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2nd Umami Burger Was Even Better Than The First

Lunch At Umami Burger At SLS Las Vegas

Lunch At Umami Burger

If you follow me on twitter or facebook you know that I had lunch at Umami Burger at SLS Las Vegas the other day. This was my second visit to Umami Burger. My first visit was on the first day SLS Las Vegas was open. While I really liked the first burger and fries I wasn’t paying close attention to the food. I was busy drinking, chatting, playing video poker and just looking around. This time around I was alone and more focused on my burger than checking out the new restaurant/sportsbook/beer garden.

On my first visit I split half of the Manly Burger and really enjoyed it although I thought it was almost too flavorful. The beef flavor was almost overpowered by the beer-cheddar cheese, bacon lardo and smoked salt (fried) onion strips. Not to mention a mustard spread and house ketchup on the side.

A wise man recommended that I try one of the truffle burgers. I went into lunch with this and mind but was in the mood for bacon. None of the truffle burgers on the Umami Burger menu have bacon so I went back to the Manly Burger you see in the picture above. I added the off the menu cheesy tater tots for $5. Before diving into the burger I just want to say that you should ALWAYS ORDER THE TATER TOTS.

This Manly Burger tasted a bit more mellow than my first one. This time the ingredients we much more in balance than the first burger. If we were running this burger through a photo editor the beef flavor was enhanced, the cheese was dialed down and the bacon and onion rings provided a perfect accent. The flavors of the burger and toppings were in perfect harmony. I had a Rogue Dead Guy ale which complimented all of the flavors perfectly.

Looking back at both burgers I think that the sharpness of cheddar cheese is what was a little shocking on the first burger. Keep that in mind if you have a gentle tongue. The burger with less cheese spread really tasted much more like a burger. Call me crazy but when I order a burger I want to taste the burger.

Video Poker at Umami Burger Straight Flush

Thanks for lunch Umami Burger!

I ate at the bar because I wanted to play a little video poker and have a couple of beers. The restaurant side of the bar only had the 3 play machines (the casino side has a few 1 line games). While waiting for my burger to arrive I snagged this sweet straight flush. The straight flush covered my lunch bill which was under $20 ($13 burger, $5 tots) and gave me a couple more dollars to spend on my next visit.

As I mentioned in my full overview of the Umami Burger restaurant/sportsbook at Vegas Chatter playing video poker while you eat allows you complimentary drinks. Not only did I make a few bucks with the straight flush but I had a couple “free” $9 beers.

It’s a nice touch that the bar on the restaurant side has more bar space to eat in front of the video poker machines. It makes eating easier than on the casino side although the video poker is a bit far.

I find it hard to choose a best of any food category but the burgers at Umami Burger are definitely among the best on the Vegas Strip. The service at the bar is great and I really like the sportsbook/sports bar setup. Umami Burger has definitely become one of my new hangouts on Vegas Strip.

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First Impressions Of SLS Las Vegas

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

SLS Las Vegas Carpet

My first impression of SLS Las Vegas is positive but not perfect. Nothing is perfect as far as I’m concerned. I’ve already detailed some of the flaws from the first few days of business in a separate post.

1. The Setup

The pre-opening moniker SLS Las Vegas used to describe the property was “affordable luxury”. That set up for the hotel to be fancy on a budget. For example there’s no way to make Ikea furniture feel luxurious but it can look nice. With that in mind I went in with limited expectations.

2. Casino Layout

SLS Las Vegas Casino

SLS Las Vegas Casino

I care more about the casino than most of SLS Las Vegas. The floor plan is only 60,000 square feet. If you ever visited Sahara this is 20,000 square feet less. The floor plan is small, which is fine but there are choke points that make it almost impossible to go to certain parts of the casino. The high traffic walkway by table area near the players club and The Griddle is tight and will always be busy. There are similar choke points on the slot floor that will be impossible to walk through because machines are packed so closely. Just scope out areas before sitting down at a table or machine.

Layout aside there are ample 3:2 blackjack games for $5 and $10. Craps has $10 minimums. There is decent video poker and all new slot machines. I dig all of this and wouldn’t mind gambling here. US Poker has a breakdown of most of the games.

Parts of the casino floor seem dark and that can make the tight casino feel almost claustrophobic on busy nights. This feels like a casino I’d visit during the day more than at night.

3. Umami Burger – Sportsbook – Beer Garden

Umami Burger Entrance At SLS Las Vegas

Umami Burger Entrance

This is the part of the casino I was most looking forward to. A sportsbook that serves good burgers and good beer? This might be heaven. It is and it isn’t. This isn’t a sportsbook.

Umami Burger a sports bar/restaurant with a patio and a place to bet on sports. Burger prices are between $12 and $15. Not too bad for the Vegas Strip. Draft beers are around $9-10 and bottles start at $5. There are no drink tickets from William Hill for sports bets as of opening but I think that will change. If you drink/eat at the video poker bar your drinks will be comp’d while you have money in play.

Umami Burger Bar At SLS Las Vegas

Umami Burger Bar

I really like this as a restaurant. Like I said in Vegas Chatter this is a good sports bar/restaurant but it’s not a traditional sportsbook. It should be packed with sports fans for big events but expect to see kids and families in the mix on other days. Even thought it’s not a traditional sportsbook this is my favorite spot at SLS Las Vegas.

Note, you can still sit and watch games without spending any money. However, if there are paying customers for Umami Burger you’ll politely be asked to leave if you’re not spending money.

4. Dining and High Priced Drinks

[Read more…]

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Video Poker With Keno Bonus Multiplier

Video Poker with Keno Multiplier Bonus

Keno Multiplier

This video poker game with a keno bonus multiplier caught my eye as I was walking to catch some rays and Tecate at the Red Rock Resort pool. I’m a sucker for games like this with a bonus round and never noticed it before and I’m a curious guy so I had to stop and check it out.

I decided to play Deuces Wild because I wasn’t taking this $20 buy-in for 3-play nickel game too seriously. Gameplay is simple enough. The base game is just triple play video poker with a keno multiplier afterwards that can increase your payouts. The game is 5 credits per hand and another 5 or 10 for the keno bonus.

If gameplay is set to fast you can easily miss the keno bonus that occurs right after the video poker game is over. This is simply a different twist on a video poker multiplier. I don’t like keno and there are other video poker games with bad pay tables that have more fun bonus games.

Wheel Poker Deluxe is still my favorite video poker bonus game to blow a few bucks on. I’m glad I checked this game out but I probably won’t again. I like that games like this exist to break up the monotony that I find in straight video poker.

The mighty Wizard Of Odds has expected returns and proper multiplier plays if you’re curious for more information.

 

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Gamble With Asteroids, Centipede And Other Atari Games

Atari Casino

Hey, It’s The Atari Casino

It looks as if the Atari Casino will be launching online in just a few months.The casino will offer gambling for real and virtual currency.  Atari Casino will be considered a social gaming platform since gambling is a dirty word more than simply an online casino. The casino will available on the Web, as well as Facebook and mobile devices.

Even though I never owned an Atari video game system when I was growing up (I was a ColecoVision guy) I played their games way too often. Older brands like Atari are a link to my childhood and that’s what they’re is banking on to acquire players.

The idea of gambling online isn’t very attractive to me because I prefer gambling with some form of human interaction. Having said that I might consider playing craps, slot machines or blackjack at the Atari Casino if it’s branded with Centipede, Missile Command or Asteroids for a little while. This might not be Atari’s only gambling play. Last year at G2E I reported that IGT was re-introducing skill-based gaming with a Centipede branded slot machine for Vegas Chatter. We shouldn’t expect to see anything in casinos until next year. Photo: Engadget

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This Dude Is The Fastest Video Poker Player In Vegas

Fastest Video Poker Player In Vegas

I’ve seen this guy playing video poker at Red Rock pretty often. Besides the lady at Starbucks and bartenders at the sportsbook he’s the only person I recognize at the casino that I visit a couple of times a week.

He plays two video poker machines faster than I can play one game. Since he only plays the games that return 100%+ I’m assuming that he knows what he’s doing and he can play accurately at this speed. It’s astonishing to watch.

I’ve never taken video of this video poker dude because I felt like a creeper. Thankfully other people aren’t as dainty as I am (shout out to Vato Cigars in Downtown Vegas for the vid!). Check it out!

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Here’s Why SLS Las Vegas Opening A Week Early Is A Good Sign For Gamblers

SLS Las Vegas Sportsbook Rendering

SLS Las Vegas Sportsbook Rendering

SLS Las Vegas announced that it will be opening a week early today and that’s a good sign for gamblers. Casino openings are usually filled with hype. I got sucked into that when Downtown Grand opened last year.

There was a lot of over promising from Downtown Grand before they opened. Expectations were high from everyone. They promised more great dining options than anywhere else in Downtown Vegas. Instead they offered a food court with mediocre food, a sub-par cafe and a shave ice stand that may never open.

Outdoor gaming was a great idea but 2 blackjack tables facing a wall with homeless people wandering the street behind is not ideal. Street dice is nothing like they described either. Besides outdoor gaming, Downtown Grand never talked about their gambling. Typically when a business avoids a subject there’s nothing good to say.

Downtown Grand ruined Mob Bar by removing video poker and a great beer selection. In fact, all of their bars have sub-par beer options (see more at Vegas Chatter). Now it’s just where I park when I want to get chicken parm sliders.

Downtown Grand under delivered on just about everything. I don’t hate them for it but Downtown Grand was poised to become my new Downtown Vegas home.

SLS Las Vegas hasn’t promised much that doesn’t seem attainable. Affordable luxury sounds achievable. Many of their restaurants have outlets in LA so researching them on Yelp should give you a general idea of what to expect. SLS Las Vegas has promised one thing that we know little about.

SLS Las Vegas has repeatedly said that the casino would offer gambling that locals would enjoy. This generally means good video poker, ample slot machines and good table game odds.

If SLS Las Vegas can over deliver on construction by finishing earlier than expected perhaps they will over deliver on their casino odds and returns. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking. Maybe I’m on to their strategy. I always bet on myself being right. 🙂

I’ve been cautiously optimistic about SLS Las Vegas’ casino but I’m throwing caution to the wind and now I’m straight up optimistic.  

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These Are American’s Favorite Casino Games

I love a good survey. Today’s question from the American Gaming Association is a simple one.

What’s your favorite casino game?

  • slots 48%
  • blackjack 16%
  • none 14%
  • poker 6%
  • roulette 5%
  • video poker 4%
  • craps 4%
  • sports book 2%
  • baccarat 1%

These results are from casino customers across the country. Since slot machines and video poker are combined in revenue reports this almost makes perfect sense.

The only minor surprise is that poker sneaks in with 6%. If it wasn’t such a popular home game I might be more surprised.

What do you think of these results?

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Konami Gaming Or Apollo Management Could Be New Owners Of IGT

IGT Logo

When I first saw the news about IGT being for sale I didn’t think much of it. The headline was shaped by IGT’s stock price being up 15%. I’m not in the market, so I wasn’t concerned. Then it hit me that one of the largest slot machine and the biggest video poker machine company is on the market and I was full of WOW.

Evidently this wasn’t a surprise to the stock market as IGT’s value has dropped 31% in the past year. They laid off 7% of their staff earlier this year in hopes of cutting enough costs to salvage the company. It doesn’t look like that’s working as the company is rumored to be on the market just to keep it alive. Reuters says IGT has been planning for a sale for the past two months.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that a number of private equity companies and gaming companies are interested in acquiring IGT. The most interesting to me are Konami Gaming and Apollo Global Management. Let’s take a quick look at how both could work with IGT.

[Read more…]

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Crazy Players Club Point Multipliers At Boyd Casinos This Month

Boyd Gaming Bonuses And Players Club Multipliers

Boyd Gaming Bonuses

Last week Howard Stutz at the Las Vegas Review Journal wrote an article called “New Life Being Breathed Into Local Gaming Market“. The article was more about how gaming revenue isn’t driving business on the Vegas Strip or the Vegas Locals market more than anything else. It’s an interesting read but then it jogged something in my head…

Over the past few months I’ve noticed that the casinos that market mostly to locals (Station and Boyd) have been very aggressive in gaining casino customers. While non-gaming revenue may be the future for the local casino operators they’re actively and aggressively pursuing gamblers today.

In the past month Boyd Casinos has been offering gamblers a few multipliers and special promotions. In June they’ve gone off the rails trying to attract gamblers.

The picture above is from 4 different bonuses and B-Connected players club point multipliers that Boyd Gaming casinos are offering for the month of June.

  • Every Day – 10% cash bonus on a Royal Flush in video poker. This is $100 on quarters.
  • Tuesday – 11x B-Connected points on reel slot machines, 7x points on video poker.
  • Wednesday – Up to 50x points. You have to swipe players club card to find out.
  • Thursday, Friday, Saturday – 4 of a kind bonus (5-9) at casino bars. Bonus depends on denomination. I think it’s $20 in free play for quarters.
  • Friday & Saturday – 15x points on Penny Reel slot machines, 11x points on Penny slot machines, 7x points on video poker.

These multipliers and bonuses are significant. They Royal Flush bonus is sweet cash. The 4 Of A Kind bonus gives you more money to gamble with on a future trip (the next day) and the multipliers make getting a comp bottle of wine much quicker.

I don’t gamble for comps but I’ll take them. Red Rock is still my local bar and the casino where I hang out most in the burbs but these multipliers and bonuses will make me think twice if I’m in the mood just to play some video poker.

Whether you’re a local or visiting will slot machine multipliers and video poker bonuses sway where you gamble? 

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My Favorite Downtown Vegas Craps Games

Earlier today I went over the odds for craps at all of the Downtown Vegas casinos and mentioned that the best odds don’t always make the best games. Everyone has their preferences in casinos and games. The 3 casinos below are probably my favorite downtown casinos in part because they have my favorite craps games.

Golden Gate

Golden Gate Sexy Craps Dealers

Golden Gate Sexy Craps

Golden Gate has 10x odds which is appealing to me but I think I’d still love playing craps at Golden Gate even if they had lower odds. The casino is intimate. It’s small, tight and there’s not a lot of space to move around. The ceiling is low so that you can almost touch it. That confined feeling and dance music makes the energy in the casino intense. The energy at the Golden Gate craps games has nowhere to go and it is unmatched by any casino. The combination of energy and odds make this my favorite Downtown Vegas craps game.

El Cortez

El Cortez Downtown Las Vegas Casino Hotel

El Cortez

It’s out of character for me but I love everything about the El Cortez. In general El Cortez is the antithesis of everything I like in a casino. It’s old, dirty and I love it. Many of the craps players at El Cortez are crotchety old men. It feels as though they all play the Don’t Pass line. El Cortez doesn’t sound awesome does it?

El Cortez isn’t for everyone but is the first casino that I visited in Downtown Vegas and I have a huge soft spot for gambling here. The 10x odds in craps and great blackjack game (See Vegas Chatter article for details) keep me coming back. El Cortez was one of the first Downtown Vegas casinos to renovate but that was over 20 years ago now. This is vintage Vegas at its best.

The D

Fremont Street Concert Outside of The D Las Vegas

Fremont Street Concert Outside of The D

The party vibe, dancing-girls and loud dance music on the first floor of The D casino makes me want to craps. If I’m gambling on the first floor of The D then you’ll probably find me rolling dice. The 10x odds are nice but not necessary for a good time. FWIW, if I’m upstairs you can find me at the end of the View Bar near the sportsbook playing 8/5 Bonus (with multiple progressives) Video Poker while keeping an eye on a game.

Copyright © 2017 Marc Meltzer & EDGe Vegas