El Cortez Match Play

Sometimes the best kept secrets are right there in front of you, and you just have to be in the know enough to ask. That’s definitely the case at one of my favorite downtown grind joints, as even *I* was surprised to discover my last trip.

Although many may underestimate the yellow-tinted and heavily-perfumed dive, it turns out they offer one of the best free deals in Las Vegas!

The El Cortez has an excellent deal (that amounts to about $40 worth of match play, free play, and drinks) if you show the player’s club a boarding pass from any airline within 24 hours of landing.


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Viva Las Value would not be possible without the endless support of my incredible family and friends. It’s impossible to articulate how amazing these people are; they deserve much more…

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VLV Recommends

Las Vegas is exciting because it is full of options! But this can also be overwhelming when trying to plan a vacation; there are so many possibilities, it’s hard to know which are worthwhile and which will be a waste of your time/money.

Here at Viva Las Value, I’m committed to helping you find the best value in Las Vegas and sharing my experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I recognize that experiences differ for everyone, I hope that my recommendations can help give you some clarity and direction.

The following will be a dynamic, growing, and evolving list of attractions/services that I have personal experience with and recommend.


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Resort Fee


rɪˈzɔrt fi
  1.  An inescapable nightly fee added on to your room rate, regardless of where or how you book
    • Assessed equally on sale rooms, rooms booked through a third party, and rooms booked directly
      • Charged when you check into the hotel, even if you pre-pay in advance
synonyms: fuck you fee, corporate racket, ripoff, necessary bullshit
Usage Examples
“There will be a $37 a night resort fee assessed on your comped room, sir.”
“As if I didn’t lose enough at the 6:5 blackjack tables, the penny pinchers at MGM hit me with a $40 a night resort fee on my room.”


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Casino Conglomerates

There has been a lot of consolidation in the casino industry, with a couple of conglomerates holding a dominant market share. While you can make a very compelling case that this has screwed over players by promoting a corporate bean counter mentality and…. sorry, I’ll save my socialist rants for somewhere else.

All casinos owned by the same conglomerate will use the same players club. Your spending will be tracked across all the properties that a company owns, which means you can hop between affiliated casinos with the same card. Many companies (namely CET, Boyd, and MLife) have locals casinos throughout the country as well. Concentrating your spending on one company can help maximize your comps and stretch your gambling/entertainment dollar further.


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Flying to Las Vegas

The best way to get to Las Vegas depends on your time and budgetary constraints. If you live nearby, driving is a viable option. However, most people end up flying, as flights are relatively cheap (unless you’re wanting to travel at a busy time like a holiday/fight night/Super Bowl weekend/etc).

Fares vary by region and desired dates, so it’s hard to give definitive advice. The best thing I can advise is to track fares, avoid peak times and be flexible with your fares if possible, book when fares are palatable, and avoid vacation packages.


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Vice Advice

Because I haven’t done a good enough job of corrupting the next generation in my short-lived stint as a middle school social studies teacher or in my current role supervising RAs at a college, it’s time to share my degeneracy and extensive knowledge of vice(s) with the masses.

If you’ve got any burning questions about or need advice on anything remotely related to Las Vegas, gambling, or just general debauchery, fill out the form below for some FREE (and maybe questionable) Vice Advice!


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You can think of the cashier as a bank teller.

The cashier (commonly referred to as the “cage” because of its security bars) is where you will go to cash out your chips and machine vouchers (TITOs) and get change for your large bills.


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