A couple of weeks ago, I talked about hustling in Las Vegas. If you want the super short definition of a ‘hustle’, it’s a shady attempt to get something – usually money – out of someone. A hustle is usually legal, and it’s just below a scam. The key distinction between a hustle and a scam is that a hustle usually doesn’t cross into illegality. It can get close, though and the lines can sometimes blur.
If you’ve been to Las Vegas, you’ve seen the ads, billboards, and buildings tempting you to come inside. Surely, nothing can go wrong, right? Actually, the vast majority of people who visit strip clubs in Las Vegas have a great time and leave with without any problems.
Some people don’t know that they’re being hustled, while some people know or suspect that they’re being hustled but see the hustle as the cost of entertainment. I mean, if Mickey and his wife Minnie can charge $10 for a bottle of water and another $10 for a pretzel, what’s so bad about the pretty girl wrangling another $20 bill?
I’m here to tell you about the hustle. If you want to pay the extra costs, that’s up to you. I just educate.
If you’ve been to a strip club in Las Vegas (or really, anywhere), you may have run into some of these hustles. These hustles are specifically ‘Las Vegas in style’ because there are so many tourists who go to Las Vegas strip clubs.
Let’s talk about four common hustles that you’ll encounter with Las Vegas strip clubs. I’ll also tell you how to counter them.
In case you’re wondering about my expertise on this issue, I used to date a strip club cocktail waitress, who then became a stripper. I also have a business associate who owns a strip club. I have some experience in the matter.
HUTSLE #1. THE ‘FREE’ RIDE
If you’ve walked up and down Las Vegas Boulevard, you’ve surely encountered the guys who offer free limo rides to the strip clubs. This is the deal: a free ride to the strip club in a limo for you and any of your friends, free cover into the strip club, you just have to buy a two drink minimum.
Also, if you call up most Las Vegas strip clubs, they’ll happily send a limo to pick you up from any strip casino and offer the same ‘no cover’ deal.
It sounds like a good deal.
Let’s think about this for a second. Just think…
Here is a guy standing on the sidewalk offering you all these freebies. So…this guy is operating a charity? The obvious answer is that he’s making money somehow, and the money comes from somewhere. Ultimately, it comes from you.
Look, there’s nothing wrong with making money. I’m a business person and I work every day for my money. I’m also able to run RoadGambler.com because some of you are very generous with your support. There’s nothing wrong with earning money.
The difference is that the guy on the sidewalk is not upfront with all that it’s going to cost you. He’s hustling.
What’s the hustle?
First, the limo ride is only one way. The limo will take you to the strip club, but not take you back. You can call an Uber or Lyft, but a friend of mine recently found out that for some reason, the rides were hard to get. One ride even turned around when it approached the strip club that he was at. Ultimately, he paid the limo driver $100 to take him back to his hotel.
At some shadier strip clubs, the drinks for the guys who came via limo might be higher. It’s the ‘premium’ charge.
The driver might also drop you off at a strip club that’s dead. Don’t like it? Too bad. The limo driver will have collected his fee and he’ll be gone. If you had taken your own car, you could have asked the girl at the entrance to look inside, but because you took the ‘free limo’, you’re now stuck.
Take your own car and pay the cover. Nothing is free, and you’ll end up paying for it anyways. Sometimes, taking the limo will turn out okay. I’ve had buddies who took the ‘free limo’ and enjoyed it. Sure, they may have paid more in the end, but they were stuck at the strip club they were dropped off at, and luckily, it was busy at the strip club. If you’re okay gambling, then take the limo. Just be aware of the hidden cost and ask the guy (offering the ride) what happens if you don’t like the strip club.
One more bit of advice: Never in a million years ask a taxi driver or rideshare driver for a recommendation to a strip club. They are usually paid a fee to recommend and then drop you off. You are getting biased advice.
HUSTLE #2. THE DRINK HUSTLE
Forget the strip club for a moment…you’re on a first date with the girl of your dreams. You’re hoping that this beautiful person will one day be the mother of your children, the person who you hold hands with as you walk the sandy beaches, the person you grow old with. You don’t want to appear cheap because you want to demonstrate your ability to care for her offspring. Makes sense from a natural selection perspective because she doesn’t want to choose a guy who can’t provide for her offspring.
Hence, the natural and understandable desire for a guy to not appear ‘cheap’ in front of a beautiful woman.
Let’s step back into the strip club…
You walk into the strip club, sit down, and a pretty girl comes up to you. She’s half dressed, maybe less than half dressed. The pretty girl makes sweet small talk. She’s a pro at small talk because she practices it all day.
As she sits down, a cocktail waitress approaches and asks, ‘would you like to buy your lady a drink?’
Hold on one second!
This girl is not (or should not) be the mother of your future children, and you are not on a first date with her. Let’s make that clear. They’re playing into your evolutionary programming to ‘not be cheap’.
You are being put on the spot. You are being hustled for a drink.
At most Las Vegas strip clubs, the cocktail waitresses are under incentives to sell ‘girl drinks’. These are drinks that have little to no alcohol in them and are marked up substantially. Her drink will cost more than your drink.
This hustle is performed several times a day by each cocktail waitress. If the drinks really had alcohol in them, the dancer would have consumed 20-40 drinks by the end of her shift. That’s why there’s usually no alcohol in the drinks.
Repeat after me and practice this line: ‘she doesn’t want a drink’.
After you tell the cocktail waitress no, then order your own drink. You might think that it’s a bit of a dick move to refuse her request for a drink when you’re ordering your own drink, but remember that she’s had plenty of drinks before she approached you. They’re running a hustle on you.
If you really like the dancer’s company, and you’re afraid that she’ll leave if you refuse her drink request, don’t worry. First, the fact that you understood the hustle will make you appear more respectable. She usually won’t leave. She’s not there for the drink, she’s there to sell you lap dances. I’ll discuss that later. But first, let’s talk about how to pay for your drink.
HUSTLE #3. THE DRINK BILL HUSTLE
Remember what I said about a hustle being legal? Well, this one is illegal, but usually, it’s attributed to ‘mistake’. If you point it out to the cocktail waitress, you’ll get the ‘oh, I’m sorry, I must have given you the wrong bill’.
It might be a scam, but it might be a hustle. You just don’t want to be caught determining if it’s a hustle or a scam.
The hustle works like this: You order a drink, and the cocktail waitress asks what you want and how you’ll pay for it. Lots of guys open up a tab. At the end of the night, if you have a big tab, there might be some extra charges stuck onto the bill. If you’ve had a lot to drink, it might be really hard to discern of all those were your charges. Almost every strip club is dark inside, and since most guys don’t want to appear cheap, they aren’t going to examine their bill with a fine tooth comb. So, the cocktail waitress might add on a few drinks.
Remember that I told you about my prior dating history when this article began? I’ve had cocktail waitresses admit this hustle. If you use a credit card and order enough drinks, you might be able to expense this hustle personally.
Pay with cash for every single drink order. You do not want your credit card info to be floating around a strip club, and you don’t want to be in the position of arguing that you didn’t order a drink. Trust me on this issue. Save yourself a headache and use cash. Just don’t pull out a large wad of cash.
One more thing: don’t fall for the ‘I don’t have any change’ routine. Your beer may cost you $10, and you gave her a $20 bill. If you fall for the ‘I don’t have any change’ routine, she gets a 100% tip. It’s a strip club for heaven’s sake. There are plenty of $1 bills all over the place. Tell her to go get change.
HUSTLE #4. THE LAP DANCE
I’m not here to tell you to never get a lap dance. That’s for you to decide. I have a female friend who loves getting lap dances. Some people are just fans of the lap dance.
For those who aren’t aware, the lap dance is a one-on-one dance where a stripper gets very close to the patron and does some sort of grinding on the patron. Most strippers make their money off of lap dances. Contrary to what most people (and movies) think, strippers do not make much money being on stage. Sometimes, they’ll pay a fee just to not appear on the stage. The stage is just advertising for the lap dance.
The lap dance hustle usually comes in two forms: the buy one get one free dance and the over-count.
The BOGO lap dance is usually reserved for slow days, such as a Monday through Wednesday. Sometimes, these offers are legitimate, but sometimes, if you time the songs, the songs will have been cut in half. When I say cut in half, I mean that the song run time from the full dance is cut in half. Every song is already cut to a uniform time, but sometimes the BOGO songs are cut further, so you aren’t really getting BOGO.
The other hustle is that the girl will dance for you, and then tell you that you owe her for more dances than you really agreed to. A smart dancer will not begin your lap dance by asking you how many dances you want; rather, she just sweet talks her way into a lap dance. As the first song ends, she’ll ask you if you want to keep going (again, playing into a guy’s natural reluctance to say ‘no’). Before you know it, you owe her for 10 songs.
If you decide to buy a lap dance, just be mentally ready to say ‘no’ or have the discipline to tell her to stop. A dancer who is really good at her craft can make it hard to say ‘no’ if you know what I mean.
Another route is to just tell her how many dances you want, but that can unmotivate the dancer to give her best performance. It’s better to just say ‘no’ after she’s done however many songs you had in mind before the lap dance began.
Strip clubs can be fun places. Some people are ok with being hustled. If you’re ok with being taken for a couple of extra bills, and you don’t like saying ‘no’, then spending a couple of extra bills isn’t the worst thing that can happen. Just be aware of what you’re up against and what it might cost to play along with the hustle.
In the end, I’m just here to educate you. You decide what you want to do.
Having said that, it’s possible to have just as much fun and entertainment without paying for the extra ‘girl drink’ or being stuck at a strip club without a ride back. Being smart and prepared is the way I like to do things.
Posted in: Travel