Las Vegas is nicknamed "Sin City" for a reason. Whether you're in town for a bachelor party, convention, or a poker tournament, at some point one of your friends will blurt out, "Let's go to a strip club!".
The pool parties have a Spring Break quality to them and often end in embarrassing situations like a scene from The Hangover. Many of the women are scantily clad and you'll never get to see a larger collection of fake breasts outside a strip club. In fact, many of the patrons are dancers themselves, partying it up after a night shift at one of the gentlemen's clubs in town.
Just a word to the wise – pool parties are not meant for laid-back folks who want to lounge by a pool and read a book. These pool parties are bacchanalian affairs and you'll often be facing a disproportionate amount of guys to girls while surrounded by bros and frat boys who spent way too much time watching episodes of The Jersey Shore. These pools get super crowded on the weekends, so go as early as possible to avoid the long lines. The multiple layers of security at these pool parties create long lines. Some of the experiences are Draconian and worse than the TSA. Bring as little as possible, but make sure you have enough cash because drinks are pricey.
If you have a group of people, your best bet is to reserve a cabana. It's pricey but worth the expense in the long run. Some of them come with free food and you'll have a personal server and a bouncer to keep out the riff raff.
Anyway, despite the hassle to get in, some of the craziest hook-up stories I hear were at pool parties. It's every bit as decadent as you can imagine.
Here are the best of the best…
Located at the Hard Rock, Rehab is one of the hottest spots in all of Las Vegas. For several years, Rehab was the place to be on Sunday mornings for their pool party. Everyone stays up late on Saturday then stumbles out to the pool on Sunday morning to keep the party going strong.
Rehab attracts the usual scantily-clad vixens who love being surrounded by men. The drinks are pricey but strong. There are multiple pools including Sky Bar which has a glass bottom. For those brave enough to go into the water, there's a water slide. The hot tubs are where a lot of the X-rated action goes down. Oh, and if you actually want to gamble, there's a swim-up blackjack table.
Encore Beach Club
For the most part, the Encore and Wynn attract a much more upscale crowd than the other casinos. You won't see as many Jersey Shore steroid-heads at the Encore Beach Club. Instead, you'll find a jet-setting Eurotrash crowd.
The décor at Encore Beach Club is swanky and they pride themselves on offering top-notch service. The Encore's pool isn't just a bunch of fake trees and a pool. The one thing that stands out are the "lily pads" surrounded by water which you can rent. The multi-tiered cabanas are among the swankiest in Vegas with balconies where you can look down at the revelers at the pool.
Pro tip: don't bring any big bags at EBC, because you'll be forced to pay $10 to check it.
Ditch Fridays at the Palms
If you're in Vegas on Friday morning, then head down to the Palms to partake in their festivities, called Ditch Fridays. There are three different bars at the Palms' pool, but my favorite is the Glass Bar that is underneath the pool. They also have a waterfall bar, which is situated behind a 12-foot wall of water.
The cabanas are the way to go at Ditch Fridays only because it gets super crowded. They also rent out two-story bungalows with private decks and a Jacuzzi. The bungalows are where you want to be if you have a really crazy party going down.
The Palms books top-end DJs to spin at their Ditch Friday parties. The more popular the DJ, the more crowded the pool gets.
Bare is surrounded by the lush jungle-like setting of the Mirage. This is one of the rare topless pools in Vegas. Of course, going topless only is an option ("toptional") and a lot of female sunbathers opt to keep theirs on. The staff does a great job at giving its sunbathers as much privacy as they need.
Bare is relatively small compared to the other pools, so you definitely want to get there early or rent a cabana. Like all pools in Vegas, you can rent a cabana by the hour and some are very expensive. The cabana prices at Bare are moderately priced. Be warned, you'll have to pay a premium to rent a lounge chair on the weekends for $100.
The raging day club at the MGM is Wet Republic. It's one of the most expensive pools to get into, but the high price of admission keeps out the riff raff. The drinks are standard prices but they have excellent pitchers of Sangria and their Margaritas are some of the best in Vegas.
Wet Republic is a good place to check out on Sundays because most of the big crowds gravitate toward Rehab.
I get asked about poker rooms all the time. It's really hard to give someone a specific answer, because much like playing poker, it all “depends” on the situation. What constitutes a good poker room? I'm looking for terrible players with deep pockets, comfortable seats, good and quick dealers, and a knowledgeable floor staff to adjudicate disputes in a swift, fair manner.
Buffets and Las Vegas go hand-in-hand. Buffets represent the best and worst aspects of our self-indulgent culture of overconsumption. If you like to people watch, then a trip to the buffet is like a National Geographic special – spending time in the wildlife watching lions in the Serengeti feast on gazelles.
You're in downtown Las Vegas and either got really drunk and a taxi dropped you off there, or you opted to let your friend book a cheap vacation and ended up at one of the many seedy no-tell motels on East Fremont. Well do not fear, I have a couple of things you can do while you're slumming in Downtown Vegas…
When I was a kid, my parents told me they saw Elvis Presley perform in Las Vegas, so from a very young age I associated Las Vegas with musical spectacles and over-the-top performances. The King has been dead for several decades, but the modern-day headliners in Sin City are still heavyweights like Celine Dion and Elton John.
An entire culture in Las Vegas exists around pool parties. There's been a big push to capitalize on "day clubs" or massive gatherings poolside with lots of booze, lots of skin, and lots of loud music.
Las Vegas is one of the few places in America in which you can legally place a sports bet. You don't have to worry about getting scammed by an offshore book or dealing with shady local bookies. If you're a fan of any major sport or horse racing, you'll be able to wager on the outcome at different sports books in Las Vegas.
If you're visiting Las Vegas for an extended period of time, you might want to break up your holiday by scheduling a side trip. Las Vegas is a pretty crazy place and excessive indulgence has ruined too many people, which is why you sometimes need a vacation away from your Las Vegas vacation.
We've all hit the low point at some point in Las Vegas when you ran bad and lost all your money, whether it was the bad end of variance at the poker table or an annoying dealer cold-decked you at blackjack.