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December 7, 2012

Seven Out

Posted by Hunter

I'm hanging up my dice. Putting away my stick. Calling it quits. No roll.

What does this mean? Is the site going down? What about Vegas Mate? Oh, and when is the Android version coming out?

Be calm my children... This decree only applies to the blog. Two Way Hard Three is dead.

Vegas Mate lives. The Vegas Gang podcast lives. lives (sorta)... but the blog is dead.

Honestly, it's been on life support for some time. If not for Dr. Dave's posts and my occasional screed, it would have gone dark a year ago when Jeff died.

Yeah, I could have just kept it running indefinitely and never written this post but that just didn't feel right. This thing was birthed intentionally and it deserves to die with some dignity, not just fade into nothingness. There's a lot of good content buried in these topic pages: some great editorial and amazing comments.

It makes me sad to kill off the blog but it is time. My heart hasn't been in it for awhile and given the slow-down of construction in the city, it has less of a purpose to live on.

I put it off at least partially because I've sometimes felt that my identity was wrapped up in this blog. We broke stories and poked the bear. It was fun. It got me into un-opened casinos, onto designer led tours, into CEO interviews and it introduced me to countless readers and contributors, many of whom I consider friends. It was a massive success.

Thank you all for reading, commenting and participating. I can't say how much I appreciate it. Thanks for your recent Trippies nomination. I've been lucky enough to be a nominee and a winner in those awards and it's a ton of fun.

The name 'Two Way Hard Three' came from a friend of mine learning to play craps who called out a non-sensical bet during his first session at a real table. We toasted him (after laughing at him, of course). I hope you'll join me in toasting Two Way, one last time.

Practical Stuff:

- The archives will remain up for the foreseeable future. I have no plans to take them down.
- All posts will close for new comments at the end of this month.
- I'm going to remove all of the advertising so it will be a slimmed down version of what is here now.
- New Vegas Gang episodes will be announced at If you already subscribe, no need to change anything - you should be all set.
- Vegas Mate updates and information will appear at and on Twitter @vegasmate.
- Don't expect any significant updates anytime soon - the site is powered by the same CMS that runs Vegas Mate so the content remains up to date but when it comes to new features, my heart is in the app, not the Web site. The @ratevegas Twitter account will continue, re-tweeting interesting casino news.
- You can reach me personally both on Twitter @hunter and at
- There's a 3.7.1 update for VM in the review queue now [ed: it's out and in the App Store], a big set of plans for 4.0 and I've started tinkering with a new Vegas-related app idea.

Notable Posts:

Here are a few notable posts, either because they sparked some discussion or just because I like them. You can also look back and see how intense some of the comment threads used to be.

- Wynn Dealers Suit Dismissed
- DeRuyter Butler Interview
- Le Reve Damaged
- I'm Vegas Homeless
- Dick Whitman Doesn't Know What He Wants

What are your favorite posts? Feel free to put links in the comments...

Also, any questions? This is the best place to do it.

December 5, 2012

2013 Trippies - Open for Voting

Posted by Hunter

It's already that time of year again! The 2013 Trippies are upon us and voting closes in less than a week!

We're fortunate enough to have a few nominations this year that I'd like to make you aware of, specifically the categories for 'Best App' and 'Best Podcast'. This blog and the parent Web site are also nominated, as I am in the 'tweeter tweeter' category. I really appreciate everyone that took the time to go through the nomination process. Thank you.

January 16, 2012

Trippies 2012 - Thanks!

Posted by Hunter

Just wanted to say a big thank you to everyone that voted for us in the Trippies 2012 awards.

Best Blog - Two Way Hard Three
Best Podcast - The Vegas Gang
Best App - Vegas Mate

That blog award covers not just posts from me but also Jeff Simpson and Dave Schwartz, as well as some great comments from regulars and newbies. Also thrilled to see that Jeff won the Twitter award. I know he would have been very proud.

There's a lot of good stuff on the list. Check it out!

I know for some folks, 2011 can't get into the rear-view fast enough. I've certainly felt that way during parts of this past year. It's been a tough one for a lot of reasons.

I thought about writing some sort of retrospective on 2011 but after putting it off for over a week, I realized that's really not what I want to talk about tonight. Since most of you are probably out and about and you'll be reading this in 2012, I think this makes more sense. Let's talk about some hopes and predictions for this next year.

Some Vegas Predictions and Hopes for 2012

I'm not sure how much predictions from me are worth but they're fun to make so here are a few:

- Fontainbleau Imploded: This thing has been a terrible eyesore since it first began to climb above ground. Since it doesn't look like that will ever change, it's time to rid the skyline of this monstrosity. Blow it up, tear it down - whatever. Just get rid of it. I'm sure the neighbors won't mind. Oh, and pay the contractors who got stiffed and release Glenn Schaeffer from any litigation so we can interview him without him getting sued. That guy has to have quite a story.

- MGM Replaces The Harmon With Something Interesting: I think we all know that eventually, one way or another, even if Perini gets some cash, The Harmon is a goner. When the building is inevitably removed, what comes next? The biggest complaint against CityCenter is that access from The Strip sucks. Instead of expanding The Crystals with some additional warehouse-as-retail space, add to Aria: additional casino, lounge, bar and restaurant space that runs right up onto The Strip. Put a pool/club complex on the roof - something that makes the patrons at neighboring Marquee jealous. I might not ever want to go there but it's a potential cash factory. I can already see a new set of Murren PR photos taken from the roof.

- Cosmopolitan Shows Modest Gaming Improvement: The hiring of Strip Wunderkind Tom McCartney will make a positive impact on the struggling property but it won't be enough to reverse the negative trend in the casino. Despite best efforts, I would not be surprised if one year from now, either Mr. McCartney, CEO John Unwin or lender/owner Deustche Bank will be exiting Cosmo, in one form or another.

- Linq Will Underwhelm At First But Eventually Become a Hit: Caesars' new project won't open in 2012 (construction begins in earnest over the summer) but given it's status as the only major construction project on The Strip, it will be a topic of conversation. My guess on Linq is that it will open to mixed reviews but about two or three years from now will be considered an important part of both Caesars bottom line but also many Strip visitor's vacation plans. A few of the first round of restaurants will likely miss the mark but they'll of course be replaced and while calling it the Strip's 'first meeting place' is absurd, it will become a legitimate 'city center', of sorts, over time. The wheel won't reach the level notieriety of attractions like the Fountains of Bellagio but will likely occupy the same latitude as say NYNY's roller coaster - an activity that visitors may try once but not something that commands a lot of repeat business.

- Tropicana's Moment in the Sun is Over: The property engendered a lot of goodwill with it's refurbishment and for awhile there it looked like it was about to crest over into a legitimate player in the middle tier of Strip properties. Instead, an exodus of key personnel, the botched Nikki Beach experiment and some underperforming restaurants have stalled the property's momentum. The Trop may be able to command slightly higher room rates than it did previously but it will largely sit out the city's recovery until it is eventually imploded and rebuilt... and that may have been the plan all along.

The Web Site

After the mega-redesign in 2010, I've been happy with how things have been going over on the main site. The volume of user reviews is up a good bit, making it a better resource than ever. No major plans to mix things up there in 2012, though new features in the app may require additional Web components as add-ons.

Vegas Gang Podcast

Personally, one of my favorite things to do is interviews and I'm hoping we'll have some good ones in 2012. We've been talking about a few possible subjects already. In addition, expect more news analysis and plenty of new Sure Bets as we find our way with the show next year.

Two Way Hard Three

Last year one of my goals was to do more writing. I failed. That doesn't mean it's not an admirable goal.

Vegas Mate App

I don't like to pre-announce what I'm doing with the app but there are big plans for 2012. The next update for VM is coming in early January with some new features that make things even easier and more seamless. After that, the big 4.0 update will be exactly that - with a Retina iPad 3 expected, Vegas Mate will never look the same. That's all I've got on that topic for now.


Lastly, I wanted to say thanks for everything in 2011. It was a tough year for a lot of reasons and while I won't miss it, I appreciate all of the support from the readers, listeners, app users and commenters. In the moments when I inevitably question all of the time and money invested in these endeavors, the goodwill from you fine people is always heartening. Thank you and Happy New Year.

"Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. Yesterday, everybody smoked his last cigar, took his last drink, and swore his last oath. Today, we are a pious and exemplary community. Thirty days from now, we shall have cast our reformation to the winds and gone to cutting our ancient shortcomings considerably shorter than ever. We shall also reflect pleasantly upon how we did the same old thing last year about this time. However, go in, community. New Year's is a harmless annual institution, of no particular use to anybody save as a scapegoat for promiscuous drunks, and friendly calls, and humbug resolutions, and we wish you to enjoy it with a looseness suited to the greatness of the occasion." - Mark Twain

December 13, 2011

Trippies 2011 Voting - We're Nominated! Go Vote!

Posted by Hunter

It's that time of year again - the Vegas Tripping 2011 Trippies are open for voting.

Last year, we were honored to win a few. Humbling.

I certainly don't expect a repeat of that magnitude but there are a few entrants I'd like to direct your attention to. For your consideration:

Vegas Gang (Best Podcast) - I'm really proud of the work we've been doing on the show in the past year. We had some great interviews with folks like DeRuyter Butler, Roger Thomas, and Anthony Marnell, as well as a ton of other great episodes. I've been listening back to some of these in the past week, making me only more proud.

@simpsonlasvegas (Best Twitterer) - This one should be a shoe-in. Once Jeff took to Twitter, he was unstoppable. Give Jeff your vote.

Vegas Mate (Best App) - I'm incredibly proud of my iOS app, Vegas Mate. From great content to user reviews to trip planning and everything that's coming in the future. I'd be honored to have your vote.

Two Way Hard Three (Best Blog) - This might seem self-serving but the real reason I'm encouraging this vote is to recognize the excellent work that both Jeff and Dave did here in 2011. They wrote more than I did - this past year this place was as much theirs as mine.

There are a bunch of great nominees in all of the categories. Congratulations to everyone.

Now go vote - you have until December 24th.

December 1, 2010

Trippies 2010 Voting - We're Nominated! Go Vote!

Posted by Hunter

Happy to say that this blog, along with my app Vegas Mate, the recently re-done Web site, the Vegas Gang Podcast and my Twitter ramblings are all nominated for awards in the 2010 Trippies.

I'm honored to once again be nominated and I hope you'll consider voting for the above as you cast your ballot. Voting only takes a few minutes.

Vote Here:

This is one of those days that you aren't sure will ever really come. I'm very happy to announce that the latest version of is now live and open for business. In April of this year, turned ten (!) - and I think this is the best version yet.

You can visit the site here:

The update features an all new-design that's heavy on photos and designed to be easier to navigate and to read. An enhanced search tool (still being tweaked a little)makes the content more discoverable, especially the thousands of 'Ask the Experts' questions I've answered for folks over the years.

An updated technological foundation sets the stage for several new Vegas Mate features that will be unveiled in the weeks and months to come. I'm keeping those under wraps for now but I'm pretty excited about them - they're so far ahead what the other Vegas apps are doing and I can't wait to share them.

I hope you like the updated Vegas-y goodness and the next time you come home from a trip, maybe spend a few minutes to share your thoughts with the community. Not only are your reviews visible on the Web but also for the many thousands of users of Vegas Mate on the iPhone or iPad. (and this blog) continues to be supported through advertising and affiliate revenue generated by hotel bookings via our travel partner, Expedia. Our prices there should be competitive so the next time you book a trip, consider doing it through that mechanism, assuming you can get the rate and terms you're looking for. That, along with engaging our advertisers, is one of the best ways to 'help out' your favorite independent travel sites be it RV, VT or XYZ.

So go on, check out the site... and leave a few reviews. It only takes a few minutes (assuming nothing breaks).

If you're using Vegas Mate, there will be a content update for users of v2.7.1 in the morning that should show up in the app. It matches some of the changes I made here on the site today.

For those that are interested in the technical details, I've written a bit about them after the jump.

August 5, 2010

Guess Who's Giving Away Another iPad? Hint: Me.

Posted by Hunter

Yes, it's true... our first iPad contest back in March was a huge success - so much so, it's time to do it again!

You can win one of Apple's shiny new tablets to be your very own, simply by submitting reviews of your favorite hotels, restaurants and activities into our iPhone/iPad app, Vegas Mate, or view the Web site at

The winner will be announced LIVE during the Vegas Podcast-a-palooza on October 30th at The Flamingo.

All the details after the jump.

May 6, 2010

Vegas Mate iPad Contest - Winners Selected!

Posted by Hunter

Happy to announce that we have winners (yes, more than one!) in our first major contest.

The grand prize winner is 'Eric', who won a $500 Apple gift card so that he can pick up an iPad! Eric, check your e-mail to see if you're the Eric I'm talking about.

If Eric doesn't get back to me by 7pm tomorrow night, I'll pick another grand prize winner and update this blog.

Since I got so many great entries, I wanted to have more than one prize. I awarded two second place prizes, $100 Apple gift cards:

* Kara C.
* Eric R.

I've already heard from Eric. For Kara, the same rules apply - 24 hours to get back to me, as stated in the email I sent you earlier today.

I was floored by the quantity and quality of responses to this contest. So much so that I'm working on my next giveaway. This was a lot of fun and generated over 2,000 new reviews in the Vegas Mate database, something that benefits everyone that uses the app. Win-win-win (Wynn?)

Anyway, please stay tuned for info on upcoming contests and a huge thank you to everyone that participated. I truly wish I could give everyone an iPad.

As for Vegas Mate, on the iPhone I'm working hard on version 2.6 which will include photo galleries, some Twitter integration and a few other improvements. On the iPad, I'm working on 1.2, which will include an entirely new landscape mode. It's funny, until I had an actual iPad to use, I didn't realize how little I'd be holding it in portrait, so I need to re-do the UI a bit for the iPad app. Both updates will be free for existing users.

Our iPad giveaway contest is now coming to a close and this Thursday, 7pm PT, we will pick a winner LIVE on UStream.

Here's the URL for the live stream:

NOTE: You don't have to be present to win but the original rule about contact within 24 hours applies. Details in the original post.

If you need a reminder what this contest is all about, there's still time to enter:

Good luck!

I'm starting a contest and giving away an Apple iPad as the prize!

It's very simple - in about 45 days, I will look at all the ratings and reviews submitted to and/or via Vegas Mate since today and one random selection will win the prize.

The more reviews you submit, the more chances you have to win. It's that simple.

Have some opinions after your last trip? Share 'em - win a prize...

Full details after the jump.

NOTE: This contest is now closed.

February 1, 2010

Open Topic Discussion - February 1st, 2010

Posted by Hunter

You know the drill - discuss whatever you desire. Welcome to February.

Is MGM Mirage gearing up to exit Atlantic City? Will they sell their Borgata share and if so, to whom?

January 14, 2010

Strip Walk - January 2010 - CityCenter Mega Edition

Posted by Hunter

Our own mike_ch is back with a 'mega' Strip Walk, including his first time at CityCenter.

As regular readers know, Mike is never short of opinions - you'll get his full take on the new MGM Mirage development as well as a boatload of photos.

This is a good one - you don't want to miss it. Enjoy.

Complete gallery:

December 12, 2009

Vegas Gang #41 - December 11th, 2009

Posted by Hunter

This time on the show:

* Dr. Dave Tours CityCenter
* Hunter Stays at Vdara
* Jeff Explains How Harrah's Can Buy P-Ho
* Fontainebleau Drama Continues

Here's an open topic thread for y'all - feel free to discuss today's opening of The Crystals, Mandarin Oriental tomorrow or anything at all.

On a program note, Steve Friess will be airing his nearly two hour interview with Steve Wynn this Saturday from 4pm - 6pm. You can listen live at I'll be in the studio with Steve and Miles, generally just being a nuisance and making dumb comments. Come hang out in the chat and listen to the interview. I haven't heard it but Steve tells me there's lots of good stuff!

Update: Due to circumstances beyond our control, the interview today will be Jim Murren of MGM Mirage, not Steve Wynn. Apologies but please come join anyway!

December 2, 2009

We're Nominated! VT Trippies 2009 - Voting Is Open

Posted by Hunter

As the 2008 recipient of the 'Best Blog' award, I'm honored to be nominated again. I think that award really went to the wonderful community that I'm fortunate enough to be a part of - the comments are a huge part of what makes this site special and I can't tell you how much I appreciate every one of you.

This time, we're up in a few categories:

* Best Website (
* Best Podcast (Vegas Gang)
* Best Blog (Two Way Hard Three)
* Best Twitterer (@hunter)

It's a cliche to say so but I honestly am very honored to be nominated - these selections came from the public which feels great. There are incredible choices in all of the above categories - it's always fun to be part of the Trippies.

Anyway, to vote, head over here:

Mike's back with another Strip Walk and this time it's all MGM, all the time.

Here's the complete photo gallery:

Read on for more...

January 3, 2009

Two Way Hard Three a Winner in 2008 Trippies

Posted by Hunter

Tonight, on the live Web cast, I was very surprised to learn that this blog was a winner in the 2008 Trippies for 'Best Vegas Blog'.

The competition was very stiff - these are all names you know and you probably read all of them (you should). I've been lucky enough to meet a few and call them friends - they all publish on a regular basis and give a lot to their readers.

* Die is Cast
* The Movable Buffet
* Stiffs & Georges
* Vegas Happens Here
* Vegas Links
* Vegas Rex

A big thank you to all of our readers, commenters and co-authors. This blog is all about community - this award belongs to everyone. Thanks!

December 31, 2008

2008: Thank You All For Everything

Posted by Hunter

On Monday night we had a little informal get-together - blog readers that were in town to see Encore debut. It was great - the conversation, the common interests and sense of community.

I wanted to say thank you to everyone that helped make 2008 the blog's most successful year yet - more posts and more comments. This wasn't the easiest year for me personally but I always have a good time doing this.

I hope that everyone out there has a great holiday.

Get ready for 2009. We'll have more on Encore as it develops, continue to follow the economy and City Center debuts, which I assume will be the year's biggest story.

Update: Just bumping this since it is New Years Eve and it seems like a fitting way to end the year. Thanks guys.

December 18, 2008

Encore Weekend: Meetup Info and Coverage Reminder

Posted by Hunter

Friends... Encore's opening is upon us. In case you missed the announcement, we'll be covering all manner of opening details at as we partner with to bring you great coverage.

You can follow our Twitter and Flickr streams there directly. If you want to get involved, you can tweet to @ratevegas or @vegastripping to ask questions, leave comments, etc...

Also, several other readers who mentioned they'd be in town talked about perhaps getting together for a drink at some point... Several ideas were thrown around but if it works for others, I'd suggest 6:30pm on the 22nd at Parasol Up (Wynn Las Vegas). This would allow a little time for conversation before the public unveiling of Encore at 8pm. Everyone is welcome.

December 17, 2008

Two Way Hard Three Redesigns

Posted by Hunter

Long promised, a new design for the blog is finally here.

It was done by my design partner, David Holtz.

Hopefully more readable, larger, better designed for big monitors and prettier. I hope you like it - I was very very sick of the old design.

The main site will be getting similar treatment in the new year.

Please let me know about any problems you find in the comments. Much appreciated...

Oh, don't tell me you hate it. I'm not in the mood. :-)

November 30, 2008

Trippies 2008 - Vote Now! - Last Chance

Posted by Hunter

Voting in the annual 'Trippies' award contest wraps up tomorrow at 7:11pm PT. This blog is nominated, as is the Vegas Gang Podcast and quite a few other great Vegas blogs, podcasts and fun hotel categories.

November 13, 2008

Tweeting Las Vegas

Posted by Hunter

Over the past few months, many of the established Vegas voices you'll find on your favorite blogs have started to also communicate on Twitter - the popular 'micro-blogging' service. Messages on Twitter are limited to 140 characters, hence the 'micro' part and can be viewed on the Web, through desktop and iPhone software like Iconfactory's Twitterrific, or on your cell phone via SMS messaging.

The system is based on the concept of 'followers' - you sign up to receive someone's updates into your stream of new messages, though the messages are (typically) not private - they are shared for the world to see. This fosters a back and forth on interesting postings - a conversation of sorts.

Twitter has become a popular way for people to share information of current events, ask questions or just to share part of their day. We'll be using Twitter to help spread the details during Encore's opening in December. MGM Mirage has even started using Twitter to share info with customers.

If you decide to jump into to Twitter-land, here are some Vegas names you might want to follow:

* RateVegas (blog headlines, breaking news)
* Hunter (my personal feed, not just Vegas related stuff)
* VegasTripping (Chuckmonster's VT feed)
* TheStripPodcast (Steve Friess from
* FiveHundy (Tim from Five Hundy By Midnight)
* MGMGrand (MGM Grand Info)
* LuxorLV (Luxor Info)
* VegasConcierge (MGM Mirage hotel information)
* VegasCom (
* LasVegasWeekly (Las Vegas Weekly)
* ThisAintIowa (This Ain't Iowa Podcast)
* ReviewJournal (Las Vegas Review Journal Headlines)
* LasVegasSign (Casino News)
* CirqueLasVegas (Cirque Info)
* VegasRex (Vegas Rex)
* LasVegasSun (Las Vegas Sun)

Several of the regular readers and commenters are also active on Twitter. I'll leave it to them to post their Twitter names if they are so inclined in the comments.

I've been dropping hints for a few weeks and we can finally announce the event! The "Vegas Podcast-a-palooza" will be taking place on August 16th at the Palms in Las Vegas.

What is this event you might ask?

Live versions of Five Hundy By Midnight, The Strip Podcast and The Vegas Gang!

All the details are here:

I also need to give a big round of applause to Steve Friess for help with getting things setup, The Palms for hosting the event and taking a chance on a new idea, and to Chuck at for designing the fantastic info page.

Please, check out the page above and consider coming to the show - we really want a strong, lively audience there at The Palms.

June 13, 2008

MGM Mirage Using Social Nets Twitter and Facebook

Posted by Hunter

Well, it was just a matter of when and who - Las Vegas casino operators using social networking technologies to promote their wares.

Actually, some of their affiliates, such as the Light Group, have been using these tools for some time... but now the big kahuna, MGM Mirage, is getting into the act through a new site called the Vegas Concierge.

The new Web presence uses Facebook and Twitter to push short bursts of info to users. I expect every other operator to follow at some point.

For those not already aware, we have a Twitter account for this site and I also have one of my own.

April 1, 2008

April Fools Runs Rampant

Posted by Hunter

Just a reminder not to believe basically anything you read today. The Web has a long standing tradition of great April Fool's pranks... We even participated last year with a story that indicated we had been bought by Wynn Resorts.

The funny thing is that sometimes these things sound real enough to get spun into actual news cycles. I had to add a disclaimer on my post which I'm sure says nothing about my perceived bias.

I almost did another prank post this year - I had a few ideas - but they sorta ran out of steam. Fortunately, many of my comrades at other Vegas sites are joining in so there's plenty to go around.

March 8, 2008

Vegas News for iPhone Launched

Posted by Hunter

I've just deployed an early version of a special Las Vegas news headline app for iPhone and iPod Touch users. Mashing up headlines from this blog as well as a bunch of others, visit the following URL on your iPhone or iPod Touch to get up to the minute info:

For those without one of the above mentioned devices, here's a screen shot for you to check out:

January 27, 2008

Audio and Video Podcasting

Posted by Hunter

Back on site in Vegas overnight. Shooting some HD video and recording audio. Having fun.

The Monte Carlo fire is much worse looking in person. Damn.

More later.

January 26, 2008

Blog Software Upgraded

Posted by Hunter

I have upgraded the site software to the latest version, Movable Type 4.1.

This includes a ton of changes under the hood and paves the way for some interesting new features down the line.

This note is just to let you know that if you find something that doesn't work, such as a broken link or login problem, please either comment here or email editor AT ratevegas DOT com and we'll look at it.


January 8, 2008

Open Topic Discussion - 1/8/2008

Posted by Hunter

The first of the new year - an open topic for all to air their thoughts. Enjoy.

January 5, 2008

UPDATED: Trippies Announced Tonight! Live!

Posted by Hunter

Well, I don't know what the results will be but the Trippies, the awards in which we are nominated, are being announced live tonight at 7pm PT.

Check Them Out Here

Updated: Well, we didn't win. Thanks a ton to everyone that voted - I know there were a lot of questions and I really appreciate you taking the time and more generally, just visiting on a regular basis. On best site, VT&T won. I have really mixed feelings. I read that site all the time but from someone that has had his photos taken for that site without attribution, I always get a sort of bad taste in my mouth. Congratulations to everyone that did win - I know first hand how hard it is to keep a site like one of these running.

Updated Again: Well, we did get an editor's choice award - Best Web Site and that was for the iPhone version of Thanks Chuck! We're very proud of the iPhone stuff and I plan to continue to enhance it - I have big plans for new features, likely coming in bits. As far as other phones and PDAs, I'd love to support them. The problem is that most of them have TERRIBLE browsers. As those improve, we'll expand our offerings. We do have a BlackBerry version with some similar info. For those interested, this page covers all of our mobile options.

November 25, 2007

Planet Hollywood / Robert Earl Update

Posted by Hunter

For those following the fun, here's a recap on all the excitement:

The original article by Steve Friess where I was quoted is here.

Then, the first followup was on Steve's blog here, where we had a little commentary.

The latest is the Friess article in the Las Vegas Weekly, which can be read here.

Anyway, lots of fun and I will of course update you as it (if it) unfolds further.

Update: More from Chuck at VegasTripping:

Here we are with a special Thanksgiving-eve 'Strip Walk' segment. This time around, mike_ch checks out the Frontier, Encore, City Center, Luxor, The Mirage and more. Text after the jump...


November 13, 2007

New Frontier Implosion

Posted by Hunter

Okay, that was amazingly cool. If you've never felt the raw power of a building fall, make sure you put the Tropicana Island Tower implosion on your Jan/Feb calendar.

I took a ton of photos. They are here:

That's probably it for now - I'm super tired and it's been a long day. Lastly though, another big thank you to Steve Friess who hooked me up with the pimp media access. Thanks Steve!!!

A quick site update... The new visual design, which hasn't been worked on for a few months, is still gestating and will come with a software upgrade to Movable Type 4, sometime soon I hope.

Second, I'm hoping/planning to get back into doing some more writing myself. I used to do a 'Stripping' series of hotel reviews and despite the fact that I was way too picky for a lot of folks, I think it may be time to do another round. The Strip has changed a good bit and I'd love to exercise my pen a bit more. Besides me, I'm *always* looking for writers - guest writers, series writers, regular columns, whatever. Interested?

Lastly, I have thousands of Las Vegas photos. I have plans to expand on my 'photo quiz' concept but other than that, any suggestions from anyone as to what I could do with all these photos? I have this feeling they are under-used but I'm not sure what to do. Any thoughts?

Well, the annual awards, The Trippies, are here again and voting is open. This year, my projects were nominated in several categories: - Best Vegas Web Site

Two Way Hard Three (this blog) - Best Vegas Blog

Worst Las Vegas Podcast - Best Podcast

I want everyone to go and vote (and hopefully for us). I know that Five Hundy's probably got the podcast thing sewn up and there's strong competition for the best site. I think you guys can put this blog over the top for that award though - go for it!!


October 25, 2007

RateVegas for iPhone Featured on

Posted by Hunter

Well, I never thought I would ever have any content that would grace the pages of but it turns out I was wrong...

Our iPhone version of our ratings and comment database, RateVegas for iPhone is featured in Apple's Web apps directory for travel:

If you have an iPhone and are traveling to Las Vegas, give our tool a try - it's really easy to use it to find out what restaurants are near your hotel that don't suck.

October 13, 2007

RateVegas for iPhone Updated With New Features

Posted by Hunter

Howdy all, just a friendly note to let you know that I have updated the iPhone version of to include a new feature that I hope will be useful.

When visiting Las Vegas, I find that often people want to know what restaurants are nearby (not just in) the hotel they are currently hanging out in. Well, we added a new feature to handle exactly this - the system asks where you are and gives the top rated restaurants in all nearby hotels - pretty neat!

Thanks to Mike for another installment of 'Strip Walk', or semi-regular feature that focuses on Las Vegas Strip construction progress.

Lots of great new info here and of course, we've got photos:

Some quick notes on what's in the paper's today...

The RJ has an article on Aliante Station which is being built in North Las Vegas by the soon-to-be-private Station Casinos, Inc. North Las Vegas is a bit of a future growth market for them but this is set to be another nicely put together project, even if it is very 'Station-esque'.

Inside Gaming has an interesting note on 'Macau' vs 'Macao', which the eagle eyed will have noticed are both used by US operators in Macau (Wynn Resorts likes 'Macau', Las Vegas Sands uses 'Macao' - sounds like the LVS folks are clinging to the past).

I'm still looking for some sort of concrete occupancy numbers for The Venetian Macau - anyone seen anything published other than 'things are going well'? If so, post links in the comments.

Lastly, has been following up on the trip blog with great posts daily. Its quickly becoming my fave stop for Macau info and getting me excited for a trip myself. I did go out and grab and there's no way I could get all the info I need without heading over there myself. We'll see I guess.

Well, that was a great conversation... We had an in-depth talk with Chuck from who just recently has gotten back from Macau.

We went over everything from specific hotel talk on topics like Wynn Macau, Venetian Macau, Galaxy Starworld, MGM Grand Macau, Casino Lisboa and more. We also talked about the business - folks like Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, SJM, Melco and others.

Cotai, gaming industry topics, casino design and more. It was a great discussion and I'm hoping we can do another segment soon.

September 16, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #17 - September 15th, 2007

Posted by Hunter

Our second time using and it was a lot of fun. Regular readers like Detroit1051, Mike E, Brian Fey, mike_ch and BarbaryKevin were all in on the action.

We covered a broad range of issues, from Cotai, Harrah's, Wynn Resorts, Las Vegas Sands, Palazzo, Encore, IGT and a lot more.

During the show we talked about Chuck's Macau diary. That link is here:

September 16, 2007

Call-In Podcast: This SUNDAY 7pm PT

Posted by Hunter

Okay, our next live podcast will be on this coming Sunday, the 16th at 7pm PT / 10pm ET.

We will be doing the show live with audience participation encouraged. We did this last time and it was fun... Using a system call TalkShoe, listeners can call in and be on the 'air', just like a radio talk show.

All the details to get on will be posted here on Sunday before the show.

It's gonna be fun - there's always lots going on in Las Vegas. I'll talk about my recent one day trip and I have a special report from a friend who experienced 'VMA Weekend' first hand.

Show Completed: We had a great time with a lively discussion on a bunch of topics. The show will be posted soon. Stay tuned for the next one, probably on another Sunday evening.

September 13, 2007

StripWalk: September 2007

Posted by Hunter

Here's the latest Strip Walk, this time hitting Wynn Las Vegas, Trump Las Vegas, New Frontier, Palazzo, Treasure Island, New York New York, Excalibur, Luxor and more...

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump... Take it away Mike!

Thanks for Chuck at for pointing out that two popular Vegas sites have been re-designed.

The Las Vegas Advisor is the sorta-ghetto looking Web site from the sorta-ghetto LVA. Tailor made for the Travel Channel, the content is pretty predictable but a a solid resource for first-timers if you don't mind getting the company line from your reviewers.

Next up is, a great blog/site full of cutting edge commentary. This is a great site if you're not familiar.

Now, Chuck finishes his article by talking about his VegasTripping re-design... Chuck's got the design skills so I'm sure it will be a nice upgrade - he's got a good track record.

As far as my sites, I have a new design for this blog (not the parent site) that has been done for some time, though it is still not implemented. I'll get to that hopefully sooner rather than later. Beyond that, I sketched an updated photo quiz design, though that is a ways off. I have plans for at least one other site/application that I'm really excited about. Not sure when that will see the light of day.

September 7, 2007

VegasTripping Goes to Macau And Trippies 2007!

Posted by Hunter

My good friend Chuck at is heading to Macau next week. Despite being very jealous, I'm happy to send you guys over to his site to get the regular updates he'll be posting - I know that I'm looking forward to some very thorough reporting from the field, HST style.

If you want to follow the mayhem as it unfolds, here's the best link for the action:

Second up, their annual 'Best Of' list, the Trippies, are now open for nominations. Feel free to nominate us - the parent Web site,, this blog and even our podcast, which we're bringing back into a more regular schedule with live call-in shows (next Sunday the 16th!).

September 2, 2007

Strip Walk: August 2007

Posted by Hunter

We're back with another Strip Walk! This was written almost a week ago and this time around you'll get Mike's comments but a few of my own sprinkled in - I was in Vegas for one night last week and took some of my own photos as well.

As always, the photos are here:

Commentary after the jump...

July 27, 2007

The SkyLOFTS Party: July 22-24, 2007

Posted by Mike E

Shortly after my solo trip last March, my friend Jeff and I started talking about what we could do to celebrate his graduation. We decided to go to Vegas (no surprise there) around his birthday to kill two birds with one stone...

(Continue reading after the jump)

July 6, 2007

Weekly Open Topic-July 6

Posted by Mike E

We're a little early in our post of a new weekly open topic, but for good reason: today is Hunter's birthday!

I personally wanted to say how much we appreciate all the hard work you've done both here and on, Hunter. Cheers to another great year!

I'm taking a suggestion from my friend and reader David F. to have an open thread once a week where people can discuss whatever they like without running afoul of posting guidelines, re: staying on topic. If this is successful, we'll do this weekly and of course it would be accompanied by more strict 'on-topic' discussion enforcement on other threads.

The normal posting guidelines apply - civility is not something that we opt out of on any thread and I want to take a harder line on general negativity. I'm not the thought police but I'm trying to prevent all threads devolving into predictable positions, especially on topics related to everyone's favorite four letter word (listed on NASDAQ, of course).

So - enjoy... Discuss anything Vegas related in this trial balloon and we'll see how it goes.

April 8, 2007

Want Your Own Vegas Blog? Drop Me a Line...

Posted by Hunter

Are you a Las Vegas resident or in some way connected with the industry? Are you interested in blogging but don't know how or want to deal with getting everything setup and running?

Well, this is an open call to potential Vegas bloggers - come join me and I will get you setup with a blog, all the requisite mechanics and lend my experience in getting going.

I'd love some more voices, so please drop me a line if you're interested - even if you need to run your blog anonymously.

Contact me and let's talk about the details:

April 6, 2007

UPDATED: Podcast Live on TalkShoe

Posted by Hunter

Ok, I'm trying something new - we're going to try a live broadcast of our podcast.

I'm recording a podcast tonight and while we will have all the regular recordings available, I am taking a queue from the podcasting king Leo Laporte and broadcasting this episode LIVE via This means you can call in and listen to the show and participate live (i.e. ask questions).

Since I gave zero notice, I'm guessing that no one will show up but I wanted to try this anyway and we'll probably do this again with more warning. I'd love to take callers.

So, here's how to get in:

Visit and locate our show - it should show up if you search for 'Las Vegas' or 'RateVegas'. I'll update this story if I can get a specific URL or instructions. Okay - starting soon. Let's see what we can do.

Ok, I am aborting the live broadcast - I need more time to get this setup... We're going to record a traditional podcast and next time around we will schedule a live show with call-in. Sorry guys.

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Anyone that runs a Web site tracks all of their statistics such as how many people visited, where did they come from, how long did they stay and what did they look at. We have quite a few more metrics and the amount of data is amazing - except of course I can't really identify the individual (no cause for alarm) - I just see User A, User B, User C, etc...

Anyway, in the spirit of Google's Zeitgeist, here are some of the most popular search terms that lead people to from major search engines since the start of the year. Some are interesting, some funny.

The list after the jump...

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Well, the rumors are true. I've wanted to share this for some time but the terms of the deal were confidential.

While the formal release won't go out until tomorrow, without disclosing the terms I can say that I am now a Wynn Resorts employee and the company will continue to run the site as one of their various PR outlets. Working with the Wynn mergers folks these past weeks I can say that they and Wynn upper management certainly do understand guerrilla style marketing and I'm very excited about my new role.

I'm going to be able to hire on some of my regular contributors and commenters: Mike E., Detroit, Brian, mike_ch and Leonard - you've got mail! I hope you'll join the team.

Thank you to everyone that's reading! Some great things are planned!



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Drambuie_Man is heading to Macau and has offered to take questions in advance for those of us that haven't been or can't get to the other side of the world on a regular basis. I'm lucky to have several folks in the area that have been very generous with their time and this is another example of that.

His comments are after the jump and feel free to litter the comments with requests. Also, if you are in Macau or nearby and want to hang out, email me at and I'll make mutual contact.

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March 4, 2007

Weblog Posting Guidelines (Revised 3/4/2007)

Posted by Hunter

These are the guidelines for comment posting for this site, last updated 3/4/2007. Comments that violate these guidelines will be removed or edited for content without any exceptions. You will not be notified but you can ask to have an edited comment removed entirely if you desire. By submitting a comment, you agree to follow these rules. Thanks for participating!

Any questions should be directed to

* No personal insults or attacks. You are free to disagree with others, but if you stoop to personal abuse or attacks, your post(s) will be deleted. This includes calling someone names. Repeated violations will result in being banned. If you ARE insulted please report the post to me, but DO NOT retaliate.

* Please try to stay on topic. Do not post in a thread if it does not relate to the original topic. If you have a suggestion for a story, send it to

* Do not post entire articles in a post - it's a copyright violation. Fair use allows you to post the first paragraph of the article with a link to the whole thing.

* Calling someone a Troll is considered a personal attack and is not allowed. This kind of thing should be reported to me instead.

(Thanks to for inspiring these guidelines.)

March 2, 2007

Blog Comment Guidelines: Help Me Write Them

Posted by Hunter

In an effort to ensure that this remains a fun place to hang out and discuss the gaming industry, casino design and other interesting topics, I've decided to implement a set of comment guidelines.

All comments will be required to adhere to these guidelines or they will be removed/edited.

I'd like your feedback on what these guidelines should be like - how can we maintain civility without restricting the flow of conversation?

Continue after the jump...

Here's the latest podcast and it's a good one. This episode features an interview with Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight as well as spots on Las Vegas Sands and the new Tropicana.

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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February 11, 2007

La Dolce Life: The Finer Things in Life

Posted by Hunter

My good friend Mike E. has started up his own blog... No, it's not Vegas related - it covers life's luxuries and it is called La Dolce Life.

Actually, there will likely be some overlap but Mike as assured me we'll still continue to get his trips to Fairway Villas, ten bedroom Skylofts and other amazing reports. I wouldn't be surprised to hear about a trip on Wynn's jet to Macau - you never know.

Anyway, I encourage all to check it out. It's located here:

I was listening to a caller on Five Hundy By Midnight talking about 'hitting the buffet' and it got me to thinking that my travel habits for my Vegas trips sure have changed over the years. For those of us that go often, sometimes upwards of ten times a year, I can only assume I'm not alone in this.

Continue after the jump...

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January 21, 2007

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #12 - Finally, Another Podcast

Posted by Hunter

I'm finally back with another podcast. Sorry - it's been busy. This one's only about 40 minutes long so you should have plenty of time to listen.

In this episode I talk about the the Trippies, Wynn labor dispute, City Center progress, Wynn's golf course, and more. Hopefully the next podcast won't be another month away!

The link to the Las Vegas Photo Quiz is here: - Enjoy!

Update: Our good friends at have posted a little shout out to our shout out to their awards in which they gave us a shout out. Awesome.

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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January 20, 2007

Play The Strip Photo Quiz!

Posted by Hunter

We've just launched the Las Vegas Strip Photo Quiz. You can reach the quiz here:

It is a simple but fun photo matching game that you can use to test your knowledge of Las Vegas Strip architecture and geography. The highest scorers will be displayed on a special page.

Over time we will be swapping the photos out, so this will remain fresh.

This thing was put together very quickly but I think it's a lot of fun and I hope you enjoy it. Don't worry if you have a hard time with some of them - it is supposed to be a challenge!

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Well, the long running 'Trippies' over at are over and the winners are announced.

I am happy to report that this blog was the winner for the 'Editor's Choice' for 'Best Blog'. We didn't win the people's award but at least it's someone I know - Steve over at

Click here to see all the winners and thanks to all that voted:
Trippies 2006 Results

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December 19, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast #11 - December 19th, 2006

Posted by Hunter

I'm finally back with another podcast! This time around I'm talking about my recent trip to Bellagio (which includes meeting up with several readers/listeners and author Dave Schwartz) as well as the big news of the day - Harrah's going private! On top of that I catch up with a few news stories from the last two weeks. Enjoy!!

Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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December 9, 2006

Where's The Next Podcast??

Posted by Hunter

I know that I haven't posted a new podcast for over a week. I apologize for that... Things have been quite hectic over here and I just haven't had a chance.

I'm hoping I can get one in the can this weekend but it might be mid-week. Lots to talk about though, so that shouldn't be a problem.

Also, I'm back in Las Vegas next weekend which should also generate a good bit of content. Thanks for being patient!

November 26, 2006 Chat: December 3rd or 4th?

Posted by Hunter

I want to schedule our next chat and so I am looking at next Monday or Tuesday, the 3rd or 4th.

We'll probably do what we did last time and that means try to get started at 5pm PT. I know that some folks have scheduling problems so respond to this thread and we'll try to find a common time.

Lastly, I want to help resolve anyone's performance/connection problems ahead of the chat so if you did have connection problems last time, mention it here in the thread and we'll talk about how to test/resolve ahead of time.

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This podcast includes some audio clips from my recent trip to Las Vegas. I talk about construction on Encore, CityCenter, Palazzo, Aladdin and more. Also, some special guests including Tim and Michelle from Five Hundy By Midnight and loyal contributor Mike E. We listen to a few messages from listeners (thanks for the theme song!) and even find some time to talk Vegas news.

Here is the link to the photos mentioned in the podcast:

A reminder - feel free to call in and leave us a message about anything Las Vegas or Web site related. The call in number is: 702-508-4232.

Direct RSS:

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I hope that all Americans are having a great turkey day today - Happy Thanksgiving!

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank everyone here - your participation is what makes this community work. I am very grateful for you all. Thanks.

I also want to remind you guys about a few features on the Web site that you might not be aware of. Keep reading after the jump for more info...

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I spent some time in Las Vegas this weekend (actually, a little more time than I had planned) and I wanted to report on my trip.

First off, I have posted construction photos of Encore, City Center, Bellagio renovations, Aladdin/Planet Hollywood, The Mirage (Japonais and Revolution), The Palazzo, and the pit that will become the Cosmopolitan.

I got to meet with a few readers/listeners, fellow podcasters and friends. I had a short chat with Elaine Wynn who is a real class act.

The photos are posted at this link, plus they are also in their respective categories:

More after the jump...

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November 17, 2006

Interview On 'This Ain't Iowa Podcast'

Posted by Hunter

A heads up that I was interviewed in the latest edition of the 'This Ain't Iowa' podcast, located at:

Go ahead and check it out!

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November 14, 2006

HotelChatter Launches Vegas Map With Contest

Posted by Hunter

Our friends over at are launching a new Vegas map based on Google's Map system and to get the word out they are hosting a contest for tickets to the HBO Comedy Festival, this weekend in Las Vegas.

If you are going to be there this weekend, it might be worth entering this contest.

Details are here:

In this latest edition of the podcast, we cover a lot of ground, literally!

First up, here's a warning - this podcast is AN HOUR long. Sorry it is so long but there's a lot in here and I looked at cutting something but I decided that I simply didn't want to and thus here we are.

The notes are after the jump. As always, recent photos are here:

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Some of you may know Dave Schwartz over at UNLV and also know that his latest book, 'Roll The Bones', a fascinating history of gambling, was recently released.

I've been plowing through it and plan a review soon. In the meantime, he's running a contest for readers to win a copy of his last book, 'Cutting The Wire'. The rules and regs are located here:

The basic idea is that you read his latest and write an Amazon or Barnes and Noble review and then you've got a good chance of getting a signed copy of the last book, 'Cutting The Wire'.

Also, if you mention that we sent you, this Web site could get a special write up from Dave, which would be neat but honestly, you should read 'Roll The Bones' anyway - so far it's a great read and very easy to digest.

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My friend Matt had called me about two weeks ago asking what my plans were on Halloween night. Matt�s one of the coolest people I know. He works at Wynn and we naturally hit it off because I loved picking his brain about the hotel business, the nitty-gritty of the hotels he�s worked in, etc. Good stuff.

As it has always been throughout my teenage years and into adult-hood, I was expecting a mighty fun Halloween filled with studying, sleep, and downright depression thinking I was the only one at home without an invitation to a party. Well, maybe the invitation Matt gave me was make-up for those years and years of crappy Halloweens. His plans: costume party in NTS Limo�s �Goliath� (the largest limo in Vegas) that would later spill into a two-bedroom, 3200 square foot Skyloft. Booze, girls, the works...

(more after the jump)

October 30, 2006

We're Nominated For The Trippies!

Posted by Hunter

This blog, the parent site and even the podcast have all been nominated in the Trippie awards.

Ok, so I can't imagine winning in the podcast category. The Web site winning is also probably a bit of a stretch but possible... But seriously, this blog had better win. :-)

To do that, I need your help!

You can only vote once and no point in trying to cheat, it won't help us and it will probably make Chuck over there mad. Follow the rules and vote your ballots correctly and let the best bits and bytes win.

Trippies 2006 - The Best and Worst of Las Vegas

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October 24, 2006

New Site Search Engine

Posted by Hunter

I am experimenting with a new search engine technology on the site based on a new product from Google.

Basically, we are using Google's searching tech to work on this site (and the parent site).

The search box is in the sidebar on the right. Check it out!

October 23, 2006

Support Las Vegas Podcasting and Win a Trip

Posted by Hunter

All, you are probably aware of The Strip Podcast, one of the more popular Las Vegas podcasts out there.

Well, their sponsor, Southwest Vacations, is giving away a trip to Las Vegas and I want to encourage you to think about signing up to win. Why you ask? Well, this is sort of a trial balloon for Southwest and other advertisers like them.

We want advertising in podcasts to succeed. I want to see more of it. It means better content if people can get paid to do it.

So, if you're interested in winning a free trip, go check it out...

The Strip Podcast - Win a Trip on Southwest Vacations

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October 19, 2006

Blog Chat - Let's Schedule Something

Posted by Hunter

I'd like to schedule another group chat. The last one was fun but a lot of the blog regulars couldn't make it.

I'd like to find a time that works for a majority of folks. I know people's schedules are tough and we're spread across multiple time-zones.

Ideally, we'd find a day sometime from this Sunday on through the week. I think I can do pretty much any day personally... I'd love to get some more of the regulars involved this time and welcome back anyone that was on last time.

So, if you can, please respond with what works for you in the next week or so and we'll try to set something up.

Thanks all!

Update: We are having the chat today (Sunday) at 6pm PT/9pm ET.

Yes, that's two podcasts in a week... I have posted the fourth RateVegas podcast and this episode has an international bent.

I discuss the basics of Macau along with the info about Wynn Macau opening in early September. I also talk about Harrah's pulling out of competition for the second casino site in Singapore as well as our potential nomination for a "Trippie" award.

On top of all of that, we now have a listener line where you guys can call in to get a message read on the air. The number is: 702-508-4232. Go ahead and call us anytime, from the field in Las Vegas or otherwise.

To listen to the podcast, we have a few options:

Direct RSS:

Click on after the jump to listen to the podcast right here on the Web site.

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Ok, the nominations for's annual 'Trippies' awards closing very soon. If you feel so inclined, please head on over there and nominate this blog in their 'Best Blog' category.

Ok, up next, VegasTripping itself is up for a PixelAward, along with sites like (which in my opinion ain't such a great Web site). VegasTripping could use your help - it's a great site and deserves the votes:

Ok, that's it. I'm thinking about what's going to go into my next podcast... Good times.

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September 29, 2006

Worst Las Vegas Podcast: Episode 2

Posted by Hunter

I posted the second episode of the "Worst Las Vegas Podcast". Yes, it's two podcasts in a week. That's the way this thing is gonna be... Anyway, in this episode I talk about the Playboy Club at the Palms, a special talk with my friend Kevin on the Barbary Coast, and finally, a re-cap on my Bellagio tour from June.

I hope you enjoy, it's getting cheesier each time.

To listen, put the podcast feed into iTunes (copy and paste this into the podcast option in the Advanced menu):

Podcast Page:

BTW, Kevin's Web site is:

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September 28, 2006

RateVegas Podcast

Posted by Hunter

I recorded and posted a podcast yesterday. It's available via RSS here:

Just point iTunes at that URL and you should get it, plus I submitted it to iTunes so when they review it, it will show in their directory as well.

I don't plan on podcasting on a regular basis but I do have to admit, it was fun. I doubt I'll take the time to do all the professional show stuff like a great intro, bumper music, etc... I just sat down in my little recording studio I have for my guitar and I scratched it out.

The episode talks about Harrah's plans for Las Vegas, Wynn in Atlantic City as well as the recent chat. Future podcasts will focus on stories that we report on the Web site as well as some conversations with other people about some of those topics.

I'll likely build a special page on the site that shows the podcast episodes but for now the only way to get it is via the RSS link above.


September 26, 2006

RateVegas Chat Transcript

Posted by Hunter

We had our first scheduled RateVegas chat and I think it went well. It was a small group but a fun discussion.

We'll do this again.

The transcript is here:

September 21, 2006

Happy Birthday Mike!

Posted by Hunter

I don't usually do personal announcements here but I wanted to give birthday shout-outs to regular contributor Mike E.

Mike has become a good friend over the last year and I can't thank him enough for letting me see his Fairway Villa at Wynn Las Vegas last year.

Have a great one, Mike!

September 19, 2006

Scheduling a Chat... And a Meet?

Posted by Hunter

We have the shiny chat room and readers have been doing ad-hoc chats since it opened. We've actually had some great discussions in there already... Still, I want to setup a real chat event so we can get even more of the regulars in there. I'm thinking a weekday evening. I am in the Pacific time zone but I know we have people spread all over the world. What works best for you guys? Leave info in the comments and we'll try to figure something out.

Beyond that, I've been toying with the idea of organizing a meet and taking it to the next step. By that I mean an actual event (probably a catered dinner in a ballroom or hospitality suite depending on number of people) that has a real 'speaker' of sorts. I'm thinking maybe an informal Q&A with a Vegas person - somebody that works for one of these places and somebody good. Not sure who we can get but I am confident we could get *someone* and that it would be a great time. I'd also love to invite some of the Vegas regulars that we cite often (i.e. Steve Friess and Miles from 'The Strip' podcast as well as some others) to join us as well.

Anyway, I want to gauge interest in this concept. Ideally, we (I guess me) would be able to pick up the cost for the event itself so your expenses would just be whatever your standard trip costs are. I don't want people not to be able to come because the actual event cost turns them off plus I've been trying to think of a way to say 'thanks' to you guys for some time.

Anyway, please comment - I'm very curious if there is interest in either idea.

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September 14, 2006

RateVegas for Your Cell Phone or Smartphone: PocketVegas

Posted by Hunter

I have had a mobile version of RateVegas for years, though it was never a major focus of development.

With this new version of the Web site, we again have special pages that are dedicated to cell phone and smartphone users - they are optimized for smaller screens.

I plan to add some new features to PocketVegas in the near future, including an email lookup service for folks that are 'on the ground' and need some info about where to eat dinner!

I'm interested in hearing any suggestions that anyone may have about other mobile features that would be useful. There are a lot of limitations on what is possible with these things but I'd love to hear your input!

To see the current site:

Today we are happy to announce the re-launching of, our parent site that features user generated reviews and ratings of Las Vegas casinos.

The site is, as always, at: though until things are all settled, the browser will be doing a bit of forwarding and you might see other URLs in the menu bar.

It is possible that some folks might not see it right away. Due to the geographically diverse nature of the Internet, some updates to the Internet naming system, DNS, can take longer for some than others.

Thanks to the users that provided feedback during our beta phase - we made a lot of improvements based on your useful comments.

In short, the new site features an all new-design with a focus on simplicity. We've made it easier to send in ratings and reviews as well as reader questions for our 'Ask the Experts' area. Submitting reviews, comments and questions no longer requires an account! We still approve all comments before the go live to make sure they are legitimate but we hope that removing the registration requirement will make it easier to add your thoughts.

Don't worry, all of the great ratings, reviews and reader questions have been moved over to the new site.

Keep reading after the jump for more info on the new site as well as some technical info for those interested.

August 24, 2006

RateVegas Chat

Posted by Hunter

Trying out a new chat service right now.

If you're online, join in:

We'll probably put in a permanent chat room in the future.

My photos are now online. I updated all the various categories but if you just want to see the new photos, use this URL:

There are a load of pictures of the Palazzo model they have up at The Venetian. There's no note at all about what the thing is but everyone that walks by checks it out.

I did get a couple of requests and I tried to fill them. I did peek around the barrier and take Social House photos (not open yet) but they DID NOT come out so I am not posting them. Social House looks kinda neat on the inside, as does Japonais at The Mirage.

Keep reading after the jump for more...

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August 3, 2006

Las Vegas Podcast Spawns Podcasting Business

Posted by Hunter

This is a little bit outside the normal realm of Las Vegas news but Scott is a friend and I personally find this stuff interesting, so here goes:

PodWorx LLC is a new Las Vegas based company that specializes in helping businesses get their podcasting game on. The company is run by Scott Whitney, one half of the team that produces the entertaining Living in Las Vegas podcast.

So, if you're looking to expand your marketing reach with podcasting (and if you're not, you should consider it - huge potential in the podcasting stuff), take a look at the Web site and maybe give Scott a call... He's a nice guy, that I can vouch for.

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July 9, 2006

Two Way Hard Three Comment Feed Available

Posted by Hunter

Well, we've had a 'standard' RSS feed available for quite some time. We are now offering a comment feed for those folks that really want to keep up to date with everything happening on the blow.

The URL for the the comment feed is:

For those not familiar with RSS feeds, they allow you to be notified when the Web sites changes with new entries, and now comments. You can use them to add content from our Web site to sites like 'MyYahoo', 'MSN' and 'AOL'.

The main feed is linked on the right, but just in case, this is the URL:

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So, I'm in Vegas checking out what is new and different and instead of just writing a simple note I decided to record audio as I walked through the properties... So, I guess this is the first Two Way Hard Three 'podcast'. I don't plan on podcasting on any kind of regular basis, this is a convenience thing. It's not short at over 30 minutes.

Anyway, if you don't like to hear people complaining about stuff, this isn't the podcast for you. I listened back and a lot of it is negative - I like talking about how people are screwing up... You have been warned.

NOTE: I recorded this late, late Friday night. I just listened to it again (and edited a bit). It's a little crazy sounding at times, very stream of consciousness. I also sound a little tipsy (never!). Hopefully I won't scare anyone off... Enjoy. I am off to a top secret meeting. Will report back when I have something to report.

Our podcasts are available via the podcast RSS feed:

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It looks like one of my favorite Vegas Web sites,, has rolled out a new version - and this isn't just a face lift!

Along with all the irreverent Vegas content they've been sporting since their original launch, the new version allows hotel ratings, personal profiles and what looks like a stab at some 'social networking' features, ala Vegas-style.

Of course, I also operate a site devoted to Las Vegas ratings and reviews... So, what do I think about this new stuff? I think it's great. So far it looks like they've done a good job and if nothing else, the 'competition' will inspire me to finish the long incubating new version of, an upgrade that works to feature the content more prominently and simplify the ratings and review process.

So, congrats to Chuck and everyone else over there - it's great work. Who knows, maybe we can even do a project together sometime.

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March 2, 2006

Michael Tata Charity Golf Tournament

Posted by Hunter

I'm posting this as a favor to Chuck at - he's trying to get the word out.

The family of Michael Tata, the former VP of Hotel at Green Valley Ranch before his untimely death, are organizing a charity golf tournament in his name.

Details are here:

First off, the Sahara. In a LV Sun article, the guys running the joint made it clear that they aren't going anywhere right away. While the place could be bought, they want to sell the hotel and two adjoining parcels in one deal that would reach up to $700MM and so far no one is biting.

We've discussed the Golden Nugget's changes as they've been announced. Here's a good article in the Business Press discussing a few more of the details of their plans - they also drop the little gem that they've looked at potentially buying the Horseshoe. Interesting.

And finally, as you may have seen here, we launched a new site in our family, I'm happy to say that the first 24 hours has been a big success so far - traffic ramped up much more quickly than any site we've ever done before. If you haven't checked it out already, take a look now.

Remember to get your Butler interview questions in by Wednesday!

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February 9, 2006

New Site Launched:

Posted by Hunter

After a whirlwind development period, we're happy to be launching a new site,, in a beta form.

The site makes it easy for users to create lists of anything Las Vegas related. Examples include 'Best Hotels For Under $50' or 'Most Annoying Thing in Vegas'. Users can comment on existing lists and create their own. Signing up takes just 1 second and you'll be making lists in no time. We hope that this will become an interesting place for Las Vegas lovers to share their collective knowledge with everyone!

We hope everyone will check it out, sign up and add some lists today!

Blog Side Note: You may notice the Wynn Las Vegas ad in the upper right. We're now official affiliates for WLV (as we are for MGM MIRAGE properties). What that means is that if you book through that link, you are booking directly with Wynn but we get a small percentage of the total, which we use to keep the site running. So, if you're booking online with Wynn, please use our link - it won't cost you any more than the normal site and it helps us out!

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January 23, 2006

Photos: Macau, Wynn Changes, The Mirage and More!

Posted by Hunter

Howdy folks, back from Las Vegas with a photo update. I'll follow this with a written opinion piece as soon as I can.

Before we get to Vegas though, let's look at Macau. Our man on the scene Chris has written in with some fresh photos of Wynn Macau, The Venetian, Galaxy Starworld, Grand Emperor and more. Thanks again to Chris for keeping us westerners up to date.

The Macau photos are located here, the new ones are on that second page and the third as well. Enjoy.

On the Vegas side of things, the pictures include the updated Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas, Kokomo's, STACK and Fin at The Mirage, and some great shots from MIX at the top of THEHotel. Some of the shots, especially of STACK, didn't come out very well. I included them because unfortunately that was the best I have and I know you guys wanted to see what it looks like.

Generally, some really exciting changes at The Mirage and even Wynn. I'll save the bulk of this for my other post but we did eat at STACK and loved it, plus we spent an evening at Tryst, Wynn's re-born nightclub, formerly known as La Bete. The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time. Anyway, more on that when I write my report. For now, enjoy the photos:

Update (Monday Eve.): I've been working on my other article but I found that I'm writing more than I thought so it's going a bit slow. Looking like it will be published tomorrow morning instead of tonight. Enjoy the pictures in the meantime.

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January 23, 2006

Photos: Macau, Wynn Changes, The Mirage and More!

Posted by Hunter

Howdy folks, back from Las Vegas with a photo update. I'll follow this with a written opinion piece as soon as I can.

Before we get to Vegas though, let's look at Macau. Our man on the scene Chris has written in with some fresh photos of Wynn Macau, The Venetian, Galaxy Starworld, Grand Emperor and more. Thanks again to Chris for keeping us westerners up to date.

The Macau photos are located here, the new ones are on that second page and the third as well. Enjoy.

On the Vegas side of things, the pictures include the updated Corsa Cucina at Wynn Las Vegas, Kokomo's, STACK and Fin at The Mirage, and some great shots from MIX at the top of THEHotel. Some of the shots, especially of STACK, didn't come out very well. I included them because unfortunately that was the best I have and I know you guys wanted to see what it looks like.

Generally, some really exciting changes at The Mirage and even Wynn. I'll save the bulk of this for my other post but we did eat at STACK and loved it, plus we spent an evening at Tryst, Wynn's re-born nightclub, formerly known as La Bete. The changes at The Mirage have dramatically altered the customer profile, even in this short amount of time. Anyway, more on that when I write my report. For now, enjoy the photos:

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December 27, 2005

Recapping 2005 in Las Vegas News

Posted by Hunter

What a year! 2005 saw big changes for Las Vegas, world-wide gaming and this little Web site.

In Las Vegas, 2005 saw the return of Steve Wynn with Wynn Las Vegas. We saw the completion of two mega-mergers, MGM Mirage + Mandalay and Harrah's + Caesars. The jury is still out as to how that will impact the Strip.

MGM Mirage announced major components of their Project City Center initiative. Las Vegas Sands unveiled the Palazzo resort concept. The Las Vegas condo boom, while still very strong, showed some signs of too-rapid expansion.

Las Vegas turned 100 years old and the city celebrated with a big party in July.

So, what were your favorite Las Vegas stories of 2005 and why? Read more and comment after the jump.

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December 26, 2005

Add To What Is This?

Posted by Hunter

I've added a new option for each post, a link that allows you to easily post the story to, the online bookmark server.

If you haven't looked at, you should. It's a great way to story your bookmarks online, available from anywhere. Also, browsing bookmarks that are tagged with subjects like 'Vegas', 'Gambling', etc... can result in some interesting results that you might not find through a search engine.

Good stuff.

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December 5, 2005

Las Vegas Podcasts

Posted by Hunter

As Apple's iPod takes the world by storm, 'podcasting', the name used for audio programs produced for this and other audio devices, has reached Las Vegas.

While there are many podcasts out there that touch on Vegas, many are either very low rent or don't really center around the city of Sin.

There are two notable exceptions that we'd like to point out:

'The Strip' - This is one I recently discovered. Some great stuff here in the archives, check it out, especially a recent interview with Steve Wynn. An important distinction is that a. these guys are based in Vegas and b. they are journalists. This means that we get a fantastic show and on top of all of that, it's published on a regular basis. URL:

'Five Hundy By Midnight' - We've talked about Tim's podcast before. Published frequently, it's a well done show from a true Vegas fan. Funny and irreverent, always a good laugh. URL:

If you've never listened to a podcast before, your best bet is probably downloading and installing Apple's iTunes 6 software ( It can easily get you subscribed to any of these podcasts (and thousands more).

Who knows, we might even try a podcast at some point. Enjoy!

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November 3, 2005

You're In Charge - What Would You Change?

Posted by Hunter

So, reading a technology blog recently, I got to thinking... If I was running a Las Vegas casino, what would I change. Seems like a good basis for an article on the blog.

So, what would you change about your favorite Las Vegas property? Imagine you're running the joint - fix the things that bother you as a customer.

Please respond in the comments. I'm working on my own response right now and it will be posted below when it is done.

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October 12, 2005

2,000+ Vegas Photos - RateVegas Photo Archive Online

Posted by Hunter

For those that haven't seen it, we've launched a new photo archive for the RateVegas family of sites.

It's located here:

It will be expanded over time but right now we have over 2,000 photos of your favorite Las Vegas (and Macau) resorts.

Want to submit a photo?

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September 15, 2005

Tim McDarrah, Former Sun Columnist Arrested

Posted by Hunter

Some might remember former LV Sun gossip columnist Tim McDarrah who jumped ship to head to US Weekly.

Looks like he got nabbed for trying to solicit sex from a FBI agent posing as a 13 year old girl.


Details here.

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September 14, 2005 Launches

Posted by Hunter

One of the sites I visit every day is They recently launched a sister site,

If you travel to Reno or Tahoe, this is a great resource.

September 3, 2005

Blog Software Updated

Posted by Hunter

I have updated the blogging software to the latest version.

The most noticeable thing for y'all should be that folks that sign up for accounts can post comments without a delay - those comments don't have to wait for my approval.

Anyway, lots of nice under the hood changes that make my life easier.

July 29, 2005

Submit Your Las Vegas Secrets

Posted by Hunter

I'm working on an article of 'Las Vegas Secrets', the best-kept tidbits that the average visitor never knows. Time and money saving tips, interesting facts, that kind of thing.

As part of the process I want to poll my readers. If you have a Las Vegas secret, send me an email at Don't leave them in the comments - we don't want to spill the beans early!

July 18, 2005 Best Of Reader Questions

Posted by Hunter

Some readers may know that part of our parent site,, is a 'Reader Question' area where our guests can write in and ask their vacation questions for me to answer.

Over the course of the last five years we've answered thousands of these important queries, on topics from luxury to Luxor and hot dogs to hot streaks. Some questions are bizarre, others seem to be repeated weekly. All are a good read.

In this post I'll chronicle some of the more interesting items. If you want to read all of the questions completely uncensored, you can also head over to Reader Questions and get the goods for yourself (or submit your own). I will probably make this a semi-regular column here on the blog.

The answers posted are the one I originally wrote when the question was asked. Keep reading after the jump.

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June 25, 2005

Changes Coming to the Blog

Posted by Hunter

A heads up to my loyal readers - we are currently working on a new design for the blog. The current setup is a generic template with some minor tweaks - not optimal. I've been working with a designer that specializes in this format to come up with something that is friendly, easy to access, can generate some advertising revenue and has a Vegas feel. This new look could be coming as soon as July 1st.

Also on the drawing board is a total re-design of, our sister site. The new version focuses on 'getting back to basics', meaning a re-focus on the core function of the site - hotel information and ratings. The new design will be very light, with lots of white space and large photos. This is only in the mockup stages but I'm pretty excited about it. Along with the redesign will come a new technology base that will flow better with the new look. This change is further out as it is much more involved.

May 31, 2005

Google Ads In Our RSS Feeds

Posted by Hunter

We are now including Google ads in our RSS feeds. Right now it is just a test. This site is supported by advertising and we're hoping that this will help to defray some of the significant costs of developing and hosting this site.

May 17, 2005

Two Way/ Chat?

Posted by Hunter

I'm toying with the idea of hosting an online chat but I don't know if anyone would be interested. If it is something you think you might attend, just a friendly get together, let me know in the comments.