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1st TR: July 4 - July 7

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by pwong5, Jul 9, 2003.

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  1. pwong5

    pwong5 Newbie

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2003
    Messages:
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    My Trip Report

    Hi,
    I’ve been lurking on this board ever since one of my buddies suggested we go to Vegas about a month ago. It’d been three years since my last visit and I decided to try and find some information on the internet and I found this board. Thanks to all the posters, I was able to make this a pretty good trip. I usually fret over what to do/where to go, but thanks to this board, I felt very comfortable with having open-ended plans and just enjoying whatever I got to.

    I would say this is a detailed report rather than a long report since length is more arbitrary than detail.

    This trip is my third with my two childhood friends, we’ll call them Buddy 1 (B1) and Buddy 2 (B2). Both B1 and B2 are getting married later this year so this will probably be the last time we all go together as “bachelorsâ€.

    Friday, July 4
    Wake up at 3:30am and get cleaned up for the 5:40am flight. B1 is picking me up first at 4am before getting B2. B1 is late and gets me at 4:20am and we rush over to B2’s. We’re on the Mass Pike and make it to Logan Intl. at 4:50am. B1’s sister works for an airline so she secures us some standby tickets for $200 roundtrip on Delta. Bonus because not only is the airfare cheap, but if available, we’ll get first class seats. They start boarding around quarter past 5 and since it’s an early morning flight with fewer passengers, we get first class. Sweet! Pop my Dramamine (darn motion sickness) and I’m all set. We’re in the last row of first class seats which means we’re the first ones off the plane for our connecting flight. We make our connection in Cincinnati without any problems and get first class seats again for the rest of the way to Vegas. This time we have the first row which means my buddies have the movie screen in their face while I’m content to rest my head against the window and sleep through ‘Bend it Like Beckham’ (seen it already, it’s a good flick). I see Hoover Dam when I wake up which means we’re close and I’m starting to feel like I’m on vacation.

    We land at gate D and it takes a few seconds of walking before the familiar tones of slot machines hit my ears which means only one thing – Vegas! Tram over to the main terminal and hop on the CLS shuttle for $10 (fare+tip) roundtrip. After waiting 15 minutes for the shuttle to fill up, were off to the Strip. Monte Carlo is the first stop and the first thing we want to do is change into shirts and shorts. You see, B1 had us dress in business casual (collars and slacks) since we’d be flying first class. No problem, but even at 11am, Vegas is hotter than it’s been all summer back in Boston. I’m prepared to run into the restroom to change, but as fortune would have it, a room is ready and we can check in.

    This is the first time I’ve stayed at Monte Carlo. B2 booked us 3 nights for under $350. We got a room on the 13th floor (no triskaidekaphobia here) with a Strip view. From our window we could see Excalibur on the right and even get an obstructed view of the Bellagio fountain show on our left. Standard room with 2 queen sized beds (B2 has a cough, so I’m forced to double up with B1), nothing especially bad or good about the room, but I will say that it took unusual effort to flush the toilet. Minus points for no room fridge or safe (but they have safety deposit boxes on the ground floor). I don’t think I’ll stay here again, but for the cost, it was adequate (B1 and B2 will only stay in nice Strip hotels).

    Drop our bags and change into summer clothes and we’re off! We didn’t get any food on the plane, well I didn’t because I was sleeping, so I propose we get to a buffet. But B1 and B2 are sports bettors (B1 especially) so our first stop before we eat is the Sportsbook. They study the sheets and make their parlays and we decide to try the Bellagio lunch buffet. I hadn’t been in Vegas in 3 years so as we walk, I was surprised at all the changes. Sorta like when you move out of your parents home and then go back after they’ve converted your old room to either a den or an extra large closet. Even though it’s different, there’s still something familiar about it that makes you a bit nostalgic. The walk to Bellagio seemed much farther than I remembered which either means my memory is getting shaky or I just ain’t as young as I used to be (29 now). The last time I was in Vegas, Paris was just a billboard in an empty lot and the old Aladdin was begging to be demolished. I also don’t remember the Flamingo being anything more than the one floor structure by the sidewalk instead of the large hotel that’s there now. As stated numerous times in other reports, the porn-flickers were in full force, but since they move their arms out of your way as quick as they put it in your face, I wasn’t really bothered. I didn’t find the bike-carriages to be too much of a bother either and I actually felt bad for them given the heat and the heft of some of the people they were peddling. There were a couple of times during the trip my legs were so tired I almost wanted a ride!

    Finally get inside the Bellagio and get in the buffet line that snakes along the wall for about a hundred feet beyond the entrance. The lunch consists of shrimp cocktail, crab cakes, seafood creviche, mako shark, bbq ribs, garlic mashed potatoes, glazed carrots, steamed broccoli, cannolis and a chocolate chip cookie. I’m not a food connoisseur, so as long as there is selection and decent quality I’m happy and Bellagio was fine. I did notice that there were a lot of empty seats which made me wonder if they were short-staffed or if they limited the number of people dining even if they were under capacity.

    We decide to walk off the buffet and see what else has changed by checking out the rest of the Strip. We walk on the Bellagio side up to Treasure Island and then cross the street to the Venetian, weaving in and out of each casino/mall all the way back to Monte Carlo. By the time we’re done, B1 and B2 have lost their parlays and head back to the Sportsbook to make some late game bets. We rest in the room for a bit and then B2 and I head down to do some table gaming while B1 watches the game. I’m teaching B2 how I play craps, trying to remember the odds, but I give him the very basics which is just to remember 5-6-5 which is the single odds bet for points of 4/10, 5/9 and 6/8 on a $5 Pass Line bet. Or just do $5 Pass Line with $10 odds and no matter what the point is, you don’t have to worry about any funny math on the payoffs.

    He wants more action so I tell him placing the 6 or 8 for $6 give the next best odds (wrong betting not included) if he doesn’t want to play the Come with odds. He refuses to roll the dice even though I reassure him that nobody really blames a shooter for “sevening outâ€, but he doesn’t want the pressure. He errs every now and then by saying ‘seven†in his sentences when he asks me questions, but not loud enough to draw looks from any other players and we finish an uneven session on the positive. We decide to see if B1 is still watching the game in the room. I gather up my chips and take my reds and leave the whites for the dealers (at least $10) and I’m $100 richer. Not bad for the low-roller that I am.

    B1 wakes up from his nap when we open the door and we decide to walk around the Strip some more. We had started playing Craps before 8pm and we didn’t finish until past 10pm which means we missed the Stratosphere fireworks. Oh well. I want to check out Mandalay Bay so we walk by Excalibur and hop on the Tram. Mandalay Bay look very nice and it’s a shame it’s so far away from the rest of the upscale hotels. After a bit more walking we decide we need to get some more food as it’d been over 10 hours since the lunch buffet so it’s back on the Tram. Deciding that it’d be best to get something quick we grab some subs at the blimpie across from Boardwalk. It’s here we realize that the Strip must also be where locals/LA weekenders like to cruise as the LVPD are writing tickets and arresting the ‘Fast and the Furious†crowd that seems to gather around that area.

    By the time we finish eating we realize that it’s way past 4am EST and that it’d be wise to get some sleep to get somewhat adjusted to the time difference.

    Saturday. July5
    Wake up at 6:30am PST after five hours sleep since I’m an early riser. After an hour or so, B1 and B2 are awake and we head down to the pool for an hour or so – but not before making some early parlays. After baking we head to Aladdin for the $25 No Risk Slot Tournament to get our $20 food vouchers. A little side bet on the lowest score having to pay the buffet tip makes it more interesting. I get around 5300 points, B2 4100 and B1 pays the tip with a pathetic 3000 point total. I used machine 2 in case anybody is curious.

    $60 in vouchers in hand we head for the Spice Market buffet line and it too snakes around for a ways. Turns out the brunch buffet is $18 so we get 2 free alcoholic drinks with our meal. Cool. Breakfast meals are my favorite so I head right for the French toast, sausage links and scrambled eggs. No corned beef hash which is disappointing, but the chocolate/peach crepe makes up for it. It’s a Champagne brunch, but I don’t really like sparkling wine so I stick to my Corona with Ginger Ale chasers. Another satisfying meal. We decide to use the free $10 slot play from the Aladdin tournament. B1 plays 2 games of $5 slots and gets bupkis. I hop onto a progressive $.25 Betty Boop and hit the Cash Out button whenever I hit. I walk away with $10. Whoo! B2 is at a $.50 machine but didn’t realize he could cash out so he’s been playing with his winnings. He would have had $10 too, but has to settle for $7.

    I want to check out the Orleans and Palms casinos, but it’s too hot for B1 and B2 so they head back to the Monte Carlo. I get on the shuttle at the Barbary Coast and check out the Orleans. A little seedier than Monte Carlo, but nice enough otherwise. It’s too far off the Strip and not special enough for my tastes, but it seems reasonably priced if you don’t mind it. Decided I was too tired to go to the Gold Coast/Palms so I took the shuttle back to Barbary Coast. Considered looking for the Hard Rock shuttle, but it’s too hot so I head back to Monte Carlo.

    Back to the room to rest up – my legs are still aching from all the walking the past two days. B1 and B2 aren’t in the room so I figure they must be downstairs. Lost the parlays again so it must time for B1 to play the late games. I find them playing $5 Blackjack. B1 says he was down $70, but ends up winning $30. B2 leaves the table down $60. B2 and I try our luck again at Craps while B1 goes back to the Sportsbook. Only one $5 table with anybody on it so we jump in. There are two middle-aged women to our left and one is teaching the other. No problem except the one doing the teaching keeps saying “seven†like it’s going out of style and the one trying to learn can’t pick up the basic bets and just automatically bets what her friend does without even thinking about it. Rather than be smart and walk away from “Ms.Seven†and her mimicking robot friend, I stick it out only to lose the $100 I had won the day before. Oh well. Lesson learned – don’t play if you don’t like the vibe. B2 and I head back to the room.

    We’re all tired due to lack of sleep and the walking we’d done the past two days so we relax and watch some tv for a couple of hours. Surprisingly, there are some fireworks going on across the street that from our viewpoint, that looks like they are originating from the parking lot behind the Walgreens. Finish watching the small fireworks show and Star Trek: First Contact on tv and we walk back to Aladdin to get tickets for ‘X’. 4 trips to Vegas and I’ve never seen a show. Might as well use the 2-for-1 from the slot tournament to check it out. We get tickets ($30 average per person thanks to the coupon) for Sunday night since we already have plans for the rest of the night.

    B1 and B2 are both getting married at the end of the year so I decide I have to take them to a Gentlemen’s Club while we are in Vegas. After doing some research (ha!), I decided we would go to Olympic Garden since almost all the reviews I’d read about it were positive. The Strip is packed with people and cars so I suggest we walk to at least the Venetian before we hop in a cab. We end up walking all the way to the Riviera before we get a ride the rest of the way to OG and our dogs are barking. $20 per person at the door (ouch) and into the club, my treat. A lot smaller than the descriptions I’d read about it, but as I would find out later, I was only in one half of the club. We must have been early as the other half of the first floor was curtained off when we arrived, but when we left it was a mirror layout of the other half. A square shaped room with a bar along one wall, we stood for a bit under the DJ in the corner while we waited for some seats to open up at one of the four stages (situated like the 4 on a die). Not being a regular visitor to these places (it’s true!), I must say I was surprised at the number of ladies working as well as the average level of attractiveness. Definitely worth another trip! We stayed for a couple of hours until B2 wanted to leave (boo!). He was on the tail end of some kind of cold and didn’t want to cough all over the ladies. By the time we left, 2am, the traffic on the Strip was moving along pretty well so it cost $15 w/tip to get back to Monte Carlo and we call it a night.

    Sunday, July 6
    Wake up at 6:30am again and this time I decide to head down to the pool without waiting for B1 and B2. The pool at Monte Carlo is decent. That early in the morning, 8am-ish, the sun hits only the Wave Pool and doesn’t get to the Lazy river until 9-ish even though they are right next to each other (the hotel blocks it). I don’t think the regular pool or whirlpool get any sun until the afternoon, when the sun has passed over the hotel completely. Can’t say for sure as we were done with the pool by 10am each day.

    Another round of parlays before we head over to Caesar’s Palace to eat lunch. One thing that’s very noticeable is that there are a lot less people in Vegas on Sunday. We could tell a lot of people were headed to the airport and there weren’t nearly as many people walking around. Very different from the weekend. We eat at the Marketplace in Caesar’s. Card in hand I grab a bbq pork po’ boy and some potato salad. I think I was getting dehydrated so thank goodness for the free refills on the fountain drinks. Raspberry Iced Tea...mmm…

    Check out Caesar’s Sporstbook. Nicest one that we’ve seen on the strip and we’ve seen most of them (B1 always had to check on his parlays). 1:30pm we head back to Monte Carlo for the 2pm lessons on playing Poker. I’m a fan of World Poker Tour on the Travel channel and B2 has recently become enchanted by the game. I think we’ll be heading over to Foxwoods to enter the WPT tournament. Who knows? Maybe I’ll get very, very, very lucky and end up on tv! (yeah, right) The Poker lesson is basic leaving me and B2 still a bit confused on exactly how the betting/raising works, but we aren’t in a rush to play.

    B1 makes his late game sports bets while B2 and I decide to try Craps again. This time there are a couple of tables with action. One table has “Ms.Seven†so I can’t play there. Another table is crowded, but the only person winning is the wrong bettor wearing a visor and I don’t like being on a table with a wrong bettor. Third table is an older gentleman that I saw sign for a stack of green chips playing by himself. Don’t want to mess with that vibe. So I’m watching for a bit when B2 points out a fourth table that has two middle-aged women shooting on it. He says they’ve been winning and I watch for a few minutes and they seem to be on a good roll. I tell B2 to jump in, but he doesn’t want to interrupt (he’s like me in not wanting to ruin the vibe). A few more minutes watching them win, I tell him I’d jump in if he did. We notice “Ms.Seven†is gone so I go to that table for fear that I might be the one with the bad vibe, while he goes in on the table with the two women. Once around and I’m down $40. Thank goodness there were only 3 shooters. Maybe I should have used the count. I pick up my chips and move in next to B2. The two women are still hitting their numbers so I’m back to even, but then the wrong bettor wearing the visor from the other table joins in. I look and see that the table he had come from is cleared out – wonder why. I’m defiant and tell B2 that I will personally bankrupt “Visor†and get him off the table. I hit a number and make it landing the first blow against “Visorâ€, but I seven out and hope the 2 woman at the other end of the table continue their good rolls. As the dice move around, “Visor†slowly gets the upper hand and I am down to my last $15.

    Thankfully, a new shooter in a yellow shirt joins the game. It had been myself and the 2 woman shooting and we were not doing well. A few quick wins followed by making his points and I was back in the game. Better yet, I noticed “Visor†had stopped his Don’t Pass and waited until the new guy “sevened outâ€. A few more times around the table and before I knew it, “Visor†was gone! A moral victory! I had been down to my last $5 in hand with $10 on the table, but I had outlasted the wrong bettor. Now it was time to win some money!

    An older fellow named Vinnie joined the game. Vinnie must be a regular or at least someone who has been at the Monte Carlo because he walks up and signs a marker for $1000. He starts with $10 on the Pass Line and takes single odds and then if the shooter makes his point, doubles up to $20/$40 and if the shooter makes that, goes up to $xxx/$xxx. He also placed everything on the board and presses whenever it hit. That was his pattern the whole time. Unfortunately for him, he always pressed and never took his win so he ended up losing $2000 (he had to ask for another $1000) while B2 and I had made money. B2 and I even had a small “Vinnie†chant going when Vinnie had a nice roll going, but I got the sense he was chasing his losses the way he kept his progressive betting. I felt bad when I was rolling and had made 2 points that I “sevened out†when he had at least $200 on the line and $400 odds. B2 said that’s exactly the reason he won’t roll the bones.

    During all this, I didn’t catch his name, one of the dealers had a sarcastic humor which I found pretty amusing and kept the mood light. There was about at 10 minute stretch where someone would make a point, hit a few numbers and then “seven outâ€. It was brutal, but the dealer always said, “It coulda been worse. It coulda been worse.†Whenever anybody would ask how, he’d respond, “I could’ve had money on the line.†The table was cold enough that people were only making Pass Line bets with 1x odds and nothing else. You’ve never seen dealers at a craps table look more bored with people gambling. Finally some new people joined in and the flow changed. We started winning and the dealer started to do more than rake chips. After one new shooter hit 2 sevens and made his point, the dealer had to exclaim,†What’s going on?†At this point I was actually winning enough that I started making Pass Line bets for the dealers (won at least 4 times). My friend asked why I was betting for the dealers and I said, “To get on their good graces.†To which the dealer replied, ‘Damn right! Um…no, no†Funny. After a bit the table cooled off again and B2 and I decided to cash out. I ended up plus $120 not including the bets I made for the dealers (with odds, they got at least $50). It might have been more, but I was sticking to 1x odds since it seemed whenever I bet more, I lost. B2 won $150 and thanks to his first experience being so positive, I’m sure he’ll play as much, if not more Craps than Blackjack from this point forward. Now I just need to get him to start shooting.

    It’s almost 8pm (4 hours at the Craps table!) and we have tickets for “X†at 10:30pm so we change (put those business casuals to use) and head over to Paris. We walk to the Paris shops where B1 and B2 buy their fiancées some jewelry at Clio Blue. It’s at Paris that we see about a dozen of the contestants for the Hooters Intl. Swimsuit Competition waiting to be seated for dinner (not bad at all). I had mentioned to B2 prior to our trip that maybe we should change the dates to match the contest, but alas, the plans were already made. The competition would be held on the 8th/9th meaning we would just miss it. Shucks. Head over to Aladdin for the show. Since I’ve never been to any Vegas show, I have nothing to compare it to, but it seemed very Vegas to me. 8 dancers (one of whom looks a lot like Bridgette Wilson-Sampras, nice!) do about 10 different routines, a featured Playboy Playmate (Rebecca Scott) does a couple of dances and a comedian somewhere in the middle for about an 85 minute show. Not bad for $30 I guess. B1 isn’t impressed and thought the comedian was the best part – I don’t know what’s wrong with him. Next time, I’ll have to check out some other shows. The only reason this trip wasn’t show-laden was because I know my girlfriend would want to see them too. Back to the hotel to sleep. We have the shuttle picking us up at 9:15am and we are all pretty beat.

    Monday, July 7
    B1 is awake at 7:30am and we’re all up by 8:30am. I was so tired that it was the first night B1’s snoring and B2’s coughing didn’t wake me up in the middle of the night. B1 and B2 head for the Sportsbook one more time while I pack up. TV checkout is painless and the shuttle shows up at 9:20am.

    At the airport we have to see if we’re going to get seats as a lot of people seemed to be leaving on Monday. No luck this time as first class is full, but we get the first row of coach which isn’t bad because there’s more leg room, just narrower seats. I sleep again and miss watching “Bringing Down the House†before we arrive in Cincinnati again. I grab some KFC since the Dramamine seems to be working and I’m hungry. Only one first class seat open. B1 gets into first class while B2 and I are back in coach for the rest of the way home. Only fair since it’s B1’s sister who got us the cheap fares. B1’s fiancée is waiting for us at the terminal and I get home at 10:30pm.

    The Good:
    Brought $500, came back with $400 – excluding air/hotel, $100 for the weekend was a bargain
    3rd day of Craps – Even when I losing, it was fun cause the dealers made it bearable
    Bellagio/Spice Market Buffets – Good selection at both, I just wish I could eat more than 2 plates worth
    Aladdin Slot Tournament – Paid $25, won $10 with the free play and got a meal
    Olympic Garden – I’m a guy, there were topless women, ‘nuff said
    No air sickness – Always a plus when I have to fly
    First class seating flying to Vegas

    The Bad:
    Coach seating on the way home – after being spoiled in first class
    The long flights – Why is some of the best stuff so far away?
    Vegas heat – the CVS next to the hotel became a regular and necessary pit stop for liquids
    Weekend crowds – not really bad, but I’d hate to drive in that
    Monte Carlo location – It seemed to me that most of our time spent was between Bellagio and Venetian
    Wondering how long until I go back!!

    Thanks again to all the posters for providing lots of good information. Good luck to anybody heading to Vegas this year!
     
  2. Beach Crazy

    Beach Crazy Hostess With the Mostess

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2002
    Messages:
    6,218
    Location:
    Central Illinois
    Sounds like a great time. Makes me want to go back…soon! Thanks for the report.
     
  3. punkypete

    punkypete Tourist

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    MD
    What a nice trip for 3 friends. I'm like you, I like the casino at MC, but the rooms are just average! Glad you had a nice time!!
     
  4. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2002
    Messages:
    5,838
    Location:
    Southeast of Sin City
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25
    Hey PWong...

    Great trip report--thanks for all the info! I'm heading to the Monte Carlo in 2 weeks with 3 of my buddies, and only one of us has stayed there before. We too concentrate on blackjack, craps, and sports bets, but we're gonna hit the poker rooms this time, too.

    No more bachelor trips. Sad indeed. [​IMG]

    Mikey
     
  5. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Did you ask housekeeping for a fridge? At Monte Carlo they have them free of charge, but it depends on availability. We had one last summer, as did the friends who travelled with us.
     
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