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Saturday, May 10

Las Vegas on the Cheap

Later today we leave for Las Vegas.  Most people would argue that taking a vacation to Sin City is anything but a frugal form of entertainment.  Au contraire!  This is the land of $9/day rental cars, free hotel rooms and cheap eats.  It's the frugal miser's playground.

I'm not a heavy gambler, but I do enjoy the entertainment.  Usually an introvert, I can sit at a $3 blackjack table for hours, sipping free spirits while yapping it up with my fellow players and the dealer.

I follow a few rules to stretch my Las Vegas budget:

  • I use a Player's Card everywhere.  Comps are king, but you'll earn more freebies off the strip.  
  • Some casinos have aggressive promotions.  We will be taking advantage of the following freebies during our vacation:  On Tuesdays, 200 points at Sam's Town gets you a free breakfast or lunch buffet, and you can earn two free buffets in a day. I will earn a free buffet for running $200 through a Video Poker machine.  Since I try to play perfect strategy, my estimated loss on a $200 bet is 84 cents.  An $.84 lunch is a bargain!  On Wednesday, I can earn a free movie ticket after 600 points.  There are similar free buffet promotions at Suncoast (300 points are required there, but it isn't limited to one day a week).
  • Binion's and El Cortez offer "free spin" promotions with their player's cards.  Earn X points, spin a prize wheel.  This is in addition to the other comps you receive with their cards.
  • Need cash?  Use the ATM at El Cortez.  You get a 5% rebate on your withdrawal amount in the form of free play.
  • Every 4 of a Kind on Video Poker at Main Street Station gets you a free scratch off ticket that is guaranteed to win cash.
  • As I've said before, I keep checking rates after I book travel.  I monitored car rental rates and re-booked whenever they dropped.  Our two week rental dropped from $367 all-in to $203 as the trip approached.
  • Casinos give out free rooms like candy.  We have to change properties every couple of days, but the slight inconvenience is worth the savings.
As long as you can stick to a gambling budget, vacationing in Las Vegas can be a significant value.


  1. The video poker promotions look pretty good. I'm going to Vegas next month and I might take advantage of those. It is hard to get free rooms as a poker player. I haven't booked my room yet so I might see if I can at least get a better rate. Good luck!

    1. Maybe if you played a little video poker you'd get some free room offers? I almost exclusively play video poker with a little blackjack thrown in and get room offers for that. I heard that the El Cortez makes free room offers even to guests who do nothing but stay in the hotel once... spend $20 on a room there and maybe future trips you can sleep for free there.