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“Tyson” Review

I’ve read quite a few good reviews about “Tyson“; the documentary about Mike Tyson’s life.  Everything I read was about how this was a very “real” look at his life.  As I watched the movie I realized that this was indeed very real and a raw look at Tyson’s life.

Listening to Mike Tyson talk about growing up as a kid that was picked on and watching him grow into a bully himself and a petty thug was a little uncomfortable, but interesting.  Even more uncomfortable to watch was Tyson talking about sex, violence and his marriage to Robin Givens.

As a boxing fan I was more interested in his relationship to Cus D’Amato.  D’Amato was Tyson’s trainer and seems to be the person that saved Tyson from life in the hood.  Tyson seemed to look up to D’Amato as his savior and a father figure.  As he said “Cus broke me down and rebuilt me as a new person.”

Sure Tyson won the heavyweight championship after D’Amato died, but it seems as if Tyson began his downward spiral on D’Amato passed away.

In the latter part of the movie Tyson goes into graphic detail about getting whooped by Evander Holyfield, then biting Holyfield’s ear and the bad people he surrounded himself with.  As the movie went on, it got more and more brutal.

The movie had a lot of quick cuts, which made it easy to watch and digest.  This is definitely a well done movie that is easy to watch.  This probably isn’t a movie I’d watch too often, but I don’t watch many movies more than once.  I was happy to see the end of the movie because it started to get a little depressing.  I’ve lived through most of this movie and it was great to see everything I’ve seen on the news in 90 minutes.

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Saints Make Vegas Casinos Winners

So the Saints won the Super Bowl this week.  I won my prop bet on Peyton Manning throwing a first quarter touchdown, but lost my bet on the Colts.  I had a winning day since I also had the under on Celtics vs. Magic.

The legal sportsbooks in Las Vegas made more money than they did last year.  Upsets will do that.  The casinos usually win, but upsets can hurt.  Not this time.  From Pro Football Talk:

The Nevada Gaming Control Board said Tuesday that casinos in the state turned a profit of nearly $7 million on the $82.7 million bettors wagered on the Super Bowl.

Overall, bettors in Nevada placed about $1.21 million more in bets than they did on last year’s Super Bowl, and the casinos’ profits were about $179,000 more than last year.

The house usually wins in Las Vegas, although some years the Super Bowl is actually a money loser for casinos. In 2008, according to the state board, Nevada casinos lost almost $2.6 million when the Giants upset the Patriots.

I read the headline a few times, but wasn’t sure if this was good or bad for the casinos.  Low and behold it was good.  The NFL draft is up next for those, like me, that always hunger football.

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Super Bowl and Props

This year I’ve learned a lot about sports betting.  I like to bet with the trends and research whenever I can.  In the past I would usually make a handful of prop bets to go along with my game bet.  This year I fell asleep looking at the prop bets.  Props don’t pay out well, unless you go for long shots, which are kind of a crap shot.

This year I only went with one prop bet and one game bet.  Both bets can be summed up with one image.

I have the Colts -4.5, which I picked earlier this week.  I only went with one prop bet: Peyton Manning will throw a touchdown in the 1st quarter at +165.  There weren’t any other big + bets available that seemed interesting or possible to me, so I only went with one prop.

All of my odds come from sportsbook.com.  Click the banner below for up to date odds.

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

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Total Rewards Could Be Coming To Planet Hollywood In 2 Weeks

Yesterday Harrah’s moved one step closer to acquiring Planet Hollywood.  The Nevada Gaming Commission will meet on February 18 to give final approval.  If (once) approved Harrah’s would assume control of Planet Hollywood on February 19 at noon.

This will create some consolidation with Harrah’s cutting about 5% of the Planet Hollywood workforce.  Harrah’s will also induce the property with $30 million in cash.  However, one of the most important things Harrah’s brings to Planet Hollywood is their customer database from all of their properties in Las Vegas and across the US.

It will use direct mail, group sales and try to attract leisure visitors.

Sure this seems unexciting if you’re a marketing geek, but direct mail seems to be what helps Harrah’s and Total Rewards stand out.  Total Rewards is the hub of all Harrah’s marketing.  I have a stack of postcards for upcoming trips to Atlantic City and Las Vegas.

As I plan my next trip to Las Vegas this will influence where I stay.  Say what you will about Harrah’s and Total Rewards, but they’re fairly consistent sending offers to stay at their properties.  The same can’t be said for all casinos.  I’m still waiting on an acknowledgement of existance from Wynn & Encore from my December stay.  I’m told I should see my offers soon.

I haven’t stayed at Planet Hollywood in a couple years and am considering it for my next trip with or without comps.  However, comp or discounted rooms could absolutely turn my attention away from some of the newer, shinier casinos.  We’ll revisit this in 2 weeks.

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Saints Super Bowl Prop Bets

Part 3 of Super Bowl Prop bets.  I’m not normally a prop bettor, but I usually make a handful of small prop picks for the Super Bowl.  Earlier this week I had the game prop bets, and Colts prop bets.  Today I go with the Saints individual and team prop bets.  Later this week I’ll study things and make my picks.

All odds are from sportsbook.com and will likely change throughout the week.

Lance Moore – Total Receiving Yards – Must Play
Over 11.5 (-115)
Under 11.5 (-115)
Lance Moore – Longest Reception – No Recept Under Wins – Must Play
Over 7.5 (-115)
Under 7.5 (-115)
Lance Moore – Total Receptions – Must Play
Over 1.5 (-115)
Under 1.5 (-115)
Lance Moore – Will he Score a Touchdown – Must Play
Yes +325
No -450
Lance Moore – Total Receiving Yards on First Reception – Must Play
Over 6.5 (-125)
Under 6.5 (-105)
Jeremy Shockey – Total Receiving Yards – Must Play
Over 29.5 (-115)
Under 29.5 (-115)

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

[Read more…]

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Colts Super Bowl Prop Bets

Part 2 of Super Bowl Prop bets.  I’m not normally a prop bettor, but I usually make a handful of small prop picks for the Super Bowl.  Yesterday I had the game prop bets.  Today I go with the Colts individual and team prop bets.  Tomorrow the Saints.

All odds are from sportsbook.com and will likely change throughout the week.

Peyton Manning – Total Passing Yards – Must Play
Over 305.5 (-115)
Under 305.5 (-115)
Peyton Manning – Total Completions – Must Play
Over 25.5 (-115)
Under 25.5 (-115)
Peyton Manning – Total Pass Attempts – Must Play
Over 36.5 (-115)
Under 36.5 (-115)
Peyton Manning – Longest Completion – Must Play
Over 39.5 (-115)
Under 39.5 (-115)
Peyton Manning – Total Touchdown Passes Thrown – Must Play
Over 2.5 (-105)
Under 2.5 (-125)
Peyton Manning – What Will He Throw First – Must Play
Touchdown Pass -320
Interception +240
Peyton Manning – Will he Throw a 1st Quarter Touchdown Pass – Must Play
Yes +165
No -210
Peyton Manning – Will he Throw a 2nd Quarter Touchdown Pass – Must Play
Yes -130
No even
Peyton Manning – Will he Throw a 3rd Quarter Touchdown Pass – Must Play
Yes +145
No -185
Peyton Manning – Will he Throw a 4th Quarter Touchdown Pass – Must Play (Overtime Does NOT Count)
Yes -115
No -115
Peyton Manning – Will Have More Passing Yards In Which Half – Must Play
First Half -125
Second Half (Includes Overtime) -105
Over/Under FIRST Peyton Manning Touchdown Pass (No TD-No Action) – Must Play
Over 10.5 (-115)
Under 10.5 (-115)

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

[Read more…]

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Super Bowl Game Prop Bets

The countdown is on for the Super Bowl.  All week I’ll be posting different bets available for the game.  I don’t care about the non-football bets so I won’t be posting how long the national anthem will take.  I’ll also be researching the options and make a handful of picks before game day.

All odds are from sportsbook.com and will likely change throughout the week.

Super Bowl XLIV – Coin Toss
Heads -101
Tails -101
Team to Win the Coin Toss
Saints -105
Colts -105
Team to Receive the Opening Kick Off
Saints -105
Colts -105
Saints – Total Points
Over 26 (-120)
Under 26
Total Kickoff Returns by Both Teams (Excludes Touchbacks/Out of Bonds/Fair Catches)
Over 9 (-135)
Under 9 (+105)
Team to Commit the 1st Penalty – Declined Penalties EXCLUDED
Saints -140
Colts +110

Online Sports Betting at Sportsbook

[Read more…]

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Carne Vino Take 2

I visited Carne Vino on my spring trip to Las Vegas and had a fantastic steak dinner.  I loved it and spoke so highly of it that my friends wanted a return visit.  I shared this video with people all year around.  Excitement was HIGH.

Our table was in a little room off the main entrance.  The table was a huge square.  The privacy was fantastic, especially when one member of the party gets the giggles.  There was a beautiful chandelier high above the table.

The waiter was fantastic.  He knew the menu very well and was able to answer every question and help guide us on a tour of flavors which was a great tour.

Generally, Carne Vino is an expensive restaurant but I found a way around that this trip.  The table shared an appetizer and  salad.  This worked nicely as we treated the appetizer like the tease it is supposed to be.  The Prosciutto Di Parma and Insalata Romana went very well together.

I was with 5 others and sharing a bottle of wine and appetizers was a great way to start the meal.  The vino may have been the star of the night…but it was time for the main course…

While the wine may have been the star of the meal, but steak should have been the co-star.  Unlike my last time at Carne Vino the steak was not the highlight of the meal.

The steak you see in the video above is the steak that I shared both times I’ve been to Carne Vino – the Dry Aged Bone In Rib Eye.  The steak was cooked a perfect medium and drizzled with sea salt, pepper and olive oil.

Sounds pretty good.  The steak was good.  It just wasn’t great like it was the last time.  The steak was a little dry this time.  When I sit down for a $100/person meal I want perfection.  The rest of the table experimented with non-steak main courses and thoroughly enjoyed everything.  The sides were also very good.

Everyone at the table had enough food and didn’t need or want dessert.  The waiter treated us to some kind of nougat like dessert and an after dinner liquor.  I’m not sure what I was drank, but it was a nice sipping drink and a nice way to cap off a good meal.

Overall, this time a Carne Vino was good – not great.  The service was fantastic and most of dinner was very good, but the main course left a little to be desired.  Having experienced a fantastic meal at Carne Vino before I think I might hold off on a return trip.  There are so many great steakhouses in Las Vegas that there’s no reason to limit myself.  I’d still recommend Carne Vino because the service, atmosphere and most of the food are all fantastic.

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Thoughts on CityCenter

CityCenter are the huge hunks of steel in the middle of the Las Vegas strip and owned by MGM-Mirage that has been under construction for the past few years.  There are multiple buildings as part of the city and there were multiple grand openings for these properties.  The final building to open was Aria, the casino and hotel, which opened while I was in Vegas.

I waited for everything to have their grand openings before exploring CityCenter.  I walked over from the Bellagio where I had a wonderful cigar and Grey Goose and soda at the Petrossian Lounge.  I was treated to some Christmas songs on piano while enjoying a Sunday night.  This is one of my favorite spots at Bellagio.

I hate crowds and I didn’t need to worry about that when I headed over to CityCenter.  After walking through the construction I finally landed in Crystals mall.  This is a beautiful building, but the lack of opened stores was kind of depressing.  If it wasn’t brand new it would have felt like a mall on its last legs and about to close.

I hope this isn’t an omen for Crystals.  It could just be the bad economy.  Right now, I don’t think the market needs more high end shopping.  Of course, this wasn’t the case when CityCenter was being planned.  Similarly, The Shoppes at Palazzo had a similar feeling but at least there are restaurants to bring people in.

From Crystals I headed into Aria.  One of the cool things about both Crystals and Aria was the modern style and clean lines with interesting shapes and certainly not boring.  Modern style only remains modern for so long and it will be interesting to see how Aria develops in the future.  From the monorail station I felt as if I was looking at a building from the movie Tron.  Below is a sweet water wall outside the main entrance.

The interior of the casino was very dark and the ceilings felt low, even though they weren’t.  My iPhone couldn’t grab any interesting pictures due to the darkness.  This is in contrast to how bright everything was on the outside.

Everything inside the casino was new.  All new versions of my favorite slot machines – including a version of Top Dollar which I’ve never seen before that paid me $200.  All of the slot machines were very bright and showed well in the dark setting.

There was one odd finding at Aria.  There was a lack of ticket cashing machines.  I walked around for a few minutes before I could find one.  I only saw one in the entire casino.  I’m sure there were more, but there was poor signage throughout CityCenter and this was just another example.

There were not many people playing table games.  If I recall correctly all blackjack games under $25 use a Continuous Shuffle Machine (CMS).  I don’t like CMS, but it’s better than 6/5.

After my tour I searched around and around for the monorail to go back to Bellagio.  Since signage was poor it took a few minutes, but I found my way.  The monorail let me off in an area of Bellagio that I’ve never seen.  If I didn’t know what I was looking for there was no way I’d ever wander from Bellagio to CityCenter.

Overall, I have mixed first impressions on CityCenter.  Everything looked very cool and very clean with some innovation that we’ll see in future casinos.  I like the modern feel to everything, but that feeling was subdued by how cold and empty Crystals and Aria felt.  I have the feeling that would have been even deeper if I’d gone into the other buildings.

CityCenter is still so new that I have to reserve judgement.  After all, I hated Wynn after one trip and my December trip changed my mind.  I’m curious to see how the property develops this year.  I’m looking forward to seeing the difference when I visit later this year.

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Casa Di Amore

On most trips to Las Vegas I like to take in at least one dinner from a locals type restaurant.  This trip I ended up at Casa Di Amore which had great recommendations on both Yelp and the Las Vegas Trip Advisor Forum.

Casa Di Amore is located about 15 minutes from the strip (on Tropicana) and since I didn’t have a car the offer of a free limo ride was enticing and helped seal the deal for this being a dinner selection.  The limo was an older, (very) worn and essentially an extended town car.  The free ride was nice as my group would have needed two cabs, so we saved a few bucks there.

As we drove up into the strip mall I knew this place was going to either be awesome or awful.  The restaurant was next door too a gun shop, so this kind of set the tone.  I don’t think the insides have been updated in about 30 years and I think that was by design.  The restaurant had photographs of the old Las Vegas casinos and performers.

The photo above is where the 2-man band performed holiday and cover songs.  We were treated to a couple of sets by George Bugatti.  Normally I hate live music when I’m trying to eat, but the volume wasn’t too intrusive and the selections were fun enough not too bother me.

If you couldn’t guess by the name Casa Di Amore is an Italian restaurant.  Everything tasted as if it was made by a friends mother.  For my main course I shared a fantastic Chicken Piccata and Gnocci Bolognese.  Sharing is not only fun, but it’s a good way to sample the flavors and not to overeat – something that happens a bit too often.

Casa Di Amore was a very wholesome type dinner.  It’s another nice off the beaten path Italian restaurant in Vegas.  The last time I went a little out of the way for Italian was to Nora’s, which was phenomenal.  Nora’s is pretty popular and crowded since it’s been featured on the Travel Channel.

If you’ve been there and done that and want another local Italian joint Casa Di Amore is another good option.  The food was very good, but not the best ever.  The decor was nothing fancy, but everything was good and fun.  I’d rate this above average but not great.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas