Aria Las Vegas Poker Room Review

Aria Las Vegas Poker Room Review

The Aria is one of Las Vegas’s most breathtaking upscale hotels.  A relatively recent addition to the Vegas landscape (it opened in 2009), it offers a modern and sleek look and endless luxury offerings. The Aria poker room transmits that sense of elegance and provides a top-shelf poker experience.  We have played tournaments at the Aria in both 2016 and 2017.  The Aria certainly did not disappoint, save some minor issues.

Poker Room Setting

The interior of the Aria Las Vegas poker room is striking. Vibrant reds and various shades of brown give the room a deep and rich feel, as do the architecture and drapes that frame the room. The swivel chairs are plush and comfortable, but not too oversized (like we ran into at Playground Poker Club). There is plenty of room between you and your table mates. However, the 24 tables are not housed in a very big space, so there is a somewhat cramped feel to the room overall.  There is much less room to move around compared with The Venetian poker room, for example. Overall, the room is somewhat dark, although the tables were lit sufficiently. As the Aria Las Vegas poker room is also largely open to the casino, noise can be an issue if you are seated at a table near the edge of the space. The biggest drawback, however, is the smoke. Although the poker room is smoke-free, we found more smoke wafting in to the poker room from the Aria casino than we experienced at some of the other elite Vegas rooms.

Read More

The Playground Poker Club is a great cardroom outside of Montreal

Playground Poker Club Room Review

The Playground Poker Club outside of Montreal is a surprising gem. We first visited after seeing some major televised tournaments held there, and expected grand things. While our initial approach to the card room elicited a ‘”this can’t be right” reaction, upon entry all was revealed.

Location and Exterior Setting

The Playground Poker Club is located in Kahnawake, Quebec about a half an hour drive from Montreal. However, the drive can vary substantially – dependent more on construction status than amount of traffic. Returning to Montreal around midnight after one tournament took well over an hour, with bridge repairs narrowing many stretches to one lane. As we discussed in our travel post about Montreal, road conditions are a fearsome obstacle to contend with.  If you’re staying in downtown Montreal, this becomes one of the Playgrounds biggest drawbacks. Taking a shuttle to the Casino de Montreal becomes an attractive alternative in the winter when not feeling adventurous.

Read More

6 Travel Mistakes You Don't Want to Make

6 Travel Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Heather and I generally travel well together. We do our research, weigh our options, and come to decisions that we both feel good about.  On trips we often praise ourselves for the fine job we did planning such a spectacular vacation. (Sadly, that’s true. We actually do.)

But, nobody’s perfect.

We have made our share of travel mistakes. We share them here in the hopes that you can avoid them on your own travels.

1. Traveling North for New Year’s

Our most recent oops. Last month we reviewed our impressions of Montreal. The city certainly has a lot of destination appeal. However, amid a record breaking cold snap this appeal plummets. We thought: how much colder can Montreal be compared to Boston at New Year’s? Answer: Nose snapping instant frostbite colder.

There’s a reason that people in the Northeast go south in the winter. I accept the logic now.

Read More

Chasers Poker Room Review

Chasers Poker Room Review

In the fall of 2017, Chasers entered the competitive Southern New Hampshire poker scene with a bang. Granted a smallish bang, at only 16 poker tables, but the immediate returns have been very good. On any given night Chasers fills a large portion of those tables with active cash games. Although, we don’t play a lot of cash poker, we came away impressed on the Tuesday evening we stopped in to the new venue for a tournament. There was a lot of energy in the room and the cash players were clearly excited about this new Salem, NH poker room.

Setting

Chasers Poker Room occupies the basement of a now defunct Chinese restaurant.  From the outside, the building does not inspire confidence. As you enter, the initial impression is “this is dark.” But the dark feeling quickly yields to a nice homey feel, atypical for your average poker room.  There is a small bar immediately to the right of the door, with seating and a few high top tables. Along the right wall is an attractive brick fireplace which we assume will never be used. In front of this wall are the table games: roulette, blackjack, and a couple of poker variations played against the dealer.

Although the room has a dark feel, the tables are very well lit from above. We had no problems seeing the cards. The chairs are padded and very comfortable, especially in comparison to some of the surrounding New Hampshire rooms. The footprint of the room is not huge, however, so the tables are a bit cramped. Read More

Six Ways to Save Money on Gas

6 Ways to Save Money on Gas

Gas is one of the most unpredictable and challenging budget items to control. We’re all at the mercy of fluctuating world markets. Just when you think you have a handle on your gas expenditures, prices jump 50 cents per gallon and there goes the budget. However, there are definitely ways you can save money on gas. In 2016, our household’s average monthly gas spend for two cars was $218. In 2017 we brought it down 26% to $162 a month, despite an increase of average gas prices from $2.18 in 2016 to $2.45 last year. If prices had remained at 2016 levels our raw gains would have been more like 32%. As it was, we saved close to $700 on gas in 2017.

How did we do it? Well, buying a more efficient car was clearly the key. However, we also used a number of other strategies that really solidified our savings: Read More