Vegas Ferris Wheel – Las Vegas High Roller at The LINQ – Begins Operation

Vegas High Roller Ferris Wheel

On March 31, the best view in Vegas was that of the Las Vegas High Roller, the new 550-foot tall highest observation wheel in the world. WIth 28 cabins that can occupy 40 people apiece, there was a lot to celebrate on Monday. Despite the windy day, riders of the High Roller reported no ill effects and enjoyed the fantastic view of the Strip.

The High Roller is part of the $550 million restaurant, bar, retail, and entertainment built by Caesars between Flamingo, Harrah’s, and Quad (formerly Imperial Palace) hotel casinos. The outdoor mall, titled LINQ, is nearby and leads to the High Roller. Each of the 28 cabins are glass-enclosed and air conditioned. Meanwhile, should you need to find a reliable foreign auto repair Atlanta for your luxury vehicle, you can breathe easily knowing the experts are just one call away.

It will quickly become one of the major attractions in Las Vegas. What do you think? Sound off in the comments section below. Will you be visiting High Roller?

“Pawn Stars” in Vegas a Hit

Vegas Pawn Stars

The History Channel’s television show “Pawn Stars” has become a huge success since its debut in 2009 and one of the top attractions on the Strip. As many as 5,000 people a day have been known to start lining up early at the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop to check out the site of the show and purchase items. It also became the most-watched show on cable TV, with over 8 million viewers every Monday night. The shop has also undergone a recent expansion.

From its humble beginnings as a family-owned business (Richard “The Old Man” Harrison, his son Rick, and grandson Corey, also known as “Big Hoss”) to its current status as a reality hit, Pawn Stars in Vegas has entered the minds of many, both in Vegas and out. It’s also made a star out of Big Hoss’ childhood friend, Austin “Chumlee” Russell. All of the guys on the show are constantly looking for fake items, deals, and unique items, so every show can turn out a different way depending on the circumstances. The Pawn Stars have purchased a working hot air balloon, a missile guidance system and Harry Houdini’s handcuffs, among other things, while turning down items such as Soviet shuttle launch keys and pirate treasure. The business was started in 1988 and thrives to this day amid the billion-dollar casinos and night clubs. The boys from Pawn Stars are even currently on a “road show” style traveling tour. Check out their web site for dates and more information on Pawn Stars. Want to get to Gold & Silver quickly? Caesars Palace is on the Strip, and we have a great deal for it.

Don’t forget our new Vegas iPhone App to track the hundreds of attractions we have in our database, complete with price ratings, photos, reviews, and contact information for all the best values in Vegas. Also, be sure to check out Vegas Hipster, find us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Caesars Ready to Start $500 Million Strip Project

Vegas Caesars Palace

In the face of the recession, Caesars is doubling down. Construction will begin this month on a $500 million mid-Strip project called Linq that will include a restaurant-entertainment district (326,000 square feet) linking the Imperial Palace and Flamingo resorts, a “re-skinning” of Imperial Palace and O’Sheas, and a 550-foot “observation wheel” that is like a Ferris wheel, but houses 30 people per pod. This will also create 1,500 permanent new jobs and employ about 3,000 construction workers. We wish Caesars the best on this 18-month project. We have found some great deals on Caesars hotels, with rates as low as $99 a night. Don’t forget to check out our page on Caesars as well!

The Auto Collection at the Imperial Palace

The Auto Collection at Imperial Palace

The Auto Collection at Imperial Palace

The Auto Show at the Imperial Palace
We had a chance to visit the auto show at the Imperial Palace and had quite a good time looking at all of the cars. There are a lot of cars, trust us. These are some of the best preserved and well maintained cars we have ever seen. They needed more BMW’s though. Every Classic make was represented, from original Mercedes to Johnny Carson’s car.

Do not be fooled this is located on the 5th floor of the Imperial Parking garage and it is located way to the back, but it well worth it. You have to snake around to the left of the Imperial Palace Casino and head towards the back, when you pass the gift shops and it opens up a bit there is an elevator to the right next to a ramp. The elevator ride could have been better, it was slow and we stopped at every floor. Our initial thoughts were it was going to be a joke and have about 5 cars and be located in an open parking garage, boy were we wrong!

The garage is setup just like a car show and it is walled in and air conditioned. It doesn’t feel like a garage when you are walking around. There is a lot to see here and it will take some time if you are a car enthusiast. They do have a pretty big gift shop and it is well stocked.

They literally have over $100mil worth of cars on display. If you have the cash they are all for sale. We counted at least 250 cars on display as we walked through.

The Rio Las Vegas Hotel Review Nov 2007

Rio Las Vegas Review

Here is the review of my latest stay at the Rio Las Vegas.

I made my reservation over the phone and the prices were in the $300 range for the weekend, but as a frugal shopper I checked the web the day I was supposed to arrive and the prices had dropped to $145 a night. They tried to say that we could not switch because of the cancellation policy within 72 hours. I had to argue a bit but finally got them to give me the new rate and not treat it as a cancellation. This is pretty much rule #1 check the rates periodically before you leave to see if there is a better deal. During my reservation I specifically asked for the Masquerade Tower on a high floor, strip view and a king bed. I even made sure the reservationist had all that information in my record, by calling back to make sure the first agent had put this in.

When I arrived at the Rio and checked in, I did the $20 trick (if you don’t know what this is just ask us). The lady behind the counter was oblivious on what the $20 meant, which is another story all together. So we started to complete our transaction and she had us down for the wrong tower and I asked her to check for any notes in our reservation, she found them and fixed the reservation and I was off to my room, The room ended up being the wrong side of the building giving me a mountain view, so I traversed back to the front desk to get the room I requested, but they only had a room with two queen beds and the front desk lady said she would put us in the queue for a room change the next morning. Rule #2: Always get what you asked for and complain if you do not or the New Vegas will take advantage of you.

As a side note:
I personally like the Masquerade Tower. The Masquerade Tower is shaped like a crescent moon and I like staying on the outside curve of the building facing the Las Vegas Strip because of the view and the rooms are bigger.

When I finally got in my room here is what I found:
The TV didn’t work
The phone didn’t work, it only had the old pulse dial (There was no way to fix it)
Many lights were burnt out in the bathroom
The bathroom was in need of a good cleaning (which is why I’m giving it such poor toilet ratings)
The door-jam near the shower was rusting very badly
The Bathtub grout needed a good cleaning, grout cleaning products always smell a little weird don’t they? Also
The sectional couch had no support, the cushions were flat.
They have an advertisement for Jim Beam on the side of the building, like they really need any more money. This helps for privacy but takes away from a clear view out the window. It felt like I was looking out a very thick window screen

Rio Las Vegas Review Rio Las Vegas Review Rio Las Vegas Review

Right away I called maintenance, wait the phone doesn’t work, but the phone by the elevator did. So I called about the TV and a maintenance person was dispatched and showed up an hour later only to come in my room and literally bang on the front a/v ports on the TV until the message “please insert the a/v device” went away. So I turned the TV off and back on and the same message appeared, so he proceeded to beat on it some more, yes he was hitting it with his palm. The message went away again, I turned it off and on, and viola it was fixed. I said to the maintenance person, “I would never of thought of beating on the TV to get it work, but at least I know how to fix it in the future”

The other two items, the phone and burnt out lights, I addressed with the front desk. They said they would get a maintenance person up there to fix it, it was never fixed but we found a new toothbrush on our counter, go figure…

We did receive a message from the front desk about our room upgrade, but the phone didn’t work so we couldn’t get to the message without some assistance, but it was all for not since the Rio was now sold out, yea right!

Another Side Note:
Earlier this year I stayed in the newly renovated rooms in the Ipanema after the front desk guy said the rooms were much better since they were renovated, I still wasn’t impressed. For those of you that have stayed at the Rio: They upgraded the TV from a standard tube TV to a 42 flat panel which now hangs on the wall on the opposite side of the room over the table, the picture quality was horrible because they were sending standard def to a high-def screen. They upgraded the Beds and Bedding, which are really nice. They also spruced up the bathroom and I think they changed out the sectional couch. Other than that I didn’t see much difference. One really bad thing was the shower was stopped up and wouldn’t drain, so a call to maintenance was required.

The Rio still needs help and here is why
Customer service. The staff on the casino floor are an unforgiving lot. While cruising the casino, this includes the casino floor, the buffet, shops etc… I was always being cut off by the Rio staff. They were very unapologetic, they would just cut you off or make you get out of their way. If this only happened once I would not gripe but every time I would venture out they seemed to have the right of way. This is total CRAP, what happened to customer service and the customer is always right? I am not sure who is training these people but get a grip. Vegas was founded on customer service and thank you, and yes sir, no sir.

The Rio is faltering and has been since Harrah’s took over. They have made it just another “Hotel in Vegas”. I am sure Harrah’s is making money with their template but the Rio Hotel in Vegas used to be a great place to have a great time and enjoy the experience.

The World Carnival Buffet used to be one of those experiences until Harrah’s changed that also. Though it has gotten better the quality is not back to where once was. When Harrah’s bought the Rio the first thing they did was remove the sushi, got rid of the quality and went with easier food to prepare. The Rio World Carnival Buffet was about quality and quantity, now it is quantity and a little quality. Every time I have eaten here the same food always tastes different. How can you have multiple batches of eggs benedict, ribs, mashed potatoes taste so different, this goes for anything they prepare by hand and not “store bought”. I am also really disappointed in the size and preparation of the crab legs. The crab legs have gotten way smaller than they once were. (Yes, I know the seafood buffet is better but lets stick with the Carnival World Buffet, and the Seafood Buffet is closed for renovations. Back to the crab legs, I would not give these things to my worst enemy, they are so watered down you have to squeeze them so they will drain and I they are soaking in regular water and not brine. Also they are over-cooked so badly you cannot get any meat because it sticks to the inside of the shell. This tells me the person cooking them doesn’t know what they are doing. The Rio also used to have steamed crab in the World Carnival Buffet but now it is only iced. I have done my homework on this and have eaten at the Rio Carnival World Buffet for a decade and more times than I care to let on, trust me I am a card carrying member. One redeeming quality for the Rio is our waiter, he has been there for twelve years and I try and make sure we sit in his section, because he will make sure everything is right, there is only one waiter who has been there longer and only by two years.

The Wynn has it to the nines:
The customer service training is very apparent here. After you get up from either the tables or the slots there is a customer service agent to push in your chair and to clean up the mess you left behind. They hold the door for you anytime they can, they are always very friendly and will make sure you are taken care of. Not to leave out the Bellagio but they are a close second.

Five Dollar Blackjack on the Las Vegas Strip.

We set out to find the best place to find cheap blackjack in Las Vegas for $5.00. After arriving in Vegas one Saturday evening in January and filling our bellies with the Rio Buffet, we set out on our mission. We searched high and low and some places we cannot mention.

Let me mention that I am luckier gambler during the daytime hours. At night I am good on quick in and out games.

After the buffet we meandered about the Rio Hotel, dropping in some loose change into our favorite slot machines and could not find a $5.00 Blackjack table or even get near a $10.00 table. It was a peak time, so we do not fault the Rio for making money it is called supply and demand. We never found an open $5 Blackjack table, but we did however find $10 – $25 and up tables, waiting for us after all the short-timers lost their bankroll for the evening. We did find in the evening on Sunday and weekdays the Rio, had one table of $5 Blackjack open. Even during the day we were hard pressed to find any $5 tables at the Rio. Alas, we never did play the $5 tables at the Rio Hotel, for many reasons. Most of the higher end casinos or Mega Resorts are about the same as the Rio, some casinos are bigger than others and have the crowd to fill in any open slots at the table. These include: The Luxor, Mandalay Bay, Wynn, Venetian, Paris, Bellagio, Monte Carlo, Mirage and the MGM Grand. The other Casinos that had their fair amount of $5 and sometimes $2 and $3 Blackjack tables include: Excalibur (we had a long session here this trip), Stratosphere, Sahara, Riviera, Circus Circus, Casino Royale, Imperial Palace and Slots-A-Fun. Harrahs, Ballys and the Flamingo had a decent showing.

During the day all the low-rolling you want, but just around dinner time the prices go up. If you are planning on playing $5 Blackjack find a table early and sit there, because when day rolls into night those tables are quickly saturated. We found this to be true at the Flamingo and Harrahs. Mark and I went to the Pink Pit at the Flamingo and were hard pressed to find a seat together, so we opted to play at a $10 table. We found a dealer that would fit our bill and began to play, rather well I might add then it hit “Dealer change. What a blow to the bankroll, this lady was like a stone. I finally made her laugh, with the phrase “Are you sure you shuffled these cards, after four 2s were dealt in the same set. We should have gotten up a lot sooner!

We did find the Excalibur enjoyable and at $5 a hand with a 6 deck shoe, who is complaining. One of our rules is the dealer has to be fun or entertaining. If we cannot make them laugh or have a good time we will not play, no matter what denomination. We have been known to follow dealers around or sulk when they leave.  One of the only reasons we play at the Circus Circus is because of George a 7 foot tall dry humored fellow and Grandpa Harvey a oriental man who had us crying we were laughing so hard. I believe we all came out ahead except DV8R who Harvey after stopping all play at the table made him go buy a basic Blackjack strategy card before he would let him play again at his table. It is times like these you will remember a lifetime.

Ellis Island, before you say anything, we know it is not on the strip but only one street behind Bally’s. They had single deck $5 Blackjack and pretty entertaining dealers. I put a $100 on the table and almost immediately I was comped with free full size drinks from the bar, not bad and I was not going to play the full $100, we were passing time before dinner. The pit boss was courteous and not intimidating the dealer we had was an good guy and was easy to get along with. I cannot remember his name, but he is around 6′ and skinny with black hair. (Sorry for forgetting your name). Ellis Island has very lenient Blackjack rules, letting you split until you hearts content and doubling down after your third card, I was amazed to say the least. The single deck was shuffled a little too quickly sometimes, but over-all not a bad time. The main reason we went to Ellis Island was the BBQ. Some of the best tasting Baby Backs we have had in a while and yes we know our Ribs. For $9.95 you got a full slab, two small ears of corn, baked beans and coleslaw. The sides were adequate tasting but you are there for the ribs. While you are there get the Homemade Root Beer it is great! They brew their own beer their, which we did not sample, so making Root Beer would come naturally and it was inexpensive too. Ellis Island is a locals place and it is a locals hangout. The dealers and workers know everyone’s names. Be prepared the bathrooms are not spectacular. I will have a separate article about Ellis Island later.

Most often during the latter part of Sunday and through Thursday afternoon you are more likely to find the ever elusive $5 Blackjack table. Something to remember about Blackjack in Vegas, stay away from any table that has an auto shuffler. It is a big black box that sits next to the dealer and it counts cards! It knows when the table is leaning towards being favorable for the player and then reshuffles. Never sit at one of these tables unless you have money to burn.

A word to the wise always set your daily limits of spending that way you can have enough money to get back to the hotel room to lick your wounds. I would suggest putting the bulk of your money into the hotel safe in you room and only take a little bit above your limit with you, in case you get a little crazy or you accidentally lose your money.

Many veterans of Las Vegas will be scoffing at this article, saying you should know better and that there are no great places to play Blackjack for $5 on the Vegas Strip, which in turn they are mostly right. But, if you know where to go and do not mind the crowds or sometimes smoke, you can find that needle in the haystack.

Let me just remind everyone a cold weekday in January, there are not a lot of people in Vegas, so if you are looking for some action, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are not your nights. The casinos are somewhat busy but the strip could be closed off for a drag race, but this could be a whole other article.

Cab Money what’s that?

Players: Me

I flew out with a friend for a day trip a while back and did the mandatory 40-mile march up and down the strip. So we proceeded to gamble and have a swinging time. The day grew short and we needed to head back to the airport to catch a lift home. So we proceeded to the corner and flagged down a cab. I was asked by my dame “do you have enough dough.” I checked my wallet. Puzzled by the vacancy, I asked her “how much you’s got?” I got the look of puzzlement from her too. She began reminiscing about all of my money she lost playing slots. We were down by the Circus Circus with no bread. I had 35cents to my name. I could’ve swiped my card, but being the player that I am, I bet 25cents of my last 35 and hit. Needless to say I am not stranded.

Hoagy’s run-in with the sky-galley

Players: Shepherd

Lucky me, I was sitting in First Class (FC) and was feeling a bit spry. So I went back to see the boys in coach, to find out what shenanigans they were up to. After a short visit I felt compelled to go back in first class ask the flight attendant to fill a drink order for my mates back in coach. She thought that was a nice gesture and rounded up some Bloody Mary’s, and delivered the goods. Minding my own business I reclined and put my phones on and started dozing off. WHAM, the next thing I knew my right headset was covering my right eye and the FA gave me the dirtiest look I have seen in a while, and said, “They didn’t know you!!” Found out later that Shepherd told the FA that I have been stalking them ever since they were in the men’s bathroom in our departure city. WOW, that FA was MAD! As a side note she realized the prank after we all boarded the plane after our layover.

Shepherd’s Loss of a BackStreet Boy

The Player: Shepherd

The Listeners: Me, lil’ Markie

Our hotel caters to the buffet lover who loves to eat through breakfast and lunch, mind you we are not, overweight Sloth (** Disclaimer** No animals were harmed in the writing of this story, and we are sorry if we offend any living Sloth or remaining ancestors or evolutionary evolvement of the aforementioned Sloth). Back to the story at hand, Shepherd who loves his buffets, (and who can blame him), ate too many fruit cups and had to make a pit-stop back in the room. While we walked hurriedly back to the suite, we kept the “running joke” going that after his evacuation he will lose enough of what he ate to equal a “BackStreet Boy.” After arriving in our room, Shepherd with his tail between his legs rushed, ok ran to the “WC” and let out a noise that was worthy of a courtesy flush after the first 10seconds, all along singing BackStreet Boys tunes like they were falling into the water.

DV8R’s Best Trip Ever

The Players: Me, Shepherd, lil’ Markie

When:One hour before departure

Again, DV8R has to Rest before departure time; we loaded up his carryon bag with the small leave-behinds the hotel places in the room for your reading enjoyment and all of the street smut we could bear to carry. So the departure and the ride home went smooth, he never noticed that his bag was so packed with crap that the zipper about busted. Well anyhow he gets home and his momma is waiting up to hear all about this Vegas Vacation, so he unzips his bag looking for the obligatory knickknack dice and shot-glass but, starts pulling out all of the binders, paper, magazines, TV-guides, and doesn’t really know why or how they got in there so he shows off anyway until. He gets to those little escort cards they hand out on the strip personally signed DV8R, had a great time last night, call me! I will end the story there, oh yeah, try to imagine his moms face!