17/05/2012

Vegas Insider: 2012 May

Steve Hall 'A Brit in Vegas'

I am sure some of you are planning to visit Las Vegas during the sizzling WSOP months of summer.Here are a few updates:
Room rates appear reasonable this year but beware added resort fees. A casino can achieve page1 status on the cost comparison
sites by dropping the base price but adding,the despised,compulsory fees. These usually include free internet access but that is
available at all McDonalds and Starbucks.For example a $20 room at Palace Station actually costs $38 and $48 one at MGM jumps to
$79. The Rio and its sister properties (Caesars, Flamingo, Paris, Ballys + Harrahs) have abandoned resort fees although I suspect
they are the ones who thought of the idea.

The Palms will have a new look. The Playboy club, after six years, has thrown in the towel and left town. Cantor gaming has taken
control of the race + sportsbook. Cantor are very innovative although Vegas sportsbetting is still a decade behind their British
counterparts. William Hill and Ladbrokes are applying for licences and L.A. now has a track called Betfair Hollywood Park so things
can only get better, I suppose.

That reduces the Maloof brothers to mere landlords as the dining options are controlled by the N9ne group.

Cantor have also opened a new sportsbook at the Venetian. I have heard the casinos cocktail waitresses do not venture into Cantor territory so bring your own bottle, water of course.

I recommend you cross Flamingo Road from the Rio to visit the Palms. They offer good value and have my favourite machine, Big Split poker, a game similar to Pai Gow.

The Palms also lost Epic poker three episodes in. The production company was never payed and TD Matt Savage never banked his $33k
fee. The well groomed Savage bounced back with a new tournament gig at the MGM before driving to L.A. for his regular stint at the Commerce Cal State.The biggest losers, in this episode, must be Heartland poker. They had built up their brand in unfashionable mid America casinos but thought they had won the lottery when Mr Pollack (Remember "God save the Queen" John Kabbaj?) and Annie Duke came calling. It was a wrong number though and they now have their own badbeat story.

Matt Savage is experimenting at the Cal State. He had the "All in or fold" tournament that lasted from 6pm to 10pm and "eternament" that only gave players $125 in chips. The blinds started at $5-$5 with two hour levels. 131 payed $100 to enter and only 65 survived the first level. Another was for twitter fans, of the Commerce, only and Mel Judahs cashout wraps up the series.

Stay two nights at most MGM properties, Bellagio is not on the list, receive two free buffets.The 24 hour buffet pass is now in its third year at Harrahs. The price has risen to $49 but is still good value on a quiet weekday. Gordon Ramsey has opened a restaurant inside the Paris casino. Vegetarians not welcome unless, like me, you want to try his sticky toffee pudding.

August 5th sees Juventus v Real Madrid. It is good to see a couple of quality teams willing to play in Vegas but the heat is going to play havoc with Ronaldo's hair gel.