Saturday, October 12, 2019

Golden Nugget Restaurant Bargains - 2019 Edition

The Nugget has some decent fooderies and you can use a few tricks to sample them while paying less then full freight.

Lunch Special at Grotto Italian Ristorante

Grotto serves up classic southern Italian fare. It's beautifully decorated and features poolside tables, if you want to gaze upon slow-roasted thighs while enjoying your 'zuppa'. Maybe it would be better to focus on the shark tank.

Slow-roasted thighs, calves and backs. And wings. Try to find the bikini instead.
Typical entrees and pizzas are in the $15 to $20 range, you can enjoy a two course lunch at Grotto for just $15. The first course gives you a choice of salads or their amazing tomato basil soup, which I highly recommend. For the second course, you can choose from chicken scaloppine, spaghetti, lasagne, or a half marinated rotisserie chicken. That's half a chicken, not a half-marinated chicken. Caesars salad and half a chicken for $15? Not too shabby, and the location of Grotto for people watching can't be beat.

Ten Dollar Happy Hour Pizza at Grotto

If you are willing to jump through a few happy hoops, you can get a great deal on a pizza at Grotto.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Bargains - 2019 Edition

There are bargains to be had at the Golden Nugget? Yes!

If downtown Las Vegas is the mother's milk of traditional casino gambling, then the Golden Nugget is the cream of that milk. And getting things for cheaperer at the Golden Nugget is the creme de la creme of that cream of that downtown mother's milk.

And this updated article that will tell you how to get those Nuggety bargains is the pat of fat-ass silky smooth creamery butter of the creme de la creme de la downtown milk etc. etc. etc.

It's pretty much undisputed that the Smug Nugget is by far the swankiest, classiest, highest quality casino hotel downtown (for now... I'm lookin' at you Circa).

In terms of digs, there are probably a few downtown suites here and there that come close, such as the top offerings in the new section of the tiny Golden Gate. But when you compare the whole package, the Nugget is the undisputed heavyweight champion of the gold-encrusted almost retired middle-aged Mom and Dad set.

Landry's has done an admirable job of improving the place since they purchased it, with endless rounds of redecorating, new restaurants, shows, and a top-quality pool scene.

When you are the sexiest dame at the ball, though, you can take some liberties. Patrons pay for those endless rounds of redecorating with scaled down gutted video poker paytables compared to other downtown properties, and slots that seem tighter than Kenny Blankenship's Hide-out Pool Speedo.

And, along with the solid food offerings the Nugget flaunts, you'll find higher prices than is typical downtown.

But don't despair! When you are a degenerate gambler like me, you search until you find the cheap savvy loopholes that will save you a few bucks. And those few bucks can be used for desperation Keno tickets that have a miniscule chance of bringing you the riches you so definitely deserve.

Here are some ways you can turn the high flying Golden Nugget Las Vegas into a casino bargain basement!

Get a Landry's Select Club Card

The fine folks at Landry's own a bunch of restaurants. They also own the Golden Nugget and they also own a bunch of restaurants within the Golden Nugget.

The Landry's Select Club card does a bunch of things for you that make it a no-brainer must have.

First of all, be aware that the Landry's Select Club card costs $25. Boooo.

Also be aware that, upon joining, you get a $25 welcome reward. Yay!

You've already broken even! The house edge on this thing is 0%!!!

There's no annual fee, and you get a $25 reward every year in your birthday month. Now you're up $25 on the card! What's not to like?

Join the club by signing up online and paying $25. When your card arrives in the mail, it'll have a $25 Welcome Reward loaded on it.

You can also join right at a Landry's restaurant. Pony up the $25 and have it put on your restaurant bill, then register your card online. Again, you'll get the Welcome Reward.

Like all wonderful rewards card systems, when you use the card when buying food, you earn wonder-points. And you can use those wonderful points for wonderful rewards. Like more wonderful food.

You earn a point for every dollar spent, and 250 points can be cashed for a $25 reward.

Spend $250, get $25 back? That's a juicy 10% rebate, people

Like all such things, there is an app you can use instead of a physical card. Sometimes there are bonuses for making and completing reservations through the app. As of this writing, that means extra points for you.

We've also seen promos like free dessert and the like at various times, so it pays to pay attention.

Make sure you get set up with a card well before your next Nugget stay. If you forget your card, don't sweat it. The fine people at fine Landry's restaurants can look up your Club number using the phone number you registered with.

The only downside of the system is that the points you earn expire after one year. I hate it when points programs pilfer previously procured privileges. Profoundly.

Landry's Select Club Golden Nugget Benefits

Seein' as the Landry's people also own the Golden Nugget, it makes sense that there are some crossover benefits to be had.

Sunday, August 4, 2019

How to Easily Get a New or Renewed ITIN in Las Vegas

Need to renew your ITIN? Don't want to mail your passport? You can get your renewal processed at the IRS office in downtown Las Vegas - in one visit.

First of all, what's an ITIN and why do I need one?

An ITIN is an International Tax Identifier Number, issued by the United States IRS.

As an international visitor to Las Vegas (or any American casino), if you hit a jackpot over $1200, you might be subject to 30% of the dough being withheld for taxes.

If you are a citizen of the UK, congratulations, you have a tax treaty with the US and you won't have any tax held back - but you'll need an ITIN to prevent it.

If you are a citizen of Canada, you are actually subject to paying the tax. With an ITIN, though, there's a way around that.

When you win your huge jackpot, and they take their 30% skim, you must be certain that your ITIN appears on the 1040-S form that the casino will fill out and give you along with your (reduced) winnings.

When your year is done, if your gambling losses exceed your winnings, you can claim back the amount withheld by filing a tax return - a 1040NR, to be exact. But you have to have an ITIN to file.

That whole subject can get quite complex - I'm just going to deal with the ITIN renewal here.

How to get an ITIN

There are three ways to get an ITIN:

  • apply by mail, sending your precious passport to the Austin service center
  • visit a Certifying Accepting Agent and get it done in person
  • visit an IRS office that supports ITIN services

I'm not keen on sending my precious ID anywhere.

About the second option - the Certifying Accepting Agent. These are third-party agents that are certified to issue and renew ITINs. In fact, the larger casinos in Vegas used to provide this service right on site. I don't know if this is still the case.

There are Agents other countries (including Canada) that can do it - for a big-ass fee.

My understanding is that the Agent verifies your ID, and provides certified copies of same to the IRS along with the W7 form.

By far and away, the quickest and simplest way to get your ITIN in Vegas is to do it in person at the IRS office.

The Quad Queen's and my ITIN expired Jan 1, 2019. There just happens to be an IRS office within walking distance of Main Street Station (just the other side of the railroad tracks).

Main Street Station provides a convenient waiting room aka casino for you to pass the time in until your appointment is nigh. Then you simply exit MSS, hang a right at Main and Ogden, and walk under the underpass.

Walking from Main Street Station to the IRS office
But you have to make an appointment to do your renewal in advance. Here's how.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Double Up on Video Poker

Here's kind of an interesting scenario.

Say you hit a nice quad on Double Double bonus, maybe Four Aces. And then you are faced with this screen:

Would you have the balls to go for it?

There's lots of reasons to do it, and lots of reasons not to. For one thing, you are risking 800 credits, but you aren't getting any points toward what could someday be a free buffet. And, basically you are looking at a 50/50 draw.

So maybe you decide to go for it.

Dealer card is a 5, you are looking pretty good... You pick your one card out of four that has to beat the dealer 5.

Which one is it gonna be?

Monday, March 19, 2018

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Gold Tower Club Suite Review

The Golden Nugget Las Vegas offered 50% off a suite upgrade, so I took it. I'm not sure that the suite I got was really a club suite, but it was an interesting and comfortable place to stay, nonetheless.

Club-level accomodations at the Nugget include additional goodies such as no resort fee, wifi included, water and coffee included, spa access, and a few other things. And they are typically in the top couple of floors of the Gold, Spa, and Rush towers.

This two-room suite was on the third floor of the Gold tower. So I think it was a quick substitution - I checked in very late on a Saturday night, and I think I got a bit more suite for my money than I booked - but not on one of the club floors.

The suite is at the end of the hall, and consists of two normal sized hotel rooms joined together. In fact, it sports the both of the original doors, side by side, perfect for Benny Hill style hallway antics.

The left room contains the bedroom, a powder room and closet, and a full bathroom with jetted tub. The right room contains the living room with sectional sofa, dining set, storage, wetbar with fridge, and a second bathroom with shower.

Let's take a look around, shall we?

The furnishings, carpets, drapes, and other adornments are primarily gold. And brown. Gold and brown. Brown and gold. You'd better like brown and gold if you are staying in this suite.

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Gold Tower Two Room Suite
Left side bedroom

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Gold Tower Two Room Suite
Passage between rooms

Golden Nugget Las Vegas Gold Tower Two Room Suite
Right room living room. In brown. And gold.
 More shots of the bedroom and ensuite.