Some people automatically associate Las Vegas with mobsters, wild parties, crazy gambling and going broke.  Well, yes, that all can and does happen.  But the Las Vegas that I know and love is full of hiking and exploring almost every known indulgence of any kind, all the while nestled in this bizarrely bonded community that somehow becomes like family.  I believe the world got to see how close Las Vegans are when the October incident happened last year and then immediately following that we had the most exciting inaugural hockey season ever!  I’ve never witnessed such comradery in my life.

There are so many hidden gems in Las Vegas.  If you are staying on the strip and need a good budget meal, I strongly suggest, Batistas Hole in The Wall on Linq Lane.  The meals are average prices and it comes with unlimited free wine and then coffee and desert afterwards.  There are two places I recommend for an amazing sunset dining experience.  The first is Panevino on sunset, across from McCarran airport.  The second is called Top of the World, at the top of the Stratosphere Tower.  Both will give you breathtaking views of the strip from two completely different perspectives.

If you like to hike, there are many options.  My favorite is the Calico Basin at Red Rock Canyon National Conservation area.  The views are stunning from the top of the mountain.  There are several different hikes in this area.  There are also a few different hikes along and near Lake Mead National Recreation Area, which is located at the other end of Vegas.

Now, besides the NFR (which is the National Finals Rodeo and held annually in Las Vegas and hopefully always will be), my favorite time of year in Vegas is during the World Series of Poker.  Nearly all the casinos in Vegas participate in different poker events during this busy and exciting time.  I love all the questions I get asked when people find out I play during the WSOP.  No, not all tournaments are $10,000.00 to buy in.  There are many daily tournaments as well as the renowned scheduled bracelet and ring events.  The largest event is the main event and this year there were 7,874 entrants and the victor was 33 year old, John Cynn from the US who won $8.8 million.  I played in some ladies events this year and was pleasantly surprised at how amazing some of these ladies are both in skill and as individuals.  My prior experience with ladies was not so great and in fact, quite discouraging.  Women have come a long way in this dominantly male environment.  Ladies, just for laughs you should go see the men’s restroom line ups compared to the ladies no line up during breaks lol.  It is a definite a site to see.

This year I also branched out to other casino events to see what they had to offer.  I got to tell you that I truly love the deepstack Venetian structures.  You get a lot of starting chips and usually 30 – 60 minute levels.  For an amateur/trying to go pro individual like myself, these structures are perfect and oddly enough where I placed my best winnings this year.  I intend to play a whole lot more of these next year.

Poker legend, Doyle Brunson, also known as Texas Dolly, retired and played his last main event this year.   He is a two-time World Series of Poker Main Event Champion, a Poker Hall of Fame inductee, and the author of several books on poker.  He is “The Grandfather” of poker and will be greatly missed among everyone.  He received a standing ovation when he busted out of the main event for the last time.

There’s quite a bit of fascinating history in Las Vegas.  I think of it as an adult playground and everyone’s capable of holding the key to pandora’s box.  You have the capability of opening it and relishing within it’s splendor or keeping the contents under wraps.  The choice is really up to you.

By Kelly Vohnn

 

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