As I plan my annual World Series of Poker trip, there are two things I buy before I go: the American Casino Guide (ACG) book and a membership to Las Vegas Advisor (LVA).
These two items provide me with plenty of discounted food vouchers and free slot play/match play that will greatly reduce the cost of my summer trip to Las Vegas.
Which Way to Casino Savings?
ACG is an annually published book written by Steve Bourie that has information about not only the various casino games, but also a state-by-state account of casinos across the U.S. But the biggest draws of the guide, which costs about $15, are the vouchers in the back, offering book purchasers a variety of discounts on food, rooms and gambling.
That’s the same reason to purchase an annual LVA membership, which costs $37 if you choose the option to receive the monthly newsletter via email. You will be snail mailed the Member Rewards Book, the real prize of the membership, containing a boatload of freebies and deals at Las Vegas casinos. The deals here are better than what you will find in ACG, including a few hundred dollars in slot play and match play.
Many of the buffet coupons in the rewards book will let you take 50 percent off the cost if you don’t have a second person to take advantage of the buy one-get one free offer. That includes the Gold Coast, the next-door neighbor of the Rio.
Maximizing Your Benefits
The key to maximizing value for both ACG and LVA is spending a few hours wandering up and down Fremont Street because so many of the deals are for casinos on that famous stretch of Las Vegas land. At The D, for example, you’ll score a $25 matchplay from ACG, while at the Fremont you’ll get a $10 matchplay from the book. LVA has those same matchplays for both casinos, as well as some slot play at The D. The story is similar for several other casinos in downtown Las Vegas, including Binion’s, Plaza, Golden Gate, Four Queens, Downtown Grand, California and El Cortez. You’ll get some sort of free or boosted gamble at all of these casinos either through ACG, LVA or both.
And here’s a trick if you want to lock up some profit with the slot play. Use it to play video poker. You’re not likely to get a jackpot-type payout, barring hitting a royal flush, but you’ll usually walk away with some free money for your troubles. LVA estimates the average value of a $10 slot play voucher at $9.70 using this technique.
Another place to consider visiting is Ellis Island on Koval Lane, not far off the Strip. The small casino-hotel offers several vouchers for slot and match play and discounted food in both ACG and LVA and is famed for its steak special for $7.99. That deal usually tops LVA’s list of top ten values in Las Vegas.
Johnny Kampis is a longtime Vegas visitor and author of the Essential Guide to Vegas during the World Series of Poker and Vegas or Bust: A Family Man Takes on the Poker Pros. Follow him on Twitter @TuscaloosaJohn.