Las Vegas

6 Reasons to Visit Las Vegas Even if You Don’t Gamble

Las Vegas is an amazing city. Yes, it’s a mecca for gamblers. And if you play poker like we do, Las Vegas is a must-visit vacation destination. But Las Vegas is also a wonderful place to visit even if you never intend to drop so much as a penny into an airport slot machine. The city and its surrounding area offer everything a traveler could want.

Las Vegas

The Food

Las Vegas has incredible restaurants. The city has everything from top of the line eateries with menus planned by celebrity chefs to some of the best tacos you’ve ever bought in a parking lot. Food is one of the many areas where Las Vegas offers a little something for everyone. We’ve only visited Las Vegas four times (but we will be back!), so we have many meals yet to eat. In the meantime, here are some of our favorites:

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Turning Stone Casino Poker Room

Turning Stone Casino Poker Room Review

The Turning Stone Resort Casino in Verona, New York sits about halfway between Albany and Buffalo. While Turning Stone is in a less populated section of New York, the convenience of being right off I-90 makes it very accessible. Accessible is a good word to describe Turning Stone in general. This is a full service casino with many dining options, a full suite of slots and table games, and several hotels/inns.  Turning Stone’s moderate size and brighter than normal casino atmosphere give it a very welcoming vibe.

That vibe continues in the poker room. An airy room with comfortable chairs and exceptional dealers, Turning Stone’s poker room quickly vaulted to the top of our list.

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Rivers Casino Poker Room

The Rivers Casino Poker Room Review

The Rivers Casino and Resort sits, appropriately enough, on the banks of the Mohawk River in Schenectady New York.  The Rivers is a rarity among casinos, one that did not allow dreams to overwhelm practicality. It is a small casino encompassing all of the key features of a bigger casino: a hotel, several decent dining options, and all the slots, table games, and poker options that one could want. It is also a relative newcomer to the scene, opening in early 2017. We found The Rivers Casino Poker Room to be an excellent addition to the poker options in the Northeast.

On this trip, we stayed a couple of nights in Schenectady at a hotel about a mile from the casino. We did not spend much time exploring Schenectady, but enjoyed a nice lunch at a small restaurant called Bel Cibo. There were a lot of closed storefronts downtown and many buildings in need of significant renovation, but there were signs, including The Rivers, that Schenectady is a city making efforts to return from tough economic times.

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Why We Play Poker

5 Reasons Why We Play Poker

Poker lore is full of unsavory degenerates. Images abound of those who play poker gambling away their rent money or cheating to win. Poker venues are imagined as mafia-backed casinos and smoke filled basements hosting illegal games. Check out the best poker movies and you’ll find plenty of shady characters and less-than-noble behaviors.

This, however, is not the poker world we have come to know and love.

Poker is a pastime for a wide variety of people. It’s an avocation, a hobby, that engages people in a mental and social activity, much like bridge or golf. There are definitely potential downsides to playing poker, but anyone can pursue poker as part of a healthy lifestyle if they attend to these pitfalls.

Play Poker as a Friendly Competition

The typical poker venue, like our go-to local room Hampton Falls in New Hampshire, has a feel of competitive camaraderie. Everyone is trying their best to play poker well and to win. Ninety-five percent of players are gracious and understand both the skill and luck aspects of the game. There is an overriding atmosphere of “we’ve come together to share this activity we all love”. There’s a real feeling of being an insider in a world that those who don’t play can never understand.

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How To Save Money By Planning to Leave Home

As our Poker Pilgrimage draws closer we’re finding that the mere plan to leave our home in four years is saving money today. We save money in a variety of ways that are all related to this long-term goal. When we devised our country-wide travel plan, we considered how much money we would need to save for it. We thought of the costs of travel and of working less than full-time. And of course, for us, the costs of playing poker.

What we didn’t realize was that we would save money in the years leading up to our journey. Just knowing that we’re planning to leave our home has saved us from buying things that we would otherwise “need”. Along the same lines, we’re no longer planning home improvement projects (remodeling, redecorating, gardening), as we know that we’re a few short years from handing our home over to another family who will have their own tastes and interests. It has also inspired us to sell some of our things rather than paying to store them while we travel. As we near our departure date, we’ll ultimately be selling, donating, and recycling most of our stuff, including our house.

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