Books, buffets and beverages

Following are highlights from researching the May Las Vegas Advisor newsletter:

The big news in casinodom was the Black Friday raids that closed three of the biggest online poker sites last month. That will have a huge impact on Las Vegas over time, but more pressing at the moment is the acquisition of three independent sports books by British bookmaker William Hill. Hill is coming to Las Vegas in a big way with the acquisition of the Leroy’s, Lucky’s and Cal-Neva sports book groups. While the lose-three-to-gain-one arrangement is being lamented by some, Hill will battle Cantor for supremacy, which should yield some good things for sports bettors in general.

Caesars Entertainment’s “Buffet of Buffets” 24-hour pass has added an option to include the Rio’s Village Seafood buffet for an additional $15. The base pass costs $45, and the seafood buffet is $39 by itself, so that leaves $21 to make back with visits to as many Caesars Entertainment buffets as you can over the course of the rest of the 24-hour period. Your choices are the buffets at Harrah’s, Planet Hollywood, Imperial Palace, Flamingo, Paris, Caesars Palace and Rio (Carnival World).

The Hard Rock Hotel’s Rare 120 Degrees steak house has a 50 percent-off deal on Mondays. It includes everything on the menu except alcohol.

Downtown’s Western will provide the closest thing to filling the “Dollar Days” gap left by this week’s closing of the Sahara. The Western has Coors draft and shots of Jose Cuervo, Jack Daniel’s and Smirnoff for a buck a pop. In the casino, there’s $2 blackjack from 11 a.m.-3 a.m. and $1 craps from 3-11 p.m. daily.

Big Al’s Comedy Club has opened at The Orleans and Viper Vixens has opened at O’Shea’s. Tickets are $57 at both, which is too much for a comedy club, but decent for a topless show (plus, Vixens twofers are available at the Strip half-price outlets).

Absinthe at Caesars is awesome, and discounted tickets have shown up at the half-price booths.

The Lift bar sells draft beer for $1.50 during NASCAR races. It also has one of the best burgers in town for just $5 and serves homemade soup daily for $1.50 a cup or $2 a bowl (kielbasa and kale rocks).

Rick’s Cabaret has closed.