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Open Thread: What's The Largest Jackpot Win You've Witnessed?

July 22, 2015 at 5:19 PM | by | ()

Jackpot Call Attendant: Hand Pay $10,020

I was at The Linq recently, playing Titan 360 (this may be the greatest penny slot ever) when a commotion broke out just a few feet away. A gentleman playing the only $1 slot machine in the area hit the $10,000 jackpot.

Even though he was calm and quiet after winning he was being congratulated by every passerby. I noticed that two slot attendants (strangely without security) were paying out the jackpot by hand and then saw the prize. Yowza, that's a biggun! People stopped to shake the winner's hand, take photos and, of course, snap some selfies (no selfie sticks though) with the man and the jackpot.

It was quite the spectacle which probably had something to do with the winning machine being so close to the casino walkway that leads out into The Linq Promenade. I’ve seen large jackpots get paid out hit in high limits rooms but those are usually quiet since there aren't as many people walking by. I've never actually been playing this close to a person winning a jackpot this large. And I've definitely never seen someone win this big of a jackpot in the middle of the casino.

It got me to wondering if anyone has witnessed a jackpot winner like this in person. What's the biggest jackpot winner you've ever witnessed in a casino? It could be yours or someone else. Share the fun in the comments.

[Photo: VegasChatter]

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Here's Your Chance to Be a VegasChatter Critic for One Night

Where: 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. South Las Vegas, NV [map], 89109
July 22, 2015 at 4:37 PM | by | ()

You may have wondered what it’s like to be a critic. If you’re a frequent visitor to VegasChatter, you know that we like to dish out our opinions with a bit of personal flair. This weekend we’re offering you a chance to be one of us...and attend the premiere of a new dinner show at Planet Hollywood Casino on our behalf. But you have to promise to tell us all about it in a publish-able review...and follow some strict guidelines.

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The 48 Hour Film Project Screens This Week

Where: 5111 Boulder Highway [map], 89122
July 22, 2015 at 3:38 PM | by | ()

Sometimes art is at its best when it’s created under pressure. If you want to see if this holds true for the Las Vegas film scene, check out the three screenings of this year’s 48 Hour Film Project on 7/21 - 7/22 at Sam’s Town.

As the title implies, teams are given two days to write, shoot and edit a short film. Each team is assigned a genre, but all teams have to incorporate the same three elements. This year, those elements are the character of a baker named Michael or Leanne Westphal, a family heirloom used as a prop, and the line of dialogue, “I’ve been thinking about this for a long time.”

Everything else is up to the film squads - where they shoot, the look of their piece, the legally obtained music they use or create. It’s a furious 48 hours. Teams are given their assignments Friday night and most scripts are done before the next morning. Saturday is usually reserved for shooting while most of the editing often takes place on Sunday before the required turn-in time Sunday night. After that, they finally get to sleep again!

The 2015 edition features 33 different films. That’s three blocks of 11 films each, playing at 6:30 and 9 pm on July 21 and 6:30 on July 22. The “Best Of” screening takes place August 4 at 6:30 pm. And the wrap party is August 5 at Double Helix beginning at 10 pm. No word if Michael or Leanne Westphal will be supplying baked goods for the shindig.

[Photo: 48-Hour Film Project]

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What Will The Future Bring for The Site of The Old Clarion?

July 22, 2015 at 2:53 PM | by | ()

Nearly two years ago, when VegasChatter contributor, RamblinGamblin, wrote about The Clarion Las Vegas he wondered, "Is it time to implode this Las Vegas hotel and casino?" During his two-night stay at the hotel he encountered "faded paint and broken elevators"; a formerly beautiful fountain full of rocks; carpet stains, dim lighting, unpleasant odors, torn wallpaper and "filthy comforters."

He got his wish. The Clarion was imploded in February of this year. VegasChatter photographer Greg Clarke captured the implosion on video, which demolished all of the building except the elevator shaft, which eventually came down with the help of a crane.

Here's how the building used to look. This was taken in January about a month before it was imploded.

And here's how it looks today. Interestingly, The Clarion sign was preserved. No surprise that the Neon Museum didn't want that.

A new hotel is expected to rise on the site of the Clarion from developer Lorenzo Doumani (owner of the Peppermill) but Greg reports that while the site has been "completely cleared and graded" there is no activity at all, not even "signs of anything that will be going up in its place." Indeed on the 305CCD.com site set up by Doumani, there is this on the "Future" page:

We emailed Doumani for recent updates and have yet to hear back. Hopefully, we'll find out the status of this soon.

[Photos: Ramblin' Gamblin and Greg Clarke]

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Valentino Really is Opening Up Right Next to The Bellagio Front Desk

Where: 3600 Las Vegas Blvd. South [map], 89109
July 21, 2015 at 6:35 PM | by | ()

I'll take a deluxe room and a side of fancy shoes.

In case you were wondering, Valentino really IS opening up adjacent to the Bellagio front desk. Hermes was already across from the check-in area facing the bell desk on one side and facing Petrossian lounge on the other side.

Now Hermes and Valentino’s storefronts are staring each other down, enemies in the same hotel lobby, vying for shoppers’ dollars. It threw me off when I heard another shop was opening inside of the Bellagio lobby because, as a luxury property, with a gorgeous lobby complete with the Fiori di Como flowers by glass sculptor Dale Chihuly, the lobby already had a lot of pretty things to look at.

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Construction Continues on Lucky Dragon While We Check in on Another Arena

July 21, 2015 at 4:05 PM | by | ()

It's been just six weeks since we last checked in on Lucky Dragon, the 201-room Asian-themed hotel and casino rising in between the Allure condo tower on Sahara (just off Las Vegas Boulevard) and the Golden Steer steakhouse.

Our resident photographer, Greg C. reports that the building is up to the 4th floor now on the main structure. We're still a ways away from the expected 2016 opening date but as long as construction keeps progressing, we'll be satisfied.

Meanwhile, Greg also snapped some photos of the former Wet n' Wild waterpark, just south of SLS, where he reports "a bit of activity. A few pieces of heavy equipment are on site and they seem to be clearing the lot of old concrete and asphalt."

But whatever could this be? Well, last year, the site got approval to build a 22,000-seat arena and a hotel, a project spearheaded by former UNLV and NBA basketball player, Jackie Robinson. However, by March of this year, the development had run into several issues before construction was to begin.

It's still listed as opening in 2017 on the Cuningham Group website but no word on where the project really stands, especially now that the Las Vegas Arena is gearing up to open in early 2016. Got any ideas? Let us know in comments below!

[Photos: Greg C/VegasChatter]

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Southwest Airlines And The 'Free' Ultimate Vegas Experience

July 21, 2015 at 12:15 PM | by | ()

Lately, lots of folks have been feeling less-than-loved by MyVEGAS...especially for the reduction in awards being offered by MLife (the MGM Resorts loyalty program) and Cirque du Soleil. Well, for one weekend in September, Southwest Airlines has come up with a way to feel more “LUV” (that's a SW reference) from MGM and Cirque. They’re calling it “The Ultimate Vegas Experience”. And if you meet some specific criteria, you can have this all-inclusive luxury weekend without spending a single dime.

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Just One Dish: Crab Rangoon at WuHu Noodle

Where: 3333 Blue Diamond Road [map], 89139
July 20, 2015 at 8:09 PM | by | ()

Sometimes, a full restaurant review just won't do. Perhaps, there wasn't time for an A-Z meal. Maybe we just don't want to spoil it all. Or, a dog ate our good pictures. There may still be that one dish worth writing about. A new one, an old one. A newsworthy one or a memorable one (for better or worse). It might be the one dish, or drink, out of the whole experience that gets us to return. Or, stay away.

They call it WuHu Noodle but my favorite dish at the Silverton's new easy Asian eatery doesn't have any noodles in it. In fact, it's not even an entree. It's an appetizer we all know, but this one was done just a little differently and that's all it took to make something so ordinary so extraordinary.

Cut back to college. In between Rice-A-Roni and spaghetti and ketchup dinners, once in a while I'd splurge. The most bang for my buck were those Chinese takeout specials. You know, the $6.99 meals they advertise with coupons on the menu? The ones with two entrees, fried rice and the app of your choice? That is where I first discovered crab rangoon.

Wrapper, interior, sauce. The thing is, up until I tried WuHu's, they all tasted pretty similar. Not that the average fried cream cheese wonton concoction isn't already tasty. But changing it up just a bit sure goes a long way.

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The New Occupant Of Bar and Bistro Space May Not Be So Artsy

July 20, 2015 at 4:30 PM | by | ()

Sometimes rumors turn into truths minutes after we hear about them. Last week there were rumblings that Bar+Bistro in the Las Vegas Arts District in Downtown Vegas might be closing. By the end of the week, this rumor was confirmed when operators of the Arts Factory said that Bar+Bistro would indeed be closing.

While the artsy environment worked for the area, the food was just okay when we first tried it. In the end crowds didn’t flock to Bar+Bistro like the owners would have hoped.

Now comes a follow-up rumor that a much less artsy concept will be taking the place of Bar+Bistro. British pub Crown & Anchor is heavily rumored to be opening their third Las Vegas location in the now vacant space. Crown & Anchor currently has locations off the Strip on Spring Mountain and Decatur and on Tropicana near the campus of UNLV.

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Is El Cortez 'Amenities Fee' About To Nearly Double?

Where: 600 E. FREMONT STREET LAS VEGAS, NV [map], 89101
July 20, 2015 at 12:51 PM | by | ()

Update 7/22/15: A small victory for VegasChatter fans? Our helpful tipster "Brad" has tipped us off that El Cortez has possibly changed their mind about raising their "amenities fees" (or perhaps just delayed the decision) after reading our post. In his own words: "Vegas Chatter was responsible for rattling the cages and having El Cortez think twice about an increase. Hotels.com was contacted to change the resort fee back to $10.02. LMAO..." We checked hotels.com, using the same selections as earlier this week. Sure enough, the old rate has been restored.

An entire seven days has passed since our last update on controversial resort fees. We’d be thrilled to let another seventy pass by before the next announcement…but no such luck. VegasChatter fan “Brad” tipped us off on Saturday that El Cortez was raising its daily mandatory surcharge to $15.00.

It all began three years ago this week, when the newly-renovated Plaza Hotel, which caps off the west end of Fremont Street, became the first major Downtown hotel to impose a mandatory daily fee (the little Gold Spike beat them to that dubious honor back in 2010 with a negligible $1.99 fee).

Since then, the primarily Strip-centric resort fee trend has rolled down Fremont Street like a bowling ball, eventually striking into the old-timey El Cortez Hotel Casino.

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Your Vegas Weekend Cheat Sheet: July 17-19

July 17, 2015 at 8:20 PM | by | ()

Don't let Ariana Grande near this donut!

Here's a cheat sheet for what's happening in Las Vegas this weekend. These are events and listings that we picked because we think they're cool, noteworthy and/or funny. This is not a complete listing of everything that's happening in Vegas this weekend so simma' down now. Remember, what happens in Vegas...should probably be shared with VegasChatter. XOXO.

YEAAAH! LIL JON IS AT SURRENDER: Lil Jon will "turn down for what?!?!?" at Surrender at Encore Las Vegas on Saturday, July 18. Meanwhile over at XS, Corey Feldman Skrillex will do his thing on the same night.

CALLING ALL CANADIANS IN TOWN, THEORY OF A DEADMAN AT FREMONT STREET EXPERIENCE: In continuing FSE's Rock of Vegas summer concert series, Theory of a Deadman, a Canadian band, will perform on Saturday, July 18 at 9 p.m. at the 1st Street Stage.

DO YOU WISH YOU HAD TICKETS TO THE RICK SPRINGFIELD CONCERT?: Even though he's playing a creepy doctor in this season's True Detective, Rick Springfield is keeping up with his musical career with a concert at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Las Vegas on Sunday, October 25 (with special guest Loverboy.) Tickets for that show are on sale now for $39.50, plus fees. Call 888.9.AXS.TIX or go online at www.axs.com to get yours. For VIP ticket packages including premium seating options, email jointvip@hrhvegas.com.

NATIONAL ICE CREAM DAY IS ON SUNDAY: You'll have to have ice cream on Sunday, it's the law. Ok, it's just a national holiday but still a good excuse. If you really want to up your ice cream game, head over to Serendipity at Caesars Palace to try their new Peanut Butter & Jelly Glazed Donut Ice Cream Sundae 10-minute challenge. If you can finish the sundae, which features three pints of vanilla and strawberry ice cream, one 10-inch glazed donut, Oreo kisses, chocolate sauce, peanut butter sauce, raspberry sauce, whipped cream and a cherry on top, in 10 minutes without help from friends, you'll get the sundae free. But you'll also be sick for a year.

[Photo: Caesars Palace]

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Desert Hops Returns To The Cosmopolitan

July 17, 2015 at 7:15 PM | by | ()

The Desert Hops Beer Festival will return to the Boulevard Pool at the Cosmopolitan on August 22. This will be the third year in a row that the Cosmo is hosting Desert Hops which features more than 150 beers from all around the world. This year’s festival will also feature a larger selection from Nevada brewers than previous years. Additionally, attendees will taste multi-cultural food prepared by the Cosmopolitan’s restaurant partners.

This looks like one of the best deals you’ll find at the Cosmopolitan with tickets for the beer festival starting at $30. Early Bird General Admission tickets for Desert Hops start at $30 and are on sale now. Early Bird VIP tickets are also available starting at $50 and include early entry at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m.

Tickets are available at cosmopolitanlasvegas.com or through Ticketmaster at 800.745.3000. Early Bird prices will be available until Aug. 3 at which point prices will be $45 for General Admission and $65 for VIP tickets.

[Photo - VegasNews.com]