I left a closing suggestion in my recent column about how great life after graduating college actually is, contrary to prevailing belief. My suggestion was to, after graduating and locking down a steady income, plan trips to Las Vegas once a year for as long as you can until your adult responsibilities finally shut the young person fun valve. In my opinion, a Vegas trip with friends is the fun pinnacle of a young professional’s life.
At the age of 27, I had already been to Las Vegas 13 times. Here’s a list of the hotels I’ve stayed in.
∙ Mirage (twice)
∙ The Venetian (twice)
∙ The Palazzo
∙ Mandalay Bay
∙ Treasure Island
∙ MGM Grand
∙ Wynn (twice)
I’ve wined, I’ve dined, I’ve clubbed (standard and strip), I’ve seen shows, and I’ve gambled away much more than I’ve won. I’ve chummed it up with celebs, had my meat unsolicitedly lock-gripped by a stripper, and I’ve seen some flat out weird shit that’s borderline indescribable. I’ve been to, and seen, all Vegas has to offer. Among our demographic, I’m confident in saying I am your foremost authority on all things Las Vegas.
My first trip to the greatest city on Earth was for my 21st birthday. I arrived to The Venetian at 11:40 p.m., 20 minutes before THE milestone birthday. I stood in the casino, waiting for the time to crawl along. Then, it happened. I made it. I was down $50 by 12:01 a.m. I was hooked.
As a Vegas veteran, I recommend doing the following on your first Vegas trip, which should be a minimum two-night stay, but should not exceed three.
1. Hit on a hooker.
Just hit on her. Don’t proposition or sleep with her. Hit on her as if she wasn’t a hooker, but instead was simply an attractive, single person hanging out in a casino bar all alone at 2 a.m. Act oblivious to the obvious reality that she’s for hire and spit your best game at her. All your jokes will hit and she’ll be into you, you know, because she wants you to offer her money for sexual relations. And if you’re wondering how to spot a prostitute in Vegas, she’s the one sitting in a casino bar all alone at 2 a.m. They. Are. Everywhere.
2. Commandeer a blackjack table.
Some of the best memories I have from Vegas were created while bellied up to a blackjack table. It’s the best place in a casino to get a drink (other than the bar, but those drinks aren’t free) and carry on conversations with your table mates. Get your boys together and hover around a table until all spots open up. If the occupants show no signs of leaving, put the heat on them–invade their space, be loud and obnoxious, act belligerent–do whatever you have to do to get them to stand up and walk away. If the table is occupied by no one but your boys, don’t get out of your chair until you’re too drunk to sit on it, or until you run out of chips or money.
3. Play craps.
I realize the majority of you reading this don’t know how to play the game. Admittedly, the table itself is an intimidating site to take in. There’s a lot going on down there. Take the time to learn the most basic strategies of the game and give it a go. It is, by a mile, the most exhilarating way to wager a bet in Vegas. An underrated aspect of the game is that everyone standing around the table is essentially on the same team (unless you bet with the house, in which case, you’re an asshole). You win together and you lose together. When a craps table is hot, you won’t find a better place to be. High fives and glass clinks all around.
4. Buy the biggest drink you can find and walk The Strip.
Like New Orleans, you can take your alcohol out on the streets of Vegas, and The Strip is likely the premier people-watching locale in the country. There are all sorts of drunk, high, trashy, weird, and attractive people walking up and down Las Vegas Boulevard at night. Shit gets weird, and awesome.
5. Put $100 on black, five different times.
Or red. Either one works. Each color has a 47.4 percent chance of hitting, almost a coin flip. Walk up to the roulette table, throw a $100 chip down on red or black, then, win or lose, walk away. Do this five different times throughout your trip. It’s not a smart way to gamble (at all) but it’s exhilarating. For added thrill, get your friends to do the same. You all will either win or lose together, making it a team win or loss.
6. Hit the pool.
More than any other American city, Las Vegas attracts the best looking women in the country. They all–ALL–bring their bathing suits with them. Go to the pool, get a drink, and take it all in. Shit’s crazy.
Wade waist deep in the pool to hide your boner if you have to.
7. Spend at least two hours in Spearmint Rhino.
If it’s not the greatest titter in the country, then it’s top two, and the one with better talent is filled with Jessica Biel, Nina Agdal, and Rosie Jones clones. I’m not saying you need to go there to get your perv on and drop a grand on lappies. You simply need to see what’s going on inside that place. It’ll blown your mind and make you feel like a virgin again.
On your second trip, make a point to stop by downtown Las Vegas, AKA “Old Vegas.” That’s where it all started. It’s a little run down compared to The Strip, but it’s got a charming appeal that you need to experience.