ZLB Plasma Services
Settle down, big spender. Just because the bank account is down for the count (and the casino has already cut up your Visa), don't go home just yet. You need cash in a flash -- but wanna avoid turning tricks in the parking lot -- so head for one of ZLB's two locations. Presuming you're drug- and disease-free, have strong veins in each arm, lack any recent tattoos or piercings, and can keep quiet about all your illicit trysts, you'll be getting some blood money. In exchange for a few hours -- where you can watch movies or converse with other hard-up homies -- and 880 milliliters of plasma (the protein-rich liquid part of your blood), ZLB's phlebotomists will cough up $25 for your very first visit, and $40 for your second (you'll get $20 and $30 for following weeks thereafter, respectively). Forget about a repeat bloodletting feat, though, as every plasma bank in the Valley has a 24-hour recovery period, cross-donating is verboten, and you can only get pricked twice in a seven-day period. It's not a fistful of C-notes, but at least you can get a couple more go-rounds at the $5 blackjack tables.
Everyone worships the good Lord in his or her own way. On Fridays, Muslims hit the mosque, and on Saturdays, Jews go a-synagoguing. Christians of many denominations make Sunday their day of prayer, and we fall into this category, although our chapel, if you will, is Shepherd's Nite Club, where communion is in the form of a Jack 'n' Coke, and baptism is referred to as "Super Soak-Her," a wet-tee-shirt contest like no other in our Valley of the Sin, uh, we mean, Sun. Here hot amateur gals and some off-duty pros get nearly nekkid for Jehovah, allowing gallons of very cold H2O to be poured all over their skimpy tops and thongs. That's when the Holy Ghost takes control, inspiring these heavenly honeys to crawl all over the men in the congregation, and minister to them in a religious fervor known to perform miracles such as raising the dead and making the blind see! Indeed, we like to think if Jesus comes again, he'll mosey on over to Shepherd's for a cocktail and gander at all this piety on display. After all, there's no cover, and it beats Bible study, that's for damn sure.
Sheraton Wild Horse Pass Resort and Spa
After you've rolled the dice or pulled the slot machine handle one too many times -- and you're ready to quit while you're ahead -- ease those aching limbs over to Aji, part of the resort adjacent to Gila River Casino at Wild Horse Pass. The 17,500-square-foot spa oozes serenity, from the sleek details of the Native American decor to the sweet, warm fragrance radiating from melted wax diffusers. There's a salon, a fitness room that's as state-of-the-art as it gets (each treadmill and cycle has its own flat-screen TV and tiny DVD player), a pristine outdoor pool just beyond the glass doors, and 17 treatment rooms where you can indulge in all the pampering you can handle. Try the "Juhk" Aji Rain Facial, 50 minutes of slathering and massaging that'll relax you as well as a full night's sleep, or the "Thash" Native Sun Wrap, where you'll lie in a futuristic steam capsule (something new to the Arizona spa scene) to let exotic oils melt into your skin before a massage therapist works you into submission. Save a few quarters for video poker, then start all over again.

BEST NAME FOR A GAMBLING ADDICTION RECOVERY BUSINESS

Arizona WinWay Center

Hey, loser. Having bet your bottom dollar (plus whatever other cash you've "borrowed" lately from kith and kin) and busted yet again, maybe it's time for that intervention everyone keeps casually mentioning. Consider the shrinks at the Tempe-based WinWay Center, if for nothing else but its oh-so-clever name. While other gambling addiction outfits around town offer touchy-feely terms like "hope" and "wellness" in their monikers, WinWay scores the jackpot with its handle, telling you right off the bat its staff of licensed psychologists and social workers will do their damnedest to keep you away from casinos, dog tracks, and even the Texas Hold'em night at the neighborhood tavern. After completing the intensive 24-session outpatient treatment plan of cognitive behavior therapy, we're willing to bet you'll be back on the road to fiscal solvency and a more responsible lifestyle. Sure beats ignoring calls from friends wondering why their high-def TVs have suddenly disappeared.
Castle Megastore
For those of you who don't play blackjack often and who've never seen the buddy flick Swingers, wherein this gambling maneuver is much discussed, doubling down is essentially doubling your bet in mid-play because the odds are in your favor. And what's the best time and place to double down in Casino Phoenix? Tuesdays and Thursdays at any of the Valley's six Castle Megastores, where the management runs a rent-two-DVDs-for-the-price-of-one special, allowing you twice the XXX viewing pleasure with twice the adult film stars at the beck and call of your remote control. This is an important offer for pornophiles because the majority of adult films are not quite as, er, stimulating as you'd like 'em to be, if you catch our drift. But by doubling your "bet," and taking home, say, Italian stallion Rocco Siffredi's latest release along with a compilation of steamy seductress Tera Patrick's best work, you're more likely to precipitate a jackpot worthy of your wager. Plus, let's face it, what we're alluding to is a hell of a lot more fun than gambling, right?
St. Daniel's Catholic Church
Long before the Valley began blowing its collective wad out on the reservations, bingo was king. While some might call it a quaint throwback, a few local venues still offer up the old-school game of chance, with St. Daniel's being the best. This Scottsdale house of worship, which offers games at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays and 1 p.m. on Sundays, offers jackpots ranging from $48 to $1,000, with more than 100 players turning out. They're a memorable bunch to boot, like one elderly English expatriate who's been dubbed "Queen Elizabeth" by organizers (because of her resemblance to the matronly monarch). It's not all members of the septuagenarian set, though -- a few ASU hotties have come with their grandmothers, as have one youngish Hispanic couple dressed in some ghetto-fabulous gear. So if you're up for trying to beat the pants of the elderly, give it a shot. Just remember, the big J.C. is watching you.
Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa
In casino terms, a whale is a big fish with money to burn: a Shamu-size gambler who can afford the fickle fortunes of wagering, while staying in a posh money pit and enjoying all the amenities due someone of his or her stature. If we think of PHX as a Vegas-style casino, then the best "whale" watching is at the Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa, where true players chill in old-school environs wrought by Frank Lloyd Wright disciple Albert Chase McArthur. McArthur eventually hired Wright on to the project, too, and the style echoes the principles of America's most illustrious architect. This "Jewel of the Desert," as it's been called, has more than 700 guest accommodations, nearly 80 of which are one- or two-bedroom villas. In addition, there are seven tennis courts, an 18-hole putting green, eight pools, and so on. The "whales" who've reportedly beached here have included such luminaries as Clark Gable, Harry Cohn, Irving Berlin, Marlon Brando, both Clintons, both Reagans, and U2. Now if they could only fit a real orca into one of the Biltmore's ce-ment ponds, then we'd really be impressed.
Willo rules as a trash-picking destination because it has become a neighborhood of upper-middle-class strivers who repeatedly replace their old stuff with new, more upscale stuff. Their grail: turning enough of a profit from the eventual sale of their remodeled Willo house to move across Seventh Avenue to tonier Encanto-Palmcroft. Luckily for the poorer among us, the path of Willo's upward mobility is littered with household goods cast aside for no other reason than they didn't come from Pottery Barn. Recent trips through Willo alleys yielded a solid wood front door and an oak table. For best pickings, go the week before Willo's quarterly bulk trash pickup, the last weeks of February, May, August and November. Oh yeah -- technically speaking, Dumpster diving is illegal. And nothing pisses off Willo residents like people trolling through their trash. Watch your back, and don't pull items out of bins and throw them in the alley. Courtesy counts, even for Dumpster divers.
Bikini Lounge
Benjamin Leatherman
In the parlance of gaming, a sawdust joint is a no-frills, lower-end gambling parlor, the kind of place where they might even have sawdust on the floor, but where you can still catch that betting buzz. Now, there's no sawdust on the floor of the Bikini Lounge, and there's not even gambling, unless you're wagering on when the cat next to you is going to try to light his cigarette the wrong way around. But if Phoenix is a player's paradise, then it follows that there are both sawdust juke joints of renown like Bikini for the common folk, just as there are "carpet joints" for the swells and pretty people. Actually, the 58-year-old Bikini caters to a wide array of PHX characters -- from First Friday revelers and penny-pinching Picassos on the make to brazen betties in low-cut tops and snooker aficionados from around the way making use of Bikini's one pool table in the back. The decor is old-school tiki, with a grass-skirted wahine on black velvet behind the bar. And the drinks are dead cheap. What else could you ask for in a sawdust joint? Oh, yeah, gambling . . .
Pussycat Lounge
Picture the polar opposite of the sawdust joint, and that's a carpet joint, the sort of plush, swank spot that caters to the moneyed and dissolute, the terminally hot, who want nothing more than to rub up on one another while sipping their cosmos. The Pussycat Lounge is the best carpet joint in a city of carpet joints -- Scottsdale, where everyone's young and good-looking, with loads of disposable cash. On either side of the large open space before the bar are the requisite couches for them to chill at, because their lives are too effin' hard -- standing around, being beautiful, maxing out daddy's MasterCard. There's even a sex swing to one side where the "pay attention to me" babes curl up, eventually to be joined by other Prada-wearin' pretties. Once the alcohol or whatever they're doing in the restrooms takes effect, they'll be making out with each other. And if you're a dood on the prowl in your shiny shirt, and wait around 'til last call, you might be able to offer one of them a ride. See, most of them have done a DUI stint or two in Tent City, and one more time could mean they'll have to do six months with the ankle bracelet. So you're their knight in shining armor, studly. Just be sure you've got plenty of Trojans on hand.

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