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Top-10 Las Vegas trip fouls

18 January 2010

In honor of The Hangover, the classic Las Vegas buddy tale which won the Golden Globe for the best comedic film on Sunday, we've decided to list the top-10 things NOT to do the next time you're in Las Vegas. This list doesn't include getting punched out by Mike Tyson or kidnapping a large jungle animal, because if you're not doing those things, you're clearly not having fun (I kid. I kid. Really. Please don't actually do that if you go to Vegas.). But it does include a variety of poor, obnoxious behavior that ruins Vegas trips for everyone. So if you're going to Vegas this year, read this list -- and don't do anything on it.

10. Not tipping
You know that when you're going to Las Vegas, you're going to be spending some money. So don't be cheap. If the valet greets you nicely, opens the cab door for you and tells the taxi driver where to go, give him a buck. If the bell desk is storing some bags for you, tip the guy handling the bags a couple of bucks. It's pretty simple. And don't forget the wait staff at the buffet, restaurants and bars. The business model in Vegas assumes tipping, so pay scales are often adjusted downward. If these people don't get tips, they don't survive. So if you get good service, please leave a tip. And don't be the person in your group that never tips. That just breeds resentment.

9. Eating at fast food joints
This is part of the "don't be cheap diatribe." Las Vegas has some of the best restaurants in the world -- regardless of your price point. If you're dining on a budget, try some of the local taquerias. Or hit the buffet at a locals joint like the Gold Coast. It's all you can eat, the food is very good and the price is right. At the mid-range and upper tiers of the food chain, the choice for restaurants is almost limitless. The only -- and I mean only -- exception to the no fast food joint rule is In-N-Out Burger. In-N-Out Burger is a West Coast treat, so if you don't live on the West coast of the U.S., one trip to In-N-Out is allowed when you visit Vegas. Otherwise, do yourself a favor and stay away from the Burger Kings, McDonald's, Wendy's and Subways of the world. Eat at the restaurants and buffets. Eat well. Savor it. The food is part of the Vegas experience, so enjoy it.

8. Going to bed at 10 p.m.
The old saying sleep is for the weak is particularly true in Vegas. Vegas is happening at night -- particularly late at night. From dining to shows, clubs, gambling and drinking, everything in Vegas starts late and ends later. Walk the Strip at 1 a.m. and you'll see sidewalks filled with people laughing and having a good time. Walk the Strip and at 10 a.m. and you'll hardly see a soul. You're usually in Vegas for a small, finite period. So suck it up and stay up late. Hit the clubs while they're booming around midnight. Go on a 2 a.m. gambling binge. Smoke some cigars and drink some late-night martinis in a lounge. Let your hair down. Have some fun. You're in Vegas damnit! Just don't go to sleep at 10 p.m.

7. Vomiting
With the amount of free booze flowing in Sin City, drunken debauchery is to be expected. But vomiting is just not cool. Whether it's in the taxi or in the hotel room, vomiting is a definite Las Vegas foul. It just stinks up the joint. So make sure you can handle your alcohol before you get there. Or drink less. Whichever works for you. But don't vomit. That just makes you a tool.

6. Yelling at the bouncer
Speaking of tools, there is no bigger tool in Las Vegas than the guy yelling at the bouncer trying to get into a club. Don't do it. The bouncers don't care. Everyone in line doesn't care. You have to know going in that unless you're a hot girl, you are going to stand in line to get into a club. So don't be a douchebag and yell at the bouncer about it. It's just not cool.

5. Expecting punctuality
Let's start with the exception here. If there is a big event like a fight, wedding or the start of a bachelor party, then by all means, expect people to show up on time. But outside of the big event, don't expect anyone to ever show up on time. Las Vegas is not set up to encourage punctuality. There are no clocks. And since people have stopped wearing watches, it is nearly impossible to note the passage of time. And if you lose track of time, it's hard to get anywhere in a hurry. Casinos are too big and traffic is too thick to allow that to happen. Plus if someone is gambling at a hot table, he's not going to leave. And that's OK. Just send a text with your expected location and he'll track you down when the table cools down. And when he gets there, just ask him how he did. This sort of behavior is normal in Vegas. There should never, ever be recriminations for being late because you were at a hot table. Just accept the rules of etiquette are different in Vegas and you'll be fine.

4. Splitting 10s
This is just asking for bad karma. If you're at a multi-deck blackjack table and split 10s, you just deserve all the bad luck that's coming your way.

3. Failure to shower
Las Vegas is in the desert, which means your going to sweat. The nature of casino floors, tables, clubs and restaurants means you are going to be sitting or standing quite close to someone. So for the love of god, take a shower and wear some deodorant. The rest of Las Vegas will thank you.

2. Berating other players
This is worse than splitting 10s. Splitting 10s just ruins your own karma. Openly criticizing the play of others ruins the experience for everyone. Part of what makes Vegas fun is six or seven people of varying skill levels can sit down together and enjoy the same game at the same time. They can gamble, socialize, talk, laugh, drink and have a good time together. But it takes just one loudmouth to complain about how others are playing to ruin the fun. Don't be that guy.

Oh yeah, don't be this guy either.

1. Getting drunk at the table
There is nothing worse than a drunk guy at the table. It's worse than the guy that criticizes other players. The drunk guy draws attention away from the game and to himself. He slows the pace of play to a crawl. He forces the dealer to focus on making sure he's made a decision instead of the actual game itself. His breath stinks. He could topple over at any moment and knock you down. He could just barf on the table. Or he could be engaging in crazy drunk talk which prevents other players from enjoying the game. Anything is possible a drunk guy at the table, so my plea to you is don't do it. I know the booze is free when you're playing. But don't get drunk on it. Don't get drunk while you're playing. Don't play when you're drunk. It ruins the whole experience for everyone else.

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Best of Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan

Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.

Vin Narayanan
Vin Narayanan is the managing editor at Casino City. When he's not writing or editing stories, he likes to play Chinese Poker, Badugi, Razz and any other "non-traditional" poker game. He also thinks blackjack is his best game and loves game theory.

Before joining Casino City, Vin covered (not all at the same time) sports, politics and elections, wars, technology, celebrities and the Census for USATODAY.com, USA WEEKEND and CNN.

A proud graduate of Michigan State University, Vin can be found on most nights and weekends trying to find a way to watch the Spartans play football or basketball.