Home > Leftovers > Vegas 2008: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Bomb

Vegas 2008: Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love to Bomb

Sorry for the long drought in posts, but with a company meeting last week and a trip to Vegas for yet another tradeshow this week, I’ve been slammed. Luckily, I had a few minutes on the flight home to jot down a few thoughts about the Vegas trip.

Unlike last year when I had a relatively good gambling experience – and even spied an a-list celeb – this year was definitely more low-profile. However, since this year’s visit only coincided with the Presidents Day weekend (and not the fear-for-your-life atmosphere that Vegas had during the NBA All-Star Game), it was still a solid visit.

So, in the grand tradition of gambling, here are the Hits and Busts of this year’s winter journey to the desert.

Hit – Video poker – Like last year, I had a solid day at the video poker machines. After arriving in town on Saturday, I was able to tread water a bit on these machines before hitting a straight flush on Monday a.m. Turned $5 into $80. Woo hoo!

Bust – All other forms of gambing – Man, that was definitely my highlight in the gaming industry. From blackjack at the Mirage to roulette at my home base at Caesars, Vegas treated me like lights out at the lock up. Except..

Hit – Kenny Rogers Gambler video slot machine – Who knew that K-Rog had a gaming machine? But, it never let me down – on the micro level. It’s a nickel slot game, located at Caesars next to, I shit you not, “The Enchanted Unicorn.” Not only was I able to turn a buck into $10 at the Gambler’s game once (actual phrase I uttered: “I hit four Kennys!!”) the game was also good for a host of bad jokes. Like:

  • “Does this game pay out in roasted chicken?”
  • “I’ve won $5… but you gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em.”
  • “When did the guy from the Doobie Brothers get a slot machine?”
  • “He can sure cook up a mean bird.”
  • “I have a masters degree, for the love of Pete… why am I playing this game?

Hit – Everything at the Venetian – If you want good seafood in Vegas, go to Aquanox. Fantastic stuff (get the John Dory – some sort of fish thing… it’s terrific). If you want to be entertained, Wayne Brady has a surprisingly adult Vegas-style/Improv show playing now at the Venetian. And at the sister casino next door, the Palazzo, try Carnevino. If you have a few extra dollars and want some fancy-ass Italian food, it’s the bomb-diggity. When they gave you dinner rolls, the place served butter and (I’m not making this up) hog fat to smear on them. I’m from eastern NC, and that even caught me off guard. And yes, it was tasty as hell.

Bust – The ninja assassin blackjack dealer at the Mirage – She was, in the immortal words of Rick James, cold blooded. You can have my $100. But you can’t take my spirit. I’m lying. She took that, too.

Hit – Friendly cab drivers – I don’t know who to write to with this kudo, but the cab drivers in Vegas were all terrific. Great advice from these guys. Even got to ride in a Scion cab once (surprisingly comfortable car).

Bust – Bogus celebrity sitings – This is really not fair. A year after dining with Eva Longoria, I was set up for failure during this trip. But, I did see Pete Rose signing autographs at a sporting goods store in the Forum Shops. And I saw a girl who looked a lot like Rashida Jones (Karen, from The Office). But nothing too spectacular.

Hit (and tip of the day) – Opentable.com – I didn’t know about this site, but I should have. If you need reservations in Vegas, and you don’t want to call 10 different places, just register at this site. We used it three times on the trip. Each time, we got into some pretty tough places with no problem. The registration systems for a good chunk of the Vegas restaurants are tied to this site. I’m sure probably half of the known world is already using it, but if you’re not, check it out.

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