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11/27 - 11/29 - Thanksgiving Downtown (MSS, Cal, Downtown Grand)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by DougFur, Dec 7, 2014.

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  1. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Hi everyone. Long time reader, first time poster. Here are the notes from our latest trip.

    The players:

    Myself, Doug Fur, and my girlfriend, Lady Purr. 40s. From Seattle.


    We started playing VP about two years ago and have focused most of our time at the Cal/MSS. We play on the same card and reached Sapphire level last year. This trip we're staying at the Cal on the annual Sapphire comp, which is good at any Boyd Vegas property. We get quarterly offers for free rooms at the Orleans, but no offers for the downtown properties. We're hoping to change that on this trip.

    We typically average about $5k/day coin in on VP (and maybe a little blackjack). From others on the board this seems sufficient to get some basic room offers. But who knows. Our total budget is $900 for 3 days, which I realize puts us squarely in low roller territory. But hey, we’re new at this.

    This trip we decided to split up our play a bit. Thursday will be MSS. Friday, the Downtown Grand, and Saturday one or the other depending on how we feel.

    DTG has a promo for new players. If you earn 5k points the day you sign up with their player's club you automatically receive two free nights. We plan to take advantage of that on Friday and see how we like the property. The blackjack rules look good and they now have some full pay BP.

    Regarding food: we're both vegetarians. LF is vegan but I eat some dairy. So our food choices will reflect this. Hopefully there's some other VMB herbivores out there.

    Thursday (Thanksgiving):

    Our Alaska flight from SeaTac arrived early to McCarren. We waited 30 minutes for the WAX - $2 to downtown. The bus was totally empty, as you might expect given the holiday, but there was still a huge line for the rental car shuttle. FYI the WAX now stops at Terminals 1 and 3.

    We arrived at the Cal around 11am and check in. Our room was ready so we dropped off our bags and headed to the Market Street Cafe for a quick lunch. Two salad bars with iced tea. $17.25. Paid with points. $4 tip

    It’s time for some VP. We headed to MSS and settled down in front of some quarter JoB machines. Less than fifteen minutes in I scored this beauty:


    I couldn't believe it. It's my third royal, but my first at MSS. I tipped the slot attendant $20 and play until LP plays out her $100.

    JoB .25 - 2 scratch offs.
    LP -98 (Ran through $100 but a $2 scratch off)
    DF +962

    Buddha's last report got us interested in the 3-line BP machines at MSS. We've never played them before, so flush with our royal winnings we decided to give them a go. LP pushed the buttons while I watched from the sidelines. She hit a straight flush and a couple of quads almost immediately.


    BP 3 line .25 - 4 scratch offs
    LP +109.25

    Next we went to the plaza for espresso. Double espresso for LP. Soy latte for me. $12 with tip. While we were there we stopped by the poker room. I talked briefly with the woman staffing the operation who seemed quite welcoming. They offer four tournaments a day with ridiculously low buy ins. I may stop by and play tomorrow. The unique thing about the Plaza poker room is they use PokerPro electronic tables - no dealers.

    Back to MSS for more VP. We settled back in at the JoB bank we started at. Lots of ups and downs. LP hit four quads to my one.

    JoB .25 - 5 scratch offs
    LP +6
    DF -46

    We had 7pm reservations at the Triple George but by 5:30 we were already hungry so we headed there early. They seated us immediately and we asked for their vegan menu. It was a great meal with excellent service and a nice ambiance. We'll definitely be back.

    Urth burger with truffle fries
    Urth burger with rice
    One glass of red wine each
    Glass of port
    $68 + tip

    Feeling good after dinner we went back to MSS to hit up the triple line BP machines. I started well and went up $50 for a while. But then the drought began. I hit quad 3s but it wasn't enough and I busted out. LP played off the ticket from the earlier session.

    BP 3 line .25 - 1 scratch off
    LP -125
    DF -98

    Boyd card points: 7544
    Day total: +710.25
    Trip total: +710.25


    I got up at 7am and headed to the DTG to get a players card while LP slept in. It's a nice property but feels a bit sterile. I got a pair of cards, did a quick walk around the casino to find the full pay BP machines, and headed back to the Cal.

    LP got ready and we hit MSS buffet for breakfast. Paid with points. After breakfast we hit the BP 3 line machines again which we've quickly become addicted to. Once again we played on a single machine with LP at the controls.

    BP 3 line .25 - 1 scratch off
    LP -24.25

    LP and I both love cats, so we usually throw $5 into the Kitty Glitter slot and see what happens. We honestly don't understand slot machines, but have heard your odds are best if you max bet. So that's what we do.

    On our 3rd spin we hit a $40 jackpot!

    Kitty glitter slot
    LP +40

    Next we headed to the DTG to take on the BP slant tops. VP earns 1.5 points per dollar so we needed $3334 coin in to earn 5000 points for the free two nights.

    Our first session was a dud. No quads for either of us, and we both busted out after about 90 minutes.

    DTG .25 BP
    LP -100
    DF -100

    We stopped and walked around the Grand a bit. They were putting up holiday decorations. The picnic roof area was closed.

    We returned back to the player's club desk to get our $30 of free play and take another shot at those quads. We needed 2500 points to earn the free room. The quads finally started falling. I hit quad aces twice and quad 2s once. LP hit a couple of quads including one with her last hand as we were leaving for lunch. We ended up $16.25 across both sessions including the free play. Nice!


    DTG .25 BP
    LP +51.25
    DF +165

    For lunch we headed to the Cal to visit Aloha Specialties. The line was pretty long so we went to Bier Garten at the Plaza for some veggie dogs. They had a special where any of their specialty sausages (including the veg) came with a free pumpkin beer. We opted for that. $20 total for both of us + tip. We've eaten here a couple of times and have had a great experience every time. Great staff, excellent food, and good beer.

    We returned back to the Grand, and put $20 into the OMG Kittens slot. On the first spin we won $10. That's good enough for us and we cashed out.

    OMG Kittens slot
    LP +10

    The machine reported that we'd accumulated 5040 points. Sweet. Free room!

    We headed to the players club and got the voucher for the free room. We learned we have $25 of credit at the S&O restaurant that expires in 48 hours. The DTG staff were very nice and seemed very enthusiastic that we got the room. It made us think this wasn't common which is surprising given how little play is required. We're guessing most of their players are locals. Overall we liked the property and are looking forward to using the room comp some time next year.

    Back to MSS. LP goes back to JoB while I do my first blackjack session. It wound up being pretty short. I like to play at tables with a few other people and the family at the table got up and left after 5 or 6 shuffles. I played heads up for a while and then left too.

    Blackjack $10/hand
    DF -10

    I joined LP at JoB where she was having a quad drought. I started playing at the machine next to her and we played until she busted out.

    JoB .25 - 1 scratch off
    LP -122.50
    DF +22

    Next we head to the triple play BP machines. I watch LP play for a while then head over to the blackjack table.

    BP .25 triple line - 1 scratch off
    LP 59.50

    Blackjack $10/hand
    DF +25

    We take a break for a bit then decided to play the triple play machines again. We really got beat up. LP got a couple of quads but I got none.

    MSS BP .25 triple play - 2 scratch offs
    LP -96
    DF -97.5

    Dinner at Aloha Specialties at the Cal. They forgot our order, but LP inquired and they rushed it. Two vegetable stir fries with tofu and two green teas. $20 total.

    We returned for a final attempt at the MSS BP 3 line machines. I caught quad 4s but other than that the cards ran pretty dry.

    BP .25 triple line - 1 scratch off
    LP -100
    DF +17.25

    Boyd card points: 4870
    2 night comp at DTG
    Day total: -260.25
    Trip total: +450


    I got up before LP and walked to the Commissary at the DTG. It's located across the street from the casino on the same block as Pizza Rock and the Triple George. Inside you'll find a Tex Mex themed food court / lounge area. Free drip coffee for DTG hotel guests. Free WiFi. The coffee bar offers made to order crepes and breakfast burritos. The space also has a bar and serves burgers and taqueria fare. No bean burger unfortunately.

    Once LP was ready we headed for breakfast at S&O. Oatmeal, breakfast frittata, juice, coffee. $27 + tip. Paid with our $25 dining credits plus points. Food was decent but a bit overpriced compared to other downtown coffee shops. We'd certainly eat there again if we had a comp for it, but I'm not sure we'd pay out of pocket given other downtown options.

    We stayed at the Grand for a while and played. The quads just wouldn't fall and eventually LP busted out. I was down as well.

    DTG - BP .25
    LP -100
    DF -75

    Our final gambling stop was the Plaza for the 2pm $12 holdem tournament. I'm a beginning player but these stakes make it very inviting. The Plaza has 5 PokerPro tables so there are no dealers. Every seat has a touch screen that you use to make your choices. To see your cards you cup your hands over the screen - similar to the motion you'd use with real cards.

    I decided to play tight and see how long I could hold out. I made a few mistakes early on but settled in and began to relax. This tournament allows unlimited $12 rebuys. You start with 5000 in chips. 20 minute rounds with a break after the 4th round. I lasted until the break but by then I only had 8 BBs so all I could do was shove or fold. Eventually lost out with pocket 6s vs queens.

    I highly recommend this room to anyone who plays holdem for fun but is intimidated by a live table. You don't have to worry about judging the size of the pot or your opponents stacks. It's all on the screen. Very fun. I don't know why these tables aren't more popular.

    After I busted out we went to Pizza Rock for a late lunch before heading to the airport. Marinara pizza (no cheese) with onions and olives. Stir fried green beans. Two beers. $38 plus tip. This is another recent favorite of ours. The pizza is excellent and the beer selection is extensive.

    We then took the WAX to the airport. $2 each.

    Day total: -187
    Trip total: +263


    It was a short trip, but we had a great time. I caught a royal, we won $50 on cat themed slots, and we picked up a two night freebie at the DTG. We also averaged 6200 points/day at MSS across the two days we played there. Hopefully that will please the comp gods and get us some free room offers at MSS.

    We'll be back for another quick stay at the end of December with LP's parents. We can't wait!

    -- DF
  2. Snidely

    Snidely VIP Whale

    Nov 2, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Did the MSS require a hand pay for your royal of $1000? How did the slot attendant get involved?

    My wife and I liked the DTG a lot. Cheap and classy. Just like us.

    Wow, you keep some detailed notes.
  3. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Ah good question about the royal. MSS gives out scratch cards for 4OK or better. So I tipped her when I got my scratch card. No hand pay.

    Re: notes. I've been inspired by Buddha and Royal Flusher's reports. Just kept session notes on my phone as we played.

    Yep. We liked the Grand too. Seems like they are mostly attracting locals so we're optimistic about getting future mailers. I have a hunch they aren't filling the hotel currently.

    Thanks for reading.
  4. sco5123

    sco5123 VIP Whale

    Jul 29, 2011
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    wow nice report! Congrats on the royal! I really like the assessment at the end of each day.
  5. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Jan 21, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice report! Thanks for sharing!

    FYI for those cat slots, many non-progressive video slots are set to the same percent return no matter what you bet, so don't feel obligated to bet max.
  6. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

    Feb 7, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    That was a great report Doug. Glad you decided to post, we can all learn something from each other and I enjoyed all the details in your report.

    You did well for a budget of $900 over 3 days! Congrats on the royal!
  7. ShepherdDon

    ShepherdDon Tourist

    Mar 19, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Enjoyed reading the report. Especially the detailed reporting.

    I'd think you'd get offers from the MSS/Cal as we stayed there a couple years ago - playing at about the same level you play - and for several year afterwards received regular offers in the mail. But, then, who knows how the slot club computers work.

    Thanks again for posting.

  8. guapoxxx

    guapoxxx High-Roller

    Jul 24, 2007
    Jersey Shore
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I really enjoyed reading your excellent report... With your play I'm sure you'll get some offers from MSS. Also, congrats on your wins including the Royal! :beer:
    Annual Golf Outing
  9. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

    Feb 18, 2008
    Flusherville, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice Royal! Enjoyed your report - thanks for posting it!

    Did you get a bunch of other stuff on the way to your 2 night DTG comp? The new sign-up bonuses seemed pretty generous with hats and hoodies and stuff on the way to the room comp, plus the $5 food comps every 1000 points.
  10. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

    Sep 11, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Very nice, detailed report. We'll be at MSS 25-29, so look us up at the bar.
  11. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

    Jul 17, 2011
    Northern Nevada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thank you for takin' the time to share the adventure with us!!!

    TIMSPEED Too young, Too poor, Too addicted.

    Aug 8, 2013
    Modesto, CA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Congrats on popping the royal...if those are the machines I'm thinking...they're two uprights against the north wall...they have a good Theo setting on them...however averaging $3100 coin-in per day won't make it rain comps, it should get you some 2-night free rooms.

    I do have a question... A lot of your wins/losses include odd amounts...are you just abruptly stopping, rather than playing to an even amount? (Such at $20 or $25, rather than $22.50)
    Palace Tower Suite!
    Thanks CreditKarma!
  13. DougFur

    DougFur Tourist

    Aug 10, 2013
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for all the encouraging words!

    RF: yep we got all the other DTG goodies as well. Skipped the tshirt but kept the hoodie, $30 in free play, and of course the two night room offer. The $25 in free food appears to be a separate promo. I can't find any info on that though. I think we got $5 for every 1000 points ($667 VP coin in) which adds 0.7% to the return. Hope they keep that promo going!

    Joe: Would be great to see you in Dec. We'll look for you at the Boar's Head

    Timspeed: Yep I just wrote down the cash out from the ticket. Should probably play it to a rounder number to keep the accounting easier.
  14. Godflesh

    Godflesh Tourist

    Dec 16, 2012
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Love the VP pics.
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