Las Vegas

IMG_20151222_005837-1024x768Viva Las Vegas ! That was the first song that came to my mind as soon as me and my friend Quentin landed at the Airport. You could hear the noisy “bling bling” sound from the slot machines everywhere through each airport’s gates. The first impression we had was: “Finally in heaven ! The capital of Poker !” (and for sure the “Sin City” ! haha) . We came flew through spirit from MSP airport to Las Vegas for only 66 dollars roundtrip ! that’s a crazy deal considering that the cheapest one from MSP to JFK roundtrip is 250 USD. (MSP – Vegas is way more far than MSP-NY).

Thanks to my friend who found out another crazy deal (70USD a night for a Two King Size Beds Room, so 35 USD each), we stayed in one of the best hotel of the Strip during 8 days: The Aria Hotel. We had a crazy view from our room, a super high-tech room where you could control everything such as the blinds, the curtains, the lights in each room, the aircon and the TV, all of these from a simple tablet, but on the top of that, the service offered was one of the best I ever saw. The other advantage we had from the Aria hotel was the possibility to take a tramway for free to the Bellagio. This wasn’t as useful as we imagined since we could walk altough it’s a long way to walk the whole strip but we heard it’s nearly impossible to do that in summer where it is too hot to walk under the sun since Las Vegas is basically a desert.

Las Vegas is composed of two main quarter: The Strip or the New Las Vegas with all those brand new bling bling casinos and Downtown or the Old Vegas where everything is cheaper and older but all the buildings are historical monuments such as the Golden Nugget Casino Hotel.

When we’ve tried to walk the Strip, we couldn’t avoid a visit in each of those legendary casino we heard a lot about on the Strip: The Aria, the Bellagio, the Vdara, the Caesars Palace, the Flamingo, the Harrah’s, The Venetian & the MGM, etc… Walking the whole strip was too long and exhausting if we had to visit each casino cause it was structured as a maze inside (everything to make you stay the longer possible haha) but we did it !

 

IMG-20151221-WA0000-1024x576Our main goal when we came to Vegas was to play poker as much as we could and earn the most possible. Therefore our routine were pretty much the same everyday, “lunch, poker, drink, poker, dinner, poker, drink and sometimes eat again haha”.

Playing Poker in Vegas was really fun ! Although I was a little bit stressed since I had never played that high $1/$2 (buy-in minimum for $100, but $200 was obviously recommended to play with a 100bb full stack). Also, I was a bit scared that the tables were full of regular professionals in Las Vegas. Finally, I also for sure feared the variance since some bad luck & a downswing of 5 buy-ins would already represents – 1000 dollars.

At the end, we could notice the same professional poker players or locals who came everyday to the different Casinos.

A funny episode I had was when I was playing my first game at the Flamingo, I could notice after some hands, the good and the bad players but some of the good ones were acting like comedians asking to the others if they were new here because it was their first time in Vegas too! Well I thought they were pros or good players from abroad or another state in the US.
Nevertheless, when I quickly understood that to maximize the profit you had to change from tables to tables and from casinos to casinos to find the attractive tables, I found one of them the next day in another Casino called the Harrah’s ! Haha ! He got caught and kept starring at me while frowning asking himself who I was. When I finally said “hi” to him he answered with a sincere smile too. After some days with the same routine, most of them recognized me and were pretty kind to me, telling some jokes at the tables, offering drinks, etc… We felt like a family or very close friends joking around and having one same goal, having fun but also taking the money from the beginner or gambler tourists. There were a lot of respects between the regular players, starring at the player while double tapping on the table to show some respect after a very well played hand without having to tell it explicitly in front of the tourists.

The other fun thing about Poker in Vegas was to see who were the ones in terms of players’ profiles filling every table. They were almost the same everywhere: among the 9 seats available, there were always the same perfect proportion in each table: 2 retired very old grandpas playing very tight/safe, waiting hours to get a good hand (sometimes grandmas), 1-2 regular/local pro, 3-4 tourists very passive, 1-2 chinese businessmen gamblers (who were very bad for most of them) very agressive.

Las Vegas was honestly one of the place I appreciated the most. People are all enjoying their trips or life in Vegas with their family or friends. The atmosphere was very friendly even with any strangers.

Most of the people told me Vegas had very cheap hotels, cheap drinks and cheap foods because they want you to come in and spend a lot or rather “gamble”. Well, after asking to my friends we probably had one of the craziest deal for the Aria hotel since some of my friends who are poker pros told me it was unbelievable and were asking me how we got that price haha! The average price for a room like ours at a hotel like the Aria hotel being usually 200 usd a night. Drinks? it was indeed cheap, it’s actually free whenever the waitress see you gambling or playing poker, you then just have to tip them when they come back with your order. However, regarding the food, I felt that it was expensive as hell (12 dollars was the minimum for a subway after taxes and there were nothing else below that in terms of affordable & okay foods). The only exception were probably the lunch buffet for 20-24 usd at the Aria Buffet, the Bellagio and the Wicked Spoon at the Cosmopolitan Hotel.

IMG_20151214_013627-1024x768After seeing several states, the funny thing we could firstly notice in Vegas was all the people drinking in the street, something which was forbidden in most of the states i saw and where you had to put the bottle in a kraft bag to hide it whether it was opened or not. The other thing was how cigarettes were accepted everywhere even indoor, very clean ashtray were everywhere indoor and outdoor. We couldn’t smell the cigarettes but we could smell a lot of perfume to hide it in every casinos which was quite painful at the end for my nose and my brain while playing poker for hours.

 

Afterall, pokerwise, the games were very soft (if you play in the small non-premium casinons such as the flamingo, planet hollywood or the harrah’s rather than the most expensive casinos such as the Aria, the Bellagio or the Venetian), I could have earned way more but I was unlucky the last night and I was quite satisfied enough with being at least positive of +1.1k.

In terms of tourism and entertainment, Las Vegas seemed a very happy and friendly city, there were activities for everyone: children, teenagers, 20s’-90s’. Everyone seemed happy with what they were doing in Vegas, whether it concerned the staff, the tourists or the gamblers. I didn’t see anyone depressed or crying in the street because they were broke after gambling too much, which is something i read or heard a lot on asian news articles. However, one thing is true, most of the big gamblers there are usually rich chinese people who waste a lot of money.

I will for sure go back to Vegas one day with my friends, but I really hope I will be able to bring my family in the future and enjoy a typical Las Vegas trip in family like the several one I saw in the Hotels/Casinos & on the Strip (and of course gambling some small amounts for fun at the slot machines haha).

The Strip

The Old Strip (DownTown)

Poker & Railbirds !