Derby Daze and Pop Rocks

The Run for the Roses comes with $6 mint juleps this year

The Kentucky Derby is May 4, and several casinos are celebrating with events and parties. But the bigger, thematically related news is that the D is hosting the first-ever Sigma Derby tournament on May 3.

Sigma Derby is the mechanized horse-racing game that went to the brink of extinction before a couple of casinos decided it was worth keeping. One of them was the D, and the Derby tourney takes it to the next level: It will be wild, whether you play or just watch. The buy-in is $50, and the prize pool is $10,000. The D is also running other race-related promotions, including $6 mint juleps at the Longbar on race day.

• Other Derby events include four free race-handicapping seminars. The first is at Palace Station if you can get there by 6 p.m. on May 2. On May 3, Sam’s Town will have a seminar at 4 p.m., while South Point and Sunset Station will both host seminars at 6 p.m. While every sportsbook will show the race on big screens, dedicated viewing parties with free admission have been announced for Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Golden Nugget and South Point. Make a $20 race wager at South Point to get vouchers for food and drinks at the party. Bet $20 at Charlie’s and get a Kentucky Derby collector’s glass. Jerry’s Nugget will give you a Derby glass for a $10 wager or a T-shirt for a $25 wager on a special parlay card. It’s also selling $2 hand-carved turkey and roast beef track sandwiches.

• After discontinuing its $100 loss-rebate offer, Hooters has instituted a solid new players-club sign-up program. New members can get up to $500 in slot free-play at a rate of $10 in free-play for every 250 points earned. Since it takes $750 in coin-in to accrue 250 points, that’s a bonus of 1.33 percent. The casino has machines that return up to 99.52 percent, so with this add-on you can play video poker at a theoretical return of 100.85 percent.

• Are you holding any Canadian dollars? The best place in town to exchange them is the Golden Gate, where you get a 5 percent bonus in slot free-play or table-game match-play, up to a limit of $200 per day.

• I never thought I’d be calling a $14 cocktail a deal, but that was before I tried a couple of the specialties on the middle floor of Cosmo’s Chandelier Bar. The Fire Breathing Dragon comes with a nitrogen-treated raspberry that has you breathing smoke when you drink it, and the Verbena is garnished with an edible flower that makes you feel like you’ve just eaten a packet of Pop Rocks. Honestly, drinking these cocktails with a few friends is more fun than going to some shows I’ve been to lately.