My Las Vegas Review
Recently I took ten days off and went to Las Vegas! This was my sixth trip there in the last three years In the last 6 visits I think I have found out some great places to eat gamble and sleep - So I am posting this as my offical Las Vegas Review.
If you have never been to Las Vegas or haven't been there in 2 years than this review will be helpful to you. The city is constantly changing and growing. I love playing Texas Holdem poker online but after playing everday for quite some time it is nice to get away. And it is nice to be able to afford to take a nice vacation like this. Before I became an online poker player as a profession I would never have dreamed of going to Vegas for ten days and satying at one of the most beautiful hotels in the world - The Venetian....
On my first trip to Vegas we didn't rent a car. We took a shuttle for 8 bucks from the airport to out hotel and walked or took the bus/ taxis for the rest of the trip. Ever since then we have rented a car. If you go midweek or offseason It is very cheap to rent a car in Vegas. We never payed more than 25 bucks a day. If you add up the cost of taxis and shuttles, it seems much smarter to rent a car.
Beware if you are a timid driver, people drive like maniacs there! If you prefer to get the exercise than the shuttle may be the best bet for you. There are buses every 10 min going up and down the strip, and there are many free mono rail trams going beetween many of the casinos on the strip.
My reccomendation is to rent a car and bring a wad of singles with and valet it. If you are like me you will want to go and see all of the beautiful casinos. There is nothing better than driving to the front door and having it parked. I usually tip a buck or two. Otherwise you can park in the parking structures for free.
On my most recent vacation I went with my friend Kurt. Below are some pics of our hotel room at the Venetian. If you can afford to I would highly suggest staying here. It was by far the nicest hotel I have ever been to. The bathroom was HUGE, with a jacuzzi tub, double sink, seperate shower, the toilet was in a seperate room with a phone, marble floors.
The Venetian and the Bellagio are the 2 nicest hotels in Las Vegas. They are expensive. I have been to many hotels in Vegas and it all depends on what you want out of your vacation. Most people will gamble and drink into the wee hours of the morning so the hotel won't matter much. If you want to stay at the cheapest hotel possible and stay close to gambling I reccomend staying downtown. I stayed at the Las Vegas Club downtown last year. Midweek you can get a room for 35-45 bucks a night. On that trip we only slept about 10 hours total the 3 nights we were there, so the hotel didnt matter much.
However the Las Vegas Club was pretty nice the rooms were very large thay had a couch. I have stayed at other hotels downtown and most are in that price range and more expensive weekends and peak season. So If you want to be pampered and stay somewhere nice find a hotel on the strip - The Venetian and the Belagio are very nice, and very expensive. The MGM or Luxor or New York are mid priced.. If you want to go cheap stay downtown.
If you love to gamble and love to drink PERFECT - If you are gambling drinks are free. So dont spend 8 bucks at the bar, hit the tables or slots and drink on the house.
I have gambled at many-a-casino in Vegas. I think on this last 10 day vacation we hit most of them. My suggestion for gambling comes down to preference and cash. On weekends and peak times it is hard to find a blackjack table with a 5 dollar minimum on the strip. Most are ten bucks and up. So If you are on a budget I suggest gambling downtown. They have plenty of five dollar tables and even three dollar tables. They also have single and double deck blackjack games downtown for lower limits. We found most casinos on the strip use auto shufflers and are 6+ decks - This makes for very bad odds. On this trip I mostly played blackjack. I consider online poker my profession and being on vacation I needed a little break. So I played mostly blackjack and the horses.
Some must see casinos are the Venetian, there are shops and the Venice canals, and beautiful paintings and artwork. Also the Belagio is a stunning casino, they have a water show in front set to music. If you are going to bet on horses or sports I suggest the sportsbook at the Belagio. They have personal flat screen TV's leather chairs and they have plenty of cocktail waitreses supplying the drinks. We spent a lot of time here.
Where to eat? We ate so much food on this trip, I must have gained 20 pounds...Lets start out with the buffets:
The best buffet I have ever had is The Spice Market Buffet in the Aladdin Casino. It was around $25 and the food was amazing. They had food in diferent categories, American, Mexican, etc. Everything I tasted was delicious. The fruit they had was fresh, the desserts were amazing. I highly recommend this buffet.
Another great buffet is The Buffet at the Belagio. This buffet was very close in price and taste to the Spice Market buffet. If you like seafood I would recommend this one. They also have Beef Wellingtion, Prime rib and Colby beef, very delicious.
The largest buffet would have to be the buffet at the Rio, The Carnival World Buffet. This buffet was 25-30 bucks. It had a huge selection but I was not impressed with the food.
The worst buffet we had was breakfast at Bally's buffet. The food was not very poor. The Orange juice tasted like Tang.
Non - Buffet Eats
The best burger would have to be at The Burger Bar in Mandalay Bay. they have Colby Beef burgers, which are not cheap. Around 16 bucks, but the were very good.
Want a great steak? The best steak I ever ate in Vegas was at Alan Alberts on the strip. It is a very nice restaraunt, great service, great food. Pricey but well worth it if your looking for a mouth watering steak. 3763 Las Vegas Blvd
Want some great Italian food, at a great old school eatery? Try Batista's Hole in the Wall. The restaurant walls are lined with celebrity autograpghed pictures. They even have an accordion player walking from table to table. The food is excellent. Meals come with your choice of wine, a salad, entree and complimentary cappuccino. I had the Chicken parm and it was very good. It was around 20-25 bucks a meal.
Lost all your cash at the tables? There are some great deals on meals all over Vegas. Kurt and tried most of them. If you are looking for upscale dining skip this section!
At The Las Vegas Club's Upperdeck downtown - We ate NY strip steak, eggs, hashbrowns and toast for $2.95!!! And it was actually very good.
Another great deal is the Prime rib at San Remos across from the MGM. You get bread, salad, prime rib, baked potato, vegetables all for $5.95. The slice of prime rib was pretty thin but for 6 bucks it was worth it. Another cheap meal we had a few times is, Steak and Lobster dinner at Careful Kitys in the El Cortez downtown. It was like 10 bucks and pretty good.
Bars and Clubs
Wanna hit the clubs? One of my favorites is the Ghost Bar on top of the Palms casino. They filmed MTV's Real World las Vegas at the Palms, and the cast frequented the Ghost bar.. Its part outside on the top of the building. The views of the strip are amazing. Mostly a younger crowd.
Tangerine at Treasure Island was also pretty good. You could also go outside with views of the strip and the Pirate show.
If you run out of cash and still want to get some drinks - go to a sportsbook. Kurt perfected this method! Grab a program and a seat and wait for the cocktail waitress to come around. Make sure to tip her and she will keep coming back!
Kerry Mann is a professional Online poker player and writer.