Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Restaurant Reboot at the Cal - The Latest

The California Hotel and Casino, lovingly known as the Cal, is a wonderful low-key old school Las Vegas property that has hardly changed in thirty years.

So, let's change it completely, they thought.

Boyd Gaming, who owns many gaming establishments including the Cal, Main Street Station, and the Fremont, has given the casino proper, the lobby, the sports book, and the bars a top-to-bottom eyebrow arching tight-cheeked Wayne Newton facelift. Not that a casino actually has a face to lift, but you get the metaphoric idea.
The wonderful low-key old school IFOR, lovingly known as the Cal.
They aren't stopping there, though - the past couple of years have seen a retooling, revamping and rebooting of most of the drinkin' and eatin' places in the Cal.

And some of the changes are surprising.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Las Vegas License Plates We Need To Get

I have lived in Las Vegas for about a year and a half - one week or ten days at a time spread over the last 20 years or so.

Sometimes I imagine what it would be like to live in Sin City. I'm not sure I'd enjoy being surrounded by casinos, gambling, drinking, incredible amounts of excitement and fun, 24/7 escapism, awesome food, and unrivaled entertainment.

If I did, though, I would surely get a vanity license plate for my 1984 Toyota Tercel.

Now, you might think all the good ones are taken. Like this one that I spied on a recent trip report:

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Locate Anything in Downtown Las Vegas in Three Words

That saxophone guy's spot is spicy.snow.pads. You knew saxophones had pads, right?
As we saw in the first part of this series, Find Anything in Las Vegas with Three Words, the Very Smart People at What3words have figured out a scheme where every 10 foot by 10 foot square on the planet can be addressed using just three common everyday ordinary words.

Yep, they are handing out co-ordinates faster than Scotty.

Some clicky-clicky mouse-hunting turned up all kinds of hilarious and ironic three word codes for various places in Downtown Las Vegas.

Well, I think they are hilarious - you may have to give me some latitude on that.

(See what I did there?)

Lets have a look around downtown and see what we can find.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Find Anything in Las Vegas with Three Words

Welcome to Fabulous Suffer Finds Awards Nevada doesn't seem to have much of a ring to it. In fact, it reads like something off of my last game of Bad Platitudes With Friends.

Some Very Smart People at What3words who no doubt employ a garage full of other Very Smart People have come up with a totally new way of addressing any spot on the planet using just three everyday words.

Basically, they drew a grid everywhere around the whole wide world with some extremely large Sharpies, splitting everything as far as the eye can see and then some up into 3 meter by 3 meter boxes. That's about 10' by 10' in case you are metric-ally challenged.

And each and every one of these squares has its very own absolutely unique three word address - including the 10 foot square grid box you are sitting in at this very mo'.

Why does this matter? Well, if you've ever tried to meet up with anyone anywhere anytime in your life - it matters big time. (Plus, as we'll see, it can be a pantload of fun!)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Learn and Play Craps with Royal Flusher: Taking Odds

As the flasher said, let's just get this out in the open. Craps terminology is risqué and rude, starting with its very name. Naturally, I like it.

There are a myriad of bets you can place at the craps table, and most of them have some element of rudeness in how they are called by the - ahem - stick man.

Like a bunch of yokels likkered up on 'shine at a country shivaree you can bet on the Come, or the Don't Come. You can place the numbers, like the 6 and 9. Or, you can play the field.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Learn and Play Craps with Royal Flusher: Simple Pass Line Play

This is the second article on the simplest way to get into the wonderful game of craps. I'm going to tell you exactly how to walk up to a table and get playing without making an ass out of yourself. And I'm not talking about that Pop-o-matic Trouble Craps electronic game with the giant size vaudeville dice, either. I'm talking about the real thing, seven come eleven, dollar yo, eight the hard way, toss the bones CRAPS.

You'll be able to play craps with complete confidence, as long as you follow my simple directives and don't screw up, or say the wrong thing, or spill a drink, or look at someone the wrong way, or break some unwritten rule.

See how easy and fun learning craps can be? Oh boy!

Believe me, you are in good, crappy hands with Royal Flusher. I've taught as many as half a dozen people how to play craps, some successfully.
My best rack of chips ever - so far.

Learn and Play Craps with Royal Flusher: The Basics

A loud bunch of people in the casino are having what sounds like a full-on fireworks and jello shots party, grouped around a long wooden table, drinking, laughing, placing chips on the table, and picking up winnings, the racks in front of them filling up with red, green and black chips.

About every 30 seconds, they scream at the top of their lungs, high-five each other, and generally carry on, practically giving everyone within a 50 yard radius a heart attack. They are, without a doubt, the most obnoxious, out of control group in the casino.

And by God, you want to be one of them someday. Because it looks like they are having the time of their lives. And they are.

Welcome to craps. In this series of articles, I'm going explain in crystal clear terms the absolute bare minimum that you need to know to start playing craps without making an ass of yourself or getting into any trouble. I'll explain the fundamental rules, and show you how to walk up to a craps table and get in the game without feeling intimidated. Because, let's face it, to some, craps is the most intimidating-looking game in the casino. But once you know the basics, it's easy.

The best part? With this simple information, you'll be making some of the best bets with the lowest house edge in the casino.

Learn Blackjack Basic Strategy the Royal Flusher Way

Are you ready to become a solid Basic Strategy Blackjack player? Let's get down to some useful tips.

I promised you'd get them, and now, here they are.

Right there. Right down below this rambling paragraph. Look down... down there. That's where they are.

1: Decide on a Basic Strategy and Stick to it

Published strategies vary from card to card, site to site, program to program because the rules of playand number of decks change from table to table, casino to casino. Those blackjack poindexters that want to get every last hundredth of a percent advantage care about these things because at the levels at which they play, it means real money to them.

You (probably) and I (definitely) do not fall into this category because we are only just blackjack babykins, barely able to reach up high enough above our bobbling babykins heads in order to suckle at blackjack's luscious monetary teat.

For the sake of your sanity, get a good, solid, basic set of rules and learn them cold. (We will get to the But HOW???? part shortly.) Never mind the little tweaks. You are going to be going from a 90% return by guess and by God player to a 99 plus % return Blackjack Basic Strategy Maven (with optional luscious monetary teat-suckling).

You will be better at this than probably 90% of the players out there.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Blackjack Basic Strategy Card Mysteries Revealed

Official Royal Flusher Black-EZ-Jack Strategy Card
So you want to learn how to play Blackjack?

I do too.

A quick recap - a guy named Edward O. Thorp used an early IBM computer to figure out an optimal way to play blackjack and published a book called "Beat the Dealer". His method evolved into what is known as Basic Strategy. Basic Strategy is a mathematician/computer guy's way of saying "put your pants on before your boots". It's a set of rules.

So, let's agree that the first stop in shaving the house edge at blackjack (to within a meagre half a percent) is to learn and play Basic Strategy.

You are now well on your way to killing it at the blackjack table - you know the words 'Basic Strategy'!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Is Blackjack Dead?

Is Blackjack dead?

Before answering that, let's consider some facts.

Traditional 21 pays 3:2 on blackjacks. That's $15 on a $10 bet. You can expect to get this about four times an hour, on average. Playing basic strategy, you can get around 99.5% payback. That is a razor thin house edge of around a half a percent.  

Horrid evil fake 6:5 Crapjack pays 6:5 on blackjacks. That's $12 on a $10 bet, $3 less. This increases the house edge by around 1.4% to a total of 1.9%.

Viewed another way, that's $12 an hour on a $10 game. Viewed even another way, they've increased the money they are going to take from you by four times.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Royal Flusher's $1000 Bankroll Las Vegas Scrouge Trip

What person in their right mind would do a 13 day trip to Las Vegas with a $1000 bankroll and $300 in expenses? Nobody.

But I'm not in my right mind and that's exactly what I set out to do. I also had the Quad Queen's credit card information, but that's not the point! My gambling bankroll was set at just $77 a day.
Is it even possible to have any fun on $77 a day? How many goodies can one person wring out of the comp system? How many of those buffet Philadelphia cream cheese tubes can I fit in my pants pocket without freezing my Liberty Bell off?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Royal Flusher's Savvy Las Vegas Diet

How can you possibly lose weight in Las Vegas (other than draining the contents of your wallet)?

Mrs. Flusher says I should lose about 40 pounds*. And I've made a good start, cleaning up my eating habits and losing 15 pounds, with a small lapse (one year and two months) after pounds 8 and 9. But I carried on. I've been good, walking Chippy almost every day. It's doing Chippy some good too, she can almost keep up now. When I started, I'd leave her little roller skates on almost the whole way, but now she only needs them for the uphill parts.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

The Lost Vegas Motels of East Fremont

The fifties. The sixties. Big fast rocketship cars. Whimsical post-modern atomic design, full of flair, playfulness, but still reaching for the stars with angular fonts, sweeping curves, pastel colors, and abstract elements from the heavens themselves.

I explored Las Vegas' Fremont Street east of the downtown canopy and found the remnants of what was once a string of businesses that embody the American dream. Mom and Pop motels with cheerful names and optimistic Googie-inspired signs.

These speak of their time, when Americans vacationed and saw their world by car. A time here in Las Vegas of thriving downtown casinos that spun off a mini-strip of commerce on their periphery.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

The View From Las Vegas' High Roller

The High Roller, Las Vegas' huge ferris wheel, is a tourist attraction to be sure, complete with bar cars. But it can be much more than that, revealing the beauty of the Las Vegas valley as seen from on high.

It's a wheel dotted with observation platforms, and from a distance, looks simple. But this is deceptive. The wheel itself is 520 feet in diameter, massive, imposing - a feat of modern engineering.

The view at the top is from 550 feet high, and with the High Roller situated smack in the middle of the Las Vegas strip, great views of the carnival below are afforded.
The Pods are surprisingly roomy - and some of them have their own bars.
As you traverse one rotation, over the course of an hour, the views of Las Vegas change rapidly, and dramatically.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Park at Park MGM in Pictures

On a 109 degree afternoon in Las Vegas, I explored MGM's new district The Park. Although primarily a retail conduit to the arena, it is filled with sculpture and abstract expressions of shape and form that draw the visitor in.

A walkway designed to lead, comfort, and cool the visitor, full of natural textures and colors, and life-giving water.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

MGM's Latest Cash Grab - No More Free Porking

Well, they've gone and done it. MGM Resorts has instituted a charge for something that millions of us have taken for granted for all these years.

They are charging for porking.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Farewell to the Riviera

Today the Riviera Hotel and Casino closed forever.

Workers began boarding up the doors. A couple of guys stood at the end of the desolate pit, talking quietly. The pit was completely empty of people, chips, cards, and dice. Only dirty felt and worn seats remained behind.

I carefully approached the two suits and told them I was sorry about the news. One fellow engaged me quietly but the other, could not bring himself to talk to me, or to look my way. He turned slightly and the loss was still plain to see in his face. I couldn't blame him.

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Thumbnail Sketch Las Vegas Trip Report Jan-Feb 2016

2016 Thumbnail Sketch Las Vegas Trip Report!!!

"As you know, I've blogged all of my trips to Las Vegas for a decent number of years now, some live, some after the fact, in incredible detail, uproarious vulgarity, and of marginal entertainment value.

Until now.

It just so happened that for Grommet Con 2016, I was again chosen to travel to Las Vegas to provide something called 'drayage' - also known as dumb mule labor. I arranged to have some remote grommet line monitoring work to do right after that, so I stayed on and worked remotely, unbeknownst to the Pesky Belgians and Crafty South Koreans who lovingly run Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, where I mindlessly watch size 7 grommets firing off the production line like teeny tiny vulcanized donuts."

Thumbnail Sketch Trip Report on Royal Flusher Vegas

Friday, February 5, 2016

California Reno Insider - New Lobby Revealed

One of my Fellow Flushies out there has graced me with some really interesting information on the ongoing California Hotel and Casino renovation, and a sneak peak at the slick new lobby.

This information comes from a confab (or 'confab', in Vegas blogger talk) with a very high source in the Cal organization.

In other words, Lebby in the Lobby.

And without further verbal screwing around, here is the brand new Cal lobby, opening today.

Sleekness abounds in the factory fresh Cal Lobby, or 'Lobby' (in Vegas blogger-speak).