Poker players flock to Las Vegas annually for one main reason: the World Series of Poker (WSOP). Sin City has plenty to do outside of poker, however, and if the grind gets too intense, there’s no shortage of options. Here’s a list of what my friends and I like to do away from the felt.
Golf: Hitting the links is far and away our favorite activity when we’re not playing poker. Las Vegas has a plethora of great, affordable courses and as long as you can handle the heat, there’s no reason not to play two or three times a week. Whether you plan to play on an off day or head out for an impromptu round after busting early, being on the course with friends is a great way to take your mind off of poker for a few hours. Bear’s Best, Sienna, TPC Las Vegas, and Spanish Trails are our top recommendations.
Gambling: As a general rule, we stay away from pit games. However, if we hit the Strip and feel like drinking for free, we’ll casino hop and play blackjack, pai gow, and maybe even roulette if we’re feeling frisky. The trick is to bring an amount of money – usually $100 or $200 – that you plan on losing. If you do lose it, consider it the cost of a good night out with your buddies. If you win, it’s just a bonus.
Good Food: It’s no secret that Las Vegas has great restaurants and there’s nothing quite like a delicious meal enjoyed with friends. Expensive steakhouses are great if you ship a tournament, but for our money, the Grand Lux Café at the Venetian and Fix at the Bellagio are two affordable options with amazing food and fun atmospheres.
Shows: This one works better if you have a girlfriend coming into town for a visit, but I can’t say that four of us didn’t go see LOVE together, because that definitely happened. And you know what? We enjoyed it. Seriously though, I’ve seen LOVE twice and would pay to see it again in a heartbeat. If you’re any kind of Beatles fan, LOVE is a must-see. If not, I’ve seen Le Reve, O, and Ka, which I would recommend in that order.
Fountains of Bellagio: It might seem like an obvious suggestion, but I’m still mesmerized every time I catch the Fountains of Bellagio in action. Every single show is different in some way and, considering how often they go off, that seems amazing. From Monday to Friday, shows run every half hour from 3:00pm to 8:00pm and every 15 minutes from 8:00pm to Midnight. On weekends and holidays, performances are every 30 minutes from Noon to 8:00pm and every 15 minutes from 8:00pm to Midnight.
The above suggestions are just our personal preference when we have some free time. If you plan on taking a longer period of time away from the game, the Hoover Dam and Grand Canyon are spectacular and worth the drive.
Good luck at the tables and don’t forget to have some fun!