- Factoid: Dealers in Las Vegas make about $100 a day in tokes (tips) ...more than their salary. The day's total tokes are usually divided up between all dealers and doesn't go to the dealer you tipped. (Exception: Poker dealers generally keep their own tips.)
- Factoid: Many dealers are temporary workers. And some full time dealers deal as temporaries on their day off.
1.5 The geography of Las Vegas
The Las Vegas entertainment area actually consists of Downtown Las Vegas, The Strip and other hotel-casinos off the strip ...some well off the Strip. It really can’t all be covered in a 4-night stay, so we will be concentrating on the main attractions on and near The Strip.
To introduce newcomers to Las Vegas we have divided The Strip into 3 different areas: (1.) The South Strip, (2.) Mid-strip and (3.) the North Strip/Downtown. In Chapter 9 we suggest a separate day to investigate each area. (See Chapter Chapter 9.)
The Strip extends from the Stratosphere Hotel on the north to the Mandalay Bay on the south, a distance of nearly four miles.
Downtown Las Vegas is located about a mile north of the Stratosphere ...easily reachable using the strip bus.
For the most part, the hotels in the North Strip and downtown are older properties ...thirty or more years old.The newer hotels - those built in the last decade – are primarily located in the "Mid" and South Strip ...a three mile stretch of Las Vegas Boulevard extending from the Venetian Hotel, south to the Mandalay Bay Resort.
There are exceptions. Some of the properties in the mid and south strip have been around for several decades. Among them are Caesar’s Palace, Flamingo, Imperial Palace and the Tropicana.
The Stratosphere (at the far north end of the strip) was completely remodeled (actually rebuilt) in the mid 1990's. It was called the Vegas World until 1995. Its observation tower (at 1,150 feet) is the tallest free-standing observation tower in the country and the tallest structure west of the Mississippi.
As a general rule, the hotels on the North Strip and downtown are cheaper ...that is, the rooms cost less (...a lot less!) They have not been kept up as well and the surrounding area is not as nice. Some of it, franky, looks sleazy.
The new Wynn/Encore Las Vegas hotel-casino complex is technically on the North Strip, but it is right next to the Venetian which is "mid-strip." The Wynn/Encore is one of the most luxurious properties on the strip.
My advice to first time newcomers to Las Vegas is to stay in one of the nicer mid-strip hotels. You will be right in the middle of all the activity and within easy traveling (frequently walking) distance to the attractions and nightlife.
These properties include the (top quality) Bellagio, Venetian, and Caesars Palace, (better quality) Paris, Mirage, Planet Hollywood and (acceptable quality) Bally’s, Flamingo and Harrahs. That gives you nine hotels to chose from. There are also two brand new top quality hotels in City Center (Aria and the Cosmopolitan) that you might want to consider.
I don’t recommend hotel’s on the North Strip or Downtown due to their distance from all the action. And many are dingy, in poor areas and aging badly. On your next trip to Las Vegas, I would stay on the South Strip. The best hotels there are the Mandalay Bay, MGM Grand and New York-New York. The Luxor and Monte Carlo are also nice.
Three very nice hotels that are off the beaten path are the Hard Rock, Rio and Palms. But they are "off strip" - away from all the action which presents a logistics problem getting to them. You should visit them, however, if you can squeeze them into your schedule. The Hard Rock and Palms are "party" oriented and attract a younger crowd.
NEXT PAGE: 1.6 LEAVE THE KIDS AT HOME! ⇨