Las Vegas Golden Knights Smash NHL Record

We’ll say right up front, we are not a sports person.

Still, with their recent overtime win against the St. Louis Blues, the Las Vegas Golden Knights have crushed a long-standing NHL record.

The Knights are the first team in the NHL’s 100 year history to win six of their first seven games during an inaugural season.

We know this because it says so right there on the Twitters.

Las Vegas Golden Knights

It’s a dirty trick to make us care about you.

The Las Vegas Golden Knights are first major professional sports franchise to be based in Las Vegas.

The team was also the first franchise in 100 years to start 5-1 in its first NHL season.

The NHL celebrates its 100th anniversary on November 26, 2017.

Given recent tragic events, Las Vegas has been in need of a boost, a reminder Las Vegas is an extraordinary place where dreams come true.

For many, the Las Vegas Golden Knights are providing just that.

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Las Vegas Lights Could Have Women’s Soccer Legends Julie Foudy or Mia Hamm as Coach

Much of the chatter in Las Vegas lately has involved sports, so since we can’t beat ’em, we’ll scoop ’em.

We broke the news about MGM Resorts buying the WNBA’s San Antonio Stars, so we’re up for sharing another intriguing gender-related rumor.

In case you haven’t heard, Las Vegas is getting a professional soccer team, the Las Vegas Lights FC. “FC” stands for “Football Club.”

Las Vegas Lights FC

When in doubt, add Googie stars.

The founder and owner of Las Vegas Lights is Brett Lashbrook.

We’re hearing Lashbrook is looking to bring on either Julie Foudy or Mia Hamm as coach of the Las Vegas Lights.

We are not a sports person, but we do know Julie Foudy and Mia Hamm are “legends of women’s soccer who helped pioneer the sport in the United States.” Yes, we are capable of copying and pasting things from news releases on the Internet.

Hamm and Foudy are both two-time winners of the FIFA Women’s World Cup and Olympic gold medalists. Hamm was a goal-scoring machine and is a prominent executive with two European soccer clubs and part owner of the Los Angeles Football Club. Foudy is a broadcaster for ABC and ESPN.

Both Foudy and Hamm are members of the National Soccer Hall of Fame.

The hiring of Foudy or Hamm would make quite a splash in the soccer world, especially because, as far as we can tell, there’s never been a woman coach of a men’s pro soccer team.

Las Vegas Lights

We are attempting to embrace sportsball. It’s not going particularly well.

The Las Vegas Lights, an expansion team of the United Soccer League, will play for the first time at Cashman Field in 2018. Seeing who ends up at the helm is sure to be part of the fun.

Learn more about the Las Vegas Lights at the official site.

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Las Vegas Club Demolition Rounds Second Base

The former Las Vegas Club, a sports-themed casino in downtown Las Vegas, is about halfway toward its goal of becoming history.

The Las Vegas Club demolition project, which also included Mermaids casino and the Glitter Gulch strip club, hit a milestone with the removal of a baseball player statue that stood watch over Fremont and Main for decades.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Demolition guy for scale.

The baseball player was spared becoming debris by the demolition company, Northern American Dismantling Corp.

The statue now sits on the demolition site, next to another classic sign, the Golden Goose.

Fun fact we learned about the Golden Goose: At one time it rotated. The mechanism responsible for the movement makes the goose ungodly heavy.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Make a bid. Take one home. Check for lice.

Removal of the statue provided a rare close-up of the statue.

Las Vegas Club baseball player

Yeah, it’s gross.

There are currently no plans to dispose of the baseball player or the goose, but it’s likely they’ll end up in the hands of a private owner willing to foot the bill to remove, transport and restore the signs.

Ironically, while strolling Fremont, we spotted one of the baseball player’s relatives.

Fremont busker

We crack us up.

Meanwhile on the site, a massive high-reach excavator, nicknamed “Bronto,” suffered mechanical problems, resulting in what amounts to the excavator equivalent of a “slip and fall,” and has been sidelined for several weeks.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Bronto’s in the shop. Otherwise known as the Las Vegas Club’s former parking structure.

It’s been replaced by an even taller excavator that, after a longer-than-expected assembly period (high-reach excavators seem to be temperamental, a frustration that’s cost the demolition team about six weeks), has been steadily eating away at the Las Vegas Club’s south hotel tower.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Housekeeping has really been slacking at the Las Vegas Club. Photo taken Oct. 20, 2017.

It seems Bronto may be down, but it’s not out. The super of the site says it’s expected the excavator will be repaired and join the current excavator as the hotel’s towers are meticulously taken down.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This was taken Oct. 16, 2017. Fun fact: Demolition guys call the tool at the end of the excavator a “pecker.” Some jokes just write themselves.

It’s been fascinating to watch the progress at 18 Fremont, the address of the block being leveled for a new resort from Derek and Greg Stevens, owners of The D and Golden Gate.

The demolition hasn’t been without challenges. Aside from the mechanical problems with the excavators, early in the project the facade of Mermaids was taken down earlier than expected due to the instability of the old structure. Originally, the facade was to remain in place to assist with dust suppression.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Oh, like we weren’t going to show you a close-up of the pecker. Do you know this blog at all?

Recently, while working with the excavator at the top of the south tower, an exterior decorative piece (see below) tore loose, landing on the casino structure below and crushing a fence along Main Street. While not optimal, the demolition crew anticipated the potential for debris on the Main Street side of the structure and had stopped vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

The debris was cleaned up in short order and work was back underway immediately.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This is the “before” photo. First rule of demolition: Gravity always wins.

Here’s a look at the west side of the south tower. There will be a quiz.

Las Vegas Club demolition

Here’s the “after.” The Las Vegas Club opened in 1930. The hotel towers closed in 2013.

The dramatic nature of the Las Vegas Club demolition has made it a bona fide tourist attraction downtown, with groups of gawkers gathering to watch the excavator do its thing.

It’s been a blast tracking the demolition progress, and are giddy as workers move closer to a room on an upper floor that is said to contain dozens of cheerleader costumes, a hold-over from the sports-themed casino’s heyday.

Las Vegas Club demolition

This is one of our favorite things about the demolition site, a peek into Vegas history. We’re pretty sure this used to be a restaurant, possibly the Upper Deck coffee shop.

The plan is to finish demolition of the Las Vegas Club by the end of the year, although it may be slow-going when crews take on the north tower. The north tower’s base was built to be able to support another 20 floors that were never added. The reinforced beams are sure to put the excavators to the test.

Las Vegas Club demolition

There’s still time to swing by and kiss the Las Vegas Club goodbye. Metaphorically. That would really be gross.

Check back as we obsessively chronicle the Las Vegas Club demolition. Hey, the alternative is to get a life and we don’t have time for all that.

Las Vegas Club Demolition: Oct. 20, 2017

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Axe Hole Las Vegas Hits the Mark at Neonopolis

When you think about fun things to do in Las Vegas, axe throwing may not immediately spring to mind. Maybe it should.

Axe Hole, a new offering at Neonopolis in downtown Las Vegas, provides guests the chance to test their mettle by tossing axes, knives, spears, throwing stars and other sharp objects at targets.

We are not entirely sure what a “mettle” is, but it sure does sound like something you’d want to test.

Axe Hole Las Vegas

To enter Axe Hole, stroll through this door hole.

Axe Hole follows on the heels of another axe-throwing emporium, Axe Monkeys, which made its debut in Las Vegas in March 2017.

At first, we were doubtful an axe-throwing operation could succeed in Las Vegas, but our doubts were punctured the moment we hit a bull’s eye and heard a magical sound.

“Thook.”

When you land a hatchet perfectly, you’re hooked. Do it when you’re competing against friends, and axe-throwing becomes an obsession.

Axe Hole

Top tip: In axe throwing, it’s all about rotation. If you’re not sticking your throw, move a step forward or back.

At Axe Hole, $25 per person gets you an hour of throwing time. If you can’t commit to an hour, you can do 15 tosses for $15. We’re telling you right up front, you will not be able to stop at 15, so spring for the hour.

Axe Hole

Oh, just do the axe. “Ninja Star Hole” just sounds stupid.

At first glance, axe-throwing would seem to appeal more to men than women, but because the activity relies more on technique than strength, women excel at it.

Axe Hole staffers provide expert coaching so guests can make the most of their time using the throwing lanes.

Axe Hole

Good luck getting the pliers to make a “thook” sound.

Axe Hole keeps things interesting (as if throwing axes wasn’t inherently interesting enough) by selling zombie targets ($4) and “smash box” targets ($5).

A smash box is hung from a target, and an accurate toss will break it open to reveal a prize.

Axe Hole

Ladies and gentlemen, zombie Howard Hughes.

Guests at Axe Hole must be 10 or older to throw, and closed-toed shoes are required to take part in the festivities.

Axe Hole is an entertaining, offbeat way to let off steam and unleash your inner viking in downtown Las Vegas.

Get more details at the official Axe Hole site. And, yes, we really enjoy saying Axe Hole.

 

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World’s Best Restaurant, Pizza Rock, Celebrates Fourth Anniversary

The world’s best restaurant, Pizza Rock, opened in Las Vegas on Oct. 19, 2013.

We loved Pizza Rock when it opened and our love continues to grow four years later.

Pizza Rock

Pizza Rock is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, and the other six suck by comparison.

To celebrate their fourth anniversary, we decided to challenge the pizza wizards at Pizza Rock to make a pie they’ve never made before.

We requested an “all-crust pizza.” That’s right. We invented a new food group.

Tony Gemignani

Tony Gemignani, the man behind Pizza Rock, is a 12-time World Pizza Champion. He is also a demigod. We interviewed him on our podcast.

Why an “all-crust” pizza? Well, while we order pizza at Pizza Rock on a nearly daily basis, we were in the mood for their meatballs.

Pizza Rock’s meatballs are, quite simply (wait for it), the best meatballs in the world. We frequently have an order of meatballs and a side of focaccia as a meal.

This time, though, focaccia and the restaurant’s excellent garlic bread wouldn’t do. No, we wanted bread, but a specific kind. The pizza crust kind.

Pizza Rock’s geniuses made it happen, so we had the perfect fourth anniversary meal: The world’s best meatballs drenched in the world’s best marinara sauce, which doubled as a dip for the world’s best pizza crust.

Pizza Rock

Behold the first all-crust pizza ever ordered at Pizza Rock. Yes, we have issues, but they’re happy issues.

In Italian, by the way, the sauce left on your plate after you eat, suitable for dipping bread into, is called “scarpetta.”

Now,  you know.

Pizza Rock meatballs

Fairy tales do come true.

We’ll be back to our happy hour personal cheese pizza (see below) for our next visit, but a big shout-out to the Pizza Rock crew for accommodating our special anniversary request and indulging in our culinary eccentricities.

While we are pizza purist, rest assured there’s a pizza at Pizza Rock for any and every palate. Pizza Rock boasts a wide variety of styles (from New York-style and Sicilian to Pizza Napoletana and classic Italian). Here’s the expansive Pizza Rock menu.

Pizza Rock classic cheese pizza

Oh, like we were going to write a Pizza Rock story without sharing a photo of pizza. Do you know this blog at all?

Pizza Rock has three locations in Las Vegas, but the one near Downtown Grand (a block from Fremont Street) is our favorite.

Frivolity aside, Pizza Rock has helped the last four years some of the most memorable of our life. Great pizza transports us to our happy place, and Pizza Rock delivers amazing pizza every single time.

Comforting pizza. Mind-blowing pizza. Transcendent pizza.

Happy birthday, Pizza Rock.

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Station Casinos Tests Cardless Loyalty Club System That Could Change Everything

Easily one of the most annoying things about gambling in casinos is the loyalty club card shuffle. Carry. Insert. Insert again. Insert again, with profanity. Leave behind. Stand in line to replace. Repeat.

With all the technology at our fingertips, it’s baffling why players must continue to wrestle with plastic cards to get what’s coming to them.

Station Casinos feels your pain and is doing something about it.

Casino loyalty club cards

The loyalty club card struggle is real.

Station Casinos is testing a new system that promises to make connecting to your slot machine quick, easy and cardless.

We’re happy to report the new system fulfills on its promise.

At the moment, the new cardless loyalty system is only in one Las Vegas casino, Barley’s Casino & Brewing Co. in Henderson. Let’s just say Barley’s is quaint and leave it at that.

Barley's Casino

Barley’s. We don’t need no stinking table games.

Here’s how this cardless system works.

First, casino guests download the Station Casinos app. It’s a one-time thing, and takes a few seconds.

We made the mistake of downloading a similarly-named app, so make sure to get the right one.

Station Casinos app

It’s the one on the bottom. We just saved you upwards of three minutes right there.

Many Station Casinos customers already use the app to track their point balance, make restaurant reservations and book rooms.

Once the app is installed, players link the app to their loyalty club account, otherwise known as a “Boarding Pass.”

Station Casinos app

The account linking process is a great reminder you don’t know your mother well enough.

That’s pretty much it for the set-up, then you’re ready to connect to your slot machine. Without a card. Or one of those coiled leashes. Just your smartphone. Glorious.

Just hold your phone near the slot machine’s card slot (make sure Bluetooth is enabled), hit “Connect to Machine” (see below) and magical slot machine elves do the rest.

That’s probably not the technical methodology you were hoping to see here, but we are a blog, not an app developer.

Cardless Connect

Don’t make fun of our tier, it’s rude.

Once you’re connected to the slot machine, you accumulate points just as you would with your old-timey loyalty club card.

You can tell you’re connected because the card slot turns green.

Casino cardless loyalty club

You’re good, bro.

Your app will confirm you’re good, bro.

Casino cardless loyalty club

In Vegas, it’s all about being connected.

When your session is done, you can hit the “Disconnect” button on the app, or the system will disconnect automatically after 30-45 seconds of inactivity. The connection will also be terminated based upon your device’s distance from the machine, depending upon the device and Bluetooth strength, per Station Casinos.

This system, called Cardless Connect, has the potential to be huge. Not just for Station Casinos, but for casinos overall.

Having a convenient way for player to participate in loyalty clubs means more will do so. That means the system isn’t merely a perk for players, it’s also a boon for casinos.

Casino loyalty clubs have been around since the 1990s, inspired by (translation: lifted from) the frequent flyer model made popular by American Airlines. Loyalty programs are a way to keep customers coming back and are a critical part of casino marketing efforts.

Fun fact: The first casino loyalty club was Total Rewards. It’s the loyalty club of Caesars Entertainment, and its or original name was Total Gold.

Play with your card, you’re “rated.” Play without, you’re “unrated.” Unrated players are the bane of a casino’s existence, as players who use their loyalty club card can be enticed into returning.

Station Casinos app

Admit it, this isn’t the first time you’ve connected with a slot in Vegas.

Casinos know how important it is to reward loyal customers, so loyalty club use can lead to lots of deals, discounts and freebies.

Another fun fact: Members of some casino loyalty clubs receive more than 150 pieces of direct mail a year.

So, what’s next for the cardless system at Station Casinos?

It’s likely there are more kinks to be worked out. The company no doubt watching closely to see how the cardless system impacts play and usage.

We tried dozens of machines, and the results were impressive. Still, there were a couple of machines where the connection failed. The app prompts players to move the phone closer for a better connection.

There are life lessons being taught here, you know.

Cardless loyalty club

This is actually less sexy than it sounds.

Moving closer didn’t work, so we got the “Cannot Connect” message and were prompted to use a physical card, which sort of defeats the purpose of the system.

Cardless Connect slot machines

Rejected.

Still, failures happened on just a fraction of the slot machines we tried linking to (thanks a lot, Buffalo).

We expect the Cardless Connect system will be rolled out to the roughly 20 Las Vegas casinos operated by Station Casinos sometime in 2018, then you can try the system for yourself.

You’ll soon have a bunch of useless cards, so check out our 11 Alternate Uses for Your Casino Players Club Card.

You can find out more about how to use the Cardless Connect system at the Station Casinos blog. Yes, Station Casinos has a blog. And, yes, you can have a hall pass to check it out without feeling like you’re cheating on us. Go ahead, we’ll wait.

As billed, the cardless loyalty club connection system is a fun, fast way to avoid fumbling with cards and to get all the casino perks you deserve for your play.

This cardless system has another benefit in that it feels like you have a superpower along the lines of motion-activated doors at grocery stores and shopping malls.

You won’t just feel like you’re using a player’s card, you’ll feel like you’re using the Force.

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