Five Hundy by Midnight 51: Boardwalk Tribute

In this edition of the original Las Vegas podcast:

  • Listener voicemail and mad props from Brian at Coverville
  • News about Stratosphere shutting down the coaster, San Remo becoming Hooters, Barbary Coast to South Coast shuttles, Stardust plans, and Vegas Week on the Travel Channel
  • A visit to the Boardwalk Surf Buffet and a final drink in tribute

  • Five Hundy By Midnight 1/8/06 (29:19 min, 27 MB)

    15 thoughts on “Five Hundy by Midnight 51: Boardwalk Tribute

    1. I agree. Until this weekend, neither of us had listened to that clip. I didn’t anticipate it being as funny as it was or I probably would have played it sooner.

    2. Thanks for the heads-up on the new Las Vegas shows on the Travel Channel tonight. Wow, Vegas sure has changed, according to the “What’s New Las Vegas 2006” show. Granted, a lot of it was upscale and reminded me of an infomercial, but still worth watching.

    3. You guys are braver than I thought. I barely ventured into the Boardwalk, wanting only to get a glimpse. But you even got close to the Surf Buffet.

      Wrote up some thoughts on Vegas Week on my blog ( Anyway, I’ve watched What’s New 2006 and the first 20 minutes of Cheats And Scams 2 and haven’t seen Anthony Curtis yet. Is he OK?

    4. In an ironic twist of fate, I went to say goodbye to the Boardwalk tonight about midnight and noticed this podcast when I arrived back home. Got a great laugh out of the audio clip that launched the show. Very appropriate, LOL!

      Took one last look around, bought a $5 chip, took five good condition change cups, and that was that. Most of the people I knew were gone, had transferred, or weren’t there tonight.

      The Boardwalk’s “special place” in my heart was much different than why most people may have loved or hated the place. I moved here in 1993 as a starving card counter and sports better. And while I was in the black my first two years at both, my low bankroll wasn’t exactly making me rich. The “pre-tower”

      Boardwalk routinely had some of the cheapest food in town, complete dinners for $1.29. During the second half of December, they had a chicken dinner (something like a half chicken or a small game bird … it is the Boardwalk … could have been pigeons they shot out back of the place), plus mashed potato and salad for 29 cents.

      (Funny how so many of us in media, news, or publishing moved here to gamble but found out that the money was a LOT better selling the town and gambling to others).

      During the past number of years, it has been one of my favorites because of the easy parking and the cigar store. I generally average 6-8 visits a month to The Strip (not including media functions, shows I have to see, invites of that nature). I mean just going out like Joe Tourist and doing what Joe Tourist does (minus any heavy wagering … gambling loses the rush when you can do it anytime, anywhere).

      The beauty of The Boardwalk is that you can approach The Strip on Harmon and you are there. Right into the driveway, and even on a busy weekend night, their parking garage was always 3/4 empty. Each area of The Strip has it’s “parking secrets” where you can swing in avoiding even the worst holiday Strip traffic, and the Boardwalk was it for that area.

      The gift shop sold 24 oz import beers for less than $3, and the bars sold premium shots for under $4.50. I’d grab a beer at the gift shop (Anthony Curtis would be proud of that money saving move), get a shot at the bar, and into the cigar shop where I’d light one up and watch (and talk) sports with the guys for a while. The cigar shop had the sports book feed available, so we’d get any game we wanted.

      From there, I’d head wherever I wanted to go next. Often up through Bellagio, Barbary, Flamingo (Piano Twins … a fave), sometimes even up to Casino Royale and Venetian. Just boozing, staying entertained, talking to regular friends along the way. If I was going to Voodoo (Rio) or Ghostbar or somewhere to meet up with friends, quick cab ride over and back.

      Now … I’m not sure what I am going to do. Aladdin garage is easy for locals, but it is 8 miles in back of the place. Boardwalk was right on the street! Barbary garage is still easy, close, and so hard to get to from The Strip that it might be a good option. I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it.

      So here’s to the Boardwalk. The buffet was terrible, the snack bar not much better. But the parking, bartenders, and cigar shop ruled. And Purple Reign was fun to watch.

      Speaking of, Purple Reign have been playing the Monte Carlo Brew Pub on Wednesday nights from 10 PM – 2 AM. No word if that engagement will be expanded.

      Oh … and for those wondering my list of parking secrets … what the hell. Since most of you fly in, I probably won’t be competing with you for a space:

      1. Hooters. A very short walk to the tram at Excalibur (down to Luxor and Mandalay), literally across the street from MGM entrance (and monorail stop). Not the Hooters garage, but on the side of the building.

      2. Boardwalk. RIP

      3. Bourbon Street. RIP. Maybe Barbary as alternate, but it spits out out to on Flamingo forcing you to go east. No fun in huge traffic.

      4. Casino Royale … the back Harrah’s entrance. By far the best kept secret. Plenty of parking on a Saturday night during a holiday weekend.

      5. Silver City. RIP. Alternate was behind the Frontier, but now Trump will fix that.

      6. Sahara. Not the garage. Across Paradise in their lot. Will soon be RIP because of some auto maker permanent test track display.

      7. Strat. Not the garage. Across the street in their lot.

      No, I don’t valet. 99% of the time, by the time it takes them to get a car, I can be in my car, gone, and I don’t have to toke them $2 for making me wait. Or wonder how the ding got in my car. Or have to screw with the seat.


      Side note on the Travel Channel stuff that was on tonight: The New In 2006 show was primarily sponsored by Greenspun Media, and the majority of the guests on it were Greenspun associated.

      Among other things, Greenspun Media owns, (they actually 100% lease it, total control of the name and all content), Showbiz Magazine, Vegas Magazine, Las Vegas Life, part ownership of GVR, Palms, other under-construction and planning stages Station Casinos, Las Vegas One (Cable Channel 19), etc.

      They also provide all of the Las Vegas information (and reservations back-end) for AOL’s new and expanded Vegas section.

      Or to put it this way: In Las Vegas, it is a Greenspun world, and we all just live in it.

      Since they don’t seem to have a stake in LVA, that could explain the omission of Anthony Curtis. Or it could simply be that it was a “lifestyles” related piece (clubs, dining, golf) and the LVA expertise is more gaming and low-roller stuff.

      Having said that, fear not. A recent article pegged LVA subscriber numbers at 17,000. At a guesstimated average of $45 per subscriber ($50 for print, $37 for internet), that is over $750,000 a year. Add to that the publishing revenue, room and show sales, advertising sales, and the small size of the LVA operation (reported 15 employees), and it would appear Mr. Curtis’ days of HAVING to eat the cheap food specials are well behind him.

      Just to be clear: I have nothing but the utmost respect for him. Just as Howard Stern broke the ground for shock jocks and Rush Limbaugh for political talk, Survivor for reality TV, and Steve Wynn for Las Vegas megaresorts, any of us who do anything Vegas tourist related from websites to podcasts to newsletters owe a huge debt of gratitude to Anthony Curtis for paving the way.

    5. Ted,

      Just want to say awesome post.

      When I used to drive to Vegas from LA, two of my favorite spots to park was Orleans since it was good to go in drop a bit on craps, warm up for the strip, and then take the shuttle to the strip.

      Also as I recall the area behind Bally’s had all sorts of hotels and shops you could just park in and walk away.

      Then again this was all 7-8 years ago, perhaps much has changed.

    6. I’ll be kind of sorry to see Boardwalk go. We have stayed both there (the original rooms, not the tower) and at the Imperial Palace and had far fewer problems at the Boardwalk.

      Imperial Palace was noisy because of Harrah’s outdoor concerts next door. The biggest problem, though, was that the toilet in our “newly renovated” room would back up into the sink when flushed! Front desk seemed rather uninterested in hearing about it.

      As for buffets, the worst buffet we’ve ever had in Las Vegas was at Circus Circus. Had never seen Spaghetti-O’s on a buffet before.

      Only ever tried the Surf Buffet at the Boardwalk once, and it was at breakfast. It was unremarkable, as you might expect. No blue-green lettuce to be found at breakfast.

      Next trip we’ll be saving money by staying at Hooters. Was glad to hear that parking is plentiful there because we’ll have a car. Ted, thanks for the parking tips.

      Final thought on Boardwalk… didn’t they have some weather-beaten manequins trapped on their faux Ferris wheel, or am I dreaming? I remember the manequins as being every bit as scary as the giant clown head.

    7. Drambuie Man brings up a good point: If you are driving in from out of town and staying or playing at some of the Coast properties with shuttles, that also beats parking on The Strip. BTW, when I get a chance, I am going to explore exactly how strict South Coast is being with the players cards to get on the shuttle. I’d somewhat sidelined with a broken foot, so doing a lot of walking is out of the question right now.

      Back when Little Caesars was between Aladdin and Bally’s in a strip mall there, indeed it was one of the best kept parking secrets and certainly should go on the RIP list. For those saying “What” … There used to be a strip mall where Paris Las Vegas sits. And it had a nice sized parking lot in back of it. No shizit … less than 10 years ago there was a mini-mall in the center of The Strip. And it had a casino in it. But that is another story for another time.

    8. The opening to this show was horrible. Sounded like Chipmunk wanna-be’s
      However as always the the rest of the show was great.

    9. I’m going to really miss the boardwalk. During my last trip I found a particularly helpful dealer who would always “accidentally” show me the bottom dealer card in 3 card poker. Okay, so this wasn’t enough to have an edge, but it was nice when I was holding a queen high and she flashed me an ace.

      I know it wasn’t popular with a lot of people, but for its location the limits were awesome, drink service good and atmosphere, well, two outta three ain’t bad!!

      Where am I going to find $3 minimums South of Casino Royale now? (and don’t say Klondike!!)

    10. Tim and Michelle,

      Love the shows! I’ve been a faithful listener for the past 4 months, and I just finished going through the archives and listening to all the earlier shows. This has been great entertainment, and I appreciate all the work you have done to make the show so much fun to listen to. My wife will be pleased that I’m done listening to all the old shows, but that’s her own darn fault for giving me a shiny new iPod for Christmas. (Previously, I was listening on — I can’t believe I’m going to admit this — an antiquated MP3 player that had a whopping 64 megs of memory. Embarrassing.

      Anyway, way back on show #21 or something you mentioned looking at the Piggy Bank machines (or something like that), and that you’d sit down and play if the bank has more than 40 coins. Can you explain this to those of us who aren’t really savvy to the multi-coin machines? Looking over the rows of machines sounds like a nice diversion for when I’m in town and I’m flat broke from those darn poker sharks!

      Thanks again for a consistently good show. Perhaps your wife and my wife should get together and do a Shoe-Shopping podcast.

      John from Alabama

    11. John,

      Might be able to help you a bit on this…

      There are some slot machines that can be advantagous under certain circumstances. These slots have some sort of bonus bank feature that, when a particular order of symbols shows up on the reels, pays it out.

      Several years ago, when these type of machines started to come out, advantage players began to notice these machines and would wait until an unsuspected vistor played and then left. They would then hit the machine (or bank of machines) until the bank “broke”.

      I understand that most of these types of machines are no longer around (especially when you look at the newer IGT machines coming out every year). However, there are still a couple in just about every casino.

      On (subscription required), there is a list for each casino of these slots, where they are, when to play (and how many credits per spin). I believe that there is a book that is out there that also has similar/same info.

      Hope this helps…


    12. Jeff’s comments are right on. I can’t recall the name of the book (I do recall that it was written by Charles Lund) but can tell you that it’s really outdated. Most of the machines described in the book are difficult or impossible to find now. Even Piggy Bankin’, which could be found in pretty much every casino on the Strip five years ago, is becoming very rare.

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