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In Old Las Vegas, Ah the "Good Ole Days"

Discussion in 'Misc. Vegas Chat' started by Ben Jammin, Jun 6, 2013.

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  1. Ben Jammin

    Ben Jammin VIP Whale

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    You don't know what you've got til it's gone. We've all heard it, and what is it about the "Old Vegas" that was so much better? Well, a lot of things, and what is it that makes Las Vegas better now than before? Well, I'd like to know.

    There's a good web site; "inoldlasvegas.com" that has some great pix and videos of the way things used to be. If you wanted to get into the Sands to see the "Rat Pack", you had better be wearing a tux, and your gal better have on an evening gown or you ain't gettin in.

    The gambler was King, and treated like royalty. Comps were given freely to those who put up the dough on the tables, and the ladies? They played the slots while the men smoked cigars, drank hard whiskey and rolled those bones.

    Downtown was in, and the strip? There were a few "Carpet Joints" way out there, but if you wanted the "Nitty Gritty", it was "Glitter Gulch" all the way.

    Benny Binion, twice convicted for murder was granted a gaming license, and the Stardust was busted for "Skimming" the take.

    If they caught you cheating, you were lucky if you just got your knuckles busted with a ball peen hammer! They're still finding bodies out there in the North Vegas Desert.

    Nowadays it's the corporate mindset, and you're just a number. Tourists get into restaurants and shows in cut offs and tank tops, and you are tracked via your player’s club card. You hit a jackpot and some young assistant manager is hitting you with an IRS form.

    You can't go to the bathroom without a camera on you, and a computer facial recognition program takes a picture of the distance between your eyes, so they know whom you are.

    Is this a good thing? Do we wonder why Las Vegas is in trouble?

    So tell us, what is it about Las Vegas that used to be better, and what is it about Las Vegas now that you think is an improvement.

    Personally, I'm losing my fervor with all the new ways the bean counters are squeezing me for nickels and dimes, and even pennies these days.

    I Long for those Good Old Days!
     
  2. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    Yep, customer service is a thing of the past, relative to the 80s and before. Your point about the bean counters is spot on.

    Nice post.:peace::beer:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 6, 2013
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  3. C0usineddie

    C0usineddie VIP Whale

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    For all its faults, I prefer the way vegas is now vs the way it was then.
     
  4. Joe Strummer

    Joe Strummer VIP Whale

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    Air travel to Vegas ( was a great improvement ) -
    for awhile......not so sure you can say it right now -
    with the high prices + the herding of passengers these days.
    *
    I don't own a tuxedo....but I don't wear cuttoffs to restaurants.
    *
    I did like the cheap "All You Can Eat" buffet idea.
    Meat + potatoes......Steak + Eggs Specials.
    That idea is slowly fading, now.
    *
    More casinos to choose from -- is an improvement
    from those originals that Danny Ocean robbed.
    *
    A small venue/lounge to see your favorite performer must have been great !
    Now, you can sit in the upper tier + watch the grand screen
    to get an intimate feel during a performance.....and pay $200 - $300....:Þ
    *
    Mob Guys vs. Bean Counters
    One you didn't want to be in trouble with -
    the other just gives you trouble.
    *
    *
    Ahh......I don't know ?.......hell......bring back the "Themed Hotel/Casino" idea !
     
  5. nuggetboy

    nuggetboy Low-Roller

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    Same here. I would hate to think that if I hit a real hot streak, I might end up in the back room, discussing my playing skills with a few guidos. :confused2:
     
  6. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I have some gray hair but I'm not old enough to comment on the so-called glory days of Vegas based on first-hand experience, and I suspect that's true for many or most here. I'm 52, and hit legal age with not that many years left before the boys were effectively wrapped up and sent packing. Seems to me folks needed to be there in the 50s, 60s and early 70s to really have a baseline to judge. Most of us know what we know from books and movies, and nostalgia is a powerful intoxicant for those who really didn't experience what they so love.

    Now I think there can be an argument made that the size of Vegas "back in the day" directly attributed to a sense of higher service and personal attention; Disneyland was more friendly then, too. And then there is the effect of the era, where a by-name relationship was true in any form of commercial/service business, be it the guy delivering milk to your doorstep, the Helms Bakery driver or the local GM dealer.

    It's always tough comparing eras because there is no empirical "truth" to the subjective.
     
  7. wizard950

    wizard950 High-Roller

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    As an "old head" who has been going to Vegas since 1966 I can tell you that except for customer service, feeling safe any time day or night and the lounges (I do miss those a lot) the "old days" ain't what everybody thinks they were.

    Ken is pretty much right on in his analysis. It was a different time and a different set of rules back then.
     
  8. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    I don't know what to comment. I've been going to Vegas since 1973 and that means over 200 trips. It's hard to compare impressions when you're in your 20s & 30s, to when you are in your 50s & 60s. Everything changes.

    Back in the mid 90s we got tired of the Strip and started staying downtown. For all the nostalgic memories everyone wants to throw out about the Stardust, the employees and their attitudes is what drove us to try downtown. Sitting at the various bars, all we heard was bitching and complaining from the bartenders & CWs and we got fed up. We could be back at work if we wanted to hear all the bitching!:poke:

    I admit I miss being able to just run across LV Blvd in the middle of the block, instead of all these damn pedestrian walkways.

    I miss the shooting water fountains that were out front of the Stardust. I also miss the wonderful Mexican restaurant that used to be inside the Stardust.

    I miss Silver City and the Mexican restaurant that was upstairs.

    I miss the Sands! Many fond memories of that place.

    Lots of other things I miss from that era, but life moves on.

    We know the Strip is no longer our cup of tea, but until it changes for the worse, downtown still is. And no, the zipline doesn't bother us, nor do panhandlers.
     
    Christmas
  9. AOchoa95

    AOchoa95 Low-Roller

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    Yep! Old Vegas the most segregated city west of the Rockies. If you were Black or Brown the only time you were allowed in the casino you were either cleaning, cooking or performing. Then back to the other side of town. No, I like it the way it is now.
     
  10. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Well ... I see more than just the one "good old days", way back to the tuxedos and knuckle-breakers of the 50's & 60's. I, personally, liked downtown AND the Strip better back about 20 to 25 years ago. There was still good customer service, and opportunities for good gaming, dining, and entertainment ... and not quite as many bean-counters trying to squeeze your last nickel from your pockets.

    However, as the recent years have progressed, the VP opportunities have lessened, the BJ paybacks have lessened, many coffeeshops have disappeared, and the number of $200 shows on the Strip has increased.

    Even my beloved downtown Fremont is not what it was 20 years ago ... and is slowly being turned into a carnival atmosphere. :Þ

    JMHO :peace:
     
  11. Bubbavegas

    Bubbavegas VIP Whale

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    Like Ken I am not near old enough to have been there in the "good old days" but did hear storys from my grandparents who did go. One thing now that is far different than the good old days is Vegas is more in the bankroll of the average person than it ever has been, grand dad was a tool pusher for a large oil company and cattle man, he had money to burn. Back then best I recall from his tellings many of us today would not have been able to afford the town we go to so regularly today. Sure there were the big name stars at the lounges but you better get there early to get a seat as they were small venues and the high rollers and other celebs had all the best seats. The food was mediocre at best, I remember him telling me about the "great steaks" he said they were what he would consider select grade at best.

    Sure the tuxes and gown were in abundance but when you consider all the places were pretty much a hop and skip away from each other it was a bit easier to go dressed as such everywhere. Sure the folks wore suits at the tables, then again in what city was that not the norm back then. Comps sure they were available but many were while you were in town,not like today when you get offers for free rooms for months from multiple places. Yep them big corps are bad when you get a comp offer from a place you only played at, try that without the player tracking cards of today.

    Yep the table odds were better on BJ, just don't win too much or it drew the old eyes in the sky to you, ya know the former cheats who were on the old walkways above the floor. What do you think would happen if you happened to piss one off somehow and he was watching you? I'll tell ya from his experience as he did just that to one who ended up being a fellow who worked the ceiling of the Dunes. You ended up getting taken to the back and given a nice talking to then losing everything that was left on the table, winnings and your own money included and asked to never come back. Facial recognition? Damn sight better than just some guy "remembering" you from another place he worked at.

    Customer service, where has that NOT declined at? Far from just Vegas that's for sure, try getting good customer service at your local Indian place and then compare it to what you get in Vegas.

    Is todays Vegas perfect? Nope but no tourist place is either. I'll keep what we have today myself.
     
    Cosmo Christmas
  12. dankyone

    dankyone VIP Whale

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    Better today:

    Room quality (by a mile)
    Beds
    Restaurant quality and variety
    Ventilation (by a mile)
    Pools
    Confidence in the legitimacy of the games--If I win I will get paid

    Better in the good 'ol days:

    Blackjack rules



    Certainly the perception now is that comps were easier in the good 'ol days. But let's remember the quality of the room and food product that was being comped would be considered low tier if not completely substandard today. The Roman tower at CP that nobody will stay in today? Those were the best rooms in town from 1966-1989. Also remember slot players were not comped AT ALL in the good 'ol days. Vegas had a reputation for terrible food which has only been overcome in the past 15 years.

    Want to see how comps worked in the good ol' days? It's easy. Next time you're in town, walk up to a blackjack table at the Riviera and start firing up black chips. See how long it takes for someone to fall all over himself offering you a room and a meal. Sleep in that room, eat that meal, and ask yourself if it might not be better to just go back to the Bellagio and put up with the mlife system.

    I sure like the sound of sitting in my tux listening to Frank and the boys in a lounge setting as well. In one of Ken Uston's books he writes about one of those lounge tables at the Sands costing you a $100 tip. That is the good ol' days equivalent of the $2000 table minimum at clubs of today, and would have been out of reach for most visitors.

    Sure, I would like easier comps. I would welcome a return to the blackjack rules of yesteryear (hell, I would welcome a return to the rules of the 1990s) But overall, I think the total package is better today.
     
  13. ardee

    ardee VIP Whale

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    Things were always better in the good old days. That's a "fact" of selective memories. I wish things were the way they were 10-15 years ago, maybe. But way back when? Hell no!
     
  14. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    <iframe width="640" height="360" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Awg_dBS_-bU?feature=player_detailpage" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
     
    Christmas
  15. DonD

    DonD Super Moderator

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    All things taken into consideration, today is better.

    BAD

    Pit bosses would try to intimidate you. The betting circle on the tables were much smaller and IF your bet touched the line of the circle they would almost yell at you. All games were dealt face down and if you happened to touch the cards with both hands, more yelling. It was scary when you first started sitting at the tables.

    There wasn't any video poker then (late 60s) and when they were introduced to the casinos the books sold in the gift shops with advise were sometimes put out by the casinos and not near as good as they are today. I just threw some out a few months ago.

    Good then

    Food comps didn't have any $ limit.
    Lounge shows were great and free.
    No computers to track your action. If the pit liked you, bingo.
     
  16. woodsie

    woodsie Low-Roller

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    I'm 31 so my first Vegas experience was early 2000s. I liked the mix of modern mega resorts and kitschy throw back low roller joints. My only regret of Vegas today is that all those places like Osheas and Barbary Coast are going away.

    Of course, the cycle will repeat and places like Mirage and MGM will eventually go down market and cater to low rollers for a couple decades before finally being imploded.

    I'm looking forward to slumming it at the Bellagio in 2035.
     
  17. topcard

    topcard Older than the Stardust!

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    "Stardust Memories"?

    Yes - I miss the way the Stardust was operated. But understand - that was in the 80s & 90s, mostly...and the early 2000s. I wasn't going to Vegas in the 70s or earlier...(well, I did make a trip in 1978, but I don't really count that).

    Let me tell you with a high degree of admittedly subjective "certainty":

    1. Comps really were "better", primarily because the pit boss was empowered to use his own discretion. A $5 player who kept a table lively & laughing and drinking (and full, by the way)? He'd almost certainly have a Toucan Harry meal comp offered to him when he colored out...and he'd be asked to come back after his meal...and he'd be asked by name. (Yeah, that was me...and it happened more than once). And any/every player who smoked would be given a pack of cigarettes if he was out & he asked (& often one didn't even have to ask!)...even if he didn't have a player's card...even if he was only betting reds.

    2. And speaking of Toucan Harry's, as somebody mentioned up-thread, all of the decent coffee shops seem to be few and far between these days. Back then, just about every casino had one (some better than others). And they were all pretty well staffed...and your meal comps usually included 2 cocktails per person. And there were smoking sections.

    3. It wasn't just that most blackjack was S17, DAS two-deck pitch with 80% penetration - it was also plentiful at the $5 & $10 level.

    4. Staying at the 'Dust on a room offer? You checked in at the completely separate "Invited Guests" desk. Period. Took all of 30 seconds to have your room keys... and, unless you waved them off, there would always be a bellman right there to handle your luggage. If you were arriving too early, the bellman would take your bags & they'd have you paged on the casino floor when your room was ready. Again - remember that I was a $5 to $10 blackjack player.

    5. Keno girls... :licklips: at every cafe, diner, high-end place, lounge or bar...24/7. It's almost as if any girl who was deemed too "young" to be a CW was employed as a Keno girl... it was great eye-candy! 'Nuff said about that!

    6. The sports book... if you never watched an NFL game at the Stardust sports book, then you can't know how great that room was. Non-stop cocktail service...and yes, they just assumed you were betting so it was still only the standard $1 tip per drink...oh yeah, there was also the Sigma Derby machine right on the perimeter of the sports book...always a good crowd there having a blast.

    7. Table games... if a given game - say, Caribbean Stud - was dead and empty, and the 3-card table was closed, all one had to do was ask a pit-boss & they'd (usually) move that dealer to 3-card. If there was an empty $25 table, with several others available, all one had to do was ask the pit boss if you could play there for $10... and they would quite often let me do that, grandfathering me in @ $10 if any other $25 players sat down. Unheard of these days....any of that.

    8. On one trip, my buddy & I decided at the last minute to stay an extra night. He was playing green (so was I, but he had been doing so the entire trip). He asked the pit boss about about getting a room comped for the night. 10 minutes later, he came back with a comp-slip for one of their Garden Suites...told us to take it to the invited guests desk & they'd take care of us immediately... & if you've never seen one of their "old", pool-side Garden Suites, all I can say is that I was very impressed.

    More on this later...
    :peace:
     
    Seems like forever from now, but the flights are booked, so it counts!
  18. blackjacknut

    blackjacknut VIP Whale

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    I'm not old enough to comment on the "good ole days", but when I look at pictures of the past I like the notion of the "good ole days" but have no basis of comparison between then and now. I do know that since I've been going to Vegas (2005) I have enjoyed each and every trip.
     
  19. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    Great post Topcard. :nworthy::peace:
     
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  20. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Positive features from two different eras:

    Vegas 25 + years ago
    Friendlier casino staff / customer service
    Better entertainment (shows, musical acts, comedians)
    Lounge acts
    Flights were more comfortable
    Better blackjack rules / gaming rules in general
    Discretionary comps
    Small town feel / not congested

    Current Vegas
    Better and cheaper (inflation adjusted) accommodations (Strip & Downtown).
    Better range of dining options (low/mid/upper end + far superior buffets).
    Easier to research and book your stay (online - both comp and pay offers).
    Cheaper flights, more flight options.
    Better (nicer) casinos with many free attractions + FSE entertainment/bands.
    More poker rooms (though Stud is no longer dealt)
    Far less smoke (except the Fremont).
     
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