The day after Christmas, I was browsing the bargain books table in the back room of the Gamblers Book Club, and what did I come across but the 2013 edition of the American Casino Guide. This book is noteworthy for its rundown of every casino in the country, lots of articles on gaming by some of the most reputable writers in the business, but above all for the hundreds if not thousands of dollars worth of casino coupons tucked into the back. It lists for $18.95, but because there were only a few days left to use up the coupons, it was marked down to $5.
I grabbed a copy and as I was getting ready to drive away, phoned by poker buddy back at the hotel.
“Dude!” he said. “Grab me a copy and I'll give you five bucks when you get here.”
Well, duh. Like he was going to be content to follow me around and watch while I hopped from casino to casino using up these free slot plays and match plays.
We wound up breaking even on our first two stops, within walking distance from our home base at the Rio. The Gold Coast, although the coupon was for a $5 match play, actually gave us a free $5 bet (it's just how they roll), but neither of us won our blackjack hands. All right, across the street to the Palms, then, which had a coupon for a $10 match play. We each pulled out a $20, bet $10 of it on a hand of blackjack with the match play coupon, lost, looked at each other, each put out another $10 bet, won, and left even.
“Dude,” I said, “I don't know how soon this book is going to recover that $5 for us.”
Pretty quick, as it turned out. We headed downtown, as the $10 free slot play at the El Cortez had to be used that night. We each made a pretty penny on that, then headed to the Las Vegas Club. We each laid down a $5 match play, and then bang, blackjack, blackjack. We headed to the Golden Nugget to buy $60 worth of poker chips for $50, sat around to play our blinds, complained about the maniac who was shoving $65 into each pot without looking at her cards, cashed out our chips and left each up another $7 for the night. We went to the Plaza, won a few bucks on $5 worth of free slot play, decided to sit down and play a few hands of blackjack before moving on, and left nicely ahead for the evening.
Our last stop for the night was Jerry's Nugget, where we each had a free match play (I got a blackjack, my buddy won on a double down) as well as a free drink. While we were there my buddy swiped his card in a kiosk and found out he was getting $20 cash just for showing up a month or thereabouts since his first visit. Yeah, this book was definitely going to pay for itself.
We hit all the other free slot plays and match plays in the book over the course of the next afternoon and evening, and figured we were each up probably $125 to $150 from using those coupons. And that was with only two days before most of them expired!
Also in the book: Two free tickets to the Riviera Comedy Club. You can often find two-for-one coupons in the local entertainment guides, which at $19.95 is quite a bargain, but free tickets? A steal, and I was particularly excited over this find, as I'd already read that this week's headliner was Jimmie “J.J.” Walker of Good Times fame. I even got to meet him after the show and get a signed copy of his new book (at almost nine bucks off the cover price, too). Meeting Mr. “Dy-No-Mite” himself? Priceless!
While a lot of the downtown coupons, like those for the El Cortez, had expired on the 27th, we still had a two-for-one coupon for the buffet at The Golden Nugget, so we hit that up for breakfast on our way out of town.
Oh, we also picked up copies of the 2014 edition, because the book also includes 15% off at (of course) The Gamblers Book Club. (I bought another friend a copy of the 2013 as a Christmas present.) It's already paying for itself: included was a coupon for the El Cortez, buy one night for $30 and the second night's free. We may even stay in Laughlin on our way out of town on our next trip, because we can get two nights there for $39...at two different hotels. Oh, and while the bulk of the coupons are for Las Vegas, there are also deals for casinos scattered throughout the country, so you might be able to use them at casinos on your route when driving to Vegas...or even in the casino near your home town.
Our recommendation? Buy the book! Save Money! Make money! Heck, the free Girls of Golden Gate Calendar alone should be enough to sway you.
Just some of the deals you can get in the 2014 edition:
Free Slot Play: Club Fortune, The D, El Cortez, Golden Nugget, Las Vegas Club, Palms, Plaza, Silverton
Match Play: Bighorn, The D, Ellis Island, Golden Gate, Jerry's Nugget, Las Vegas Club, The Orleans, Palms, Rampart, Riviera, Silver Nugget
Free Shows: Riviera Comedy Club, Mac King Magic Show (with one $9.95 drink per person)
2-for-1 Tickets: X Burlesque, Mike Hammer Comedy Magic Show, Gordie Brown, The Improv at Harrah's, Defending the Caveman, The Orleans Showroom, Divas, Recycled Percussion, Frankie Moreno, Pin Up
Free Drinks: Clarion Hotel and Casino, Sam's Town, Santa Fe Station, V Bar
2-for-1 Meals or Buffets: Arizona Charlie's, Bighorn, Binion's, Boulder Station, Fiesta Henderson, Fiesta Rancho, Magnolia's (at the 4 Queens), Golden Nugget, Green Valley Ranch, Haagen Dasz, Johnny Rockets, Nathan's Famous, Palace Station, Rampart, Red Rock, Silver Sevens, Suncoast, Sunset Station, Texas Station, Venetian (and the Grand Canal Shoppes)
2-for-1 Admission: National Atomic Testing Museum, Erotic Heritage Museum, Madame Tussaud's, Roller Coaster at New York New York, Eiffel Tower Ride at Paris, Stratosphere Tower