Jun 29
by Don

Seeing how this last trip was for the WSOP, we found ourselves at the Rio quite a bit.  So naturally we went to the World Carnival Buffet once during our stay.  We had been to this buffet years ago, and the new look renovation is nice considering how the place looked before.


This is a pretty large buffet with just a ton of stuff to choose from.  The quality is fairly good, although there is no truly great or exotic item like you will find at say the Bellagio’s buffet.  Everything is what you know and is tasty.


I have seen other people’s review of the place and they are right about the “cafeteria” feel.  The plastic cups take me back to middle school, but it is a buffet so I really don’t think that it matters all too much.


The service was fine and we didn’t wait long to get seated because we had come a little before 11 am.  I would actually recommend this because you will get the best of breakfast and the first choice of the lunch items, all cooked fresh.  They have a nice salad bar, cooked-to-order stir-fries, a Mexican taco station, some Chinese and a Japanese sushi bar.  They also have a Brazilian mixed grill, an Italian station and even a station for hot dogs, burgers, fries, and milkshakes.  Then you throw in the usual fare of most Las Vegas buffets and you have a ton of choice.

And then came the dessert.  There are like 50 kinds of pies, cakes, and pastries to choose from along with ice cream.  Yummy.

The buffet at Planet Hollywood was voted the best in Vegas (when it was the Aladdin), but their food quality was not as good as the RIO.  The Bellagio buffet still ranks highest in our book, although the price is a bit steep.  So for the best value of price and quality, I would say that the World Carnival Buffet at the Rio is a nice choice.  


Jun 22
by Don

I have often talked about the “Vegas Effect” as being basically sleep deprived as you party too long and are not able to get good consistent rest.  But this also applies to food and hunger as well.  Here is a great sandwich that can hold you over between those magical Blackjack runs.

The Italian sandwich @ JJ Boulangerie in Paris is just amazing.  It’s a hard French baguette roll with some tasty Italian meats, artichokes, red onion, some provolone, tomatoes and a light pesto spread.  Yummy.

You get a little potato salad with the sandwich which really sets off the meal.  I personally am not a huge artichoke fan, but somehow it all works well together.  These pictures do not do it justice, but believe me @ about $9.50 it’s a bargain!

When we want to make a light meal of it, Lori and I will get this and a chef salad that they have already made and go to town.  Something that is nice with the Caesar’s properties is that if you give them your player’s card they will swipe it and see if you have any “quick rewards”.  So if you have done any playing before hand you will have accumulated some points that translate into dollars.  This means an instant discount and anything that the casino gives you need to take.

So if you are looking for a good bite to eat that won’t kill your bankroll, then head over to Paris and get yourself one of these bad boys.

Jun 20
by Don

It’s something that you’ll notice a lot when you are walking in and around casino’s; the people in the black vests.  Now they are very nice and always ask where you are from and how long are you visiting Las Vegas, but don’t be fooled by this.  They only want one thing; and that’s for you to sign up to listen to some timeshare pitch.


This has got to be a cottage industry all unto itself, because every single property has something that they are trying to pitch you.  It’s crazy.  What’s even crazier is that they only ever really approach couples.  So if you are walking hand in hand with your loved one you will be “attack” with offers of free tickets, dinners, even free play. 


I am sure that you will be tempted by their nice demeanor, but don’t do it.  Once they have your contact information you will just get killed with direct mail pieces and the like.  I am sure that they all share the same database so once you are in the system, there is no way out.  And for what?  Nothing that you can’t get on your own through steady rated play in your favorite casino.  Just do what we do and split up.  Walk one in front of the other and act like you don’t know one another until after you pass them.  You will thank me for this advice, especially if you are walking from Harrah’s to the Venetian.  They are everywhere!


It really makes even less sense to “own” something out there unless you just have a ton of discretionary cash laying around because if you play enough the casino’s will give you free rooms, money to play with, great food, and show tickets while you are out there.  The fees and cost structure to any time share make little sense when you are talking about a city that lives to serve you.  Believe me, you are better off saving your money to double that 11 vs. the dealer 6.


So remember, when you are walking through and around Las Vegas, make sure you steer clear of the “vested” people, unless you like wasting your, money, and energy listening to elevator pitches from people who rather be elsewhere themselves.

Jun 17
by Don

After the Danny Gans fiasco, I was more than happy to see an actual good show.  So we relied upon our mantra of, “when in doubt, Cirque it out.”

That’s where Love comes in.  It’s Cirque’s newest show on the strip and it’s phenomenal.  There is your normal nutty cast of characters that you will find in all Cirque shows, but this one seems more contemporary.  What I mean to say is that because you know all of the music, the transitions between the incredible acts are flawless.  There are no gaps and everything seems to build on the next element.   Aside from “O”, this is the best Cirque show by far.

And the music was just extraordinary.  Even someone who knows very little about the Beatles can appreciate and enjoy this show.  Enter Lori. 

Lori grew up in rural central Florida on 10 beautiful acres of pristine farm land.  Unfortunately there was only country music and a sprinkling of pop music in the 90’s, so you can understand when I say that she has no connection with the greatness that is the Beatles. 


Remarkably this fact did not matter as many times during the performance I would look over and she was transfixed with what was going on.  We had great seats in the lower level (section 103 , Row G) and was practically on the stage, but I don’t think it would have matter where we were since this was a theater in the round.  There is as much going on in the air as there was on the ground, so even if you were up and in the back of the house you had a great view.  We went on a Saturday and the place was packed.  It’s definitely worth the nearly $170 per ticket, so go see this show!

Jun 15
by Don

Lori and I went deep in three of the tournaments during this last trip, which is amazing considering how little we actually play.  Each day we were playing 10+ hours and ever so close to cashing in all of these events.  I would have to say that a lot of the reason why is because we have a good mental approach to the game.

Your Worst Poker Enemy: Master the Mental Game (Amazon) by Dr. Alan Schoonmaker is a great book for helping you “quiet” your mental game.  Poker is not a difficult game to learn, but it’s getting past the basics that separate good players from great ones.


One of the things that I love about this book is that it assumes that you are already an intermediate to advance player.  That you understand the nuances of the game, but maybe not recognize the calling signs that bring them on is also key to appreciating and understanding this book.  It’s incredibly well documented, which is nice since so many poker books are just first hand accounts of how some poker pro plays, but not necessarily how the average person may think or play in certain situations.


The book is easy to read and is an excellent get for anyone looking to discover something about their own play that they might not even realize.

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