Friday, July 29, 2016

Viva Nerd Vegas!

Think Vegas is just for the blown-out club bros and Asian businessmen willing to spend small fortunes on pai gow? Think you’ll have to leave your Spock ears at home? That is highly illogical. There is an inordinate amount of bars, shops and attractions in Las Vegas that cater to the geek community (Editor’s Note: We use the terms “geek,” “nerd,” “drip,” “square” and “dork” in the least pejorative, most prideful sense). Whether you’re into Doctor Who or Doctor Octopus, there is a community gathering in outlandish costuming somewhere in the city, waiting for you with open arms.

Hopefully you’ve realized how cool Downtown Las Vegas is by this point. While you’re visiting Fremont East and nearby Arts District, be sure to mosey on over to Neonopolis, the mall at the end of Fremont Experience. Here you’ll find Toy Shack, specializing in buying and selling vintage toys from iconic brands of the ‘80s. As the definitive voice of all things toys in Las Vegas, the store’s owner Johnny Jimenez Jr. appears regularly on the popular television series “Pawn Stars.” The Shack boasts more retro G.I. Joe figurines and rare Hot Wheels products than you can shake a stick at.

For those who “want to believe” and live by the motto “the truth is out there,” The National Atomic Testing Museum’s Area 51 exhibit is out of this world. Created with input from former Groom Lake employees, the Area 51: Myth or Reality exhibit explores the real truth, the real programs and addresses the secrecy surrounding America’s most secret base. This Smithsonian Institution-affiliated museum details the myths, presents the evidence and lets you decide. Plus, the gift shop sells really cool “Area 51 Security” baseball caps!

Stan Lee apostles rejoice! Marvel nerds can snap a selfie with the likes of Spider-Man, The Hulk and Nick Fury at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum inside The Venetian. The latest exhibit, Marvel Super Heroes 4D theatrical adventure, incorporates 3D, interactive film screenings with special effects like wind, water and scents. Viewers must save Las Vegas from Dr. Doom’s evil plans. Definitely bring your camera along. Instagram will love that photo of you next to the 15-foot-tall replica of The Hulk. As an added bonus, Pokémon Go trainers receive 10 percent off the cost of admission. If you didn’t know, the Strip is lousy with Pokémon.

The beloved Pinball Hall of Fame is less than a 10-minute drive from the Strip, but we’d drive a long way for this. With more than 10,000 square feet of pinball machines from the 1950s up to the ‘90s and classic arcade games such as Centipede and Donkey Kong, it is surprising this living museum is not more popular. There is no admission charge. All pre-1990 machines cost 25 cents per play, and the newer machines cost 50 cents per play. All of the money is either spent on repairs or donated to non-denominational charities in the valley. We’ll see you there! You can catch us posted up at the Simpsons arcade game.

CSI: The Experience is easily one of the coolest attractions offered by a Strip resort. Fans of the popular television show will delight at the chance to solve a triple murder using forensic crime labs and help from the show’s characters. You’ll perform realistic CSI tests, such as matching DNA, examining bullet casings and identifying single strands of hair, but hurry. The clock is ticking! If you pay for the upgraded cable television package and watch Discovery ID exclusively, this is the Las Vegas Strip attraction for you. Find CSI: The Experience at MGM Grand.

This is the bar you’re looking for. Millennium Fandom Bar at the base of SoHo Lofts in Downtown Las Vegas is the kind of place cosplay enthusiasts can unabashedly nerd out while drinking specialty geek-tails like “BB-8,” a vanilla vodka and butterscotch liqueur concoction, and “In Groot We Trust,” made with two kinds of rum, Midori Melon and Sprite. The bar is littered with Star Trek and Star Wars memorabilia, superhero regalia and other pop-cultural flotsam. If you ask nicely, the owner may even let you play with the light sabers… replicas of course. We all know what happens when you mix light sabers and cantinas.

Honorable Mentions

Bad Owl Coffee is a Harry Potter-themed coffee shop in Henderson, a quick detour if you’re driving out of town toward Los Angeles or Phoenix. Billed as “serious coffee with a hint of magic,” Bad Owl is a full-service coffee shop, offering everything from nitrogen-infused cold coffee to “Butter Brew” lattes.

The Sci-fi Center, a few minutes’ drive west of the Strip, sells comics, collectibles and art to only the most discerning dorks. However, the big draw here is the screening room in the back, where you can catch a weekly late night double feature. Recent screenings have included such cinematic masterpieces as “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” and “Megaforce.” Each week concludes with “The Rocky Horror Picture Show,” complete with audience participation and shadowing by local RHPS troupe, Science Fiction Double Feature.

You didn’t think we’d leave fans of the undead off the list, did you? Zombie geeks can get their fix and then some at Las Vegas’ very own Zombie Apocalypse Store. If you need freeze-dried rations, brass knuckles and a ream of zombie paper targets but don’t want to make multiple stops, Zombie Apocalypse Store has you covered. They even host regular zombie hunts, during which patrons can gun down actual zombies (read: shoot paintballs at guys dressed like zombies).

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Singing Sin City

We know your type. You’re the kind of person who can’t hear ambulance sirens over your car stereo. The shower is your concert hall, running water is your cheering fans, and you require at least 15 minutes of applause to make the day worthy of an encore. You probably won’t be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame anytime soon, but these Las Vegas karaoke joints will have you feeling like a rock star!

Double Barrel Roadhouse
Tuesday nights at Double Barrel Roadhouse are a surefire good time. Liquid Courage Karaoke starts at 8 p.m. every week, and there’s no cover charge. The Strip-side patio brings together locals and tourists itching to flex their golden pipes. This high-energy bar with a Southern flair is quickly becoming the go-to spot in Las Vegas for laid-back fun. Come for the karaoke, stay for the yard-long frozen daiquiris.

The Pasadena, Texas, import has provided a Strip haven for cowboys and girls since the 1990s. The raucous nightly hoedown boasts boot stomping and bull riding. Every Tuesday and Wednesday, Gilley’s hosts karaoke night starting at 7 p.m. It’s best to stick to the classics at this honkytonk. George Straight, Garth Brooks and any Hank Williams will do.

Dino’s Lounge
Family-owned and –operated since 1962, Dino’s is Vegas’ favorite dive bar and karaoke joint. Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10 p.m., host and local legend Danny G guides patrons through a rowdy night of cold drinks and hot tunes. The neighborhood bar atmosphere is something you don’t always get with Las Vegas Strip bars, yet Dino’s has it in spades. After serenading the regulars, stop by Viva Las Arepas next door to satisfy that late night meat tooth.

A Korean joint in the heart of Chinatown, Zizzy serves up delicious sushi and tasty karaoke. This establishment features five private rooms for around $20 an hour. You and 11 of your closest friends can sing your hearts out all night long away from the prying ears of Vegas bar flies. Break out your best Gangnam Style! The more you drink, the better you speak Korean!

Champagnes Cafe
Champagnes is a midtown legend. This velvet wallpapered watering hole has served quirky cocktails for 50 years. The real show happens every Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 10 p.m. until 2 a.m. when longtime host, guitarist and sexy sax man Doug Price emcees arguably the best karaoke in Las Vegas. Singers are backed by Price’s instruments in addition to a live drummer, which makes for a memorable karaoke outing.

Don’t Tell Mamma
Welcome to the big leagues of karaoke. There’s no teleprompter here; no canned audio; no electronic backing vocals. The only items you’ll see on the stage at Don’t Tell Mamma are a piano and a microphone. You’d better know your stuff. The bar sits in the middle of Fremont East Entertainment District, possibly the best area in Vegas for barhopping. Even if you decide the world isn’t ready for your musical stylings, the singing wait staff is worth the trip to Don’t Tell Mama.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Five-star to Under the Stars: Lodging in Maui

With nearly 10 million visitors flocking to the Hawaiian Islands every year, Maui is home to a plethora of lodging options. Whatever type of experience you’re looking for, the Valley Isle has the beachfront resort, condo, bed and breakfast or tree house to meet your needs. Here’s a list of some of our current favorites from around the island.

For the Quiet Type

The Inn at Mama’s Fish House, located on Maui’s screen saver-worthy north shore, offers a quiet reprieve from the bustling, tourist-heavy resort corridor to the south. Guests have the luxury of choosing from one- to two-bedroom cottages and suites with either ocean or garden views. As if the private lanais and shady hammocks weren’t enough, every door is only steps away from the property’s private beach. As an added bonus, the restaurant portion of Mama’s Fish House serves up arguably the best seafood on the island.

For Families

A tropical sanctuary in Paia, Maui, Mangolani Inn will rent the entire upstairs of the newly remodeled property to families of up to 10. The five bedrooms and three bathrooms mean everyone can enjoy their privacy. The majority of the bedrooms boast sliding glass doors that open to a spacious, covered lanai. Enjoy a family dinner on the lawn under large mango and avocado trees. The kids will love the easy access to some of the island’s best beaches from this quaint bed and breakfast.

For Lovers of the Provincial

A rustic, romantic hideaway built in the 1940s as a private residence, Kula Lodge and Restaurant hugs the mountainside and blends with the astonishing ambience of Upcountry Maui. At an elevation of 3,200 feet, you’ll have splendid views of central Maui from the side of Haleakala, the dormant volcano responsible for the majority of Maui’s creation. Bask in the bucolic splendor of the nearby flower farms and the on-site garden terrace that produces fresh herbs for the kitchen.

For Lovers of Golf

Nestled in one of Hawaii’s largest nature preserves, Kapalua Resort features a necklace of stunning white sand beaches, two marine sanctuaries, award-winning accommodations and, most importantly, two legendary world-class golf courses. The Ben Crenshaw-designed Plantation Course is a beastly 7,411-yard par-73 that affords some of the most stunning views of Maui’s western tip. A top-notch spa and tennis courts round out this sprawling resort property’s luxurious amenities.

For Lovers

Condé Nast Traveler readers voted Hotel Wailea the No. 1 hotel on the island of Maui. It’s no wonder why. The epitome of a romantic refuge, is designed for couples seeking relaxation away from the throngs of beachgoers. The hotel maintains an organic garden supplying the award-winning restaurant. Be sure to take advantage of the complimentary shuttle transportation to beaches, shops, golf courses and restaurants in the Wailea area.

For Adventurers

A number of businesses offer tree house rentals in the island’s rainforests. Make no mistake about it; this is glorified camping with a roof. You’ll be spending some quality time with mosquitoes, so don’t forget the bug spray. However, the resulting experience will last as a cherished memory for a lifetime. Jungle hikes begin once you step out of the front door (if there is one). The views of sunsets over the ocean are not spoiled by shave ice shacks or parking garages. The plush amenities at such lodging establishments include fireside chats, wide open spaces and wall-to-wall jungle.

However you want to experience the island of Maui, there is lodging that can accommodate you. While you’re visiting, browse our site for thrilling tours of Maui. Follow VegasDaze on social media for more great travel advice!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Famous Vegas Weddings

Las Vegas is known as the wedding capital of the world for good reason. Clark County issues on average more than 80,000 marriage licenses a year due to its lax prerequisites. There is no waiting period, no blood test and you do not have to be a resident. Considering all the extracurricular activities the city offers, Las Vegas is one of the top destination wedding locales in the world, attracting some of pop culture’s biggest names looking to tie the knot. We count down the most famous Vegas weddings.

Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward married Jan. 1958
Nights in Rodanthe star Richard Gere and international supermodel Cindy Crawford tied the knot in Las Vegas way back in December of 1991. The intimate ceremony took place at The Little Church of the West wedding chapel. The chapel is the oldest in Las Vegas and has hosted many celebrity weddings since its opening in 1942.

One of The Little Church of the West’s first celebrity weddings took place in 1943 between actress and the original pinup girl Betty Grable. She married bandleader and trumpeter Harry James, who played with the likes of Frank Sinatra and Benny Goodman.

Natalie Louise Maines, one-third of country band Dixie Chicks, married actor and director Adrian Pasdar. Their no-frills ceremony at Las Vegas’ Little White Wedding Chapel took place on June 24, 2000, and cost a whopping $55.

Latin music king Xavier Cugat, who served as the band leader at Riviera in the late ‘50s and early ‘60s, and singer Charo, also no stranger to Las Vegas entertainment, were the first couple to marry at Caesars Palace’s new wedding chapel on Aug. 7, 1966.

Movie stars Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward selected El Rancho as the site for their Las Vegas destination wedding. The two wed Jan. 29, 1958, just two years before the historic property was destroyed by fire.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow married July 1966
In typical Las Vegas wedding fashion, Oasis frontman Noel Gallagher and his girlfriend Meg Matthews were married June 5, 1997, at the Little Church of the West by an Elvis impersonator. The ceremony was set to Beatles music played by the chapel’s pianist.

There was no crying for Michael Jordan on Sep. 2, 1989, when the NBA legend wed his longtime sweetheart and former model Juanita Vanoy at Vegas’ Little White Wedding Chapel. The reception was a … slam dunk.

The Chairman of the Board spent the better part of the 1960s cavorting around Las Vegas, and on July 19, 1966, Frank Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow at the Sands. Before the ceremony, friend and fellow Rat Pack member Dean Martin told Ol’ Blue Eyes that he had scotch older than his bride to be.

In 1959, under a wedding arbor made of Louisville Sluggers, longtime New York Yankees great Billy Martin married Gretchen Winkler at the Desert Inn. The night before, crooner Bobby Darin, of “Mack the Knife” fame, serenaded the wedding party.

One of the most talked about weddings of the decade, Elvis Presley married Ann-Margret at The Little Church of the West … kinda. The ceremony served as the final scene in the smash hit 1964 musical “Viva Las Vegas.” Actual wedding rumors spread like wild fire much to the chagrin of the duo’s respective significant others. In an interesting twist, both were married to other people three years later in Las Vegas.

Elvis Presley and Priscilla Beaulieu married May 1967
Ann-Margret and Roger Smith, who starred as private detective Jeff Spencer in television's "77 Sunset Strip," were married at the Riviera on May 8, 1967. Serving as witness to the wedding was Riviera's manager and public relations director. Only in Vegas.

Arguably the most notable Vegas wedding of all time, The King Elvis Presley and the lovely Priscilla Beaulieu at The Aladdin in the owner’s private suite on May 1, 1967. The entire ceremony was arranged by Elvis’ manager Colonel Parker to maximize publicity. The ceremony lasted only eight minutes and was followed by a press conference. It was estimated that around 100 guests gathered for the reception, including The Aladdin’s owner and his wife, Las Vegas Sun Publisher Hank Greenspun and his wife, and state Supreme Court Justice David Zenoff, who performed the ceremony. The reception set the Presley’s back $10,000.

If you’re planning a destination wedding in Las Vegas, contact a VegasDaze wedding guru today. Our all-inclusive wedding packages take all the guess work out of planning a wedding. Follow us on social media for great ideas when planning your Vegas wedding.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Strip Poké

Rattata lurking about the Trevi Fountain
Las Vegas is home to a plethora of entertainment options. You can find some of the world’s best restaurants, exciting shows and memorable tours all within the 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip. But we know what you’re most excited about, what you’re bragging about to friends in the run up to your Vegas vacation… the Pokémon. The Las Vegas Strip boasts some the finest Pokémon Go hunting you’ll ever see. We’ve compiled the shortlist of Pokémon Go hot spots around town.

The Venetian’s Sands Poker Room features plush amenities, table side food service, power outlets at each seat and … a boat load of Pokémon. There are three to four Pokéstops within range of the 59-table poker room. The canals that run throughout the property spawn water-type Pokémon, including the rare Omanyte and Kabuto.

Et tu, Poké?
The Forum Shops at Caesars Palace are lousy with Pokémon. There are three Pokéstops near the Strip entrance, two of which are fountains spawning water-type critters. The Starbucks nearby provides free Wi-Fi and access to the three stops from the comfort of patio seating. Is there a better way to start your day than sipping coffee and slangin’ Pokéballs? Veni, vidi, vici!

View of the Stip at the Bellagio Fountain
Located in the heart of Downtown Las Vegas, Banger Brewing has been distributing its locally crafted beer for years. In that stretch, it’s become a must on any beer lover’s Vegas trip, but now there’s another reason to stop in and hang out. There are three Pokéstops accessible from the Banger bar. With happy hour twice daily from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. to 11 p.m., there’s plenty of Barley-saurs to go around!

No Rollercoaster, No Problem
SLS may have done away with the rollercoaster during its transformation from Sahara, but the recent addition to the Strip is still packing in the millennials thanks to its six Pokéstops. To top it off, the bars commonly drop lures for their patrons to enjoy and also offer $3 draft beer specials. Both of the property’s clubs, Sayers and Foxtail regularly host musical acts such as Bad Religion, Lil Wayne and Ty Dolla $ign. Apparently, Weezy’s Pokémon are on a whole other level, and he wouldn’t lead you astray.

Hard Rock Type
As if you needed any convincing to party at Hard Rock Casino, the slightly off-Strip mainstay is now the proud host of a whopping nine Pokéstops and one gym. Two of those stops are accessible from Luxe Bar. Show up Sunday through Thursday from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. for $10 signature cocktails such as the Pitch Perfect, a smooth concoction of Bulleit rye, dry vermouth, sweet vermouth and orange bitters. The more you drink, the better you toss Pokéballs.

Growlithe rockin' out at Hard Rock Casino
Poké Preserve
Much like the plains of Africa, Springs Preserve near midtown offers big game Pokémon hunting of the highest order. Within its boundaries lays 23 … yes, 23 Pokéstops. There are a number of interesting exhibits and artifacts to discover, including restored cottages originally built in Downtown for the railroad workers back in the early 20th century. If you’re looking to bag some big game on the cheap, ask for a free trails pass at the admissions office. The 110 acres of pristine trails are infested with Exeggcutes. You won’t be able to explore the Nevada State Museum or butterfly habitat with just a trails pass, but you will have access to all the Pokéstops. Teddy and Ernest would be proud.

On your way out of town, be sure to fire up your $850 Pokémon finder at McCarran International Airport. While strangely no Pokémon spawn within the airport, or any airport it seems, there are still well over a dozen stops and five gyms. After catching all those Sin City Pokémon, you could stand to re-up on the Great Balls.

The upshot here being you don’t have to sacrifice a great vacation for Pokémon. You can have it all and catch ‘em all! For more Las Vegas travel tips and recommendations, follow VegasDaze on social media.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Maui's Best Tours

For such a small island, Maui sure packs an adventurous punch. There is a myriad of outdoor activities and tours to participate in on the Valley Isle. We’ve sifted through the humdrum, mundane and bland and compiled a list of the best tours on Maui. From biking down the face of a volcano to sampling locally brewed beers, you’re sure to find a memorable excursion the whole gang can enjoy!

Outrigger Canoe Tours

A staple of Hawaiian culture, locals have utilized outrigger canoes as a form of transportation for nearly 2,000 years. The folks at Hawaiian Paddle Sports are keeping the tradition alive with cultural, educational and environmentally sustainable canoe excursions. Each tour offers educational interludes that include rope making and snorkeling. Tours range in difficulty from the calm waters of Turtle Town to an exhilarating 9-mile roundtrip to Molokini Crater.

Helicopter Island Sightseeing Tours

The best way to capture the beauty of Maui in photos is to take a helicopter tour of the island. The aerial views of stunning coastlines, cascading waterfalls and dense tropical rain forests make this the perfect tour for shutterbugs visiting Hawaii. The Hana Rainforest Landing tour in particular offers a flight across the eastern half of the island with a landing at the company’s exclusive site on a former taro plantation in the heart of lush Hana Rainforest. Passengers have a half hour to explore the surrounding wilderness. With the best safety record in the industry, you can fly with confidence.

Stargazing Tours

Billed as the “ultimate science-based activity” in Hawaii, Maui Stargazing tours offer an intimate glimpse into the cosmos as guided by expert astronomers from atop the 10,000-foot summit of Haleakala. Stargazers will arrive at the dormant volcano’s peak just in time for a pristine ocean sunset. The astronomer will present a laser-guided tour of the constellations, and each person will get at least an hour of telescope time. As darkness settles, you’ll observe “the visible planets and deep sky objects of the Milky Way, including nebulae and star clusters and the galaxies beyond, through a 12-inch aperture Dobsonian telescope!” As an added perk, Maui Stargazing supplies outwear should it be a chilly night, bottled water and a light snack during this two-hour tour.

Maui Brewing Company Tour

Take a break from all the sunshine to enjoy some beer tasting at Maui Brewing Co. For a surprisingly low $15, the local brewery takes visitors on a tour of the facilities, including an up-close look at the brew house, collar and packaging line. Then the fun part: the tour concludes with a tasting of the company’s flagship line of island-style barley pop. Each guest also receives a token for a full beer as well as a souvenir glass. After such an exciting tour and a handful of local brews, you'll be well prepared for an afternoon on the beach.

Sail Boat Tour

Snorkel around Molokini Crater in style when you take a sailing catamaran across the ocean to the centuries old volcano. The spacious vessel transports you to two different snorkel spots around the islet for variety and privacy. Seafarers are also treated to delicious food and adult beverages during the five-hour tour. TripAdvisor named this tour the No. 5 tour in the country.

Downhill Bike Tour

For the more adventurous, a downhill bike tour on the side of Haleakala affords unique thrills. Reserved for small groups of eight or less, these fast-paced tours cut out the pedaling, allowing you to focus on the panoramic scenery. Departing from the town of Paia, the guide will drive passengers 6,600 feet above the sea to Haleakala National Park, making note of points of interest along the way. The thrilling 25-mile downhill tour is relaxing and enjoyable for all skill levels. You’ll make brief stops at the towns of Kula and Makawao along the way, ending up exactly where you started, Paia beach.

Coastal Zipline Tour

Experience the thrill of a half-mile zipline along the northwest coast of Maui. With seven different lines to choose from, Kapalua Ziplines is a premier attraction on the island. A handful  of the runs will have you flying at speeds nearly reaching 60 mph. You have the option of navigating the entire 9,750 feet of line on the seven-line tour, taking an abbreviated 5,350-feet four-line tour or the Full Moon Tour under the light of the Maui moon.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Outrageous Las Vegas Casino Wagers

In Las Vegas, money plays. Aside from the usual bets Strip casinos see on an hourly basis—pass lines, home dogs, double downs—there is another world of off-the-board wagers made by high rollers and entrepreneurial average joes in the sports books and poker rooms across Sin City.

Professional gamblers are an odd breed. One thing they love more than winning may be the notoriety that comes with pulling off the big score, cashing the unlikeliest of wagers and catching the house with its collective pants down. Vegas is lousy with larger than life characters and even taller gambling tales; some good, some devastating. We round up the most notable wagers ever made in the city that never shies away from action.

The Phantom Gambler

Like Kenny Rogers always says, “You gotta know when to walk away.” On September 24, 1980, a Texas real estate broker by the name of William Lee Bergstrom walked into Benny Binion’s Horseshoe carrying two suitcases. One was filled with $777,000. The other was empty. Bergstrom, 28 at the time, put every last dollar on the “don’t pass” line... and won.

Binion himself helped Bergstrom fill the two suitcases with the cash. The Phantom Gambler, as he came to be known, left the casino and never looked back. That is until he showed up again three years later to place a million dollar bet on a single dice roll. The law of averages will get you every time. He lost his bet and committed suicide shortly after. Binion told the Associated Press in 1985 that the Phantom Gambler “was betting all he had. But he never flinched when he lost that million.”

When it absolutely, positively has to get there overnight…

FedEx delivers more than 1.2 billion packages a year, but in its formidable years, founder Frederick Smith wasn’t so sure about the potential of his fledgling company. Down to his last $5,000, he decided to fly to Vegas in 1973 and proceeded to go on a blackjack tear Raymond Babbitt would be proud of. The nearly $30,000 Smith walked away with wasn’t enough to save the company entirely, but it did keep his planes in the air long enough to raise an additional $11 million in funding. By 1976, his company turned its first profit of $3.6 million.

Math is important, kids.

One of the best card players of all time, Stu Ungar had an eye for action and was a whip-smart mental mathematician. When casino mogul Bob Stupak, the man who invented crapless craps and developed the Stratosphere, bet Ungar $100,000 in 1977 that the storied gin rummy player couldn’t count down a six-deck shoe and determine the final card, Ungar took the action. Ungar won. Pay attention in math class; it just might pay off.

Look out below!

Las Vegas will take bets on just about anything. In 1979, El Cortez owner Jackie Gaughan took bets on where the wreckage of space station Skylab would end up. The man who once controlled around 25 percent of Downtown Las Vegas properties, began laying odds on crash sites. Popular wagers included New York at 35-1, California also at 35-1, Massachusetts at 50-1 and El Cortez itself at 10,000 to 1. One man placed a $500 wager on Wisconsin at 40-1. To the disappointment of a handful of gamblers, Spacelab wound up crashing in Australia.

The Long Shot

Legendary sports bettor Dave Oancea, known to many as Vegas Dave, was not swayed by the fact that the 2015 Kansas City Royals had not won a World Series in 30 years. Nor did his confidence waiver when baseball pundits predicted preseason that the lowly Royals would finish dead last in their division. The gambler saw a whole lotta value in the 30-1 odds that KC would win it all and placed a $100,000 wager more than six months before the conclusion of the World Series. He walked away with nearly $2.5 million and bought his parents a house.

Never walk away from a heater.

Honolulu native Stanley Fujitake had no idea he would be breaking records when he stepped into the California Casino in Downtown Las Vegas on May 28, 1989. His craps roll that night is the stuff of legends. Fujitake held the dice for just over three hours. In that time, he managed 118 rolls, 18 pass line winners and an estimated table win of $750,000, although some claim that number to be closer to $1.2 million. Legend has it the next day, the table was taken behind the property, chopped up into little pieces and burned.

You never know what can happen on the casino floor any given night. As more casinos come under control of major corporations, instances of such outlandish wagers are less common. You probably won’t see Sheldon Adleson betting patrons large sums to count cards. He’s too busy dictating local news media outlets anyhow. What was your biggest Vegas win/loss? Join the discussion in the comments section and follow us on Facebook for more tales from Glitter Gulch.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Let VegasDaze Help You Choose Your Ideal Vegas Nightclub

As the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas is no stranger to the club scene. With dozens of nightclubs in town, it can be a bit daunting to pick just one. VegasDaze is here to help! Do you like big crowds, or is an intimate setting more your style? Does loud, pulsating electronic music rev your engine, or would you rather groove to some soulful R&B? Our handy Las Vegas nightclub flowchart will help you choose between a club with a view and a club with a pool. Fist pumps!

Let VegasDaze help you choose your ideal Vegas club by answering a few simple questions.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Maui Flora & Fauna Bingo

As is typical of tropical paradises, Maui is home to an ark's worth of animal species and gorgeous plant life. Print out our “Maui Flora & Fauna Bingo” card, and take it with you during your sightseeing excursions across the island. Below, we've provided some descriptions and fun facts for those creatures that aren't exactly household names. A convict whats-it?

Hoary Bats
These winged mammals are commonly found across the Americas with a disjunct population found on the Hawaiian Islands. They're easily recognized by their coat of brown fur and distinctively stubby snout.

Yellow-billed Cardinal
Not to be confused with its baseball playing cousin, the yellow-billed cardinal does not have a crest. Nor does it have 11 World Series championships. It can be found in regions of higher elevation.

'Ohi'a Lehua
This species of flowering evergreen trees boasts vibrant flowers made up of a mass of bright red stamens. Hawaiian traditions hold this plant sacred to Pele, the volcano goddess.

Fiery Skipper
These beautiful inch-long butterflies are painted a brilliant orange color with black spots. They are commonly found in open grassy areas. It is not uncommon to find this species in the Southern United States as well as in Mexico and the Caribbean.

Coqui Frog
These little guys are difficult to spot, but their mating calls can reach 90 decibels, about as loud as a lawn mower. It is thought that this species of frog made its way to the Hawaiian Islands by way of potted plants from Puerto Rico. It is an invasive species that has recently threatened to drive pollinating insects to extinction.

Convict Surgeonfish
Sometimes referred to as the convict tang, these reef dwelling tropical fish sport bright yellow coloring with vertical, black stripes like a prison uniform.

Hawaiian Stilt
Classified as an endangered species, the Hawaiian stilt population is in decline as a result of the introduction of mongoose to the island in addition to loss and degradation of wetlands. It stands just over a foot tall on the relatively longest legs of any species of bird.

For more fun Hawaiian travel advice and recommendations, follow VegasDaze on social media. You be the first to know about new blog posts and promotions!

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Comprehensive Guide to the 2016 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas

Always the most anticipated tournament of the NBA’s summer leagues, the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas is sure to live up to the hype this year. The tournament, which runs from July 8 to 18 on the campus of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, features 24 teams, two conference champions and a slew of highly touted rookies and former first-round draft picks poised to breakout. We preview the games, venues and players to watch all tournament long!

Stephen Curry participated in the 2009 NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
Stephen Curry | 2009 NBA Summer League
Marquee Matchups

Tournament play opens Friday, July 8, at 3 p.m. local time with the defending champions, Cleveland Cavaliers, taking on a revamped Milwaukee Bucks squad at Cox Pavilion. The 10th overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft back in June, South Sudan native Thon Maker looks to put the age controversy behind him and make a name for himself as an NBA-ready, 7-foot-1 power forward. Notable Buck Rashad Vaughn, who played collegiate ball for UNLV, is ready for his homecoming and second summer league roster spot.

Also on Friday, the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans square off at the Thomas & Mack Arena at 7:30 p.m. March Madness standouts Brandon Ingram of Duke and Buddy Hield of Oklahoma will take the court for the first time for their respective teams. Picks No. 2 and 6 overall back in June, the rookies are looking to make a splash in the desert.

The No. 1 pick in this year’s draft, Australian Ben Simmons continues his quest to NBA superstardom Saturday, July 9, at 5:30 p.m. when his Philadelphia 76ers take on the Lakers and their impressive draft class at Thomas & Mack Arena. This game has the makings to be the matchup of the tournament.

San Antonio Spurs, last year’s tournament champions, will face ’16-’17 season bounce back candidates in the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls just drafted Tom Izzo’s favorite son, Denzel Valentine. They are also expected to bring along 23-year-old Brazilian power forward Cristiano Felício, a 6-foot-11, 275-pounder who they hope can replace Pau Gasol.

Karl-Anthony Towns | 2015 NBA Summer League
Breakout Candidates

In addition to the names already mentioned, there will be a handful of intriguing names taking the court during 2016’s Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas. Players such as Toronto’s first pick in the 2016 draft and former Utah center Jakob Poeltl, Oklahoma City’s recently acquired Lithuanian forward Domantas Sabonis, and Detroit’s first pick of the draft and Marquette import Henry Ellenson all hope to catch the eyes of their respective general managers.

The Boston Celtics grabbed a handful of talent with their three first-round picks in this year’s draft. The No. 16 pick, Frenchman Guerschon Yabusele came down with 14 rebounds and scored 18 points over the course the team’s first two summer league games in Utah. He’s expected to make a bigger impact during the tournament in Las Vegas. The No. 3 pick, Jaylen Brown took a graduate-level course during his freshman year at Berkeley. The kid is pretty smart. He’s also a 6-foot-7 shooting guard often compared to the likes of Jason Richardson. Boston is hoping he’ll develop a more consistent jump shot in Sin City this summer.

Otto Porter Jr. | 2013 NBA Summer League
Where to Watch

If you want to see the NBA’s future stars in person, day passes for the Samsung NBA Summer League in Las Vegas start at $21. Tickets are general admission, and seats are first come, first served. If you’re really into basketball, you can purchase a tournament pass starting at $260. A day pass will grant you access to both Thomas & Mack Arena and Cox Pavilion, which happen to be neighbors. The initial slate of preliminary action takes place in both venues between July 8 and 12 starting 1 p.m. Tournament play begins Wednesday, July 13, and runs through July 17. The championship game is scheduled for July 18 at 6 p.m.

Most Strip casinos will be showing the games at their sports books. In the past, Westgate’s sports book has actually accepted wagers on summer league games. This isn’t the norm however. Any number of sports bars along the Strip will also tune their television sets to the ESPN and NBA TV broadcasts of all 67 games.

The Schedule

Kevin Durant | 2007 NBA Summer League
Friday, July 8
Cox Pavilion
Milwaukee vs. Cleveland, 3 p.m.
Atlanta vs. Houston, 5 p.m.
Sacramento vs. Toronto, 7 p.m.

Thomas & Mack 
NBA D-League vs. Memphis, 3:30 p.m.
Minnesota vs. Denver, 5:30 p.m.
L.A. Lakers vs. New Orleans, 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 9
Cox Pavilion 
Phoenix vs. Portland, 1 p.m.
Boston vs. Chicago, 3 p.m.
Denver vs. Memphis, 5 p.m.
Dallas vs. Miami, 7 p.m.

Thomas & Mack 
Cleveland vs. Brooklyn, 1:30 p.m.
Washington vs. Utah, 3:30 p.m.
Philadelphia vs. L.A. Lakers, 5:30 p.m.
San Antonio vs. Golden State, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, July 10
Cox Pavilion 
Atlanta vs. Washington, 1 p.m.
Minnesota vs. Toronto, 3 p.m.
Utah vs. New Orleans, 5 p.m.
San Antonio vs. Portland, 7 p.m.

Thomas & Mack 
Milwaukee vs. NBA D-League, 1:30 p.m.
Houston vs. Sacramento, 3:30 p.m.
Chicago vs. Philadelphia, 5:30 p.m.
Phoenix vs. Boston, 7:30 p.m.

Tyus Jones | 2015 NBA Summer League
Monday, July 11
Cox Pavilion 
Milwaukee vs. Memphis, 1 p.m.
Houston vs. NBA D-League, 3 p.m.
Miami vs. Denver, 5 p.m.
Sacramento vs. New Orleans, 7 p.m.

Thomas & Mack 
Brooklyn vs. Atlanta, 1:30 p.m.
Toronto vs. Dallas, 3:30 p.m.
Cleveland vs. Minnesota, 5:30 p.m.
Golden State vs. L.A. Lakers, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 12
Cox Pavilion 
Washington vs. Brooklyn, 1 p.m.
Boston vs. Dallas, 3 p.m.
San Antonio vs. Chicago, 5 p.m.

Thomas & Mack 
Portland vs. Utah, 1:30 p.m.
Miami vs. Phoenix, 3:30 p.m.
Philadelphia vs. Golden State, 5:30 p.m.

Wednesday, July 13
Seeds 9-24 will play in 8 games at the below times and locations:
Cox Pavilion: 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Thomas & Mack: 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 14
Seeds 1-8 will play against the winners of July 13 games at the below times and locations:
Cox Pavilion: 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Thomas & Mack: 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Friday, July 15
Losers from games on July 13 and July 14 will play at the below times and locations:
Cox Pavilion: 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.
Thomas & Mack: 1:30, 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, July 16 - Quarterfinals
Winners from games on July 14 will play at the below times:
Thomas & Mack: 1, 3, 5 and 7 p.m.

Sunday, July 17 - Semifinals
Winners from games on July 16 will play at the below times:
Thomas & Mack: 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Monday, July 18 - Championship
Winners from games on July 17 will play at the below time:
Thomas & Mack: 6 p.m.

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Vegas VIP for a Night

Maybe you’re visiting Las Vegas for work. Maybe you only have one night to enjoy all the entertainment capital of the world has to offer. No problem. We can help you live it up as a Vegas VIP for the night. Fasten your seat belt. Tonight is going to be the stuff of legends.

Sitting in that conference room, the clock seems to drag on. Once that final meeting is over, hurry back to the room and throw on some comfortable shoes. The Lip Smacking Foodie Tour of the Las Vegas Strip begins at 2:30 p.m. This city boasts many of the world’s best restaurants. With only one night at your disposal, this walking tour will help you sample meals from five of the Strip’s best culinary offerings. At just under 3 hours in length, this tour is just the start of your VIP night in Vegas.

You’re so full at this point that someone might have to roll you back to your room. Grab a shower, throw on that nighttime attire you bought for the trip and treat yourself to one or four of those minibar shooters; you’re on vacation!

Next on your VIP night in Vegas itinerary is a show. You’ll find the best shows this side of Broadway along the 4-mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard known as the Strip. You could see a magic show. Maybe zombie burlesque is more up your alley.

If you only have time to see one show, we have a couple of suggestions that truly encapsulate the Vegas experience. A Cirque du Soleil show is always a good choice. There are a handful currently showing on the Strip, but Mystère at Treasure Island was the first and is still beloved after more than 20 years. Another solid option, VEGAS! The Show at Planet Hollywood is the culmination of decades spent perfecting the variety show. Think of the production like the city’s “Greatest Hits” album complete with showgirls, Elvis impersonators and a live band that brings it night after night.

Both productions start at 7 p.m. Head down to your hotel’s porte-cochere and ask for a town car. For typically less than $100, you can be chauffeured around town for the night in a private town car. Your driver will get you where you need to go, and you don’t have to worry about the long hauling local taxi drivers are notorious for. Ride-sharing apps such as Uber are a cost efficient method of travel. Hotels generally have designated pickup and drop-off locations for ride-share businesses, making this an especially easy mode of transportation.

It’s around 9 p.m. The show just let out, and you’re ready to put a bow on this epic night in Las Vegas. Climb aboard a luxury helicopter for an aerial sightseeing tour of Downtown Las Vegas and the Strip! Our preferred vendor’s conveniently located Las Vegas Boulevard terminal offers complimentary shuttle transportation for guests of Strip hotels. Be sure to make a quick pit stop at the Las Vegas welcome sign for some Instagram fodder. This surprisingly affordable helicopter tour will surely be the highlight of your trip … unless you really nailed that sales presentation earlier today.

Enjoy a night cap around 10 p.m. at The Cosmopolitan’s Chandelier Bar, a multi-story visual wonder that houses three unique bar experiences. Yes, it’s an actual chandelier that you can drink on! This is Vegas excess at its finest. We recommend the Verbena, a highly aromatic cocktail playing on the sweet lemon of verbena and the kick of ginger.

You won’t be able to wipe that smile off your face the entire flight home. Share your epic night in Vegas in the comments section and be sure to check back weekly for more travel tips, entertainment recommendations and Vegas history!

Monday, July 4, 2016

The Culinary Secrets of Maui

Yes, your Maui hotel offers three whole restaurant options, but should the unimaginable happen and you tire of the slightly less than vast variety, we’ve got you covered. Our list of Maui’s hidden culinary gems is sure to beat back those epicurean blues. So leave the well-trodden trail, and explore the gourmet side of the Valley Isle.


Man cannot live on continental breakfast alone. Head over to Tasty Crust (1770 Mill St., Wailuku) for some delicious locally sourced banana pancakes. This classic American diner setting offers a charming start to your day.

Conveniently located near the resort corridor, Kihei Caffe (1945 S. Kihei Road, Kihei) serves up traditional Hawaiian breakfasts such as pork fried rice with eggs, onions, bell peppers, Portuguese sausage, ham and bacon. And who could say no to freshly baked cinnamon buns?


Currently run by the third generation of the Sato family, Sam Sato’s Noodles & Plate Lunches (1750 Wili Pa Loop, Wailuku) has been dishing out saimin bowls since 1933. Make sure to get there early because the restaurant closes at 2 p.m.

If you happen to find yourself near Kahului Harbor around lunch time, stop by Geste Shrimp Truck for a tasty meal. Try the Double Shaka Shrimp, which is sautéed in butter and topped with Asian aioli and wasabi sauce.


Mama’s Fish House (799 Poho Place, Paia) is often included on the short of best restaurant on Maui. The upscale eatery serves fish so fresh they’ll even tell you the name of the fisherman who caught it and where he was fishing. Did we mention it’s upscale? Expect to fork over more than $40 a plate.

For some of the island’s best sushi, book a table at Sansei Seafood Restaurant & Sushi Bar (1881 S. Kihei Road, Kihei). The Panko-crusted ahi sashimi sushi roll is not to be missed. They also offer late night dining from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. for an amazing after-bar snack.


You can’t visit Hawaii without having some shave ice. It’s a local delicacy and nobody does shave ice better than the fine folks at Local Boys Shave Ice (1941 S. Kihei Road, Kihei, and 624 Front St., Lahaina). With more than 50 flavors to choose from, there’s a shave ice for every taste.

If you’re looking for something more substantial to satisfy your sweet tooth, Leoda’s Kitchen and Pie Shop (820 Olowalu Village Road, Lahaina) has just what you need. The banana cream pie boasts bananas harvested from the restaurant’s own farm. Yeah … it’s good.

What are some of your favorite off-the-beaten-path restaurants on Maui? Share them with us in the comments section. Maui lovers can check back every Monday for more Valley Isle travel tips, recommendations and spotlights.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Glitter Gulch Meets the Silver Screen

Las Vegas is an iconic location known the world over. Sin City has also spawned some equally iconic films over the years. Here’s a list of some of our favorite Vegas-centric movies in no particular order.

Ocean’s 11 (1960)
The quintessential heist film, Ocean’s 11 is an ode to Old Vegas. The Rat Pack filmed the majority of the scenes on location in Las Vegas at the Flamingo, Sands, Desert Inn, Riviera and Sahara casinos. Sadly, the Flamingo is the only surviving Strip property.

Diamonds Are Forever
One of the best in the Bond Catalogue, Diamonds Are Forever starred Sean Connery as the swarthy MI6 agent. Howard Hughes being a friend of the Broccoli family allowed the studio to shoot all the Las Vegas scenes in his casinos. Those properties have all since been demolished to make way for Wynn Las Vegas, The Venetian, The Mirage, Treasure Island and another parking lot for the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Rain Man
For millions of people, envisioning Las Vegas means envisioning the famous scene in which the brothers Babbitt descend a Caesars Palace escalator before taking the house for tens of thousands of dollars. Always remember… “casinos have house rules. They don't like to lose. So you never show that you're counting cards. That is the cardinal sin, Ray!”

Con Air
This 1997 action flick produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Nicolas Cage featured Las Vegas prominently. During the later stages of the movie, the prisoners are forced to crash land the prison transport aircraft, Jailbird, on the Strip, which promptly runs into a casino. That casino was actually the Sands. During the time of production, the Sands was scheduled to be imploded to make way for The Venetian. Bruckheimer reached out to Sands owner, Sheldon Adelson, who agreed to let the crew fly a plane into the historic property.

The Hangover
It took only 15 days of shooting in Las Vegas to burden the city with a lifetime of would-be Alan Garners. Every casino sundries shop has a shades-sporting Carlos t-shirt for sale. You can typically find two to three Zach Galifianakis look-alikes posing for photo-ops along the Strip. The majority of the movie is filmed at and around Caesars Palace. The scene in which a very naked Asian man jumps out of the trunk of a car took place in the empty lot across Las Vegas Boulevard from Mandalay Bay. You can also visit Stu’s “wedding chapel.” It’s a security agency’s office on Paradise Road near the Stratosphere.

Viva Las Vegas
The classic 1964 musical starring Elvis and Ann-Margret is a campy celebration of Las Vegas’ glamour and excess. The duo’s characters were married at the Little Church of the West, the oldest wedding chapel in Las Vegas. You can visit the chapel, which looks exactly as it did when constructed in 1942, at its current location on Las Vegas Boulevard and Russel Road near the Las Vegas welcome sign.

This is the second Barry Levinson directed movie on this list. Bugsy is the larger-than-life story of Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel, who helped the East Coast mobs set up shop in the desert. His casino, Flamingo, was named after his mistress Virginia Hill, who had long legs and red hair. Siegel called her his fabulous flamingo. Annette Bening played Hill in the movie. The actual Bugsy’s rose garden is still on property and features a memorial plaque honoring the fallen mobster.

Martin Scorsese’s epic crime drama stars Robert De Niro as a Jewish gambling handicapper tapped by the Chicago outfit to run the Tangiers Casino in Las Vegas. De Niro’s character is based on the life of Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal, the real-life mobster who ran the Stardust. Unfortunately, the only thing left of the Stardust today is a large open pit just south of Circus Circus. As legend has it, Rosenthal got the nickname Lefty because if he caught you cheating in his casino, he’d break your left hand with a rubber mallet.

Honeymoon in Vegas
Sorry, but we just love Las Vegas resident Nicolas Cage. He and Sarah Jessica Parker were filmed primarily at Bally’s, which aside from a monorail station and a new outdoor mall, has gone largely unchanged since the early 1980s. The movie also stars a very young Bruno Mars as a little Elvis impersonator.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Perhaps the only movie to truly capture the simulacrum that is Glitter Gulch, the Hunter S. Thompson adaptation starring Johnny Depp and Benicio del Toro portrays Vegas as a crude caricature of the American Dream. The drug-fueled opus was filmed at the Stardust. The production crew was only allowed to film inside the casino between 2 and 6 a.m., and the extras around the tables were required to actually gamble.

With a location like Las Vegas, it's easy to understand the appeal. The over-the-top extravagance lends itself well to imaginative story telling. Share your favorite Vegas movies in the comments section, and browse VegasDaze for tickets to the city’s best tours and shows!


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