The show takes listeners to the world-famous Las Vegas Strip…and beyond - featuring conversations with Las Vegas entertainers & experts as well as trip reports with reviews of hotels, casinos, restaurants, shows, attractions and more!
Sin City Stories - Volume 6: 10/1/17
Warning: This episode of Sin City Stories contains descriptions of an event that some listeners may find disturbing or triggering. Listener discretion is advised.
October 1, 2017.
It's a date burned into the memories of both Las Vegas residents and visitors. On that day, the Vegas Strip - a spot normally associated with fun and frivolity - became a site of terror for thousands attending a nearby country music festival.
From his suite on one of the high floors at a nearby hotel, a gunman opened fire on the crowd, committing the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Dozens were killed, hundreds were wounded and Las Vegas was shaken to the core.
But who would perpetrate such and attack...and why? What was the response from the city, the country and the world? And how has Las Vegas healed since this tragic event.
That's what you'll find in this episode, as we take a deep dive into 10/1/17.
If you want to learn more about what unfolded at Route 91 on October 1, 2017 - including the response from the brave heroes who rushed to the scene, the outpouring of support that came after the attack, the tributes paid to those who were lost, and the investigation into the incident you can visit the official Sin City Stories website.
Casino: Fact vs Fiction
The 1995 movie, "Casino" directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Sharon Stone is, in my opinion, an absolute classic and a must-watch for anyone at all interested in Las Vegas.
The film - which just celebrated its 25th anniversary - tells the story of Sam "Ace" Rothstein, an expert sports-handicapper who's sent to Las Vegas by the Chicago Outfit to oversee the skimming operations at the fictional Tangiers Hotel & Casino.
"Casino" is based on actual events and pulls its story from the book, "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas", written by Nicholas Pileggi who co-wrote the screenplay along with Martin Scorsese.
As always, whenever a book based on a true story makes a move to the big screen, there's certain plot points that tend to be overly dramatized (or even flat-out made up) for the sake of entertainment. My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help shed some light on some of the Fact vs. Fiction aspects of "Casino".
Geoff Schumacher is the Vice President of Exhibits & Programs at the Mob Museum in Las Vegas. He was kind enough to join me to help separate reality from fantasy when it comes to the world of "Ace" Rothstein/"Lefty" Rosenthal.
Did hotel security actually smash a cheater's hand with a hammer? Did an FBI surveillance plane actually run out of gas and land on a golf course fairway? Was there really an issue with blueberry muffins?
We get the answers to these questions - and many more!
Visit The Mob Museum's official website and be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram. Also, be sure to subscribe to the Mob Museum's YouTube channel where you can check out virtual tours, special presentations and more!
And if you want to really get into Las Vegas history and read the true story of Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, Anthony Spilotro, the Hole in the Wall Gang and the massive Stardust skimming operation, pick up your copy of "Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas" by Nicholas Pileggi.
I do A LOT of solo traveling, particularly to Las Vegas - but I've also done solo trips to other cities including Seattle, Toronto and Los Angeles.
People often ask me what the appeal is of traveling solo.
Don't I get bored? Do I worry about my safety? What does my wife think about me traveling solo? (The answers to those questions are, in order: no, no and she's fine with it since I'm usually doing stuff she doesn't like)
A lot of folks won't take the jump and book a solo vacation, but I'm hoping my guest for this episode of the podcast might help change a few minds.
Janice Waugh is the founder of Solo Traveler World, a website & online community devoted to people who love to travel solo.
Janice & I talked about the inspiration behind her creating Solo Traveler, the best ways to plan a solo trip, the mistakes to avoid while traveling solo and how to stay safe & out of trouble when you're on your own in a strange city.
If you'd like to connect with Janice & the Solo Traveler community, visit their website at SoloTravelerWorld.com, follow them on Twitter & Instagram, or join the Solo Travel Society on Facebook.
Hidden Gems - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars
One of my favourite things about being a frequent Vegas visitor and having friends who live there has been them taking me away from the tourist areas to check out some of the locals' spots around the city.
And I've been noticing more and more lately that people have been asking about these locals' spots; they want to know some of the cool places around Las Vegas where the residents go to eat and hang out - and my guest for this episode is here to help out!
Robert Harley is a Vegas local who runs a vlog called "Let's Get Vegasy". He does live videos on Facebook & YouTube on an almost-daily basis showing his adventures around the city, and something he focuses quite heavily on is the food & beverage scene. So, I thought it would be helpful for Robert to jump on the show and share some his picks for these so-called "hidden gems".
We talked about the big three - Pizza Joints, Steakhouses & Dive Bars - as well as a few other spots that Vegas visitors might want to check out.
If you want to check out Robert's latest videos, you can join the Let's Get Vegasy Facebook Group or subscribe to the Let's Get Vegasy YouTube Channel!
Total Immersion - The Psychology Of Slot Machines
I think we've all had that experience where a bunch of time passes and we have no idea where it's gone. Whether it's while driving down the highway, surfing social media or - sitting at a slot machine in a casino in Las Vegas.
But what causes that effect? Why do our brains drift away like that and take us out of reality?
My guest for this episode of the podcast is here to help us understand.
Spencer Murch has a PhD in Psychology & Cognitive Science from the University of British Columbia and, over the last several years, has been involved in several different research projects surrounding the cognitive science of gambling. Recently, Spencer completed a study surrounding "immersion" and being "zoned in" or "zoned out" during slot play.
Spencer took the time to jump on the show with me to explain the methodology behind the study and share the results of his research. We also talked about the part slot designers play in creating that "immersion", what the future of gaming may hold and how to avoid "zoning in" or "zoning out" while playing slots.
If you'd like to learn more about the psychology of slot machines, check out:
- Research Snapshot: Exploring zoned-in or zoned-out immersion during slot machine gambling- Research Snapshot: The relationship between dark flow, depression, and multiline slot machines
Or pick up a copy of the book, "Addiction By Design" by Natasha Dow Schull.
Vegas From Across The Pond
I always love having other "Vegas fanatics" on the podcast, and my guest for this episode definitely falls into that category!
Joining me from "across the pond" is Steve White, better known on Twitter as @LasVegasUK. If you've ever listened to the ZorkCast presented by TravelZork, you'll recognize Steve as the British half of the show. Steve is also extremely well-versed in all things Vegas.
Steve & I chatted about everything from our predictions on potential changes coming to Las Vegas, to our very first trips to Vegas, to the unique Vegas guide that Steve is in the process of writing. Also, being that Steve is in the UK under full-on lockdown and I'm in Canada facing extremely strict rules surrounding travel, we thought it was worth having a discussion about travel restrictions & the impact they're having on international travellers.
Start following Steve on Twitter right now and be sure to check out ZorkCast, the official TravelZork podcast, for great Las Vegas advice - and travel advice, in general.
Awesome trip prep
Jeff does a great job with this podcast and has a ton of great info to help plan and get excited about Vegas trips.
I just finished listening to the first episode and this podcast is excellent. It is very Vegas centric and so if you’re not into Las Vegas this might not be the podcast for you. However it is definitely up my alley I love listening to peoples trip reports and hearing about new things.