Dec 28

New Orleans – Food & Drinks

Panoramic of New Orleans

Always busy at Cafe Du Monde

New Orleans has some great food and of course lots of Bars.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Cafe Du Monde
    Beignets (french donuts), a Cafe Au Lait or just the Chicory Coffee. Yep just one order is never enough!


  • Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop & Bar
    Jean LaFitte the pirate used to hang out here.  One of the oldest buildings used a bar, it’s right at the end of Bourbon Street.  Just a cool old watering hole.


  • Willie Mae’s Scotch House
    Excellent Southern Food and especially the Fried Chicken.  Get the Butter Beans!
    There were two location one in the 9th Ward, the other in the Garden District.  The Garden District restaurant is now closed.

Dec 28

Can you eat sushi? — Japango (Boulder, CO)

If you happen to be in Boulder, CO on a Tuesday evening and love sushi.

Japango Boulder – Tuesday 5 pm -9:30 pm – All you can eat sushi for $40.  Be sure to check their website, as policies, time and prices may have changed.

This isn’t just sushi, it is almost their whole menu (with a few exception).  Sashimi, Lobster, Uni, Sea Eel are not included. They will charge you extra, if you don’t eat what you order.

No this isn’t a sushi buffet either, you order off the menu.  Their sushi is excellent, but don’t forget appetizers, which are included also.  I would suggest the Beef Tataki, Hamachi Kama (Yellowtail Cheek) are making my mouth water, just by writing about them.  If you decide you would like beef or chicken teriyaki that is included too.

Located in Boulder, CO on the Pearl Street Mall.
Get there early because it gets crowded.

The wait staff is great!

First round of sushi of three!  Hey, don’t judge… there were three of us

Just a little more sushi

Appetizers – Goyza, Mussels, Squid Salad

Beef Tataki

Hamachi Kama

Dec 28

Shoot To Win – Evaluation

Aruze – Shoot To Win

Overall I really like this game!

Sure it isn’t the same as the Regular Craps Table, but these are usually $3 minimum bets and you can sit down. These machines also pay correctly to the penny.  So yes, you could place a 6 or 8 for $3.  It will pay you $3.50.
Regular Craps Tables pay based upon the smallest chip denomination (usually $1).  Therefore, incorrect bets usually get rounded down.  If you found a table lower than a $5 minimum, a $3 place on a 6 or 8 would only pay $3.00.

This is a great machine for somebody learning Craps. With the low minimum bets, paying to the penny and plenty of room for someone explaining the game to you.  You should already understand the basics of Craps.  Most players are very happy to explain how the game works, just ask.  Since this is all self-service betting, getting your bets in before the 20-30 seconds can be challenging at first.  Becomes second nature very quickly.

So depending on the machine, shooter order goes either clockwise or count-clockwise order.
After a shooter 7’s out, it will stop at the next player with money in their bank.  If that player doesn’t have Pass or Don’t Pass Line bet, after about 20 seconds.  It will jump to the next player with a Pass or Don’t Pass Line bet.

There is roughly a 20-30 second betting window.  The a player can shoot, if the player doesn’t push the big red button.  After 20-30 seconds, the machine will automatically roll the dice.  There is a lady’s voice that say “Shoot the dice, come-on shoot the dice!”  This can be a little annoying.  The wait times, shooter order direction, bet minimum/maximum seem to be configurable by the casino.

I’ve seen minimum bets range from $1 to $3 and maximum $500 (a few $2,000 and $5,000).  Most only allow 2x Odds on Pass/Come Lines (few 3x and 5x).  You can play just about any bet as on a Regular Craps Table, except there are not any Bonus Bets (i.e. Fire, All/Tall/Small, Repeater, etc…).

Some machines will allow a $1 Horn bet ($.25 on each 2,3,11,12), others make you bet $1 each.

The machine will also change colors based upon the length of the roll.  Cool blue, to Green and maybe Red.
It will change to Green after two points or 15 rolls  This depends on the machine software version.
After 20 rolls, the machine glows Red (aka “Hot Shooter”).  Same annoying voice says “Hot Shooter”.

Hot Shooter

Maximum bet settings vary drastically between machines, so check the help on the machine to determine the maximums for individual bets.  Remember you can bet both the Place and Buy on the same number, once a number is maxed out.

** When these machines show your win amount… that number includes your original bet. **

The top questions I hear:

  • What is the difference between a Buy and Place bet?
    ** You always Buy the outside numbers (4,5,9,10) and Place the (6,8). **

    • With a Buy bet, you pay a 5% vig (commission) on the win to get true odds.
    • For a 4 or 10, a $5 Place bet pays 9:5 so $9.00.
    • For a 4 or 10, a $5 Buy bet pays 2:1 minus vig.  $10.00 – $0.50 (5% of $10.00) = $9.50.
      Same $5 at risk, but pays $.50 more.
    • For a 5 or 9, a $5 Place bet pays 7:5 so $7.00.
    • For a 5 or 9, a $5 Buy bet pays 3:2 minus vig.  $7.50 – $0.38 (5% of $7.50) = $7.12.
    • 6 or 8 Place pays 7:6 (16.66%), Buy pays 6:5 (20% – 5% vig = 15%).
      Don’t Buy these unless you want 1.66% less.
  • Why can’t I bet or why do my bets disappear?
    Some of the machines show $1 minimum, but that is for just some bets (i.e. hardways, horn, hop, etc…).
    If you see your bets grayed-out, that means they don’t meet the minimum.
    These will be eliminated just prior to the roll.

Good luck, if you decide to play!

Only Bench Seat I’ve seen at these machines. Montbleu @ Lake Tahoe, NV.  Quite comfortable!

Aug 03

Harrah’s Las Vegas – Oyster Bar

If you love seafood and oysters… you have gotta try this place.

Oyster Bar in Harrah’s Las Vegas

I can’t say enough good things about this place.  I’ll just let the pictures do the talking!

Oysters on Half Shell

King Crab Legs

Cioppino with Linguini

Aug 03

Downtown Las Vegas Eats

Looking for excellent and inexpensive food while in Downtown Las Vegas?

Fish & Chips

Fish & Chips

  • Triple 7 Restaurant & Microbrewery
    I would suggest the Short-Ribs, Fish & Chips, Garlic Fries. If you like beer, try the Sampler.
    Fish & Chips and Microbrew Sampler around $20.
  • Aloha Specialties
    Try one of the “Super Bowls”, it’s stir fry on rice.  I like the Combo with Veggies add-on. About $10.
  • The Beef Jerky Store
    What a quick snack or stock-up for later… they have just about every kind of dried/jerky meat and vegetable imaginable.  If you are going to see the Fremont Light Show, swing by this place.  They close @ 6 pm Mon-Sat & Sun @ 5 pm.

    Short-Ribs & Pot Stickers

Aug 02

I prefer Southwest Airlines

I’ve flown United, Frontier, Delta and Southwest. The Denver area is home. Flying Southwest as my preferred airline has some advantages.

Their booking, loyalty program and fees are quite simple and easy. The booking policies are excellent.

  • If you find the price of your flight has dropped, you can re-book and get the difference as a credit for future use. I believe this is one year from the original booking date.  If you change or cancel within 24 hours of the original booking, you can request a refund instead of a credit.
  • Absolutely no fee for re-booking/changes, but you pay the current fares. If there is a change close to your travel, this will be expensive. Not any different than other airlines.
  • Nice to choose between checked (up to 2 bags for free) or carry-on luggage without extra fees.
  • When considering extra fees and convenience, they are among the lowest cost.

They don’t charge extra for non-alcoholic beverages, peanuts/pretzels or WiFi (when available).

If you don’t have not signed-up for their loyalty program (Rapid Rewards), you should.
You accumulate points based on the base fare.  These points can be used on any available flights without blackout periods.  You will still need to pay the T.S.A. Fees, currently $5.60 per segment.

I am lucky enough to fly frequently and usually maintain A-List status (A-List/A-list Preferred Information).  This is the lowest of the preferred levels.  It requires 25 paid segments per year.  I’m not quite sure flying this many segments just for the status is worth the benefits.  If you fly anyway, it gets you automatic check-in 48 hours before your flight.  This saves the Early Bird Fee of $15 each way.  You can also use the preferred/premier lines at the airport at the ticket counter and T.S.A .Screening.

T.S.A. PreCheck is another alternative to speed the T.S.A. Screening.  It costs $85 for five years.

Money Saving Tip:

Their airfares change quite often, so consider checking your booked travel periodically and re-book to save money.

Keep track of you credits, you need First & Last Name and Confirmation #.  If you forget the expiration date or amount, lookup up here.

Booking Tip:

Beware of booking multiple flights for the same day/destination.  I am guilty of doing this sometimes, if I’m unsure of which flight I want/coordinating with someone.  With the updated Southwest Booking System, one of the reservations will be automatically cancelled within 24 hours.  I think it is the most expensive flight that gets cancelled.

Aug 02

Electronic Craps/Bubble Craps

Aruze – Shoot To Win

I first started seeing these machines in Las Vegas on the Strip.  Now these seem to be popping up everywhere.
There seem to be two brands:  Aruze Gaming (Shoot to Win) and Interblock Gaming.
The term “Bubble Craps” probably is due to the dice being enclosed in a bubble.

The Interblock machine is automatically rolls the dice after a specified time period.

The Shoot to Win game is by far the most prevalent.  It allows players to hit a button to shoot the dice (take turns in clockwise or counter-clockwise order).

I prefer the Shoot to Win game, it seems to be more interactive.

  • Las Vegas, NV (Strip, Downtown)
  • Reno, NV (Eldorado)
  • Lake Tahoe , NV (Harvey, Montbleu)
  • New Orleans, LA (Harrah’s)
  • Council Bluffs, IA (Harrah’s)
  • Rincon, CA (Harrah’s So Cal Resort)
  • Foxwoods Resort Casino, CT

If you have seen these machines elsewhere, send a comment and will include in the list.

I have played Craps at the tables for years, so thought it would be interesting to evaluate these machines.
Look to future posts for my evaluation.