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6 Lessons for Surviving Las Vegas

Recently we sent Ian Cheesman to Las Vegas to check out some sites and fun times, enjoy some UFC awesomeness and become a man at the hands of the Harley Davidson crew.   This is his first article for us, to explain why he came back in debt.

Odds are if you’re in Las Vegas, you’re going for the same reason I do: to seek out those elusive gaps in your escort card collection:


“Dude, you’ve got a Mia & Suzette rookie card?  LUUUUCKY!”

 For the rest of you looking to fill your time in Las Vegas (after you’ve reveled in the Pinball Hall of Fameof course) you’ll probably want to try your hand at gambling.  This is a fantastic idea, especially if like most people you have an infinite supply of cash.  However, if you’re one of those unfortunate turds who must eke out a living on a “budget”, it’s time for us to talk.


As much as it pains me to drag mathematics into a lively discussion on Sin City, you should know that its 2010 gambling revenues were $10.4 billion.  This fortune didn’t manifest because of one man’s foolhardy decision to double-down on his $5.2 billion bet.  Statistically speaking just about every person with a tower of chips and a dream is going to do their part to keep Vegas in the black. However, just because you’re probably going to lose doesn’t mean you can’t lose the right way.

 Lesson 1 – Pace Yourself

Las Vegas is custom engineered to be a non-stop assault on the senses.  From the bright lights to the garishly dressed cocktail waitresses to the constant threat of being mowed down by awesomely massive Harley Davidson motorcycles, this town keeps your blood pumping.


I honestly don’t know why they agreed to let someone park this inside the cafe in the first place

Casinos are all too aware of this effect and happily capitalize upon it.  They’ll offer to soothe your weary mind with the promise of a comfy chair and free alcohol, asking only that you dutifully hemorrhage cash in return.  Even if you somehow briefly emerge from the fugue state this induces, the paucity of clocks or windows insulate you from the world enough to believe there’s simply no reason to leave the pleasure dome.


A glittering Alcatraz

So what can be done to prevent this from happening to you?  Not much, frankly.  It is muhfuckin VEGAS, after all.  Better people than us have fallen to its charms time and again.  All you can really do is set daily gambling limits and stick to them with zero equivocation.  Make sure any others in your party know those numbers as well so any spinelessness on your part is on full display.

Failing that, at least try to restrain yourself until you get out of the goddamned airport.


“I’m out of quarters.  Will this thing accept dignity?”

Lesson 2 – Pick Your Game Wisely


The way you gamble in Vegas can speak volumes about you.  There’s options for everyone from introverts to that jackhole who won’t stop trying to loudly compel the craps dice to land favorably. There are games for those with high risk tolerance and selections for that same bellowing dickhead who just realized how funny placing a bet on “the come line” is.  (Loud Guy, if you’re reading this I hope it’s clear that I don’t care for you much.)

Hopefully this matrix will make your selection easier:


In general the easier a game is to play the worse the odds are.  This is my polite way of telling you slot machines are custom designed for people with a crippling phobia of winning.  I know that is upsetting to the millions that relish them, but you’ll just have to get your fix of Furry Gambling elsewhere.


If I can’t convince you to abstain from slots altogether, at least consider avoiding the high limit slots. While higher denomination slots do have a statistically higher rate of return, you’re still better off trying to make your windfall with the help of that deposed Nigerian prince who keeps emailing you.


How can you fritter away hours here when Prince Uumbuto desperately needs your assistance?


Lesson 3 – Research Your Games

I know I risk pissing away any credibility I might have previously earned by suggesting the key to a successful Las Vegas trip is doing loads of homework prior, but I don’t care.   Just because I intend to let the casinos into my wallet doesn’t mean I’ll let their mangy fingers explore anywhere.

The wizardofodds.com offers both comprehensive explanations of different games and varied strategies to approaching them.  There are no promises of foolproof systems, other than the ironclad guarantee that it will maximize how slowly you lose.  That may not be very enticing, but consider that…

Lesson 4 – Alcohol = The Equalizer

This may seem counterintuitive given my earlier admonitions about getting swept up in Vegas mania, but it’s a matter of simple mathematics.  Drinking in Vegas is crazy expensive, likely due to casino’s attempting to recoup losses from those luxurious prime rib dinners.


There is simply no more cost effective way to get E. coli poisoning

 This makes resorting to comped drinks while gambling sensible enough, but most people do it wrong.  Consider every free drink a fiscal counter-attack on your captors.  You drink not simply for inebriation, but retribution.   Maximize damage by keeping your booze straight and unsullied by ice or water. More importantly, don’t be bashful about specifying premium hooch.  Failure to do so just guarantees delivery of a tumbler brimming with Ol’ Rotgut’s Whisky-Like Substance.


The last time I stayed at the MGM Grand they wanted to charge me $25 for a double of premium bourbon.  Clearly they weren’t serving that beverage at cost.  However, just by virtue of sitting next to my wife while she played penny slots, I was able to order the same without even a sideways glance.  Do you have any idea how many pennies are in $25?!  NOBODY does.  But it’s a lot.

A drink saved is a penny earned

Lesson 5 – Cozy Up With Host Services

As with the booze, a sensible gambler must look for any return on their investment that is available.  This includes anything else you can get a casino to comp you, whether it be free hotel stays, meals, or total discretion to bury hookers on their golf course.  The best way to achieve this is to sign up for whatever manner of Players Card they offer.

Some may be wary of letting casinos track every cent they gamble, but since the New World Order will be enforcing mandatory forearm microchip implants any day now you might as well get used to it.

When you consistently gamble at one place (or a network of places that share the same Players Card), the odds of swag coming your way go up significantly.  If you’re willing to wander off the main strip the rewards get much fatter for the same amount of gambling, but be sure to weigh that against the increased likelihood of contracting scabes from their beds.

If you don’t feel you’re getting the rewards you deserve for your patronage, don’t be afraid to ask an actual host services representative.  In the worst case scenario they are very well trained at politely telling small fry gamblers to kindly fuck off.  However, they do have some discretion and often a bit of polite banter and the simple question of “Is there anything you can do for me?” is all it takes for manna to come tumbling down from the heavens.

In short, while it may be far more convenient to do your gambling when you’re already out picking up bread and milk, you should consider otherwise.


The Coinmaster has one of the best return rates in Vegas, but it’s a pretty dull game

 Lesson 6 – Remember : Losing Money Is The Plan

Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably Satan, but don’t listen to him.  That guy is a degenerate gambler.

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