Friday, May 31, 2013


A fellow asked to be talked into staying Downtown and when I got done thinking, I had a good collection of reasons:

I think you can see that a good bit of the discussion about downtown depends on where in the economic class structure you feel most comfortable. Search out the threads of debate on downtown versus the strip, you will see that it often can be reduced to which economic class level offers you the most comfort.
I go to the strip if I crave upscale and Cosmopoiitan.
I go to downtown if I crave regular folks.

You are right in thinking that the Golden Nugget is the best attempt so far to bring upscale to downtown, but other venues are moving in that direction.

Then too it seemed that you had a short trip, so some of the advantages I see in downtown, those that take you off the strip and out of the tourist community completely, would not perhaps appeal. I'm thinking of the Smith Center
You can walk

Or the nearby local baseball field.

Or the best Gambling equipment stores.

If you venture out of the Fremont tourist focused downtown, there are many interesting options including more and more in grass roots arts which is in Renaissance in downtown partly with the help of the infusion of Zappo cash.

That Pawn Shop you see on TV all the time is just a short bus ride away.
Downtown is the only place in Vegas where you can play vinyl records with breakfast. If you like the 60's coffee house experience, it is there

I'm an old guy so I don't really understand much of young people's night life, but I can see that East Fremont offers some downscale club like experiences for those who maybe don't want to arrive in a limo and get $300 bottle service place, but just a place to go late at night and dance.

Add into that anyone who likes video games.
It pains me to know that "back in the day" nostalgia can now mean the 1990's and Donkey Kong, but while I am approaching ancient, there are whole generations who are just aging and feeling electronic nostalgia for what is their equivalent of my nostalgia for malt shop, the video arcade.

If you happen on a Vegas Streats weekend, you can see a whole different sort of young people's music and art gathering.

I was at one and took some photos last year
And Hawaii is not far from downtown Las Vegas. Take one of my visits from my last trip, for example you like good odds gambling then downtown is a no brainer. The best gambling is there. You won't have to scramble around looking for 3/2 BJ or good craps odds, and the VP pay tables are in some cases the best in the world. (10/7 DB back of 4 Queens) JOB 9/6 is all over, and at the Boars Head bar where they comp good microbrew. There a scratchplay for every quad adds some EV to the game.

And it you want to play one of the oldest slot machines in Vegas, there are those real "slots" with pins and spinning drums located right near the elevators to Pavilion rooms in the El Cortez.

Or if you want to play one of the last Sigma Derby horse racing antiques it is on the second floor of the D along with an antique nickel coin dropping full pay Deuces Wild and the best 8/5 Bonus in Vegas with three progressive lines at theVue bar there.
Or if you'd like single zero roulette, how about a video roulette that takes nickel bets and still build up points on your card. There is one at the Four Queens. Similar quarter games with single zeros on the strip, if you can find them, often don't generate Player's points.

The one exception is live poker where there are fewer "It's only money" players tossing upscale dollars to build pots with loose play.

Golden Nugget gambling is more like the strip casinos than the downscale downtown places.

Buses are much better in downtown Vegas. You can get to Sam's Town and the other Boulder Highway places in just 16 minutes, faster than you can drive there from the strip and faster than the 45 minute ride on the 202 down Flamingo.

You can get to Texas Station and Fiesta Rancho very easily.

And you can better plan to avoid those terrible crowds still on the Deuce along strip areas.

While pools are much more basic (not the Nugget pool, that is upscale) they are open early in the morning and uncrowded if you just want a bit of a swim.

And prices are overall better in downtown.
If you use coupons, a coupon run downtown means walking short distances to play freeplay and matchplay.
Only the Plaza has a resort fee to boost up the cost of rooms. Rooms can be had easily with no play for $25 a night. They are more basic than some on the strip, but they are much better now than they were just a few years ago.

If you want to splash your home poker game pot with Vegas shot glasses, you can find them all over for a dollar along with plenty of other tacky souvenirs. I got 4 tee shirts for $10 last trip, two matching skeletons for my son and his wife who like such décor and matching colorful road runner tees in the Vegas Club store for my bird loving wife and me. So both couples can go out as twins.

And you can get two waters for a buck at the new jerkey store just down one of those streets off the Fremont canopy.

However, I see many of these advantages as requiring a longer stay and time to explore.
I'm thinking others may be following this thread and asking your question.
If you are uncomfortable with middle class folks, then you won't be comfortable in the crowds downtown or on the buses although you still may find the Nugget upscale enough to sift out the poorer folks.

In either venue, anywhere there are crowds, keep your wallet in a front pocket and your hand on the wallet. Pickpockets are out and about and I've met their victims on the strip and downtown.

Oh, did I mention the dancing girls at the D? Think 60's go go dancers down out of their cages with sexy costumes rather than body paint.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013


Well, I finally managed to write up my trip in April/May 2013.
There is plenty of detail here. It is more than anyone will read.
To skim just scroll down.
When you get to the bottom of the first page, look for the words "older posts" on the right and that will take you to the second page and so on and so forth.
Remember that the primary function of my blog is to record my own experience for myself.  At best, interested readers, are simply looking over my shoulder and reading my journal.
Yes, it can include excessive detail and yes, I analyze and comment.  Skim out of the boring parts. 
Then the second function of my blog is for it to be a place to store ideas and experiences that might fit into a board future discussions and can be easily accessed.

Comments are welcome always here at the bottom of any post as long as they do not include marketing some site or product.  However, I do have to filter out the spammers, so it might take a few days for your comment to appear.  You can tip me off in email or private message if it never does appear. 
It is my intention to publish every comment.
That being said, if you came here from a link on a Vegas discussion board, the best discussion of these issues is going to be back on the thread on that board rather than here. 
Links to boards where I commonly post are in the list of favorites in the column to the right.
Rarely is there much discussion right here between readers of this blog.
I do try to respond to comments and welcome discussion, but it seldom happens. 




    · Trophy awarded to the Four Queens for the best American Casino guide Coupon, a point doubler worth $12.50 in cashback all by itself.

    · Trophy awarded to the Riviera for offering two free tickets to their Comedy Club in the American Casino Guide

    · Trophy awarded to the El Cortez for offering a free room in an American Casino Guide contest and not their lowest denominator, but a fine mid range Cabana.

    · Trophy awarded to the Spice Market buffet for having an American Guide coupon with a percentage rather than fixed discount so it was worth $22 at the register.

    · Trophy awarded to the D for not blinking an eye when I showed up at 9AM (thinking it was noon) to check in. So smoothly did they send me to my room that I did not know my sense of time was distorted until after I was unpacked.

    · Trophy awarded to the Gold Coast pool for warm water and good company.

    · Trophy awarded to Wild Bill who let me call him at 7 AM (thinking it was 10 AM) and never complained and again let me wake him at 4 AM when he was in Reno, and I speed dialed him instead of my wife on the East coast.

    · Trophy awarded to the D for including in cheaply booked rooms coupons for my frugal, free breakfasts of eggs and fruit.

    · Trophy awarded for Sam’s Town for expanding full pay Deuces into a huge bank of machines that include a dime game (ten coin max nickel play) and for the JOB 9/6 progressive where I chased and never caught the inflated royal.

    · Trophy awarded to Sam’s Town poker room for taking a small $3 casino rake and then $2 for promotions and having some of the most interesting and creative promotions I have seen including my favorite Aces cracked.

    · Trophy awarded for the Coast Shuttle for allowing my huge suitcase without a whimper. I can now book Orleans and Gold Coast back to back and move from one to the other with luggage.

    · Trophy awarded to host Kurt at the Four Queens, not only for having the most amazing Portuguese first name(Feadolphus), but also for finally and completely explaining to me how to stay longer at the hotel on the same bankroll and not water down my gambling average.

    · Trophy awarded to BoyzIImen for making me cry at “So hard to say goodbye to yesterday.”

    · Trophy awarded to the Four Queens for an in room coffee pot that makes three cups at a time and a generous attitude toward stocking coffee.

    · Trophy awarded to Sam’s Town for the best pool music. A fine eclectic collection of old and new music delivered through a speaker disguised as a rock and in a fashion so that all the lyrics could be clearly understood.

    · Trophy awarded to Matt, aka The Bucket, for finally explaining to me how the antique slot machines next to the El Cortez work in the old fashioned manner of real turning slots and pins to fit them rather than a computer random number generator.

    · Trophy awarded living legend Jackie Gaughan for once again playing poker with me at the El Cortez and splashing the pot with his losing hands to create my profit.

    · Trophy awarded to these buffets for being able to find a hot sauce that is not Tabasco: Eastside Cannery, Orleans, Gold Coast, Sam’s Town.

    · Trophy awarded to Club Fortune casino in Henderson for the lowest staked live No limit poker games and the most innovated tournament rule of “busting the pot,” so on final tables players rake back their buy-in before continuing the end play for profit.

    · Trophy Awarded to Club Fortune for being the only casino to give high hand awards during tournament play.

    · Trophy awarded to Wild Bill for taking me to the baseball game.

    · Trophy awarded to MyVegas for offering such great free rewards, for allowing show tickets to be picked up at one location, and for giving me tickets and buffet passes even without my confirmation number.

    · Trophy awarded to Shades of Sinatra at the Clarion, the best Sinatra style musical presentation I have ever seen.

    · Trophy awarded to Walmarts across from Sam’s Town for selling me five bananas for 83 cents total.

    · Trophy awarded to Sam’s Town cinema for giving me a $3 movie and letting me refill my popcorn on the way out with enough extra popcorn to snack on for days in the room.

    · Trophy awarded to dealer Steve at the Flamingo for buying yet another of my silver strike half dollar homemade card protectors.

    · Trophy awarded to Scio5153 for being an interesting buffet companion.

    · Trophy awarded to Eastside Cannery’s sexy Claudine Castro for an authentic Latin lounge show in Spanish.

    · Trophy awarded to Sam’s Town Toast of the Town Thursday free Vegas review of great talent.

    · Trophy awarded to the Tacqueria that made a spicy mango on a stick at the Polynesian Festival.

    · Trophy awarded to Lady Fortuna for being a fine Latin dance partner.

    · Trophy awarded to brother Jim for seeking me out three times in three different places and being his delightfully entertaining self.

    · Trophy awarded to the HDX bus line for a 16 minute comfortable ride from downtown to Sam’s Town.

    · Trophy awarded to Wild Bill for organizing food and shows and other 2 for 1 deals.

    · Trophy awarded to Sam’s Town for full pay Deuces at the dime level.

    · Trophy awarded to the Spice Market buffet for that BBQ skewered lamb.

    · Trophy awarded to MyVegas and MLife for all the free shows and food and for redeeming awards easily and quickly even without confirmations numbers. Amazingly organized and customer friendly.

    · Trophy awarded to the Golden Nugget and the Flamingo poker room for fine large bottles of Perrier with lime, a great alternative for a guy leaning dry.


    · KAIZER SALUTE to Sin City Comedy for setting a Groupon coupon price for a performance and then trying to bully customers into a mandatory drink of four dollars for a cheesy bottle of water or eight or nine dollars for a domestic beer. Under protest the drink becomes optional, but there is a sign at the door and some waitresses put on the hard sell.

    · Kaiser salute to Eastside Cannery for the most confusing, intentionally anti-tourist, on-line Webpass promotion as well as the dysfuntion encountered when trying to nail down the confusing and conflicting rules for prize redemption.

    · Kaiser salute awarded to CET hotels for charging a $20 early checking fee that actually rarely needs to be collected since check in lines are so long that even early arrivals become late check ins.

    · Kaiser salute awarded to RTC bus company for moving the HDX and BHX downtown bus stop from Ogden and obscuring the move with some temporary paper note totally confusing me… twice especially, since it was ripped and illegible.

    · Kaiser salute to Main Street Station for hiring so few floor persons that it took fifteen minutes to get scratch offs delivered to the bar for two nights in a row.

    · Kaiser salute to the D for the most expensive in-room coffee, a Keurig coffee maker with a charge of $2.50 per cup. (My local grocery or Walmarts has the makings for about fifty cents a cup. Next trip I will bring my own coffee.)

    · Kaiser salute to CET for destroying the decent Aces cracked, high hand, and freeroll bonuses at the Flamingo poker room, for jacking up all buffet prices without adding any more hourly comp rates, and for finally embracing the satan of all hotel practices, the resort fee.

    · Kaiser salute awarded to John the Golden Nugget poker brush for being a nit on rules and for being out of touch with actual practice in his own poker room.

    · Kaiser salute to my left sneaker for making me buy replacement footware at Walmarts to avoid blisters.

    · Kaiser salute to the capping maniacs in the Orleans poker room who converted 2-4 poker to bingo or worse.

    · Kaiser salute to The D pool for having icy water after two days of triple digit temperatures. What do you guys do, fill the pool with the left over ice cubes in those bottom shelf well drinks?


Meeting up with board friends is not an easy task for me.  Although I go for long periods of time, I go for a slow and unscheduled pace and I like to be away from schedules.

My sleeping is an issue. I never know when I can sleep and when I can’t.  Vegas is grand for that lifestyle.  I can always look for a poker game or an early morning VP session.  Shows alone seem hard to keep in focus.  I have to concentrate on check out days and often get them confused.  At the beginning of this trip I was totally confused on time.

I can also just take a day and do nothing but sleep.  My pace it like that.  Whenever I can sleep, I sleep and am pleased with the privilege.


At home when I am awake at odd hours, I write on discussion boards.  The boards are here when I am fresh and awake at whatever hour.  When I write I have time to consider, to edit, to check the elusive details.

In Vegas I am often over tired.  Sometimes in conversation I can’t remember words or details of anything I’d like to say. 

Lack of sleep retards my functions.

 Lately I have been drinking almost no alcohol so I don’t lose whole days as I once did, but I am still too tired too often.

Then too I like the solo experience in Vegas, like the serendipitous meetings with strangers from all over the world at poker games, on buses, at bus stops.  I played poker with people from Costa Rica, Australia, Great Briton, Canada, Italy, the Netherlands.  I used my limited Spanish to help three women who had little English find the right bus. 

I met a British couple at the bar at the Clarion waiting to see the most underrated show in Vegas, Shades of Sinatra.  We hit it off easily and talked a good bit about music.

At the Flamingo poker game I met Kristi, a very friendly woman who I had played with on my last trip. She had bought a silver strike, Kennedy half card protector from me and remembered me from that exchange.  It was good to meet her again and actually, I will share some of the Vegas connections with her when I am caught up in this trip report writing.

I met Bob and his wife in the Gold Coast pool.  He is an old 60's guy, a hard worker in Veterans for Peace, a lover of Bob Dylan concerts, of Joan Baez, and also a fellow with an encyclopedic memory for names and dates, for old jazz musicians, for Doo Whoop but not Motown and he told stories with a high paced intensity.  His wife had worked as an editor and knew books and authors.  We talked NPR and shared email addresses.


I met a woman from Minnesota, the first from that state who actually listens to Prairie Home Companion and she wrote down a great resource for a guide for catching walleyes off deserted islands in Minnesota, Boundary Waters Canoe Area.


In spite of my distaste for schedule, I usually manage to see my Vegas relatives: nieces and nephews who live in outer Vegas.  They don’t all talk to each other, so meetups require separate times and places.  This trip I just did not feel well enough to call them and arrange all that.  The pollen got to me.  The foot blisters slowed down my mobility.

However, I did not do Vegas totally solo.

Three local poker buddies went for the first part of my trip.  Most went their own ways, but Wild Bill and I seem to manage to arrange to play together and share 2 for 1 coupons for shows and food.  We did a good job coordinating this time even if he is frustrated that I don’t have a smart phone, and I  won’t add texting to my repertoire of phone skills.  I’m happy to have finally added an ability to hear the phone ringing and find missed calls.

I sought out one  in-Vegas poker buddy, Kevin , at the Palms where he plays almost daily.  I like him.  He has helped me with my game.  I used up matchplays.

I ran into Bob Reynolds, one of the old El Cortez poker guys.  He scooted into the Sam’s Town poker game and we talked horses a bit and he told me a few stories before he scooted out.  He is a fine fellow for local information on poker.

And I had a really magical  time with board friends Ella Cappa from the Netherlands, and Scio5153 .

Ella totally celebrates everyone and everything.  She seems to never have a complaint.  She even celebrated the long 202 bus ride to the Eastside Cannery.  And she handled well the Sicilian fellow trying to hit on her.

I found Elsa and Sarah, along with Ross, Martan ,  Ross, travelfiend, vegasnut, Lady Fortuna and Steve-o-rama  although I've mixed up real names with pennames and I'm confused just as I was at the meetup.  I thought they were going to the Peppermill afterwards, but they had flipped that schedule. The other thing I don’t have in Vegas, or want really, is much  internet, so I missed that change memo.
But Maartan was also from the Netherlands and we had some good banter about "frugal" versus " practical."  Ross was delightfully full of stories or all sorts of places around the world. 

We had a good session of telling stories and sharing adventures and I firmed up plans for the following day with Elsa (Lady Fortuna) and Sarah( Scio5153). 

The next day was a real adventure.  We ate lunch  at the Spice Market buffet where Sahra's American Casino Guide coupon saved a whopping $22 off the bill.  We had a fine supper and I went off my meatless diet to endulge in skewered lamb, one of my Vegas favorites. 

We then walked over to Flamingo to introduce Elsa to live limit poker.  Sahra was content to watch.

She could not go Latin dancing with us as she had a ticket for a Thunder from Down Under that night. 

Too bad.  For us. 

Elsa was a great player at a very tough and tight game. 
I was not.  Or perhaps I just missed the cards and had to constantly fold invested pots.
Instead of trying to teach Elsa the game, I should have had her teach me.  Still, it was very difficult to walk away with money at that game.  The pots I won were very small.  I no where near got paid for my good hands and my second best hands drained me.

Sarah watched, but did not put her money at risk, so she was perhaps the wisest of all.

From there Elsa and I rode the 202 Flamingo bus to see Claudine Castro at the Eastside Cannery.  This was a risky suggestion on my part.  I am not objective on Latin music and certainly not on this particular lounge show.  I love it!  And the casino is a long way from the strip, a locals place that perhaps would not appeal to Elsa.  I worried the whole thing would be a bust.

Well, Lady Fortuna loved it. But then she is perhaps one of the most positive women I ever met, full of passion for celebrating life and especially Vegas.

She liked all of it.  And we did do our own bit of fake salsa and Cuban motion on the dance floor.  In fact at one point we were called into the center of a circle of dancers to take our turn and achieve our three minutes in the limelight.

I have seen this show many times, but usually solo and without dancing.  It was great to have a date.  The idea of an old Anglo guy dancing in a completely Latino setting with a woman from Amsterdam...well... that is Cosmopolitan!

Added to the delight of the whole day was short meetups with my wife’s brother who I rarely see as he lives in California.  He was in Vegas for a short working trip that included some poker playing.  This one day that I had booked fairly tightly with Elsa was his only chance to see me, and I did not think it could happen. 
My wife sent him our itinerary and so he popped over to the buffet in between poker rounds to visit for a while, and again later at the Flamingo where we had a drink at the bar.  Then he waited for the bus with us. 

There is always an added delight when I can bring together people I enjoy from very different parts of my life and have them meet and enjoy each other.  This day goes down as one of the most delicious days I’ve had in Vegas.

Or in life.

And I love this fellow.  He is such good fun and so personable.


It is not often, after all, that I get to go out to supper, play poker and go dancing with two delightful and attractive young women.  Then to add one of my favorite people in the world into the mix and have it all be in Vegas.  Well, life as an old man just doesn’t get any better.  Pura Vida!!

I also met up with board friend  and legendary trip report writer,The Bucket, also a good friend of Lady Fortuna.

The Bucket moves fast in Vegas. I met for lunch with Matt at Sam’s Town and we had a good talk.  He and his old high school chum were dressed up almost like casino employees. .  What a contrast with my grubby old washed out jeans!  He told stories about being mistaken for casino management and playing along with the mistakes He is a funny guy!

Once again he clarified those slot machines at the El Cortez right near the elevator.  Basically they do not run using a computer.  There is no random number generator.  They are actual “slot” machines with a pin that falls into a slot when it reaches the place it is going.  They are just one step up from the really old slot machines where all energy for the spin was initiated by the pulling of a handle.  They have electric motors that allow a button to turn the spinning drum, but what is on the drum is what shows up when the spin is over.  No computer sends a coded message and produces an image of a spinning cylinder. 

I was happy to finally get that right.

His old friend traveling with him this time was educated to facilitate the teaching of children who had difficulty learning because of deficiencies in hearing.  However, recent cuts eliminated his job, so he was back in college studying for work in the field of in aviation.  I did not get details on what exactly. 

We engaged our elderly waitress in conversation and she talked about the old days when she worked at the Mint under Sam Boyd.  She had quite a history in working in casino business.  Matt could keep up with those days as if he had lived back in them.

She thought we had all left when Matt and his friend had to push off for their next adventure or encounter.  I was just up for a final bite of desert and came back to find my spot gone.  She was fine to reconstruct it.  I told her that she would know when I left because there would be money on the table. “Well, not everyone tips,” she said.

I missed one board meetup by getting settled in my first room too late, but I was exhausted anyway. In fact, I was very disoriented into the next day and three hours off on check out and check in


I tried for one that was supposed to be in the H2O bar at the Golden Nugget only to find that the bar is inside the pool area and requires a room key.

In that meetup group was  Ella’s Netherland Met up with travelfiend, vegasnut, Lady Fortuna and Scio5123.  We had a good visit.  the next day Scio5153, Lady Fortuna and I ate lunch at Planet Hollywood, did a bit of 2-4 limit poker at the Flamingo and then Lady Fortuna and I went dancing at the Latin show at Eastside Cannery.

I met JerseyBill on the street just as I arrived for my first night.  He thought that was a very funny coincidence to be in Vegas and see the face of a guy he sees on board posts when planning.

In the same serendipitous manner I met another board member from Philly at the Orleans shuttle bus and we told shared experiences for a while.




Many of you know that I go from hotel deal to hotel deal for as long as 26 days on my Vegas visits.  I can’t pack laundry for that entire period.  I try to wash a few pieces every time I start my stay in a different casino.  That way the pieces have time to dry before I move on.  This trip I just procrastinated until I had no clothes left and then I did not get my usual early check in, but had to wait for regular check in and take a nap to be fresh for BoysIIMen concert.  Laundry did not get done until the following morning.

I wash the clothes a few pieces at a time in the sink in hot water, soaping them a bar of Fels Naptha that I bought at Walmart for a dollar.
I like it better than any liquid soap I have tried.  I hate having liquid in my suitcase.  This is easy to pack, really soaps up, seems to rinse easily,  and lasts a long while.

The soap is pretty strong, so I work with gloves.  First I rub the soap into the places where there may be stains.  It does a good job on stains.  Then I squeeze each piece over and over and get the soap working through all the material.  It goes back in the sink and after the first piece that sink water is full of soap as well. 

I wring out each piece and toss it in a filling bathtub for rinsing if there is one in the hotel.  Then I step in the bathwater and adgitate with my legs and feet getting all the soap out.  I might rinse some pieces again in the shower water.  Working naked is easier for me than reaching and trying not to get wet.  I get wet and when the clothes are all done I take a shower.  It can get hot and humid if many clothes need washing.

I dry some in the window with plastic hangers I have packed.  The hotel hangers cannot be hung on anything but the metal sliding mechanism in the closet and it is not the best place to dry heavy things and won’t accommodate a huge washing load.  I dry what I intend to use next in the window where the day’s sun will get it.  Jeans I take to the pool with me and put them out on a chair in the sun.  Otherwise they take forever to dry.  My light shirts dry in the closet in 12 hours.  Heavier things take longer.

I learned one very important tip this trip.  Don’t wash all your underwear.  Keep one pair to wear while the others dry.  I brought some heavy weight boxers and a few light weight boxers.  Next year I will bring all light weight boxers that dry more quickly.  And next year I will bring the socks I found in Walmart that make walking easier and wash and dry faster than my cotton socks.

Washing naked tempted me into washing all my underwear including what I had only worn for breakfast.  This was a huge mistake.  When it was time to go to the Polynesian Festival (add link) I had no underwear.   There I was, perhaps doomed to become Kramer
Only I did not want to be unfettered and free.
So I looked for a substitute.
 I did have unworn lightweight  print pajama bottoms in blue that were decorated in fishing flies, so I put them on under my jeans as underwear.
They did not show at my ankles.  Well… not for a while anyway. 

It was not until later that I found out I had visited the Polynesian outdoor festival, (include link) including I suppose my poor attempts to learn the hula, with jeans that had a flare out the legs of blue material decorated with fishing flies.  I wondered why one vendor asked me if I were an artist.  I looked very different.  It was unusual.  The flare looked as if it were sewn on purpose into the cuffs of the pant legs  Perhaps I have started an entire new fashion trend in Hawaii.  Here are the photos of my feet.


Well, better to be colorful than Kramer.


Over 26 days I ate and drank  for a total of $251 (not including tips) or under $12 a day even including treating friends to meals.

For specific comments see linked posts
































$251 or an average of under $12 a day.



At home I am developing a diet that eliminates carbohydrates, avoids meat and dairy, and leans organic for carcinogenic pesticide high risk foods.  I eat eggs and fish, picking the fish down the food chain and eliminate that damned Swai, and imported shrimp, both marinated in chemicals and antibiotics in those farm ponds.  At the same time  my new diet emphasizes the super foods that cut the risks of cancer, like kale.

At home it has worked pretty well and I have not felt deprived mostly because I try new foods, especially new beans from an Indian, chana dal being my best find, a bean well down the glycemic index and used around the world to control diabetes without drugs.

The diet reversed my diabetes, dropping two medicines and gives me a healthy A1C. 

It also seems to control my psoriatic arthritis and some of my psoriasis.  So it weaned me from Humira, a really heavy duty injected drug that did reverse the arthritis, but has other risks.  I can’t tell what did that, but I suspect it is the elimination of meats as they are inflammatory.

I am hoping it will keep me cancer free.  One in two men in America, one in three women at some point in their lives are diagnosed with some form of cancer.

It should help me lose weight.  It did in the beginning, but I am very bad about exercise.  That was rather disappointing, but I’ve decided that if I wind up a fat old guy with a healthy blood sugar who never gets cancer that will be enough benefit.

All the being said, such a diet is really not like being an alcoholic on the wagon.  Small tastes happen without losing the basic thrust of the diet.  I don’t find going off for a meal or having a small taste of desert a slippery slope.  At the Golden Nugget the deserts were so tempting that one time I had pecan pielike square and a small cup of flan.  Portions there are very small so waste is avoided.  Other places I just tasted a bit of what I had to take.  And my rule was always that if the taste was not fantastic, I tossed the rest of the sample.

In Vegas I found it hard to be organic because chasing those foods would put me well out of the casino areas or make me buy high end meals. 

And other food is free. 

Using comps I ate on $11 a day this trip.

My sugar stayed low and with the walking and rolling of luggage I lost the ten pounds I had gained over a sedentary winter.

 I don’t much mind buying organic at home because the added cost in the food budget is offset by not buying the expensive meats and cheeses I was used to.  Beans are very cheap, even organic beans.

However, I find it more convenient and inexpensive to eat at Vegas buffets.  There is often a huge selection of vegetables and some buffets are starting to label foods as sugar free or gluten free or even Vegan.  Often in a buffet like the Orleans or Gold Coast I can eat for free and using a veggie soup I can gather other vegetables from the various stages and add them for my own creation.  I might even gather some broth from a meat flavored soup like polosole or jambalaya but avoid the bits of meat and put in more vegetables from other parts of the buffet. While this is not a purist approach, I still reduce the inflammatory nature of the meal.

The Mongolian grills are nice as well.  I know they use oil, but I ask for less oil and sauce and hope for the best.

One of the best buffets was the Golden Nugget.  Here I could make some fine smoked salmon, capers, onions, tomatoes, horseradish.  Also there were plenty of good vegetables including some fine grilled zucchini. And the fruits went well beyond the usual hard melon.  There were piles of apples and bananas for the taking.  The pink grape fruit was delicious.  A few prunes with just a small dab of yogurt was fine. 

Two downtown places now off my favorites list are Main Street Station buffets and Four Magnolias.  It was harder to find diet friendly foods at those venues. 

That being said I did choose to go off the diet a few times. I had Ellis Island steak special one time while here. It is radically off diet because only the salad would fit in my diet perfectly, the green beans being fine but a bit high in carbohydrates so not a super food.

In spite of all the issues I have read about in this restaurant, I found the Ellis Island meal just fine.  I treated myself to mashed potato replacing that terrible gravy with a bit of aujus into which I also dipped my roll.  It was all off diet.

There was a huge list of people waiting for tables, but for some reason the woman seated solo me directly at a small table.  Perhaps it was because I was solo.  This table faced the Karaoke and for once the sounds coming from there were not the warped and twisted tones of some narcisitic drunk, but the voice of some blond woman who sang half a dozen songs.  I could see her and she sounded just fine.  So I had Ellis Island and live music as well.  On another visit I ate the apple walnut salad and found it a good meal.

I also tasted the skewered lamb at Spice Market buffet supper.  I love lamb.  They don’t offer it at lunch, but the poker buddies were going to this buffet, so lamb and shrimp tempura were my off diet treats.  And I went with two EllaCappa and Scio5153.  However the wild mushroom ragout was also a favorite.  I have to learn how to make that.

Of course, I know that food in Vegas is rarely prepared without some oil.  At home I sauté most of what I cook.  I love my new little green ceramic fry pan which does a fine job.  No sticking.  Even an egg can be made with no oil although it is not as easy as it looks on television. 

However, for getting healthy food on a low budget when traveling, Vegas is the place to go and after one day of veggies from the Orleans buffet and an off diet steak special supper at Ellis Island my morning sugar was 127. This number is not my goal of being down below 100 (which I can manage if I eat just super foods ) but plenty good enough not to be worried.

I hoped to hit an Indian restaurant, but I never did.  Next trip I am going to bring tumeric into the buffets with me, so a get a dose of its anti cancer producing value each day.  I noted that I could ride the SDX right to the Indian Oven.  I see coupons for that often.

For sweetener in the room I use Stevia and sometimes I manage to remember to carry the packets. 
Note that Truvia, so highly advertised, is really not Stevia.

I carry cinnamon and lace my coffee with it. Next trip I want to put it in a shaker.  I did not bring enough, but at the D breakfast I could replenish just by asking for cinnamon for my fruit and they would give me such a plentiful amount that I'd take some back to the room with me and use it in coffee there.

The hardest part for me when I am solo is eating more than just once a day.  Diabetics, even those not on insulin,  should eat more than once, but I am accustomed to eating in Vegas a cheap lunch buffet and then having alcohol fill me up the rest of the day.  I greatly reduced my alcohol consumption, replacing it with virgin bloody Mary’s and lots of Perrier and lime with the large bottles found at the Flamingo and Golden Nugget. I thought I would miss being drunk here, but actually it went fine and I noticed that I felt better with no after effects and less wiped when I had just a few hours sleep.  I only had alcohol about seven times this trip.

I do order virgin spicy bloody marys with olives and no ice and figure that is sort of a meal.  I have snacks in the room, seeds, nuts, fruit sometimes and make a small meal on those.

What I miss most is my daily ration of kale.


I took with me long lists of suggestions for healthier food in Vegas, but most required searching out places off my usual places to stay or gamble.  This trip I rubbed some toes toward being blistered, so I did not want to hike much.

I did use a Groupon at the Veggie House out Spring Mountain Road in Chinatown.




My middle of the road approach seemed to work well enough.  Once home I broke out the organic kale.



My buddies all agreed that this was not only the best buffet in downtown, but that it was well worth the additional price over Main  Street Station.  For me the decision is very simple.  Main Street Station has great food and a good ambiance, but very little in the way of vegetables or fruit, so it does not fit my new patterns of eating.

The Golden Nugget is very good for people wanting fruit.  There is a huge selection, including grapefruit and sweet pineapple, and it is all arranged separately.

One morning they served collard greens.  They did have bacon to flavor, but were very good and not overcooked.  The omelets are good as well.

At a Sunday Brunch buffet (check price) I was really well fed.  I had my favorite smoked salmon, onions, tomato, topped with a bit of strong horse radish which I should make into a creamy sauce to cut the power.

Other mornings I could not get the horseradish.

At the daily breakfast because there is no shushi, there is no horseradish.  I asked a person who was obviously in charge and he was amused and said that no one had ever asked for that before.  I explained that the smoked salmon, onions, tomato, capers was usually accompanied by a creamy horseradish sauce.  Well, some guys if they don’t already know, you can’t tell them.

I also loved finding grapefruit, including some sweet pink quarters.  They have grapefruit juice as well.  Many buffets have just hard melon for fruit.  It will do, but it not very tasty.

I tasted a crab salad and did indulge in a small cup of flan and a small slice of pecan pie.  Those desserts were very good, but perhaps I have no judgment now that I never eat dessert.

Everyone praised the deep fried shrimp.  I had a taste of that. 

I loved the grilled summer squash along with a grilled hot jalapeno pepper that needed to be eaten in small doses.

Coffee was brought to the table in a carafe and so there was no need to keep catching the waitress.  However, each time I was there I found those waiting tables some of the best in Vegas, except for on stumblebum who brought me the wrong drinks, corrected just one of them so I had to stop her from leaving, and was just in an inattentive daze.

On my last morning visit I sat with a pool view.  Going right at 7 and asking for that makes for a very pleasant ambiance.

The pattern of playing poker for the breakfast comp is one I intend to increase next year.



I ate breakfast at the El Cortez café.  I had a vegetarian omelet with mushrooms, onions and peppers that was very good.  They let me substitute grits for the potato and I could have ordered the rye toast dry but I took buttered.  I had her not give me butter for the grits.  I asked and got Cholula.



I had caught the 2 lunch buffet offer before it was watered down to one, so Wild Bill and I went for a feast.  The Bellagio buffet  experience was a bit less easy that the Excalibur show redemptions.  I had forgotten my confirmation number and the clerk had trouble finding my award.  But she used her own telephone and called the MLife people.  She told me I was lucky that my card was attached to my award.  Otherwise, with no confirmation number, she could not have found the award.

Wild Bill and I went in fairly early.  The tickets were line passes.  We did not intend to do the trick of staying for the supper food, but we had such a fine, long talk that we did stay that long.  Actually, I was disappointed when my lunch pickled herring was replaced with some fancier supper food, just the reverse of what folks who are stalking the crab would experience.

We stayed a long, long time.  No one rushed us.  It all was delicious and most was on my diet.



Most of you probably know this, but for a Saphire level card, 1000 points is equal to a dollar in cashback while 600 points is equal to a dollar in food.  It pays to eat using points whenever possible.


I always like the Orleans buffet, but now that I am radically dieting, it seemed even nicer.  There were plenty of vegetables and fruit, a real vegetable soup, great cut up green vegetables, and even some sugar free desert choices, including a very tasty pecan pie.  The coffee was good too.  We could use the two for one buffet coupon and still pay with points.

I also like the Gold Coast buffet and I managed at Sam’s Town to find plenty in my diet to eat.

I tired Fremont again using points earned other places.  It was adequate, but I did not find it appealing enough to want to seek it out very often.  This was breakfast.  Perhaps other meals offer more variety.



I ate at the Ethiopian place near the Clarion on Convention Drive just around the corner from the Peppermill.  I visited twice.  I think the small buffet with beans and cabbage would have better suited my diet, but I ordered late one night off the menu.  I was the only tourist in the place.  It seems to be a gathering for Ethiopians who also play a fascinating Italian game on the pool table in the back  where no cues are used but the balls thrown by hand.  Points are earned when small pins in the center of the table are tipped over.  I don’t really have the rules down.  The players were very friendly and offered to have me play, but I declined.  They said they rarely play for money, but sometimes for beer.




Okay, I know, I know, it is a chain with the same food as we get at home, but it looks like no other Denny’s I can remember seeing anywhere.  I was prepared not to like it, but the abstract patterns of the delightfully marigold yellow mesh that wraps around the place as well as the opportunity to eat outside, set back from the traffic of Fremont but still in view of a pretty girl or two delights me.  Besides, my mother liked Denny’s.  I did not eat there, but that is because there were just too many other choices for breakfast.



I looked at this menu, but I never actually made it here, probably because I just had too much free food downtown.