November 21, 2005

Demon monks. Shoulda gone to Vegas. [Open Thread]

Posted by Arcane Gazebo at November 21, 2005 9:02 PM

Tomorrow I am leaving for my Thanksgiving vacation—but I will be dodging the traditional extended-family-and-turkey version in favor of losing money at blackjack. Yes! I'm headed out to a spiritual retreat in Las Vegas. Blogging may or may not occur, so here's another open thread in case I get distracted by the lights.

Recommendations for what to do/see are welcome!

Tags: Open Thread, Travel

There is a store in Excaliber that has cool fantasy-themed miniatures. They're really expensive, but it's a nice shop to browse. Their fantasy chess set is especially cool (and expensive). I think the store is called "The Dragon's Lair" or something. FAO Schwarz is also a key store to visit. There is an arcade too (was it Dave & Busters or one of the other chains? Lemming?) and you can pay $15 for 2 hours unlimited play the last two hours they're open in a given day.

Personally, I prefer craps to blackjack. Rolling dice for money. Yeah! Betting hard eights and hard sixes is a blast. I didn't do any bets 'on the hop' (did I get the expression right?), but one person did that for me with the hard eights and won (I won a little bit with it too, at least temporarily) and he tipped me a bit from that so that I could keep betting. Oh, and if you roll snake-eyes on your first ever roll and lose somebody several thousand dollars, be sure to turn to them and smile... especially if they're a burly biker dude. (That's what happened while other people were on a roller coaster, although we technically weren't quite in Vegas yet.)

What else... here's a piece of advice: the dealers in Mandalay Bay are much younger than in most of the other casinos. They're also much friendlier. I got one lady running an empty table to teach me how to play Pai Gow (which I have since completely forgotten) and similar experiences in other casinos met with cold stares. The smoothies in some store in Mandaly Bay are also key. I got this funky berry concoction that I really liked. Carribean Stud is also very fun---it's kind of like playing Black Jack but with poker hands instead.

One last piece of advice: What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas. Combine this with the Mandalay Bay advice and you're on your way...

Posted by: Mason | November 22, 2005 12:29 AM

Wow we just missed you Sharon and I were in vagas last weekend. Have fun!

Posted by: shellock | November 22, 2005 9:44 AM

What to do: get a car and goto valley of fire (it ws fun) or try hover damn, or red rock canyon
Else: see a show "O" and "V" (variety show) were both fun
Even more stuff: get a pocket guide to vagas and goto each casino and see its "thing" (fountain and conseratory at the bellagio, aquarium at mandalan bay, zoo at mirage...)
Finally: make a donation (pick your poison slots, blackjack, craps...)

Posted by: shellock | November 22, 2005 9:48 AM

I believe the arcade was Gameworks. Similar to Dave and Busters, minus the bar, but with a wider and better maintained selection of games (at least last time I went).
When I went last, I found that in general the dealers working the old strip (Fremont St, I believe) were a lot friendlier. The atmosphere there was a little different--admittedly a little skankier in places too, but maybe cozier? I ended up having the most fun while gambling at some of those older casinos, though my "big win" was at the Bellagio.
As Shellock mentioned, there's some really worthwhile sightseeing nearby as well. Being afraid of heights, I get a kick out of Hoover Dam, and the canyon is just pretty to hike around.
There are always some good shows playing in Vegas, keep your eyes peeled. A friend of mine recently saw some wierd concert-festival thing where a number of bands on Some Disassembly Required played (he commutes to Vegas every other week). I still want to see Tom Jones myself... Maybe he's something you could *cough* do/see *cough*.
As far as gambling, find someplace you feel like the dealers are friendly, get a $5 table and don't play to win, play to keep playing. Just relax, enjoy it, assume your pot is gonna disappear, and enjoy the drinks and pretty waitresses (rawr!).
If you don't mind me asking, what's a "spiritual retreat"?

Posted by: Lemming | November 22, 2005 9:59 AM

You can get actual Romulan Ale (I think it's beer with blue food coloring) at the Trek-themed casino. You'd fit right in if you wore your uniform! :D You could ask if you could make a bit of extra gambling money being a prop in a Trekkie wedding - those are insanely expensive, so you'd think there'd be some money to be had there.

Mason, you are still clearly geekier than I am! :-)

Posted by: Justin | November 22, 2005 12:55 PM

Thanks for the suggestions everybody! Now I wish I were staying longer than three days.

Lemming: There was an episode of Angel in which Angel takes his staff on a "spiritual retreat" which turns out to be a vacation in Vegas.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 22, 2005 1:43 PM

You pull out the Star Trek stuff and claim I'm geekier in the same breadth. Isn't that inherently contradictory? Maybe it will cause the universe to explode or something...? :)

I heard the Star Trek show in the relevant casino was very cool, but I didn't go on it because it was listed as being not so good for people who get motion sickness. (My friends who went on it told me it was bs, so I guess I should have done it.)

Seeing which bands/comedians/musicals are in town is a capital idea. Personally, I want to see Blue Man Group at some point, and I think they play Vegas a lot. Also, Mamma Mia has been showing there lately (or at least recently) and that's an awesome musical.*

* Whether you'll like the musical depends a lot on what you think of ABBA. Their music heavily influence the new wave stuff I love and I think ABBA itself is awesome.

Posted by: Mason | November 22, 2005 2:15 PM

Oh right, the Star Trek show! It is actually pretty good. I was really impressed with it when I went, actually. Worth checking out. Especially since, IIRC, you're a proper TNG peep.

Posted by: Lemming | November 22, 2005 2:30 PM

Depending on how robust your stomach/fear of heights is, you might want to try the rollercoaster and other rides on top of the Stratosphere, nearly 1000 feet off the ground. The pictures alone are enough to freak the heck out of me.

Posted by: Lanth | November 23, 2005 9:26 AM

I heard you made a killing at the poker table.

Posted by: Paul Griffin | November 26, 2005 1:56 PM

Video poker, actually.

Posted by: Arcane Gazebo | November 26, 2005 4:27 PM
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