Hey, party people. I’m back from Las Vegas and almost recovered from the jet lag and three-hour time difference. It’s crazy what a difference the time change can make, isn’t it? It’s 3:00 p.m. right now but it feels like noon. Sigh.
Anyway, I’m happy to report that we had a total blast starting with Friday night on Freemont Street. As you can see from the pic above, the weirdos were out in full force and the drinks were a flowin’. We gambled a little bit but we mostly just walked around and enjoyed the lights and sounds of old Las Vegas. We also watched a Rod Stewart impersonator who was pretty dang impressive. Unfortunately, his friend made sexy eyes at Greg and asked if I was in an open marriage. (Ummmm…..no) We left about two seconds after that happened.
The Travelodge Las Vegas Center Strip is Awesome
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this trip was pretty low budget. Our flights were basically free because of our Southwest Rapid Rewards points and we booked the cheapest hotel on the strip we could find. And that, my friends, would be the Travelodge Las Vegas Center Strip. Not only was it $87 per night, but it offered completely free wifi, free continental breakfast, and no resort fees. It also had an awesome location right across from Aria and New York, New York. For the price we paid, it was seriously awesome.
Thoughts on Gambling and Taking it Too Far
I’m not about to go on an anti-gambling rant because that would make me a total hypocrite. We’re all adults here, right? I don’t see anything wrong with gambling, although I’m too cheap to do it more than once every few years. The thing is, some people take it to such an extreme. A few sad things I experienced in Las Vegas:
- I was at the Cromwell playing a table game. A few seats down sat a drunk guy named Bob who kept blurting out his deepest, darkest secrets. It all started when he admitted that he was supposed to pick up his girlfriend at 2:00 p.m. that day and forgot (she kept calling his phone and he would occasionally answer then hang up on her). He also admitted that he had lost $6,000 playing the same game the day before and was hoping to get comped a “free hotel room” to make up for it. Other bad news: Since he owed his ex-wife $4,000 per month in alimony, he didn’t care if he gambled all of his money away. Oh, and if he won big while I was at the table, he promised to buy me a fully-loaded Ford Focus. Ahem.
- I was waiting for Greg to come out of a bathroom and happened to be standing next to an ATM when a random guy came up to use it. He was drunk and sweaty and asked me to help him figure out how to withdraw as much as possible. “I’ve lost so much money,” he admitted. “I’ve got to win it back.”
- I was sitting at a $5 Texas Hold Em’ Bonus table when a guy sat down with $2,000 in chips. The minimum to play this game works out to $15 per hand, but he was intent on betting at least $100 per hand, sometimes more. Over the course of an hour, he lost almost all of his money. I could tell by the look in his eyes that he was totally panicking. He did start winning again but was only at around $400 by the time I left the table.
I don’t necessarily think that anything is wrong with gambling, but it makes me sad to see so many people lose. People are quick to say that “Las Vegas wasn’t built by winners” and that’s 100% the truth. For everyone who walks away a winner, there are hundreds of people who have blown through cash they sorely needed, or are wasting their productivity and potential sitting at a smoky casino table all day and night. It’s sad to see people squander so much of their income and savings, when you know that a lot of them probably can’t afford to do it. And you could often tell by the look on people’s faces. There were plenty of cheers and screams when people were winning, but there was just as much gloom and despair when people were losing. It was sad.
Thoughts on Smoking and Cheap Stuff
Well, that’s about all I have to say about gambling. However, there were several other things I noticed about Las Vegas while I was there. For example, one thing I usually hate about casinos is the fact that so many people smoke. I absolutely hate sitting next to people who are smoking, and a casino with hundreds of smokers is basically my version of hell on earth. The good news is, it seems like fewer people were lighting up then usual, and a lot of the people who were still smoking had switched to vapor cigarettes like Vapourlites. Vapourlites are basically smoke-free devices that let people inhale nicotine and enjoy the physical aspect of smoking, but without the nasty carcinogens and smell or regular ol’ cigarettes. And even though they still pose some health risks, the FDA says that electronic cigarettes are far less dangerous than regular ones. More good news: They’re cheaper too.
Speaking of cheap stuff, we found plenty of cheap food options in old Las Vegas and on the Las Vegas Strip. For example, we had Chipotle for dinner one night. Mmmmmm……. In some random casino in downtown Las Vegas, we had a giant batch of late night French fries for $1.35. I can’t remember the last time I paid $1.35 for anything! Those cheap meals, coupled with the four free buffets that we won on myVEGAS rewards meant that we spent very little money on food. Winning!
Oh, and speaking of winning, I brought $300 to Las Vegas to pay for three days of food, drinks, entertainment, and gambling, and I came back with $334. That means that I basically partied, ate, and gambled for free. I’m not really surprised. I’m typically pretty good at gambling because I absolutely hate losing money. If I sit down and lose a few hands, I leave. Period.
What do you think about gambling? Have you ever seen anyone lose a ton of cash in a short amount of time?