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The Outsiders' Guide to Las Vegas Kindle Edition
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Perhaps unintentionally, but with great honesty, his book reveals that resort-clogged Strip is a bit played out at this time. Every casino, in their rush to outdo each other, is losing the ground by which they differentiate themselves and attract a neat or distinct crowd. Downtown, in turn, has made a point of attracting particular crowds, but unfortunately, can't seem to compete with the amenities of the big casinos yet. Perhaps they won't try, preferring instead to decide for themselves what Downtown Vegas Gambling is going to look like. That said this book really has encouraged me to rethink my stance on several Strip Casinos and check them out with new eyes.
While I do think that there are a lot of ways to do Vegas 'right', and you have to figure out what works for you, Tim Dressen's approach (most bang for TIME, not buck) seems like it would be easy to adapt into other traveling styles. His version (the "jackpot" section of reviews) of what is great might just be the information you need to know to run away from a casino, event or show. Likewise, his "tilt" section might be full of goodies that make you want to try something. So take his version of good and bad with a grain of salt.
If you are going to make gambling the focus of your Vegas trip, you'll need an entirely different guidebook. His gambling section is more about ambiance, free drinks and overall enjoyment of the casino -- all very valid concerns, but not the concerns the consummate gambler would have.
I'll be honest: even as a longtime listener to the podcast, (yes, there's a podcast), I wasn't sure how this book would be. I've visited Las Vegas 30+ times, and I spend a lot of time before trips reading message boards and blogs to get the latest news on Las Vegas. I didn't think there was much Tim could add to the conversation that I wouldn't already know. I was very wrong.
First, this book has lots of good details about properties that you may not know. It is chock full of helpful hints to plan your trip, and then to throw out all of those plans and enjoy what comes. Dressen truly has a great handle on what is happening in Sin City. (and yes, I hate myself for calling it that)
Second, as I mentioned before, I've listened to the podcast for years now. (Five Hundy by Midnight - comes out on Sundays, and includes Tim's lovely wife Michele, along with - if you're lucky - dogs barking in the background. How can you not like a podcast that talks about Vegas and includes puppies?) I've tweeted to Tim a time or two, and sent an email earlier this year to him about how much I appreciate their work. He is a genuinely funny, nice human being. (at least, I think he is. He could fling pennies at pigeons, for all I know. Regardless, he doesn't fling pennies at me, so he's a good guy in my book.)
Third, and most importantly, this book is funny. Like laugh-out-loud funny, until tears are streaming down my face. It's been a very long time since I read something this witty, and it makes me wish the author would write more - he's got a great talent.
I'm only halfway through the book right now, but I plan to read it again later this year as I prepare for my next Vegas-y adventure.
I can't say enough wonderful things about this book and its author. Buy it now. Thank me later.