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Buddha's September Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Oct 3, 2016.

  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    My Trip Report

    Well, folks ... Vegas trip #59 is over, and here are the usual details for your reading pleasure ....

    Our round-trip Southwest Airlines flights, Sept. 21st and 28th out of Chicago Midway, and the return from Vegas, were purchased back in April / 2016, when SWA opened up the September ticket window. These flights were priced "FREE" for each of us (Nancy and me), using some of our many SWA Rapid Reward credits. Added to that was our usual $12.50 each way for the SWA Early-Bird check-in ... worth every penny for an "A" boarding pass.

    Wednesday , September 21, 2016 :
    At 5:09 am, we catch our local Metra commuter train to the downtown Chicago Union Station ... and walk over to the "elevated loop" commuter "Orange Line", which takes us directly to the back entrance of Midway airport. With our pre-printed boarding passes, WITH the TSA Pre-Chk, we are easily through security in less than 2 minutes. And, after a McDonald's breakfast, we thought it would be a typical 90 minute wait until we were lined up for boarding our 9:50 am "on schedule" plane. HOWEVER, it immediately began to rain, and our flight was pushed back to 10:30 ... and then 10:45 ... and at 11:15 am we finally began boarding the plane. Everyone was very disappointed in this 2-hour delay, especially when the destination is VEGAS !!! The flight was uneventful, except for knowing we were losing prime Vegas time, arriving at 1:15 pm Vegas time. :-(

    After de-planing with all of our belongings, we immediately headed for the shuttle bus for the short ride to the car rental garage. We already have our Alamo reservation papers in hand, and headed directly up to the Alamo level, and picked out our white Dodge Mini-Van. We typically rent a compact car, but for some strange reason, this van was priced at $175 for the week ($70 less than a compact), plus the usual taxes & fees, and 2400 RR points on an Alamo/Southwest promo code. The car was somewhat new, but had a few minor scratches on it, that I reported at check-out ... and away we went.

    Upon leaving the car barn, we headed up to Tropicana Ave., and east to the Hooters Casino for a quick pair of Matchplay coupons (both losers, minus $20). We then cut over to Flamingo Rd., to the Dollar Tree store for a few supplies. Returning back west on Flamingo , it was a quick drive to the Gold Coast Hotel / Casino, where we would spend the first night ( comped free ). Check-in was quick & easy, with a room on the 5th floor close to the elevator, and we were soon down in the casino. Nancy registered her player's card on the Kiosk for the "Young at Heart" (seniors) drawing at 4:30, and we played Video Poker for about 2 hours, until the Young at Heart drawing. But just 30 minutes before the drawing, I was dealt the 10-Q-K- A of spades, and pulled the Jack of Spades on the redraw for a $1000 Royal Flush !!!! Great way to begin our trip !!!!

    No luck in the Young at Heart drawing, but for dinner, and we used our Young at Heart 2/1 coupon for one free buffet, and used player points for the second person ... for a fully free dinner for the two of us. Back to our room at the Gold Coast for a little TV, but it didn't take very long before it nothing but ZZZZZZ's , after a long day from home. In the morning, we will be moving downtown to Main Street Station for the next 6 nights.

    Thursday , September 22, 2016 :
    Up early, showered, dressed, and repacked ... we check out from the Gold Coast, no charges ... and head downtown to Main Street Station, where we have a comped reservation for the next 6 days. Arriving at MSS, it's only 6:00 am as we enter the parking garage, so we leave our luggage in the car. Stopping at the hotel front desk, the clerk is happy to check on our reserved room, and temporarily checks Nancy in for our first 3 nights (I will have 3 follow-up nights), and tells us to come back at 2:00 am for the keys, and the room will be ready ... good deal !!

    So, with some time to kill, we head for the casino at the California, for an hour of some video poker. After losing $38 at the Cal, we return to MSS for the breakfast buffet, and pay for it with some of Nancy's many player card points. After a relaxing & filling breakfast, we head back to the California casino ... Nancy to one of her favorite slant-top, single-line Bonus Poker quarter machines, and me to a bank of All-Star Video Poker quarter machines, where I play Triple Play (3 lines) , also playing Bonus Poker. We play here until 1:30 pm, losing about $100, and head back to MSS, and were officially checked in on the 8th floor, requested a coffee pot & coffee supplies, and moved all of our belongings up to the room. With all things now in the room, and suitcases unpacked, we head back down to the California casino, to resume our VP activities. Nancy is still sticking to her previous "lucky" machine, and I'm still hammering away at my Triple-Play, and not making any progress ... Nancy winning about $20, and me losing about $45. Along with Nancy's room offer, also came a $25 free-play voucher for the Cal, which she then turned into a profit (+ $28).

    For dinner, we have reservations at the Casa Amore Italian Restaurant (on Tropicana Ave.), using a $50 certificate from our friend, Lee in Mich. Lee won this in a contest, but was not able to use it, and passed it on to us. After getting the OK to use it, we made the reservation. This small restaurant is very quaint, and old-time Vegas, with great waiters and an extensive menu. Nancy had the Eggplant Lasagna & Spaghetti, and I had the regular pasta version of Baked Lasagna. We used the full credit of our $50 certificate, plus a nice tip to our very helpful waiter ... and headed back to MSS.We're done gambling for the day with eyes weary, but before getting to the room, we stop at the player's club, and pick up a comp slip for tomorrow's MSS breakfast buffet. Up in the room for the evening, with Nancy relaxing with a good book, watching TV, and me on my lap-top, grabbing a free signal from Fremont St. .... and eventually ... ZZZZZZZ.

    Friday , September 23 :

    Today starts off with our usual breakfast buffet (with our free comp) at Main Street Station, with very similar offerings as other weekdays, but still enjoyable, and we get to visit with many of the employees who we've made friendships with on previous trips. After breakfast, we return to our usual VP machines at the Cal, always hoping for the elusive winning sessions. Unfortunately for me, today's sessions are about the same as the previous day, losing about $100 on my Triple Play, but Nancy keeps her winning ways, with a win of + $34.

    For dinner this evening, we visited the Market Street Cafe at the California. For this dinner, we decided to order from the menu, which included a trip to their extensive salad-bar, and the food was very good. Nancy ordered the fish dinner, while I stuck with one of my favorites, the steak dinner w/ mashed potatoes & green beans. Outside of some of the buffet meals, this was my favorite meal. We again used player points here to pay for another free meal.

    On the way back to our room, we stopped by the Cal player's club, and picked up Saturday's breakfast "brunch" buffet comp. The Saturday and Sunday breakfast "brunch" buffets are a little more special than on Monday though Friday, with more choice items, and even champagne.
    Saturday , September 24 :

    We were up early, and down playing in the California casino at 6:30 am., me losing $30 before I had a bite to eat, and Nancy had a $23 win. The weekend morning "Brunch Buffet" is always somewhat more special than during the week, as extra offerings are available, as well as champagne. This is always one of our favorite buffet meals of the trip, and it did not disappoint us. After breakfast, Nancy and I returned to our VP games for the late morning, and early afternoon ... and in those several hours, we managed to break even, as a "team" ... with me losing about $140, and Nancy winning about $25

    At about 3:00 pm, we returned to our room and relaxed, with me checking emails, and Nancy reading. Eventually, we got ready for a 5:00 dinner at the Triple 777 at MSS, for which I had a $15 voucher. I ordered the "Fish & Fries", and Nancy ordered the Philly Cheese-Steak & Fries ... both were delicious and very filling. Along with my $15 voucher, I once again used my player points to pay the bill, plus a cash tip to our very nice waitress.

    Sunday , September 25 :

    This is the morning that Nancy's 3-day MSS reservation ends, and our "stay-over" switches to my 3-day MSS reservation, staying in the very same room. My comp offer comes from the MSS hotel, from my preferred play in MSS casino, and our host at MSS is able to combine the room offers at MSS, so we can stay there, without having to move. And then, we have another fine breakfast (free) at the Sunday Brunch buffet at MSS ... with lots of nice choices of fruit and breakfast entrees. You might have noticed that we never have any lunch between breakfast and dinner. :)

    Here at the MSS, my long-time favorite machines are the full-pay 8/5 Bonus Poker, Triple-Play , and Nancy again has several of her favorite slant-top machines with 8/5 Single-Line Bonus Poker to choose from. The other "side-bonus" in playing at the MSS casino is the possibility of earning "Scratch Cards". As long as you are playing max-coin, any 4-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush (or Royal Flush) will earn you a scratch-card (be sure to immediately light up your "service light") , and a floor person will show up with a scratch card. If you are playing a multi-line game , like me, it is possible to get multiple scratch cards in a multi-line game. If I was ever lucky enough to be dealt (or fill in) a quad hand on my Triple-Play machine, then I would get 3 scratch cards. However, that never happened on this trip, The high majority of scratch cards are for $2, but there are a few for $3, or $5, or higher ... and the Jackpot card is worth $5000 !!! Lots of luck getting that one !!!

    We played several hours of VP here at MSS this day, earning 12 scratch cards (eleven for $2, and one for $3 ... $25), with me losing $45 on video poker, and Nancy winning $18 .... while putting 9750 points on my player's card. Dinner for this evening once again took place at the "777Brewpub" at MSS. Nancy had the "Taco Salad" (large), and I had the Meatloaf dinner plate, with green beans. The bill was about $26, but I had another $15 voucher from MSS, plus player points, for another free dinner, with a cash tip. :) We were comfortably full !!!

    After that, we retired to our room for some R & R , emails, and TV viewing.

    Monday, September 26th :

    Up early again this morning ... showered, dressed, and organized for another day in the Main Street casino, at our machines at 6:30 am. We played until shortly before 8:00 am, winning a few dollars, and earning a few scratch cards, and then headed to the MSS breakfast buffet ... with another free breakfast voucher from the MSS player's club. Lots of good food, as we discuss our successes and failures from these past few days of video poker.

    After finishing breakfast, we went back to playing at our usual VP machines here at MSS. At my Triple Play VP machine, I now meet up with Paul, another casino friend, who lives only 10 or 15 miles from us in Illinois. We were playing side-by-side, both playing the triple-line 8/5 Bonus Poker, laughing & winning, (and sometimes losing), and getting more scratch cards on quads and two straight flushes. Back in April, when Paul and I met up here at MSS, Paul and I each managed to fill a Royal Flush here at these MSS machines. However, on this trip, no matter how many times we were dealt the possibilities of filling in a Royal, it never happened. Paul and I were still winning small amounts here and there, but Nancy was in the midst of losing about $140, and not pleased with her bad luck, and returned to the room to read her book.

    Taking a break from the VP, we grabbed our rental car from the MSS garage, headed out to do a coupon run. First stop was the Palms, with our MP's on the Roulette table ... one winner, one loser (+10). We had to take a pass on our Orleans MP's, as they now require you to present those MP coupons at the player's club, and once registered, it's "one & done", and no more. However, we still had our Orleans coupons for "Play $10 - Get $10 Free Play", which netted us an $18 profit. So, we headed down Tropicana, and stopped at the Hooters casino, where we did our MP's (+10), and also did our "play 10, get 10" free-play coupons (+ 17). From Hooters, we stopped at the small Mardi Gras casino on Paradise Road, for another set of "Play $10 - Get $10" coupons, for a + $13 total return. The last coupon we planned to use was at the Westgate Casino (previously the Hilton), but the front entrance only had a "PAY" parking garage, so we left. Will use the coupons in November, since we have now been told that there is a rear parking lot that is free.

    We now headed back downtown to MSS, and took an afternoon break in our room, to check emails, and itemize our various road-trip profits. We eventually headed back down to the MSS casino, where I hit a few more scratch cards, but in between those, there were lots of losing hands. I still had one more $15 food voucher, which we decided to use (with points) at the MSS dinner buffet, for another free meal. A good selection of dinner choices filled us up, and then it was back to our room for some evening TV and relaxation.

    Tuesday , September 27 :

    This day started out as typical as could be, starting with the usual breakfast buffet at Main Street Station ... and then on to the MSS Casino for our daily sessions of video poker. I was happy with my small wins and quads yesterday, and today, the cards were still running decent, with several quads ... and even filled quad 2's, 3's, and Aces ... TWICE each on my Triple Play machine !!! And I was rewarded. of course, with more scratch cards on each of those hands. A few more quads came ... and by 10:30 am, I was $200 ahead for the morning.

    I temporarily stopped at 10:30 am in order to head up to our room, fire up the computer, and check in for our flight tomorrow. We had again paid for the SWA - "Early Bird" check-in ... and on this occasion, we get boarding positions A-25 and A-269 ... and once again, both Nancy and I got the TSA Pre-Chk attached. So tomorrow, we will print our boarding passes at one of the airport kiosks, and we will have an easy trip through the "Pre-Chk" screening line. That way, I will not have to take all my computer gear out out of my satchel, to go through the security line, nor take off our shoes.

    Time to begin packing up our suitcases, and get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's trip home to reality.

    Wednesday , September 28th :

    Today is check-out day , and a 12:20 pm flight back to Chicago Midway Airport. We are cleaned up, and packed up, and we return to the MSS hotel desk for our final check out (no charges). All luggage is in the rental car, but first we are off to the MSS breakfast buffet at 7:00 am. This will be better than just grabbing a McDonald's at the airport. Down Main Street to Wyoming Street, south on Industrial Rd., linking to Dean Martin Way, across Flamingo Rd., across Tropicana, and all the way down south to Warm Springs Rd. East on Warm Springs Rd, and across LV Blvd. to the corner gas station for a quick fill-up before the return to the rental garage. Everything was in order there, and we are soon on the shuttle bus to the airport.

    We have plenty of time to relax at our C-19 departure gate, and relax to wait for our flight to return to Chicago. The only minor problem is that our plane coming in, is running about 15 minutes late. And, when you combine that with the time for unloading that plane, and then reloading our group, we might be arriving late to Chicago. We finally depart right at about 12:40 am Vegas time, and the pilot has us landing at Chicago Midway at 6:10 pm (Chicago time). I used my Southwest drink tickets for two glasses of wine to help me relax from the lateness snafu. :)

    Off the plane at 6:20 pm at Chicago Midway Airport, and we walk out the back way of Midway, to the waiting Orange Line commuter train. Arriving at the downtown "Loop", we make the return walk to Union Station, and much to our surprise, we are only 10 minutes away from the 7:40 pm departure of our suburban Metra commuter train to our home station.At 8:50 pm, we pull into our garage .... and our trip is complete.

    FINAL SUMMARY :

    >> Southwest Airlines MDW to LAS .... Credit Card purchase for 2 people, including taxes, and Early-Bird Check-in
    >> Southwest Airlines LAS to MDW .... Used Rapid Rewards for 2 people free, plus $36.20 taxes, fees, and Early-Bird Check-in
    >> Alamo Rental Car -- Dodge Mini-Van -- One Week -- $235 w/ 2400 Rapid Rewards awarded on a Southwest Airlines Promo on Alamo Rental Car

    >> 7 nights --- Gold Coast ( 1 night free) , The California ( 3 nights comped @ MSS) , and MSS ( 3 nights comped @ MSS)
    >> 14 meals ... all comped or free with coupons & points.
    >> Tips (meals , drinks , floor attendants ... $90.

    >> Casino coupon matchplay bets .... + $ 20
    >> Video Poker .... "Buddha" (+ $148 ) .... Nancy ( - $ 75)
    >> 38 scratch Cards @ Main St. Station .... + $ 77
    >> VP Coin-In , Cycled & Re-Cycled .... $ 50 K

    Hope you enjoyed the read ... Comments and questions are always welcome.

    Jim ( "Buddha" )
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2016
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  2. Lovegas95

    Lovegas95 Low-Roller

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    Great report. Thanks. You and Nancy had big fun!
     
    Must...Go...To...Vegas!!
  3. birdman925

    birdman925 Tourist

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    Very detailed report. I like how it moved from September to April. :)
     
  4. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC Low-Roller

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    Nice report. Free meals, free flights .... net win. Much cheaper than staying home!
     
    Bonus early day Downtown
    Annual end of the rodeo trip
  5. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    You had me at Dollar Tree. That's my town's equivalent of Macy's.

    Thanks for the great report!

    RICHARD
     
  6. Minnesota3

    Minnesota3 Tourist

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    Great report! I love the way you guys do Vegas. Love MSS and the Cal. 8/5 Bonus Poker is my game too.
     
  7. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    Great report -- thanks.
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  8. jrinct1

    jrinct1 VIP Whale

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    Buddha will get to read this/comment on this later. As I will be running out the door soon .
     
  9. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Jim - I always enjoy your frugal trip reports. $235 for a one week rental is painful to even think about. I don't know which I prefer, not that we are
    given a choice, of hitting a royal in the beginning of the trip and watching the funds gradually erode or pulling a "hail Mary" near the end to make a
    comeback. In either case, a win is a win so congratulations are in order. Best to you and Nancy.
     
  10. kkinwi

    kkinwi Low-Roller

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    What a fun week! I was amazed that you got the 6 days at MSS until I read that you each had the 3 comped. I am checking in at the end of the month with 3 comped for a tournament, and then added a 4th on line. Hopefully it all works out, as I know they usually limit each player to the 3 nights.
    Congrats on the royal! Nicely done.
     
  11. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    >>> I always get 3-night offers from MSS, and Nancy always gets 3-night offers from the Cal. We have no problem booking both of those offers directly at MSS, back-to-back in a "stay-over" in the same room. We do it every trip.
    If you have enough casino play history, I don't see that you would have a problem with a 4th night.
     
  12. VegasGroove

    VegasGroove VIP Whale

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    Hi Buddha,

    As always, an informative and lovely trip report! Thank you for posting!
     
  13. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    As always, I enjoy a Buddha TR.
     
    Christmas
  14. jENBEAU

    jENBEAU High-Roller

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    Awesome read, Jim! What a great trip. You and Nancy "do" Vegas in the complete opposite way than I do and yet, it sounds super! Is there really a bad way of doing Vegas?!
     
  15. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Great TR Jim! I'm thrilled you and Nancy were able to try Casa Di Amore....... it's one of my family's favorites. Love the food and the atmosphere. Congrats on the Royal, and thanks for the ROYAL email so I knew you had a great trip underway! I'm hoping that no mention of Nancy's knee means she is completely healed and as good as new! Congrats on another winning trip!
    diane
     
  16. blue808

    blue808 Tourist

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    I always enjoy your trip reports... so much detail and lots of great tips... thanks for another great post..!!
     
  17. smerrian

    smerrian Low-Roller

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    Great trip report. Enjoyed hearing someone else does Vegas the same way I do. I also keep track of the money aiming for a net zero cost to the whole thing for a 2 week trip...or at least as close as I can get! And, yet, I get a rental car, see a show, have a couple of meals at nice Strip restaurants. But, the bottom line is trying to get that zero cost trip. My last trip, May '16, I was in LV for 2 weeks and the total cost was $35. How can you beat that?
     
  18. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the customary detailed report, Jim. Congrats on your royal. Nice to see it made your trip a success for the week.
     
  19. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Buddha, great report, thanks for taking the time to share.
    Ty
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  20. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

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    Great report - enjoyed it!! Thanks for sharing
    your adventures with us.