My trip to Vegas

July 21st, 2012


Oh I am super excited about my reporting of the ESC, I was tweeting as it would have closed its doors and I’m still at the airport in Chicago. In fact I got home super happy, super frustrated and over jetlagged since Monday. I finally landed at the Paris Hotel Casino, Las Vegas. Nadia inviting me, put the dishes in the great, limousine waiting for me at the airport and large double room on the Vegas Strip, just minutes from the Venetian and its dedicated lounges at CES.

I wake up on Wednesday, July 5 in the morning at 7:00 local time. Great shape to start this show of a few thousand square meters. I go down to take a well deserved breakfast buffet when the cruel reality of America and the Sin City caught up with me. To the question of where can I find an espresso, the waitress dressed in traditional costume from Greece (one is at the Paris Hotel and while smelling the false France, like any fake environment expected in a casino city) therefore answers “Not here” with a big smile sorry or even a small trace of sadism on the edge. I start to cry all the tears in my body, wondering where I could find a real coffee.

So armed with a closed cup, filled with a flavored water arabica, with American, I’m heading on foot towards the Venetian Casino and its first conference. In fact I see the CEO of Nvidia Tegra will speak to his ARM chip associated with a graphics chipset for the brand. Big conference packed with people, about 500 devices that seek to suck Fi network in parallel for live-blogging or twitter the word. I cook the big print in the middle of the appetite of all those small-Fi networks, microwave atmosphere. Everyone is on edge and rightly so, everyone sniffs the arrival of the Tegra 2 double heart and its performance. This is powerful for gamers or online poker players.

It does not miss and I frankly find it difficult to remain calm in my chair when we are planning a live video tour of a smartphone Tegra 2 which displays a 3D multiplayer game based on the Unreal Engine. Nothing unusual except that a priori a large PC and PS3 were running right next to the same game, or 3 players found themselves in competition. Nvidia promised performance-type console for its chip, the brand has not lied. It’s pretty amazing to see a phone from a few millimeters thick, powered by a tiny battery, provide the performance of PlayStation 2 network.

With the arrival of Android 3.0 is a whole armada of machines that can compete with today’s portable consoles that will sweep the market. Apple iPad after his very casual, Nintendo and Sony will be faced with manufacturers like Samsung, Asus, Motorola, Acer and many others who will benefit from a common pool of gaming development that has already proven itself. Flagship titles on the Market of Google or Appstore have proven direct profitability of an investment well worth it to current conditions of the developers console. A gene pool of true originality, novelty, where a single individual with talent and a good idea can hold its own in the game. These devices are leading a revolution in online gaming and online casinos are fiercly trying to grab their market share.

This was indeed a great trip to Las Vegas.

Casino Cruises

April 21st, 2012


How to combine the fun of gambling with the drift of the waters: book a casino cruise.

One might feel that the word ‘casino cruises’ is a new trend in gambling games. But the truth is that this is one of the oldest forms of gambling at casino games. Long back when gambling was not legalized in the US, betting in the ships was the only way that gamers could play their favorite casino games. Nowadays, river cruise gaming is an added recreational modification that increases the fun of casino gaming. In the 19th century, riverboat casinos in the Mississippi river were the main centers where expert gamblers hunted down the rich merchants.

Times have changed and so has the image about casino cruises. Earlier, this kind of gambling was a sign of power and lifestyle and now things have changed and there are even people who gift a boat Casino for their parents or even grandparents on their wedding anniversary. On a boat ride, you get to enjoy the beauty of the nature, the seas, its silence and its sounds. This when combined with your love for gambling can light up your day. If you are a gambling enthusiast, you can turn any of your vacation with friends and family, for days or weeks into the most enjoyable and memorable one with a gambling cruise trip.

Gambling produced critical aftereffects and therefore pure gambling has been banned in many cities and states in US. When this restriction came into effect, the casinos found their way into the seas whereby they moved into international waters and then operated the casino from that unregulated location.

There are several different kinds of casino cruises available. There are day trips and even those that operate overnight. In the day casino trips, the first half of the hour is spent in travelling across the border so that the casinos will not have to abide by the government casino restrictions. The day cruises are mainly of four to five hours and this time frame ensures that the players do not fall into debt. When the time ends, it is mandatory to make the final move and end the game.

But, in an overnight cruise casino, there is ample time to gamble and have fun. These are usually luxury cruise ships which often have other entertainment forms besides the casino. With so much time available, the gamblers run a risk of playing endlessly into a bankrupt situation and even engaging into fights. But, whenever the player feels like quitting, he can stop the game and engage himself in other entertainment venues. But, the problem with this overnight luxury cruise is that, it is very expensive and has been created for the elite class.

There are casino cruises that even last for a week. This is the ultimate destination for a week on board with only gambling running through the mind and body. Before opting for a gambling cruise, enquire about the company that runs the casino and its reputation. A good cruise ship company will also provide other good amenities beside the reputed casino facility.

Atlantis Casino in the Bahamas

January 27th, 2012

Vacation in the Bahamas – Exploring the Tropical Paradise on Earth

A vacation in the Bahamas is the dream of every traveler; sinking your toes into the white sands and gazing out into the horizon of the pristine blue beaches is an unforgettable experience. There is a sense of belonging and extraordinary calmness that you experience in this tropical paradise on Earth.

The Bahamas is a bunch of islands and you can either explore just one or all of these depending on your travel budget. The most popular one among these has to be the capital city, Nassau or New Providence Island. A vacation in the Bahamas is simply incomplete without a visit to the Paradise Island which is a neighbor of Nassau. You can either opt to do everything that your heart fancies here or simply kick back your shoes and do nothing but laze around all day. This tropical heaven is infused with the right dose of international glamour to make it vibrant yet rejuvenating for all kinds of tourists.

A special mention has to be given to the Atlantis Beach Resort on Paradise Island which is bound to take your breath away. This ocean-themed destination is a complete world in itself with different types of accommodations, fine dining experience and activities. You must stay at the Beach or the Coral Towers if you want to indulge and rejuvenate your senses in sheer luxury and elegance. If it is modern contemporary luxury that you seek, then head for the The Cove Atlantis and if it is a piece of historical architecture that you are after, then stay at the iconic Royal Towers.

A vacation in the Bahamas especially in Atlantis also means a gastronomic journey. This beach resort has a whopping 21 different restaurants and 19 bars so that guests can enjoy any kind of cuisine that they fancy. There are gourmet culinary delights, family meals and endless buffets to choose from to satisfy the taste buds of each person. There are plenty of activities that you can take up at the Atlantis and some of the these include watching dolphins play at the Dolphin Cay, splashing out in the 141-acre water theme park, learn about coral reefs at the Kerzner Marine Foundation, experience the wonders of marine habitat and party away into the night at the various discos and pubs.

As night beckons, your vacation in the Bahamas takes on a different turn on Paradise Island. The doors of the Atlantis Casino are thrown open to the public. The innovative design, breathtaking sculptures, skylights and interior décor is bound to enthrall you. And if this is not enough, this casino offers a world class gaming experience with more than 80 types of table games and slot machines.

And for many a vacation in the Bahamas means a declaration of love. This tropical paradise is the best place to take or renew your wedding vows. The wide expanse of the sparkling blue water, heaven above and the white sands will make anyone fall in love over and over again.

Swiss entertainment

June 3rd, 2011

Switzerland is not the destination most people have in mind when thinking of an exotic destination, especially Europeans. But it is all a question of perspective, as exotic means ‘of foreign origin or character’, so for people living in the Maldives for example, Switzerland would be a very exotic trip to make.

Switzerland is interesting for numerous reasons, having a rich history as a starter. It was inhabited by a tribe called the Helvetii at the time of the Roman Empire and Julius Caesar narrates in his majestic work ‘Commentarii de Bello Gallico’ about the Gallic Wars how they had decided to burn they country down and to wander erratically in what is now the south of France. Certainly a more civilized conduct followed in the next two millennium.

The Swiss are famous for their watches of course such as their Rolex Watches, their cheese and their ski resorts. What is quite unique among other European countries is the high altitude, as Switzerland sits on part of the Alps. This implies that the country has always been somehow isolated and this is one reason why they have maintained their neutrality in time of war for a very long time.

So if you are looking for nice sunny beaches, better look somewhere else to the south as they have no sea at all. But they have beautiful lakes such as Lake Léman. If you like mountains and culture, this is a country you will enjoy, either in the summer or the winter, depending if you prefer skying or hiking. They have also great food due to the influence of their French neighbors to the West and Italians to the South.

Last but not least they also have quite a few casinos, in fact this is the European country with the most casinos. Here again for historical reasons, as the wealthy people who used to do their private banking or their thermal spa vacation in Switzerland liked also to do some roulette during their leisure time. The history of casinos starts in Europe and such games where played by the nobility or the ultra rich. It is only recently that the Americans have made it a mass market, starting in Las Vegas. So high rollers are familiar with names such as Casino Geneva or Grand Casino Baden in Zurich.

Don’s miss a chance to visit Switzerland, this country has a lot to offer.

Gambling in Macau

February 5th, 2011

Stanley HoMacau is an interesting mix of Portuguese and Chinese culture. It is a good example of how history is ever present, as Macau is one of the reminiscences of 16th Century history when Europe and China clashed. Even more interestingly many hundreds of years later it became the Asian capital of gambling, and three recent news highlight this fact.

First it was reported that some of the top poker players in the world congregated in Macau to play against wealthy businessmen in million dollar duels. Prominent members of Full Tilt Poker such as Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan as well as Titan Poker Sam Trickett made the trip in pre-organized games. Tom in particular is rumored to have won over 6 million dollars in one particular match.

As Full Tilt was closed for a long time, Titan Poker meanwhile remained the home of Sam Trickett since 2010. Note that the Titan Poker bonus for new players is one of the largest in the industry, register and you can see these pros playing online poker and learn from them. The story is that Las Vegas used to be the place where the highest stakes ring games were played daily, but now it is said that these games are drying up. But the action is moving to the East and with the economic rise of China, successful and wealthy Chinese businessmen are keen on challenging the best players in their home turf at high rollers casinos in Macau.

The second piece of news goes in the same vein as it was reported that the profits from gambling in Macau are skyrocketing while Las Vegas is still in a deep recession. By some measures the profits of Macau would be currently a few times the profits of all casinos in Las Vegas. Here again this shows how the tide is moving to Asia in many aspects of wealth creation and spending. The nouveau rich from China are big spenders and big gamblers and as casino gambling is illegal in Mainland China and Hong Kong, they come to Macau in droves, as well as other Asians.

Finally the third relevant news that came out in the past few weeks is about Stanley Ho, who is the tycoon controlling the casino monopoly in Macau (shown in the picture). He is in the middle of some legal battles against two of his four wives and ex-wives with regard to his inheritance and how it will be split among his 17 children. At 91 years old, he remains the leading and most recognized figure of Macau, but his relatives are not waiting for his death to start already trying to get a share of his many billions.

Stanley Ho is certainly one of the savviest businessmen from Asia, as he managed to obtain the gambling monopoly from the Macau Government in 1961 and still owns it to this day.

Playing Poker while traveling

August 23rd, 2010

Although poker has remained consistently popular ever since its inception, over time different variations of the game rose to prominence. Three games in particular could be said to have dominated the poker scene at different points in history and defined what the majority of gamblers were playing.

The complexity of poker has certainly increased from the earliest variations, leading to the ultimate dominance of one particular type of poker that today is the most popular and frequently played at online poker rooms.

The game of 5 Card Draw, although not particularly popular during the Civil War, suddenly shot to prominence following it and became the most popular variation of poker for almost an entire century. Difficulty arose when the morality of gambling was being questioned, as it often still is, and the state of Nevada decided that running a betting game was a felony. A law was passed to enforce this, supposedly making all forms of poker off limits.

However, the Attorney General of California questioned Nevada’s legislation. It was proposed that as Draw variations of poker were based on skill rather than on luck or chance, the anti-gambling laws could not apply to them. Stud poker, on the other hand, which was definitely a chance based game, was deemed illegal. Since Draw was the only legal game left on offer, Draw poker games had a great opportunity to develop and grow, until eventually Nevada reversed the law in 1931 and casino gambling was legalised.

Just prior to the start of WWII, the 7 Card Stud variation of poker increased in popularity and overtook 5 Card Draw as the country’s favourite game. For about forty years 7 Card Stud remained top of the table, riding the booming business that flooded into the newly developed casino industry of Las Vegas.

It was during the 1970s that the so called “Cadillac of poker” arose. Texas Hold’Em shot into the public eye when it was featured as the important title game in the World Series of Poker, and since then it has remained the top dog of poker variations. Although other types of poker are still played such as Omaha, Manila and Razz, it is almost impossible to compete with the popularity of No Limit Texas Hold’Em.

Casino or culture, Singapore brings tourists

June 23rd, 2010

What makes Singapore an attractive tourist destination? Casinos or culture?

cute girls gambling

Since Singapore has reduced its exports of electronic components, they are now trying to develop the tourism industry to bring new income to the island-city. As China grows and wins the world, it can expect to prosper from its casinos and roulette strategies as well. Singapore is not exactly mainland China, rather a satellite Chinese economy. As the most modern and wealthy Chinese location, it has led the way for China in many respects.

However, Singapore has a major handicap: it has no Angkor Wat or Taj Mahal as a major touristic attraction unlike most of its neighbors, or tropical beaches and diving spots. For foreigners, Singapore is not the favorite destination but rather a flying hub leading to more exciting countries. Most travelers only spend a few days, so the introduction of casinos is an attempt to attract a different breed of visitors as well as to keep the existing ones longer.

With the new generation of Chinese and the influence of Indians and other Asians who start to travel around the world, Singapore has begun to work on new attractions, including two casinos, a theme park by Universal Studio and French style tourist boats (bateaux mouches).

Other projects to give Singapore a different cachet include the opening of clubs and film clubs, and the famous car racing of the famous Formula One, hoping to attract tourists from other continents. Citigroup, the group responsible for this project, hopes to generate a profit of between $ 150 and $ 200 million per year, and thereby show that Singapore has changed. Creating a Formula One circuit is certainly a brilliant idea, but it does not have no local flavor, does it?

As for the new casinos, they should be similar to those already present in Macao. Faced with all these radical changes, local residents remain skeptical. For them, the establishment of a Formula One circuit is a way to get free publicity. Regarding the casinos that should be opening soon, there was a petition up against the project, criticizing the evils of gaming on families and young people, adding that these venues may attract the local population more than the tourists.

Some deplore this change of the city, thinking that Singapore is seeking to become a modern city and delete all its history and culture in the process, to make way for a city that can be found anywhere, which also represents the end of Chinatown, famous for its shopping.

Time will tell how the casinos perform and if international gamblers really decide to make Singapore a new stop on their routes. The Marina Bay Sands is a very beautiful casino hotel and there is no reason to believe that it will not be a success.

The ultimate guide to Las Vegas golf

April 28th, 2010

Golf in Las Vegas is plentiful. Before, golf wasn’t really a big reason to come to Las Vegas. Most of the people coming to Las Vegas were there hoping to make a big roulette winning of just wanted to play video poker. As nowadays gamblers can play online roulette from home, more and more people are coming to the Sin City for other attractions, such as golf. At last count, there were more than 60 golf courses within an hour of Las Vegas.

These are the very best golf courses in the United States. In 1967, there were only fourteen golf courses. In 1984, they built Spanish Trail and that was the first golf course that had been built here in 19 years. That opened the floodgates. After that they opened one after another. Here are some of the most popular golf courses.

The Wynn

3131 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89109
888-320-7122
www.wynnlasvegas.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $500
Comment: It’s very exclusive. It’s like Shadow Creek used to be. I believe you have to be staying at the Wynn to play there. It’s expensive, but it’s very reminiscent of Shadow Creek. As I understand it, it’s as good as or better than Shadow Creek. It’s got to be great. Plus it’s a Fazio course, which is as good as it gets.

Cascata

One Cascata Drive
Boulder City, NV 89005
702-294-2000
www.caesars.com/Cascata
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $300–$500
Comment: Cascata is spectacular. It winds right through the mountains and it’s hard to believe that they built a golf course there. They have a river that goes right through the clubhouse. It’s just amazing. Each hole practically sits by itself. You can hardly see any other hole except the one you’re playing. You’re hitting it down these canyons and around and they’ve got waterfalls. When you finish, you drive your cart in underneath the clubhouse and they take good care of you.

Rio Secco

2851 Grand Hills Drive
Henderson, NV 89052
888-TO-SECCO
www.harrahs.com/our_casinos/rlv/rio_secco/
Courses: 1 (18 holes) Rates: $100-$150
Comment: Rio Secco is also home of the Butch Harman School. It’s a demanding little golf course that goes in and out of these little arroyos. It’s a beautiful layout that overlooks the city. At certain holes you can see right through the city. One of the hardest holes up there is number five. It’s a demanding little dog leg left with a tough tee shot and then you’ve got an elevated green. The Rio Secco has a beautiful little clubhouse. It’s very well decorated and has a nice meeting room and a second bar sitting in the dining area.

The Falls at Lake Las Vegas

600 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89011
877-698-4653
www.lakelasvegas.com/golf_falls.asp Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $160-$275
Comment: The Falls is a spectacular venue. You play an uphill par five up in the far corner of the golf course. The hole that you see in all the magazines is a sharp dog leg right. From the tee, you’re looking over the entire city from east to west. The clubhouse was voted best golf shop in the chapter. They have all the amenities. They have a beautiful brand new driving range and the area is so beautiful because it’s right on Lake Las Vegas. It’s absolutely gorgeous.

Reflection Bay at Lake Las Vegas

1600 Lake Las Vegas Pkwy.
Henderson, NV 89011
877-698-4653
www.lakelasvegas.com/golf_reflection.asp
Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $160-$275
Comment: Reflection Bay goes right around the Hyatt Regency Hotel. They have five or six holes right on the lake. They go right along the lake and they have a spectacular par three, which carries on the water to almost an island green, about three-quarters water. They’ve got everything: a beautiful clubhouse, a golf shop that is second to none, and with all the staff you never have to touch your golf clubs.

Bali Hai

Golf Club
5160 Las Vegas Blvd. South
Las Vegas, NV 89119
888-427-6678
www.balihaigolfclub.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $125-$325
Comment: Bali High is probably one of the finest resort golf courses in the world. Number one, it’s right on the strip. On a lot of the holes, you’re looking up towards the Mandalay Bay Hotel. They created the golf course in a South Pacific style. They have lagoons and waterfalls and the clubhouse is spectacular. It’s all done in south seas décor and tiki hut fashion. It’s extremely upscale and the service is unparalleled. When you sign up in the golf shop, you are escorted to your personal caddie and cart at your starting time. When you’re on the course, you’ve got club hosts, which are checking up on you to make sure everything is okay. Their golf shop is also nationally recognized.

Revere Golf Club

2600 Hampton Road
Henderson, NV 89052
877-2Revere
www.reveregolf.com
Courses: 2 (36 holes)
Rates: Lexington: $130-$240, Concord: $115-$200
Comment: It’s all done after colonial times. The golf shop kind of runs that theme out. The golf course is very player friendly and a few holes carry ravines. It just sits up on the side of the hill in the southeast part of the valley, so you’re looking back over the whole valley in a lot of the venues. It’s a very playable golf course, an enjoyable golf course to play.

Badlands Golf Club

9119 Alta Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89145
800-470-4622
www.badlandsgc.com
Courses: 3 (27 holes) Rates: $50-$70
Comment: Badlands is a shorter target golf course. By that I mean you have a lot of holes you need to lay up on. On the first eighteen that they designed (Johnny Miller designed it) there are a lot of lay-up holes by virtue of the fact that there is not much land. By that I mean there are washes that go through there, so you have to work around that. There are definitely a lot of lay-up shots where you can’t really let it go with the driver. They built a third nine which is probably the best of three.

Paiute

10325 Nu-Wav Kaiv Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV 89124
866-284-2833
www.lvpaiutegolf.com
Courses: 3 (54 holes)
Rates: Sun $85-$165, Snow $85-$185, Wolf $105-$215
Comment: Paiute has three eighteen-hole golf courses (Snow, Sun, and Wolf). They’re all done by Pete Dye and they’re spectacular. You can tell they were designed by Pete Dye, there’s no question about that. It’s hard to believe, but they have a lot of water features out there. A lot of lakes, which is interesting in the desert. It’s about twenty miles out of town, so it’s a really peaceful setting. There is nothing between the mountains and that golf course, so it is very desolate and peaceful. All three golf courses are very well done. The amenities here, because they get so much play from out of town people, are great. They have a huge golf shop.

Tournament Players Club at Summerlin

1700 Village Center Circle
Las Vegas, NV 89134
702-256-0111
www.tpcsummerlin.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: Inquire within
Comment: That’s where they hold the Las Vegas Invitational. It’s a really good tour course. By that I mean they have all kinds of shops. The course plays pretty fast and has the Bermuda fairways, which play pretty quick. They just redid the greens and they’re very fast. It’s an extremely well done championship layout. You can shoot low number, but you can’t make any mistakes. There are holes there that require attention. You can’t just let it fly.

Dragonridge Country Club

552 South Stephanie Street
Henderson, NV 89012
877-855-1505
www.dragonridgegolf.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: Inquire within
Comment: Dragonridge is way up in the corner by Anthem. It has a lot of elevation to work with. So you get a lot of shots you hit down into a fairway. You’re going up over hills, so it’s a very challenging golf course. It’s well done. It’s got some different kinds of shots that you’re going to have to play. It’s relatively new for the area and they’re just now getting their membership filled out.

Wolf Creek Golf Club

403 Paradise Pkwy. Mesquite, NV 89027
866-252-4653
www.golfwolfcreek.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $85-$180
Comment: The second tee there is 100 steps up from the number one green. So you’re hitting down at this fairway and you’re up there so high it’s almost hard to take a swing, you feel like you’re going to fall off. They’ve got three or four holes like that. You hit way down into a valley and it’s unbelievable. You’ve got waterfalls going up through the mountain side and it’s incredible. It’s an attraction to get you to go to Mesquite, which sits about 80 miles from Las Vegas.

Siena Golf Club

10575 Siena Monte Avenue
Las Vegas, NV 89135
888-689-6499
www.sienagolfclub.com
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $145-$175
Comment: The Siena is a real playable golf course. It’s not exceptionally long and it’s a beautiful venue. The layout is done really well. They have some lake features, beautiful rolling greens, and it’s a fun golf course to play. You don’t have to break your back playing it. It’s a joy.

Bear’s Best

11111 W. Flamingo Road
Las Vegas, NV 89135
866-385-8500
www.bearsbest.com/vegas/
Courses: 1 (18 holes)
Rates: $195-$245, twilght rates available
Comment: Bear’s Best copies the holes that Jack Nicklaus designed for other courses. So you get all these different venues. It’s very attractive to play. They’re set up extremely well for golf. The clubhouse is modest and it’s designed for the player who comes into town. They have all the amenities; the driving range is really nice. Then when you get out on the golf course, you get a chance to look at 18 pretty unique holes.

Tournament Players Club at The Canyon’s

9851 Canyon Run Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89144
702-256-2500
www.tpc.com/daily/the_canyons
Courses: 1 (18 Holes)
Rates: $75-$265
Comment: TPC Canyons, as the name implies, has a canyon that goes right through it. It’s very demanding on your tee shot and it’s also one of the golf courses they use for the Las Vegas Invitational. If the wind blows a little bit up there, you’ve really got all you can handle. It’s a good golf course, nicely designed, and it’s relatively difficult. It’s a golf course that you need to do some thinking on. You can’t just stand up there with your driver. You’ve got to put it in position and go from there.

Monte Carlo

March 23rd, 2010

Monte Carlo Casino

The Monte Carlo Casino

Monaco is a name bringing thoughts of wealth and splendor.

A remnant of the historical past of Europe, it is an independent State, even though it is a tiny city-state inside metropolitan France with no army to defend itself and a population of only 33,000 people. Monte Carlo is the most famous neighborhood in Monaco, and this is where the famous casino is located.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo is a treasure of the Belle Epoque, but also the reference with respect to gambling for all players in Europe. Its building was built in 1863 by Charles Garnier to whom we also owe many monuments in France, including the opera that bears his name in Paris.

Overlooking the Mediterranean, the casino has seen the high society of yesterday and today in a magnificent setting made of sculptures and bas-reliefs, frescoes, marble and gold. It is in the same building that is housed the Opera de Monte-Carlo with its exceptional cultural events.

The Casino de Monte-Carlo has become a reference for games with all sorts of variations: Thirty and forty, Roulette, European Roulette, Chemin de fer, Bank at two tables, Punto Banco, Craps, Poker, American Roulette, Blackjack, and the expression that everyone knows seems to always resonate when thinking of Monte Carlo “Les jeux sont faits”.

It is in such an emblematic place as the casino at Monte Carlo that appeared the first automatic machines and where the jackpot was invented, as well as slot machines flowing stream of their currencies in the laughter of the ladies beautifully dressed and coiffed.

Over the years, the Monte-Carlo Casino has hosted new and exclusive games while creating other fairs and festivals places like Cafe de Paris, the Sun Casino or Casino summer. Obviously, in this mythical place open to persons of at least 18 years, you should be well dressed without shorts but with a jacket and cocktail dress for ladies.

Who knows you may see James Bond there if you are in luck.

Panama: green and blue paradise

September 27th, 2009
Pearl Islands

Pearl Islands

Panama is not the most traveled destination. But for the ones who like to pick unusual spots, this is a fantastic choice.

Here I am not talking about taking a cruise ship that navigates along the Panama canal, where the stop at Panama City is just one port along the way. Yes this can be a nice way to discover Central America, no doubt about it, but the country of Panama deserves a vacation only in Panama.

In a nutshell, Panama is great because you will find great weather, great food, a mixed culture with a unique historical background, a very high density of plants and animals, in particular birds,  a friendly population, many beaches &  islands, and more.

Let’s start with the main attraction, the canal. This is unique human construction which almost failed and took the lives of thousands of workers to be completed. The French started it but could not finish, due to a series of disasters including an epidemic of malaria. The Americans took over where the French left it and managed to join the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

Note that it is necessary for the ships to cross three sets of  locks, as the Canal ascends to the artificial Gatun Lake before descending to the other side. This  is a marvel of civil engineering. Following the Canal either in a ship or by helicopter is a great experience.

Panama is mostly covered with equatorial rain forest, and it is the habitat of the largest variety of birds on earth. It also has the largest variety of trees on earth. So this is such a rich environment for nature lovers, wherever you are in the country.

Even in Panama City, if you have  a chance to walk by the Presidential Palace, it is the home of a number of bird cranes, both local and foreign. In Panama you will see all kinds of birds, in all shapes and color. Even if you are not a “bird watcher”, these birds are so beautiful when you find them.

Another attraction is Panama City itself. This is the place in Central America where you will get the best food, so do not miss it. They have a mix of European cuisines with the local touch resulting in some delicious recipes and amazing chefs.

Finally there are islands and beaches and many are fantastic. But I am going to reveal you one of the more extraordinary island resort in Panama and in the World: Hacienda del Mar.

This is a truly amazing island. Square miles aftere square miles of rain forest. Not inhabited, except for the staff and guests of the only resort of the island. As this island belongs to a billionaire, this is not likely to change.

The resort is in the Pearl Islands a few dozen miles from the entrance of the Panama Canal. It used to be an American military base and this is why this private island has miles of roads in perfect condition. But nothing else is left of the American military presence, except for a few abandoned bunkers overseeing the gorgeous panorama with smaller islands in the distance.

Try this exclusive resort. When we were there, we were the only guests, and this was the vacation of a lifetime.