5 Essential Tips to Save Money on Your First Poker Trip to Las Vegas
Great! Have a good time and win a lot of money.
Of course the reality is that many of us that go to Vegas for the first time come back with little more than a memory or at best break even.
This makes it important to watch what we spend, too. Below are five tips for saving money on your first trip to Las Vegas.
1. Stay Off the Strip
While we can certainly understand wanting the "Las Vegas Experience," that experience comes at a price.
Most hotels during the week on the Strip start at $70 and go up from there.
On the weekend you'll be lucky to get any room on the strip for under $129. Your best bet is to stay off-strip.
If you have your own transportation we recommend staying in Downtown Las Vegas. Places like the Four Queens have rooms in the $30 range during the week and around $70 on the weekend.
Other spots to check out include The Orleans, The Plaza or the Tuscany.
Also, don't overlook some Extended Stay Hotels. If you're going to be in town for a week or two, they may give you a better weekly rate and they include a full kitchen and on-site laundry facilities.
2. Self Park
Save yourself some money and self park while in Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker. Self parking in the back lot of the Rio is free if you don't mind the walk.
Valet parking doesn't cost per se but a reasonable tip is in the $5 to $10 range. Multiply this by the number of days you will be at the Rio and you can see where the savings add up.
3. Skip the WSOP Themed Gift Shop
While there are many cool WSOP-themed items in the gift shop at the Rio they tend to be very pricey for the general quality of the item.
If you must get a WSOP-themed gift item, stick with something small like one of the chips or check and see if they have anything on clearance.
Not everything sells so sometimes you can find deals on items from previous years. If you're going later in the WSOP that's another good time to find deals on items that aren't selling well.
If you want souvenirs from your Vegas trip, hit the massive souvenir shop beside the Stratosphere on the Strip or the gift shop in Downtown Vegas.
These stores have Vegas-themed items for those on a budget and are of similar quality than those you will find at the Rio.
4. Shop Around for Your Food
The biggest mistake that newbies make when going to Vegas is that they get food wherever is convenient or they live off room service. Both of these choices are going to be bankroll drainers.
Shop around at the casino you're staying in and see which are the less expensive places to eat. Some casinos have chain restaurants or fast-food places in them.
For example both the Orleans and Four Queens have a Subway. Can you say $5 footlong? If you're staying at an extended stay place then go grocery shopping and fix your own meals whenever possible.
Avoid most room service as its setup to overcharge. Sometimes you can find good deals but you have to pick and choose. The Four Queens has some of the best room service in downtown.
5. Shop Around for Your Booze
What's one of the top markups for casinos? Alcohol.
What may cost you $2 in your hometown is going to hit you for $5 on average in Sin City.
Ask around and any local can tell you where to find discount booze and beer on the strip or in your hotel.
One place some people overlook for alcohol is the gift shop. Many casino gift shops will offer sodas and snacks and a few will sell beer and wine.
Also, don't be ashamed to ride out to a local convenience store and pick up some alcohol to take back to your room. It's likely to be the cheapest you can get -- except maybe during Happy Hour at the Cosmo on the Strip.