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Las Vegas Lifestyle Discussion of all things Las Vegas. Ask questions about hotels/shows/etc., coordinate meetups with other 2+2ers and post Las Vegas trip reports.

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Old 08-29-2016, 03:25 PM   #1
katki
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TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

There is no In-N-Out burger in Finland. We don't have Cold Stone Creamery either. Heck, our Starbucks doesn't even have Valencia Orange! We do have some other important amenities, such as PLO and Betti the Yetti so the place is somewhat liveable.

Anyway, every once in a while we must fly 5,500 miles to Vegas so we can have an overload of $1 Gin&Tonics and animal style 3x3s. Our fold KK preflop skills will also be relearned in the highly challenging old man coffee 1-3 games. This time it's a delegation of 4 Finns, and we will be taking the 15-hour tin can flights on the 6th of September. For the first time, I'll be posting a report of our daily degen operations.

As a warm-up of sorts, I will post short summaries of our most recent Vegas trips from 2014 and 2015 before the upcoming trip.

Last edited by katki; 08-29-2016 at 03:33 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 03:51 PM   #2
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

In 2014 we spent a whole month in Vegas and driving around the coastline. The first week was spent at the Silver Sevens, which is actually not bad for it's price. The place just happens to have the best fries any of us had ever tasted (with a huge sample size).

After the first week we shot off in our GMC and headed to Pahrump which has everything a human being needs. Right after landing at the $1 craps table the stick man asks "did you go to the whorehouse already". Hats off to the dealers, it was one of the funniest micro stakes craps sessions i have witnessed. We probably ended up tipping more than wagering.

Road trip route below. To be continued...


Last edited by katki; 08-29-2016 at 04:03 PM.
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Old 08-29-2016, 04:26 PM   #3
MatthewNL
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

In and out is okay and all but you really HAVE to try ShakeShack for their burgers...So good.

Get that Double SmokeShack !
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Old 08-29-2016, 05:28 PM   #4
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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After the first week we shot off in our GMC and headed to Pahrump which has everything a human being needs.
Yes, legal hoes and a race track where you can rent a Corvette or a Radical.

How was that drive from Las Vegas to Tahoe?
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Old 08-29-2016, 06:01 PM   #5
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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In and out is okay and all but you really HAVE to try ShakeShack for their burgers...So good.

Get that Double SmokeShack !
This is the equivalent of someone asking for a strip club recommendation and you saying "Larry's Villa". Shake Shack is an embarrassment and I really wish they'd hurry up and close so we can get a good burger place in their location instead.
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:04 PM   #6
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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This is the equivalent of someone asking for a strip club recommendation and you saying "Larry's Villa". Shake Shack is an embarrassment and I really wish they'd hurry up and close so we can get a good burger place in their location instead.
Daz bullsh*t!
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:34 PM   #7
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Holsteins at Cosmo has a few big winners -- gotta try the rising sun with egg on top
Bobbys Burger Palace at the front of Aria near the strip has some reasonable priced (strip) unique burgers w a big pickle
In N Out and Five Guys are winners if you know how to order
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:40 PM   #8
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

BurGR in planet Hollywood
Bachi Burger
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Old 08-29-2016, 07:54 PM   #9
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

I actually am quite foND of the sports book deli hamburger at Westgate
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:04 AM   #10
MatthewNL
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

For a quick fast food burger Shake Shack is the best. Five guys would be next, In and Out isn't even in the same ballpark.

If you wanna get into sit down places that have gourmet burgers that is a different category altogether. That burger bar between Luxor and Mandalay Bay is unreal good.
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Old 08-30-2016, 11:24 AM   #11
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Steiners pub on LV blvd. Great locals burger that really quute excellent.
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Old 08-30-2016, 03:34 PM   #12
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Five Guys vastly overrated, not much different than McDonald's except much, much slower and much, much more expensive.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:25 PM   #13
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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Five Guys vastly overrated, not much different than McDonald's except much, much slower and much, much more expensive.
No.
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Old 08-30-2016, 04:58 PM   #14
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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Five Guys vastly overrated, not much different than McDonald's except much, much slower and much, much more expensive.
Confirmed standing on lawn shaking fist at sky.
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Old 08-30-2016, 06:46 PM   #15
katki
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

So the road trip continued with no burgers in sight. We drove through death valley, which was simply great. Would definitely drive through it again. The below photo is from Zabriskie Point. At that time of the year (March) we had freezer-temperatures back home, so the +40 celcius in Death Valley felt quite interesting.



The goal was to reach Reno by midnight and sleep there. However, after driving a few hours in California, we had to stop at Topaz Lodge to play some ducks in a row to celebrate our return to the great state of Nevada.



When we finally reached Reno, we went to check the 1-2 tables which were...not very glamorous. The whole poker room (I think it was Harrah's) felt like the black lodge in Twin Peaks. One guy looked like the local car salesman-kingpin and he had some 20 yo blonde sitting on his lap. He was trying hard to get into trouble with kickerless pairs and ****ty draws, and finally a grey old man put him through the wringer with AA, a nut flush and even with such a mediocre holding as KK. I got pretty much the same treatment. Reno no good. The next day we drove to Carson City for some microstakes craps. The Dealers seemed quite unhappy about their work, the city and pretty much everything. Finally, a few seven-outs later we took off towards Lake Tahoe which felt a bit like home, and then continued to Oakland.



Now we got to business. We found Super Duper Burgers which is a Bay Area burger chain. The place sucked us in like a black hole. We spent a day eating in Super Dupers only. Their burgers land somewhere between In-N-Out and Shake Shack. It's fairly cheap, they have self-made pickles, and most importantly garlic fries which are the stone cold nuts. Also, their Fresh Strawberries shake beats pretty much every shake in the $5-6 price range by a mile. San Francisco overall gave us a good impression.







We then drove down the 101 to LA, which is a totally ridiculous city in every way when seen from a European perspective. After a 2-day streak of tourist stuff and Mulholland cruising, we hit the Commerce for some texas action. The 5-5 game was pretty tight and more than half of the players in my table seemed good or even very good. The strange buy-in limits and rake structure make California games feel very different from "normal". I feel like i need a Fatburger Oreo shake every time i play in California just to keep my head straight. Actually, i need the Oreo shake no matter where i am. And what's up with that California craps? It's blasphemy!
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Old 08-31-2016, 12:02 PM   #16
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Very nice ! Good pictures, could use more of the seedier places you are describing though !
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Old 08-31-2016, 04:24 PM   #17
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

I also have some dirty secrets...we've been also going to Laughlin. For those who are unfamiliar with the place, it's a small city 100 miles to the south from Vegas, right on the border or Arizona. Colorado river marks the state border, and on the other side lies Bullhead City, which has cheap gasoline, and that's about it.

Laughlin, however, is great. The average age of the people visiting the casinos is probably somewhere around 60. Walking around in the casinos feels like strolling in a retirement home. Laughlin also is also popular among biker gangs, and especially in April 2002 things were a bit loose aggressive.

But Laughlin has poker. Although on our visit two years ago it just didn't happen to have NLHE. Instead there was a Omaha Hi/Lo 2-6 spread with a kill. I had never played a spread limit HI/LO before nor did i know what a kill is, but that didn't mean much. The man next to me was around 90yo and half asleep. All others were OMCs or funny storytellers. The game was as easy as one could expect, and hence quite enjoyable. I played 3 hours and ended up winning $194. At the cash-in counter the brush commented: "Easy money"

Occasionally Harrah's Laughlin has a 2-5 NLHE game going on, which can get quite juicy. Most importantly, there is also Cinnabon. The food offering in Laughlin is total crap. We eat almost exclusively at In-N-Out. Riverside has a Fatburger but IMO nothing warrants the 3x higher price in the long-run. Harrah's has a Guy Fieri Mexican joint which we prejudged as a blatant joke and moved on to have some burgers.



Grinding ducks in a row at Cal-Nev-Ari. A great tiny casino-bar between Vegas and Laughlin



Upswing in 2-6 spread Omaha Hi/Lo



Just a friendly reminder
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Old 08-31-2016, 05:34 PM   #18
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

The great thing about Laughlin is you can take a taxi boat to get to/from all the casinos facing the river. I think the only big resort not on the water is the Tropicana.

Awesome TR so far.
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Old 09-01-2016, 12:10 AM   #19
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Claimjumper at the Golden Nugget is ok to eat at if you have to eat in Laughlin. And they have hamburgers!
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Old 09-02-2016, 06:13 PM   #20
katki
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

We did another trip last year, and we started by playing a few days, and then took on our supercharged Mazda towards southern California. We decided to drive the smaller roads to Palm Springs, but this drive was not nearly as nice as the drive to through Death Valley. The old route 66 is still something that must be seen i guess. First poker stop was in Agua Caliente, near Palm Springs. The 1-2 game was very fishy but after a horrible dealer injustice i lost a 200bb pot where a villain's hand was turned up after he mucked it. He realized he had hit a gutter nut straight 10 seconds after folding. I was too perplexed to make a fuss about it.



We also checked Pechanga, Pala and some other Indian reservation casinos, and our main attention was in checking the atmosphere of the casinos and doing short stops in cash games, if there were any. We also stopped at every Fatburger. Anyway, the point was to mainly drive around so the lack of tables didn't matter that much. In Ocean's Eleven, Oceanside i played a total of 1 orbit because the place was like a garage and the table was nitty as f***. We had better things to do (burgers), and so we went to check Ty's Burger House in central Oceanside. Ty himself was the kind of big, funny, laid back burger joint owner as expected. His burgers were good but unfortunately not excellent. We played quite laggy and took double everything. Unfortunately, some distinguishable element of surprise was missing, and we left with a slight meh feeling even though we had nothing in particular to complain about. If you feed the king, you best not miss.


Ty's, Oceanside

The next stop was Slater's 50/50 in San Diego which has a unique concept: the patties are 50% beef, 50% bacon. And to nobody's surprise, this works. The burger was pretty well balanced, although the bun looked huge. The place itself was like any sports bar, and i would like to eat these burgers in a little more upscale environment too. The 50/50 was like Picasso doing a draft before painting something truly great.



Slater's 50/50, San Diego

After arriving back in Vegas, i got the idea of getting some expert advice and i contacted the man who knows Vegas food, gobbo. I had not met him before (nor did we know anybody else from Vegas), but he took us for a Pan Roast at Palace Station. We had been playing 1-3 all night and we were dead tired. We arrived at the Oyster Bar line after 6 am, and finally got seated about an hour later. We waited for the food for another long strech, but i have to say it was worth it. Oyster Bar rules.


Oyster Bar, Palace Station

I used to think there is nothing in Henderson until we found out about Bachi Burger. Bachi is interesting enough to have character but not too crazy to break all the rules. And a pile of good quality onion rings is seldom wrong. Great stuff.




Bachi Burger, Henderson

The biggest positive surprise to me personally was the Rising Sun Burger at Holstein's. I'm not a big fan of crazy burgers in general, but the nori, tempura avocado and the likes were not too much. What i don't like about Holsteins is the very loud music and overall fuss due to it's location. But that's a part of their concept.


Holsteins, Cosmopolitan

Last edited by katki; 09-02-2016 at 06:24 PM.
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Old 09-03-2016, 06:12 PM   #21
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

On last year's trip we played only cash games but there was one day i was walking around in Crystals with no intention of buying anything. That was as boring as it sounds so all of a sudden, i decided to play the $125 nightly at Aria because it was just about to start. I usually play less than 10 tournaments per year, and my tournament play is not very well calibrated, but the soft recurring tournaments are quite beatable - just to put it nicely. The tournament started like any session with an order of horrible Aria coffee and a Strawberry Julius. The tournament started as usual with some crazy donations and some basic play. People were making fun of my extremely masculine strawberry drink, and the hideous coffee had already been ditched. Fast forward to 400-800 level, which seemed like a trigger for people who did not have patience. Even the players who had seemed ok started melting. There were a couple of French tourist players who had been playing fairly solid and one of them had a decent stack. Then out of a sudden he just blew everything away. I was doing just ok, until a short stack of around 10 bb went allin from MP. I had around 30bb in the cutoff and i jammed with AT. Then of course the sb (who got me covered) woke up from the blinds with JJ and called. To make things even worse, the short stack had AQo. However...flop came two hearts, and i hit the nut flush on the turn. From that point on, it was easy to blast off people. There was one very good player and many who clearly had little final table experience. Those guys just melted away because after getting in the money, beer was more interesting than poker. We ended up playing a 2-hour heads-up battle with the reg which never really resolved. We finally made a deal and called it a day.

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Old 09-04-2016, 01:03 AM   #22
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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The great thing about Laughlin is you can take a taxi boat to get to/from all the casinos facing the river. I think the only big resort not on the water is the Tropicana.

Awesome TR so far.
Are there water ubers?
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Old 09-04-2016, 01:13 AM   #23
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

Welcome Fins!

I would recommend more of the desert Southwest for the Nordic. Grand Canyon, Zion, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico.

No recommendations on hamburgers. Trying them all is a good strategy.
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Old 09-04-2016, 08:24 AM   #24
katki
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

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Welcome Fins!

I would recommend more of the desert Southwest for the Nordic. Grand Canyon, Zion, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico.

No recommendations on hamburgers. Trying them all is a good strategy.
Thanks! We actually have a 2-day trip planned, which includes a night in Mesquite, a day in Zion and the North Rim of Grand Canyon. While the North Rim is not as hyped as South Rim, it combines well with a visit to Zion. There happens to be a Chick-Fil-A in St. George as well. I had never even heard of that chain before but based on the casual dining thread it's a must try.

What comes to eating burgers, we will definitely try them all (other than Wendy's Baconator, which i promise to never eat again). I've never eaten at Five Guys, Habit or CFA. Also, in the more expensive category, the Ramsay joint at PH will most likely be tried. We also have a table booked to Wynn Sunday Jazz Brunch, and probably we will visit one quality steakhouse such as Cut, and/or a fancy place like Sinatra.

I've heard good stuff about the Beatles Love show, and some crackhead stand-up comedy is also on our list. Actually, our Head of degen operations asked if i wanna go see Celine Dion. I thought he was joking but he wasn't.
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Old 09-04-2016, 12:29 PM   #25
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Re: TR: Burger Hunting in Vegas

You coming back to LA? Got more burger recs if you do.
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