Well Pallys, I survived my nine (9) day pilgrimage to Las Vegas. When I told people I was heading to Las Vegas most said to me “My God that is a long time to be in Vegas”. Well I did it and survived and was a little sad on my last day. Don’t get me wrong I was tired and ready to come home. I miss New York and I am looking forward to getting back to Manhattan tomorrow. Manhattan is truly my favorite place in the world, but this Post is about Las Vegas so I will discuss the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.
This was the first trip in many years that I felt the city is better than the previous trip. For starters there is the Linq. The Linq is an out door mall of stores and bars and casinos. The Linq is between the Flamingo and The Quad Casino (formerly the Imperial Palace. O’Shea’s Casino has reopened on the Linq and there is live music and Beer Pong. Another good addition to the Linq is the High Roller. The High Roller is the worlds largest Observation Wheel (Ferris Wheel). The half hour ride is fun and you get great views of the Strip. I recommend going at night.
Another good addition is the opening of the Cromwell (formerly Bills Gaming House and for you old timers the Barbary Coast). It is amazing what $180 million can do. The Cromwell is located between the Flamingo and Ballys. It has 40,000 square feet of gaming, two lounges and a very friendly staff. The roof top pool called Drais Beach Club will open soon and I am sure by the looks of it will be great. The only negative of the Cromwell is the 8 deck black jack tables and on the $10 tables on pays 5 to 6 for Black Jack (so Pallys is you get Black Jack and the Dealer has a 5 or 6 please double down)
I ate at three Steakhouses on my trip and all were great. Oscars located at the Plaza (downtown on Main St and Freemont St) is still the coolest venue in Las Vegas. The Golden Steer (the Oldest in Las Vegas) has so much charm and history and the food is amazing. My guests all raved about the creamed corn. However the biggest surprise of them all is THE STEAKHOUSE. THE STEAKHOUSE is located inside Circus Circus (no that is not a misprint). For year’s people have been telling me about THE STEAKHOUSE and that it is the best steakhouse in Las Vegas. I never believed it because I hate Circus Circus and how could they have the best steaks. Well its not even close – THE STEAKHOUSE IS THE BEST STEAKHOUSE IN LAS VEGAS. Next time in town go you will not be disappointed.
The biggest surprise of my trip was the re-birth of the Riviera (“The Riv”). For those of you who don’t know The Riv is one of the oldest casinos on the Strip. My last visit in October most of the tables was removed and it felt like I was visiting a funeral. I said to my Pally who was with me ‘That The Riv is over” it was very depressing that I almost didn’t go. Friday morning I decided to do my walk anyway. My walk is from the Bellagio to The Riv. I get a cocktail a cigar and listen to the Rat Pack Live at the Sands and walk. I make a brief stop at the Venetian to pay respect to the Sands and the Copa Room (that is where the Summit was performed). For those who don’t know what the Summit is – the Summit is what Frank Sinatra called the famous Rat Pack performances. When I got to The Riv, I was shocked to see about 20 tables open and all of them were open and at least three players at each table. I sat down at a $10 Black Jack table that pays 3 to 2 with no side bets (Black Jack as it is supposed to be). Shortly after I sat down I was blessed to play with the BEST BLACK JACK DEALER ON THE PLANET! Coline (pronounced Co – Line). Coline has been dealing black jack for over 40 years and no one is his equal. Coline has dealt black jack to some of the most famous people ever. Frank, Dean, Sammy, George Burns and the list goes on. After Coline went on break Margie stepped in. Margie is another veteran dealer at The Riv with over 20 years. You have no idea how much more fun black jack is with good dealers. Well these two are the best of their trade and I feel blessed that I got to play with them. So your next trip to Las Vegas stop by The Riv make sure you see Coline and Margie.
The Bellagio continues to disappointment me as a hotel (See the Ugly section for the comments on the casino). This hotel has no idea what customer service is. I booked two Cabanas and you felt like you were annoying the staff. The only redeeming qualities of this hotel is Nicole the Cabana Host and the Gelato Café’. You can keep the rest.
More and more casinos are paying 6 to 5 for Black Jack. This is truly a crime. The house has such a big edge I don’t know why they have to continue to punish players. I know you may think I am being silly, but if you are playing $50 hand and get black jack you should be paid $75 not $60. That is $15 you are leaving on the table. On average you get black jack 3-4 an hour. If you play for 4 hours the casino is keeping an extra $135 to $240. This is just wrong.
The Bellagio Casino – it is simply the worst casino on the planet. Its too big and it is never packed. Most black jack tables are $25 tables and they play with the continuous shuffle machines, which remove most of the player’s advantage.
The Clubs and the music at the clubs are just terrible. I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but this is my blog and I don’t care what people think. The Clubs are over priced. They charge $1,000 for a bottle of booze that costs them $20. Don’t ever put you drink down, a waitress will come and take it away, even if the glass is full. The music is way too loud. I should say the noise is too loud. I don’t consider it music. Avoid these rip off joints.
Lastly the Body Art, what are you people thinking. I went to the Liquid Pool Lounge at the Aria. Very interesting place, but I don’t get the body art. I am not a big fan of tattoos, but when a person has the whole side of there body covered in tattoos its just gross. Wait until 20 and 30 something’s are in the 50s and 60s they will look even dumber than they do now.
Overall the trip was great and I believe that my Las Vegas, the Old School is making a comeback. I am really looking forward to my next trip in October to see what other improvements they make and check out my Sahara (to open Labor Day weekend as the SLS)
May the Dice Be With You