Access Vegas Insider Vibe – March 22, 2000

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This Issue: Winning At Video Poker

Curious about a restaurant, event, or other Las Vegas attraction that looks fun? Let us review it for you first! Suggestions are always welcome at:

LAS VEGAS NEWS – of interest to tourists:BEST OF LAS VEGAS – The Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas 2000” is out! This unscientific survey still proves to be pretty accurate year in and year out, with each category having a “popular vote” winner as well as an “editor’s choice”. You can read it online at

MARCH MADNESS – and the beginning of the spring break season make March a very “mad” time here in Las Vegas. The sports books are jammed from morning until late night and the clubs are jammed from late night until sunrise. (When do these people sleep)? We found a great story that gives you a feel for the situation at

SKYDIVING FOR CHICKENS – (this includes me) is available at Flyaway Indoor Skydiving. For $35 you can get in their wind tunnel and experience a 120 wind keep you afloat just as if you were falling out of a plane. Full story and photo at

THE HIGHWAY STATIONS – bill themselves as “The Stations you Listen to on the way to Las Vegas” from Southern California. They now have a website with Las Vegas information as well as live online feeds of their stations at (One station is “lite” rock and the other is country). The fun thing about listening online is that they are very Las Vegas tourist oriented with constant info on Las Vegas events and activities.

YOU JUST KEEP COMING – and we aren’t complaining! McCarran Numbers are up – Laughlin numbers are up – For those interested in Laughlin information, we have a Laughlin page at

MGM GRAND ADVENTURES – No, that’s not the name of that plane the Lakers and rock bands fly on. The MGM theme park is scheduled to open daily for Spring Break from April 15 – April 30, 2000. HOURS: 11 am – 7 PM.
PRICES: $15 admission fee allows unlimited access to all rides and shows except SkyScreamer. After April 30, it’s open weekends only until June 10. We understand they have made a number of changes (possibly not all for the better) so we will get over there soon, take a peek, and let you know. In the meantime, those of you looking for something to do with the kids here might want to check out tour Circus Circus AdventureDome review at

STAR CANYON – The cowboy-themed restaurant in The Venetian was just reviewed at

WEATHER – You can sign up to have KVVU FOX 5 here in Las Vegas send the 5 day forecast to your email every single day. For Vegas “nuts” (or locals) only!

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Quick Concert and Show Notes:

See which shows are playing during your stay and book reservations EVEN if the tickets aren’t on sale yet. Let ShowVegas takes care of all your needs directly online! Search by dates at

MANDALAY BAY – RICKY MARTIN is returning to live la vida Las Vegas on July 22. Tickets available at (702) 474-4000 and Mandalay Bay discount rooms are available at (Mandalay Bay link).

FEATURE STORY: Winning At Video PokerVideo poker has often been thought of as a “local’s game”. (We are tired of pulling a slot handle and at least want to put a little thought into it). It also is one of the few beatable games in the casino, provided you find the proper machines. Proper machines? Yes — video poker is about the one game where they display how tight the machine is right there on it!

Every single video poker machine in the state has to deal the same way. They randomly deal one deck of cards. Yet, the different machines pay different amounts back for THE EXACT SAME HANDS! For example, some machines pay 9 for a flush, some 8, and some less. Believe it or not, many casinos will have games sitting right next to each other that have different pay tables. Since the deal is the same, it’s much smarter to play the machines giving a higher payback on those flushes and straights so you can win more and play longer!

Proper play is also important. If you had four to the royal and a king of another suit as the fifth card, obviously you would toss the extra king (and the 1-1 payback) and go for that royal, right? Well, there are other more minor decisions that over time will benefit you just as well. Proper play is a must to extend your bankroll until you hit that royal.

The other important thing: always use your slot club card. A machine might only pay back 99.5% (with proper play), but if you are getting .5% cash back and / or good slot club points you can spend on food and rooms, you are breaking even (or better in a few cases).

We have a full page of gambling information to help make you a smarter player at I’m also listing a couple of books here that you might look into. Trust me, the few bucks you spend on a book will more than be paid back by the bigger comps you earn from smarter play on your very next visit. You should see my library of gambling books, and they paid for themselves a LONG time ago! Plus, they make a good read for that long plane ride here:

“The Las Vegas Advisor Guide to Slot Clubs” helps explain the why’s and how’s to make sure you get your comps when playing slots and video poker, as well as which programs are more generous. You are the customer. Go where you get the best deal –

“The Frugal Gambler” is Jean Scott’s guide to getting the best and most comps. You have seen her on CBS, The Discovery Channel, and other Las Vegas documentaries. She stays and eats for free in Las Vegas 100 nights a year all while not losing a dime –

“Winning Strategies for Video Poker” is a great way to learn all the major games played anywhere and includes strategy tables to optimize your play. Even if you are playing on an Indian reservation or riverboat where you can’t find a “full payback” game, it’s a lot better to look for the machines that come close!


>Dear Ted: Am planning a trip to LV in July and do plan on winning :).
>However, I would like information on claiming losses on income tax.á I
>have seen this information before and thought it might come in handy,
>just in case.á This time I will make a copy of it.á I would appreciate
>it if you could send this to me, or possibly include it once again in
>your newsletters.

That is a great question. Personally, I think that taxing gaming winnings is a crime because 99.9% of everyone loses more than they win. Having said that, you can write off gaming losses, but they don’t make it easy. Keep a diary with you. Write down where you played (down to what table or machine number if possible), how long you played, what you bought in for, and what you cashed out with. You can deduct the losses against the wins, but you can’t deduct any more than that — i.e. if you won $4,200 during the year and lost $4,600, you can’t “write off” the aggregate $400 loss. The IRS doesn’t make it easy, does it?

Dave Bagnik wrote:

>My wife and I come to Las Vegas 2-3 times a year and love to sample
>the local restaurants as well as those in the hotels.
>After hearing so much praise regarding The Venetian, we went there
>about 3 years ago.
>To say it was disappointing is a huge understatement.á The same goes
>for Battista’s last year.
>Other than Ferraro’s on Flamingo, are there any non-hotel Italian
>restaurants that can match or even come close to the overall quality
>of Stefano’s at G.N.?á Please let us know!

Note: The Venetian Italian restaurant he spoke of is near Palace Station at Sahara and Valley view and has no relation to the Venetian hotel. I’m not much of Italian food guy. Anyone out here want to help us out here?

Dennis Ida from Hawaii wrote:

>I had a question about Las Vegas and I didn’t know who else to ask.
>When I arrive at McCarran, I usually take the Bell Trans shuttle to my
>hotel on the Strip.á It cost me about 4 or 5 bucks.á If I am traveling
>in a party of 3 people, is it cheaper to catch a cab?á How about a
>modest limousine?á Would it cost that much more?

The cab will cost about the same (you didn’t mention where you are staying), but you get to go straight to your hotel. I’d go for it. Other options: In the same area you catch the shuttles, there are actual limos that will take you (and a bunch of others) to your hotels for $4-5 a head. The catch? You ride with a number of strangers. It’s just that you are in a limo and not a shuttle bus. There are usually also limos parked in that area that you can hire for $35 (plus tip) for a private ride to any hotel on the Strip or downtown.

Porter wrote,

>I love Emeril Lagassi, and found out he has two restaurants in Las
>Vegas.á I will be there at the end of April, and would like to check
>out at least one of them.á His food on the show looks so great, how is
>the food at the restaurants?á And how expensive is it?á Thanks, Kristi

We will be reviewing Emeril Lagasse’s Delmonico Steakhouse at The Venetian soon, but not in time for your trip. Everything I’ve heard about it is great, but consider $100 a person as your minimum if you are going to enjoy a full meal and drinks.

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Your input is welcome. Write us a “letter to the editor” at Please include your name if you wish to have it published (stating your city is optional). Also, guest article submissions are welcome with full credit to you, your website, etc. if accepted.

ONLINE POLL – “Are you planning a Las Vegas visit despite the high fuel prices?” Let’s hear your opinions at — results will be published in two weeks!Last poll results: “Do you prefer table games, slots, or both?”

Slots 48%
Table Games 33%
Both 19%


Note: You may enter every contest, but only one entry to each. Please note the expiration date and only enter if you will be in town and can use them. The 10’th entry in each contest will be the winner (unless otherwise noted or link to outside contest). Just sent a blank email to the specified email address — we’ll get your mailing address from you only if you win. Also, please do not enter if you have won within the past month.

LAS VEGAS T-SHIRT – 10’th entry at (contest closed)

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Have a request for a review? Boggled when you come to town and see the hundreds of dining, attraction, and show opportunities? Let us know what you’d like to hear about! Unlike the tourist magazines where all of the “articles” are really paid ads, we give you the honest scoop. If you appreciate this service, please consider booking your rooms and rental cars for ALL destinations with us at You get secure ordering with the convenience and savings of booking online!

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All contents copyright MM Ted Newkirk. All Rights Reserved.
March 22, 2000

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