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2009 WSOP Primer: Getting Around Las Vegas During the WSOP

Las Vegas Strip

Welcome to Las Vegas. Those casinos are a lot farther away from each other than you thought. What’s the best way to get around?

Your first decision is whether or not you are going to rent a car at the airport. There are a whole bunch of things you need to consider to make that decision. If you are going to play the world series of poker at the Rio but not stay at the Rio, you will be needing transportation every time you go to the Series. Cabs are everywhere. Parking is free at all casinos and hotels. All hotels and casinos have valet parking. The WSOP has special valet parking for the Series at the rear of the Rio by the tournament area. It will be over 100 degrees every day and cabs drop you at the front door, right next to the valet. Some of the outlying casinos (Green Valley, Red Rock, Binion’s) are a long cab ride away. Cabbies tend to always be sober; do you?

If you decide not to rent a car, then you can take a cab to your strip hotel for about $12-$15 to the south end casinos. Getting to the north strip will run you around $15-$20 and a trip downtown will be approximately $20-$22. The airport shuttles are much cheaper ($8 -$10) but they are slower and can take up to an hour to get you to your hotel if you are at the end of the shuttle run. Groups of more than two will do better in a cab.

Should you decide to get that rental car? We can almost guarantee that even with a designated driver, a group of you will use cabs some of the time because a group that arrives in Vegas together never stays together the entire time. The early tournament bustouts are going to head off to another tournament at a different casino, or perhaps they will take in some evening entertainment of the sequined variety. What they won’t do is hang on the rail to watch you nurse that short stack.

The World Series is played in the convention area of the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. The Rio is on Flamingo Road, about three-quarters of a mile off the Las Vegas Strip. Remember it will be 100 degrees or more every day, so walking is not a really good option. There is a shuttle directly to the Rio from Harrah’s Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on the east side of the Strip. It runs every half an hour but can get very full right around tournament time.

If you are staying at a hotel on the Strip and want to go more than one casino north or south, you will not want to walk during the middle of the day. You can take “The Deuce” – the double-decker bus that runs the entire length of the Las Vegas Strip. It cost $3 per ride and it goes from way south of the last strip casino all the way to downtown on the north end. There are bus stops about every quarter of a mile, and during peaks hours The Deuce runs every eight minutes and it is very reliable.

Finally, there is the Las Vegas Monorail that runs behind the main casinos on the east side of the Strip. You can go from the MGM Grand on the south end all the way to the Sahara Hotel & Casino up north. The Deuce is cheaper for short runs, but a monorail all-day or three-day pass can save you some cash if you are going to be hitting a lot of Strip casinos during your stay. Grab a map and enjoy.

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