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Best of Dan Ippolito

Gaming Guru

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Top 10 new Las Vegas experiences on my trip itinerary

1 March 2021

In May, I hope to head out west to Las Vegas with a few friends. The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted our plans to visit Sin City a couple different times last year, as we wanted make sure it was safe to get out there and fully enjoy ourselves.

With COVID-19 cases on the decline in Nevada, I am very excited that the trip is back on. This will be my second trip to Vegas and with casinos planning to move to 50% capacity on 15 March, we are hoping by the time we land in May, the city will be back to some sense of normalcy.

If the trip comes to fruition, here are some Las Vegas experiences I’m looking forward to seeing and doing during my stay.

10. Beer Park
One of the things I did on my last trip was find any place with a good beer selection to watch a game. Of course, there are too many places to count on the Strip that offers just that.

However, Beer Park differentiates itself from the others with the open-air section, paired with yard games and great views of the Strip below.

It is hard to pass by a place that allows me to play some Cornhole or Jenga and take a break and enjoy a good beer, accompanied by some wings, not to mention the TVs throughout the venue, so I can hopefully watch one of my bets cash.

While I wasn’t able to get to Beer Park on my first trip, this will definitely be on the agenda the second time around.

9. Montecristo Cigar Bar
Don’t worry, the entire list isn’t just filled with places to have a drink and watch a game. But to get one more in here, Montecristo Cigar Bar has a different feel for me enjoying a sports game.
Beer Park will be for a nice afternoon when the energy is much higher, enjoying the yard games and such.

Located in Caesars Palace, Montecristo Cigar Bar has a more relaxed mentality where I can pair a nice cigar with a classic glass of scotch, my personal preference is Macallan 12 year.

This could be a place where I stop by with my group after dinner to enjoy a nice drink and, if all continues to go well, see another one of my bets win on the TVs inside Montecristo.

I have been to a Las Vegas Strip cigar bar before. I went to Rhumbar at The Mirage two years ago and this time around, Casino City’s Gary Trask recommended I take a look at Montecristo.

8. Topgolf
Even on the first day of March and still a little bit of snow on the ground here in Massachusetts, I am already itching to get back onto a tee box to play a round of golf. While a round of golf isn’t on our agenda for this trip, there will be some golf activity taking place.

We plan to head over to Topgolf, located behind MGM Grand Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, and rent a bay for a couple of hours, hit a bunch of balls, enjoy a few appetizers along the way, and maybe even take a dip in the pool located on the side opposite of the hitting bays.

On top of my love for playing golf and the great things I have heard about Topgolf, I’ll take any chance I can get to work out fixing the slice in my swing to maybe shave some strokes off my scorecard in the upcoming golf season.

7. Fremont Street
Walking around and exploring as much as I can is going to be a big part of my trip to Sin City in May. I want to be able to see everything, while that may be impossible to do in one trip, one place to try and go to in order to witness a bunch of different types of things is Fremont Street.

If you want to gamble there are a number of casinos ready for you to sit at a table, including The D Las Vegas, Fremont Hotel & Casino and Circa Resort & Casino, but I will get into the details of Circa shortly.

While there is no live entertainment currently happening at Fremont Street, there is the Viva Vision light shows that can be enjoyed every hour after 6 p.m.

On the opposite side of the Fremont Street Experience is The Container Park. This area is also filled with shops, food stops and more. There is everything you need in this area. You could even stop in and get a quick haircut at Pulpit Barbershop to get your hair ready for a night out.

6. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas
Located off-Strip, on the land of the former Hard Rock Hotel & Casino, Virgin Hotels Las Vegas will be nearing its second full month when I am in Vegas.

The resort is officially opening up on 25 March and will feature 1,500 chambers with the 60,000 square-foot casino.

It will be a great opportunity to be able to head off-Strip for a little and also check out a new resort that not many will have had the chance to experience yet.

In addition to the casino for us to enjoy, there will also be a live music and entertainment theater with 4,500 capacity, a portfolio of 12 food and beverage venues, and a five-acre pool oasis.

5. Harrah’s new virtual craps game
During my first trip to Las Vegas back in 2019, most of my time at the tables were spent playing blackjack and hopping in a Texas Hold’em tournament. I was never drawn toward the craps tables before, but the more I learned about it and saw the excitement from everyone at the tables, the more it intrigued me.

This time around, I will definitely be taking part in the fun surrounding the craps tables and hope to walk away with more than I walk in with. Leaving Las Vegas with more than you went with no matter the amount is always a win.

That being said, my new desire to play some craps is accompanied by a new type of craps on the Strip. Harrah's Las Vegas Casino & Hotel introduced Roll to Win Craps back in February.

This hybrid table game allows players to shoot live dice across a large LED playing field and place all their bets electronically. Individual player stations accept cash and provide tickets, so no physical chips are needed for play. Players can place bets privately on their screen, and then see their virtual chips displayed on the main playing field.

It will be something worth trying and seeing how it works and then comparing it to a live table.

4. Westgate SuperBook
The Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino SuperBook was near the top of my list of things to go see the first time I was in Vegas, but I simply did not have enough time to do and see everything I had hoped. This time, this will be a must for me as I have heard it is one of, if not the best sportsbook to go and watch a game at.

The SuperBook features 4,488 square-feet of HD screens for fans to watch the games, which hopefully my Boston Celtics will have a game one of those days for me to see them take home a victory.

With COVID-19 still playing a major factor, the SuperBook, along with every other resort venue, is not running at full capacity. However, when it does, it has 1,500 seats alongside its satellite betting stations.

Now, I may not be able to witness what the SuperBook looks like when it is jam packed, it will still be a stop on my list to see what the book has to offer.

3. High Roller at The LINQ
For the most part, I have a fear of heights, but there are a few things I will make exceptions for and face my fear. Being in an enclosed area is one pro to the High Roller at The LINQ Hotel + Experience, but the main reason I will be hitting this giant Ferris wheel is the view of the Strip it offers.

My first trip I really enjoyed walking around the Strip at night, not to mention it’s significantly cooler at night and bearable to walk around in. But, High Roller gives guests a chance to take a look from above it all and look down on an extremely active site.

The attraction goes up to 550 feet high and is $25 a ticket during the day. However, my plan is to spend the extra $12 for a night ticket. I have heard landing in Las Vegas at night is cool to see the Strip from the window of your plane. While I am not doing that, 550 feet in the air at night to see The Strip will be close enough for me.

I have been on the London Eye so my hope is that this will be a similar experience. Sure, the nerves will be running high when I am waiting to get on, but I am sure once I am airborne taking in the sites of the city those will disappear.

2. Bellagio
On my trip in 2019, I stayed at The Mirage, which was a fine experience. This time around, I will be overlooking the iconic dancing water fountains while staying in a Fountain View room at Bellagio.

I’m sure you’ve seen it in movies, but they do not serve the Bellagio Fountains justice. Seeing the 15-minute show in person was better than I had originally expected. Now, I will be able to simply open my shades to catch the show.

While that is located right at the front of the property, most mornings I will most likely be on the other side enjoying myself at one of the five pools at the property that are ready to go for the upcoming season.

There is plenty to do at this resort and plenty of room to gamble. Bellagio contains over 100,000 square-feet of gaming space, featuring 2,400 slot machines, a racebook, a sportsbook and a poker room. In the gaming space, there are 15 different types of table games to pick from.

And if there is a game going on at the glassed-in poker room, Bobby’s Room, I may try to catch a little peak at who’s at the big-stakes games.

Can’t forget to eat and splurge a little on a trip to Las Vegas. I am a big fillet guy and once I saw the reviews and photos of Prime Steakhouse inside the Bellagio I was sold on making a reservation there to enjoy a nice eight-ounce fillet at medium-rare.

1. Circa Resort & Casino
Lastly, I have been looking forward to this one more than anything. Circa Resort & Casino opened earlier than expected on 28 October. Since then, I have been waiting to be able to step foot in Stadium Swim.

This outdoor area overlooks Downtown Las Vegas and there is a backlit roofline, a massive 135-by-41-foot, 14 million-megapixel LED screen, a DJ booth, two swim-up bars, 30 cabanas, 340 chaise lounges, 38 day beds and two spas. What more do you need?

Don’t even get me started on the new sportsbook. The three-story, stadium-style book that sits 1,000 sports bettors is the “biggest screen in sportsbook history,” at 78 million high-def pixels. I will have to turn my head just to follow a shot in basketball on that screen. I’ll have to have a wager in play when I am there to watch the game on 78 million pixels.

As if all this wasn’t enough, right? The new resort is home to 777 rooms and a two-story casino.
Dan Ippolito

As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.
Dan Ippolito
As Casino City's associate editor, Dan produces and edits all of our weekly newsletters, and writes about the gaming industry for our websites and the GPWA Times Magazine. Dan graduated from Marist College in 2017 with a degree in Communications and a concentration in Sports. Email him at daniel@casinocity.com, or follow him at @casinocity_dan on Twitter.