The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast

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EP#27: My Special Guest - Christina Ellis

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Christina Ellis, the Director of Marketing for Ellis Island Casino & Brewery in Las Vegas.

Ellis Island is one of the coolest spots in Las Vegas & a favourite for both locals and tourists alike.  Located a block east of the strip on Koval Lane, it's been a landmark in Las Vegas for just over 50 years.  Ellis Island is unique in that it's a family-owned & family-run and in being so, they've been able to keep it "all about the customer".

Christina & I talked about the history of Ellis Island, the challenges of working with family, how Ellis Island has survived the ups & downs Las Vegas has faced in the last several years and plans for the future of Ellis Island.  And of course, we also talked about the amazing food & drinks they serve including their famous Prime Rib, the $6.99 Steak & Eggs special and the $2.50 beers.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use including:

- UK Pop Star Robbie Williams is rumoured to be signing a HUGE deal with The Wynn

- The Hard Rock Hotel/soon-to-be Virgin Hotel Las Vegas has inked an agreement with a major events producer

- And some interesting facts & figures for the month of May courtesy of the Las Vegas Convention Authority

EP#26: The Truth Is Out There - Las Vegas & Area 51

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Area 51...

We've all heard the stories and seen it depicted in movies & television.  If pop culture & rumours are to be believed, it's a top secret installation in the Nevada desert where the United States military conducts classified activities - including research on alien spacecraft & technology as well as extraterrestrial beings.

What's the Las Vegas connection to Area 51?  It's two-fold:

First, it's well known that many Las Vegas residents work at Area 51, making the commute via Janet Airlines (they're the non-descript white planes with a red stripe that you've probably seen taking off & landing at McCarran International Airport).

Secondly, due to Area 51's proximity to Las Vegas (it's only a 2-3 hour drive away), thousands of people each year make the drive out to see the gates and maybe get a glimpse of something...bizarre.

Friend of the show & fellow Vegas Podcaster, Chris Kim, the host of Faces and Aces Las Vegas had the opportunity to talk to Braden & Dan who are the hosts of the Alien Theorists Theorizing Podcast about their journey to Area 51...as well as some of the "weirdness" they experienced on their trek to the gates.

Chris was gracious enough to allow me to share the interview on my podcast...enjoy!

Be sure to follow Alien Theorists Theorizing on Twitter & Instagram and take a listen to their show.

For even more Vegas-related content, follow Faces And Aces Las Vegas on Twitter & Instagram and be sure to listen to the podcast.

If you want to plan your own trek out to the fabled Area 51, check out this great article that outlines the best way to get to & from the back gate...and what to see along the way.

Also, in this episode's Vegas News You Can Use:

- A long-time Vegas hotspot has shut down

- If you're in the mood for a cupcake, you'll have to go hunting somewhere other than the Linq Promenade

- And more potential changes to the Las Vegas Strip as a piece of prime real estate gets sold

EP#25: My Special Guest - Steve Cyr

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My special guest for this episode of the podcast is Steve Cyr.  

Steve is a Casino Host in Las Vegas, but he's not just any Casino Host.  Steve Cyr is a member of a very elite group of Casino Hosts who deal exclusively with "Whales".

For the uninitiated, "Whales" are the people who come to Sin City to gamble massive sums of money; it's not uncommon for them to drop upwards of a million dollars over the course of a weekend in Vegas.  To get them to come to town - along with their giant bank accounts - Casino Hosts will hook them up with lavish comps...like flights on private jets, limo service to & from the casino, high-end suites & villas, ringside seats to UFC fights and pretty much anything else you can imagine.

Steve Cyr is the guy makes all of that happen - and so much more.

Steve was gracious enough to invite me into his home for our conversation.  We talked about everything from his start in the casino business to how he re-invented the way hosting was being done to some of the more bizarre requests he's gotten from his Whales.

If you want to know more about Steve Cyr, check out his website and be sure to follow him on Twitter & Instagram.  Also, be sure to pick up a copy of the book, "Whale Hunting In The Desert: Secrets of a Vegas Superhost" by Deke Castleman, which chronicles Steve's rise to become one of the top hosts in Las Vegas.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use:

- A massive sale as Eldorado Resorts enters into an agreement to purchase Caesars Entertainment

- It's official: The SLS will become The Sahara...again

- Record passenger numbers pass through Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport in the month of May

EP#24: The June Trip Report

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I've freshly returned from trip #4 of 2019 and it's time for another world famous Jeff Does Vegas Trip Report!

This episode features reviews of my stay at Bally's as well as meals at Village Cafe at Ellis Island, PizzaRev, Yard House at Linq Promenade, The Still at The Mirage and Ri-Ra at Mandalay Bay.  I also managed to (finally) check out Don't Tell Mama on Fremont Street and - of course - I took in another awesome Mondays Dark at The Space.

From the world of Vegas News You Can Use:

- Shania Twain has announced a new Las Vegas residency

- Guns N' Roses are headed back to rock Sin City in November 2019

- And the National Atomic Testing Museum is on the hunt for a new home

WOW!!! 10,000+ Downloads!!!

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WOW!  The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast has hit a huge milestone...10,000+ DOWNLOADS!

I know I said I wasn't going to post any episodes for awhile, but I had to jump on and thank everyone who's helped me reach this huge achievement!

Thanks to all my listeners, thanks to all my guests and thanks to all the fellow Las Vegas podcasters who've helped to share the show and make it as big as it's become.

The best is yet to come!  I've got lots planned for the show, so I hope you'll stick with me as we grow together!

EP#23: A Cut Above The Rest

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If you're not drooling by the end of this episode, you should probably check your pulse to see if you're still alive.  This time around, we're talking about a Las Vegas staple: PRIME RIB!

My guest for this episode of the show is Kristen DeSilva.  By day, she's a content producer for a Las Vegas TV station...but off the clock, she's a Prime Rib aficionado who's made it her goal to eat as many different Prime Rib dinners around Las Vegas as possible.  If you follow Kristen on Twitter or Instagram, you can track her progress with photos of her amazing meals.

If you want to share in Kristen's experience, here's her list of Prime Rib picks:

Primarily Prime Rib at South Point Hotel & Casino, Lawry's Las Vegas, Village Pub & Cafe at Ellis Island, Bob Taylor's Original Ranch House, Siegel's 1941 at El Cortez Hotel & Casino, Marilyn's Cafe at Tuscany Suites & Casino, Golden Steer Steakhouse and Jerry's Famous Coffeeshop at Jerry's Nugget Casino.

Also in this episode...Vegas News You Can Use:

- Lots of rumours floating around surrounding the SLS including new entertainment & a possible name change

- A big winner at the Venetian becomes Vegas' latest millionaire

- And the Neon Museum is set to undergo a big expansion

 

EP#22: Mob Rules

It's no secret that Las Vegas has a somewhat shady past...and that can pretty much 100% be attributed to the Mob's history in Las Vegas.

There are a lot of myths & legends surrounding Vegas' association with the world of organized crime and I wanted to get to the bottom of it all, so I turned to the experts.

The Mob Museum is one of my favorite Las Vegas attractions.  It's the definitive authority on Mob history, not just in Las Vegas but all across the US & around the world.  The Mob Museum is always on my to-do list when I'm in town and it's always one of my top recommendations for people travelling to Las Vegas.

My guest on this episode of the podcast is Geoff Schumacher, the Senior Director of Content for The Mob Museum.  We talked about Las Vegas' humble history as a stop on the railway line, the growth of gambling & the connection to organized crime and Geoff helped to separate fact from fiction when it comes to some of those legendary stories of the mob's involvement in the building of Las Vegas.

Keep up with the Mob Museum by following them on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.  Get your tickets to visit the Mob Museum here.

Vegas News You Can Use:

- An update about the Pinball Hall Fame & their application to build a new facility

- "Dynamic Pricing" is coming to MGM Resorts in Las Vegas

- And The Cosmopolitan has announced this summer's line-up for Dive Inn Movies

 

EP#21: Kill Resort Fees!

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The topic of discussion for this episode of the podcast is one that affects pretty much anyone who visits Las Vegas: RESORT FEES!

For those unfamiliar with the concept, "Resort Fees" are extra fees that most Vegas hotels will charge guests in addition to the actual room rate.  Depending on the hotel you're staying at, those fees range anywhere from an additional $25-$45 per night and for lower-end hotels, the resort fee is actually HIGHER than the published room rate.

And what do you get for that extra cash?  The hotels try to claim they're giving you access to the pool, resort wi-fi, the fitness center, free local calls and other goodies.  In fact, what they're actually giving you is nothing.

Joining me for this episode of the podcast is Lauren Wolfe, a Washington, D.C.-based lawyer who, like a lot of other who travel to Las Vegas - and elsewhere in the US where the Resort Fee Plague is spreading - got tired of paying this so-called mandatory fee in exchange for, essentially, nothing.  So, she decided to do something about it.

Lauren is the founder & creator of Kill Resort Fees, a website not only devoted to eliminating resort fees entirely, but educating people on how to avoid resort fees, how to get their resort fees refunded and how to force the government to take action against this illegal practice.

In addition to checking out the website, you can follow Kill Resort Fees on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

Also in this episode...Vegas News You Can Use:

- Work has begun on the Viva Vision upgrade at the Fremont Street Experience

- The Pinball Hall of Fame & Museum has taken the first step towards getting their new location

- And another week means another residency announcement...Paula Abdul is coming to the Flamingo

 

EP#20: My Special Guest - Lisa Marie Smith

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Credit: Lisa Marie Smith on Facebook

My special guest for this episode is Lisa Marie Smith.  Lisa is a Las Vegas-based singer, dancer & model.  She's appeared as a headliner in shows on the Vegas strip at the Stratosphere and the Palazzo.  Just last year, she signed her first record deal with Fervor Records and in November 2018, she released her debut self-titled EP featuring her single, "Get Closer To Me".  Lisa is currently in the process of launching her new band project, LMS.

Lisa is also one of my closest friends.  In the time we've known each other, she's become like a sister to me.  I've introduced her to Canadian delicacies like All-Dressed & Ketchup Chips, Buttertarts and Nanaimo Bars and she's taken me and my wife out to some awesome Vegas restaurants, bars and shows.  Lisa has been there for me during some very tough times and I've been fortunate enough to be able to do the same for her.

During our podcast conversation we talked about growing up in Las Vegas, touring around the world performing on cruise ships, her charity work, her vocal teaching and we also talked about some of her recent personal physical struggles.

Follow Lisa on FacebookTwitter & Instagram.  Stream her EP on Apple Music and Spotify or download from iTunes.

Also in this episode...Vegas News You Can Use:

- Wynn has announced they're eliminating parking fees for guests of The Wynn & Encore Resorts

- Jimmy Kimmel's new comedy club is open in Las Vegas

- And Mariah Carey is coming back to The Collosseum at Caesars Palace

 

EP#19: Here’s the (Time Share) Pitch!

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Here's the scenario:  You're walking down the strip with your significant other enjoying the scenery, taking in the sights and sounds just minding your own business when a total stranger approaches you and says, "What a lovely couple!  How'd you like free tickets to a show?"

The first-timers and newbies are thinking, "Sure...I'd LOVE free tickets to a show!" meanwhile the Vegas veterans are thinking, "RUN!  RUN AS FAST YOU CAN!  DON'T ENGAGE!  DON'T TALK!  JUST RUN!"  Nothing in Vegas is free...and the price for those "free tickets" is sitting through the dreaded TIME SHARE PRESENTATION!

To navigate the murky waters of Time Shares, I've enlisted the help of an expert: Lisa Ann Schreier - aka The Time Share Crusader - is a consumer advocate who's been involved in the time share community for over 20 years.  She's an author & blogger who works to keep people up to date on the time share industry as well as the questionable companies and practices out there.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use:

- Sting has announced his residency at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace

- If you want to see The Eagles in September, be prepared to shell out BIG BUCKS

- And Criss Angel has scaled back the schedule for his "MindFreak Live" show at Planet Hollywood