Vegas is a nice place to break out of your rut

Sep 8, 2009 5:05 PM
Around Town by Eileen Di Rocco |

It’s easy to get into a rut. No matter how ingrained good habits are, it takes little effort to not do what you know you should.

For some reason you don’t feel like doing it and that annoying voice in your head convinces you not to. The first time somehow leads to a second and soon your rut is established, digging itself deeper with every miss.

Undoubtedly, that’s what happened, though I don’t consciously remember crawling into my cocoon. But one morning I woke up and realized I was out of touch, which is definitely not a good thing for a newspaper publisher.

However, knowing how I got here is not nearly as important as knowing how to get out. The answer, of course, was simple – write a column. It would force me to re-establish contact with the world.

With that in mind I set out over the weekend to take a closer look at the Gaming Capital of the World, and started – where else? – on the fabulous Las Vegas Strip.

Walking along the sidewalk, I noticed any number of ragtag vendors selling the usual array of corny, overpriced souvenirs. There was a food stand offering a Philly cheese steak for $25. Ouch! But, to be fair, I must tell you it did include fries.

Being more inclined to want to see the glass as half full, I thoroughly cleaned my glasses and decided to walk through a few casinos.

One of the best bargains I found was at the Excalibur. For $25 you can eat all day at their buffet. And, unlike most other casino promotions, it doesn’t require a player’s card. Simply pay your $25, receive a wristband and walk in and out of the buffet whenever you feel like it between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. that day. Bon appétit!

Heading downtown I wandered through the El Cortez on Fremont Street. It didn’t have all the glitz and glamour of the Strip, but it was definitely one of the friendliest places I went to. Employees smiled, said hello and seemed genuinely happy to have me there. Yes, I know, it’s always good to see a customer walk in. But, there were a number of places I stopped that seemed quite indifferent to the clientele.

To make it even friendlier, they offer Gambling Gourmet, a unique service that allows you to order food from the coffee shop and have it delivered to you on the casino floor. No need to leave that hot machine you’ve been playing.

To wrap things up I stopped at a few off-Strip locations around the valley. Walking through Aliante, a Station Casinos property in North Las Vegas, I came across a "crapless" craps table. Yes, I know, all you serious craps players shy away from this game. But, despite the house edge (5.4%) there’s something comforting about knowing you can’t lose on the come out roll.

That’s right, 7 is an automatic winner and any other number is simply your point to make. It’s also nice that no one will be rooting against you by betting the Don’t Come or Don’t Pass lines, because they don’t exist.

Another good thing about the game is you have an opportunity to win a decent return for a small investment when you buy any of the "extreme outside" numbers – 2, 3, 11 and 12 – and pay the vig (usually 5%). The 2 and 12 each pay 6-to-1, and 3 and 11 have 3-to-1 odds.

As the day came to a close, I had a feeling of accomplishment and my rut didn’t seem quite as deep.

See you around town.

Question? Comment? E-mail me at: Eileen Di Rocco