Reader Responses To Tipping In Las Vegas Article

John Strutt of Southey, SK, Canada writes in response to last week’s issue on tipping:

Good Day Ted,

Thanks for the great newsletter. My wife always plays nickels when we are in Vegas. I like beer (like most men) and we always tip $1 for each two beer the waitress brings. They seem very happy with the $1 and to tell you the truth, we never had to order a beer or ask for one. The waitress automatically brought them every 20 minutes or so. Now that’s service. I find this works in all casinos.

All the best,

Ted Responds:

Certainly you should do what works best for you. Our guidelines were general, but there is no question that service depends on the time of day, the caliber of the property, etc. A $1 tip for a couple is often not out of line as she is making one trip to get to both of you. If she makes it back before your glass sits empty long, she is happy and you are getting the level of service you tipped for. Thanks for the input!





CEO/Managing Editor

Gerald & Gloria Speen wrote:

Hello Ted,

We want to extend our thanks and compliment you for the excellent article on tipping. It  is the first practical, reasonable, down-to-earth schedule we have seen. It is fair and ties the size of the tips to the true service rendered. Too many times, the articles on tipping are too generous for the services provided or assume that the service is worth far more than it is. We were particularly pleased with your comments about buffets where the patron does all the work and the extent of the server’s effort was to bring you drinks. Also, tipping at the slots. We have seen huge tips recommended for the change person just because they happened to be in the neighborhood and nothing more.

Thanks for getting it straight.

Do I Need To Keep My Passport On Me When In Las Vegas

Craig Ashton of England wrote:

Dear ‘In Vegas’,

Next summer I plan to tour America for 4 weeks. The first week will be spent in Las Vegas. I will be 23 years old and will have a valid passport to prove my age. However, it is not my wish to carry my passport with me to prove my age. I am writing to ask you if there is any alternative to carrying my passport around with me I.e. Would a photocopy be acceptable in the casino’s and bars?

Ted Responds:

It is mandatory that you have original proof of age in all areas where gaming or alcohol sales take place. In fact, if you are young or young looking, we suggest having this handy at all times in casinos. Clubs are different, as they just need to verify once as you enter.





CEO/Managing Editor

Las Vegas Trip Report: Shows And Staying Off-Strip

David C. Surette of Vancouver, British Columbia wrote:

Many thanks for your newsletter during the past few months as I planned my 1st time ever Vegas trip. We have just returned from what turned out to be a totally enjoyable vacation which included a few days in Vegas. The spectacle of the Strip was overwhelming; we didn’t manage to get to the downtown area or the outskirts as we were thoroughly immersed in centralized exploration. The mega-resorts were fabulous and provided great backdrops and settings for our numerous photos. We were only there for 46 hours but managed to see all the major sites and resort properties between the Luxor and the Stratosphere. We tempted fate and the laws of physics by partaking in both of the Stratosphere’s attractions (fortunately, before the wonderful buffet dinner at the Bellagio). Our other meal was the Dinner Buffet offered by Mandalay Bay. Almost every review we read rated Bellagio as the #1 Buffet in Vegas…. however, we found Mandalay Bay to be superior in this respect. The food quality and selection was equal or better than Bellagio, the cost was ~$7 less and the setting/ambience was similar. At Bellagio they peel and devein the jumbo shrimp and slice the Alaska King crab legs for you… I’d rather do it the Mandalay Bay way where they make you work bit for that wonderful seafood flavor by not deveining the shrimp or slicing up the crab legs ! Believe it or not, seafood tastes better when savoring that wonderful taste is prolonged by wrestling with the shells.

We saw a great show both evenings, booked through “Best Reservations” as advertised in your newsletter (editors note: ).  As the tickets were prepaid (in addition to a $9.90 service charge per show) we merely showed up at the “will-call” section of the Box Office an hour before showtime, presented the credit card and sited the reservation #. Our tickets were handed to us and it was “showtime”. We had great seats for both shows: Sigfreid & Roy and Cirque du Soleil’s Mystere. Overall we preferred Mystere over S&R but wanted to be counted in the many who have seen S&R during their 29 year reign in Las Vegas as the #1 Box office draw. I am already planning our next Vegas jaunt which will include seeing Cirque du Soleil’s “O” and Lance Burton, shows we couldn’t possibly fit in this time around.

Our fondest and most vivid recollections of the Strip were Paris and the Venetian’s facades, the Star Trek experience at the LV Hilton,  Bellagio’s fountain, everything at Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island’s “touristy” Pirate Battle, and the realization that things (mega-resorts) are actually much farther away than they appear. We stayed about 3/4 mile off the Strip at Quality Inn Key Largo and took taxis everywhere we went. In retrospect, it would have been less expensive to rent a car but the hassle clearly wouldn’t have been worth it.

We discovered that Vegas is a tip-hungry town… especially taxi drivers. Standard tips at the Buffets seemed to be about $5/table…we tipped about $5 for drinks at the gaming tables. The only uncomfortable or disturbing experience we had was with a cab driver who insisted on a better tip. He literally was not going to let us out of the cab until we paid him off. The trip was from the Bellagio to the Mirage for the S&R show… the cost on the meter was about $4.60 .. I gave him $6 and waved off the change, tried to open
the door and found it locked. From his broken English I initially thought that he wanted to give me change or misunderstood that he could keep the change but quickly realized that he was asking for more. He seemed to suggest that he had to pay out-of-pocket for the right to pick up guests of the Bellagio and that he was losing money by only receiving a $1.40 tip. We were already running a bit late for the show (had to forego the two free drinks) and I didn’t want to argue so I firmly and with some authority in my voice demanded that he immediately unlock the door (as we couldn’t). He complied but continued to rant as we walked toward the Mirage entrance, a tad embarrassing but we survived.

On our next visit we’ll shell out the extra bucks and stay at either Treasure Island or Mandalay Bay. Our accommodations at QI’s Key Largo were adequate (clean, quiet and roomy) but too far away from the Strip. The check-in staff there were exceptionally polite, efficient and courteous. Given the nature of the interaction we observed with some of the other guests, I commend their patience and professionalism. We missed our flight to LA because we arrived at the airport after the baggage check-in time limit. We were held up in traffic because of a serious accident and the flight time was moved 20 minutes forward…. two things I didn’t count on. We had to be in LA to catch a Cruise Ship so we split up and hit the other airline line-ups in search of two seats to LA in time to make the cruise. Fortunately, Southwest Airlines came through for us and we were in LA with 2 hours to spare.

Looking forward to our next visit!

Ted Responds:

Thanks for the great letter. It inspired us to write our article on tipping today. If a cabby has to pay to pick up at Bellagio, that’s not only news to us, but not your problem. Your tip was plenty generous for a short trip.

I too have had cabbys attempt to screw me by taking me the longer route, etc. (thinking I was a tourist that didn’t know any better). Anytime you get into ANY dispute with a cab driver, simply mention that you are going to call the Taxicab Authority and file a complaint. Ever seen a cab driver’s face turn pale? I have. The Nevada Taxi Cab Authority is at 486-6532 and is also listed in the white pages under “Nevada – State of / Taxicab Authority.”

Also, remember that is says right on the cab – that they carry less than $5 in change. While that is generally not true, and unpleasant cabby can refuse to change in your bigger bills so get small bills before you catch the cab. Casinos aren’t short on change! Better yet, just rent a car at and save yourself the hassles and cab lines.





CEO/Managing Editor








Las Vegas Trip Report Golden Nugget Downtown Las Vegas

Janice and David Haynes wrote:

My husband and I (we are from New York), spent a week in Vegas last month, staying downtown at the Golden Nugget, which has always been our favorite place to stay. We met his parents out there, who are from Florida, and did a lot of buffets, as that is their favorite places to eat when there. We found the Rio Seafood Buffet, the Mirage, and the Golden Nugget to be excellent fare, versus the cost in each instance. We also went to the Main Street Station and found it to be very mediocre. I do admit that we did not go there on their seafood night, so perhaps it may have been better, but I would not spend the money again to find out, when I know the quality of other places. As always, Stefanos in the Golden Nugget for one of our “regular dinners” was excellent!

This was our first time to see the Bellagio (stayed for 4 of the fountain shows – it was fantastic), the Venetian (only checked out the outside, as well as Paris,) and did a side day trip to see the Star Trek Experience and found it to be one of the best motion rides we have ever been on. We also loved the museum portion; true Star Trek fans could spend hours in here. Our favorite thing was the visit to Quark’s Bar afterwards – great drinks, great snacks and great atmosphere with the characters sitting in the bar and talking with everyone. I kicked myself all the way back to the Golden Nugget for forgetting my camera!!! However, I couldn’t get over how dead the casino of the Las Vegas Hilton was – if there was 20 people in there, that was a lot….

As always, the Golden Nugget’s rooms were roomy, tastefully decorated, and we were in the North Tower which is closer to the casino. We never had to wait for an elevator, which has been a negative experience in the past when we have been in the South Tower. Our favorite thing in being downtown, was the fewer numbers of children being in the hotels and casinos; we love kids…just not on our vacations in Vegas!! Take them to Disneyworld where they belong. I have had my fill of having my ankles run over by strollers in the past and expect it there; but in Las Vegas I applaud the efforts of the hotels limiting access to children.

We love the glitter of the strip, but always felt like we were “home” when we came back downtown at night. We can’t wait until our next trip in May!

Overall, we had a great trip and appreciate the information posted in this newsletter, as it helped us make decisions about some of the things we did during the week. keep up the great work!!

Reviews Of Las Vegas Casino Architecture: Bellagio, Paris, Mandalay Bay, Venetian

David from Houston writes:

My comments about Las Vegas:

I go to Las Vegas every year. This year was to see the four new resort hotels. Two were disappointments, one was very nice, and the other one was simply stunning.

Bellagio: Architecture wise, this resort was not very appealing, the inside was just average, really nothing to justify the hype associated with it. The fountain show in the lagoon however was really nice. The classical piece of music fit the fountains perfectly. However, they need to only use that piece of music, I saw the fountain show three times, two times they had the classical music, and the last time they had this awful music titled ( Big Spender) it did not match the fountains at all, and was a total turn-off. I was not the only one dissatisfied by the music selection.

Paris: The Eiffel Tower was real nice looking especially at night all lit up. However that was the only nice thing about the appearance of the hotel. The inside had no architectural features. The ceiling was painted like the sky. That is fine if it is in a corridor like the forum shops in Caesars. However, having the whole ceiling painted like the sky seems a bit much. It seems like they wanted a cheap way out. There has been talk about it being cramped inside, only in certain places; otherwise I did not think it was too cramped. Anyway, certainly not one of the nicer resorts. One other thing which I did not like, at the crap table, the chips that were used also included Bally’s chips and vice versa. I thought that was really goofy. I guess they belong to the same corporation. But that was a negative that should be changed.

Mandalay Bay: The architecture inside was really nice, the ceilings had a lot of intricate moldings. The layout was really nice. The outside I did not see, I walked through the Luxor walkway. The people that worked there were real friendly. Very nice place.

Venetian: Simply stunning. I could not believe the architecture outside. It really did look like Venice. Everything was on a grand scale, even the walkway to the wax museum. The inside entry to check in made my jaw drop. Without a doubt, the most beautiful resort in LAS VEGAS. The ceiling architecture was very nice. The ceiling above the stairway leading to the canal shops looked like Michelangelo painted it. The gold color on the oversized molding on that ceiling was a beautiful touch. And the canal inside with the shops was spectacular.

Other recommendations to see in Vegas:

Imax movies at Caesars and Luxor. Also, the wax museum at the Venetian is well worth it. The Mystere‘ show at Treasure Island, well worth the money. Coca Cola Museum The Forum Shops in Caesars. Treasure Island Ship Battle. Gamblers Museum in Tropicana Hotel, very informative., Fountains at Bellagio Dolphin/Tiger habitat at Mirage Hotel.

Las Vegas Trip Report: Love MGM Grand

Susan in South Florida wrote:

My husband and I were in Vegas Oct 9-15. Stayed at the MGM Grand and loved the way they treat their guests! The buffet was pretty fantastic. We got to look at all the new hotels and my favorite is the Venetian because we got to see one of the rooms. Very very elegant and HUGE! I stayed at the Bellagio last April. It was very beautiful but a little too “Full of Itself” if you know what I mean. Saw the Rat Pack this trip. Fabulous!! I LOVE Vegas.

Sam’s Town Las Vegas Hotel Casino: Friendly People, Few Children

Gloria from Ohio wrote:

Just got back from Vegas, and wanted to add my two cents on the Paris. It stinks, literally! What is that foul odor outside? It sure ruined the beauty on the outside of the Casino! We hurried inside and proceeded to lose a fair sum of money. Did hit on a machine, but on the rest, we got little or no return on our money. We also did not like the cobblestone walkway, seems like an accident waiting to happen. Personally we like more room to move around, it is a very crowded casino. We’ve stayed at several hotels on the strip, but keep going back to Sam’s Town, where the people are friendly, not many children, and there is room to move.

Las Vegas Trip Report Luxor Hotel

Jean Haka of Waukesha, WI wrote:

Just returned on the red-eye this morning from a wonderful 3-day visit to Las Vegas.

Stayed at the Luxor – beautiful hotel, nice size, not too big but big enough. Beautiful, clean, quiet rooms, too. (we were in East wing – many fast elevators!) Friendly staff, good food. Kids enjoyed the video/upstairs area.

Visited as many of hotels/casinos as possible. Kids enjoyed the Adventuredome at Circus Circus but not overly enthused with it! What they did really enjoy was the Lance Burton show. We (hubby and myself) had seen Lance many years ago at Hacienda before he was “famous”. We thought we’d maybe be disappointed with a “big” showroom etc, but were not. Again really enjoyed the show – but get seats on the main level – it’s worth the extra $. Kids were amazed with big hotels – ParisTreasure Island (loved their video room)/Mirage, Monte Carlo, MGM etc just to name a few. Enjoyed the Lion Habitat and Pirate show. We arrived early for Pirate show at TI and got a seat at the Battle Bar – it was worth it! Arrive at least 1 hour B4 next show. Coca Cola was also fun – got 2 coupons off the internet.

Too many things we didn’t get to see – the kids want to go back. It was fun to be there with them, too. I do think that Las Vegas is still a mostly adult venue, but can be done with kids IF you/adult realize that you’ll be sacrificing your “freedom” to do what you want, when you want. Also, the folks that hand out the literature on the streets were very respectful as to not hand us any materials when with the kids – do appreciate that!!!!

Just our thoughts – keep all your good information coming! Glad to hear Wayne Newton is “back”. My daughter – age 10 years – wants to see his show! I’m not complaining!

Las Vegas Trip Reports

Dave Dore or Vancouver B.C. wrote:

Just came back from Vegas. My wife and I and another couple stayed at Monte Carlo, great hotel and casino. The only thing I didn’t like is that they don’t track your club Monte Carlo points on the $.25 Wheel of Fortune slot machines unlike other casinos. I have to give the Buffet at Mandalay Bay a 10 out of 10 for good food and good service. We checked out all the new casinos, Paris, Mandalay Bay, and the Venetian, although they are all very classy we still had the most fun downtown Fremont street.

Rod Guizzetti from Michigan wrote:

Just got home from Vegas & they are now dealing single deck B/J @ the Four Queens. Also single decks @ Westward Ho, Stratosphere, some @ Stardust, and of course Horseshoe. We loved the inside of the Venetian but Paris takes the scenery of the two on the outside. Going back in April. Stayed at the Hard Rock & the pool area was gorgeous & the young staff were all very friendly to us older folks. Would stay there again but the week-ends are packed with young people 18-30. Thanks!

Visiting Laughlin, Nevada from Las Vegas

We want to thank you for recommending the Wax Museum at Venetian Hotel. It was a real highlight of our short time in Vegas. Also a beautiful casino and the Grand Canal ride was a nice touch. Bellagio and Paris also beautiful. We were part of a tour so we did not have the time we would have liked but since we were there 3 years ago, they sure put up a lot of new casinos. Just a word on Laughlin, I feel that you only need a day trip there and I understand that the area is not doing that well. Transportation from casino to casino by bus or shuttle might be a good idea.

Lucille & Bob Olsen

Ted Responds:

From time to time, we are asked about Laughlin information. We do have a page of great Laughlin links at but our newsletter really is focused on just Las Vegas. However, we do hear regular reports about how cheap the rooms are and how easy comps are to come by. Also, Laughlin is about 10 degrees warmer in the winter. It’s not uncommon for Laughlin to have “pool weather” even in very late fall and early spring.




CEO/Managing Editor

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