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Openings / Yard House / The Linq / Flamingo / The Quad / Total Rewards / Starwood / Players Clubs / Eating / Dining / Restaurants / → All Tags
When Yard House was created, the idea was to offer a restaurant that would boast one of the largest selections of draft beers, a diverse menu of American food, and play classic rock on a state-of-the-art sound system. Eight years later, you can add plenty of HD TVs to watch the games to that list. All things combined, it's a winning recipe for a very popular chain restaurant. The newest and largest outpost of Yard House officially opens this Friday, February 28 at The Linq.
Our hard hat tour of The Linq ended at Yard House where we were able to check out both stories of this mega-complex of beer and sample a few of the hundreds of drafts on tap. Don’t worry, nobody was hurt during this tasting. See how small this California Porter is?
There are already two Yard House locations in Las Vegas so this isn’t a new experience, but Yard House is only a regional chain with locations in just 16 states so the concept may be new to many. What makes The Linq location of Yard House so different is its enormity.
Players Clubs / M Life / MGM Resorts / UFC / → All Tags
M Life isn't pulling any punches in its quest to be the best players club around.
After teaming up with Hyatt, Southwest Airlines, Royal Caribbean, Avis Budget and Ameristar Casinos to offer members greater rewards, it's now bringing a new heavyweight to the game -- the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship).
Vegas For Beginners / Players Clubs / Vegas Observations / Survival Strategies / Gambling / Casinos / Tips / → All Tags
We all know that players clubs don’t exist only as a vehicle to give us freebies and discounts. They’re marketing tools that casinos use with much more diligence than you may realize. Rewarding casino customers for their loyalty makes plenty sense, but there’s a rhyme and reason behind every single offering. Casinos look at players clubs as a way to reinvest in their most loyal customers. Casino executives call this “Player Reinvestment” since rewards have historically been based solely on gaming revenue.
What might surprise you is how much casinos value customers. Casinos spend anywhere from 20%-40% of tracked gaming revenue on player reinvestment. As you might imagine, that money isn’t spread equally among customers. The more money a customer brings into the casino, the more the casino will invest in making that person return.
A lot of ideas to make gambling easier for the customer are run up the flagpole with the Nevada Gaming Commission (NGC). Some are approved, but most aren’t. A controversial idea and regulation change was just pitched. A company called Sightline is proposing the use of prepaid gaming cards that would be used in slot (and video poker) machines. The idea is that these prepaid cards would be akin to prepaid gift cards. Their use would also be similar to casino players club cards that could be loaded at banks and then used at slot machines to insert and withdraw money.
Gaming regulators have always set barriers between personal bank accounts and slot machines. Since gambling can be addictive, this separation exists so that gamblers couldn't easily drain their bank accounts. ATMs are allowed in casinos, in part, because they have daily limits and don’t directly connect gambling with personal bank accounts.
That was the past, though. Now, it seems as if things are changing for the better. Recently, Identity decided to disclose the specific dollar amount of money played on table games that it takes to earn Identity points. This specific number isn’t mirrored by other players clubs, but was a nice bit of transparency. Today, The Cosmo announced an expansion of its partnership with Marriott that will benefit Identity members, too.
The Cosmo has had an arrangement with Marriott since 2010, but it was specifically for the hotel portion of the property. Now, you'll be able to transfer points between Identity and Marriott's Rewards program. Every Identity point earned can be transferred to Marriott Rewards points and used at nearly 3,800 Marriott locations worldwide. Marriott Rewards members can also enjoy the benefit of using their points for almost every experience at The Cosmopolitan, including hotel rooms, dining, spa and other casino experiences.
“NOW, WAIT ONE MINUTE!”
We downloaded the new Play by Total Rewards app for iPhone with a little too much excitement. Caesars Entertainment’s old Total Rewards and Total Vegas apps were scrapped last year for a reason. Common sense would lead one to believe that a new app that did everything a user could possibly want would be made. Not so fast.
The two things that we’d want in a casino or players club app are not allowed. We can’t book hotel rooms directly through the app and we can’t use offers through the app, either. When trying to book a room, the app takes you to the mobile version of totalrewards.com where you have to re-enter your Total Rewards information and begin the booking and offer claim process from the beginning. That kind of makes this app useless.
Last year at this time, Caesars Entertainment confirmed some major changes to its Total Rewards players club. Nobody was particularly happy with the largest players club in America. At the same time, people rolled with the punches as benefits continue to decrease at all players clubs. While the changes required more points to reach higher tier levels, they also brought bonus credits:
*Earn 500 Tier Credits in one day and receive an additional 125 Tier Credit bonus
*Earn 1,000 Tier Credits in one day and receive an additional 1,000 Tier Credit bonus
*Earn 2,500 Tier Credits in one day and receive an additional 5,000 Tier Credit bonus
Customers who connect their Total Rewards and SPG accounts will be able to earn points and credits for stays and other benefits at participating hotels and resorts across both networks. The partnership begins January 9, but you can sign up now at both Total Rewards and SPG.
December is usually a quiet time for casino developments. Besides sales and openings, not much new happens on the promotion side. There's sometimes rumors, but they're just that. If you remember there were rumblings last December that Total Rewards might change their players club, but there wasn't any proof until January. Things are a little different this December.
M Resort has quietly changed their players club from iMagine to Marquee Rewards. M Resort is operated by Penn National which also operates Hollywood Casinos... which uses Marquee Rewards. Sometime in 2014, Marquee Rewards members will be able to use their cards at participating Penn National properties across the country.
WSOP.com, Nevada’s second real-money online poker site to launch this year, is just over two months old. Competitor Ultimate Poker got a five-month head start by getting cards in the air, so to speak, back in April. Its launch was a bit subdued and relied on in-house advertising resources. WSOP.com, owned by Caesars Interactive Entertainment, is taking a more explosive approach in trying to sign up new players and take control of the online poker market. If you have a Total Rewards account, step foot in a Caesars hotel room, or even watch TV in the state of Nevada, Caesars is going to let you know about WSOP.com.
Online, Caesars is promoting WSOP.com through many of its own websites. WSOP.com staff are reaching out to gamblers elsewhere on the web and regularly post on poker message boards. Additionally, WSOP.com targets existing Total Rewards members with a rewards system that connects to their accounts. Although the levels don’t match up exactly, it is possible to advance your casino status through online play and vice versa. Credits earned online can also be converted to credits for use at Caesars properties.
While many players clubs detail how much money spent equals a certain reward, they will often leave their table play more ambiguous. For example, while Total Rewards specifically details that $1 spent on dining equals 1 reward credit their explanation for how to earn rewards by playing blackjack or other table games isn’t so specific.
Perfecting skill and winning casino games isn’t easy. In fact, perfection is impossible since the casino has a built-in advantage in every game. At best, we want to play games with a small house advantage and an easy strategy to learn in order to maximize how long we play. Playing longer improves chances of hitting a hot streak or a jackpot. Here are a few resources we use for honing our gaming skills:
vpFREE: vpFREE2.com is a great site for video poker players or people interested in learning how to play. vpFree2 lists how much optimal returns are for different video poker games as well as which casinos have those games. They also detail exactly where you can locate the games on the gaming floor. The information is updated every few months so it may not be 100% accurate, but it’s pretty darn good.