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.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Stretching Your Dollar

There is nothing more disappointing then having more vacation than money. This is particularly true in Las Vegas. I can't tell you how many times I've driven home with just enough money for gas and Taco Bell. But, that was in the past. Now, I have a relatively simple and logical approach to making my money last through out my vacation. These steps work for me and I'm sure they will work for you.

The most important step is to budget your money. It goes without saying that you must have money for food. First, you must decide how you would like to dine. You must be aware that some places have meal deals and others do not. If fine dining is an aspect of your vacation experience then budget accordingly. My rule of thumb is $7 per person per meal for fast food, $10 for family style fare and $20 for finer dining. Personally, I don't care to spend more than these amounts. Remember, I'm in Vegas to gamble and take in the atmosphere. However, if my bankroll was such that I could afford more I probably would occasionally frequent really fine restaurants. There are so many places to eat in Las Vegas that finding reasonably priced fare is pretty easy.

Next, as I've mentioned before, you must decide how much you are going to gamble per day. Since, I like to gamble, I usually do 2 sessions of gambling each day. I usually play a $100 per day. Therefore, each session is $50. Once having met that amount, I visit my room or take a walk or find something else to do. There are so many new casinos that finding a place to walk through is not difficult. I play nickels on Video Keno so often my money can last 3 to 4 hours. Plenty of time to have fun for me. Plus, it is very rare where I play and can not win a little something so I can keep playing.

Now, what happens if you are in a busy casino with a limited availability of machines? That's not a problem if the machine you could get is paying out. But, what if it isn't? I usually choose a Video Keno Machine that has multiple games. You will know within the first 20 minutes how the machine is playing. If it isn't really paying out, I play each game with the same numbers. I rotate games after about 12 to 15 plays. I found this stretches my money due to the smaller amounts won on the bonus Keno games. Of course, my goal is to hit something on the Keno games that pay out more. Using this method, I can usually play that machine for 3 to 4 hours even if it is paying out poorly.

Remember, you're in Las Vegas to have fun and try your luck. Don't come with the attitude that you'll strike it rich. This attitude will make you veer from your plan. With the right attitude and budget, you'll maximize your vacation in Las Vegas. Having said all that, maybe you will hit a nice jackpot and pay for your vacation. That is all one could hope for in Las Vegas. Until next time, I wish you and your family much good fortune.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

What to Play?

Those that have read my blogs know that I enjoy playing video keno and bingo. Plus, those that know these games are aware that these games are ones with the lowest odds of winning. Why would any one play these games? Well, to be honest, I used to play blackjack. However, the price to play a hand has increased. Having said that, I still enjoy it now and then but with no regularity. The odds of winning something in blackjack is better than most but your bankroll has to be commensurate with your decision to play this game and your understanding the game itself.

Video keno is pretty easy to understand. Also, the bet amount can be fairly small. I play 20 to 60 cents a bet. You put your money in and pick up to 10 numbers and play away. Your odds of hitting something should be fairly consisitent with any other casino slot machine. However, there are those, as do I, that believe there are things you can do interactively that can increase your odds of winning. As in video poker, the player has some influence over the outcome of the play. This influence is marginal at best. You don't think large casinos are built because they love to give away money, do you? However, if any influence can be exerted over the game then, I think, it's worth the attempt.

Most casinos profess that their machines win randomly. However, this "randomness" is adjusted to win within certain predetermined percentages. This is how the casinos can determine their cut of the play in the long run. But, anything can happen in the short term. That is where my style of play comes in. First, I make sure I determine how much money I'm going to play at any given session. I also decide how much each bet is going to be. Then, I pick my numbers. I like to pick numbers that are clustered together. I feel that although it is possible for spread numbers to win, clustered numbers are in a better position to win. I then play these numbers steadily with patience. Sometimes, I play the numbers for 100 to 200 plays then change the cluster position. Generally, I keep the same cluster shape. I have used this technique for the last 2 years and it has improved my winning percentages. I won $1400 in January. Prior to this technique, I used to win smaller amounts with my "winning" number combinations. I really do believe that the cluster shape is more influential then the numbers chosen.

The amount of numbers and which type of keno games played can influence winning. Although 10 numbers can be played, I would not play that amount. I found out fairly quickly in my keno experience that a smaller amount of chosen numbers wins greater than many numbers. It is possible that in the long run 10 out of 10 could happen. But, usually I don't have that much time nor money. I like 7 numbers. They win smaller amounts with regularity and 7 out of 7 is more likely in the short run. The games I like are the ones where the amounts that be won are fairly large comparatively speaking. Having said that, I know the winning is less often. Bonus games like Caveman or Cleopatra Keno hit more often but for considerably less amounts. I play these games but only as a change of pace. 4 card and 20 card keno games are quite fun. You can win greater amounts of money but they require a larger bankroll. The most money I've won has been on 4 card keno.

I also have techniques to make my money last a bit longer when the machine is not really hitting. I use these techniques when casinos are crowded and machine access is limited. Although, I'm patient while playing, I'm impatient to get a machine to play. Well, I hope some of my ideas work for you and maybe you can share ideas that work for you. I forgot to mention that I almost exclusively play nickel bet keno. Until next time, happiness and good fortune to all of you and your families.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A New Image

Just like Las Vegas, I'm going to continue to try new looks. This blog now looks a bit different since the previous blog entry. I decided to change a few color schemes and add more information. Hopefully, this will catch a few more followers. I also want to mention that I welcome comments, questions and suggestions. I think it looks pretty good.

Speaking about questions, if you want to know something about Las Vegas or Laughlin, please ask away. I definitely have opinions and helpful, I think, ideas about making your trip to Las Vegas a more enjoyable experience. Although, I prefer certain casinos, I have views on all the other casinos. Plus, if I'm not familiar with a new one, your questions will give me a reason to visit it. I love Vegas.

Recently, I went Laughlin. I had a very nice time. My wife loves this place. In her view, it has a slower paced feel which she finds more relaxing. I tend to agree with her but I love the energy of Las Vegas because of the up pace. Although, I must say that Laughlin has it's own charm which is quite appealing. For those that don't know, Laughlin is nestled in between the Colorado River, Bullhead City, Arizona and the Mountains of Southern Nevada. Though, it is very hot in the summer, it is very picturesque all year long. We do plan to go back and visit some more.

Well, before I stop writing, I want to mention that we stay at the Edgewater Casino in Laughlin. There are many others but the Edgewater has given us free rooms based on a very low amount of play. If you read my other entries, you know that this is a very important requirement of my patronage of a casino. The only exception is the South Point Casino in Vegas. Sometimes, I do make an exception because of atmosphere and gambler room specials. Well, I got to run so til next time much good fortune and happiness to you and your family.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A New Year

Ok, Ok! I know it's been awhile. But, my love for Vegas has not diminished. In fact, I still made Vegas 5 times this past year. This last month, I stayed for 11 days without paying for a room once. Of course, I had to move casinos but I figured I saved about $350 - $4oo for the duration of the stay. Plus, some of the casinos offered deals on food and gambling which helped cut even more costs on this vacation. Except for catching the flu towards the end, I had a tremendous time.

You might be mildly curious how I managed to pull off this personal triumph. Well, you have to start prior to your stay. I might add that the other times I stayed in Vegas, I didn't pay for a room either. You must be willing to gamble. The casinos are not overly interested in your opinions and willingness to stay and eat at their casino. They are interested in your play. Now I have to say that, I enjoy playing nickel and penny keno and bingo. Do I play alot? Between my wife and I, we're good for about a $100 a day. That sounds like alot but we do win some which offsets the total amount played. This last summer, I won enough to cover the entire expense of both summer visits and buy the Xbox my son was coveting plus enough to bankroll the visit in November. That really is all one could hope to do.

On the subject of gambling, you have to have a certain measure of discipline. You can't gamble your entire bankroll on the first day. I like to budget each days allotment for gambling. When I meet the limit, then I enjoy a little TV or reading in the room. Then, the following day I do it again. But, because of the play I get, I have very rarely had to go to the room because of low funds. However, I caution you. Don't play unless you understand that you are being entertained and you will more then likely lose your money. So never play money you need to make the house payment or feed the kids. Personally, besides my job, I play in a band and that provides my bankrolls. I don't make a fortune but enough to have some fun.

This past year, my wife and I enjoyed some concerts provided for free by the casino. Some really well know performers. Why? Our play is consisitant. Can you imagine what benefits you could recieve if you were able to afford to play big money? Just try to play a bit and you'll recieve some benefits by casinos just to get you back. I need to mention that joining the players clubs is really key. It doesn't matter how much you play unless the casino knows it you really don't exist. Plus, some casinos give better perks than others so try a variety of places. Well, until next time, hopefully not another year, I wish you much good fortune and happiness.