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A Week in Vegas - "A Diamond in the Rough"

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by iceman, Sep 20, 2007.

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  1. iceman

    iceman Newbie

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    My Trip Report

    This truly was a ‘Diamond in the Rough’ Vegas trip! Thought I’d share . . .

    Background: Since becoming a Diamond member with HET about 4 yrs. Ago I’ve been making roughly 2 trips out here per yr. – usually for about 6 nts. Centered on both some Slot or VP tourney offer and of course different combinations of free rooms! The offer this time was for the $35,000 ‘Diamonds in the Rough’ Slot Invitational at the Flamingo. This trip also had another excuse: the Wis. Badger’s playing UNLV (9/8)!
    As a WI native, Badger Alum and huge Badger fan this made it a no-brainer.

    We left out of STL on Sat. a.m. (9/8) – no problems using SWA, on time in Vegas at 1055. Got a 2 day Hertz weekend rental ($31.57 total cost!!) thinking we’d head out to Sam Boyd Stadium with the mass of Badger fans that night. After hearing stories about the lack of ticket availability and tired from the long travel day we scrapped the idea. We ended up watching it in the Bellagio Sports Book. A good choice! (Comfortable Leather chairs, free drinks and small crowds – all at the game?) Oh, by the way – WI need a 4th Quarter comeback to win by 7 (were favored by 26+ pts.)

    Room: The original booking was for the 1st 3 nts. @ the Flamingo with the last 3 @ the Rio. The Rio has been our principle home the past 4 yrs, but we were excited to try a new hotel. Upon check-in we inquired about being able to stay at the Flamingo for the entire stay and we were accomadated! This pleased my girlfriend (C) and made sense as the slot tourney was here on Wed. and Thurs. (9/12 – 13). We of course tried for the GO Room (Flamingo’s pink retro remodeled rooms – complete with flat screen TV’s, remote drapes, IPOD docking station etc. etc. We could have it for $50 add’l – we declined. In hindsight, I wish we’d have said YES! Our room was very plain (#28134). On the top floor directly overlooking Caesar’s and Pure – could see about half of Bellagio on down to the Mirage. We were told the room had been remodeled on 04’ – was old to us. Had 1 27†Phillips TV, small sitting area and old bath. While functional I was disappointed – it seems as though HET is constantly tightening the screws, a few yrs. Ago we managed an Augustus Tower room overlooking the Bellagio Fountains! I guess I’ve been spoiled by the rooms I’ve had!

    Food: Each day it was mainly a Snack in a Diamond Lounge and one meal. Our 1st meal of the trip was Sunday when we were downtown. We decided to do the champagne brunch at the Fremont. Don’t laugh! For $10.99 it was pretty darn good! On Monday, we headed out to the Silverton before returning the car. We had an early lunch of burger’s at the Sunset Grill (2 for 1 with room key and out of state ID) – excellent! After returning the car – we cabbed it to Ellis Island. This is a must-do for me each trip. I love the micro-beers, small time laid back atmosphere and of course the $4.95 steak special, which to me never disappoints. Note: I’ve heard that they just raised the special by $2 (includes a micro-beer or home brewed root beer) – still one heck of a bargain!!
    Tuesday was our ‘strip crawl’ day. (Harrah’s, TI, Mirage, Caesar’s, Bill’s) We decided to try Harrah’s ‘Flavor’s’ Buffet – what a GEM!!! This will be added to our list for future trips – right up there with the best buffet’s I’ve had! (Used Total Reward’s credit’s w a $5 off coup) Hint: order the orange juice!! The dessert’s were amazing!
    Wednesday we did the Paris buffet. They have moved the Diamond sitting to right in front of the buffet and offer you unlimited crab legs if you choose. This is still a favorite of ours.
    Thursday we decided to use our $50 food voucher’s from the slot tourney at Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville. Good choice!! Fun atmosphere!! We ordered 2 of there signature items to share. The Volcano Nachos (could feed 6) and the Cheeseburger in Paradise. Had enough left over for 2 Margarita’s and a Bahama Mama! Left feeling no pain!

    Gambling: Pretty darn good for me and just so-so for C. I ended up about $450 for the week (before the slot tourney tale which is still to come . . . .) C ended down roughly $800 (?).
    Sports betting was unbelievable for us!! C was 7-1 with College Football and I was 8-2. On Sunday we did one bet – threw $30 combined into a 4 team NFL parlay, with C picking 3 of the teams! It hit!! We collected $390!!!
    I had incredible discipline (except for the last afternoon at the Flamingo were I gave back $380 at short play Video Poker and 6 card Pai Gow??) this trip, each time I got a nice VP hit, CASH OUT! High’s were 4 4’s at MSS Sun. for $100, 4 Aces at Ellis Island for $200, 4 3’s w Kicker at Paris for $200 and 5 play .25c DB Super Times Pay at Caesar’s – had 9, 10, J, Q clubs dealt w a 5X – hit the King of clubs w a flush and straight for over $400 – CASH OUT!! I also had consistent luck at PaiGow and small wins at Blackjack. One slot I had heard about and we had great fun at is the .01c ‘Goldfish’ – while I did’nt win, it was FUN entertainment!!!

    Shows: Only one show, Vinnie Favorito. He was hilarious! We managed to escape his wrath – but he found a lot of material from his audience – good stuff!
    We did see a few Fountain shows, including my favorite: Time to Say Goodbye, from Sarah Brightman and Andrea Bocelli!!! Staying at the Flamingo w Bill’s being so convenient – I saw Peter Vallee and Big Elvis at least 3 times, including a full set! I enjoy him a lot!! He’s been renewed through 08’ Yes, he has lost 475 lbs. – still wants to lose 200 more! Did it all on his own, no surgery – good for him!! Our last trip in May we did see Celine Dion (@ $175 a pop) and thoroughly enjoyed it!!!!

    Slot Tournament: On to the $35,000 ‘ Diamonds in the Rough’ Slot Invitational . . .
    While these are a nice diversion we always go in with low expectations. Sometimes they include nice gifts or an upscale awards banquet. So here we go . .
    We were given a 12:40 time both Wed. and Thurs. and I had C do each of the 10 min. session’s (I cheered her on hard with drink in hand!). She absolutely blew everyone away!! At the end of day 1 – we had 13,385 points!! She managed to twice get Diamonds in the Rough symbols all the way across!! The closest after Day 1 was 12,100 with 10 others above 10,000 pts. Oh, and by the way, the prize structure was based on 750 entrants – they had 1300!!! They adjusted the prizes as follows:
    1st: $10,000 to $15,000
    2nd: $5,000 to $7,000
    3rd: $2,000 to $2750
    4th: $1,000 to $1250 (?) etc.
    So, when Day 2 rolls around we are excited but know that anything can happen. We get ready for the Big Event by having 4 – 5 Blue Moon’s
    at the Flamingo back bar near the Spa (what a hidden gem this was – just us and the bar guy – Joe from Chicago).
    12:40 rolls around and it’s on . . . C gave it her best effort – but the magic from yesterday was gone – 5085 points. Oh well, a prize of some sort awaits!
    That eve. As we head to catch our cab and our 7:30 flight I decide to see if the results have been posted (prizes were to be mailed if you could’nt be there) – they had just finished posting – 2nd Place, $7,000 Baby!!!! 400 pts. From $15,000!
    We were excited beyond belief! Now what? I know I’ll have to sign some tax form. Where to go? Can we get the $$ before we head out? We do! They meet me at the Cashier’s cage and count out 70 $100’s!! What a way to end the trip!!

    Random thoughts:

    - I love downtown (home during my trip’s in the 90’s) and wish we could have spent more than the half day on Sunday. I can’t believe the job they did with the Golden Nugget – awesome pool area!
    - While the Flamingo served our needs, has a nice central location, decent pool (although not as nice as Caesar’s or even the Rio in our opinion), very nice spa and gym (which I used each a.m. bright and early at 6 – could’nt quite adjust to the time change), I don’t think we’ll be back (in order of preference of HET properties it’s Caesar’s, Paris, Rio with the other’s last).
    I did not like the feel of the casino, the rooms (unless you can score the Go Rooms) the general crowd (very middle America – no “beautiful people†you would see at Caesar’s or the Rio).
    - The Silverton was great. Enjoyed the aquarium, look of the casino, lack of
    Crowds, good beer selection. It reminded us of Green Valley Ranch.
    - If you get the chance, use Caesar’s spa. I went on Wed. for the 2nd time and it is a real treat. I had the spa to myself the 1st hour. They have an Artic Ice Room which is 50+ degrees with snow falling from the ceiling, along with all the usual spa facilities.
    - The weather was sunny and 100 – 103 every day. I only spent a combined 2 hours at the pool – spent 3 hrs. ea. Morning working out and using the spa.
    - Many, many drinks were consumed. My favorite being the Blue Moon beers (Complete w a slice of orange at Bill’s – Yummy!)
    - Give the .01c Goldfish a try if you hav’nt – good cheap fun!!

    That’s it – a trip to remember!!!
     
  2. Souette

    Souette Tourist

    Joined:
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    How fun!

    Good report and just exciting enough to get me pumped up all over again about my upcoming trip!
    $7500...wow, I wish I could sing that song.
    Congratulations on the win and scoring a great trip to boot.
     
  3. Hoopswife

    Hoopswife Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2007
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    Wow. Congrats! What a great trip all around for you!!! Thanks for sharing it (but really - how cold you not share that!!!) hope I have your luck next trip!
     
  4. IllMarty

    IllMarty Orangutan

    Joined:
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    Man thats a great trip. The $7000 with no W2G was icing on the cake!
     
  5. Wanderer33

    Wanderer33 Guest

    Good report, Nice win!! Thanks
     
  6. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Congrats on all the wins you had. There's nothing like the feeling of leaving Vegas with a good chunk of the casino's money.:thumbsup:
     
    Back where we belong
  7. angel81chick

    angel81chick Abuelita

    Joined:
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    Holy Crap!! $7K, that is sofa king awesome!

    Excellent TR, I can only hope I am as lucky as you are this weekend!
     
  8. CFioren317

    CFioren317 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    I was in same tournament. First day got around 6,000 and was in the cash. Second day, got around 4,500 and dropped to #500, which was 50 out of the money. Could not even sniff the "Triple-Double Diamond" combo. I thought it was nice though, and the emcee was pretty funny. Overall, not bad for free ;)
     
  9. aggie182

    aggie182 Off Key and Out of Tune

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    awesome.
     
  10. StickyFingers007

    StickyFingers007 Namer of T2V Gatherings

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    Great TR! Nice win at the end. Congrats!

    Sticky
     
  11. gambleforfun

    gambleforfun Tourist

    Joined:
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    Good TR

    good TR, never had had a trip like that or heard of how to get into a slot tourney, is this only for big gamblers?, normally a $5.00 blackjack guy.
     
  12. tnkc

    tnkc High-Roller

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    Thanks for the report! Congrats on the winnings! Outstanding.

    There is certainly a difference between the Harrah's properties...and I would say the Flamingo, Harrah's, and Bally's are the "lower tier"...but in my view as a budget Vegas-lover they are just fine. They're much better than many alternatives elsewhere, but I understand your reservations.
     
  13. texas_aggie_girl_93

    texas_aggie_girl_93 VIP Whale

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    Sweet! Always nice to hear about those wins. Thanks for sharing.
     
  14. hula96717

    hula96717 Tourist

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    congrats on the winnings!! what a great way to end your trip!!
     
  15. sporty8705

    sporty8705 VIP Whale

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    what and where is the 1c. goldfish?
     
  16. darnae

    darnae Tourist

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    Sounds like a great trip!! Congrats on the win!!
     
  17. vegas vacation

    vegas vacation Tourist

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    Great trip report! I really enjoyed reading it! I am still waiting to win a nice jackpot, this year's trip will be #7, lucky 7??? Hopefully! I am even more blown away by Big Elvis having lost 475 pounds! Does that make him "large like Elvis"??
     
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