to know how to get casino comps, save on transportation, and know the right games to play?  These tips are valuable and can go a long way to helping someone maximize their Vegas experience.

Heads Up For Southwest Passengers

I’ve never flown Southwest, but that day will come soon as they are one of the cheaper flights in and out of Las Vegas. With Newark (EWR) or Laguardia being my home airports I flew almost exclusively through Continental since EWR is a hub for Continental and they had the most direct flights across the country. I know many of you fly Southwest to Vegas, so I figure this is worth a gander.

I don’t pay as much attention to travel blogs any more since I’m settled down here and don’t see much travel in the near future. Elliot.org is one of the blogs I keep an eye on because they are always keep an eye on customer service and are consumer evangelists. They recently posted an article warning “Don’t wait too long to ask Southwest Airlines for a refund” discussing what to do if you lose a ticket.

Interesting. So even though a representative told Travia he needed to wait a year, he would have had to apply for the refund within six months. That’s good to know.

There’s a lesson in here for all of us. Like any other business, airlines don’t want to keep credit on their books indefinitely. Vouchers and ticket credit do expire, and once they’re gone, you can’t get them back.

Even if you’re dealing with Southwest Airlines.

Bottom line here is don’t lose your airplane ticket. Second bottom line here is to set a reminder to call for a refund every 5 months no matter what the airline tells you.

Read the article for complete details on what Travia went through with his lost ticket. This is by no means meant to trash on Southwest, but it’s a heads up on what to do if you lose your ticket.

To Hang Out, Try Pai Gow

For the most part, gambling in a casino can be broken down into two groups: Machines and Table games. Yes, there’s also sports books, keno, etc, but for the sake of conversation, lets talk tables and machines. A lot of the conversation I’ve heard about why people won’t play table games revolves around the speed of losing. Table games can take your money in a hurry, but machine play can be slower. However, neither is very predictable. That is, unless you play Pai Gow Poker.

Pai Gow Poker is the ultimate “I just want to hang out for a while” game. It has a low house edge; Wizard of Odds has it around 1.5% and the player and house tie 41% of the time (bet is a push). On top of that, the player wins 29% of the time, meaning that 70% of the time you either win or tie. The only way the casino makes money on this game is that when you win the casino charges a commission.

A VegasTripping article out there once surmised that because you hang out so long at a Pai Gow Poker table, if you were comped expensive enough liquor, you could turn the house edge into your favor. I am not a statistician and can’t say whether this is true, but I like the idea. I won’t go through all the rules for Pai Gow Poker here. It’s kind of complicated, but feel free to click here for those. Pai Gow Poker requires an understanding of poker hands and then a little understanding of how to split seven cards into a good two hand poker hand and a good five card hand.

At any rate, if you already know typical poker rules, Pai Gow Poker won’t be too hard to pick up. If you are just looking to hang out, have some drinks, and let your money ride for a while, Pai Gow Poker could be the game for you.

(ED: Pai Gow is awesome! You can show the dealer your cards and they will help if you’re dumb and/or drunk.)