Gun ranges, racing Lamborghinis, and ziplining at 80 miles an hour - it sounds like the ultimate adrenaline-fueled weekend, but what if you combined it with pool parties and poker? Could it be the best ever weekend in Vegas? From party hosts to poker deals, we got the lowdown on Sin City’s hidden gems so you can hit the ground running.
JAMES DAVIS has lived in Las Vegas for 15 years. He performs every night on the Strip in the Chippendales show at the Rio. Here’s where he goes when he wants to get off the beaten track:
Lake Mead: Rent jet skis and a party boat and have a blast on the lake. There are house boats on two levels with water slides going down the side. They have huge barbecues and flat screen TVs. It’s reasonable to rent and only 45 minutes from the Strip.
Mount Charleston: Drive through the desert until you get to a forest reminiscent of a Lord of the Rings set. There’s hiking up there, and it’s only 40 minutes from the Strip. If you want to party, there’s a place called The Lodge, where the food is great. Try out the Girl Scout Cookie and the Kyle Canyon Coffee.
Red Rock Canyon: 25 minutes from the Strip you will find bright red rock formations that look like the surface of Mars. And you don’t even have to get out of your car - take the scenic route for a 360-degree experience.
Bootleg Canyon: Stop here for ziplining on the way to Lake Mead. Ziplines are usually 30 miles an hour, but this one clocks in at a whopping 80.
ERIC ELLER is a poker dealer for the World Series of Poker, the most prestigious event in the poker calendar. Eller’s etiquette guide for the poker table:
Stick to your budget: Even if you’re great at the game, there’s still a chance you could lose - so don’t buy in for your whole life savings.
Hold it together: You might be angry if you’re losing, but don’t throw your cards across the table. Every time they land on the floor, the deck has to be checked, so you’re wasting everyone’s time.
Pay attention: It’s ok to check your phone, but make sure you know when the action’s on you. Don’t keep people waiting – if you slow down the game, you cost everyone money.
Don’t milk your moment: If someone goes all in and you want to think about calling, that’s ok. But if the bet is $2, you shouldn’t need more than a minute. Don’t try to act like you’re on television.
Don’t be an asshole: When you win a hand, tip at least $1. If you lose, don’t make a big deal about it. If you’re screaming at the dealer, you have problems.
Cash out: If you want to win, you have to cash out. If you stay at the table, there’s no way you can win.
ANDREW GNATOVICH has been driving a Las Vegas cab for 11 years. He’s the man behind the Cabbie Chronicles blog and he’s currently writing a book about his experiences. Here’s how to get around Vegas:
Don’t be fooled into getting a limousine: Hotel doormen will lie about the cost of cab fares, to trick you into upgrading to a limo. They’ll say: “A cab’s going to be $50 and for $55 you could get a limo” – when the cab would only be $15! The limo drivers tip the doormen to send customers their way.
Don’t try to run off without paying: If there’s a reason you can’t pay your fare, tell the driver up front and they might help you out. But if you try to defraud us, we’ll keep your belongings as collateral – think about this if you have luggage in the trunk. If we’ve taken you to the airport, you’ll miss your flight as we’ll tell security and you won’t be allowed through.
If you lose your wallet, call the cab firm: In Vegas, drivers are phenomenal about returning lost items. We’re required by law to inspect the cab and hand in lost items. 99.9% of the time, every lost cell phone, wallet and computer is turned in – you’d be surprised.
LANCE SHERMAN is a VIP Party Host and founder of concierge service Let Loose Vegas. His celebrity clientele includes A-list actors, athletes and poker pros. Here’s his advice:
Plan ahead: There’s room for spontaneity, but to make the most of Vegas, map out an itinerary. I recommend one major day club, bottle service at a major nightclub, one night of club hopping, and a gentlemen’s club or activity tour. You can go to a gun range or exotic race car driving and race Ferraris and Lamborghinis.
Book a cabana: If you’re a group of guys at a pool party, get a cabana - it’s like prime real estate. Cabanas can have their own fan, refrigerator, and private restroom. Most importantly, they have shade – and the ladies like to get out of the hot sun.
Collect the cash first: Someone will blow their budget on blackjack and someone will bail before the bill arrives – so collect everyone’s cash as soon as the plane lands in Vegas. Hand it to the most trustworthy guy in the group – or hire a VIP host to pre-pay everything.
More from the writer, Samantha Rea