Monthly Archives: June 2021

Planet Hollywood Poker Room Folds on July 11

The poker room at Planet Hollywood will close permanently on July 11, 2021, per staffers.

The closure of the Planet Hollywood poker room continues a pattern that’s unfolded at a number of casinos in recent years.

Roughly a third of the poker tables in Las Vegas went away during the pandemic.

Poker, a game of strategy, bankroll management and Phil Hellmuth needing to STFU.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, in 2010, there were more than 1,000 poker tables in Las Vegas. Now, there are about 280.

A number of once popular poker rooms have closed permanently, including rooms at Mirage, Mandalay Bay and Excalibur.

Mirage non-smoking slots

Mirage’s poker room now has 100% less poker.

Binion’s, where the World Series of Poker got its start, not only closed its poker room but removed all the tables.

Binion's poker room

This is the “before” shot of the poker room at Binion’s.

Gird your loins.

We weren’t kidding about the loin-girding thing.

The bottom line is poker rooms don’t generate much revenue for casinos and often take up valuable real estate. They’re considered an amenity, like salons and

Poker fans can still find poker rooms in town, and many hold tournaments.

Some of the most popular poker rooms can be found at Aria, Wynn, Venetian, Bellagio, Golden Nugget and Caesars Palace.

The newest poker room in Las Vegas is at Resorts World.

The poker room at Resorts World was booming the nights we visited.

In other poker news, the World Series of Poker just announced its 2021 schedule. Bonus: No Plexiglas!

Poker still plays a part in the Las Vegas experience, but places to play are becoming increasingly difficult to find.

When it comes to poker, we’re happy to let you know the deal.

Word Is Caesars Palace May Get Bazaar Meat

We love a juicy rumor! We hear Caesars Palace is going to have a Bazaar Meat restaurant from award-winning chef Jose Andres.

As this hasn’t been officially announced, we don’t know what this means for the existing north Strip location, inside The Casino That Shall Not Be Named Because We’re Not Giving Those Asshats Any Publicity.

Snagging a Bazaar Meat would be a big get for Caesars Palace.

Bazaar Meat

Bazaar Meat’s flair could add some bite to the restaurant mix at Caesars Palace.

This news comes on the heels of another steakhouse rumor from Las Vegas food critic John Curtas. The well-connected Curtas says Caesars Palace will be getting a Peter Luger Steak House, and also says the Bazaar Meat rumor has teeth.

While it’s not unprecedented for a casino to have two steakhouses (Golden Nugget has Vic & Anthony’s and Saltgrass), it seems highly unlikely Caesars would have three, so that means our beloved Old Homestead’s days could be numbered.

Old Homestead Steakhouse meatball

We miss you, Old Homestead’s meatball.

Bazaar Meat is highly regarded, and chef Jose Andres is renowned not only as a chef, but also as a philanthropist.

The chef’s World Central Kitchen has served 36 million meals to those in need.

We’d love to see Jose Andres expand his presence in Las Vegas, especially in a high profile resort like Caesars Palace.

Bazaar Meat isn’t just a steakhouse, it’s an experience, and one deserving of a more visible, successful location.

Podcast, Ep. 126: Resorts World, Mac King and a Buttload of Vegas News

It’s time for another installment of the Vital Vegas Podcast and we couldn’t be sorrier!

Las Vegas has a shiny new casino resort, so we got all up inside its business for this week’s yawn-packed episode.

Resorts World opened June 24, 2021, and we’ve got all the skinny you can possibly stuff into your earholes, including the good, the bad and the “How can we just live here, already?”

Resorts World

Resorts World is going to give you diabetes with all the eye candy.

Resorts World is the first fully cashless casino resort in Las Vegas (technically, cashless optional), so we chat with Jonathan Michaels, Senior Vice President of Strategic Development and Government Affairs at Sightline, the company involved with making that happen.

The only thing that could rival the opening of a new Las Vegas casino resort would be an interview with the one and only Mac King!

Mac King’s show opened June 22 at Excalibur, in the Thunderland Showroom (make some room, Thunder Down Under), and we spend some quality time talking with the beloved performer about his shocking decision to relocate after two decades at Harrah’s.

King shares the story of where he’s been, where he’s going and how his suit caught fire that one time.

Mac King

Mac King’s show is fire.

But wait, there’s more.

As always, we bring you a cavalcade of scoop you won’t hear anywhere else.

Bazaar Meat is coming to Caesars Palace (Old Homestead looks like it’s done), there’s a bidding war for a Garth Brooks residency, Sammy Hagar is getting a residency at Strat and Toby Keith’s restaurant at Harrah’s is closed for good and much more.

The listicle of the week features ways “Vegas You” is different than regular you. What the hell, let’s just share the list here for posterity, complete with a gratuitous hashtag. Because if it doesn’t have a hashtag, does it even exist?

12 Ways #VegasYou Is Different From Regular You

  1. #VegasYou doesn’t ask for forgiveness or permission.
  2. #VegasYou understands risk is the reward.
  3. #VegasYou knows those stains will wash out.
  4. #VegasYou knows mojo is more important than math.
  5. #VegasYou knows the walk of shame is just a walk.
  6. #VegasYou doesn’t double up to catch up because #VegasYou DGAF if you’re winning or losing.
  7. #VegasYou thinks “responsible gaming” means not spilling beer on the felt.
  8. #VegasYou thinks no matter how little your black dress might be, it could be littler.
  9. #VegasYou doesn’t need a synthetic lubricant.
  10. #VegasYou knows the guy your guy knows.
  11. #VegasYou knows it’s not $400 for a bottle of Gray Goose, it’s $400 for a story that will make you interesting for the rest of your life.
  12. #VegasYou doesn’t dance like nobody’s watching. #VegasYou dances like everybody is.

How are we not the agency of record for the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority?

Anyhoo, even if this episode isn’t your favorite of all time, it’s certainly the most recent, so feel free to dive right in, ears first.

Sammy Hagar to Announce Residency at The Strat

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Sammy Hagar is set to announce a residency at The Strat.

Hagar is best known for his hit, “I Can’t Drive 55,” as well as having been the lead singer of Van Halen after David Lee Roth lost his mind.

The Strat sent out a teaser news release about the announcement, which will happen June 28, 2021. The release didn’t mention Sammy Hagar, which is why you have us.

Sammy Hagar

The world wants to party with Sammy Hagar, now they can at The Strat.

Rumors of a Sammy Hagar residency at The Strat surfaced in 2020, but the pandemic pushed back those plans.

At the time, the Las Vegas Review Journal reported Hagar would perform in the “Celestia” tent, but as we reported exclusively, that show permanently closed during the pandemic and the tent, from what we hear, has been sold off and is currently being dismantled.

Hagar’s show schedule is unknown at this point, but you’ll know when we know, so check back for an update after the official announcement.

Sammy Hagar’s show will most certainly include his songs, “Your Love is Driving Me Crazy,” “Eagles Fly,” “Mas Tequila,” “Little White Lie,” “Red,” “Bad Motor Scooter,” “Three Lock Box” and other songs we copied and pasted from Web sites listing his greatest hits.

We are not a loud music person.

That said, we also cannot drive 55, so there’s that.

While 55 may be the posted speed limit, that doesn’t give you an excuse to drive that speed in the left, or passing, lane. Get out of the damn way. People don’t just spontaneously have road rage. If you drive the speed limit in the passing lane, it’s you. Move over!

Yes, we pretty much wrote this entire story so we’d be able to tell you to move the hell over.

While we may not have an expansive knowledge of Sammy Hagar’s catalog, we can attest to his being a cool guy. At a media event we attended a few years ago, Hagar took the time to introduce himself to every photographer on the red carpet. We’ve never seen that before or since.

Sammy Hagar is also a big rum guy, so he can pretty much do no wrong with us.

“The Red Rocker” is about to take his rightful place among those with Vegas residencies, and the after parties promise to be epic.

Update (6/28/21): Strat has confirmed its Sammy Hagar residency. “Sammy Hagar & Friends” starts Oct. 29-30, 2021. Bassist Michael Anthony, who’s played with Hagar for the past 30 years, and Vic Johnson, Hagar’s longtime guitarist, are confirmed for the first four shows. Drummer Jason Bonham is confirmed for the first two shows. Tickets start at $100.

Here’s Sammy Hagar at the announcement event.

Today in Mixed Feelings: Excalibur Buffet Reopens July 1

Excalibur announced its buffet reopens July 1, 2021 at 8:00 a.m.

First, who in the hell wakes up at 8:00 a.m. What, are people milking cows?

There is no excuse to get up that early unless you hooked up with a stranger at a Las Vegas nightclub and need to sneak out of their room without waking them up.

Excalibur Buffet is a solid 2.5 out of five stars on Yelp, which sort of explains the “mixed feelings” thing.

It might also explain why MGM Resorts, owner of Excalibur, announced this news on the same day Resorts World opens. You know, hoping nobody would notice.

Well, we noticed, because you deserve all the Las Vegas buffet news you can stuff into your face!

Excalibur Buffet

We totally forgot we took photos of the Excalibur buffet after its $6 million renovation in 2015.

The Excalibur Buffet got a $6.2 million renovation in 2015. Which you’d already know if you read photo captions.

Excalibur Buffet will have limited hours, which is probably best for everyone.

We kid because we love!

Selections will include made-to-order omelets, rotisserie chicken, iced shellfish, smoked brisket, sushi, beef birria and a dessert station with bread pudding, crepes, donuts, cakes, frozen custard and more.

There are few words that strike more fear into the hearts of sushi fans than “Excalibur Buffet sushi.”

Yes, we woke up on the wrong side of the snark today. Whatever, you’re still reading.

The Excalibur Buffet will be open Thursday through Monday, 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

We may tease about the meh reviews, but there’s no denying the Excalibur Buffet is a great value.

Monday through Thursday, it’s $24.99, children (6-11) cost $14.99. Fat kids cost $18.99. On Saturday and Sunday, it’s $29.99; children cost $15.99, and fat kids cost $19.99. Kids five and younger eat free. Yes, even the fat kids.

Because the world is such a humorless place, we have to mention we made up the “fat kids” pricing to make sure you were paying attention. We do not endorse fat shaming. We are, however, supportive of stupid shaming. Stupid kids pay extra. Better?

Please address all letters of complaint about this blog post to the Excalibur Buffet. Don’t shoot the messenger. You’re the one who let your kid get fat. For starters, stop taking them to buffets. They’re going to find out they don’t just have “big bones” someday. Save them some time!

Excalibur Buffet

All due respect, but it may be time to update Excalibur Buffet’s “It’s just O.K.” tagline.

Even with its limited hours, it’s great to see the Excalibur buffet reopen!

Other buffets back in Las Vegas include: Bacchanal at Caesars, Wicked Spoon at Cosmo, MGM Grand Buffet, Circus Buffet at Circus Circus and the Wynn buffet reopens July 1.

If you have the cash, we’d recommend the Bacchanal Buffet at Caesars Palace. It’s badass, and a value at $65 (weekdays).

We love Excalibur, as it now has Mac King (formerly at Harrah’s), the Australian Bee Gees and Thunder From Down Under. The “Tournament of Kings” show is coming back July 14, too.

We also love Excalibur because we’re pretty sure it’s the only Las Vegas casino featuring codpieces.

Vegas needs more codpieces!

Sure, they’ve got them at the Renaissance Festival, but that’s an annual thing. We need a steady supply of codpieces.

You might say Las Vegas could use a buffet of codpieces. You knew we’d bring it back around. You’re welcome.

Here’s When Your Favorite Cirque Shows Reopen in Las Vegas

Las Vegas straight-up isn’t Las Vegas without Cirque du Soleil.

Vegas has been Cirqueless for a long stretch due to the shitshow (sorry, pandemic), but now your favorite shows are making a comeback.

By the time you read this, Blue Man Group will be back at Luxor (June 24), and that’s just for starters.

Yes, Blue Man Group is a Cirque du Soleil show. Please keep up.

Maybe they’re normal and we’re all weird. Just kidding. They’re weird.

Next up is “Mystere.” The popular show reopens at Treasure Island on June 28, 2021.

Can’t wait for the first person searching “Mystere nip slip” on Google to land on our site.

“O” continues its run at Bellagio on July 1, 2021.

Fun fact: “O” has grossed a billion dollars since it opened in 1998.

Las Vegas seems to have an insatiable desire for WTF.

The most awkward of the Cirque shows, “Michael Jackson One,” returns to Mandalay Bay on August 19, 2021.

It’s a wonderful show, and we saw it free, although we don’t know if relying on the kindness of strangers is really the best way to ensure you’ll get a seat. If you have some free time, it’s worth a try. Read more.

Michael Jackson: One

It’s time to put some orthopedic surgeons back to work!

We are relieved to say “Beatles Love” will return as well. We’d heard Cirque was giving this show a long, hard look as it contemplated which shows would or would not come back.

“Beatles Love” is back at Mirage on August 26, 2021.

“Zumanity” wasn’t as lucky. It has permanently closed.

“Le Reve,” often mistakenly identified as a Cirque show (it’s not), isn’t any kind of show now. It, too, permanently closed. We hear the “Le Reve” theater is getting an overhaul and the next production will be waterless.

The only Cirque show we haven’t heard any news about is “Ka.” Cirque reps have suggested the show may return in September or October.

If you have difficulty keeping track of all the Cirque shows in Las Vegas, check out our one-minute guide.

Cirque du Soleil just made a sweet video showing its performers bailing on their pandemic jobs to get back to what they do best, Cirqueulating. Which probably isn’t a word.

Cirque was having a rough go of it even before the pandemic, so it’s great to see these shows opening back up.

There are challenges ahead for Cirque du Soleil, as Las Vegas has more seats than it can possibly fill (hello, Allegiant Stadium), with more coming online all the time (hello, MSG Sphere).

Some suggest Cirque had hit a saturation point in Las Vegas prior to the pandemic. It relies heavily on international customers, and those are in short supply right now. Also, several Cirque shows have played for decades, so the available pool of fresh eyeballs was shrinking over time.

But those red flags are for another time! Now, it’s time to celebrate the return of Cirque du Soleil to the Las Vegas Strip.

Cirque needs to start generating revenue gain, and the same goes for its world-class performers and stage technicians.

Business aspects aside, Las Vegas needs Cirque du Soleil back. In addition to being a major economic player, Cirque is nothing short of the spiritual heart of Las Vegas entertainment. To many around the world, Cirque shows are the embodiment of what Las Vegas spectacle is all about.

Cirque performers are moving miracles in lycra, and without them, how would casino heists happen?

Cirque is back, and Vegas is feeling a lot more like Vegas again.