Scarier than $100 a hand Blackjack: VooDoo Zip Line Review
The say that gambling is like a roller coaster ride. You’re up. You’re down. You feel energized. You feel defeated, and then energized again. And that’s just one hand playing Blackjack where you split eights, doubled down, and hit 12 on both hands, facing off against a dealer’s six. But in the end, the dealer busts and you win. Nicely done.I guess that’s what I love a lot about gambling. There’s nothing quite like the rush of excitement that comes every time you hit spin or lay some chips down on the table. Actually, strike that. There is.
I’m writing this blog post from Las Vegas. I’m in town for the World Series of Poker, playing some side events (haven’t won anything, for the record), and as I entered the Rio I couldn’t believe what I saw.
A zip line connecting the two Rio towers. At first I thought maybe some construction was taking place, until I heard screams and witness two people whizzing from one end to the other in what looked like a really flimsy chair, dangling hundreds of feet above the ground. It’s called the VooDoo Zip Line. It opened on just a few short weeks agon in late May 2014. And scary is an understatement. So, naturally, I gave it a try. Here is my review.
Tickets are $27.49 a person. It’s a bit on the expensive side, but if you’re playing $25 a hand Baccarat, I say what’s the big deal? It’s not that expensive in the grand scheme of things. After all, this is Vegas. Show tickets will run you a few hundred. Restaurants can add up pretty high. And hotels aren’t dirt cheap if you stay somewhere nice.
I know waivers like this are pretty standard, but there’s something about signing your life away and agreeing that the Rio isn’t responsible for your demise if you suddenly plummet to your death from hundreds of feet in the air. And yes, I signed it.
Finding your way to the experience
We were able to pay for the tickets without issue, but making our way up to the 51st floor was a little bit of an adventure. It took forever to find our way to the ride entrance, with hardly any signage posted (at least nothing that I noticed). I guess the Rio does that on purpose so you’ll stop to play some Roulette along the way. And yes, I did.
Wow. When you get to the top, it’s way scarier than you can imagine. It wasn’t windy, but you can see the cable swaying through the air, a reminder that you won’t be zipping down a secure bar. This is one cable, attached online at either end. No mid-air reinforcements. No bridge-like support. Just a cable, much like what you’d find through the jungle of Costa Rica, only instead of trees that might break your fall, you’ve got pavement. Lovely.
Getting belted in is actually more frightening than the ride. It’s an open-air seat, meaning there are no handlebars, and nothing to your left or right other than the person seated next to you. As the employees strap you in, they’re wearing harnesses, a sign that if they fall, it’s game over. After you’re belted in, they release you, and you go zipping down towards the shorter Rio tower across the pavement. The zip across takes less than a minute and you travel at about 35 mph. It’s actually really fast considering there’s nothing below you and you don’t have anything to hold onto.
Now, I don’t know what I was thinking, but for some reason I assumed that you’d get off at the other end of the building. That’s not the case. As soon as you arrive at the other end, you zip back, completely backwards, and arrive back at where you started.
The VooDoo Zip Line is definitely worth the money. If you love thrills, you’ll be all over this one. If you love thrills but have a weak stomach, stick to the Craps tables. It might be a safer bet.