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 Home at the Hard Rock Casino-Hotel

Let me begin by saying that I both love and hate the Hard Rock Casino-Hotel in Las Vegas.

I’ve written about this place before in articles like Where Do You Want To Play?.  Borrowing from that, I wrote:

The young hip posse at the Hard Rock Casino is certainly different from the suburbanites that mostly populate the yuppified-MGM Grand and the conventioneers at the Venetian.”

I went on to say:

“It's been quite a while since I was in my 20's but I personally like the Hard Rock with it's surgically-enhanced, lipo-suctioned, collagen-injected, silicone and saline-inserted, fashion-forward, "I'm trying soooo hard to be cool" look.

Conversely, I also like the Castaways (formerly The LV Showboat) with its slower, walker and wheel-chair pace. It may be God's waiting-room, but it has a more polite and civilized feel than the testosterone-charged, estrogen-filled air of the Hard Rock Casino, although it does smell a bit like Absorbine Junior.”

Okay, that is what I had to say about it last year.  My comments would pretty much be the same now, but perhaps I painted an incomplete and unfair picture.

There are good and bad things about the Hard Rock that are unique to that particular casino.

First is the clientele.  If you visit here on any night of the week, you will find the largest concentration of 20-somethings, and early 30-somethings, that have found a place where they are comfortable and feel like a member of their own exclusive club.  The reason that they are so comfortable is the fact that they are surrounded by like-aged, like-minded, like-moneyed Generation-X’ers and Generation-Nexters.

Second is the music.  Now, almost all casinos play music, but at the HR, they play it L-O-U-D!  With the opening of the new Palms Casino Hotel across from the Rio and Gold Coast Casinos, their reputation for having the loudest music is being challenged, but so far the Hard Rock hasn’t been toppled from its decibel-pedestal.

Third is the clientele.  Oh, I know that I mentioned that before, but it’s worth mentioning again.   The round bar in the middle of this round casino is where a lot of hookers hang a-round.  There are so many “working girls” that ply their trade; if the Shriners ever hold a major convention at the same time as the Navy holds their Tail-Hook convention in Las Vegas; there will be a serious shortage of hookers for the L.A. set of shiny-shirted, goateed, baggy-crotched pant posse of Eminem look-alikes. 

There are also a lot of female “weekend warriors” who drive in to pick up a little cash to augment their college-education.  Ah, Mummy and Daddy would be so proud that little Megan, Kursten, Brittany, and Angie don’t have to subject themselves to the humiliation of working at McDonalds.  Being propositioned here is a frequent and varied experience.  Speaking of Navy aviator’s; they would say that this is definitely a “target-rich” environment, if you know what I mean.  Even though I don’t partake in any of those offerings; it makes for some very interesting people-watching activities.

Fourth is the playing conditions.  Most of the craps players here are trying to look good while they’re playing dice. It’s more important that they “look” good at what they are doing rather than actually doing it well.  The dice fly off of the tables here more than they would if you were playing on your kitchen table.  There’s a lot of over-the-shoulder fastball pitches, and plenty of showmanship, but very little skill with all of the random dice-tossers.  If you are very superstitious, or just plain impatient; this is not the place for you.

Fifth is the table conditions.  They have six tables, each of the 14-foot variety.  The base material is fine, but the felt is a deep color of purple.  I suppose that is to pay homage to the rock group, Deep Purple.  Regardless, it’s an unusual color when you are used to either normal green or Hilton Blue layouts.  The lighting is subdued throughout the entire casino.  In the craps pit, it is the lowest light that I’ve played under if you disregard a few basement practice-table layouts that I have seen.  When you combine the purple cloth, and their use of either purple, blue or black dice; then you end up with difficult to see dice-outcomes in the deeply-shadowed corners or edges of the tables. 

Sixth is the food.  The Pink Taco serves mediocre Mexican-influenced food, while Mortoni’s serves…you guessed it…California-influenced Italian offerings.  Frequent visitors rave about an “off-the-menu” steak and shrimp special in Mr. Lucky’s, their 24/7 diner.  It’s one of those “I’m in the know, so I’ll brag about it” kind of things that make tourists feel like part of the “in crowd”.  Generally, the food is unmemorable, and about as exclusive as a Hard Rock Café t-shirt.

Seventh is the clientele.  Oh yeah, I mentioned this before didn’t I?!  Now why is it that I keep coming back to this particular subject?  Okay, I’ll admit that the amount and variety of “eye-candy” is stupendous.  Just as soon as you spot what you are convinced is the most gorgeous woman in the world, yet another woman appears who makes the first one look like the lead puppy in an Alpo dog-food commercial.  

Even the dealers will halt a craps game just to drink in the passing sights.  There is a lot of prompting by other players to convince certain passing ladies to join into the game.   Oh, did I mention that someone must have passed the word to nearly every one of the ladies, that wearing that perfect “little black dress”, was the only way to go?

Eighth is the pool.  You are probably wondering why I waited so long to mention this little feature.  Let’s just say that if you are at one of their swim-up blackjack tables and you see someone drowning, forget about the lifeguard or one of those floatation rescue-rings.  Throwing in one of the surgically-enhanced young ladies would provide enough buoyancy to re-float the Titanic and the Andrea Doria, and still provide enough nutrition to save a small starving third-world country.  Need I say more?   There is very little swimming, but a whole lot of parade traffic.  Even if you are wearing your Serengeti sunglasses, you will feel your eyeballs starting to melt from all the heat generated by the hot, hard bodies at poolside.

Ninth is the rooms.  Actually their standard rooms at the Hard Rock are…well…standard.  However, their suites are kind of nice in a neo-modern/beaux-arts retro/rainbow vomit-of-color sort of way.  Most rooms and all suites have their own private balcony, which are generally the size of your average kitchen drawer.  We’ve actually only stayed there four or five times in the last three years, but we’ve never encountered any major or even minor problem of note.

Finally, there are the COMPS.  Actually, that is the only reason that I started to write this article in the first place.  Up until about three years ago, I didn’t play at the Hard Rock Casino very much at all.  What changed all of that was an invitation to a George Thorogood & the Delaware Destroyers concert.   I was surprised at the invitation from a casino host that I had never actually met.  Upon subsequently meeting him, I inquired whether they routinely comped to their on-going, and now legendary concert series.  His answer shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.  Until then, I hadn’t equated the HR’s comp policy with that of other more conventional casino/hotels.  He said that 20% to fully 80% of all of their concert tickets were comped.  Knowing the small size of their venue called The Joint, I figured that the comp-threshold would be a lot higher, and the resultant comped-tickets would be much more difficult to get.  As it turned out, I was happy and pleased to be totally wrong.

As some of you may know, there are a few music tours that are currently making some news.  The good news for frequent Hard Rock players is that the concert-comps are available for those who qualify.  

Here’s an example of how good the gettin’ can get!  We just received comps to see Alanis Morrisette, Elvis Costello, The WHO, and the Eagles.  Each ticket is in the $350 range because of the small size of the venue, and I guess to reflect the magnitude of the performers.  If I had to pay for these tickets myself, I’ve got to tell you that my interest would be quite a bit lower.  However, when they are free, my interest rises substantially.  I suppose, it’s like a comped gourmet meal after a good winning session…the food always seems to taste better when it’s free.

By the way, off-hours at the Hard Rock Casino is from about 8:00 am through to about 4:00 pm.  During those hours the crowds are lighter, the average player age is higher, the dealers are more attentive, the music volume is lower, the eye-candy is less distracting, and the winning seems to be easier.

Good Luck & Good Skill at the Tables…and in Life.

The Mad Professor

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