Chasing the jackpot


Will Kanamu

One of the Nissan GT-R available to drive and Exotic Racing

By Chris Kanamu, Staff Writer

In Las Vegas, a.k.a. “Sin City,” anything can happen. It is where you can experience different parts of the world without ever leaving the United States. For a 21-year-old the city holds many wonders just waiting to be discovered.

I recently had a chance to experience the wonders of Las Vegas for myself. On the plane ride there, I was a little anxious because I didn’t know what to expect. Although it wasn’t my first time visiting Vegas, it was my first time visiting as a 21-year-old; with a pair of “fresh eyes,” the wait to do anything was finally over.

The atmosphere is a little overwhelming at first. While driving through the famous Las Vegas strip on the way to my hotel I couldn’t help but notice how bright everything seemed. On every corner there seemed to be huge T.V. screens broadcasting what each hotel had to offer. There were also the famous signs of each hotel flashing in almost every color you can imagine. Another thing that took a little bit of time to get use to was that I could literally take my drink anywhere even have it with me in public. This was mind blowing to me because in Hawaii you aren’t allowed to have alcohol in public, yet in Las Vegas it’s perfectly acceptable to drink while doing a little shopping or seeing the sights. Probably the best drink is the alcoholic slushies that most hotels sell. They come in all different flavors and are mixed with almost any type of hard alcohol.

One of the many slot machines in a casino that paid out $1,000
Chris Kanamu
One of the many slot machines in a casino that paid out $1,000

After getting to my hotel and checking into my room, I first wanted to was gamble. I decided to try my luck on the slot machines to see if I could win anything on my first go. My dad, who was very excited that I could finally gamble, pulled out a $100 bill and told me to put it in the machine. How quickly that went.

As the trip progressed I learned a few tricks on how to “beat the odds.” First of all, always hit max bet especially if you are playing on the dollar machines and upward. Secondly, always set a goal or limit for yourself to know when to walk away. For example when I would put in a $100 I would only play to $50 or if I won I would only stay on the machine until I made it to at least $200. Once I hit those goals I would cash out and go to the same machine and either use up the rest of what I had if I was losing or put in a new bill if I was winning. Third, never drink and gamble at the same time. No matter how tempting it is to say, “yes” or “I’ll take one” to the waitress who walks around asking anyone if he/she wants a cocktail, you want to be very aware of what you are doing when gambling because before you know it all your money could be gone. Last but certainly not least, by any and all means, always set a budget that you are going to use just for gambling for each day you are there. This not only helps you keep track of how much you are up or down by but it also helps prevent you from losing money all at once.

My tricks worked, and I came home with more than four times the money I took.

The best experience I had by far was racing a Nissan GT-R at Exotic Racing located next to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It is about a 15-20 minute drive from downtown Las Vegas. At Exotic Racing, the cost varies in racing the cars; however, with an inventory of over 60 super cars, it’s an opportunity not to pass up. The cost of racing 7 laps in the GT-R was about $300 — it was worth every penny. There is a driving instructor in the car with you the entire time, to help you navigate Exotic Racing’s privately owned racetrack. With their help you are able to push the car to its limit. My best lap was about 59 seconds with speed topping at about 120 mph.

Visiting Las Vegas at least once in your adult life is a must. To be able to experience all the glitz and glamour is something that can’t be found anywhere else in the world. It is one of the best experiences someone can get, especially if it is your first time and you have “beginner’s luck.”