Monday, March 31, 2014

Risen From The Pavement

As if you needed convincing of Fremont East's newfound coolness factor, Stephen Malkmus and the Jinks will be headlining Downtown hot spot Beauty Bar this Wednesday (April 2). The Pavement frontman (recently name-checked on NPR's Wits) and his latest band will be supported by Speedy Ortiz and Same Sex Mary; doors open at 9 p.m. and tickets are a paltry $20, so tell Andrew Jackson he owes you a night on the town.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

As The Crow Flies...

...there's a vast distance between tony Red Rock Resort in Summerlin, and the funky Container Park on East Fremont, in more meanings of that word than one, but one person who can bridge that gap easily is Sheryl Crow. Before her appearance at the All-Star Guitar Pull for the St. Jude's Children Hospital, Crow will be playing another benefit at Container Park on April 4, in conjunction with the popular First Friday downtown festival. Tickets start at $39, with proceeds going to Feed the Children and Opportunity Village. Only 1,000 tickets will be sold, so grab them while you can.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

This Park's Not Melting, So Win a Stay

So! According to this marquee at the Alexis Park, if you follow 'em on Twitter and like 'em on Facebook, you could win a "staycation" at this all-suites non-gaming resort on Harmon, across from the Hard Rock. Couldn't hurt to try. In fact, if you want a closer look at the Alexis Park, you could check it out between rounds.

Sad News: Yesterday, the Silver Sevens decided to stop accepting the free buffet coupon they'd put in the Where2Go magazine. Sure, it said it was good until June 30, but it also said, as nearly all such coupons do, "Management reserves all rights," and they exercised this one. Maybe they got tired of the homeless-looking guy with the backpack full of Where2Go magazines eating there every day. Or me.

Happy, Happy News: Since the wi-fi at my apartments was down this morning, I decided to visit our old friends at Panera Bread and cash in on my free birthday pastry. Imagine my surprise when I found I had a free smoothie coming to me as well. Oh, and Lexi at the Boca Park location says hi.

Friday, March 28, 2014

Rock & Roll All Night...and Par Every Hole

Maybe somewhere there's another indoor miniature golf course with its own wedding chapel...but a KISS-themed wedding chapel? Only in Vegas, and only at KISS by Monster Golf at Paradise & Harmon, across from the Hard Rock. There's golf, an arcade, a gift shop and lots of memorabilia on display, including the '81 Porsche the boys bought for drummer Eric Carr when he joined the band. The rockin' duffer's course of choice will be marking its second anniversary this Sunday (March 30) with a free event featuring a meet-and-greet with longtime KISS guitarist Bruce Kulick, who's played with everyone from Grand Funk Railroad to Meat Loaf and...Michael Bolton? Also appearing will be the History Channel's Danny Koker and his Count's 77 Band, and the Lust of KISS tribute band. Check out Gene Simmons' tour bus, "Rock or Dare" Trivia, a rock-and-roll memorabilia swap meet, and who knows what all. Festivities kick off at 11 a.m. and go on until....well, who knows? Maybe they'll rock and roll all night.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Earn That WSOP Seat, One Day At A Time

Hey there, Future Phil. Itching for some real live Vegas poker tournament action, but on a tight budget? Bally's poker room has you covered with their "Micromania!" tournament. A $10 buy-in gets you a seat at a tournament with a $2000 guaranteed prize pool, Saturdays and Sundays at 8 p.m. If that works for you, then Planet Hollywood is doing the same thing during the week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at 9 p.m. First place is a guaranteed minimum $1000, with $600 for second and $400 for third guaranteed. There's $10 rebuys and a $20 add-on, if you're just made out of money.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Is This Anything Like A Tractor Pull?

Spotted on the Red Rock Resort's marquee: The 6th Annual All-Star Guitar Pull will feature Sheryl Crow, Gary Allan, Kacey Musgrave, and Thomas Rhett, among others. It's a benefit for the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, so with a line-up of talent like that, and tickets starting as low as $29, you can afford to be charitable. (Kudos to Red Rock and the producers for donating the venue and all the production costs; all proceeds will go to the beneficiary.)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Free Birthday Eats And Then Some at the Monte Carlo

Here we are at Rubio's at the Monte Carlo's food court (they also have several locations around town). If you sign up for their Beach Club at their website, they'll e-mail you a coupon for a free taco. They'll also e-mail you a coupon for a free meal, up to $7, on your birthday. I had the mango habanero mahi mahi (spicy sweetness on a flour tortilla) and a chicken "street taco" (grilled chicken on a bed of chopped onions, cilantro and avocado in a corn tortilla).

As long as I was there at the Monte Carlo I stopped at the MLife desk and asked what kind of offers I had on my player's card. Apparently if you stop at one of the MLife casinos anywhere near your birthday, you have a $30 food comp coming. They gave me a choice of the cafe or the Dragon Noodle Co. Decisions, decisions. I went with the Dragon Noodle and faced more choices: Sushi bar or kitchen menu? And then what from the kitchen menu? I went with the Seafood Chow Fun: shrimp, scallops, squid, fish and vegetables on a bed of big old rice noodles. When I saw the size of the meal I thought I might have to ask for a take-out box, but it was just too addictive not to finish.

Free Eats Update: Thanks to our old friends at Panera Bread for loading a belated free birthday pastry onto my card (to make it up to me, they gave me two months to use it).

Monday, March 24, 2014

Tipapalooza! (Afterbirthday Edition)

Off-Strip: I popped into the BJ's Cocktail Lounge on Decatur (just a bit north of Blue Diamond) after their sign told me they had a 20,000-point sign-up bonus for new members. Turns out that's worth $20.00 of free play on your next visit! (Or when the boss drops by to log your points, whichever comes first.) I played 10-cent video poker and cashed out nearly double that amount! If the bartender in the little referee outfit isn't enough to tempt you into coming  back, they also advertise $20 free play on Tuesdays; lose that much through the machine and they'll put another $20 back onto it.

Freebie Alert! Whip out your CVS Extra Care card (and if you don't have one, go down to your local CVS and sign up for one), take it to a CVS, scan it at their coupon kiosk, and get a coupon for a free roll of Just The Basics paper towels, a 79-cent value. Scanning your card gets you different coupons each week. CVS is pretty good with the deals and freebies, sometimes with their Rewards for cash off on your next purchase, you can get stuff essentially for free, like those jelly beans I picked up for the office the other week.

Free Eats Update! Remember that coupon for the free buffet or $10 off at the cafe at the Silver Sevens? The one that was in last week's edition of Vegas2Go? Well, the new edition is out (the one with the black cover) and the same coupon is in there again, so if you couldn't find any copies of the last issue, go scarf up an armload or several of this one. As you will note from the sign, you can get a half-rack of ribs and a dozen wings for $7.77 at the cafe, 24/7. Did I mention the coupon is good for a $10 food credit at the cafe?

Keep Watching The Ground: As a reminder that we should always keep our eyes peeled, I put in a lot of legwork this weekend finding out which casinos on or near the strip give away something for your birthday. It will save me a lot of time next year, as only a few do. I'm glad I visited them all, though, because outside of one, I found a $100 bill lying on the sidewalk. Not a bad way to wrap up a birthday.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Do You Want More Money? (For Nothin'?)

Sure! We all do! Well, 8NewsNow is giving away up to $25,000 on their Facebook page! They're starting the pot at $5,000 and for every "like" the page gets, they'll add 25 cents to the pot. So go sign up and start building up that stake! HEY! SHOW ME THE MONEY! You lot all owe me a birthday present today anyway. Unless of course you're Coco's, Del Taco, Denny's, Hooters, Mimi's Cafe, The Monte Carlo, Rubio's, Ruby  Tuesday, The Stratosphere, or Wienerschnitzel, all of whom gave me birthday wishes and free food; be sure and sign up for their e-mail lists, dear readers! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Money for Nothin'

If you want to experience the thrill of competitive gambling and you're on a budget...or, let's face it, you're flat can always take advantage of the free slot and video poker tournaments around town. In fact, if you're 50 or older, you've hit the jackpot! Well, only figuratively, but hey, it could happen. Here are some of the opportunities around town:

Saturdays: From 1-5 p.m. The Riviera has its weekly free slot tournament with free slot play for the top 20 finishers.

Tuesdays: Fiesta Station has a free $1,000 slot tournament for members 50 and older. Silverton has a free $10,000 slot tournament and with your Rewards card the first entry is free; as with most of these, you can earn additional entries by getting points on your player's card.

Wednesdays: Station Casinos have a free $3,000 slot tournament for players 50 and older.

Thursdays: South Point has a free $1,500 slot tournament for players 50 and older.

Keep your eyes peeled for other free tournaments too. Silver Sevens winds up its $35,000 Lucky Leprechaun slot tournament on March 22; gold and platinum A-Play cardholders get one free entry. The Stratosphere can often be counted on to have three-day free slot tournaments during holidays and special events, too. And you coupon clippers: THE SUNDAY has had coupons for free entries into the Gold Coast and Sam's Town free video poker tournaments in every one of its weekly issues so far.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Play That Roxy Music, White Boy!

Hey, want to score free tickets to Bryan Ferry's show at the Pearl theater at the Palms on April 12? Just text "FERRY" to 48141 for your chance to win. Not only is Ferry a musical legend who's inspired cover versions by the likes of Natalie Merchant, Norah Jones and Bill Murray wannabes at karoake bars everywhere, but his recent albums continue to draw critical raves, so you'll want to grab at this chance to catch his live act. Do the Strand and get texting!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

The Cheapest Free Buffet in Town?

Um. You might want to pick up the current issue of Vegas2Go (the one with the white cover) before they switch it out for the new one at the end of this week. I was leafing through my copy and, tucked away in the pages of little coupons towards the back, was a coupon from the Silver Sevens (Flamingo and Paradise) for a $10 credit at their Sterling Spoon cafe...or a free buffet. I had to look twice (or more) to check that you didn't need to earn any points, or that it wasn't a one-time offer for new card sign-ups. Nope. Show up at the buffet line, give them the coupon and your A-Play card and your ID, and they hand you a receipt for your free buffet. It's. Just. That. Simple. You can use one coupon per person...per day. And it doesn't expire until June 30.

You'd be surprised how many armloads of Vegas2Go one man can carry.

It's not the hugest buffet in town, or necessarily the most memorable in terms of having bold flavors assault your palate; the lunch buffet I checked out today leant more towards comfort food. But there's a carving station (turkey and ham when I dropped in for lunch), fried and baked chicken, and a well-rounded soup and salad bar (the chicken noodle soup today was dense with long, wide, thick noodles). Entrees included baked salmon with dill sauce, beef stroganoff, cowboy beef stew, stuffed bell peppers, and fried scallop skewers. Concessions to international tastes were tortellini, veggie spring rolls, and a taco bar. There's a tasty selection of cakes and pies and goodies in the dessert section, and instead of soft-serve a machine that dispenses chocolate and vanilla no-fat frozen yogurt, plus Mug Root Beer on tap so you can make your own floats.

Show up early; there will be a line.

Not to slight the $10 credit at the Sterling Spoon Cafe part of the offer, either! The cafe has a daily special for $8.95, they have lots of offerings for $9.99 and under through breakfast, lunch and dinner, and even the full rack of ribs still costs a mere $13.99. It's almost enough to make me finally stop missing Terrible's.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Knee-Deep in the Hoopla

Pop quiz, hot shot: What weekend did Vegas have its highest room occupancy rate last year? Survey says: March 22nd and March 23rd! The town was 98% full that weekend. Ah, it warms my heart to know all those people are coming to town to help me celebrate my birthday. (Hint. Hint.) Oh, apparently, there's also a March something-or-other...oh yeah, that NCAA Basketball thing. It's the biggest sports betting week of the year (THE SUNDAY's Case Keefer has what seems like pretty sound advice on that subject), and there are several venues hosting free viewing parties for the occasion, starting March 20 and running through Sunday, March 23...Hey! That's my birthday! The Gold Coast and The Orleans will feature prize giveaways, $1.50 hot dogs and $2 drafts. El Cortez will be holding its parties in the Fiesta Room, with $2 brats and dogs and $3 Buds. The D's viewings are in its 12th floor ballroom, featuring chances to earn another free t-shirt. The Stratosphere Theater is offering $9 pitchers of Bud and Bud Lite, live betting stations, blackjack tables...and free wi-fi (hmmm). I would be remiss if I did not add that the Fremont Street Experience will be celebrating with live entertainment featuring the Hardwood Honeys. You heard me.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Off-Strip: Sliding Into Home Plate

Just off Decatur and Blue Diamond in southwest Vegas, it's the Home Plate Bar and  Grill. We came here because of a coupon offer in the WEEKLY: Through March, if you lose $20 through one of their video poker machines, they'll pump another $20 in free play into your machine. You can choose between multi-play machines and "classic" video poker. And you won't need a player's card because you sign up for Home Plate Rewards using a thumbprint scanner, which I still think is freakishly cool. They have $500 and $1000 Royal bonuses and high hand bonuses at certain hours, too; check with them for the times.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Vegas Days Gone By: Remembering Fitz's

On St. Patrick's Day, it seems only fit that we recall the glory that was Fitzgerald's, at the east end of the Fremont Street Experience. Fitz's was one of the reasons I kept coming back to Vegas. That's because they kept sending me offers for free rooms! And not only would they send me two or three free room nights every other month, they'd include two dinners or a $100 credit at Don B's Steakhouse, and free play, and free show
tickets. Even though they knew we were getting comped at the Steakhouse, the wait staff treated us like royalty, bringing us a basket full of artisan breads before our meal, and after the three of us had chowed down on King Crab for two and a Chicken Marsala, the waitress wanted to make sure we had enough left on our credit to pick three from the dessert tray! We barely had time to catch Kevin Burke doing his carny act after he'd rushed over from his performance in Defending the Caveman.

Every hotel will encounter problems; the difference is in how they deal with them. Once when we checked in I noticed the water in the shower was lukewarm at best. I called the front desk and they sent an engineer to fix it within 15 minutes. Again, when I came back to the room, my Platonic Traveling Companion complained that an alarm had been going off in the room next door all night and driving her nuts. "Call the desk!" I told her, picked up the phone within 15 minutes a security guard came up, went into the room next door and shut it off. "Thank you!" she called through our door. One time I dropped my keys somewhere while hauling all my bags to the hotel desk and security had located them within half an hour. Fitzgerald's was Aces and they treated you like kings!

Even though it towered above Downtown, Fitz's in some ways seemed like a funky little place, no more so than in the small block of a pool area that looks out directly onto the street. It had a hot tub though and it definitely got the job done.

Fitzgerald's changed hands and lives on as The D, a much more contemporary-themed place where at night scantily-clad saloon girls deal the cards or dance in black bikinis on the
bartops. Other than cashing in on the occasional match play, I can't tell you how their hospitality compares with the Fitz's of yore. The little pool area is much the same, but gone are the Irish-themed signage and decor and the chunk of the Blarney Stone at the player's club desk. The old signs and the Coin King who once ruled over the entrance are resting at the Neon Boneyard now. The Fitzgerald's I knew is one with the ages now, but it will always have a place in my heart. Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

An Old-School Legend Has Left Us

The sad news came this week that Downtown Vegas icon Jackie Gaughan had passed away at the age of 93. At one time he owned a big parcel of Downtown's casino action: In addition to the El Cortez, which he acquired in 1963, and the Gold Spike, the Plaza's neon was once all lit up as "Jackie Gaughan's Plaza." My own memorable encounter with Mr. Gaughan came when I was playing poker at the El Cortez, and the guy whose face was on the player's card came to the table and sat down to play with us. A casino employee brought him a box full of chips, and he sat there joking with some of the old-timers, in his own dry and understated way, about going up to his penthouse to hang out and smoke some loco weed. You have to give Jackie credit, too, because even though years ago a lot of bettors had written off Downtown...a memorable Joe Bob Briggs column from 2002 is particularly harsh on the ghastly, spectral presence that the El Cortez seemed at the time, its neck of Fremont Street populated by street people and worse...under his stewardship the casinos managed to hang on, and have survived to see the Downtown Renaissance, a sight which must have immensely cheered Mr. Gaughan in recent years. Even the El Cortez got a makeover and a significant expansion, and the historic resort can go on celebrating one-time owner Bugsy Siegel's birthday every year. It may be a stretch to say that Jackie Gaughan was a visionary...well, maybe not too far a stretch.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

More St. Paddy's Day Fun

The competition for best St. Patrick's Day party in Vegas continues as a tough new competitor throws their green bowler into the ring! The Cannery's free St. Patrick's Day Fest (Sunday, March 16, 6 p.m.) features musical appearances by the Young Dubliners and Brother, plus green beer, corned beef sliders, a pub crawl (from 3 to 7 p.m.), and, it says here, Leprechauns. Of course. Erin Go Bragh! And Erin Go Braghless! (2121 East Craig Road)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Do Do Do Do Do Do Do...Do I Hear It's Your Birthday?

Hey, you got a birthday in March? I sure do! (Hint. Hint.) Our old friends at the El Cortez have a suggestion for your celebration: Come have dinner at their Flame Steakhouse any time during your birthday month and they'll throw in a free bottle of Mondavi wine with your meal. Of course they're almost always giving away a bottle of wine with two dinners in the steakhouse, at least if you're a guest there, but this is as good a reason as any. Oh, and did I mention my birthday is this month? And I can get 50% off at the Flame Steakhouse? Hint. Hint.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Pot o' Gold Time Dead Ahead

The D is doing its part for St. Patrick's weekend with a chance to win a green t-shirt that says "I Got Lucky" [snicker] one of three ways: (1) Buy in for $100 at any table game [I am so there], (2) Earn 100 points at slots, (3) Wager $100 on live Keno. What's not to like? If I really need to explain why I'm going with Door Number 1, write me. (Giveaway starts Sunday, March 16, at 6 p.m.) Also, as previously noted, there will be four days and nights of live Irish music playing right outside. All things considered then, it's still a shame the D changed its name from Fitzgerald's; what up with that, D?

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Insults Make Great Gifts

Hey, look, Don Rickles is playing the Orleans on my birthday! (Hint, hint.) And thanks to the American Casino Guide, I can get two-for-one tickets to the Orleans showroom. I'm a cheap date! I'm just sayin'. (When I was a kid, my mom got me tickets to Bob Hope for my birthday. Years later, I celebrated my birthday with a concert at the MGM Grand Arena which featured special guest "conductor" Jerry Lewis. And of course, last year I used my free tickets to the Riviera Comedy Club to see Jimmie "J.J." Walker. Yes, in my lifetime I've seen the three titans of American comedy: Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, and Jimmie "J.J." Walker. Let's make it four!)

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Off-Strip: Way Down East at Doc Holliday's

You get off 215 at Eastern, head south for a few more blocks, enter the Target shopping center, and find yourself at the Doc Holliday's at 9821 S. Eastern, sharing a building with La Cocina de Maribel. They're one of a chain of video poker bars, and I was there to use the $25 match play coupon in The Sunday. The charming hostess and her trainee (a fellow transplant from Colorado) explained how it works: You play $25 in the machine, and they give you another $25 to play with. I played $25 worth of hands, and right on cue, our hostess came up with $25 in cash, and fed it into the bill slot of my machine! You could have knocked me over with a feather. I felt obliged to play the $25 out and must sheepishly admit I left only $2.50 ahead, but it's still a heck of a deal.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Off-Strip: Sam's Town

Sam's Town, one of the joints so beloved of the locals along Boulder Highway, has as its lush centerpiece the Mystic Falls Park, a peaceful sylvan glade of a place underneath a huge atrium, which starting at 2 p.m. becomes host to a laser light and water spectacular at regular intervals. Like several other casinos in the B-Connected players club, it includes a movieplex and  bowling alley. Table minimums are low, there's 20x odds at the $3 craps table, and the poker room has at least  three tournaments a day with entry fees as low as $23. If you're 50 or over, on Wednesdays this month you get to swipe at the kiosk to get your points multiplied as much as 50 times; 10 points earn you a $4 movie voucher or a 2-for-1 buffet, or 50 points gets you a free buffet. For the rest of us, 600 points gets you a free movie ticket, Buffalo slots have 20x points on Mondays, and all slots have 4x points on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. Hankering for some old-fashioned entertainment? On April 5, the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra swings in for an evening of dining and dancing.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Shuttered Womb

While my keen if not morbid interest in Vegas's abandoned landmarks is familiar to any of my regular readers, I take no joy in noting that the Erotic Heritage Museum has closed its doors, reportedly as the result of a dispute between the proprietor and his landlord. True, its location on Industrial Drive, which is more or less lined with strip clubs, might not have been a boon to attendance either. However, one part of the collection is still available for browsing by whoever might happen to drive by: The owner hung several vintage adult movie posters on the exterior wall, on the side facing Deja Vu Showgirls.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

The Organizer

I rely on coupons to get a lot of bargains and freebies as well as to get an occasional edge against the house at some of the casino games, so perhaps I should go into a little more detail about how I make it work. If you've been following my blog, you've seen that in the case of Vegas, coupons don't just save you money, they can make you money. Finding coupons in Vegas is sinfully easy. There are free magazines every week full of coupons for the casinos, restaurants and other attractions around town. You can find them at supermarkets like Smith's, some of the convenience stores and gas stations, at Tix for Tonite outlets around town, at the Concierge and Information desks of hotels. You can even find them in some of the free magazine racks around town, especially by the Riviera, although otherwise the racks are generally stuffed with advertising for, uh, personal services.

Years ago I developed a system for organizing my grocery shopping coupons, and once I began accumulating lots of Vegas coupons, I started managing them the same way. I have a coupon holder with tabbed dividers that I used to divide my coupons into categories; in my case, Gaming, Dining, Shows, Clubs, and Attractions, a catch-all category for all the museums, theme parks and rides, and other businesses that don't quite fit into the other four categories. I only had five categories to work with, since I got this coupon holder on the cheap at Dollar Tree. I order them first by expiration date, so the ones that are expiring soonest are up front, and I'll use a coupon for the Hard Rock Cafe that expires in June before I use the one that expires in December. Then they're organized alphabetically by the name of the casino or restaurant or museum or what have you.

So if I'm looking for free play at The Gold Coast, I check Gaming; two-for-one entrees at The Cantina at Tuscany, I look under Dining; a free beer at the Riviera's Wicked Vicky Tavern, Clubs; and so on. I clipped all my coupons from the American Casino Guide and keep them in here, too, although you could just as easily lug the book around with you and rip coupons out as needed. Theirs are organized alphabetically by casino name, if that's more to your liking than breaking everything out into categories.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Off-Strip: Time-Out Sports Bar & Grill

Another coupon from The Sunday, this one for $10 in free play, sent me to check out the Time-Out Sports Bar & Grill at 6138 W. Charleston. Here signing up for their Players Advantage is high-tech simplicity itself: After they enter the information from your driver's license, you place your finger on a fingerprint scanner, and you're set. No need to lug a card around, on your next visit just give the machine the finger and you're ready to play! This is too cool. It's just like I'm clocking in at work. And I suppose I am. Put a dollar in the video poker slot, place one bet, and they'll transfer the $10 in free play over to your machine. Wednesday nights they have a live poker tournament at 6 p.m., and after that: Karaoke!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Off-Strip: Mulligan's

The Sunday has a $25 match play to use,here at Mulligan's Bar & Grill, at the East Craig location across the street from The Cannery. Here, our bartender explained that when I'd run $25 through the machine and lost it, he'd replace it with another $25 in play. I did my darnedest to lose my money playing Deuces Wild, which had seemed easy enough at my last stop, but I kept getting lots of little wins, then I hit a five-of-a-kind and was ahead $20 and figured I might as well leave while I was ahead. Still, getting your loss of up to $25 replaced? That's so risk-free it's hard to call it gambling.

NASCAR Events Update: The Stratosphere hosts a free autograph session with Kevin Harvick tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the Stratosphere theater. Be one of the first 200 in line to get a wristband for entry.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


As I noted before, Vegas is gearing up for NASCAR weekend, and Boyd Gaming is doing its part with three days of meet-and-greets. Things kick off at 5 p.m. Thursday at Sam's Town with the Speedway Charities Driver's Auction, featuring a live appearance by driver Clint Bowyer and hosted by Fox Sports' Jeff Hammond. Friday at 7p.m., the Fremont welcomes a live appearance by Kasey Kahne, hosted by Fox Sports' Chris Myers. Finally, Saturday at 7 p.m., Hammond hosts a live appearance by Carl Edwards at the Orleans. Admission to all events is free.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

"I'd Sure Like A Hurricane...."

"...Here's Mud in Your Eye..." See, by changing just a few words, Neil Young could have had an anthem to the National Drink of New Orleans. In honor of Fat Tuesday, The Orleans is giving away a free Hurricane today at any casino bar when you bring along the coupon in this week's Sunday. While you're there, you can also use the coupons for a $10 match play and Play $10-Get $10 in Slot Dollars. Now there's something to celebrate. Laissez les bon temps rouler!

Today's Bonus Freebie: Not a big imbiber? Text DIETCOKE1 to 711711 for a free small Slurpee at 7-11! There may be one near you.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Off-Strip: The Tuscany

I was at the Tuscany the other day to use a $5 match play coupon, and since it won me $10 at the blackjack table, I'm favorably disposed. As faithful readers will no doubt recall, they have one of those rare blackjack tables in this town that allows Surrender. Some new offers since last I checked: New players get up to $500 in free play and a Funbook. They also have a sort of an extended Senior Happy Hour; between 3 a.m. and 3 p.m., seniors get double comps at the table games, so I guess this is the ideal hangout for geriatric insomniacs. (255 E. Flamingo Rd.)

Heads Up: Tomorrow IHOP will be giving away a free short stack of pancakes between 7 and 10 a.m. Do think about donating to the Shriner's Children Hospitals while you're gnawing away.

Best Cheap Eats On Or Off The Strip?

Whether it's the food critics at the local magazines or my friends' neighborhood mechanic, everyone raves about the adobada at Tacos El Gordo, the Tijuana-based restaurant with an outlet at 1724 E. Charleston. (Oh, sure, you can find them on the Strip, too, but the ambience can't possibly compare, I'm sure.) There are separate carving stations for each of your meat choices, where a cook slices off a few strips of your selection, drops them onto a couple of corn tortillas and covers them with toppings and sauce. Prepare your taste buds for a little slice of heaven. They may not be gigante, but at only $2 a taco, it's hard to go wrong.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

A Triple Shot of OMGoodness

Hey, if you sign up for their e-mail club at Mimi's Cafe, not only will they keep coupons for Gallic goodness popping into your inbox, but on your birthday they'll give you a free dessert! I dropped by their location at Fort Apache and W. Charleston and decided to splurge on Mimi's Classic Ensemble: "petite" samplings of their Apple Cinnamon Crisp A La Mode, Bread Pudding, and Triple Chocolate Brownie Sundae. My server was quite proud of the homemade bread pudding, and she ought to be. At only $5.99, this is quite the bargain, especially since it seems just right for sharing bites with a special someone. I like that they pipe their smooth jazz sounds into the parking lot as you're walking in or out, too. (Other Vegas Locations are at 6760 N. Durango and 7315 Arroyo Crossing Parkway.)

Free Beer Alert!

What could be better than those $5 beers that the Hooters Casino is so proud of serving up? How about free beer? Yep, this month's issue of the Where QuickGuide has a coupon for a free beer at the casino's Hooters restaurant or any casino bar. It's good through April 1 (no foolin') and it's one coupon per visit, so stockpile them now. Just the thing to cool you off at poolside when Hooters hosts its Bikini Contest on March 15th from 1-3 p.m. (115 E. Tropicana)

Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Rainy Day on Fremont Street

Here's our big tip for the day, and it's a safety tip! If you're crossing the courtyard on your way to the El Cortez after it's just rained, watch your step. Those bricks are real slick after they get some rain on them. I'm guessing rain in Vegas isn't something the planners thought they'd encounter frequently, but we got quite a bit at the end of February. Since I had to go downtown anyway and visit the post office, I was on my way to the El Cortez to cash in a coupon for a Free Gift that expired after the end of the month. Turns out I had my choice of a deck of cards or a pair of dice. This would have posed quite the dilemma if the El Cortez hadn't been kind enough to mail me two coupons, the other of which is good through the month of March, so I could go back any time for those dice. Today, even.

On a rainy day it's natural to seek cover, so I headed for the canopy overhanging the Fremont Street Experience. On my way I passed the notorious Heart Attack Grill, which makes the news every now and then when a diner suffers an actual heart attack after downing one of the Triple Bypass Burgers. None of that for me! Well...maybe I'd try that chili bacon dog one of these times. And hey, freebie hunters, look: "Over 350 Lbs. Eat Free!" And Vegas is just the kind of town where you can make that dream come true. Starting right here, I'd imagine.

Next stop: The free slot pull at Binion's. You could win $2500! You won't, but you could. In any case you'll get a sheet of coupons, one of which is good for a free Las Vegas keychain from the discount clothier in the back, past the Player's Club. While you're there you could check out the racks of t-shirts and sweatshirts in the $12-$15 range. And as long as you're at Binion's, you get one chance per day to have your picture taken with a million dollars. How often do you get your picture taken with a million bucks? If it's more often than this, you don't need my advice about making money. They say it's half an hour before you can pick up your picture (in its nice souvenir holder) at the Player's Club desk, but I figured I could still kill that much time and have an hour for the drive to my office, so I soldiered on. (By the way, the Four Queens also has a free slot pull. They also have a Tix 4 Tonight outlet where you can scope out the new issue of Vegas2Go or 24/7 for the latest coupons.) 

Next I popped into Mermaids and bellied up to the counter at Nathan's Famous, where you can still order a deep-fried Twinkie (God bless America), although I was there to order the All-American Hot Dog with onions, $1.35 tax included. By the way, Mermaids, like La Bayou across the street, has drawings every hour for cash, where you could win $50, more or less. My advice: Show up first thing in the morning, when you may well be the only one in the place. Those are pretty good odds. I checked the winner's list once and the 8:00 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. winning tickets were consecutive ticket numbers.

On to the D, where I'd earlier valet parked my car. The D used to be Fitzgerald's but has undergone a youth-conscious makeover. Gone are the shamrocks and barley; now, at night, the dealers morph into young women in skimpy black fin de si├Ęcle dance hall girl outfits, and others clad in bikinis dance on bartops to that pounding beat. Nothing wrong with that, but by day it's still more of your typical casino ambience. I was there to use another coupon that expired after February, this one for a $10 match play. I was lucky enough to find an empty blackjack table where the dealer had just shuffled, but before she could deal the first hand some doofus sidled up, pulled out $100 in chips, and proceeded to play three hands...all badly, never hitting his 13 or 14 when the dealer was showing an Ace or face card, which no doubt contributed to my losing my match play and the next couple of hands for good measure...then got up and left. Great. I stuck around for a few more hands, won my money back, broke a $5 chip when I cashed in so I could tip the dealer (and the valet guy when I left), and took my leave.

Then back to Binion's to pick up my photo. On the way I passed these guys flipping and spinning ad placards in the air. There's always free entertainment on Fremont, but you never know what you're going to get. It can't be Lady Antebellum and Miranda Lambert every time. By the way, as I was driving away. I saw Wolverine and Capt. Jack Sparrow heading for Fremont to hit up the tourists. You never know who you'll run into on Fremont Street.

As I was headed back to my car, I surveyed the Slotzilla, the world's largest slot machine, installed at the end of the street. Not a big fan, as it and the receiving station for the zipline across Fremont which is also in the works partially obscure what was once an unobstructed view of the entirety of the Fremont Street Experience, the street-long LED display which runs different light and music spectaculars throughout the night. It was something to stand at one end of the street and be able to take in the whole panorama in its entirety. Well, the best view is probably somewhere in the middle, really.

And with that I'm off, $4.35 in tips and hot dogs poorer, but richer in cards, souvenirs, food and experiences. More coupons to use in March!