Riviera $1000 Slot Play Freeroll

Riviera pulled this promotion.  It is no longer available and is not likely to come back.

Riviera Las Vegas is offering players a $1000 freeroll on slots.  It appears that this play is also valid for video poker machines.  Any machine in the casino should qualify as long as it pays points.  This would disqualify some video versions of table games, including video blackjack and Shoot to Win Craps. Table games do not qualify for this promotion.

Riviera will reimburse losses up to $1000 in a single day on a tiered system.  The chart can be found in the image on this page.  A playing day starts when a player first arrives and visits the player’s club to get a new card.  A player has until 11:59pm on that same day to claim reimbursement of their losses.  If a player fails to go to the player’s club before 11:59pm on their first day of play, they will forfeit all rights to the promotion.

The promotion is returned in free slot play.  Half of the loss return is added to the player’s card immediately.  The other half is added on the third of the following month and expires after one year.  A player can release the free play right at the machine of their choice.

The best way to play this promotion is to play the highest limit slots or video poker that you can find.  Riviera has slots up to $25, and video poker up to $5.  The $5 video poker can be played as high as $25 a hand.  The best strategy is to play for a large jackpot and not not need the promotion.  This is a good time to play recklessly and way over your bankroll hoping to hit a big win.  If a player loses and gets the free play, I suggest playing lower in an attempt to lower the variance to get their money back through the free slot play.

This is an interesting promotion.  Riviera is proving once again that they have no problem taking a big chance with a promotion in an attempt to get their name out there and bring players in the door.  The terms show that they reserve the right to modify or cancel this promotion at any given time so I suggest not waiting too long to hit this.  If I did not have a player’s card there already I would be taking advantage of this as soon as possible.  Mrs. Pokeraddict also has a player’s card there, so this household is going to miss out on this promo.

Edit: Riviera has made a lot of changes from the original promotion.  Multi hand video poker cannot be played for this promotion.  Video poker machines higher than $1 do not qualify for this promotion.  Some high denomination slots have also been removed from the promotion.

Two Las Vegas Casino Internet Branding Failures

Two major casinos have rebranded in Las Vegas in the past few months.  The Las Vegas Hilton dropped their affiliation with the hotel chain and became “Las Vegas Hotel”, or LVH for short.  Fitzgeralds also changed its name.  The new name for this hotel is now The D.  Being the SEO nit that I am, both of these name changes have bothered me.

Las Vegas casinos seem to do a poor job marketing themselves on the internet.  Some have yet to even set up Facebook or Twitter pages.  Some of these casinos just seem to be stuck in the past, with no way for their players to find them, or find their latest offers that may draw them in for their next vacation.  Many people reserve their hotel rooms over the internet.  If potential guests cannot find them, the casino will never get that reservation.  If the reservation is never made, there will also be a loss of gambling and other revenue.

There has always been the debate among SEO experts about whether it is better to brand yourself, or go after a keyword as a domain.  Here is an example of one keyword domain, and one branded domain.  Both of these brands are going to run into trouble marketing themselves on the internet.

Las Vegas Hotel

I cannot think of a worse name for a hotel in Las Vegas.  There is no value in this brand.  Every TV station and newspaper reported about the Las Vegas Hilton’s name change.  There were countless news articles that were essentially free advertising for their new brand.  Instead of coming up with a creative new brand, one that potential guests might have remembered, they decided on the most generic term possible.

“Las Vegas Hotel” is a highly sought after search term, but they did not go after that domain, likely due to the money it would have taken to purchase it.  Considering the company was bankrupt, and cannot even afford to replace their sign on Paradise Rd, attempting to place for that search term was going to be a major challenge.  I could not even find their Twitter or Facebook accounts without going to their website.  I would have had a hard time finding their website if I did not know to look for the abbreviation.  Without a sign on the road, passersby may not even know what the place is called anymore, which means that they would have no idea what to even search for to find the hotel’s website or social media accounts.

Social media is a free way to advertise to people that have essentially signed up to receive a company’s advertising, or a way for people to find promotions.  Using a brand that is difficult to find among the millions of users is a major obstacle to overcome.  From looking at the LVH numbers on Twitter, I assume that they were able to move their previous followers, or they advertised to their Las Vegas Hilton followers to follow the new name.  The @LVHHotelCasino has over 27,000 followers.  They are following over 25,000 people though, which seems unusual to me and probably helped pad the numbers.  Bellagio, with over 32,000 followers, is only following 89 people on Twitter.

The D

Fitzgeralds has decided to rebrand to “The D”.  While I love their marketing ideas, and their advertising campaign, the brand issue is a problem on the internet.  People looking for The D on Google are never going to find the website.  A Google search of “The D” does not come up with anything related to the casino.  Adding Las Vegas to the search comes up with news stories, but the website is the bottom spot on page 1.  That should improve over time, but this should have been resolved before the casino’s brand was changed.  This brand is also nearly impossible to find on Facebook and Twitter.  Their Facebook page only has 465 likes, about half that many follow the Twitter account @theDlasvegas.

Do not get me wrong here, I really like what is going on with The D.  I especially like the idea of transforming the upstairs into a retro casino.  I just think they could have chosen a name that could be found easier in social media and Google.

Maybe both of these properties will prove me wrong.  If one of them does, it will probably be The D with their ideas and offline marketing.  My last two trips to LVH to check on their sports book were troubling.  The place was nearly vacant, and the sports book is not what it used to be.  I was there to pick up the book of prop bets for the Super Bowl.  I went there twice, and they were out of the prop bet sheets both times so I gave up.  I have not been back since.

Hopefully LVH can overcome all of their problems.  I hate seeing anyone’s business fail, especially with so many jobs depending on it.  If the LVH cannot overcome their financial problems, that would make two Las Vegas Monorail stops out of seven that would be essentially vacant.

Canadian Poker Tour Issues at Tropicana

Update #2: This event was a major flop.  It was reported that only one player registered for the Main Event at the time it was to start.  Many other events started, but only played with one short handed table.  It seems that since no guarantees were advertised, they tried to sneak a dealer appreciation toke in, and they did not even offer free drinks at first, word got out about how big of a failure this was and players refused to enter the tournaments.

Update: After a lot of initial problems, the tournament director has stated that they will do away with the staff bonuses.  They also state that two players did qualify for the event at PokerKing Canada.  It looks like the tournament team has done right to fix these wrongs and they deserve credit for that.

The Canadian Poker Tour is having some serious problems.  The tour is running a ten day event at Tropicana in Las Vegas.  There have been many issues that I felt players should know.

The first issue is that it was held in a convention room far away from the casino floor.  This hurt attendance as passersby may not even know the event is going on.  It had a decent first day, reportedly drawing 59 players.  Players complained that when they went to sign up, they were hit with an unadvertised $10 dealer bonus chip.  This $10 goes to the dealers, but none of the advertising material included this information.  Dealers also get 3% of the prize pool, which is also not disclosed in advertising material.  One player complained that he arrived with only enough for the advertised buyin, leaving him short stacked from the start of the tournament.

The location and unadvertised fees were not the only complaints players had about day one.  Players did not receive complimentary drink service or food comps.  This was especially angering after getting hit with the extra rake upon showing up.

The second day did not draw enough players to even fill one table.  Word had gotten out about the lack of drink service and food, as well as the extra rake.  Today’s event, a $550 NLHE, failed to get off the ground.  At 2pm, when the tournament was suppose to start, there were only three players entered.

The tournament directors have now made a few changes.  The tournament will now be held in the poker room.  Players will also receive drink service with all drinks comped.  This is an improvement that may help the tournament recover, but it did not help the draw for today’s event.

There has been some concern about the number of players in the $1500 main event.  One tournament director stated “Winners from PokerKing Canada (new online site) from the Kickoff Series in Calgary won packages to March Mania.”  One player contacted PokerKing Canada and was told that no players had qualified for any event.  This is further cause for alarm for players.

Unadvertised Fees and Excess Rake Are Killing Live Poker Tournaments

All rake should be advertised clearly to players.  This includes any extra fees or bonuses that go to the tournament staff.  While the Canadian Poker Tour posted the fees at the bottom of structure sheets, these were not advertised or readily available to players as the advertisements did not even show the website for the tournament, the only place it appears the structure sheets could be found.  The advertisement is in the image in this article.  This ad is shown on the casino floor at Tropicana, as well as on the website of the Canadian Poker Tour.

The flyer shows each event with the rake, but makes no mention of a dealer add on chip.  Either the advertising was done very poorly, or this information was intentionally left off to deceive players.  Either way, I feel that it is unethical for the tournament to enforce this rule.  The Canadian Poker Tour should be paying this $10 out of their advertised rake, which ranges from $20-$150 per tournament.

This leads me to another issue.  This extra rake makes the $130 tournament have over a 27% house hold if you include the dealer’s share.  I understand that poker tournaments have a lot of costs involved, but live tournaments are truly becoming a ripoff.  In South Dakota, the cap on tournament rake was 10% by law.  The casinos do just fine with that.  If a special event needs to charge 27% rake, something is wrong with the structure.  Players complain about the Golden Nugget’s Grand Series and their $194+$46 tournaments, and those fees are only 23.7%.

I understand bigger tournaments will have higher costs associated with them, but do they really need to hold over one quarter of the prize pool?  Of course not, it is absurd, and these high rakes are going to eventually kill live tournaments.  I hope that all players refuse to pay this unadvertised bonus, or outright boycott the event, to send the message that this type of bait and switch tactic will not be tolerated.


O’Sheas to Close April 30th

Caesar’s Entertainment employees are reporting that O’Sheas will be closing on April 30, 2012.  Culinary Union rules require a casino to give 60 days notice to a closure.  Casesar’s Entertainment, parent company of O’Sheas, is reported to have announced the news to employees on March 1st.  The company has not made a formal announcement to the media.

The news was expected, the timing was just unknown.  The Linq project will take the place of O’Sheas.  Imperial Palace, located just north of O’Sheas, is set for a major remodel and rebranding later this year or early in 2013.

O’Sheas offers beer pong in their large bar area.  They also offer an affordable food court.  O’Sheas is also unique in that their poker tables used for cash games are located at the front of the casino in the middle of the party.  Most patrons see the poker tables before anything else.  This makes for some wild games.  O’Sheas is also known for the worst blackjack in Las Vegas.  All of their blackjack games pay 6-5 on blackjack, including their 8 deck shoes.

While the bad gambling will not be missed, the party atmosphere will be missed.  The new Margaritaville casino next door is likely to take some of the party amenities from O’Sheas, and in the long term the Linq project will provide Las Vegas visitors with a new Las Vegas Strip experience.

Las Vegas Summer Poker Tournaments 2012

It is that time of the year.  It is time to plan for the summer poker tournament season in Las Vegas.  There are five major poker tournaments this summer.  That does not take into account the extra action the daily poker tournaments are going to get with the influx of poker players.

Orleans Open

The Orleans Open will kick off the summer tournament season.  The Orleans Open runs from May 19th through May 27th.  All events will start at 2pm.  The Orleans Open kicks off with a $225 No Limit Hold’em tournament on May 19th.  There will be a total of five NLHE tournaments, three Omaha High/Low and one HORSE tournament.  Events are scheduled as two day tournaments.  If the past year’s HORSE event structure stays the same, it will be a very long tournament.  Buyins range from $225 up to the $540 Main Event on May 27th.

Binions Classic

Even though Binions released their Binions Classic tournament schedule two weeks ago, they still have last year’s schedule on their website.  The link in the title goes to a Two Plus Two thread with the schedule posted.  The Binions Classic will run between May 25th and July 8th.  Most events start at noon.  This is a change from last year, where most events started at 2pm.  There are many events besides No Limit Texas Hold’em.  There are several Pot Limit High/Low Omaha tournaments, a Seven Card Stud High/Low tournament and two HORSE events.  Some of the NLHE events are 4 max or 6 max.  Buyins range from $100-$1000.  The nightly tournaments tend to draw large fields after the tournaments so you might want to check those out too.

Grand Poker Series

The Golden Nugget will be running the Grand Poker Series between June 2nd and July 4th.  Most days will have two tournaments.  Each day will offer a No Limit Hold’em event and a non NLHE event.  The non NLHE events include Pot Limit Omaha, Pot Limit Omaha High/Low, 2-7 Triple Draw, Omaha High/Low, Seven Card Stud, Razz, Seven Card Stud High/Low, mixed games and other varieties.  Note that the non hold’em events are $194+$46.  This is about 24% rake.  Most events start at noon, which will conflict with Binions across Fremont Street.  Last year the events started two hours apart.

Venetian Deep Stack

The Venetian Deep Stack will run between May 24th and July 15th.  There are at least two events daily at noon and 7pm, with some days also having a 4pm event.  Those that enjoy non hold’em games are just about out of luck.  There are two $600 HORSE events, two $600 Omaha High/Low events, and a $600 Pot Limit Omaha tournament.  All other events are No Limit Hold’em including all noon and 7pm events.

World Series of Poker

Last, but certainly not least, is the World Series of Poker.  The 43rd World Series of Poker will be held at Rio.  The event runs from May 27th through July 9th which is the last day 1 for the Main Event.  Buyins range from $1000 up to $1,000,000.  While there are many No Limit Hold’em events, there are also many Omaha and Stud games.  There is also an 8 game and 10 game mix in addition to the typical HORSE events found at most tournaments.

I will probably be playing many of the non hold’em Binions Classic events.  Before that, I will hit a couple of the Omaha or HORSE events at the Orleans Open.  Hopefully the smaller events continue to draw.

Major Improvements at Riviera Las Vegas

The Riviera in Las Vegas has made some major improvements since coming out of bankruptcy.  Riviera is going in a direction that few Las Vegas Strip casinos have chosen to take.  Riviera has added some decent table games and made the rules more player friendly.  A convention room was converted into The Strip’s only bingo room.  They have also improved the buffet and as I posted about earlier, the R Steakhouse is excellent and a great value.  The hotel has also undergone a renovation.

Improved Table Games

Going against what other Las Vegas Strip operators are doing, Riviera is going back to the old school Las Vegas mentality.  Give the player a good game and a good value, and they will return.  They will also tell others about it like I am doing here.

Riviera has added a Pai Gow and Baccarat pit.  One of the interesting Pai Gow games was Commission Free Pai Gow.  In exchange for not paying commission, the house pushes on a queen high pai gow.  Riviera also offers single zero roulette and a single deck blackjack game that pays 3-2 on blackjack, which is unheard of on the Las Vegas Strip.  In exchange for getting 3-2 on a dealt blackjack, players can only double on 10 or 11.  It is still the best single deck blackjack game on The Las Vegas Strip.

Riviera also offers some low limit table games in video form.  There is a Shoot to Win Video Craps game.  There are also three video blackjack machines, one of which has surrender, pays 3-2 on blackjack and stands on all 17’s.  Both of these games have $2 minimums.  There are other less player friendly blackjack games with a $1 minimum.

1000x Craps

The most interesting change is the addition of 1000 times craps.  This means that a player can bet up to 1000 times their line bet when taking odds.  The table minimum is $5 and the max odds bet is $5000.  While this is mostly a gimmick, at some point a high roller is going to take advantage of this deal.  The house advantage when taking full odds works out to be less than 1/1000th of a percent.  If a player bets the don’t pass or don’t come, they could lay $6000 on the 6 or 8, $7500 on the 5 and 9, and $10,000 on the 4 or 10.  That would be some incredible variance with swings into the hundreds on thousands of dollars.

One other nice addition Riviera made was merging their box office, player’s club, and cashier all into one station.  Now a player that needs a player’s card, a show ticket, and/or a cashout, can do it all in one central place at the casino cage.

Riviera is at a distinct disadvantage being at the north end of the Las Vegas Strip with only Circus Circus within a reasonable walking distance.  They needed to do something to give them an edge over the other casinos.   I feel that they are on the right track in doing that.

Crazy Super Bowl XLVI Prop Bets

It is that time of the year.  We are just a couple of days away from the Super Bowl.  It is the one day that even the most conservative people do not mind putting a few dollars on a side and cheer for a team.  For many though, it is the last time to bet on their favorite sport for six or seven months.  It is one massive binge like Mardi Gras.  Bet all that you can, because there will be no football betting again until August.  That is why the sportsbooks have come up with crazy, silly bets.  If you are going to end the NFL season with a gambling binge, you might as well find the craziest bets out there.

A bet with a + means that the bet is an underdog.  For every $10 that you wager, you will win 10% of that number.  If a bet is +150 and you bet $10, you will win $15 plus your original $10 investment.  If the bet shows a -, the bet is a favorite.  You must lay 10% of that number to win $10.  If a bet is -150, you will have to lay $15 for every $10 that you would like to win.  If you win, you also get your wager back.  The numbers are actually based on $100 wagers so $100 on a +150 bet would win $150, a -150 would require a $150 lay to win $100.  If a bet says EV, it is an even money bet.


5Dimes offers quite a few interesting prop bets on the Super Bowl.  The coin toss bets are all just -101.  These bets include which team wins the coin toss, whether the player that calls the coin toss calls it right, and whether it is heads or tails.  There is also a -105 bet on whether the team that wins the coin toss wins the Super Bowl. There are also several musical bets:

Will Kelly Clarkson’s National Anthem be longer than 94 seconds?

  • Yes -125
  • No -115

Will Kelly Clarkson omit/forget any part of the National Anthem (includes any unplanned pause)?

  • Yes +490
  • No -870

At the end of the National Anthem, how many military style aircraft will fly over?

  • 5 or more +300
  • 4 or less -420

What color will Madonna’s hair be at halftime? 

  • More than half blond -675
  • Half or less blond +425

Will Madonna wear visible fishnet stockings at any point during the halftime show?

  • Yes -125
  • No -115

What audio equipment will Madonna use?

  • Headset or clip on mic -280
  • Handheld or stand up mic +200

NBC Production Prop Bets

I always love the announcer prop bets.  When Al Michaels in announcing, anything can happen.  He is never shy about hinting at sports betting and I am sure this Super Bowl will be no different.  While he is not in charge of any cameras, I am sure he knows people are betting on the production.  What are punters hoping for NBC to do?

Who will be shown first on TV, Archie or Peyton Manning?  (If both are shown at same time, the first name mentioned wins)

  • Archie +250
  • Peyton -350

Will Al Michaels say “Miracle” during 1st quarter?

  • Yes +425
  • No -675

Will Al Michaels or Chris Collinsworth say “Tebow” between the kickoff and end of first quarter?

  • Yes +170
  • No -230

The Tebow line has moved.  When I wrote about this earlier in the week the “No” was -170.  A lot of money is pouring in on the “No”.  I like the value of +170 on yes.  I have a feeling the embarrassing game he played at New England will come up.  Hopefully this will be the last time we hear about Tebow.  If Tebow wins more than five games next year, I will be shocked.

Will Gisele Bundchen be shown during the Super Bowl?

  • Yes -270
  • No +190

I had to Google who she even was.  She is Tom Brady’s wife.  I would assume that she gets shown at some point, especially if the game is close towards the end of the game.

How many times will Robert Kraft be shown during the Super Bowl?

  • More than 3.5 +105
  • Less than 3.5 -145

Robert Kraft owns the Patriots.  Unless this is a close game, the under is going to win here.

How many times will Peyton Manning be shown during the Super Bowl?

  • Over 3.5 +110
  • Under 3.5 -150

If you are into these kind of prop bets, I think there is a lot of value in the over here.  That is especially true is this game is close.

Who will be shown more?

  • Robert Kraft -105
  • Peyton Manning -135

Peyton Manning is a near lock here.  I have a feeling that he will be talked about non stop during this game.  They are playing it in his stadium after all.

Will there be a Gatorade dunking before the final whistle blows?

  • Yes -210
  • No +160

Who will Obama pick to win the Super Bowl?

  • Giants EV
  • Patriots -140

Thew only reason I can think of why the Patriots are favored is because of Biden’s error in San Francisco where he predicted the Giants would win.  Biden confused the San Francisco baseball team with the football team.  I think there is good value in the Giants here.  I think the president plays politician here and takes the bigger city with more votes during the election year.

Will the Dow Jones close up the Monday after the Super Bowl?

  • Yes -140
  • No EV

I am not sure who would take either side of this bet.  I am sure there is a better angle on index futures or options.


I am only including BetOnline because they have some interesting bets.  Make sure to do your own research before playing anywhere.  In addition to the bets below, BetOnline has several juice free coin toss bets.

How many plays from the Super Bowl will rank higher than this Blake Griffin dunk on ESPN’s Top Ten Plays of the Week?

  • Over 2.5 +135
  • Under 2.5 -160

Why will the first missed field goal of the game be “no good”?

  • Wide right +145
  • Wide left +150
  • Short +300
  • No missed field goals in Super Bowl +150

Like other prop bets, the house advantage on this bet is close to 25%.  If I had to bet, I go for the no missed field goal bet.

How much money will be wagered on the Super Bowl at registered sports books in Nevada? 

  • Over $94,500,000
  • Under $94,500,000

Yes, you can even bet on how much money other people are betting on the Super Bowl.  I like the over.

Politically Incorrect Wagers

What will be the race of the player to score the first touchdown?

  • Black -155
  • White +170
  • Hispanic +400

What will be the race of the Super Bowl MVP winner?

  • White -225
  • Black +150
  • Hispanic +1000

This is a first.  I have never seen a racial wager on the Super Bowl.

How many tweets will come from the Twitter account @DarrenRovell between 12:01am and 11:59pm on Super Bowl Sunday?

  • Over 149.5 EV
  • Under 149.5 -130

This is the first time I have ever seen a social media bet as well.  At least this is a bit more politically correct.


What color will the Gatorade dunking be?  If there is no dunking, the bet is a push.

  • Clear/Water +150
  • Orange +250
  • Yellow +250
  • Red +650
  • Green +750
  • Blue +1000

Who will the Super Bowl MVP thank first?

  • Teammates -125
  • God +400
  • Team Owner +500
  • Family +750
  • Coach +1200
  • Does not thank anyone +250

Super Bowl Ratings Prop Bets

How many average viewers will the Super Bowl have?

  • Over 117 Million -140
  • Under 117 million EV

What will the rating be for the Super Bowl?

  • Over 47.5 -110
  • Under 47.5 -130

How many viewers will stream the Super Bowl online?

  • Over 1.5 million -120
  • Under 1.5 million -120

I like all of the overs on the ratings.  This is easily going to be the most bet on game in the history of the NFL.  I think there will be so many people watching this game, both on TV and online, that it will blowout all ratings records.

There are some of the craziest Super Bowl bets out there.  I will probably only bet a couple of these props.  I am going for the Giants because after week 16 I bet that the field would win the Super Bowl.  The field was every team except for the Packers and Patriots.

My Super Bowl Prediction: Giants 31, Patriots 20

I have won my Super Bowl team bet every year since 2004 except for last year.  Good luck with all of your Super Bowl bets, unless you are going for the Patriots or want Robert Kraft to be shown more than Peyton Manning.

This post is for informational and entertainment purposes.  It is just to show just how absurd some Super Bowl wagering is.  Yes, people actually bet on all of these silly Super Bowl wagers.  Most Super Bowl prop bets have massive house advantages compared to straight bets.  It is best to avoid all of them unless you feel that you have some sort of angle or just want to have something crazy to cheer for.

Day Trip to Indian Springs Casino

I have been stuck on my writing about the online poker industry.  Nothing has inspired me lately.  I decided to take a drive up into the high desert north of Las Vegas up US95.  About 30 miles past the edge of Las Vegas there is a city called Indian Springs.  The city exists off of what seems to be mostly government jobs.  There is a large prison a few miles south of Indian Springs.  Creech Air Force Base is connected to the city.  Indian Springs is also the closest development to the Nevada Test Site.  On Wednesday, I stopped in a tiny casino in Indian Springs.

At first glance, it looked like just another dive bar with gambling.  I like what others would describe as dive bars though.  I went to the bar to order a beer and the bar was very nice.  There are large TV’s and newer video poker games embedded in the bar top.  The clientele was as you would expect in rural Nevada.  They were very friendly.  They all knew each other and were having a great time watching an automotive bloopers show on the Speed Network.

As with anywhere, the beer is comped if you play.  The games on the bar tops were terrible though.  I decided to go hit the casino floor and see what was out there.  For a while I played video Ultimate Texas Holdem.  I ended up hitting a straight flush so I played the other multi-player game which is six deck blackjack.  Unlike some of the Shuffle Master blackjack machines, this one paid 3-2 on blackjack.  I won a little playing that machine as well.

The slot attendant was very friendly.  I took good care of her and wondered if that was common there at all.  The casino was nearly empty so the service was great.  I have a feeling the service is good no matter what, it just seemed like that kind of place.

There is a caged in sportsbook that is only open a few hours a day on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  During football season it seems it is open daily but two weeks before the Super Bowl I am sure there is little in the way of sports action.  There was also a restaurant but I did not eat there.

If you feel the need to get out of town it is a nice drive of four lane speed limit 70 from Las Vegas.  The highway has mountains on both sides of the road and the western slops were snow capped.  It did not help me get over my writer’s block, but at least it gave me something to write about and a fun night out.  It also gave me a small win to cover the gas and time.

Shoot to Win Video Craps in Las Vegas

There is a new craps game that has been introduced in Las Vegas.  For those players that want a break from the table game of craps or do not want to bet the $5-10 minimum required at the tables, this game is for you.  Aruze Gaming has brought this “Shoot to Win” Craps game to Las Vegas.

This game is not like the previous video craps games that I have seen.  The last time that I saw a video craps game it was in Deadwood, SD.  The game was Hot Shot Dice.  The player that was shooting would roll a trackball similar to the video game Centipede to roll the dice.  The game was actually “Never Ever Craps” which meant there was no don’t bet and all numbers were points except 7’s.

Unlike the previous video craps game, Shoot to Win Craps actually uses two dice.  My wife refers to them as “Fuzzy Dice” but I think they are more like the Dice Game on The Price is Right. Players make their wagers on a touch screen.  Players have 20 seconds to make their wagers.  Once the timer is up, the player that is the shooter acts.  The dice start vibrating on the felt and when the shooter is ready, they hit the plunger in front of them.  To use another game show as an analogy, it is like “Press Your Luck”.  You may find yourself yelling “No Whammies, No Whammies” before you press the plunger.  If you take more than 20 seconds the machine will roll for you.

Players can bet from both the pass line and don’t pass line.  Players can also continue with come and don’t come bets.  Players can bet up to 5 times odds from the pass side, and lay up to 5 times from the don’t side.  The don’t side is laying 5 times the actual bet, not times the actual win like table games would be.  Shoot to Win Craps also offers hop bets, field bets where 12 only pays double, lay bets, place to lose, place to win and buy.  The standard prop bets are also offered including any craps, horn, and individual craps and eleven bets.

This machine is great for those just learning craps.  There is no rush and it is easy to learn.  Each bet on the board has a help feature associated with it.  This is also a good game to play if you want to have a little fun at a slow pace, especially if the drink service is good.  I have seen this machine at several MGM properties including Monte Carlo and NYNY.  I have also seen it at Riviera and at Red Rock.  In most cases, points are not earned, but you should still use your player’s card.  Your play is still being tracked as if it was a table game so your betting patterns will be rated.  Riviera gave me a comp to their steakhouse based  off of the play associated with the first time I played this game.  I was betting high for this machine, but I killed it betting from the don’t so it was mostly a freeroll on the large bets I made.

While the minimum bet was $1-2 where I have found it, the max bet ranges from $25 to $200.  I cannot imagine this is a good game for high rollers.  It is too slow and too social of a game for serious gamblers.  I would also imagine that betting large amounts of money on this game would draw a lot of attention from passersby and maybe even from the eye in the sky.  You will also become annoyed by the voices from the machine that yell things like “You can be the shooter” and “Everyone gets a chance to roll the dice”.

Vegas Club Hotel Closed

The Vegas Club hotel has quietly closed.  The Vegas Club is located on Fremont Street between Binions and Plaza.  Tamares Group owns the Vegas Club.  Tamares also owns the recently remodeled Plaza across Main Street from Vegas Club.  The group also owns The Western Casino that closed last week.  The Western’s hotel had been boarded up for years.

Unlike the neighboring Binions property that closed their hotel, Vegas Club’s hotel is actually being remodeled, albeit very slowly.  On high occupancy weekends some of the rooms actually reopen.  This occurred during the Consumer Electronics Show and New Year’s Eve although for most of the last two months the hotel has been completely dark.

The Plaza Hotel has not been meeting capacity.  There have been a lot of empty rooms in both the Plaza and Vegas Club hotels.  Guests that make their reservations at Vegas Club are typically bumped to the Plaza unless there are enough reservations to fill the Plaza.  The Vegas Club is essentially only being used as an overflow.

Vegas Club recently laid off a portion of their staff.  It was not just the hotel that saw cuts, employees that work the casino floor also lost their job or saw their hours cut drastically.  These layoffs do not include the 90 or so employees that lost their jobs at Western last week.

Vegas Club Valet Closed Permanently

Tamares Group invested $35 million in the Plaza remodel and are spending an undisclosed amount on the Vegas Club remodel.  While the company is not going anywhere, it is obvious that they are currently struggling.  The Vegas Club has large areas that are not used at all.  There is an abandoned bingo hall that has been a slot area, nightclub, sportsbook and a keno lounge, all of which flopped.  The back bar area has been completely closed with all of the alcohol removed.  The mostly abandoned front desk and valet area are in that area too. The Vegas Club valet closed before the hotel did.

There is no time frame for when the Vegas Club’s hotel will reopen full time.  The remodel does not have a publicly disclosed cost or completion date.