Sunday, April 15, 2012

Eaten By The Bear

Currently, I'm licking my wounds from my recent trip to Las Vegas and surrounding area. As I have mentioned before, never gamble what you can't afford to lose. I really do believe this but it is difficult to accept. I spent my entire bankroll for the trip. I was there for 10 days. Now don't jump to conclusions, I allot $200 per day for gambling. That doesn't seem like much for some but others might gasp in disbelief. For me, I feel it only because that was also money for future Vegas gambling. Now I have to work my side activities to earn another bankroll.

As you know, I enjoy video keno. Normally, I can get enough small jackpots to extend playing time. This outing was particularly brutal. The machines were having none of me. As you should also know, slot machines are not random. They can be set to payout jackpots at certain rates and amounts. What is random, is your moment in time playing a particular machine. I couldn't catch a break. But, gambling is ebb and flow. Does it mean I'm going to quit going to Vegas? Obviously, not. But, I may change the way I gamble.

The casinos are in the business of making money. They make money from losing customers. I donated to my favorite casinos this time out. I won $5600 the last 6 months of 2011. So, I knew at some point in time, I would have to give some back. Admittedly, the machines felt a bit tighter than usual. The only change I may make is the amount per bet I make. Hopefully, this streak won't last long and I'll be on the winning track again. I hope that everything goes well with you. I hope you're eating the bear. I wish all of you good health and fortune.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Your Opinion Counts

Ever stay in a Las Vegas hotel-casino and received an email asking for your impressions of the stay? Well, I always do. I used to ignore them. But, in the last two years I have actually participated in their surveys. You know what? They have responded a time or two. I truly do believe that the casinos are interested in your opinion. Why? They want to be financially successful. When they offer what you want, you'll likely show up.

Their success is your success. When they are doing well, more free room offers, free slot play and meal deals become part of the business plan. True, they want your money but I know that I'm more willing to gamble when I feel special. I've played long enough to know that when the casino is doing well the jackpots come a little easier. Yes, they reward gamblers. That is their business. The rest of it is merely frills.

I have also used these surveys when I feel that I have been mistreated in some way. Personally, I don't complain about little things that occur due to human error. However, in one instance, I waited 45 minutes to give a meal order and just ended up leaving the restaurant. I definitely complained and received satisfaction. But, had I just left angry and not complained, I probably would never go back. Plus, the restaurant would never have the opportunity to improve.

The bigger picture is we need to improve all aspects of our lives. We only get one and we need to make the most of it. Allowing bad value and service is wrong for everyone. Accepting things as "just the way they are" makes things progressively worst. Some may find it odd that I care about casinos when children are starving in third world countries. Well, casinos contribute to myriads of local and national causes. They can't do that if they close. Plus, these places allow people like me to relax and rest so we can all do our jobs at a high level.

So, next time you receive a survey about your stay, answer it. Don't be surprised if your suggestion becomes a reality. Help casinos stay in business by giving you, the consumer, what you want. I want to take a few moments to apologize for my long absence but I'm back ready to rock and roll. Until next time, I wish all of you good health and great fortune.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

To Buffet or not to Buffet?

You know that one of the claims of fame of Las Vegas is their buffets. Certainly, I would think that most people would want to get the most for their money. I imagine that buffets fit that bill, to some. Ok, you're hearing a large "but" to this last statement. And, you would be correct. It is my opinion, that, buffets do not hold the value that perhaps that they once had. In our present economy, buffets are not the meal choice for everyone. There are a few factors to consider about buffets: healthy food choices versus comfort foods, amount of individual food consumed at a sitting, personal health and the price of the particular buffet meal.

Some of the bigger casinos are trying to make a concerted effort to create healthier menu choices for their customers. The Rio comes to mind. But certainly, they are not the only ones. In reality, I'm not convinced that most that frequent buffets are concerned whether healthy choices are available. I'm a diabetic and I'm not alone in my dietary concerns or in my condition. However, even if you're not concerned about such things, food quality should be one. I'm not totally convinced that food under lamps, that has been handled by many people and that is out for a length of time is healthy. No, I've never gotten sick from a buffet but I do think about such elements after I eat at one.

The tendency for me is to overeat at a buffet. The availability of tasty food choices and the immediate gratification factor are great influences on overeating. But, as most of you know overeating is not only an uncomfortable condition but not very healthy. Additionally, the feeling of getting your money's worth also motivates me to overeat. Overeating is something I rarely do but buffets are the exception. Again, I'm not convinced that most that frequent buffets are concerned about overeating until it is too late.

Of course, my health is a governing concern for the way I eat. It has to be. But, that is not to say I don't enjoy buffets. I do and there lies the problem. I have to take care what I eat, how much I eat and total calories. So, I limit the times I eat at a buffet. It is my belief, that we can control most of what happens to us. We can choose what we do. Eating at a buffet is, after all, a conscience choice. I do believe a buffet is part of the total Vegas experience. So, by all means try one. But, be aware of what you are getting in to.

Price is a factor that, admittedly, concerns me. Most dinner buffets cost between 10.99 - 18.99. Sometimes the price is more depending on the casino and what is offered on the menu. That is all well and good but seriously, I don't know many people that can eat $20 worth at one sitting. I know that I can't and that is what bothers me. You're saying, well just don't eat buffet. You would be right, it is a choice. Therefore, I don't eat at buffets very often. If I'm going to spend $20 for a meal, I'd like to have the ability to take what I don't eat with me. You can label me cheap but I've been going to Las Vegas for the last 30 years and buffets no longer have the same allure. Plus, I don't particularly believe they have the same value as in the past. I remember $4.99 dinner buffets.

Buffets are a personal choice. They are not the tremendous value that they were. But, in order to have the total Vegas experience, you must eat at one. But, be aware of what you are getting yourself in to. Enjoy yourself then decide if they are for you. Consider food quality and choices plus personal health risks. Finally, if the meal is a value to you then keep on buffeting. Consider though that Las Vegas has a multitude of meal options to fit every budget. Well, I wish you and your families much good health and fortune.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Review of Buffalo Bill's Hotel Casino Primm NV

Each time I visit Primm NV, I have a very good time and I usually break even in gambling. I almost always stay at Buffalo Bill's. But, I've also stayed at Whiskey Pete's and the Primm Valley Casino. I favor Buffalo Bill's as they have the selection of keno machines that I enjoy playing, a wide variety of eateries to choose from and amusements for my son. The rooms are adequate and the staff is generally very friendly. But, that is not to say that it is perfect.

If you're one into luxury, this is not for you. Don't get me wrong, they have accommodations that are appealing to higher rollers, but don't expect 5 star luxury. The rooms are generally very clean and have a few perks. The rooms have the customary coffeemaker, iron with board, hair dryer and older TV with a good selection of channels. Speaking about TV, the set has the capability to connect a game console. For us this is a very good quality, my son son enjoys his games. For whatever reason, there are many casino rooms throughout Las Vegas that do not have this capability. The beds are very comfortable and the air has always worked pretty well.

Having said all that, the decor is a slightly tired western theme. A remodeling of some sort should be in their future. The towels are thin but adequate and you'll have to ask for more of them if you shower more than once during the day or have four people in the room. The maids are professional and helpful. However, I did have one who grumbled at me because I asked for more towels. I think the tension resulted from a misunderstanding about what I needed. Everyone has a bad day, so I let this incident go. She was much more pleasant the next day. Please never hesitate to report continued poor behavior by an employee. The hotel makes their money by your patronage. Bad employees mean lost revenue. I know that I don't return to a place that treats me or my family poorly.

Dining at Buffalo Bill's is varied and accessible. They have the Wagon Master Coffee Shop, Miss Ashley's Buffet, McDonald's, La Salsa Mexican Grill, Panda Express, Corner Roastery, Rosie's Pizza, Haagen-Dazs Ice Cream and Starbuck's Coffee. For finer dining, they have a Tony Roma's but it is only open on the weekends. Food quality is very consistent in the chain restaurants. These are generally corporate run and are under strict quality control. The hotel run coffee shop has pretty standard fare and the food quality is good. However, service can be slow at peak times and getting in can be slow if there many people in the casino. The buffet is quite good. It doesn't have a great variety of food selection but what they do have is well prepared and flavorful. The salad bar has a good selection of vegetables and fruits. If you enjoy desserts, they have a variety of regular and sugar free ones. Also, even if the line is long, it moves considerably faster than the one at the coffee shop. Price wise expect the food prices to be a little higher than in Vegas. After all, you are 45 miles away from Las Vegas.

Buffalo Bill's appeals to a great number of people including bus tours. So if you are annoyed by crowds, this place is definitely not for you. Lines are unavoidable at times because of these large crowds. Midweek though is really pleasant due to fewer people. I'm more patient than most so I don't really mind. The crowds do limit machine access during certain times of the day so plan accordingly. When it's busy, I often play a different machine, go to a neighboring property or just wait. Either way, I still get to play. Also, if you are bothered by young people, this property is not for you. The amusement section attracts a large number of kids and many are unsupervised. Some of them can be rather loud and rude. I usually limit my visitation to this area. If you're gambling, then most likely you will not notice their presence.

Overall, I enjoy this property. I recommend this property for people that want to save on expenses and who have been to Las Vegas before. I also recommend that you have a vehicle so visiting Las Vegas is possible. It is kid friendly and very accommodating to families. Rooming is lower than in Vegas and comfortable. Everyone can find something enjoyable to eat. I would refrain from staying at Buffalo Bill's if you are seeking luxury, proximity to Las Vegas or visiting Las Vegas for the first time. Hopefully, my assessments are helpful to those of you traveling to this area. Remember, you get out of your experiences what you put in. Until next time, I wish you and you're family good fortune and health.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Pay Back is a Biscuit Eater

I just came back from 6 days in Nevada. I had a good time. But, I'm licking my wounds. Gambling is ebb and flow and this time was definitely ebb. I had ample opportunities to play but the Keno was not cooperating and I couldn't get my mojo going. As you know, I take such things in stride. If you like winning then you must accept losing as well. I've been doing this for the last 30 years of my life and I'm not going to change any time soon.

I should mention that my family and I went on a 4 day cruise to Mexico. Oh, did I mention there is a ship casino. Yes, I was there playing it up. That should have been the sign of things to come. The play was not very good but I was able to keep the money lasting. The cruise itself should have been the big sign. Three days earlier I injured my big toe, due to stupidity, and my toe hurt pretty bad during the cruise. My wife developed pinkeye hours into the cruise. My son developed a severe cold. So there we were like the revolutionary picture of the injured drummer, fife player and flag bearer marching through the ship. I think overall we still had a good time.

Back to Vegas, we arrived a couple of days after the cruise. We still felt the boat motion even though on dry land. This is a after effect of being on a cruise. Well, we did our best to win. But, alas it was not to be. We stayed at the Gold Coast Casino in Las Vegas and had a very relaxing time. Despite the rather unusually dressed patrons, there was a Rockabilly Event occurring, it was quite a good time. When staying there always ask for the remodeled rooms. They're great.
We had a nice view of the Palms. Plus, we were able to receive a wireless internet signal from the Palms although it was across the street.

We finished our Nevada trip with a couple of nights stay at the Edgewater in Laughlin. We stayed on the 25 floor of the new tower. I must say it was a very nice view of the area. Maybe next time we'll get a view of the Colorado River and Bullhead City, Arizona. Play was not much better there but we had a good time playing. I believe I needed this humbling experience. Lately I've done very well but this was a reminder to appreciate the wins more and to accept losing with dignity. I really can't complain because I was able to spend time with my family and that is the most important aspect of these trips. Until next time much good fortune and happiness to you and your families.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Family Friendly?

When I originally went to Las Vegas, I fell in love with the whole experience. That was in the mid 1970's. Many casinos since have faded away and many more have risen. However, I still feel present that original feeling even today. I married in Vegas. It's my home away from home. I took my son into the casinos when he was just born. My friends criticized me about taking my son to Vegas with me. I still take him and he is 16. What they miss is that Las Vegas had families before it had casinos and families still exist today. My son has learned a healthy respect towards gambling and Las Vegas. Plus, we are very close.

Having said all that, Las Vegas is anytown USA. People make a town which is also the case with Las Vegas. True, it is a city reliant on gambling revenue. I'm sure there are many people who profess the evils of gambling and why Las Vegas is the perpetrator of that evil. But, there are many good people there and they help make this city great. All one has to do is peruse the local newspaper or T.V. news and see all the great things that are happening.

Back to the travel aspect of my discussion. When I book a room, it is in a casino that has a wide variety of food options. Plus, it has a movie theater, bowling alley and other ways for a young person to be entertained. The important thing to remember is that your children want to have fun and spend a little time with you. So, try to make some time for them while in Vegas. I guarantee it is well worth the effort. Additionally, security is a must and the children must know the rules regarding their behavior within the casinos. Everything in place, everyone, including other guests, will have a good time.

If shopping is an enjoyable activity to your family, there are numerous shopping malls and outlets in the area. Designer fashions, electronics, anything your heart could desire. Of course, this not one of my pastimes, but I know many who like this activity. If thrifting is your thing, you will find many opportunities for this fun. For more info on this, consult my wife's blog of which I am a friend.

Well, my advice was kind of general this time but if you want specifics feel free to leave a question. I'd like to help make your stay in Vegas a great one. And, no I'm not compensated by Las Vegas in any way. However, I could be persuaded. Oh, that feeling I get in Vegas, is great city energy, feeling important and special. Plus, that at any moment, I could become a winner. Anyway, until next time, I wish you and your family happiness and good fortune.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Where to Stay?

From reading my blog, you are aware that I stay at casinos that offer me free nights. But, I'd like to offer some tips on how to choose a place to stay. Several factors must be weighed in making a final choice. For example, does the casino have the games you like to play? If no transportation, is it located in an area where you could safely walk to other casinos? Does the casino offer enough dining choices to suit your needs or desires? Does the casino offer hotel amenities that are important to you? Finally, is it in your financial comfort zone? Now, your factors may be in a different order than mine. However, it is important to consider all these factors.

First, since I like to gamble, it is important for me to have the games that I like to play. There is nothing more disappointing, to me, than having to settle for games that I don't really understand or care to play. So, with a little research, you can easily find out what games are available in any particular casino. Most casino websites list the table and slots games they offer. If not, get a hold of a floor person for slots or table game supervisor. Most are happy to help you in any way possible. Also, contacting the player's club desk can give you relevant information. If gambling is an important part of your Vegas experience, then you must know the territory.

Location, location, location is an important factor to consider. I prefer going to the casinos that cater to the locals. For me, they generally are less tourist oriented and are user friendly. Less tourist mean less crowds and more game availability. Since these casinos tend to be located away from the strip, a vehicle is a must to get to other casinos. If you have never been to Las Vegas, I would encourage you to stay on or close to the strip. But, on subsequent visits, I would veer out to find the best deals. If you do not have access to a car, many casinos offer transportation to their sister casinos or even to the strip. This service was free but most casinos now ask for a small fee. Again, consulting a casino website will usually provide this information. Additionally, many casinos offer shuttles from the airport to their casinos. Currently, this is a free service by most casinos.

Food and room amenities can be deal breakers for some. I like casinos that offer a wide range of food options under one roof, from fine dining to snacks from a snack bar. Since I'm a diabetic, I have to consider whether the food choices are compatible with my dietary needs. The casino websites will always provide offered restaurant choices. If you like or expect certain qualities in a room then that must be explored as well. There are many travel sites online that will provide 3rd party evaluations of any particular casino. I would consult at least 2 to 3 of these sites to make an informed decision. Remember, everyone is different and carry different expectations. Personally, a good bed, tv and clean and quiet room are enough for me. For the best Vegas experience, you must do your homework.

Finally, unless money is no object, the cost of your stay must be considered. For me, this is the last consideration. If you know what you want then you can shop around. If you are on a budget then you can start with cost and try to match as many of your amenities into the price. The whole idea is to get the best experience possible for your money. To be honest, I've stayed in places for $14 a night and had just as much fun as places with $150 a night price tag. I guess if you seek luxury then seek luxury but still shop around and get the best price. Hopefully, these tips will help you get the most for your money. Until next time, I wish you and your families much happiness and good fortune.