Cruising sunset

Throwdown Thursday: Trivial Thoughts on Cruising

Heather’s mother recently treated us, along with Heather’s kids and brother, to a mid-summer cruising vacation. Originally, the main event was to be a two day stay in Havana, but a Presidential edict quashed that plan. Thus, our family Cuba excursion morphed into a day in Key West, a day at sea, and a day in Nassau, Bahamas.  This was Paul’s second cruising vacation, while Heather is a relative long-term cruise veteran with a whopping four cruises under her life jacket.

We are now back from our cruise and have some thoughts:

Heather:  Oh, thankfully that is over. I’m ready for a full human being detox. Jeezus, but those cruise lines can pack them in.

Paul:  Eh, we were waited on hand-and-foot and never had to wash a dish for 5 days. I’ll take a few crowded elevators and faux Las Vegas shows in order not to touch a sponge for a week.

Heather:  I think I’d rather wash dishes. But then, you tolerate people better than I do.

I also walked off that ship feeling like a goose that had been prepared for the slaughter. I think I gained five pounds in five days.

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Rio Poker Room Review

This summer, when playing in a World Series of Poker Daily Deepstack event, we got a chance to experience the Rio poker room. While the WSOP is certainly not the time to get a perfect read on the day-to-day operations of the Rio poker room, it did give us some sense of the atmosphere. To round out our review, we did a bit of research to determine the flow of cash and tournament action.

Casino Setting 

The Rio is about a mile west of the Strip on Flamingo Road.  It is part of a small constellation of casinos in the immediate area. The Flamingo is slightly west of the Rio, as is the Palms. The Gold Coast lies right across South Valley View Boulevard. So there are a couple of options within easy walking distance if you want to check out other casinos. The Strip is also theoretically walkable in 20-25 minutes, but beware, it’s a lot longer than it looks.

Parking is free at the Rio. A garage and multiple outdoor lots lie around back near the Conference Center (where most of the WSOP events are held).

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Planet Hollywood Las Vegas

Planet Hollywood Poker Room Review

Planet Hollywood sits on the Las Vegas Strip surrounded by a variety of notable poker venues. To the north on the East side lies the Venetian, while to the north on the West side is Caesars Palace. Across the street are the Bellagio and Aria. Planet Hollywood is right in the midst of the Strip action. In June we got a chance to drop in for the Goliath poker series Tag Team Switch tournament. While we did not have the full Planet Hollywood poker room experience, we were able to assess the casino overall.

Casino Setting 

Planet Hollywood sits on the strip right next to Paris and across from the Aria. It is  relatively close to McCarran airport as well. Planet Hollywood initially opened as the Aladdin, and fully renovated in 2000. But when the Aladdin fell on hard times in 2007, it was purchased by the Planet Hollywood Corporation (in conjunction with Starwood Hotels & Resorts) and renamed Planet Hollywood. Today the Planet Hollywood casino is one of the many Las Vegas properties (including the Rio, the Linq, The Flamingo, and Paris) owned by Caesar’s Entertainment Corporation.

Planet Hollywood’s central location is ideal as a base to walk to most of the other Strip casinos. Walk north and in about 20-30 minutes you can reach the top of the Strip (Wynn, Palazzo, and Venetian). Go south and you can reach the Luxor and Mandalay Bay.  Also, as of this writing, Planet Hollywood’s self-parking remains blessedly free. Free parking is a dying breed on the Strip.

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Steps to World Series of Poker

Why We Love Attending the World Series of Poker

For the past three years, Paul and I have been lucky enough to attend the World Series of Poker. We, of course, haven’t been able to be there for the entire (almost two month) extravaganza. But in the past few years we’ve attended the WSOP for a few days, topping out at a whole week in 2019. As a poker player, there is nothing like visiting Vegas during the WSOP. It is, to steal our own words, the pilgrimage all poker players should make at least once in their lives.

Why We Love Attending the World Series of Poker

The Excitement 

The energy level at the Rio during the World Series of Poker (WSOP) is off the charts. There is at least one bracelet event every day and multiple other events (daily deepstacks, satellites, cash games) that keep the Rio’s extensive convention center humming. On opening days of large events (e.g., Big 50, Colossus or Main Event) tournament tables spill into the Rio’s poker room, hallways, and even the old bowling alley! There is generally a final table being recorded for ESPN or PokerGo in the Amazon Room. Anyone can grab a seat and sweat the action, and possibly end up on TV!

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