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Best of Barney Vinson

Gaming Guru

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Barney Vinson's World

19 October 2001

Planning a trip to Las Vegas in the near future? Each month we'll spotlight a different casino so you'll get a better idea of what each one has to offer. This month, it's Treasure Island on the Vegas Strip, where you can feast, plunder, and valet park.

This peach-colored resort resembles an 18th century pirate village -- complete with rustic buildings, a sparkling bay, a raging sea battle, and even a casino! It's "Pirates of the Caribbean" in 3-D, and a definite must-see for landlubbers and scurvy dogs alike.

Take the monorail from the Mirage next door, or walk if it's a pretty day. Look for Skull Point behind Buccaneer Bay, and see if you can figure out why it has such a grisly name. Stand on the wooden dock and watch the waters gently lap down below. (Motorized wave machines make it happen.) Just beyond the bay is the pirate village, jutting out from the walls of an old mission. Aye, it's here, matey, that the excitement begins.

See the sea battle between the pirate ship Hispaniola and the British frigate HMS Britannia. This mock battle in Buccaneer Bay is the best free show you'll ever see. The British fire a warning shot that just misses the pirate ship. Boom, the pirates answer: and there's a hole in the British topsail. Kaboom from the British: smoke from the pirate ship. Boom boom: British. Boom: pirate ship. One ship sinks, one stays afloat. Find out who wins every 90 minutes after 4 p.m.

By the way, when you watch the sea battle you will see pirates and sailors tumbling off their ships into the water below -- and they fall into that water no matter how cold it is. So the next time your job starts getting you down, think about those poor stuntmen at Treasure Island.

Now that the show's over, go inside. Decorated in gold and white-washed tones, the hotel has the feel of an old Caribbean pirate hideaway. No detail is overlooked, from the balcony fashioned of an old ship stern to the skeleton of a pirate who fought to his death for a treasure chest.

Is all this making you hungry? Then head for the Treasure Island buffet, the Delicatessen, Starbucks Coffee, Krispy Kreme, Kahunaville, the Terrace Cafe, the Steak House, Madam Ching's, Francesco's, or Buccaneer Bay. Bars and shops include Hideaway Lounge, Battle Bar, Swashbuckler's Bar, Gold Bar, the Crow's Nest, Damsels in Dis Dress, the Candy Reef, and Captain Kids. All they need is a jewelry store called Long John's Silver.

For a memorable night, make reservations for dinner at Buccaneer Bay. The food is excellent, and you can watch the naval battle right from your crescent-shaped window.

See Cirque du Soleil's "Mystère." For the price, this is unquestionably the best show in town. It's an artsy kind of circus without the animals, but it has everything else: acrobats, stilt-walkers, clowns, comedians, actors, musicians, magic, and mystery. My wife liked it so much she started crying, and so did I when I got the bill. Don't worry about the show ending any time in the near future. Treasure Island spokesmen say "Mystère" will be there forever!

Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson

Barney Vinson
Barney Vinson is one of the most popular and best-selling gaming authors of all time. He is the author of Ask Barney, Las Vegas: Behind the Tables, Casino Secrets, Las Vegas Behind the Tables Part II, and Chip-Wrecked in Las Vegas. His newest book, a novel, is The Vegas Kid.

Books by Barney Vinson:

> More Books By Barney Vinson