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#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#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

 

EP#18: My Special Guest - John Di Domenico

My special guest for this episode of the podcast is John Di Domenico.  John is a Las Vegas-based actor & performer who specializes in character impersonation.  John does this on stage all over the world, on TV, in movies and at corporate events all over the world.  He has an impressive roster of about 30 different characters he portrays but one particular character has been keeping him very VERY busy as of late...

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John is recognized as the best Donald Trump impersonator in the world (or as Donald himself might say, "Tremendous").  You've likely seen him as Trump in one of his multiple appearances on Fox News, late night talk shows (including Conan O'Brien) or in his Facebook Watch series, "The Trump Show."  John also landed his first Vegas headlining gig in "Esther Goldberg's Totally Outrageous Brunch" at the SLS and recently released an Amazon Prime special, "Fake News: A Trump Story" which is now streaming.

John was kind enough to invite me into his home where we talked about his start in acting & character work, the changing landscape of comedy and his charity work.  And of course, when you're talking to the number one Trump impersonator in the world, you're going to talk a bit of politics too.

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

- The famous Little White Chapel is up for sale

- Rumors are flying that The Cosmopolitan is going up for sale

- And an Arizona native wins a $13.1 million slot jackpot

 

EP#16: Classic Vegas Mistakes

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.

Also in this episode, Vegas News You Can Use:

- The Eagles are coming to Las Vegas in September for two special live performances of the album, Hotel California

- A timeline has been released for the changeover of the Hard Rock Hotel to the Virgin Hotel Las Vegas

- And the Las Vegas Aviators triple-a baseball team is getting set for take-off!

 

EP#14: Viva Las Value!

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.

Also In This Episode:

- Updates on a few big-name comedians who are coming to Vegas over the next couple of months including Craig Ferguson, Kevin McDonald, Jim Gaffigan and Sebastian Maniscalo

- And POOL SEASON IS HERE!  Resorts up and down the strip are gearing up for the summer of 2019 with exciting announcements for poolside entertainment!