Vegas Trip, Spring ’08

If it weren’t for the 4 rollover days I carried from last year and must use before April 1st per company policy, this trip never would have happened. I wasn’t exactly in the mood of going on vacation and the choices for destination took us a while to settle on. Some place warm, some place domestic. Florida? been there more than once. New Orleans? read somewhere that safety is now a concern. Police advises tourists to not fight purse snatchers. As soon as we read that it was off the list.

So Vegas it was.



It is a very nice hotel, for sure. The indoor botanical garden (and a butterfly house!) is always attracting tons of tourists, whether they stay at the hotel or not, to take pictures. The famous, signature music fountains in front of the building definitely gives it something that distinguishes from other hotels. We have over the course of our 5 day stays watched the performances at least 4 times, each with a different song.

Garden_tree      Garden_ladybug

(pictures taken in the botanical garden)


Last time we were in Vegas we watched Mystere by Cirque du Soleil, because we couldn’t get any tickets for “O”. So we booked the tickets in advance this time. The show was pretty good. My expectation going in might be a bit too high though, I ended up a little unsatisfied. But the opening was really spectacular and impressive.

The Buffets

We went to the one at Bellagio and the one at Paris. Both were among the best in town. Both had huge lines. You won’t go wrong with either one. The smoked salmon and mushroom salad at Bellagio were so tasty, so were lots of other things in both places.

The Chocolate Fountain

Inside Jean Philipe, a French pastry shop located in Bellagio hotel, there was this “world’s tallest and largest volume chocolate fountain”. The photos were taken using our cellphone camera so the quality was not very good, but you should be able to read the print (click to enlarge) that described this very interesting (and delicious) design.

chocolatefountain1 chocolatefountain2 chocolatefountain_sheet

Coca Cola Tasting

Another thing interesting we discovered was a Coca Cola store near MGM Grand. They sell a $7 tasting set where you get 16 glasses of Coca Cola soda, each a different flavor. The flavors are actual products Coca Cola sells across the world, in 16 different countries. So we paid our 7 bucks and got these two trays of colorful drinks, along with a list of what each drink was and where it’s from.

CocoColaTasting2 CocoColaTasting

That was a real fun way of wasting some time in a nice, sunny day.

(As for the tastes, most of them were just so so, a couple were quite bad, a few, including one called “Smart Apple”, were really good.)


As usual I didn’t win money gambling. I never do at casinos, no matter what I do. Playing live poker games with a table of strangers for the first time was not an enjoyable experience to me. I had trouble keeping track of the pot size (which is important for calculating pot odds when you are facing or making any bets) and got easily distracted by all sorts of things going on at the table and the surroundings, people chattering, overhead announcers etc. The speed of action was faster than I thought too. It was overall kind of chaotic, and very, very different from playing online, where concentration was not an issue.

But that’s not even the biggest problem. Players in a casino are in general much worse than those online, maybe because they are mostly tourists rather than poker fans (you have to be into poker a little bit to seek out an online poker site like PokerStars to sign up account and play there). Some of their plays were so inexplicable it made any assumption you made (and any conclusion you drew) basically useless (and sometimes totally wrong). Common “poker sense” didn’t seem to exist there. It was quite frustrating and turned out to be costly too.

I did have a better time playing at one of the daily poker tournaments at Caesars Palace. I made the final two tables but busted out after making a mistake on one of the hands preflop, because I wasn’t patient enough. But overall I enjoyed the experience. It was my first ever live tournament in my 3 short months of playing poker.


At Bally’s we walked past a standalone, super-sized slot machine (picture above). We put in some bills and instead of pushing the button, took turns pulling on the huge handle on the side to roll it, so it felt more like real gambling. It was fun (and silly :-)).


11 responses to “Vegas Trip, Spring ’08

  1. hehe, sounda like a lot of fun in Vegas!

  2. Okay, the last post was just to capture the first comment. So, it was short. ^_*

    Your experience in Vegas brought back a lot memories for me. I stayed in Vegas for only two days on my way to the Grand Canyon. Looks like I really missed a lot of good stuff.

    The tree with a face seems getting out of The Lord Of Rings 2. I wander how you drink from the Chocolate fountain. Do they have a cup in the bottom holding melted chocolate while they dripped down?

    I am doing my best to guess out what kind of drinks are “Smart Apple” since it claims to be sold in China. Here is all the Coco-Cola products sold in China, Which one looks familiar to you?

    It’s a lot of fun to read your first “real-life” poker experience. I can understand your frustration. However, I wander why playing with people with no previous experience and “no poker sense” is harder than playing with pros. I assume you should be able to win people with little or no experiences. Otherwise, all your learnings are just wasted. Or you haven’t learned enough? Just a though.

    Good to know you guys had a lot of fun in Vegas!

  3. the link you posted doesn’t work… The chocolate fountain is an artistic design, not for you to drink from! (otherwise it’d have been gone long before i got there :))…

    As to poker, maybe i’m not savvy enough, but it is a pretty well known fact that even poker pros don’t always win money from people who don’t know how to play, because lots of decisions you make in poker are based on assumptions/conclusions you draw from your opponents’ play. When your opponent’s play defy common sense, the conclusions you draw are of no value to you.

    I don’t remember seeing Smart Apple in China either… odd

  4. Does that mean there is no value to learn so called “poker skill” or to cultivate “poker sense”? Because, once you learned those, it will be easier for the poker pros to guess your move and to win your money. Then, what’s the point to learn. Better remains naive and a fresh and random mind. That will actually increase your possibility to win in a poker game against pros. ^_*

  5. I really like your travel writing, wb! You bring us right along with you. I’ve been to Vegas a bunch of times, and I felt like I was there again. You found some things I hadn’t experienced, like the botanical garden. I’ll have to check that out. Isn’t the buffet at the Paris phenomenal? I would (almost) go just for that!

  6. thanks for the nice words muse, i am so happy…

  7. did the colas have diff tastes, or did they all taste the same?

  8. they all tasted different, some were bad some were good, more bad than good… :)

  9. Everyone is a pro when it comes to comment veiods of poker on Youtube. Look, cocksucker, this was probably one of the best fold ever (You obviously folds Full Houses everyday huh ?). The guy is a millionnaire, playing at WSOP, but YOU? know better, am I right ?No matter how pro you try to look like with your odds, you still look like an idiot who doesn’t know shit about anything instead.Now, have a good day.

  10. Hello,I wanted to thank you so VERY much for this list of pacels in Vegas for a photoshoot. I come from Oregon and it’s quite beautiful every where you go. Def a difference here with dirt and rock. I was struggling to find a place to bring my own props instead of the same old boring shoots at JCP. We have chosen the Orchid and another friend upon sharing this info has booked the neon for their engagement photos. Thank you!!!

  11. Oh HELL YES! Only in Sin City!! LOL.. I’m attractive and was wordneing if they have the attractive AND generous woman signed up.. straight up.. i want a sugar momma!! i will take care of her, her car, house, and pets too!!!Prostitution..? WHY is it so illegal to sell a service’ that is purrrfectly legal to give away furr free..? If i bought her dinner and she serviced my unit’, fine. if she wasn’t hungy furr the vegetarian plate, illegal for me to tip’ 2 ways.. u go Mr. Wade!!

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