Two Way Hard Three | Las Vegas Casino & Design Blog

All Articles Published: August 2011

August 31, 2011

Bellagio Room Re-Design: Not As Bad As You Thought

Posted by Hunter

I stayed in a new Bellagio room and I'm telling you all about it.

My photos are here:

The write-up is after the jump.

August 30, 2011

The Plaza (2.0 Beta 1)

Posted by Hunter

I stayed in an updated room at The Plaza this past week, just a few days before the official opening. This is my story.

If you want to see my pictures, they're here:

August 28, 2011

Happy Third Birthday, Vegas Mate!

Posted by Hunter

Three years ago today, the first version of Vegas Mate was made available on the iTunes App Store. Since then I've been through dozens of updates through three major versions.

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank all of my customers, supporters and friends. It's incredibly rewarding to produce a product that so many people have told me they love.

Lots more to come with Vegas Mate in the future, stay tuned.

We're back with part three of Jeff Simpson's 'Advice for The Strip' column here at Simpson on Vegas. In this episode, it's the other side of the Center Strip.

Continue after the jump...

August 25, 2011

Follow your nose: 5 Strip smells

Posted by daveschwartz

Not to be outdone by the serious investigative journalism going on over at VegasInc, I'm back with another in-the-trenches look at one of the lesser written-about sides of Las Vegas: its unique odors. In particular,, I focus on five (5!) smells you might encounter on the Las Vegas Strip.

More after the jump.

August 19, 2011

Your high roller demands?

Posted by daveschwartz

Most of us plebeians can only guess at the perks available to mega-high rollers at Las Vegas casinos. Twenty-four hour butler service? Dinners personally prepared by celebrity chefs? Carte blanche to do anything, say anything, be anything, as long as your credit holds up?

Take a glimpse behind the curtain and into a high roller suite after the jump.

August 18, 2011

LVRJ iPhone App Released. $6. Yes, seriously.

Posted by Hunter

So... the Las Vegas Review-Journal has an app. Did you know that? I didn't... Until today.

It was released June 30th.

Sure, we had heard they were working on one but I hadn't seen it on the store. Or mentioned on the RJ site. Maybe I missed it. After having seen the app, I have more questions than anything else.

First off, the app is iPhone only. It's not designed for iPad, a device far better suited for reading news. That strikes me as odd. Second, the app isn't called 'Review Journal' or anything remotely similar. It's called 'Las Vegas News'. What's even more odd is that it doesn't appear in searches for 'LVRJ', 'review journal' or the like. When you submit an app to the App Store, you can add search tags to help users find your app. It seems they have failed to do this - I had to have someone give me the search term to find it. Are there ads directing you to this app on their site? I haven't seen them.

Perhaps the biggest surprise is the price: $5.99. While that doesn't seem like a lot of money in the real world, in app terms that's like charging $40 for a movie ticket. It implies a significant value. The top ten apps in the news category range from $0.99 to $4.99. That's not counting quality free apps from outlets like USA Today.

I have a lot of experience with app pricing and $6 surprises me regardless of the value of the news they are providing. I have no problem with a developer charging a fair amount for their app but it should be priced based on what the market will bear. I will be shocked if this is a hit for them at this price.

For $6 you get... ads! Yes, even after charging a relatively high price, they're still including ads in the app. This is not the kind of thing that endears you to mobile users where screen space is at a huge premium. The mobile banners take up about 1/6 of the screen.

I'm wondering if this should even have been developed. As the 'app guy', you might be surprised to hear me say that. Well, I believe that apps can be great but the Web is also a fantastic platform on the desktop and on mobile. An iPhone app that just presents the same stuff people see on your Web site isn't much use to anyone. Sure, you can do cool stuff like push notifications for breaking news but lets be honest, the RJ doesn't have a great track record in that department either.

If you're going to build an app, it needs to prove it has a reason to exist by including features that can't be done (or not done easily) on the Web. It seems like it was created because it was on a marketing person's checkbox, one of my complaints about the many Vegas casino apps out there.

I want innovation.

August 18, 2011

Vegas Gang #65 - August 18th, 2011

Posted by Hunter

Episode #65 is up!

Listen here:

This time on the show:

* The Linq
* Harmon Demolition
* Cosmopolitan's Six Month Figures

** Sure Bets **

* P3 Studio @ Cosmopolitan
* Star Trek TOS on Netflix
* Kate Mulgrew / Capt. Janeway / Tinker Tenor Doctor Spy / Counterpoint
* Jawbone Jambox

August 17, 2011

Thoughts on Linq

Posted by daveschwartz

I've already shared some of the details that were released at the press conference, but I'd like to talk more about some of the things the speakers said and share a few of my thoughts.

I'll linq you after the jump.

August 17, 2011

Linq details: Straight from the source

Posted by daveschwartz

I went to the Linq press conference today. I'm going to write up some of my thoughts and answer a few questions, but first I wanted to share some of the press kit with everyone, since it will answer some questions.

All the fun after the jump....

August 17, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #028: Advice For the Center Strip

Posted by Hunter

We're back with part two of Jeff Simpson's 'Advice for The Strip' column here at Simpson on Vegas. This time around it's Venetian, TI, Mirage, Casino Royale and Harrah's.

Continue after the jump...

Meeting the county imposed deadline today, MGM Resorts International is suggesting that the unfinished Harmon tower at CityCenter be imploded.

The Harmon was deemed structurally unsound after various construction flaws were discovered. This would certainly be a dramatic end to the long drama that's been unfolding since before the complex opened.

MGM is currently involved in litigation with builder Perini so this may take awhile to work its way through.

Are we looking at a full-scale implosion? Some sort of dis-assembly followed by more minor demolition? Either way, this is a major pedestrian thoroughfare so it sounds like a mess.

I'm sure Marquee Day Club is thrilled... With Cosmopolitan still struggling to find it's legs, taking that pedestrian walkway out of commission for what could be an extended period can't be good news.

UPDATE: Looks like they want to make this happen inside of six months.

August 15, 2011

Cosmopolitan comparison

Posted by daveschwartz

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has released its 2nd quarter results, giving us a glimpse into how the Strip's latest resort is faring. The answer? Not so poorly, though there's room for growth.

My focus here--and I'll be quick, I promise--is comparing the Cosmopolitan's revenue breakdown with the rest of the Strip. In some ways it isn't a true comparison, since I'm pulling the Strip average from the Average Big Las Vegas Strip Casino, 2010 report, which is a year behind the Cosmopolitan numbers. But I think that it still gives a good sense of what the average numbers are on the Strip.

More after the jump.

August 10, 2011

June Nevada numbers: Good news!

Posted by daveschwartz

Earlier this morning, the Gaming Control Board released the June 2011 Gaming Revenue Report. That's like Christmas morning for gaming numbers geeks. After the jump, I'll share some of the highlights and my analysis.

August 9, 2011

The Letters of Las Vegas!

Posted by daveschwartz

"New media" is often rightly maligned for being unable to devote the resources to chasing important stories that traditional media can. It's easy for anyone to listen to a quarterly conference call and offer their opinion on what the suits are doing wrong (or right). But how many local bloggers have the time and patience to sit through humdrum municipal hearings? Or the expertise and contacts to do hard-hitting investigative journalism?

Well, this new media explorer (and, full disclosure, Nevada Press Association (2nd place) award winner)wants to try his hand at the kind of serious news piece that one of our local dailies has been treating its online readers to. Since we've already covered the most dangerous intersections, the best free attractions, and the five unique pools on the Strip, I want to share with you a news story that is truly relevant and not at all content-free link-baiting: the letters of Las Vegas.

What are they, and what order are they in? Keep reading after the jump to learn the hard truth. Hey, if you're reading this from the TWHT main page, you'll only have to click once, not 15 times, so give it a shot. And if you came straight to the post page, you're already here, so enjoy as I use a technique made famous by ransom notes to reveal, in their full glory, the letters without which Las Vegas would be something else entirely.

August 4, 2011

Jeff Simpson on Nevada Week in Review Tomorrow

Posted by Hunter

Just a note that our own Jeff Simpson will be a panelist on Nevada Week on Review, airing tomorrow. The show, actually taped last week, also includes Steve Friess, Mike Weatherford from the RJ and John Katsilometes from the Sun.

The topics are centered around the non-gaming side of the resort industry.

The show airs tomorrow, 8/5 and again on 8/6 on PBS Channel 10 at 7:30pm. You can also see the show via the Web site or as a video podcast, typically available the following Monday.

Check it out!

August 2, 2011

Open Topic Discussion - August, 2011

Posted by detroit1051

Phil mentioned we haven't had an Open Topic Discussion in a while, so with Hunter's permission, let me start with my cynical comments on Project Linq which will be on the Clark County Zoning Commission agenda on Augst 3:

Project Linq

- 64 acres of Strip/near Strip land is being turned into a carnival midway, complete with Ferris wheel.

- 30% total reduction in parking spaces at Harrah's, Flamingo, IP, etc. This will put pressure on Wynn's and LVS's parking spaces.

-The following list of property uses is enough for me to call it a mess:
Alcohol sales, liquor (packaged only)
Alcohol sales, beer and wine sales
Commercial/retail sales
Mobile food cart/booth vendors
Kiosk/information (outdoor)
Outdoor live entertainment
Convention facilities/exposition halls
Art gallery/studio
Convenience stores
Motion picture production/studio
Movie theaters
Tattoo parlors
Billiard halls
Health clubs
Jewelry sales
Photo studios
Psychic arts
Recording studio
Sporting goods
Farmer's Markets

The recession has already changed the character of the Strip. Note the increase in violent crime, costumed characters and homeless begging for money especially on pedestrian overpasses. It's raised enough concern that the Clark County Commission will discuss how to address the problems. This kind of development will change the Strip forever, and I'm not sure it will be a good investment for Caesars Entertainment.

August 1, 2011

SIMPSON ON VEGAS #027: Advice For the North Strip

Posted by Hunter

This time around, Jeff offers up some free advice to casino owners and operators for some of Las Vegas' most iconic properties.

This is the first in a series.

Continue after the jump...