Reflections on Gambling

I know I’ve been radio silent on Twitter (yes, it’s still and always will be Twitter; I refuse to call it X) for the past few months. As I gear up for my #AnnualDestinationBirthdayPartyInLasVegas later this week, I wanted to check in and give an update on where I am at and share some lessons I’ve learned, as well as post my gambling plans to help hold myself accountable. 

I don’t know the best way to start this, but lest I get in my head and talk myself out of writing it, I’m just going to dive in; I’m typing this in one go, and posting it the same night — I hope you enjoy.


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18 Months

This week, I celebrated 1 year and 6 months off the sauce. 

In Las Vegas, of all places.

If you had asked me two years ago, I would have never thought I would be — or could be — writing this post. 

It’s been 553 days since my last drink, and it still feels surreal to type that. I don’t really know what I’m trying to say or how to say it. But I feel the need to say something, so here goes nothing.

To cut to the chase, I’ll be honest: I’ve had a problematic relationship with alcohol since the first time I got drunk at 18.

The nagging voice of denial in the back of my mind stubbornly refuses to admit that I’m an alcoholic. But I’d be kidding myself if I didn’t admit that I exhibited some concerning drinking habits, that my relationship with alcohol was unhealthy, that I was speeding towards rock bottom, and that something needed to change.

Here’s my story.


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Momma’s Destination Birthday Party in Las Vegas: Day 3

My mom and I both sleep in, giving our bodies time to heal our fresh ink.

She texts me that she’s going to take a bath in her soaking tub, and we plan to meet after. Unfortunately her bath is cut short by a call from her sister that my grandpa has fallen and broke his hip. He’s fortunately alright, but that puts a damper on the final day. On my way to the room, I find a discarded White Claw box in the hall, so I crack one.

Not a huge fan of the Claw, but free is free.

My mom and I check out at the last possible minute (protip: ALWAYS ask if they have complimentary late checkout to score an extra hour) and drop our bags at the bell desk, which is quite crowded, and head to the Strip for our last few hours.

A $0 room at the Cosmopolitan is almost as beautiful as the view from the room.


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Momma’s Destination Birthday Party in Las Vegas: Day 1

The genesis of this trip is simultaneously wholesome… and as degenerate as usual.

It all started with an offer for two comp nights at the Cosmopolitan, as well as a free companion room, that expired at the end of April 2021. (Loyal readers will know this stems from the generosity of my friend Costas, who springs for a fountain view terrace for my birthday and lets me put the points on my card).

Naturally, being the degenerate I am, I’ve got the itch to go to Vegas, but also the wherewithal to know we’re still in the midst of a pandemic and that I *probably* shouldn’t go. So I call my mom — who in addition to being my voice of reason, is also a nurse — to talk me down from the Vegas ledge.

And let’s just say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. After explaining the situation, my mom goes “Well, you wear a mask and are safe. And you live alone and work from home, so it’s low risk. I say you go.” As my mind begins to swim with the possibilities of my first Vegas trip since attending the reopening in June, she delivers coup de grace to any semblance of pandemic responsibility with the magic words “if you can’t find anyone to go with you, my birthday is in April and I’d go [since I’m fully vaccinated since January].”


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El Cortez Match Play

Sometimes the best kept secrets are right there in front of you, and you just have to be in the know enough to ask. That’s definitely the case at one of my favorite downtown grind joints, as even *I* was surprised to discover my last trip.

Although many may underestimate the yellow-tinted and heavily-perfumed dive, it turns out they offer one of the best free deals in Las Vegas!

The El Cortez has an excellent deal (that amounts to about $40 worth of match play, free play, and drinks) if you show the player’s club a boarding pass from any airline within 24 hours of landing.


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Viva Las Value would not be possible without the endless support of my incredible family and friends. It’s impossible to articulate how amazing these people are; they deserve much more…

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VLV Recommends

Las Vegas is exciting because it is full of options! But this can also be overwhelming when trying to plan a vacation; there are so many possibilities, it’s hard to know which are worthwhile and which will be a waste of your time/money.

Here at Viva Las Value, I’m committed to helping you find the best value in Las Vegas and sharing my experiences — the good, the bad, and the ugly. While I recognize that experiences differ for everyone, I hope that my recommendations can help give you some clarity and direction.

The following will be a dynamic, growing, and evolving list of attractions/services that I have personal experience with and recommend.


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