There are a lot of good Las Vegas podcasts, but when you start to make a list, it certainly has to include the 360 Vegas Podcast. Started over a decade ago, this podcast lives up to its name. The hosts Mark, Keren, and Tony cover Vegas from all angles while keeping things light and fun. It has lead to several spinoff series about topics including vintage Vegas, gambling basics, and gaming law.
We messaged them and told them we were with the Silverton Casino Social Media & Marketing Department and immediately got a response back. Here is our interview the Mark from the 360 Vegas Podcast:
Tell us about your very first Vegas experience. Mark: It was 2004 and I was just a tourist trying to visit every property because I didn’t know if I’d be back. It wasn’t until my 2nd visit in 2006 that I began to fall in love with the city and craved to know more about it. Why did you move to Vegas? Mark: Vegas feels like home. We moved around a lot chasing Keren’s career. While we enjoyed our time at each city we lived in none of them felt like home. As things at work became unsatisfactory we began to muse about where we would retire to. The more prolonged the struggle the more we thought, why wait until we retire? So we started saving money and created an exit strategy. In an unexpected twist, Keren’s company went through a restructure and offered to either relocate us to a place we didn’t want to live or get paid severance to go away. We chose the latter and moved up our relocation plans. It has been everything we hoped it would be and more than we could have imagined.
How long have you lived in Vegas? Mark: Five years How did you meet Keren? Mark: College. She was my RA. Why does Keren spell her name wrong? Mark: I don’t know how they determined how it was pronounced but her name was taken from the Bible. How did you and Keren meet Tony? Mark: Tony was a listener of the show when we meet him at Harrah’s Joliet in Chicago. Our friendship grew with time and eventually he was offered the job of co-host.
What is your gambling game of choice and why? Mark: Video Poker because I enjoy the math of it all. I know whether I win or lose, I’m playing the game at optimal strategy. Unlike blackjack, no one argues with you about how you are playing a hand, even if its been made clear that you are following the basic math strategy card.
What is your favorite comped drink to order while gambling? Mark: Beer. Miller Lite is my default but if options are available I’ll always consider something else, especially craft beer. It isn’t something they can substitute out without telling me. What video poker game do you like best? Mark: Bonus Poker Deluxe. Any 4 of a kind pays out 400 credits or $100 if you’re playing max bet at a quarter. Something I did not do until a friend turned me on to the game. Before that I was all about double double bonus. I also really enjoy multi-line. My favorite is probably Ultimate X.
Tell us about your biggest gambling win… and biggest loss Mark: I don’t think I have a big win but I was playing VP during Caesars 10x multiplier and went on a tear at a machine in Harrah’s. I ended up winning more at that video poker machine than I’ve ever won before. Like a quarterback who just thew an interception I have a short memory when it comes to loses. I’ve been wipe out of my daily gambling allotment before and that sucked but it’s Vegas, you can always find something else to do. Who generally does better gambling, you or Keren? Mark: Me. Keren often gets distracted by her phone, conversation or TV where as I tend to not only concentrate on the game but play it relatively fast. Being able to quickly play my hand correctly is part of the fun for me because it’s the only thing I can control. What ever happens after I push deal is up to the random number generator. What is your favorite Vegas Strip property and why? Mark: Probably Cosmopolitan. The only thing that it doesn’t have is reasonable table limits. The location, casino, hotel, pool and dining are all on point.
What is your least favorite Vegas Strip property and why? Mark: All Vegas properties have a special place in my heart so it’s hard to say what my least favorite is. I can say I feel unwelcome at Bellagio. I don’t know why but I always feel like, no matter the size of my bankroll, someone is going to come up to me and tell me I’m in the wrong casino or that I have to leave. What is your favorite Downtown Vegas property and why? Mark: Probably Circa. I love the unique options that property has brought to market including Stadium Swim and the best sports book in history. Food is hit or miss, room rates are reasonable for the newest, tallest property on Fremont. The D is a very close 2nd.
What is your least favorite Downtown Vegas property and why? Mark: Another tough question to ask. I like Golden Nugget but since its table limits are out of my league I don’t spend a lot of time there. What is your favorite “local” place to gamble (not strip or downtown)? Mark: Red Rock. It’s the Cosmopolitan of locals casinos. Not only is it the closest to my house, it’s a beautiful property with good dining options, reasonable table limits and all the staples of a locals casino (i.e. movie theater, bowling, etc.)
What is your favorite non-gambling thing to do in Vegas or the surrounding area? Mark: Neon Museum. Before they changed their photography rules I used to go there once a week and practice taking picture with my Canon. What and where was the best food item you have had in Vegas or the surrounding area? Mark: Pizza Rock. I think it’s the best pizza in Vegas and return visits have only managed to reinforce this.
If you could change one thing about Vegas, what would it be and why? Mark: Eliminate resort fees. They have always been a scam and the properties should be ashamed for implementing them. If you need to increase the price of your room then just do that. A comp room doesn’t feel like the same value it used to be if you have to pay a daily resort fee for it. In some cases, the fee cost more than the room rate. Who is the biggest celebrity you have run into in Vegas and how did it happen? Mark: Well, I almost walked into Miss America once. Literally. I wasn’t watching where I was going and the pageant had just finished and she was outside Planet Hollywood talking pictures. I walked right past some of the Kardashians at Venetian and didn’t even recognize them. It wasn’t until I saw the camera crew following them that I looked back and noticed them. However the biggest name we’ve probably meet is Carson Presley of Queer Eye fame. They were filming a TV show at Planet Hollywood and he was the host. Keren had a chance to talk to him and he even told Keren she looked chic which made her day.
What is your very BEST Vegas story? Mark: 360 Vegas Vacations. There is always something that happens that makes you think “only in Vegas”. I would say I felt the most Vegas when we hosted the cocktail event at Luxor’s ultimate suite. The space was so big two of my houses could fit in it. If it’s not your BEST Vegas story, describe your most interesting/scariest experience with casino security? Mark: I don’t like breaking rules so it’s particularly frustrating when you find that one or two properties whose security team didn’t get the memo that we all have smart phones and take picture and video of everything. I can always spot it in their eyes too just before they come over to me. The experiences have discouraged me from taking pictures at all for fear that I might have to interact with security again. Only recently have I learned that taking pictures with your phone prevents you, in most cases, from having an issue with security. However a professional camera always gets their attention. So now I only take pictures inside with my phone and outside with my Canon. What made you decide to start a Vegas podcast? Mark: I was frustrated with work and creatively unsatisfied. A throw away comment that I could do a show all about Vegas history inspired the entire concept. We learned pretty quickly that the kind of research I do for our Vintage segments mean it would be months in between shows. So we decided we should do a weekly show in between Vintage episodes. While I enjoyed many Vegas podcasts I often found myself wishing the market was covered in a different way. With the advent of the weekly show we had the ability to do a show about Vegas that I thought wasn’t already being done. I’ve always said if I can’t do something different or better than what’s the point of doing it at all? How many hours per week do you spend researching, verifying, and writing for the podcast? Mark: 25-40 hours. It just depends on what project I’m working on like Vintage Vegas of 360 Vegas POV segments. Those two tend to be rabbit holes I happily get lost in. Explain the 360 Vegas Vegas Vacation experience for the newbies. Mark: We learned early on that our trip reports were some of our most popular episodes. So when we came up with the idea for 360 Vegas Vacation, we thought, if they like listening to what we did how much fun would they have if they joined us on our adventures. Imagine the most fun you’ve ever had in Vegas, probably with a group of people. That’s 360 Vegas Vacation. If it’s your first 360VV with us, you may not know most of the people in attendance but I can tell you from years of experience, you will find new friends. All Vegas fans over a certain age complain about the loss of theming over the years. Pretend it’s 1999 and you are building a mega-casino, give us your theme and vision.. Mark: I'm not nearly clever enough to come up with a themed concept or build a mega resort. I love everything they’ve done, even Circus Circus. I think that is why this city captures my imagination so much. The themes are what make Vegas so unique. Taking them away just makes Vegas more like every other place that has casinos.
Where do people that live in Vegas go for a vacation? Mark: Vegas. We just have the shortest commute now. Honestly, we just started vacationing places that aren’t Vegas because we no longer have FOMO living here. Without googling it, can you name a town in Nebraska (our home state) besides Omaha or Lincoln? Mark: I can’t. Why does Geoff like craps field bets so much? Mark: Keren does too. Why does Mike have to give Geoff a hard time about absolutely everything? Is it his own insecurities? Mark: It’s called friendship. Coke or Pepsi? Mark: Coke Caesars or MGM? Mark: Caesars because of the players club
Strip or Downtown? Mark: Can’t choose. Both should not be missed. If downtown can get its act together and lower the table limits back to a place that makes Fremont a better gamble than the strip it could be my answer. However the strip is the strip and must not be missed. Circa or The D? Mark: Overall, Circa but the D is a very close 2nd. Very close. In-N-Out or White Castle? Mark: Neither. I don’t get the hype about In-N-Out but I seem to be in the minority so it’s probably me. White Castle is gross. Mark: Demolish Excalibur or Demolish Luxor? I don’t like this question at all. I don’t want to lose either. If I have to choose it would be Excalibur only because Luxor is the property that brought me to Vegas. That said, if the market didn’t have all the themes it does it don’t think I would have been so interested to see it the first time. Mark: Demolish Harrah's or Demolish Flamingo? Harrah’s is a huge casino attached to a holiday inn. This could easily be upgraded.
Mark: Hard Six or Hard Eight? Eight Mark: Pizza or Burgers? Pizza
Mark: Stardust or the Dunes? Dunes. I’ll forever been entranced by that Dunes turret marquee.