Las Vegas, the city in which dreams are made and dreams are crushed... mostly the later. A playground for the rich and the not so rich. Ever been there? Well I just recently got a chance to visit this city of bright lights called Las Vegas and seeing how just a few years ago I made my money playing poker and would kill for the opportunity to go (but still wouldn't sit on a 9 hour flight for some reason) I just had to get my ass over there.
Playground for the rich
Las Vegas definitely is a true playground for those who have a lot of money to spend. You can get pretty much anything you wish for in this magical place, provided you can afford it. But the thing is that's the way it is pretty much anywhere, right? I'm not exactly an expert on what rich people do, but I'm pretty sure that you can have a huge penthouse party with loads of expensive alcohol and sexy girls, a VIP table at an awesome nightclub or dinner in a world renowned restaurant in most major cites in the US and other parts of the world. The one big difference would be that you can truly show it of here, since everyone expects you to do so.
What about the not so rich?
Well, don't plan too long of a stay because this place ain't cheap! Actually there are ways of getting around pretty much every expensive part of Vegas, but then doesn't it all kinda lose the point of the whole »Vegas experience«? My opinion is that it's better to take a weeks vacation worth of money and go balls out in Vegas for 2-3 days than spend a week in Vegas nit-picking around prices. That being said, here's some useful money saving advice for Vegas:
Buy water off the Strip. It's freaking hot there! You will get dehydrated if you don't drink enough water, but it's pretty easy to spend a fortune on it there. You can always bring a bottle and refill it in your hotel room, but the water there is freaking disgusting (you don't want to know why...). You can buy water while walking down the strip, but you'll pay from 2-5$ for a 0,5l bottle. The trick is to buy water off the strip where you can get a 24 pack for 6$ or just buy water by the gallon and refill your bottle.
Getting drunk for cheap. I think the minimum that I payed for a 12oz beer at a bar was 9$ + tip, the max was around 15$ at a pool... that's pretty brutal and nightclubs are even more expensive. The beauty of Vegas is that you can walk around with a drink in your hand (normal where I come from, but in the US they are kinda weird about it... in other words, it's illegal), so buy yourself a drink at a liqueur store (again not on the strip, because it's super expensive). Some people would however prefer to drink out of a glass and maybe a cocktail or some other nicer drink. There's an easy way to do that cheap too. Go to any casino, sit down at a slot machine, put a dollar in it and wait for a cocktail waitress. You will probably lose a dollar and should tip the waitress another dollar, but you get a 10$ cocktail for only 2$... magic! :)
Cheap accommodations. Nice hotels on the or near the Strip are expensive, dough you can find some deals online (I stayed at the Palms for only 55$/night... super nice room btw:)). Like I said before, you should be prepared to part from your money and enjoy a few days rather than skimp on stuff in Vegas, but in case you wanna save money on accommodations as well I really suggest you search around on AirBnB. There are some decent places available for 1/3 of a price of a hotel. Just make sure the place is not in a bad neighborhood.
Cheap tickets. This one is easy, either check for them online or go to Tix4tonight and get a discounted ticket for pretty much anything in Vegas.
Let's talk cards
So what about playing cards in Vegas?
You can play either Poker or Blackjack. Blackjack is always fun when you have some friends around, some free cocktails and some money to burn, but Poker... Poker games in Las Vegas are awesome! I haven't played in games that soft since we played cent games among friends. If you are a winning player and would like to make money, then Vegas is definitely the place to be. Besides that, it's also really fun! Even if you don't have a lot of money, there are a bunch of games that are really not that big. Most 1$/2$ NL Holdem games that I played in didn't have an average stack above 200$.
What about where to play? Well I guess it's a personal preference. I would only point out my favorite and my least favorite place.
Caesars Palace is great. The staff is nice, professional, the dealers are good and players are plenty. Definitely my favorite place.
The Linq sucks. Ironically it has the same owners as Caesars Palace. What's wrong with it? The staff looks kinda lost, the dealers are slow, usually there is only one table (if they manage to get that together) and the place where the poker room is is awful (if you want to get a cold in the middle of the desert go play at the Linq. You'll be sitting right at the entrance of the casino, on a draft and in bad lighting).
Since we don't all have the same criteria about what we want and not everyone plays the same game, I'll leave you to answer the »Where to play?« question for yourselves and give you a little tool to help you on the way. Bravo Poker App. With it you can find all the poker games in your vicinity and also get a lot of useful info on promotions and tournaments.
So what's so special about Las Vegas?
Honestly I don't know. For all the first time visitors I think it's mostly the bright lights and abundance of gambling... shows are nice too. For Americans in general I think it's the fact that you can drink and smoke pretty much everywhere (didn't impress me). For rich people I think it's the ability to enjoy their wealth without being judged. For me? Like I said, I don't know, but I fell in love with it anyway. It was way different than I expected, but after a week there I felt like I wanna stay for longer... maybe I'm just a moth attracted to bright lights :)
Despite all the bright lights of Las Vegas there is no question where true beauty of the Nevada desert lies
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