Monthly Archives: July 2016

How to Find the Loosest Slots in a Las Vegas Casino, Guaranteed

Wouldn’t it be great to know the loosest slots in any Las Vegas casino? Well, you can, and it’s easier than you might think.

A “loose” slot, of course, refers to a machine that pays out frequently and in large quantities, every player’s dream. Those machines are also described as being “hot.”

In the parlance of casinos, loose slots can be said to have the lowest casino “hold.” The hold percentage is the part of a machine’s “coin in” that the casino keeps. Hey, these casinos aren’t going to carpet themselves.

Las Vegas slot machine

Just no.

The lower the hold percentage, the more a slot machine pays back to guests. The secret to finding the loosest slots in a casino, then, is knowing which machines have the lowest hold percentage.

Many believe this information is a closely-held secret, but here’s an easy way to find out which slots are the loosest: Ask someone who knows.

Crazy, right? Every casino with slot machines has a Slot Manager, often called the Slot Operations Manager. This person, who you will never see without a suit and tie (yes, they tend to be male), knows precisely what the hold percentages are for given machines, or more typically for banks of machines.

It’s the Slot Manager’s job to monitor how machines are performing, if they’re delivering sufficient profit to the casino given the space they take, if new machines are needed, where they should be placed on the casino floor and myriad other duties.

If you want to know which slots in a casino are the “loosest,” simply ask a Slot Manager.

Loose slots

These are some of the loosest slots at The D Las Vegas. How do we know? We asked.

Here’s how.

Ask anyone on the floor if the Slot Manager is available to chat. Slot attendants and cocktail waitresses can be very helpful tracking them down. Hint: Be professional and courteous.

Introduce yourself to the Slot Manager and let them know you’re interested in locating the slots with the lowest hold percentage on the floor. Slot Managers are busy people, so while there’s no harm in schmoozing, don’t be shy about getting to the point.

In most cases, a Slot Manager will either point you toward a bank of machines or escort you there. Express your appreciation accordingly, and it’s time to play!

That’s it. No, really. It’s that easy.

All this begs the question: Why would a casino employee tell a player the best-playing slots in the casino?

Simple: Casinos just want people to play, they don’t care which machines they play on.

Why? Because no matter which machine you play, the house has the advantage. It’s built right into the machine’s microprocessor. Even if a machine has a great payback percentage, say 98%, it will keep $2 for every $100 put into the machine. Many machines keep significantly more.

loosest slots

As a rule, slots are looser at locals casinos than downtown casinos, and both pay back more than slots on The Strip. The more you know.

Now, if you can’t locate a Slot Manager, you can fall back on tried-and-true ways to find the best-paying slots.

A solid rule-of-thumb is the more active a bank of slots is, the higher the payouts tend to be. Casino regulars see patterns, so follow their lead.

It’s also good to know that the higher the machine’s denomination, the more generous and frequent the payouts. For example, a $5 coin machine is going to have a higher payout percentage than a quarter machine, and so on.

$500 coin slot machine

Go big or go home. It’s Vegas!

And finally, don’t discount the advice of those slot attendants and cocktail waitresses we mentioned. They, too, can see patterns in machine payouts. They may not be privy to the same information a Slot Manager has, but they can often point you toward the machines showing signs of being “hot.”

The next time you’re in a casino, remember our simple tip for finding the loosest slots: Ask a Slot Manager.

And remember to have fun when you play. That way, whether Lady Luck is in the mood or not, you’re always a winner.

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Vital Vegas Podcast, Episode 21: Good Vibrations, EasyPlay App and Howard Hughes

It’s time for another excruciating episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast!

This is episode 21, which means the podcast is finally old enough to gamble. What could possibly go wrong? (Don’t bother asking about the “Good Vibrations” thing. It’s better left unsaid.)

In this installment, we chat about the new real money slot tournament app from MGM Resorts, EasyPlay, and hear an exclusive interview with Michael Jabara, President & CEO of OneLive, Inc., the company that developed this new Web-based app.

EasyPlay app

The EasyPlay app from MGM Resorts lets players enter real money slot, bingo and video poker tournaments.

We also dive into the state of downtown Las Vegas and its future, and round up some of the Las Vegas news you know and love (mainly because you read this blog).

Rounding out the episode, we explore one of the colorful characters that made what Las Vegas is today, Howard Hughes.

It’s all that and so much less on this episode of the Vital Vegas Podcast, so take a listen, already.

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Wynn Las Vegas Confirms Curtain Coming Down on “Showstoppers”

Hot on the heels of news “Raiding the Rock Vault” will soon close at Tropicana, another show is being given the ax, “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” at Wynn Las Vegas.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Wynn reps have confirmed “Showstoppers” will close for good on Sep. 30, 2016.

The lavish, old-school production, featuring a large (expensive) cast and full (expensive) orchestra, was a pet project of Steve Wynn. The show is said to have cost $10 million to launch.

Showstoppers

“Showstoppers” was the first Las Vegas show to feature male cast members as coffee tables.

“Showstoppers” opened in December 2014, and lasted far longer than most anticipated.

We included “Steve Wynn’s Showstoppers” on our list of shows likely to close in 2016. Not because it wasn’t good (we never saw it), but because the economics of Las Vegas entertainment is changing, and even with Steve Wynn’s deep pockets, the show seemed destined for the same fate as other high-cost, low-attendance shows like “Jubilee!” at Bally’s and “Frank: The Man, The Music” at Palazzo.

“Showstoppers” came about after Steve Wynn created a private show for his wife Andrea’s 50th birthday party. The show amounts to a “Broadway’s greatest hits” compilation, complete with elaborate sets and choreography.

Could “Showstoppers” be the last we see of Broadway-style musical theater on the Las Vegas Strip? And if so, what the hell are we going to do with all the surplus jazz hands?

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“Raiding the Rock Vault” Falls Victim to Tropicana Curse, Set to Close

“Raiding the Rock Vault” appears to have fallen victim to the “Tropicana curse.” The show will close July 31, 2016.

“Raiding the Rock Vault” has been described as a “90-minute history of classic rock performed by members of some of the greatest bands in history,” mainly by the producers of “Raiding the Rock Vault.”

The show, which features former members of classic rock bands, is closing due to flagging ticket sales.

Tropicana hotel

Beware, all ye whose shows open here. Because “ye” makes things sound more ominous, doesn’t it?

“Raiding the Rock Vault” had a pretty good run at Westgate Las Vegas (previously LVH) after it opened in March 2013. The show closed at Westgate in December 2014 after a fair amount of drama, then took up residence at the Trop.

“Raiding the Rock Vault” joins an ever-growing roster of entertainment offerings that have shuttered at Tropicana.

Paul Shortino

Paul Shortino has been a fixture of “Raiding the Rock Vault.” He sang with Quiet Riot. Yes, Quiet Riot songs had singing.

“Mama Mia” closed at Tropicana after just three months. Which wouldn’t scream “curse” were it not for the fact the show had run for six years prior at Mandalay Bay.

“Purple Reign,” the Price tribute show, gave Tropicana a go, but sputtered, despite success in other venues. Currently, it’s at Westgate.

Brad Garrett’s Comedy Club made a go of the Tropicana, too, but jumped ship in late 2011 to open in a better location, MGM Grand.

Aspiring “Celebrity Magician” Murray Sawchuck not only saw the plug pulled on his show at Tropicana, but to add insult to injury, Criss Angel stole his girlfriend, Chloe Crawford. If you lose your girlfriend to Criss Angel, there’s simply no other explanation than you’re the likely victim of a curse.

Our candidate for most-cursed Tropicana show? “New Illusions” starring Jan Rouven. Rouven, of course, was arrested for child pornography charges. All traces of his show vanished virtually overnight.

Beyond lackluster ticket sales, and the so-called Tropicana curse, “Raiding the Rock Vault” had taken its share of hits in terms of the quality of the show itself. Twisted Sister singer Dee Snider once slammed the show, calling it “a tribute band with a bunch of add-on people.” A sentiment which, inexplicably, was only rarely used in the show’s advertising.

Raiding the Rock Vault billboard

Quite the wordsmith, that Dee Snider.

The demise of “Raiding the Rock Vault” will give others shows the opportunity to defy the Tropicana curse. A new show, “Cherry Boom Boom” will debut at Tropicana on Sep. 8, 2016. It doesn’t bode well that the show is being billed as “immersive.”

It remains to be seen if a new show can shake the curse. The last successful show at Tropicana ran 49 years, “Les Folies Bergere,” a topless revue.

Here’s a theory: What if the Tropicana curse is the result of the cancellation of a topless revue?

“Crazy Girls” closes at Riviera, the casino is imploded.

“Minsky’s Follies” closes at the Dunes, imploded.

“Lido de Paris” closes at Stardust, imploded.

Maybe all eyes should be on Bally’s since it closed “Jubilee!” Then again, this is the hotel that brought us the Grand Bazaar Shops. Who’s laughing at our curse theory now?

Update (7/18/16): “Raiding the Rock Vault” had a few things to say about our take on this story. Via the @Rock_Vault Twitter account, the show wrote, “1) Dee Snider walked his comments back. 2) We did more shows and were active at Trop longer than at Westgate/LVH. 3) Won ‘Best of Las Vegas’ again at Trop in 2015, so not sure the ‘Trop curse’ applies here.”

Our takeaway: Told you there’s a Trop curse!

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Self-Help Spoof, “Yes, You Can’t!,” Set for Run at El Cortez

This one’s flown under the radar, but a one-man show, “Yes, You Can’t!” opens at
downtown’s El Cortez on July 21, 2016.

The show, starring Tom Rubin, is scheduled to run for 13 weeks. (Seriously? Not 12 or 14? It’s playing at a Las Vegas casino! Just saying.)

The show is a satire of motivational gurus, self-help books and success seminars.
Tom Rubin plays the “World’s Leading Failure Expert” with what’s described as “a
Stephen Colbert flair.” The Stephen Colbert of “The Colber Report,” not the “Late
Show,” we presume.

Yes, You Can't Show

It’ll be interesting to see if a show with an L.A. sensibility will play in downtown Las Vegas. The proof is in the funny.

Former entertainment lawyer Tom Rubin has performed stand-up comedy at The Improv,
Comedy Store and Laugh Factory. See him talk up his show.

Despite the lawyer-turned-comedian red flag, the show would seem to have a lot of potential. This blog has a personal fondness for one of the subjects touched upon in the show: We need to complain more.

Fun Vital Vegas fact: We once wrote and performed an award-winning Toastmasters
speech covering this very ground, The Dying Art of the Complaint. The speech is
now frequently given by high school students in speech competitions across the
country. We’ll show you the trophies if you ask nicely.

Granted, El Cortez isn’t the first casino that springs to mind when you think of
stage productions, but performers love the showroom rental bargains to be found
downtown.

El Cortez Las Vegas

El Cortez is on Fremont East which is west of West Fremont, which isn’t actually a thing, but take a minute, anyway.

Comedy-hypnotist Kevin Lepine has a show, “Hypnosis Unleashed,” at Binion’s.
Comedy-magician Mike Hammer does a quality show at Four Queens, and comedy-magician
Adam London has his “Laughternoon” show at The D Las Vegas. While these shows might
no make a killing The Strip, they do very well with the low overhead a downtown
theater space can provide.

Rubin previously floated this long-form comedy show at Planet Hollywood under another name, “Failure is an Option.” We’re always rooting for Las Vegas shows to find their groove, so despite the underwhelming run of “Failure is an Option” at Planet Hollywood’s Sin City Theater, we’re not going to be the one to point out the show’s title proved to be true.

From what we’re hearing, that scheduled 13-week run may be a tad on the optimistic side.

Here’s more about “Yes, You Can’t!” at the El Cortez. Tickets are $39.95. The show happens nightly at 7:30 p.m., dark Tuesday and Wednesday.

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MGM Resorts Takes Real Money Slot Tournaments Mobile With Web-Based EasyPlay App

MGM Resorts has launched a new Web-based app, EasyPlay, being touted as the “first mobile casino slot platform in the country.”

The EasyPlay app allows players to participate in virtual slot and bingo tournaments away from the casino floor at MGM Resorts destinations. The difference between this app and other “just for fun” social casino games is the prizes are paid in cash, on site.

EasyPlay app mobile casino

It’s easy to play. Which may have inspired the name, EasyPlay. Just a hunch.

EasyPlay (the official style is “easyPLAY,” but we have an aversion to random capitalization and shouting) can be accessed free via a Web site.

For the time being, one must be logged into the Wi-Fi at an MGM Resorts hotel-casino to use the app and take part in the virtual tournaments. (EasyPlay tournaments are also be accessible on InteractivePro Tables located throughout MGM Resorts.)

There’s a small cost for tournament entries, and tournament jackpots vary based upon the number of participants.

The EasyPlay app makes it a breeze to see how many people are taking part in a given slot or bingo tournament and where you rank against other participants, all in real-time.

EasyPlay slot tournament app

EasyPlay was developed by a Las Vegas company, oneLIVE, Inc. We’ll let them get away with the random capitalization and shouting just this once because we sort of like their app.

MGM Resorts sees this app as the next evolution of casino gambling, although, technically, the tournament element keeps this type of mobile gambling from being considered “gambling,” because mobile gambling isn’t legal in the U.S. at the moment. It’s complicated.

Of course, MGM Resorts and the game developer have made sure EasyPlay has the blessing of Nevada Gaming Control Board.

MGM Resorts reps seem to have high hopes their new app will appeal to younger gamblers, specifically, those pesky Millennials. Will Millennials like slot machines more because they’re on a smartphone? It’s possible. They do seem to enjoy competition, and EasyPlay slot tournaments certainly provide that experience.

EasyPlay app

“What the hell is bingo?” ~Millennials

The EasyPlay app is being described as “the new keno,” which sounds about right. We’ll definitely use the app when we’re having lunch at a casino restaurant or a cocktail at a casino bar. But mainly that second thing.

The fact there are real money payouts certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

If you win one of the EasyPlay slot tournaments, just go to the casino cage, provide a valid I.D. and your e-mail address, and you’ll get your cash. (All the usual rules apply for wins greater than $1,200, you’ll have to fill out the appropriate tax forms.)

Other details: A payment method is set up within the app prior to play, entry credits can be purchased for varying amounts (starting for as little as $1), you can play free trial games, and the app lets you check winnings, credit balances and scheduled tournaments with ease.

EasyPlay casino app

Just scan the available tournaments and dive right in. You’ve got 25 spins to get the high score. No pressure.

If you have questions, visit an M Life players club desk (yes, we know it’s “M life,” don’t get us started) at your favorite MGM Resorts casino.

Here’s some sweet news coverage of the release of the EasyPlay app. By “sweet,” of course, we mean this Las Vegas blog is featured in it.

Casino social games have been a huge windfall for casino companies (yes, people spend millions of real dollars purchasing virtual coins), and casinos are champing at the bit for real money mobile gambling to be legalized.

In the meantime, virtual tournaments it is, and EasyPlay may end up being your new favorite obsession when visiting an MGM Resorts casino in Las Vegas. Those resorts include Aria, Bellagio, MGM Grand, Mandalay Bay, Mirage, Monte Carlo, Luxor, New York-New York and Excalibur. Sorry, but at Circus Circus, you’ll have to play slots the old-fashioned way. (Circus Circus is owned by MGM Resorts, but isn’t part of the M Life players club family.)

Here’s a tip: Even if your chances of winning a tournament look bleak, don’t give up. We’ve personally seen someone get six million points on one spin, so a miraculous, come-from-behind victory isn’t out of the question.

If you give EasyPlay a try, let us know what you think, and if you win a jackpot, our usual commission applies.

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