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December 5, 2011 9:05 PM   Subscribe

Help me gamble and eat during a six-hour Vegas layover.

Thanks to a slightly odd upcoming trip, I will have a six-hour layover in Las Vegas with no luggage (I might carry an iPad or a book for the plane). I will be there on a weekday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Ideally, I'd like to take a cab to a casino, play relatively low-stakes no-limit Hold 'em for a few hours, get lunch someplace good, though not necessarily expensive (preferably nearby), and then return to the airport with an hour or two to spare.

Can you help me execute this plan? Where should I gamble? Where should I eat? Is a taxi the best form of transportation?

[I've seen this post and this post (and everything else under the "vegas" and "lasvegas" tags).]
posted by willbaude to Travel & Transportation around Las Vegas, NV (8 answers total)
Getting on to the strip is a piece of cake. There are a ton of shuttles and taxis - all reasonably priced. I think you could get a round trip shuttle for $12. Since you only have a few hours I suggest going to the Manadalay Bay which is very close to the airport - though really it is all much of a muchness. The Mandalay Bay is clean and not smokey. It has the advantage of a number of good restaurants right there too. You may like Red Square or Verrandah which is next door at the 4 Seasons. If you are just wanting a buffet the one at Mandalay Bay is not bad.

If you want to go more central I think Caesar's Palace has a nice casino with nice bathrooms. Cheesecake Factory would be an easy place to grab something quick.

The Venetian would give you the chance to take in the interesting gondolas, lovely painted ceilings and huge casino. There are a few great Italian restaurants that are reasonably priced there too.

The airport is yucky but you don't actually have to leave the airport if you just want to pull a slot machines - boring.

Don't go to Luxor, Flamingo, Tropicana.
posted by YukonQuirm at 9:17 PM on December 5, 2011

I'm guessing Mandaly Bay will _not_ have low-roller tables for Hold 'Em.

Look here.
posted by bardic at 9:22 PM on December 5, 2011

Cab is fine; shuttles are going to eat up considerable time. There should be relatively short cab lines at that time on a weekday.

Casino preference is sort of individual. Mandalay Bay is okay and has the advantage of proximity to the airport; however, I've never seen the low limit tables you're describing. MGM and New York, New York are also really close. The ugly ol' Tropicana has the best shot of having low stakes tables and being super close. I'd probably get dropped off at MGM and look for low tables. If you don't see any, then use the pedestrian bridge to go to the Tropicana.

The security lines at LAS are highly variable. On your way out ask the TSA people if it's going to be a busy day.
posted by 26.2 at 9:27 PM on December 5, 2011

Best answer: If you want to play low stakes No-Limit Hold 'em, go to the Venetian. The last time I was in Vegas (a year and a half ago) I sampled a number of poker rooms, and hands down the Venetian was the best in terms of number of tables and types of games/stakes available.

The Bellagio would be my second choice, but I consider it a distant second to the Venetian - only go to the Bellagio if you are into poker celebrities and want a chance to bump into one during the few hours that you play. I personally found their room to be cramped, unfriendly, and much more oriented to high-stakes action.

I would not recommend the Mandalay Bay for poker. I stayed there during my trip and although the hotel itself was incredible, the poker room was really a shadow of what you might find elsewhere. There were only a few tables running and most of them were fixed-limit. Also, Mandalay Bay is located way at one end of the Strip, which will limit your options if you want to leave the poker room behind and see a few other sights.

I haven't been to Vegas since the Aria opened, so I can't really talk about it, but I hear they invested a lot into their poker room as well.

Seriously, though, go to the Venetian for poker - you won't be disappointed.
posted by sherlockt at 9:36 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I don't play poker but I have a friend who does and the action seems to keep moving around every time we're in Vegas. The Venetian seems like a good place to start, though. If you go there Bouchon is an excellent place for lunch. It's not cheap, but it's very good French bistro and not terribly fussy / complicated.
posted by Nelson at 6:57 AM on December 6, 2011

I wouldn't go to Caesar's; it's too easy to get lost in there. Aria is close to Mandalay Bay, has a nice smoke free poker room with games with low blinds and I found the cab line moved very quickly mid-afternoon. There are several good places to eat in there as well; I regularly dream about the creme brulee with ginger ice cream at Julian Serrano (tapas place). Lemongrass and Sage are both good as well.
posted by Dr. Zira at 11:37 AM on December 6, 2011

Best answer: Venetian for 1/2 NLHE or Aria for 1/3. Great rooms and both properties have very good food options.
posted by pointystick at 1:11 PM on December 6, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks to everybody for their suggestions. I ended up going to the Venetian, where there were at least two tables of NLHE going when I arrived at 9:30 a.m., and got a seat at a 1/2 table after waiting for less than 5 minutes. The play was solid, most of the players were friendly, and the dealers were pretty good too.

For lunch, I went to Bouchon, which was wretched and overpriced.
posted by willbaude at 7:04 PM on December 28, 2011

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