1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

Grand Canyon, Mandalay Bay, Monte Carlo // Aug 26-31

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by StingerHook, Sep 4, 2014.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3

    My Trip Report

    I'll post each day as a reply.

    I’m a recent college graduate, and since I’ve only been working my current job for just under a year I honestly hadn’t planned on doing anything major for a vacation. My boss encouraged me to take some time off during the summer, and when I did the research I decided I would head to Vegas to knock some items off of my bucket list. Any questions? Ask away.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Day 1 – Tues, Aug. 26:

    Flight out of Baltimore is at 8:30AM, so I needed to hit the road at about 4am. Bags all packed the night before, multiple alarms set for 3:30am…. and of course, I wind up sleeping right through them. Woke up at 7am and scrambled to change my flight. Ended up getting on a non-stop flight leaving just after noon, but it cost me more rewards points. No matter, I’m back in business. Grab some food at the airport and the flight goes according to plan. Land in Vegas around 2pm, and head to baggage claim. Bags were delayed a bit – collected them and jumped on a shuttle to the rental car facility to pick up my car for the next 24 hrs.

    I rented through Dollar, and thanks to the advice of this forum I also signed up for the Express program. I walked right past a DEEP line of folks at the Dollar counters, down the escalator and to my car. I was given a 2012 Mitsubishi Galant with 68k miles (!!) on it. Pulled off the lot and began the drive to the South Rim of the Grand Canyon, where I would spend the night and see the view in the morning (bucket list).

    The landscape leading up to Mather Campground was beautiful, and I even saw some elk and pronghorn on the side of the road. As my luck (or lack thereof – this will be a recurring theme) would have it, there were monsoon conditions in the area of the South Rim that evening. As I approached the campground, I saw a tremendous display of lightning in the distance. Crap. I had a tent & sleeping bag in one of my checked bags, but figured I’d sleep in the car to avoid having to dry out a wet tent in a hotel room. Got to my site and had crystal-clear skies, so I decided to set the tent up and go for it. I was asleep by 9, but was woken up by thunder and lightning at 1am. I scrambled to break down the tent, threw it in the trunk, and spent the remainder of the night in the car.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Day 2 – Weds, Aug 27:

    I was woken up several more times throughout the night by the sound of rain on the car, but upon the system finally moved through after sunrise and I went to see the Canyon. Long story short, it’s as incredible as everyone says it is. After taking my fill of pictures, I jumped back in the car and started the trek back to Vegas. Before returning the car I stopped to grab some bourbon for the room. Returned the car and a Dollar shuttle took me to Mandalay Bay, where I had two nights via MyVEGAS to redeem. I was given a room on the 13th floor (just my luck), and considered asking for a different floor but the front desk agent said they were fully committed due to a convention so I decided to just go with it.

    The room was awesome – one of the nicest I’ve ever stayed in (remember – recent college grad here). I had a pool view, and after a shower and a quick nap I headed to Hussong’s Cantina for some happy hour eats. Grabbed some nachos and a couple of tacos (the food was great), then grabbed the cash from my Wednesday envelope and headed to the casino. Bought in for $100 at a $10 BJ table and couldn’t get anything going for the life of me. Decided to stop the bleeding and try out some slots – those weren’t any good, either. Bought in at another BJ table, but the story was the same. My time in the casino lasted roughly 2 hrs before I was done with my Wednesday funds. Went to the sportsbook and grabbed some parlay cards to study for the college football openers the next night. Headed up to the room and called it a night.
     
  2. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Day 3 – Thurs, Aug 28:

    Slept in until 9:30 (hey, this is vacation) and headed back to the casino, determined to reverse yesterday’s misfortunes. Got on a BJ table and was able to make my stack last for a couple of hours, but never had any gains to the point where I considered leaving. Finally cashed out with $90 of my original $100 buy-in, then headed to the sports book to place some parlay bets for the games that afternoon. Grabbed some McDonalds at the Luxor food court, then went to the Luxor casino to find a $5 table, hoping I could make something happen there. Well, I did, just not for me. I was joined at the table by a guy from Omaha who was playing $15-$25 a hand to my $5 minimum. I started off by being dealt two blackjacks, then a 3-card 21. Awesome! Then the dealer got switched and everything went to crap – for me, not for Omaha. I got smoked while he more than doubled his $200 buy-in and left. You’re welcome, buddy.

    Walked around the two hotels for a while, then back to the room for a quick nap (I take naps on vacation –sue me). Headed to Slice in the Shoppes for some happy hour food – the wings were good, slice of pizza was tolerable. Went down to the MB sportsbook, confident that my parlays would replenish my funds for the evening. That optimism was short-lived, as South Carolina – a double-digit favorite - proceeded to crap the bed in the opening game and kill all my parlays (all moneyline). Went back to the room to watch the rest of the games and drink the sting of my losses off.

    At about midnight I went down to the lobby to meet a friend of mine who took a long weekend to experience the football/casino adventure with me. Surely having a partner in crime would turn things around, right? Sort of. We went to the casino and played on one of those video craps machines for a while – I bought in for $50 and cashed out up $30. A win is a win! Called it a night shortly after that.
     
  3. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Day 4 – Fri, Aug 29:

    Grabbed a granola bar for a late breakfast, then it was time to check-out and head to the Monte Carlo where we’d be spending the rest of the trip. Hopped in a cab and got to MC around 10AM – I didn’t have early check-in but figured we could just have them hold the bags if nothing was ready yet. We were able to get in our room – a 22nd floor room with a strip view - with no issues. Went down to the casino and got in on a $5 BJ table, but it was more of the same mess. Video craps machine was somewhat better, got some drinks and cashed out even.

    For dinner I had 2 buffets at Mirage via MyVEGAS that we went to redeem. Got on the tram to Bellagio, walked through there, past the fountains, then through Caesar’s Palace where we got turned around numerous times but finally got out and made it to Mirage. The buffet was decent – I wouldn’t pay the $35 for it, but for free it did the job. It reminded me of a college dining hall with better food (but again, not so much better that I’d pay full price for it). I will say that the deserts were very impressive.

    We had planned to taxi back to Bellagio & check out some of the attractions there, but our food coma was coming quickly, so we cabbed it all the way back to Monte Carlo and grabbed a quick nap before more gambling that evening. If you guessed that blackjack went poorly, congrats! You’re right! I called it a night around midnight, my buddy hung back to hit the poker room.
     
  4. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Day 5 – Sat, Aug 30:

    A day chock-full of College Football in the sportsbook was in store, and my bets today did much better than Thursday’s did. In between games we hit some blackjack tables (I’m a glutton for punishment I guess). The table we sat down at was half-full, we started off poorly but after switching dealers I got back to my original buy in and then some. After winning a doubled hand the time came for the original dealer to come back in. I moved to cash out and she noticed: “What, are you scared of me or something?” “Yes, I’m terrified of what you’re about to do to my stack” (I was only half-joking). After I cashed out I went to watch some more games in the sportsbook, then it was time for dinner.

    The promo code I used when I booked our Monte Carlo room included a $75 credit at the Pub, so we went to go make use of it. We shared an appetizer platter, then had some delicious burgers (I got the Kobe), beers, and a dessert. Another huge meal, another food coma. Went to the room, napped it off, then went down to the casino for the last of our gambling for the weekend. I tapped out around 2AM (blackjack, once again, beat me down), but my buddy powered through and did really well in the poker room.
     
  5. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Day 6 – Sun, Aug 31:

    I had considered waking up early and hitting the tables some before we checked out, but decide against it and chose to hang on to what was left of my cash for the week. Checked out and had an uneventful flight home, though weather in the Baltimore area had delayed several flights ahead of us and made the deplaning/baggage claim/shuttle to parking processes an absolute mess.

    FINAL THOUGHTS:

    Mandalay Bay – Great resort, wonderful staff. Would absolutely stay here again if rates were friendly enough to allow it.

    Monte Carlo – A downgrade for sure, but the beds were comfortable and it served its purpose. Was really disappointed with the lack of technological competency here – had no cell reception in the room, no express checkout available on the TV even though our packet said it was available… and no Wi-Fi reception in the room?! Really?! I can get wi-fi on a plane, on a train, but not in my room in a resort in Vegas?! I know that the resort fee says it includes wired internet (I even brought my own router, but that didn’t work, either), but come on MGM, it’s 2014. Get with the program. *Steps off soapbox*

    Blackjack – All you folks that make blackjack work for you, teach me the secrets haha. I was playing according to basic strategy, made the right moves, didn’t go on tilt chasing losses, but it absolutely beat me down. I now completely understand why Michael Jordan has been rumored to have issues with this game, too – I’m a competitive person, and when I make all the right plays but continuously get shafted, it’s upsetting. Not to the point that it ruined my vacation, but it definitely got me riled up.

    In regards to the 3:2/6:5 issue, I was able to play about half of my sessions at MB on a 3:2 table; I don't think they exist in Monte Carlo. I wanted to play at a 3:2 table, of course, but for me it was a convenience issue. I know that's the exact attitude casinos want players to have, and I wish it wasn't the case, but for this trip it was true for me. Next time I come back I'm going to commit to play my blackjack at only 3:2 tables, even if that requires getting a cab downtown.

    I was also disappointed with most of the dealers I encountered. I was hoping to find some friendly people that would make the experience fun, but very few acted like they wanted anything to do with the players at the table. Had multiple instances where the dealer took my chips after a push and the pit boss had to be called over to correct it.

    All things considered, I had a great time. This trip had a good balance of "scheduled events" and free do-as-I-please time. My main goal was to enjoy time off from work and come back more relaxed than I was when I left. Mission accomplished.

    Not sure if I’ll return in the near future, but if I do I know to come here for great info and advice.
     
  6. g8rb8k8

    g8rb8k8 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2013
    Messages:
    362
    Location:
    in my house
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    17
    OMG....my worst nightmare, you experienced, sleeping through several alarms. I would be beside myself...LOL
    Too bad the gambling gods were not on your side (not usually on mine either)
    Thanks for the report
     
  7. Ty

    Ty ?

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2013
    Messages:
    2,381
    Location:
    Mid Ga
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    22
    Nice report thanks for taking the time to share.
    For you, was the view at the Grand Canyon worth the time it took to drive there? We've thought about doing it.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  8. boxofbirds

    boxofbirds High-Roller

    Joined:
    May 23, 2014
    Messages:
    804
    Location:
    Seattle
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    10
    Thanks for the report!

    RE: Blackjack. Even if you are playing correct basic strategy you can still go on long streaks where you lose money. Even pro's who count cards and are playing at an advantage over the house can go on long streaks where they lose money. As long as you don't go on a tilt and don't play more than you can afford then eventually you'll likely hit a hot streak or two or three and the roller coaster ride will smooth out.
     
    Trip #12
  9. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    For me personally it was absolutely worth the drive. I'm from Virginia so the scenery is completely different than what I'm accustomed to; plus I didn't want to get all the way out there, be closer than I've ever been to it, and then not do it haha

    From the car rental center to the campground was about 4.5 - 5 hours each way. That includes two pit stops on each leg, though - if you have an iron bladder and a huge gas tank you could probably do it in closer to 4 hours.
     
  10. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Yeah the streakiness - and the fact that I really only experienced one side of that streakiness - is probably the hardest thing for me to accept haha. I never went on tilt, never chased losses, but still got bent over the barrel even though I was making the "correct" plays.

    Guess I just need to either learn to deal with it or find a new game haha.
     
  11. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    Yeah it was ridiculous - whenever it's the night before a big trip I always have trouble sleeping at all, but this time I was out like a box of rocks haha. Fortunately I still made it out there within a couple of hours of my original schedule.
     
  12. RockyBalboa

    RockyBalboa VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2010
    Messages:
    4,081
    Location:
    Houston by way of Philadelphia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12
    Nice report and sorry the blackjack variance gods were not smiling upon you.

    I have a 730am flight in a couple weeks and am not a morning person so your tale of oversleeping struck a chord. I wonder what the maximum allowable number of alarms the iPhone will allow one to set? Because I will test it and use my normal alarm clock!

    The competitive gene is strong and can make gambling frustrating. You make all the right plays per BS and your stack gets picked off chip by chip but yet you look around and see people playing as far away from BS as possible yet winning. So naturally a competitive person wants to win and can push it and still get kicked in the teeth. It sucks!

    But it sounded like you had a good time overall!
     
  13. Okie21

    Okie21 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2012
    Messages:
    102
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Can you comment on the minimums on the MB 3:2 tables at various times of the day and week?
     
  14. StingerHook

    StingerHook Low-Roller

    Joined:
    May 20, 2014
    Messages:
    426
    Location:
    Virginia
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    3
    I was able to play at a 3:2 table with a $10 minimum on Thursday morning, but it was usually always full as most $10 tables were 6:5. $10 was the highest minimum I felt comfortable playing at so I didn't seek out anything higher, but I do recall seeing several 3:2 tables with $25 minimums later on that day.
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.