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Poker Blog established in 2003 as the first stop for poker news, poker stories, and bad poker advice.

December 5, 2005

How to pack for Las Vegas

by Otis

There are two dangers in packing your bags for Las Vegas. You can be too prepared. Or you can be ill-prepared.

I have been guilty of both.

So, I offer this Guide to Packing for a 3-4 day trip to Las Vegas.

0) First, before doing anything, read Pauly's blogs. A year ago at this time, he inspired me with this:

Here's my formula for packing...
1. Underwear = amount of days traveling + 1
2. Socks = amount of days - 1
3. Pants = amount of days divided by 3
4. Dress shirts = 1 per week
5. T-shirts = amount of days divided by 2
6. Cash = $1000 per day in Vegas

Folks, that is a formula for success and pure Pauly. But, if you will, please let me further expand the rubric.

1) Pack one bag and make sure you do not check it at the gate. Carry it on. One of the greatest time-wasters in all of Vegas is waiting for cabs. Sometimes it's a necessity. When you're at the airport, however, it is not. If you check your bags, you are playing a very -EV game with the baggage carousel. If you have one carry-on, you are already 10-20 minuntes ahead of all the baggage-checking tourists. That alone can cut an hour out of the time it takes you to make it off the plane and to your hotel. If something bad happens and you do get stuck with a long line (it happens if a big plane lands ten minutes ahead of yours), try to find a porter who looks grease-able and slip him $10-$20. This will occassionally work. If it doesn't, the lines aren't unbearable. But, the one carry-on bag rule still applies. Why? Well, even if the line only takes 15 minutes, trying to lug one or two bigger bags through the throngs of humanity can be a burden. One duffel or carry-on with wheels is the way to go.

2. You do not need everything in your closet. Pauly has written at length about this is in the past and heeding his advice is always a good idea (unless, of course, he's been awake for three days and smells of stripper perfume, at which point I'd suggest weighing your decision carefully). A few thing to keep in mind. You likely will miss out on a lot of sleep. It's like you're only there for a couple of days. Denim is heavy, so I'd recommend you wear one pair of blue jeans on the plane and pack something else in a khaki or otherwise lightweight fabric. If you're going in the winter, it will be colder than you think. But sweaters are heavy as well. As such, I like a fleece or some sort of warmish sport coat that can be worn against the chill and worn inside, but if it gets too warm in the casino, can be taken off without making you nude. A pair of socks and drawers for each day. One fewer shirt than you think you need.

3. Personal health and well-being are a big part of making your trip/bender a good one. If you are a drinker, I have found a cocktail of OTC products that works very well to make the morning after much easier to handle. I calll it the Otis Cocktail. Before going to bed, stop and get a bucket of ice. Stand at the sink and drink two bar glasses of ice water. Then, take three advil, two Pepcid (or other acid reducing product), and two Pepto Bismol tablets. Wash them down with one or two more glasses of ice water. Take a glass of water with you to bed and have a drink or two when you wake up having to go to the bathroom. Then, when you wake up for good, repeat the cocktail, but substitute the advil with two Excedrin Migraine. Those pills are laced with caffeine and can give you that extra jolt you need to start the day. Then, throughout the following day mix a good blend of caffeine and water as you sit at the tables. It ain't perfect, but it's the best I know.

4. Cash is king, as we all know. It is a matter of personal preference whether to keep your pocket cash and poker bankroll separate (I've done both and prefer the division of money, but it's up to you). However, one important thing to think about is denomination. For instance, in many (if not most) casinos, $20 bills don't play. That is, if you're playing in a game with a buy-in of more than $100 and your stack is running low, it will do no good to back it up with $300 in $20 bills. They won't play. You'll need $100 bills for that. At the same time, you don't want a pocket full of Franklins. Otherwise, what are you going to tip with? A good mixture of denominations is key. (Also, remember Pauly and Grubby's advice about $50 bills being bad luck).

5. For all of those still thinking about #2, and saying "But, wait I wanna go clubbing?" I can't help you there. I'm not a club-boy. Clubs are good for trolling for girls, but I'm all married and stuff and don't really know how to talk to girls. However, if you wanna go clubbing, it shouldn't add to much to the weight of your carry-on because the kids ain't wearinig much these days. Oh, and if I were to go to a club, it would be Drais for reasons you will only know if you go sit at the Barbary Coast around 4am.

6. If you're a blogger, a 4" notebook and pen is a good idea. I'm okay without it, but, again, if you're a drinker, it ain't bad to have a little memory backup.

7. Technology is another matter of personal preference. Me, I pack the laptop, cell, and charger. Pauly recommends a camera, which is not a bad piece of advice. However, I usually don't carry one when I'm not working. Unless you have a camera small enough to fit in a pocket, it can be quite a burden and, if you're like me, you stand a decent chance of leaving it somewhere.

8. Print out Bill Rini's list of phone numbers and keep them in your pocket. It's nice to know where people are. At the same time, don't abuse the technology. Indeed, we'll all want to hang together, but I can attest that you can run up quite a bill with dial-a-shots across the poker room. A quick "Where?" text message can go a long way.

9. Back to money. This has it's own section because it shouldn't be with any of your regular bankroll. You never know when you will need a ride, or a buy-in, or a drink, or anything when you've just went broke. Now, I'm not saying it will happen, but if you keep a lot of money in your hotel safe and have had a bad run at the tables, you need a little sumptn extra to either get you back to your room or hold you over until you can recoup. Keep a stash in an unused pocket, your shoe, your bra, whatever.

10. Finally, the intangible: Bring a good attitude. It's all just fun. We're all just folks. And it's all about a good time. If you don't pack that good stuff, it ain't worth going.

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