With very moderate play, I can usually
patch together 25 nights for an average under $20 a night. In fact, the last
three such planned trips ran $13, $14 and $16 average a night (fees and taxes
included) So, I don't think the little guy is hurting yet, especially downtown.
Four Queens is often advertised at about $25 a night and is a great giver of
The D on very little play gives me 2 for 1 offers and often that
means $15 a night.
And the El Cortez low room rates hits the top
ten values of Vegas by one measure, that is the best value in all of Vegas on anything. And that decision doesn't take into account the coupon deal in the American Casino Guide or the willingess of the El Cortez to offer free nights in the American Casino Guide contest this week
April 7 - April 13, 2013 Free Casino Contest
and a few weeks ago as well.
I'm hoping that they build their pool soon.
I am sorry to see the Gold Spike go, whether it transforms itself into an upscale
joint (as I've read is the intention of the new owner ) or is used for something other than a casino.
A renovated Gold Spike may well price itself out of my frugal planning.
However, the idea that there could be a boutique casino there drove the last purchase and renovation.
Review this piece of history:
Steve Siegel: Yes, That Dust-Coated Guy at Gold Spike Really Is The Owner
It did not happen.
The plaza thought it could renovate and get huge prices for rooms. That did not happen.
And the Plaza is located central to the Fremont Experience.
Location, for the Spike, may be as important as what the place looks like. Many people don't want to be that far from the Canopy and sometimes walking there raised some street smart hackles.
I very much liked this spot for everything except gambling. Even the resort fee did not affect their low prices, and I always got a quiet, comfortable room with a heated pool that opened early in the morning, good wifi, and Turner Classic Movies on the television.
As well as great blueberry pancakes.
Also while location was poor for many, I liked it as good access to the El Cortez poker game with Jackie and the Boulder Highway buses for Sam's Town.
The Las Vegas Club is less of a loss to me although I have stayed there often. It was really rundown.
But perhaps the closing of these two places will
give the Four Queens more opportunity to stay afloat. They have been suffering
during this recession.
I did not gamble much in either place. Never at the Gold Spike. It had nothing that attracted me and the hand pay system was just silly. I actually never signed up for a card there, waiting for a good promotion, so I've lost that one for my collection.
However, the argument that somehow great gambling
odds would magically transform these places seems flawed. There are a few
folks who do the math of the gambling, but the majority of visitors who buy the
food, see the shows, etc. .... the folks who make the profits for casinos....are
not checking to see if the blackjack pays out well or the roulette wheel has one
zero, and they don't know squat about VP paytables.
Local advantage players
may understand good gambling, but the casino doesn't want them anyway. The
mathematical advantage gambler was always someone who fell between the cracks
and got the deals, not the person who paid the light bills.
Look at the Orleans. It took its signature Double Bonus 10/7 game and downgraded it to 9/6
Double Bonus and it did not miss a beat. It still is popular and doing well. In fact, folks are
playing those unplayable Double Bonus machines even when they sit right next to a 9/6
Double Double Bonus that gives them a much better value.
If good gambling odds would have attracted crowds, the
old Las Vegas Club, when it really offered the most liberal blackjack anywhere,
would have filled up with people.
It failed years ago. And a few times in
And gambling mentality has gotten even more casino friendly over
Local joints in State after State offer terrible VP odds and
still attract customers and get folks into the games, who then may go to Vegas
on a vacation and play the same games there.
The States are scrambling to
get on the gravy train, and none worry about offering good mathematical gambling
choices. In NY state it is actually against the law to offer a game that
pays back over 100% and the VP is all fake anyway, just a Class II bingo lottery disguised
Yet the casinos are packed with players and the state can't wait to
And I don't see anyone talking about VP pay tables when they discuss renovation. It is usually about attracting the upscale gambler (and perhaps discouraging me)
Probably the one thing that will make the biggest change
for me and for the little guy gambler or the frugal visitor is the surge in the economy as
it comes out of recession.
If there are more folks working, there will be
more with money for Vegas, and that will drive room prices up. Already we can
see the surge in profits due to the recovery although these percentages maybe a bit inflated due to when the Chinese New Year hit the calendar this year.
Still, they are impressive numbers. Most indications around the country tell us that the recession is over. Nevada house prices are soaring. Zappos is pouring money into Downtown development and that should drive up prices over time. But there are more rooms to put out there coming soon. The Downtown Grand will open and add more rooms than the Las Vegas Club or the Gold Spike takes out. Binions is there for reopening if the Four Queens can manage that.
Ironically, the end of recovery is perhaps not personal good financial news for old frugal guys like me on a fixed income. On the other hand, money isn't everything.