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Green Valley Ranch (8/10/04 - 8/15/04)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cruiser, Aug 19, 2004.

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  1. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Brenda and I returned from 5 days/nights in Las Vegas several days ago staying at the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Casino & Spa (8/10 - 8/15). This was our eighth trip to Vegas since May, 2002 but our first trip to the Green Valley Ranch (GVR) and we had a great time. You can check out their website at:

    http://www.greenvalleyranchresort.com

    I spoke to a casino host before booking this trip and we arranged to have the first night's stay comped up front and the other four nights we were given a 'casino rate'. Depending on how much we gambled over these 5 days/nights would determine how much of the remaining room charges would also be comped. This host also arranged to have a car pick us up at the airport which meant we wouldn't have to wait around for the next shuttle to the GVR.

    Day 1 (Tuesday, 8/10):

    We're up at 4:30 am and neither of us had gotten much sleep. Actually, I don't think Wifey slept at all. We left the house heading for the Austin-Bergstrom airport at 5:37 am. This was the first trip on Southwest where we printed off our boarding passes at home before leaving for the airport. Wifey printed off the passes at 12:02 am and we were #1 & #2 for this flight. The numbers didn't mean anything other than bragging rights if anyone cared. We were group A which is what we wanted for the flight to Vegas. I did the curbside check-in while Wifey parked the car and returned via the shuttle from long term parking. We get through security without a problem and head down to grab a breakfast sandwich. We board and take off on time and I use our drink coupons to have a couple double bailey's on the rocks. Life is good.

    We land right on time and meet our limo driver on the way to baggage claim. This gentleman is actually one of the bell cap folks at the GVR who also happens to drive the cars. I guess the GVR has their own fleet of cars. For some reason, everyone's luggage took longer than usual to arrive. We pick up our bags and head to the Green Valley Ranch. We arrive and leave our luggage with the bell cap folks. I tip them and the limo driver and we walk into the lobby area to check in. There's no line. It's about 9:45 am and our room isn't ready yet but that's okay with us. They'll call my cell phone when the room is ready.

    We walk around the hotel and casino for a bit (not too long since we're here to gamble) and the place is beautiful. We walked outside to get a peek at the pool area. We can really get to love this place. We head back inside and over to the casino looking for the two banks of 'full pay deuces wild' quarter machines. Found them. Okay, now we head to the 'Reward Center' to sign up for our boarding passes. As it turned out, our host had signed us up the day before. We each get our own card with different account numbers but we have a joint account. Back to the deuces wild 'optimum' machines and we begin playing side by side.

    It's 10 am. Before long, a waitress comes by and we order our first drinks here at the GVR. I think we both started with coffee and baileys. Yummm.We decided that this trip we would both play only video poker except I was going to take a shot at their bi-weekly blackjack tournament taking place tomorrow afternoon (8/11). Around noontime my cell phone rings and our room is ready. We stop by the lobby front desk and pick up our keys. The girl says she'll have the bell cap folks bring up our luggage. We're on the fourth floor in room 4008. Very nice! We were supposed to have a 'strip' view but the new construction blocked that view. We really didn't care if we had a strip view or not. This expansion is supposed to be completed by December, 2004. These might be luxury suites being built but that's just a guess on my part. With the completed expansion, the Green Valley Ranch may become a five diamond resort. Currently, AAA has it rated four diamonds. We do not disagree.

    The room is a heck of a lot nicer than what we were accustomed to while staying in the Paradise Tower at the Tropicana. Every day, there was a new assortment of goodies (nuts, candy, water, etc.) sitting next to the coffee pot along with a price list and no, we didn't touch any of these goodies although they were tempting. Plus, there was a private in-room honor bar. Since this was in a small refrigerator, the only thing we used it for was to store a couple candy bars (chocolate with almonds) that I brought with us and a bit of leftovers from one of our dinners. In the bathroom area, the separate shower was at least a foot wider in both directions than our shower at home. And the water pressure made this the absolute best shower I ever had. We even had plush robes in the rooms. Here at the Green Valley Ranch, there is twice-daily Housekeeping Services. We could also get a complimentary shoeshine every morning but we had no need for that amenity. We always had plenty of towels and we were left with two small bottles of water each evening in the room. We left a $5 tip on the pillow every morning which I'm sure was appreciated. Overall, the room was very nice. Even though we haven't seen the rooms at the Bellagio, I don't believe that a regular room at the Bellagio could be any nicer than these rooms. Okay, back to the casino floor. We decided to grab a quick bite to eat in the food court. I had a slice of pizza and Brenda has a salad.

    At 1:30 pm, we're back at the video poker machines and play until 5:45 pm. We had made reservations earlier in the day to have dinner at Il Fornaio at 6 pm. We head over for dinner. We both asked for water with dinner. We both started with Minestrone di Verdure, a seasonal vegetable soup made with vegetable stock. For the main course, we both ordered the Spaghettini con Polpettine which is a thin pasta with housemade meatballs and tomato sauce seasoned with crushed red pepper, garlic and trebbiano wine. For dessert, Brenda had the Affogato al Caffe which is espresso poured over two scoops of vanilla bean ice cream and topped with fresh whipped cream. I ordered the Tiramisu which is lady fingers, rum, zabaione, mascarpone cheese, espresso, and cocoa powder. Dinner was great. We highly recommend this Italian restaurant.

    Back to our video poker machines by 7 pm. Wifey decided to head back to the room about 8 pm while I played on until about 11 pm before calling it a night. Our king bed with the down comforter and down pillows are wonderful. We loved these so much that upon returning to Austin, we ordered a set for ourselves from the same company that GVR orders them from. Each morning, we could have either a USA Today or a local paper. Each night we put the 'USA Today' card on the outside of the door and received this paper in the early morning hours.

    Day 1 Gambling Summary:

    Video Poker (me) - up $53.75 (11 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces')
    Video Poker (wifey) - up $155.00 (10 'wild royals')

    Day 2 (Wednesday, 8/11):

    We're up about 4:30 am and I start a pot of coffee. This has got to be the best darn shower I've ever had. And the robes were a nice touch. Back at out video poker machines at 5:15 am. We play until about 6:45 am and head over to the Original Pancake House for breakfast. I believe Brenda ordered the Bacon and Eggs which includes three pancakes while I ordered one of their Specialties of the House - Apple Pancake, oven baked with fresh granny smith apples and pure Sinkiang cinnamon glaze. It was very good but I couldn't finish it all. Back to the video poker machines at 7:30 am. Today is one of their bi-weekly blackjack tournaments. The buy-in is $25 and you can buy in up to 3 times. You can play every 45 minutes at 2 pm, 2:45 pm, and 3:30 pm. The semi-finals are at 4:15 pm, with the finals at 5 pm. I took a break from video poker around 12:15 pm. I signed up for the 2 pm time slot and got table 1, seat 5. There would be two players from each table at 2 pm, 2:45 pm, and 3:30 pm that would advance to the semi-finals. One person from each of the semi-final tables would advance to the final table at 5 pm. There would be 6 people at the final table with the following payout:

    First Place $1,300
    Second Place $500
    Third Place $400
    Fourth Place $300
    Fifth Place $200
    Sixth Place $100

    2 pm arrives and we begin. We are each given $1000 in tournament chips. The minimum bet is $25 and blackjack pays 2-1. There will be 20 hands with a chip count taken after 15 hands. By hand 15, I'm the first one eliminated from my table. How embarrassing. I head over to the sign up table and buy in again for $25 to play at 2:45 pm. I'll be at table 5, seat 3. This time, I do advance to the semi-final round. In the semi-final round, it came down to me in seat 3 and another guy in seat 6 for the final hand. I had $550 and he had $600. I bet first and bet $500 which was the max bet. He followed with a bet of $500. I was dealt a 20, he was dealt a 17, and the dealer had a ten showing. I stay at 20. Now, this other guy had a real problem. Does he stay at 17 and hope the dealer busts or does he take a bigger chance and take a card to improve his hand without busting. If both hands lost or both hands won, he would advance to the final table and I would not. He finally decided to stay on 17. Dealer flips his other card. Dealer has 20. I advance to the final table. I asked to see the next card to see what would have happened if he chose to take a card. It was an 8 and he would have busted. Same outcome in the end.

    5 pm rolls around and there are 6 of us at the final table. Wifey came to watch me at the final table but couldn't see very much from where she was standing. After 15 hands with five hands to go, we have a chip count. I'm third high. The next three hands killed me and although I and everyone else lasted through all 20 hands, I ended up in sixth (yes, last) place but took home $100. This was fun.

    We have dinner reservations for 6 pm at the Bull Shrimp restaurant but it's still early. We decide to head over anyway and see if we have get in now. Not a problem. We both ask for water with our meal. We decide to split a Jumbo Shrimp Cocktail. The shrimp are huge. For the main course, Brenda order the Prime Rib while I order Filet Mignon. For dessert, we split some sort of cheese cake with an assortment of fruit on the side. The meal was delicious. We take the leftover prime rib back to the room and put in into the refrigerator bar. We're back at the video poker machines by 7 pm. Wifey plays another hour or so and decides to head back to the room. I play until about midnight trying to match wifey's royal flush she got earlier in the day. Midnight comes and no royal flush. Time to call it a night.

    Day 2 Gambling Summary:

    Video Poker (me) - down $353.75 today (11 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces), down $300 overall
    Video Poker (wifey) - up $325 today (7 'wild royals', 1 'royal flush'), up $480 for the trip

    Day 3 (Thursday, 8/12):

    This morning we got up at 5 am after another restful night's sleep. Okay, we both could have used more sleep but we're awake and ready to hit the casino. One of the neat things about this hotel and casino is the ventilation system. Anytime we stayed at the Tropicana, I always found that by the end of the first day, my nose would be stuffed up and I'd have problems the rest of the trip with nose bleeds. This trip, my nose felt great the entire trip and Brenda felt great too. We really enjoyed staying and gambling at Green Valley Ranch. We never had a problem finding open full pay deuces wild machines and these were relatively new machines. GVR is still less than three years old. We also loved the fact that these were TITO machines. We loved this. No more waiting around for hopper fills and everyone working at GVR has been so nice.

    We play some video poker from 5:45 am until about 8 am. Time to head over to the Feast Around the World Buffet for breakfast. I guess I had higher expectations but the buffet was still pretty good. I just wouldn't say it was great. We've only had two other buffets in Vegas to compare this too. One was the at the Tropicana which is not very good. The only other buffet we've had was at the Bellagio. For the price, the breakfast buffet is a good deal. By 8:30 am, we're back playing our deuces wild video poker. We stop about 1:30 pm and decide to check out the pool area. Very nice. There are beds out by the pool. No kidding, think mattress like beds. I just layed there for a good hour or so while Wifey walked around. We hit the hot tub but neither of us went into the pool. It felt a bit cool but there were people around that said after the first few minutes in the pool, it feels great. Okay, maybe next trip I'll go in the pool.

    By 4 pm, we're (you guessed it), back at our deuces wild video poker machines. Tonight for dinner, we head over to Fado's Irish Pub. Brenda ordered a Ruben sandwich and I ordered the Homemade Shepherd's Pie. We both ordered beer with dinner. The atmosphere more than the food made me feel like I was really in an Irish pub. Back to video poker by 6:30 pm. Brenda played another hour or so while I played until about 11 pm. Time to call it a night.

    Day 3 Gambling Summary:

    Video Poker (me) - down $800 today (11 'wild royals'), down $1100 overall
    Video Poker (wifey) - down $330 today (13 'wild royals'), up $150 overall

    Day 4 (Friday, 8/13):

    We're up at 5 am and begin our day with breakfast at the Original Pancake House. I told Wifey after we ate here earlier in the week that although the Apple Pancake was very good, I was going to order something different this time. Wifey ordered the Strawberry Waffle and I once again ordered the Apple Pancake. This time I was able to finish it. Another yummy breakfast. We hit the video poker machines at 7 am and play until around 4 pm. Time for the Feast Around the World dinner buffet. Again, the buffet wasn't bad - I just didn't think it was great. We're back at the video poker machines by 5 pm. I noticed that every time I looked up or around me, I seemed to notice something new that I missed before. There's just so much to take in. Wifey plays until about 8 pm and I stayed and played until 1:15 am. Still no 'royal flush' for me. The end of another day at GVR.

    Day 4 Gambling Summary:

    Video Poker (me) - down $385 today (10 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces'), down $1485 overall
    Video Poker (wifey) - up $375 today (8 'wild royals', 3 'four deuces'), up $525 overall

    Day 5 (Saturday, 8/14):

    We're up at 5:30 am and start the day at the video poker machines. We play from 5:30 am until about 8 am. Time to check out the weekend champagne brunch. Better than average but not great but I guess that's because I'm still trying to compare it to the buffet at the Bellagio. Back to our deuces wild machines by 9 am. This will be another long day at these machines.

    Sometime during the day, we find out that we had a famous T2V member and moderator sitting two machines over from us also playing deuces wild. It was David Berman. The first thing I noticed about David when I first saw him sit down was that he plays at a very fast pace. Brenda and I had been wondering if we (okay, she) had more than $1200 in credits and we decided to cash out, would we simply get a ticket (these were TITO machines) or would we have to wait for someone to come by since this might be an IRS issue where we would have to give them our social security #. I thought about asking David before I knew he was 'our' David but I was afraid of disturbing his play. We did ask someone that works at GVR and we found out that we didn't have anything to worry about. We chatted a bit with David and while we were all playing, David and I had each gotten two 'four deuces'. I though there was a chance we might see David this trip. It was very cool. David has even offered to show Brenda and I around his neighborhood the next time we're in town. We will certainly look forward to that. David left after awhile and I played until about 4:30 pm and Brenda played until about 5 pm. I wanted to pick up a hardcopy of our current room charges at the from desk. Tonight, we had dinner at Trophy's. Wifey had a cheeseburger and I ordered a chicken burger. Both were very good. After dinner, Wifey heads back to her deuces wild machine while I head to the room for a hot shower. My stomach has been bothering me all afternoon (probably from all the coffee and bailey's I've been drinking) and I thought a shower might make me feel better. I got back to my deuces wild machine about 7 pm and felt much better. Brenda played another hour or so and I played until about 10:15 pm. We have a 10:15 am flight in the morning and will take the 8:30 am shuttle back to the airport. We'll pack in the morning. One really nice thing about these video poker machines besides the fact that they're TITO (no real quarters go in or come out), is that fact that these machines show us how much $ we have in credits as opposed to how many credits (quarters) we have left. We love playing video poker at the GVR.

    Day 5 Gambling Summary:

    Video Poker (me) - up $225 today (8 'wild royals', 4 'four deuces'), down $1160 overall
    Video Poker (wifey) - down $125 today (15 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces'), up $400 overall

    Total Gambling Time this Trip:
    Video Poker (me): 20,327 points (65.75 hrs. @ 495 hands per hour)
    Video Poker (wifey): 17,331 points (54.25 hrs. @ 511 hands per hour)
    Wifey/Hubby combined for 37,658 points (120 hours @ 502 hands per hour)

    Total Gambling Losses this Trip: $760

    Day 6 (Sunday, 8/15):

    We have a 6 am wakeup call. We both wake up before the call and decide this was the most restful trip we've ever had to Vegas. We both felt great! We get cleaned up, packed and head down to the lobby by 8 am. We check-out and pick up the shuttle right out front at 8:30 am for the trip back to the airport. We get to the airport about 8:45 am and have 90 minutes before departure. We do the curbside check-in. There are long lines but they're moving pretty fast. We figured we'd get group C boarding passes and we figured correctly. On to security - not a problem. We offered to give up our sits if they needed volunteers but no such luck. Hey, we were hoping for a couple free tickets to come back to Vegas.

    As it turned out, we felt we were mislead by our host at the GVR in regard to what comps we could expect based on our planned amount of play. In the end, we were comped the first three nights and were given a reduced 'casino' rate for Friday and Saturday nights. We will be back to the Green Valley Ranch perhaps in December, 2004.

    [ August 24, 2004, 09:18 PM: Message edited by: cruiser ]
     
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    cruiser, you should have signed up here as 'marathon'. ;) Very cool that you and DavidB met up accidentally. Kinda disappointing, though, that all that play didn't get your whole stay comped.
     
  3. Jer

    Jer VIP Whale

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    All that action and not all of your stay was comped? Ouch... I'm wondering what their requirements are, damn...

    Sounds like you had a great time though, for that i'm glad! What a cool thing about being next to David... I would have felt "honored" to even sit near the guy! [​IMG]

    [ August 19, 2004, 03:21 PM: Message edited by: Vegas Jer ]
     
  4. DavidB

    DavidB Tourist

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    [​IMG]
    I'm going to look into that on his behalf. Can't guarantee any results, but it doesn't hurt to try.
     
  5. DavidB

    DavidB Tourist

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    [​IMG]
    Good thing I had taken a shower before coming to the casino.
     
  6. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

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    Cruiser always gives good, detailed trip reports. I do have a few questions though. What was your rate per night? When I went into their website and punched in a few dates I came up with $225 per night rate and then a lot of times it said it was not available. Are the rates high because it is a "Resort"?

    I also noticed that you and your wife do not stay long for your meals - which there is nothing wrong with that but one time you left the casino at 5pm and was back playing again at 5pm. [​IMG]

    I also tried looking to see where there was located compared to the strip and I still am not sure the exact location. I take it there are many things to do around there without a car?

    Again, nice trip report and thanks for all the helpful information.
     
  7. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

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    I'm sorry it was 8am and then 8am. My bad. LOL
     
  8. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

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    VegasKathy,

    Nice catch about the timing error. I just corrected the trip report. We returned to the video poker machines Saturday morning at 9 am, not 8 am like I originally stated.

    At the time we were looking at the GVR, the online rates were $189 a night for 8/10, 8/11, and 8/12 (Tues. thru Thur.) and $299 a night for 8/13 and 8/14 (Sat and Sun). This was for a Mountain Deluxe King Bed Nonsmoking room. For a Strip view, I believe the online rates were $319 a night for that Fri. and Sat.

    The 'casino' rates I was quoted were $125 a night for Tues, Wed., and Thur. and $150 a night for Fri. and Sat. Both the 'casino' rates and the online quoted rates were 'plus tax' and the tax rate is 10%.

    As far as what else there was to do, David Berman would be better qualified than me to tell you what else you could do while staying at GVR. There is a movie theatre at the GVR and there are shops outside across the street. There's also a Sports bar (Trophy's) if you wanted to watch sports.

    One thing I forgot to mention in the trip report was the fact that the bathrooms in the casino were very clean. This included men's and Women's. We will definitely return to GVR in the future and will never return to the tropicana.
     
  9. pup

    pup Tourist

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    Great report, Cruiser. Coupla questions:

    What was the vibe like? Does the casino have that unique Vegas feel to it like many of the Strip casinos?

    I've never considered staying there with "the guys", but wondered if it would be a good place to take la familia (non-gambling wife and a 3 and 5 year old). I'm one of those who believe they should card you at the airport [​IMG] , but perhaps GVR could be the exception?
     
  10. vikkign

    vikkign Tourist

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    Fantastic trip report. I admire people that can keep up with their win/losses like you do. I am afraid all my liquid refreshments get in my way of accurate accounting procedures [​IMG]
     
  11. JR Swift

    JR Swift High-Roller

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    I have to say that I read about people staying up all night drinking and carousing and generally abusing themselves on this board all the time, but the strength/stamina that cruiser (and wifey) display in their VP marathons are simply amazing. [​IMG]
     
  12. 39forevr

    39forevr Guest

    Cruiser that was a great report. did you keep notes on a daily or hourly basis? It was so detailed. GVR sounds like a wonderful place to stay. I would like to stay there on my next trip out maybe next year. sounds wonderful!!!!
     
  13. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

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    Pup,

    You asked if GVR has that Vegas feel. Well, on our previous 7 trips to Vegas, we've stayed and gambled only at the Tropicana. GVR is nothing like the Tropicana. After staying at the Trop less than one full day, my nose is always in bad shape because of the less than adequate ventilating system. It's so smokey at the Trop and very noisy.

    The GVR is nothing like the Trop in that regard. It's very clean, the employees are happy, and my nose loved staying/playing at GVR. We also liked the fact that the noise in the casino was nothing like the Tropicana and we really enjoyed hearing many of the tunes played during our time in the casino. One might say some of them were oldies but since we both 50-ish years of age, we enjoyed hearing them. We hardly left the insides, venturing out only to walk around the shops outside one day and on another day, we spent a couple hours in the pool area.

    We also saw families staying at the GVR. Remember this is a resort, not just a casino/hotel. It's just such a beautiful play to stay and we really enjoyed our 5 days/nights there. We plan to return for another 5 days/nights in December, 2004. And we will once again pretty much stick to playing our deuces wild.

    I usually keep pretty good track of when we start and stop each session at the machines and we each track our daily win/losses. We also keep track of how many 'wild royals', 'four deuces', and 'royal flushes' we get each day. You can also track rather easily at the GVR, how many points you've accummulated on their boarding pass players cards. So it's not difficult to track our hours played and at the end of the trip our average number of hands played per hour, as well as the coin in during the 5 day trip.
     
  14. Coaster Kikky

    Coaster Kikky Tourist

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    Great report! I loved the whole thing, but this is what stuck in my head:

    I recently flew from BWI to Manchester NH, and printed my boarding pass at 8-something am. I got #4 and was bummed. Go figure. :confused:

    Ditto the disbelief that you didn't get the full comp for your level of play. Ouch.
     
  15. Smarra17

    Smarra17 Poker Queen

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    It is interesting that they did not comp your full stay, but I am glad to hear that you liked your stay at GVR. I am hoping to see it in November when we are in LV. I am shocked that the host did not try to push for something more for two new players especially with the amount of play you gave.
     
  16. tvon

    tvon VIP Whale

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    GVR is very laid back and very classy. Not smokey or dank at all. I wouldn't hesitate bringing the family here. Keep in mind however, its pretty far away from the strip.. which can be a good thing for the kids, no porn slappers and strip clubs nearby. Its situated in a suburban setting.

    But GVR might be out of the way if you are with the buddies going bar hopping, its at least a 15-20 min drive to the strip.. so someone would have to be the designated driver or pay a pricy cab fare.
     
  17. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

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    Cruiser: Thanks for the room rates - that is what I saw on their web site. I realize that a resort is some what "pricey" compared to other strip hotels, etc. and GVR sounds like a great place to go. I can't believe you stated that you would never go back to The Trop when I know you have been compensated so well there in your previous trip reports.
     
  18. Blind_Molly

    Blind_Molly Tourist

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    Love Cruiser's reports. I think you had a typo in the Day 4 gambling summary. Wifey should be up $375 for day 4 to get to the total up. I, too, admire anyone that will give an accurate accounting of their gambling while in Vegas. Almost everyone you ever meet "wins" in Vegas.
     
  19. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

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    Blind_Molly,

    Thanks for pointing out my typo. It's been corrected. Wifey is still up overall in deuces wild after our 8 trips to Vegas. I, on the other hand, am in the negative for both blackjack and deuces wild. I do plan to improve my video poker play as time goes on.
     
  20. sin

    sin VIP Whale

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    Cruiser what a great report! I look forward to your every trip so that I can gamble vicariously through you and wifey. I'm glad you all found a new home, having just returned from the Trop I understand what you mean about the ventilation. I smoke and it was bothering me. Congrats to wifey on being such a consistant gambler too! I'm sure your next trip will bring you some winnings too!
     
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