Sunday, June 26, 2011

Link to article: Video Poker Do's and Don'ts

From comes a good - albeit brief - article on the most basic video poker do's and don'ts for the beginning poker player.  Read these basic rules before you even think about playing in a casino for real money.

Friends often ask me HOW to pick a video poker game to play.  Where should they start?  I say to use the free online sites (like to practice before you even get to a casino.  If you don't know what you're doing, you'll end up losing money quickly, and the experience will not be a satisfactory one.  

Also, there are so many good tutorial video poker games for sale that will help you make the right choices for holding cards, and you can get a feel for the different types of games available.  Bob Dancer's selection of videos are especially good for this purpose.

If I had to give one piece of advice that's NOT included in the article, what would it be?  Never ask the gambler sitting next to you how to play a particular game.  Most serious video poker players find it offensive and annoying (it's just the way they are, don't ask me why).

Have fun and good luck!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Restaurant Review for dessert only: Max Brenner's in the Forum Shops @ Caesars Palace

The bald man himself, on a napkin

The 100% Pure Chocolate Chocolate Experience Ice Cream Max-wich

Fantastic Popsicle Chocolate Fondue (wrapped ice cream bar on the right)

During my March 2011 trip, I took my mom and my cousin to Max Brenner's - officially called "Max Brenner's Chocolate by the Bald Man" - in the Forum Shops at Caesars Palace.  

I had eaten there once before in October with my friend Claire, and we both enjoyed it.  For this trip, though, my traveling companions and I were only having dessert, but it was more than enough to fill us up.

My mom and my cousin split the "100% Pure Chocolate Chocolate Experience Ice Cream Max-wich", which my mom predetermined as her dessert of choice while perusing the menu in my dining room before we left.  It's basically two giant chocolate cookies with chocolate chips, filled with chocolate ice cream, drizzled with chocolate sauce and covered in chocolate shavings, accompanied by a milk chocolate sauce for dipping.  That is just too much chocolate for me, and I love chocolate.

Luckily they saw the size of the dessert when someone at the next table got the same thing before we placed our order, because it is entirely too big for one person to eat alone (except for my British friend John, who is very skinny and apparently has the metabolism of a hummingbird), and they decided to split it instead of making themselves miserable.

They said that the chocolate parts were all very good, but that the cookies were actually a little too hard to bite into without making a mess.  I personally like a cookie that BENDS, and it might have made the dessert a little easier to eat.

I ordered the "Fantastic Popsicle Chocolate Fondue" (for 1, but you can get it for 2).  This dessert allows you to dip your own vanilla ice cream bar(s) into milk chocolate fondue, toffee bits and/or chocolate drops over and over again.  It was like a never-ending chocolate-covered ice cream bar, and it was yummy!  I always hate it when the chocolate coating comes off when you bite into a bar like that, but this dessert lets you "reapply" your coatings as many times as you like, in whatever combination you like, until you're done.  What a delicious option!  The vanilla ice cream bar was not extremely cold, which gave it a consistency of something a little more solid than soft serve, and made it easier to bit into the bar.  

Our waiter was nice, but he wasn't very quick (there were two other waiters in the restaurant, and there were only five or six tables occupied), and we had to wait a bit to place our order and get our check. He tried to talk me into getting the two bars instead of one, saying they weren't very big, but I was fine with one because it was just right and didn't leave me stuffed.  The ice cream bar was slightly smaller than a regular-sized one, but if you are really into dessert or wanted to share two might be a better option.

I opted for water, since lots of chocolate makes me thirsty, and my mom and cousin each ordered a cup of coffee to go with their cookie concoction.  Altogether our dessert came out to $24.21+tip, which isn't too bad for a late-night snack.

Overall I'd rate this experience a 7, and I am looking forward to going back and trying something else next time.  Since I really enjoyed their appetizers during my last trip, I'm hoping to try a new, savory option to go along with a dessert the next time I stop by.

For restaurant hours or to view the menu, visit

Link to article: Vegas' best bets for late-night dining (

A recent blog entry from gives their list of favorite late-night eateries for visitors with the munchies.

The restaurant at the top of their list, Carnegie Deli (at The Mirage), is on my list for late-night dining as part of my upcoming solo trip.  I'm looking forward to trying their Shrimp Salad Sandwich - YUM!

Of the others on their list I've only tried Grand Lux (at The Venetian), and I have to say they certainly do have a widely varied, delicious selection of appetizers and entrees.  They are owned by Cheesecake Factory, so expect giant portions just like you'd get at CF.  It definitely makes sense to share if you can.

Bon apetit!