For many years, Anthony Curtis has published his newsletter, Las Vegas Advisor, tracking the best of the “good deals” available in Las Vegas. Read by tourists and locals alike, the LVA is probably the best source available for folks wishing to find the best prime rib dinner under $8, the best hotel rates, the most valuable casino fun book, etc.. Bargain City can be thought of as a “greatest hits” of the Las Vegas advisor, with recommendations on where the best deals are and general advice on how to obtain them.
The book starts out with a section on booking a room. Even at the worst of times, Las Vegas room rates are way low compared to the rest of the country, but one can get even lower rates by knowing where to look, who to talk to, and what to ask for. If one doesn’t know this information, it will save the cost of the book in a single trip.
The second section is on gambling itself, and it tells folks how to get the most for their gambling dollar. The advice is good, but remember that to get really good at the gambling games that have the highest (positive) expectation, it will take some time. If it were really easy, the casino wouldn’t offer the games at all. Still, as in all things, it is surprising how much money even a little knowledge can save.
Section number three is titled “Beating”, and it covers the methods and techniques that will get comps and the other good deals that one might not know about. This section includes tips on getting rated at games, how to ask for comps, efficient use of gambling coupons, etc..
Interspersed in all this are reviews of various restaurants, slot clubs, casino Slot Gacor games, hotel rooms, buffets, ad nauseum. Just about everything one would want to know about where the best is and how to get it at a bargain price. There is one problem, though, and that is that the book was originally published in 1993 (updated in 1995) and, needless to say, some of this material is obviously out of date. A remarkable amount of it is still valid, though. For my taste, I find most of the reviews to be a little long on “bargain” at the expense of “quality”, that is, I’d be willing to pay a whole three bucks more for a much better steak. Nonetheless, with just a little experience one can calibrate the reviews to fit one’s own taste and budget. Still, it’s surprising how little correlation there is between cost and value.
The book is written very clearly and it’s quite fun to read. A lot of it is quite funny, especially the self mocking tips from the “Las Vegas Miser”. Even if one doesn’t use the information within, the book is still pretty entertaining. Further, these are the insights of true insiders. Very few good deals get past them. Reading this book will put you a leg up on your friends and family.
If a person is a high roller looking for tips on how to get airfare included in their RFB (room, food, beverage, the ultimate comp) trip to Caesar’s, this book isn’t going to help that much, although the twelve dollar price tag is unlikely to be too disturbing either (but check out Max Rubin’s Comp City!) It’s audience is the more “cost conscious” Las Vegas visitor. If one has an LVA subscription, this is probably old news, and one will probably not miss much by passing on this book, but for the occasional visitor, the book is entertaining and worth while.
For years Anthony Curtis has been collecting and distributing information on how to find the best deals in Las Vegas. Even though the book is a little dated, there is still enough information here to make it well worth while to the cost conscious Las Vegas visitor. Bargain City is quite entertaining and is likely to be well a good value to everyone except the highest roller and most well established insider.