Oh, Vegas — where you can roll into the Bellagio, drop some chips on red at the roulette table, and watch the wheel spin, praying to the gambling gods that your cash gets doubled. It's a fun town.
But what if, say, you're a little low on funds but still want to hang out on the casino floor? Not willing to plunk down a few hundred at the blackjack table because you have a sinking feeling you'll soon be broke? Do you have a totally obvious tell at the poker table that lets everyone else clean your clock within minutes?
Here's a little secret: you can spend hours in a casino without actually losing a dollar. And you'll still have the time of your life because there are so many other things to do. Here are a few ways to maximize your time in Vegas without losing your shirt (unless that's like, part of the goal).
It's a well-known fact that if you're sitting at a table trying to outwit the blackjack dealer, a very friendly server will continue to ply you with booze until you fall on the floor. The only problem is, literally no one on earth is a better gambler when drunk. So these free drinks — along with every other element of a casino, really — are just there to make sure you lose more money. All of it, if possible. Well, here's the loophole. If you hang out by the blackjack table and decide not to play, you can still get free drinks. All you have to do is give the impression that you're looking for a spot at the table, or you're just taking a break between games, or you need a breather after a big loss. As long as it appears that you will plop your ten-whiskies-deep self into a chair and give away all your hard-earned cash, the cocktails will keep on coming. Plus, the drinks will loosen you up and make it easier to talk and meet people. Which brings us to…
It doesn't matter if you're in a relationship, engaged, or even married — in Las Vegas, everyone is single to some extent. No one goes on wholesome family trips here. It's a place to escape whatever domestic issues are going on at home and go out to meet people. That group of girls over there, ironically playing the slots and drinking Bellinis? That would be a bachelorette party. And what about those guys downing shots and betting on horses? Yes, that would be a bachelor party. You simply approach the group of your choosing and begin talking to them. There are no illusions about what's going on. Everyone is in Las Vegas for the same reason. Just roll with it.
Let's say you have a pet project you've been working on for some time. A restaurant, say, or maybe a startup. Whatever it is, it's a crackerjack idea, and you know it's going to get you filthy rich one day. The only problem: you don't have a financial backer to get you off the ground.
Well, once you walk into a casino, your backer is somewhere in the room. Think about it: the people who gamble bonkers amounts of cash in Las Vegas clearly have some extra capital to bandy about, and they are clearly not too smart with it. Sidle up to the craps table, and as soon as a guy wins big, take advantage of his good mood by pitching your idea. Obviously, you should build up to the big reveal with some meaningless chitchat, but once you have him, unleash your million-dollar idea: a restaurant that only serves meatloaf, an app that tells you the nearest bathroom in a building, a remake of Dune, whatever. This guy with big pockets will be there to set you up. He's already a gambling man, just tell him the odds of succeeding with your venture are much better than the odds at the craps table. Also, it helps if he's been drinking.
Do as you're told, and you'll leave town with your bank account unaffected. Not to mention, you'll avoid the fate of the guys in Swingers — if you'll recall, they ended their night in a strange trailer outside of town with the sun coming up, talking to random waitresses about their feelings. That won't be you. Vegas, baby, Vegas!
Image by Michael Erazo-Kase