Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Vegas Trip Recap

This past weekend my wife and I joined two other couples in Vegas to help a buddy celebrate his 50th birthday.  I've likely been to Vegas about a dozen times in my life - most via conferences - and that left little time to really hit the casino and gamble.  However, on this trip, it was all about the dice, and I got a really good look at a side of Vegas that I typically didn't get a chance to see. 

Some random notes on the experience:
  • I'd like to think I'm not cheap, but damn, I refuse to play anything higher than a $5 table.  And good luck finding one of those.  I work too hard for my money to drop $100 in a fifteen minute run of bad rolls or on a bad blackjack shoe.  
  • That being said, I was amazed at the people around me spending massively more money than I was.  I was in the very clear minority.  Where did people get money like that to spend?
  • Based on behaviors witnessed, if we were having a recession, that was news to me.  I've never seen so much money flying around, both in the casino and on the streets.
  • Vegas used to be a cheap trip, as the casinos just wanted you out there.  They could offer up cheap rooms and meals because they knew they'd get your money anyway.  Those days are gone.  It is not cheap.  Not at all.  As stated earlier, table minimums are inflated.  Rooms are expensive.  Want that bottle of water in the room?  $7.  How about the coffee that goes with the coffee maker in the room? $10.  Want to work out?  $20 fee for a crappy fitness area with dated equipment.  Want to use the web?  That's only $16 per day.  Incredible.  Even the costs at the hotel Starbucks were excessive.
  • Note that the costs above represented costs downtown.  We never even made it to the strip, where the enticement of faux-luxury commands even bigger dollars. 
  • Speaking of faux-luxury, it was everywhere.  $250 bottles of vodka at the bar.  Cabanas for rental at the pool.  Snooty maitre d at the restaurant.  Just an overall air that if you weren't operating on the top shelf, you were just so common.  Our society has become Kardashian-ized. 
  • There was a whole lot of drunk going on.  New Orleans doesn't have much on Vegas anymore.
  • The key to winning in craps is surviving the losing beating until "the run" happens.  Because happen it will, and you have to be there when it does.  But getting there can be a bloody mess.
  • Down 9-0 to the Red Sox, I was kicking myself for putting down $30 on the Yankees to win.  I hate the Yankees.  I loathe the Yankees.  But when they scored 7 in the 7th and 8 in the 8th my losing ticket turned into a miracle win.  Still, I bet on the Yankees!  I feel dirty.
Overall, we had a great time.  It was great to see our friends again, and we walked away with great memories and great stories.  Can't wait to do it again in 10 years on my buddy's 60th.

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