Vegas Insider: 2010 January

Steve Hall 'A Brit in Vegas'

It has been a decade of change in Las Vegas. A decade when everyone seemed to lose. The famous streets of gold are now littered with the belongings of those who have had to leave town as the boom dried up along with the water supply.

The casinos are run by number crunchers, unconcerned about the welfare of the staff or the players. They have decided that gaming is the only sure fire winner. Recently casinos have been looking to exit the food market which is labor intensive and the breakfast buffet, in particular, is an endangered species. Now you are more likely to have a Denny's, CoCo's or McDonalds replacing the casino coffee shop with their famous 99c breakfasts.

Now the hotel operation has been deemed unprofitable. Binion's, Buffalo Bills and the Sahara have issued press releases saying that they are closing down the rooms until further notice. Many others including the Mirage and NYNY closed up to 50% of their rooms during the dreaded December period (NYE being the exception).

Shows also left the curtain down during a month when the only visitors are the rodeo cowboys and the Bellagio poker players. Neither of whom spend their evenings watching Motown reviews or Neil Diamond tributes.

Adam Altweis
Adam Altweis

Thoyan Doan
Thoyan Doan

I would not be surprised to see old dinosaurs like the Plaza and the Riviera close down.

Some of the City Center project opened last month. Aria had an international airing on TV on NYE. I received an email offering a room in January for $109 with $50 in free play money and $50 food/beverage credit. I am sure that will keep the reservation agents busy. Aria has a poker room with Adam Altweis given the honour of managing the room. Many of you will recognize Adam from the Bellagio tournaments .

Two newsworthy items from the Bellagio. One was the head shaving evening in Phil Ivey's suite (bizarre he should announce his separation from his wife at the same time as Tiger). This was done to show support for young Thuy Doan who has undergone chemotherapy after finding cancer in her knee. The treatment seems to have been a failure although she must have loved her visit to the Bellagio. The other was the shocking schedule for the April tournament. The 25k WPT remains but all other events will be $1k with rebuys. The schedule has been given a huge thumbs down by the players.

Matt Savage has been much more inventive with his scheduling for the LAPC a six week long marathon at the Commerce casino. Highlights include an opening $1m guarantee, $330 buy in, a 24 hour, without break, Ironman tournie (Feb 21st) and the star studded Invitational (Feb 20th). Other days see a Badugi, Chinese poker and Eight game mix. Unfortunately no rooms offers are available at the Commerce. Lots of interesting options are available in what is perfect beach weather in L.A. Even if you have to sleep at the beach I am sure Matt will send a limo so you arrive at the Commerce on time!