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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Keeping in Touch with Las Vegas for Free

27 November 2002

Even though Chicago-area residents have plenty of casino gambling opportunities in their own backyard, there still is nothing quite like Las Vegas.

Long before the riverboats took up residence on Midwest waterways, a trip to Vegas or Atlantic City was the only way to experience slot machine and table game action.

The expansion of gambling across the United States during the last decade hasn't caused travel and tourism in Las Vegas to wane. On the contrary, it has helped to expand the casino gambling fan base and create new interest in the Gambling Capital of the World.

If you catch a good airfare and hotel package, a trip to Vegas can be relatively inexpensive when compared to other fun and sun vacation options. Once you're there you can take advantage of some great dining bargains. All it takes to make it completely affordable is sound money management when gambling, or, better yet, a jackpot to pay for the whole trip!

One good way to get all you can out of your Las Vegas vacation and to take advantage of the best deals while you're there is to do your homework ahead of time instead of ""cramming"" in your hotel room.

I’ve discovered a great, free, online resource for Las Vegas travelers that will provide invaluable information for anyone planning a trip and wanting to know the best dining and entertainment deals, package plans, rental car bargains, show tickets, and much more.

It’s the ""Viva Las Vegas Newsletter"" published by Las Vegas travel and entertainment authority Bill Mandel. You can have this weekly newsletter and list of coupons e-mailed to you free of charge just by logging on to www.billhere.com and filling out the subscription form.

With more than 280,000 weekly readers, the Viva Las Vegas Newsletter has the largest circulation of any publication aimed at tourists coming to Las Vegas.

In a recent edition of the newsletter, for example, you’ll find a link to some low prices on charters to Las Vegas including air and three or four night hotel accommodations. There’s also a link for the best room deals in over 70 Las Vegas hotels plus news and updates from the properties, a link for car rental deals, and a link for show tickets.

The Viva Las Vegas Newsletter also enlightens travelers with sound advice and information. A three-part series on ""Tipping Fully Explained with Secrets Revealed"" (who, when, and how much) was particularly helpful. The basic advice was to tip in places where you’ve never tipped before. Reduce tips for unsatisfactory service, be generous for extraordinary service.

Here are the guidelines for tipping casino personnel for hand paid jackpots at the slot and video poker machines:

Hand Paid Jackpot    Tip   
$200 to $500 $5
$501 to $1,000 $10
$1,001 to $1,500 $20
$1,501 to $2,000 $30
$2,001 to $2,500 $35
$2,501 to $4,000 $40

The tip, it is recommended, should be spread around to the however number of employees who assist in the hand paid jackpot. If the tip is $20 and two workers assist you, then give $10 to each of them.

Or how about this advice for taxicabs riders: ""Make sure you tell the driver NOT to take the tunnel if you are checking into a hotel in the Tropicana/Las Vegas Blvd. Area. NEVER ask a taxi driver for advice, since some businesses pay them a commission for bringing in customers. This practice called 'diversion' is very prevalent among Las Vegas taxi drivers and the Las Vegas Taxicab Authority has been unable to stop it.""

Being the smartest, best informed traveler you can be goes hand in hand with being the smartest, best informed gambler you can be to getting the most out of your Las Vegas vacation.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp