Losing Mermaids, Fried Twinkies, coin slot machines

This past Monday, 6-27-16, marked another passing in Las Vegas.  Not the funeral type, but the passing of another mainstay in Downtown Las Vegas.  This date was the last day of operation for Mermaids Casino, Glitter Gulch and La Bayou.  The trio were purchased by Derek Stevens, co-owner of The D Las Vegas and Golden Gate Hotel and Casino.  He plans to renovate them but is quiet on what that will be.

What I will miss about these two casinos is that they are a throwback to when Downtown casinos were just that, casinos.  I know that was many years ago, but many years ago, a trip to Sin City meant staying at one of the surrounding motels and going to the casinos to gamble. Eventually most evolved to becoming hotel and casinos properties, but not Mermaids and La Bayou.  The latter was also the only all coin slot machine casino left.  Remember the days of the slot girls walking around with their apron full of rolls of quarters and dollars?  Looking back, that must have been punishing work.

From a gastro point of view, I will miss the deep fried twinkies and oreos, even though I only had them once, as I always thought “I get one on the next trip”.

It must have been nostalgic in the hours before closing and really wish I could have been there to take part in it.




Reality TV in Sin City Part 3; Sigma Derby, old school gambling

Last night’s episode of “Pawn Stars” was one I was very interested in viewing. It showed Rick and Chum going to the  D Las Vegas to meet with Derek Stevens, co-owner. On the show, Derek is trying to sell his Sigma Derby, which is a really cool horse racing game located on the second floor. After the video game expert looked at the machine, he valued it to be around $35,000 but Derek Stevens was asking $80,000. Even if you didn’t see this episode, you would know that Rick and Derek couldn’t make the deal and the Sigma Derby ended up staying on the second floor.

What I didn’t realize is that at one time in the 80’s, Sigma Derby games were all over Sin City. A lot of properties had themed races, not just horses. Caesar’s Palace had chariots and the Luxor had camels instead of horses.

Part of the draw of this game is it looks like something from the golden age of Las Vegas, but it was created in the 80’s. It still uses coins (yes, I said that correctly) which we all know is hard to find now days. It can also be interactive as you are racing against other players, you not just staring at a screen by yourself.

I have been up to the second floor of the D many times and there is always action at this game. One of these days, I’m going to have to squeeze in and try my luck.

MGM Properties and parking; how to ease the pain of paying

I think I have found a way around my personal speed bump, hiccup, detour, however you want to call it. A few weeks back, I wrote about how the MGM properties were going to start charging for parking and how other casinos will probably follow. I have found out that there is a MLife MasterCard that seems like a super deal. The rewards aren’t that impressive; 10k MLife points after spending $1000 in 90 days. 3x the points on each dollar spent at MLife properties, 2x the points on restaurants and grocery stores, and 1x the point on everything else.
What really drives this offer home to me is the following; automatic Pearl status for MLife rewards, free parking at MLife Las Vegas properties and NO Annual fee! This card it totally worth it for someone who visits Sin City often, and frequents these properties.

I will definitely be getting this card before my next trip to Las Vegas because not having to pay for parking is worth a credit inquiry.



A Different Era Riviera, Sands, Desert Inn Casinos

When you love Las Vegas as much as I do, you might get nostalgic when you hear of icons and landmarks from Sin City’s past being removed. Today, the Riviera Hotel and Casino was imploded. In case you didn’t know, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority bought the property to expand the convention center.
Seeing these old school properties that made Las Vegas what it is today, get moved out is way of life in the 9th island, but the memories will always be there. Casinos such as this one, the Sands, Desert Inn, Flamingo and Tropicana can only have your imagination reeling back to a different era of this city. Only the Flamingo and Tropicana remain today.

A few years ago, I was talking with a couple from California at a blackjack table at the Golden Nugget . They were telling me how it was in the late 60’s when they would hang out at the Desert Inn pool and hear pages over the hotel loudspeaker for Don Rickles, Dean Martin etc.  I was waaay to young to have enjoyed Las Vegas at that time, but I wish I could have enjoyed a part of it.

Saving some money on the Las Vegas trip; Total Rewards

Going on vacation or a get away can be expensive, no matter the location; East Coast, Disneyland, Hawaii,  Las Vegas, etc,  and you might end up regretting taking the trip later, but how can you put a price tag on memories?

The Total Rewards program which is includes the properties of Caesar’s Palace,  Harrah’s, Bally’s, the Rio, the Cromwell, Plant Hollywood, the LINQ Las Vegas, and Paris.  And these are just the Las Vegas properties!!  Many more in other states!

One small way I found to save some money if your planning a Las Vegas vacation within the next 6-9 months is to apply for the Total Rewards credit card.  After your approved for this card, you only have to spend $750 in 90 days to earn 10,000 rewards points, not included is what you also earn on your spend.

What you earn when you use this card:

  • 5X the points for every $1 spend at a Total Rewards Destination
  • 2X the points for every $1 spent on gas, groceries, and airlines
  • 1X the points on everything else

A reward for being offered to  targeted new card holders is your choice of:

  • Two tickets to a show at a Total Rewards destitnation OR
  • One night stay at a Total Rewards Destination   OR
  • Two buffet passes at a Total Rewards Destination OR
  • Two tickets for the High Roller

The e-mail I received has these bonus offers, but when I go straight to the Total Rewards credit card web page, the bonuses are not mentioned.

One word of advice is that the tickets for the High Roller are only good during day light hours, which tends be not as impressive as night time over the Las Vegas skyline.

While the accumulation of the rewads points may not seem like it would get you a suite at Caeser’s, the bonus rewards can make getting this credit card worth it.   One of the biggest pluses to this card?  No annual fee and you get automatic Platinum status!!!

To maintain the Platinum status,  you would have to spend $5000 annually on the card, which is pretty easy to do.