Thursday, March 25, 2010

January 2010, Las Vegas Trip Report, - Planet Hollywood Review

Life consists not in holding good cards but in playing those you hold well. - Josh Billings

Planet Hollywood was nicer overall than I expected but my expectations were rather low. Our room seemed small but it did have a good view of the strip and the new City Center. It was decorated with stuff from a crappy movie (Judge Dredd) that, to me, seemed cheesy instead of cool. I vastly prefered Caesar’s Palace where the rooms were much more luxurious, seemed larger, and the overall d├ęcor was more attractive. I would rate the rooms at PHO as comparable to Treasure Island but better than Excalibur or Sahara (the other hotels I have personally stayed at).

I do not know who conceived of the idea first, but PHO has this area of the main casino floor called the “Pleasure Pit”. All the dealers/game assistants are exceptionally beautiful women with attractive well maintained bodies. Caesar’s had a similar area outside their poker room, when I was there in 2007, named after the Pussycat Dolls. Do you think the casinos know that sex sells, huh? While at PHO, I did not notice very many working girls, if any. One would think lurking near the Pleasure Pit late night would yield a decent living. On the otherhand, maybe the girls in the Pleasure Pit are the working girls? Now there’s an interesting thought.

The music piped into the casino and poker room is surprisingly good - mostly classic and modern rock with some pop mixed in. I would rate the music as better than what I have encountered at other places.

As for the poker room, it was adequate but nothing special. It is not really separated from the rest of the casino and with some slots and such nearby; there is an abundance of unnecessary noise, smoke, etc. The tables were in good shape but, surprisingly, they did not have the automatic shuffling machines that I have become accustomed to. The dealers actually have to shuffle the cards between hands; meaning less hands per hour and the decks are probably not as well randomized. Despite rather garish colors and attire for most of the casino and staff, the poker dealer shirts were drab and bordered on ugly. Like every place I have been, they have a variety of types of dealers. I like dealers that are friendly and humorous. IMO, Dealers that are entertaining generate better tips. My award for funniest/most entertaining dealer (hands down) goes to Stefen – the thin Scotsman that was always lightning fast with humorous remarks and needles. Honorable Mention goes to Ryan, whose girlfriend plays high stakes and passed him juicy anecdotes about some well known high stakes players that he would share with the table for entertainment.

Another important measure of a good poker room is the cocktail service. Is it quick and efficient or do you have to leave the table to go in search of beer when needed? Are the waitresses shapely and easy on the eyes or are they portly and missing teeth? PHO had a good wait staff. They never seemed to disappear and they brought drinks promptly. They also wore uniforms that served them very well in helping them to enhance the experience of the patrons. I, myself, was served particularly well by Brandy, an attentive and highly attractive young woman.

The undisputed King of the PHO poker room is the courteous and sharply dressed, Joe Viator. Joe, and his team, made me feel quite comfortable in their domain and I had a good time even though I did not win. I definitely think Joe is way ahead of the curve technologically for using Twitter to reach more potential customers. After I introduced myself to him, and we talked about poker bloggers and such, he left me with a nice souvenir chip set as a parting gift.

Overall, while I would not recommend the hotel itself as a place to stay, I do recommend the Planet Hollywood poker room as a place that is fun to play and one that I plan to return to.

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