After operating for almost 25 years, the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino - just off the Vegas strip at the corner of Harmon Avenue & Paradise Road - shut its doors on February 3, 2020 in preparation for a massive re-brand and renovation to become the Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, which officially opened in March 2021.
In addition to being Sir Richard Branson's first entry into the Vegas market, it also marked the first tribal casino presence in the city with Mohegan Sun Gaming & Entertainment taking over operations of the new 60,000 square foot casino.
My guest for this episode is Joe Hasson, the General Manager of the Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas. We discussed his early career & how he got into casino management, the partnerships between Mohegan Sun & the other operators on site, and the challenges of opening a new property during a global pandemic.
For more information on Mohegan Sun Casino at Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or visit their website where you can also book your stay at the resort.
Don't forget: Jeff Does Vegas is an official Vegas.com affiliate!
Help support the podcast & get exclusive deals by booking your hotel stays, shows, attractions, tours, clubs and even complete vacation packages (including air & hotel) with our special link!
I think we've all had that experience where a bunch of time passes and we have no idea where it's gone. Whether it's while driving down the highway, surfing social media or - sitting at a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas.
But what causes that effect? Why do our brains drift away like that and take us out of reality?
My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help us understand.
Spencer Murch has a PhD in Psychology & Cognitive Science from the University of British Columbia and, over the last several years, has been involved in several different research projects surrounding the cognitive science of gambling. Recently, Spencer completed a study surrounding "immersion" and being "zoned in" or "zoned out" during slot play.
Spencer took the time to jump on the show with me to explain the methodology behind the study and share the results of his research. We also talked about the part slot designers play in creating that "immersion", what the future of gaming may hold and how to avoid "zoning in" or "zoning out" while playing slots.
If you'd like to learn more about the psychology of slot machines, check out:
- Research Snapshot: Exploring zoned-in or zoned-out immersion during slot machine gambling
- Research Snapshot: The relationship between dark flow, depression, and multiline slot machines
Or pick up a copy of the book, "Addiction By Design" by Natasha Dow Schull.
I always love having other "Vegas fanatics" on the podcast, and my guest for this episode definitely falls into that category!
Joining me from "across the pond" is Steve White, better known on Twitter as @LasVegasUK. If you've ever listened to the ZorkCast presented by TravelZork, you'll recognize Steve as the British half of the show. Steve is also extremely well-versed in all things Vegas.
Steve & I chatted about everything from our predictions on potential changes coming to Las Vegas, to our very first trips to Vegas, to the unique Vegas guide that Steve is in the process of writing. Also, being that Steve is in the UK under full-on lockdown and I'm in Canada facing extremely strict rules surrounding travel, we thought it was worth having a discussion about travel restrictions & the impact they're having on international travellers.
Start following Steve on Twitter right now and be sure to check out ZorkCast, the official TravelZork podcast, for great Las Vegas advice - and travel advice, in general.
Over the course of the last year or so, I've had the opportunity to talk gambling and gaming with some very cool guests and cover what I thought were some fun and interesting topics. We talked about everything from how to bet on sports, to apps that help you keep track of table game limits, to when "skill" becomes "cheating" and even superstition as it relates to Las Vegas.
As such, for this bonus "Best Of" episode, I thought it might be fun to take a trip back and listen to some of the highlights of those conversations!
And if you want to check out the full episodes, here they are:
EP#36: Sports Betting For Dummies
EP#51: Cheating The Odds
EP#52: Superstitious Feeling
EP#54: Know The Limits
Fred Hazelton & Seb Gagnon are the hosts of a brand new Las Vegas podcast called The Unofficial Vegas Podcast. Fred is a Vegas veteran who visits annually as part of his gig with The Unofficial Vegas Guide and Seb is his good friend & co-host who's only had the opportunity to visit Vegas a couple of times.
I reached out to the guys to see if they'd be interested in joining me on the podcast to talk about their show as well as share some of their own personal Las Vegas picks, tips and tricks!
If you want to take a listen to The Unofficial Vegas Podcast you can find them on Apple Podcasts and Spotify or check them out on Anchor! And be sure to give the boys a follow on social media...find them on Twitter and Instagram!
Big thanks to Noe Perez from The Noe Perez Pod for having me on his podcast to chat. I had an absolute blast talking to Noe about my time growing up in Canada, working in radio, getting into podcasting and sharing some of my own personal Vegas tips & tricks. Be sure to check out the episode and subscribe to the show!
Sergio Portesan is the creator of the website, Viva Las Value - an awesome site crammed with tons of great tips & tricks on how to do your Las Vegas trip on a budget. Sergio is also my first ever "three-peat" guest on the podcast, with first 2 appearances being among my top 10 most-downloaded episodes of all-time.
I asked Sergio to hop back on the podcast for a couple of reasons...
First, with the Canada/US Border closed, I'm not able to travel down to Las Vegas but Sergio can, so I asked him if he'd be willing to join me for a "trip report by proxy" to share a few reviews from his most recent trek to Sin City.
Secondly, Sergio's trip coincided with the re-opening weekend of Las Vegas following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. As such, I wanted to get his thoughts & opinions on how he thought Vegas was doing in welcoming back visitors and - most importantly - whether or not he thought he'd be heading back down for another trip anytime soon.
If you've got Vegas-related questions for Sergio be sure to reach out and follow Viva Las Value on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram
A lot has changed in Las Vegas since I released my last regular episode; Hell, a lot has changed in the 3 weeks since I released the last SPECIAL episode.
As such, I thought it might be a good time to jump back on with a brand new episode to provide some news on what's happening in the city & share some of my predictions of what a re-opening of Las Vegas might look like. I also wanted to check in with everyone & let you know what's going on in my life, what's happening with my friends living in Vegas, what the future of the podcast looks like and - most importantly - reach out to everyone to find out how all of YOU are doing.
And don't forget: If you need someone to talk to during these difficult and - frankly - weird times, feel free to reach out and send me a direct message on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. I'm always here and willing to connect!
If you're anything like me, you've got your smartphone loaded up with apps to help you navigate your Las Vegas adventure...from rideshare apps to casino loyalty apps to gaming apps that help you earn freebies.
But if you're a table games player & you're headed to Vegas anytime soon you need to get your hands on a brand new app called Betmingo.
Betmingo provides crowd-sourced info about tables at casinos all across Las Vegas...in REAL TIME thanks to app users!
My guest for this episode is Gabe Punsalan, the co-founder and co-creator of Betmingo. Gabe and I chatted about the concept & development of the app, how the app works and the plans for the future of Betmingo.
For more information, visit Betmingo online and make sure to download the app for both Apple and Android devices! You can also follow Betmingo on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest updates!
Whether we like to admit it or not, we're all a little superstitious in our own little ways. And I don't think there's anywhere in the world where that superstitious nature is on display more than in Las Vegas.
Some people have lucky shirts they wear when playing Blackjack, others tap the side of the slot machine in between spins and some refuse to use $50 bills when they're gambling.
But is there any science to superstitions? My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to answer that question...
Stuart Vyse is a behavioural scientist, a teacher and a writer. He's also an expert on superstition and irrational behaviour who's been quoted in the New York Times & Washington Post and has appeared on CBS Sunday Morning & NPR's Science Friday.
We discussed some of the most common superstitions & their origins, whether or not certain cultures are more superstitious than others and famous superstitions in the world of sports, music & theater.
If you'd like to learn more about Stuart and the world of superstitions & irrational behaviour, be sure to visit his website.
Stuart's books, "Believing In Magic: The Science of Superstition" and "Superstition: A Very Short Introduction" are both available via his website or from your favourite book seller.
My guest for this episode of the podcast is Heather Ferris, the CEO & Founder of Vegas Aces, an online casino dealing and gaming school. Heather joined me once before back in episode #13 to help me get over my fear of table games and to teach me the basics of Blackjack.
This time around, she's here to chat about something infinitely more interesting: Cheating in casinos.
Heather & I connected at the gaming lab at UNLV to talk about the different types of cheating that people try to pull off, the legalities of counting cards & whether or not that's considered "cheating" and we discussed the point at which "skill" becomes "cheating".
You can find Heather online via the official Vegas Aces website. Also, be sure to follow Vegas Aces on Twitter & Facebook and check out the Vegas Aces YouTube Channel featuring weekly live streams (including this fun one where Heather taught me how to play Craps).
The topic for this episode of the show comes courtesy of listener, Jacob Kehl from Denmark. Jacob really wanted to me to do an episode featuring tips & tricks for the Vegas Low Roller.
Jacob, your wish is my command!
And joining me to talk about the right way to Low Roll in Las Vegas is friend of the show, making his second appearance on the podcast, Sergio Portesan - the creator of the website Viva Las Value! Sergio and I talked about the best websites to find discount Vegas hook-up's, suggestions for low roller hotels, restaurants & bars and how to make your bankroll last longer when hitting the tables & machines.
For all the details, check out Sergio's website, Viva Las Value and be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook! And if you want to learn the story behind the creation of Viva Las Value, go back in the archives and check out EP#14: Viva Las Value.
For this episode, I've decided to tackle a topic people have been asking about almost since I started doing the podcast: Sports Gambling. Honestly though, I know absolutely NOTHING about betting on sports...so I decided to call in an expert!
My special guest this time around is Minty Bets. Minty is a Las Vegas local who shares her tips & tricks on her Twitter & Instagram pages and she's also a member of the team at WagerTalk TV, where she - along with the rest of the crew - make their weekly picks.
We talked about how and why Minty got into sports betting, we covered common terminology, the different types of wagers that can be made and she shared some tips & tricks and do's & don't's for first-timers.
Follow Minty Bets on Twitter & Instagram and subscribe to WagerTalk TV on YouTube.
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.
Las Vegas attracts over 42 million visitors every year from all over the world with a good number of those people making their first ever trip to Sin City. Las Vegas is one of those places that can be very overwhelming for a first-timer. But don't worry...your friends will help with suggestions on places to stay, where to eat, what shows to see and what attractions to go to.
What your friends probably won't tell you about are all the things they did WRONG on their trips to Las Vegas; mistakes that can literally make or break your vacation. To do that, I've enlisted the help of an expert who - quite literally - wrote the book on "Classic Vegas Mistakes."
This episode, I chat with David Demontmollin, a 20-year casino industry veteran who's worked for both Strip and Off-Strip properties in Las Vegas. He starred in Discovery Channel's smash hit, "American Casino" and has appeared on multiple TV & radio shows, talking about casino travel. David has also channeled his expertise into several books including "Las Vegas' Little Black Book: A Guys Guide To The Perfect Vegas Weekend" and "Classic Vegas Mistakes" - both of which are available on Amazon.
David and I talked about his experience in the industry, recent changes in the casino & gaming business - including those dreaded Resort Fees - and those Classic Vegas Mistakes. If you want more Classic Vegas Mistakes, head over and follow David on Twitter.
Money is always a tricky topic when it comes to planning for a Las Vegas trip or when giving advice to Vegas visitors. As I've talked about in previous episodes, Vegas is one of those rare vacation destinations where you can literally make it whatever you want it to be; whether you want to play "high roller" and drop stacks of cash wherever you go or you want to play it sensible and actually take some of your money home with you, both are viable options.
Viva Las Value is a new website designed to help you do Vegas like a high roller...without breaking the bank. The site is jammed full of amazing tips & tricks for the Vegas visitor including everything from how to score free drinks while playing slots to how to NOT be overwhelmed on your first trip to the casino to how to earn comps just for playing "pretend" slots on Facebook. I tracked down Sergio Portesan, the founder and creator of Viva Las Value to get his story & find out the inspiration behind creating the site.
Be sure to give Viva Las Value a follow on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram to interact.
I have a confession to make: I'm approaching my 27th trip to Las Vegas in the last 5 years and in all of that time, not once have I ever played a table game. I've never played a hand of Blackjack or Poker, I've never tossed the dice in a game of Craps and I've never placed a bet at a Roulette table.
Why is that? There's a few reasons - some of which include anxiety, intimidation, a past negative experience with a "casino troll" and the fact that I simply don't know how to play a lot of the table games. To help me out with these issues, I decided to talk to an expert and bring her on the show!
This episode, I'll be joined by Heather Ferris, the CEO and Founder of Vegas Aces, the world's first FREE online dealing trade school where regular folks like me can learn how to deal AND play casino table games! For more info on Vegas Aces and what Heather has to offer, check out their website and follow them on Facebook and Twitter!
There have been so many EPIC crossovers in history; The Flintstones & The Jetsons, Family Guy & The Simpsons, Power Rangers & TMNT, Full House & Family Matters...and now you can add ANOTHER one to the list:
The Faces And Aces Las Vegas Podcast & The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast!
After much brainstorming, Chris & I managed to get together via Skype and put together what I think is a pretty great episode for both of our podcasts!
We're both regular visitors to Las Vegas and in all those visits, we determined that there are certain things you have to do in order to say you've "done Vegas"...so in this crossover episode, we present our lists - but with a bit of a twist:
If you want to hear our discussion & thoughts on the COMPLETE lists, you need to listen to BOTH of our podcasts! Numbers 10 through 6 are over at Faces And Aces Las Vegas & Number 5 through 1 are heard here in my podcast.
If you really can't wait to listen to both episodes of the podcasts, then here's my complete list of the Top 10 Things You Have To Do To Say You've "Done Vegas":
||Get a photo with a showgirl or character on the street
||Visit Fremont Street/Downtown Las Vegas
||See a Cirque du Soleil Show
||Go to the top of the Eiffel Tower at the Paris Hotel
||Ride the Linq High Roller
||Do a Gondola Ride at the Venetian
||Go to a strip club (or at the very least, a topless show)
||Get bottle service/VIP table service at a night club
||Take a helicopter ride over The Strip
||Visit the famous "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas" sign
Thanks so much for listening and checking out The Jeff Does Vegas Podcast!
Don't forget to give us a follow on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook!