Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ten Common Mistakes Of Vegas Visitors (some costly)

I've personally made some of the following Vegas visitor errors. You too ? :

- Underestimating the scale / size of hotel-casinos on the strip : I once rounded the corner of Tropicana Avenue and Las Vegas Boulevard in front of MGM Grand on foot with my significant other. This was our initial trip to Las Vegas and we were in awe of the kitschy visual spectacle Vegas is famous for . As we walked north in front of MGM, I spotted Caesar's Palace which appeared to be on the not-so-distant architectural horizon. Heh. It was a long damned ways to Caesar's, to make a long story short. The sheer size of the monstrous concrete monoliths we call casino-hotels can often make us error-prone in judging distance. Needless to say, on every subsequent trip we have rented a car.

- Staying too long at a blackjack table : Don't overstay a single gambling table or
slot / VP machine in an attempt to recoup losses ; change venues , hit a buffet or show (these other options are most always cheaper).

- Not signing up for or not using player's club cards / memberships : Big no-brainer if you gamble at all.

- Driving like an inebriated idiot on Vegas roads : Most of us have.

- Not using alternate access routes to the hotel - casinos : refer to blog post here entitled "Las Vegas Parking Garage Tips" .

- Gambling at games that have an insurmountable house edge : Can you say keno?
Now I've upset all those grandmothers at the keno pits. Sorry..

- Poor or inadequate planning of Vegas trips : That said, it's fun to leave a little
time slot for some unplanned , spontaneous activities as well (see next entry) .

- Overplanning Vegas trips : You'll wear yourself and your whole crew out if you plan every last detail .

- Not bringing comfortable walking shoes : Even if you rent a car, just navigating within a single casino seems like a Trail of Tears at times . Ever roam the several miles around/ within MGM Grand or Mandalay Bay ?

- Failing to utilize valet parking services at the hotel on arrival day : This applies more appropriately for those locales which have parking garages which are a county away from the hotel check-in desk. It's a hike at some of these (eg MGM Grand) even WITHOUT bags. Consider valet services on any day you're toting luggage ; the minimal cost is worth avoiding dehydration , leg exhaustion , family fist fights, or divorce.



Angela said...

Hi Chuck,

Love your blog! Great tips! I linked to it over at mine:


Chuck60 said...

Thanks, Angela! I'll visit your site.


FleaStiff said...

Keno, Bingo, Slots... even roulette at 5.26percent is too high a house edge, but I do enjoy roulette since I get to sit down at it.

Chuck60 said...

Response to Fleastiff:

Your prerogative to play what you want under the conditions you enjoy. I just prefer to play games with low house edges because the damned money comes so hard. *l*.
Appreciate your comments. Good luck, good spins..


JR said...

what are the best odds in the casino?

Chuck60 said...

The best odds are at a 3:2 blackjack table with player - favorable rules. Check the archives here for numerous blackjack articles..or email me and I'll send further info.

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Mostly Useless (and approximate) Las Vegas Facts

1. Number of Las Vegas citizens   500,000
2. Number of Clark County residents   1,500,000
3. Year first casino licensed   1931
4. Number of slot machines in Vegas   200,000
5. Number of annual Vegas visitors   40,000,000 (and dropping)
6. Number of licensed gambling entities   1700
7. Hours per day average visitor gambles   4
8. Annual state gaming revenue   9 billion (and dropping)
9. Average gambling budget per trip   560  (and dropping)
10. Mean price per acre in valley   161,000.00
11. Price per acre on the Strip   11,000,000.00
12. Number of  hotel rooms   137,000 +
13. Number of pillowcases washed at MGM daily   15,000
14. Number of doors at MGM  18,000 
15. Annual no. toilet paper rolls used at Bally's   1 million
16. Lucky The Clown marquee sign at Circus Circus has
      1232 fluorescent bulbs, 14,498 incandescent bulbs, and
      3/4 mile of neon tubing light  (no wonder they're replacing
17. In good times, Excalibur goes through over 44,000 
      Cornish game hens, 15 thousand pounds of hamburger
      meat, and 4200 pounds of prime rib monthly
18. Caesar's Palace has used 2 million plus maraschino 
      cherries, 11 thousand ounces of caviar, 2 million ounces
      of tomato juice, and close to 600 thousand ounces of
      vodka yearly (bloody mary winner?)
19. Mandalay Bay has 5,300 palm trees and their wave pool
      has a capacity of 1,640,270 gallons of water
20. Average nightly room rate  119.00 (and dropping)
21. Average number of Vegas weddings per day   300+
22. Number of golf courses  37
23. Miles of neon tubing on the Strip and Downtown  15,000
24. State's nationwide rank in gold production  1st
25. Cost of Nevada marriage license   35.00
26. Average cost of filing for divorce  450.00
27. Average length of stay for visitors    3.7 days
28. Number of hosted conventions annually  3750
29. The electric bill to operate the Luxor pyramid beam is
      approximately 55.00 per hour.
30. Las Vegas has 17 of the world's 20 largest hotels   


Just a cautionary tip when in Vegas.. there are active
pickpockets all over town. I experienced this first-hand
and came within 10 seconds of losing my cash stash last July
while visiting one of those upper end joints on the strip.

I was gambling significantly at a video poker machine, unabashedly slipping C-notes in them. Somebody had been
observing my wagering behavior. I was happily winning at the time and my cautionary tendencies regarding my bankroll
money went south and out the window.

A lady approached me from behind as I played and was all aglow with my run of good luck. She initiated a conversation about nothing and anything . I was concentrating on proper VP strategy and responding to her comments with a lot of "yeah-yeahs". I was fortunate enough to get ahead on the machine again and I cashed out. I had a satchel (I normally never gamble under those conditions) with me that had assorted trip stuff in it. The satchel presence and the relatively high denomination coin-in amount collectively screamed " please rob me!" I placed my wallet in the satchel along with the machine cash-out tickets and proceeded to reconnect with my family and head to our room.

I had developed a sense of cautionary unease as I mulled over the contact with the effusively talkative woman at the VP machine. My senses told me that something about that encounter was skewed, although at the time I didn't know what it was and I wasn't bleeding profusely..yet. My group then proceeded to meander through a very crowded slot machine aisle and some other 6th, 7th, or 8th sense that vaguely detected an impersonal yet succinct encroachment into my personal space kicked in. Instinctively, I immediately dug into the satchel to locate my wallet and it was gone. I then immediately turned around and backtracked about ten feet (a matter of maybe 3 seconds, tops) as my endogenous adrenaline kicked in. I'm not sure that my hair wasn't on fire briefly.

I then spotted my wallet (and life) in a woman's hand who was playing a slot machine. I walked straight at her and demanded it post-haste in a tone that screamed seriousness. I immediately grabbed the wallet and called for security. The woman claimed she picked it up off the floor and so did the man (her accomplice) behind her, both vowing that they were planning to remit it to the security desk. My svelte ass they were.

This team of thieves including the woman who was all goony-googoo at the VP machine were pros. I have to claim part of the blame for the openly careless manner I had displayed with my money. They were held by security and the eye-in-the-sky tapes were to be reviewed.

The good thing is I didn't lose a cent because my peripheral senses kicked in immediately and they didn't have time to bury the evidence ( perhaps they weren't the best of pros?). Take heed folks..these people are everywhere in Vegas. Know where your cash is at all times; take precautions to protect it, don't flaunt it around carelessly as I did, and if you sense something is awry while gambling trust your instincts.

Distractions from one member of a team of thieves is a common MO. Store your gambling session monies in a front pants pocket or in one of those god-awful front-loaded fanny packs (pride be damned). The lesson I learned here after several years of Vegas gambling experiences turned out to be one of the most valuable for me personally.