Saturday, December 09, 2006

Backgammon Reviews: The Major Las Vegas Casinos

Now that the YPMTRGA annual meeting is behind us, we have had time to reflect upon the most suitable Las Vegas hotels for the playing of backgammon, the cruelest game. Unfortunately, as far as we could discern, no casinos have formal backgammoning facilities. We therefore conducted a survey of the more reputable casinos (I'm not looking at you Golden Nugget) in order to determine which were most ammenable to backgammoning on one's own. The following should be sufficient in order for you to suss out a spot to your liking:


Area backgammon played: Poolside
Slot machine index: Low
Nearby amenities: Pool; a few girls in bikinis
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Only bothered by waitress once; insane black pyramid in background; fresh air; no other gambling going on
Cons: Only bothered by waitress once; had to steal appropriate chirs and table from cabana; a bit sweaty playing while wearing a suit; easy to be mistaken for homos
Overall rating: Pleasant, but low profile


Area backgammon played: Abandoned cafe
Slot machine index: Moderate
Nearby amenities: None. Bar was mysteriously closed, however this meant it was easy to steal items like wine glasses from behind the bar.
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Look at those guys wearing suits and playing backgammon"
Pros: Bar closed, so we were bothered by neigher waitresses nor other patrons; easy to bring own bottle of wine; choice of table; comfy chairs
Cons: A bit quiet; forced to watch the dregs of humanity traipsing by
Overall rating: Recommended; one of the best backgammoning spots encountered


Area backgammon played: At table and chairs in expansive marble hallway
Slot machine index: Low
Nearby amenities: None, other than table and chairs, which are surprisingly hard to come by anywhere in Las Vegas
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Table and chairs, slighly less offensive clientele than other casinos, temperature ideal for suit-wearing
Cons: Spitting distance from World's Largest Chocolate Fountain
Overall rating: Not bad, but you are still playing in a hallway


Area backgammon played: Cocktail lounge just off gaming floor
Slot machine index: Moderate
Nearby amenities: High stakes gaming area, open bar
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Man, I ain't seen anyone playing backgammon here in years"
Pros: The insane over the top-ness of this place is unbeaten; table and chairs; easy to get drinks; mysterious women wearing orange t-shirts promoting a European cell phone company; Albanian mafioso left his cell phone behind and was grateful when we returned it
Cons: Unfriendly waitress; too near slot machines; a little low-brow
Overall rating: Average; you could do worse


Area backgammon played: Bar on gaming floor
Slot machine index: Very high
Nearby amenities: Bar; Mustang GT to be won
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Bartender mixed a fine vodka gimlet; waitresses in French maid outfits
Cons: Incessant din of slot machines, each bar seat had a video poker terminal installed, so it has hard to keep the backgammon board flat
Overall rating: Poor; not very backgammon friendly


Area backgammon played: None, couldn't find anywhere to sit down
Slot machine index: Average
Nearby amenities: None (no backgammon played)
Stranger's comment about backgammon: None
Pros: The insanity of this place is topped only by Caesar's Palace
Cons: Absolutely nowhere to play backgammon
Overall rating: Awful; just about the only place you could conceivably play is on a gondola


Area backgammon played: Bar on gaming floor
Slot machine index: Obscenely high
Nearby amenities: Bar; all you can eat buffet $9.95
Stranger's comment about backgammon: "Is that backgammon?"
Pros: Cheap drinks; if you wear anything nicer than a tank-top and sweatpants you are easily the best dressed person in the place
Cons: Incessant din of slot machines; old people's oxygen tanks frequently got in the way; heavy stench of desperation
Overall rating: Adequate, but only because of sense of history

So there you have it. The winner: Mandalay Bay, but probably only because we found an abandoned cafe to play in where we could drink out own booze. Overall, we are sorry to report that backgammon in Las Vegas is in a sorry state. Maybe things are better in the high limit areas, but my Diner's Club card has been carrying a heavy balance recently, so we didn't go in there.

p.s. You can smoke anywhere you want in Vegas, so go ahead and bring your pipe.


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4:38 AM  
Blogger peteski said...

Is that backgammon?

11:52 PM  

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