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Jimboguy's Last Minute Weekend Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by jimboguy, Jul 15, 2013.

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  1. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    My Trip Report

    So on Thursday night, July 11th, I thought to myself, “I just received a decent bonus at work and I have no plans for the weekend, I should do something.” And, of course, the first thing that came to mind was Vegas. So, I bit the bullet for the higher price airline tickets (higher in price since it’s so soon to the departure date) and booked a comp room at the California Hotel & Casino downtown for Friday the 12th to Sunday the 14th. It was my shortest countdown timer ever!

    Friday, July 12th

    After work I came home, packed my carry-on bag, and hopped on the light rail train to the airport. Since I booked my airline tickets so close to the departure date, it was nominally more expensive to book a first class seat for the outbound flight. So, first class it is! My fat ass certainly enjoyed the wider seat. Unfortunately, I only managed to consume two Heinekens while airborne. The flight departed and landed on time with no issues.

    Upon disembarkation, I took the tram to Terminal 1 Baggage Claim and proceeded to the Level Zero escalator. Out the doors I went, walking past a very fancy looking Rolls Royce with a “WYNN 8” license plate, presumably waiting to whisk a whale away to a baccarat table. While this was a neat looking car, it couldn’t fit nearly as many passengers as the vehicle I was about to board. At 9:07pm, 24 minutes after my flight landed, I hopped on the WAX. For $2, the air-conditioned WAX escorted me downtown in about 25 minutes. The ride was uneventful, and there were never more than a handful of other passengers on the bus during the ride. The WAX let me off at 4th and Carson (right across the street from the D). I walked over to Ogden Ave for the three block walk to the California.

    Check in was less than three minutes, as there was only one couple in front of me in line. Shae, the pleasant check-in clerk, gave me room 1301. I prefer the rooms in this tower, as the elevator is closer to the walk way to the Main Street Station. Room 1301 is an accessible King room. I did not request an accessible room, but it was the one Shae assigned to me. It is a non-smoking room, which I requested. Not much difference other than a few extra bars/handrails in the restroom and the light switches are a little lower on the wall. The view out my window was of the other hotel tower. The room was very close to the elevator, but not so close that you hear the elevators all night long. The 13th floor is also the floor that houses the pool. I never made it to the pool. From what I have read and heard, not many folks make it to the California pool.

    After unpacking, I freshened up and went down to the 777 for some good eats. I sat at the bar and ordered a Marker Pale Ale. I know our message board has many fans of the Black Chip Porter, but I love the Marker. I also ordered the boneless chicken wings appetizer and some French fries. Holy cow, that was WAY too much food for one person! I didn’t even eat half of the wings and barely put a dent into the BASKET of fries. I also had a second Pale Ale. When it comes to food, I don’t have a very discerning palette, I apologize that my food review is not more in depth. I thought the wings were tasty, but I did not care for the dipping sauce the wings come with. However, I just asked for some ranch and the bartender gladly provided me with some. While sitting at the bar, there were two funny incidents/interactions (although you probably had to have been there). One gentleman sitting at the bar had apparently been waiting for his food for a very long time (like 40 minutes). Apparently, during the staff shift change, the bartender who left didn’t tell anyone that this customer ordered food, and so his order was never really submitted. The new bartender apologized profusely, and offered to comp the customer another beer. The [what I deemed] generous offer by the bartender just made the customer more upset, and the customer proceeded to tell the bartender that he will “just have to come back during the week when my boy is working so he can hook me up, because this service is just foul bro.” The customer then left, suggesting that he will be going to McDonald’s for dinner instead. After the customer left, the bartender – Jeremiah – started repeating part of the phrase the customer departed with, “that’s just foul bro.” Everyone at the bar who witnessed the interaction got a good laugh out of Jeremiah’s repeating the phrase. Maybe the customer was just having a bad night, but I just thought he was being a party pooper and nothing was going to satisfy him. Sure, 777 made a mistake, but Jeremiah tried to make it right by apologizing and offering to comp the customer’s beer.

    The other funny interaction was a gentleman who was sitting near me with two women. When the two women went to the restroom, the gentleman starting talking about how it is a bad idea to be involved with two red headed co-workers at the same time. So, there’s the sage advice from Friday: Don’t Get Involved With Two Red Headed Co-Workers At The Same Time. If it isn’t on a t-shirt already, it should be.

    After my time at the 777, I made the trek over to the Boar’s Head Bar to play some Jacks or Better video poker. I sat at machine 1759. I played for about three hours or so, hit a few four-of-a-kinds, and drank lots of Marker Pale Ale. Ronnie, the bartender, has an unbelievable memory. He knew what my drink of choice was from the last time he served me…in March! Maybe lots of bartenders have this ability, but I was very impressed. We talked about fishing, and his upcoming trip to Utah (where I live). I also talked with two nice women who were sitting at the two VP machines to my left. They were in town for the weekend from Laughlin, and we enjoyed shooting the breeze while drinking and playing VP. We made tentative plans to meet up for breakfast the next morning, but I explained to the women that it was unlikely I would be awake in time for breakfast, and that indeed was the case.

    After losing about $100 at VP at Boar’s Head, my drunk ass decided it would be a good idea to play the $1 Wheel of Fortune slot. In 20 minutes I lost twice as much money on this slot machine than I lost in three hours at VP. Shit! Then, I decided it would be a good idea to walk over to El Cortez for blackjack. So, I walked along Fremont Street at about 3:30am down to El Cortez. I was surprised to see that even at this time of day there were no $5 single deck tables, they were all $10. I sat down anyway, playing $15 per hand with $5 on the Royal Match side bet. Long story short, I lost more money. Why I didn’t go to bed after my VP session is beyond me. I was beyond tired, and decided to throw even more money into a slot machine at the El Cortez. Ughh. At about 5:30am, I finally leave the El Cortez with just enough money to grab a few Dunkin Donuts from the Fremont casino. My dejected self takes them back to my hotel room. I eat them, and then go to sleep. I was surprised that the walk to El Cortez at about 3:30am and the walk back to Fremont and then to California at about 5:30am resulted in only one solicitation attempt by a prostitute. Before the walk either way, I would have put the prostitute solicitation over/under at 2, -110.


    Saturday, July 13th

    Wow, I was tired. I slept until 2pm. I did the typical “morning” routine, then walked over to American Coney Island at The D. I had two dogs. I really like them. I am much more of a Chicago dog fan (Portillo’s is my favorite place on earth). American Coney Island is a completely different style than a Chicago dog, and it’s a style that works for me. The dogs have a really nice snap to them, and they put chili, onions, and cheese on top. These folks have figured out the perfect amount of ingredients to put on top of the dog without making them so messy you need a fork. It’s a dog with chili that you can still eat with your hands and don’t need a bib. They’re a bit expensive for a hot dog, at $3.75 each, but I can’t say that price is outrageous by any means. I would eat there again, especially if I’m looking for a quick lunch. Even when this place is busy, it does not take them long to serve the orders.

    After lunch I decided to head back to The California for some black jack. I sat at a $5 double deck game. It was an enjoyable, if uneventful, way to pass about two hours. I played the minimum bet for most of that time, and then went “all in” with a $90 bet. I didn’t win, so that was my last hand of black jack for the day 

    After black jack it was back over to MSS and the Boar’s Head Bar for more Marker Pale Ale and Jacks or Better VP. I managed to stay even during this short session. While sitting at #1759, Kelly – the bartender – mentioned that a gentleman at the other end of the bar hit a Royal Flush playing 50 cents. You wouldn’t have known the gentleman won, he didn’t cheer at all. Maybe he’s just so used to winning?

    After VP I walked over to Fremont at Casino Center to catch the SDX. I took it to Channel 8 Drive, and walked from there over to the Riviera. I grabbed some unremarkable dinner fare at the Riviera food court (and lived to tell about it, so far). Then I went upstairs to the Comedy Club using the ACG coupon. If you are even remotely entertained by stand up comedy I can’t recommend this place enough. Even without the coupon it only costs $20 for a ticket, and the comedians are great. This night featured Kathleen Dunbar and John Bizarre. They were both highly entertaining. I had seen John Bizarre at this venue once before, and I was a little concerned that he would be performing the same material. Fortunately, most of his stuff was new to me. There was a young woman (almost 30) in a very tight/revealing dress accompanied by a gentleman who sat in the front row on this evening. The young woman (she claimed her name was Ashley) provided lots of fodder for both Kathleen and John, and it made for an entertaining evening. If the audience didn’t think it when they say Ashley walk in the room before the show, the audience was certainly convinced by the end of the show that Ashley was an escort of the highest end. The show started promptly at 8:30 and lasted 75 minutes. Kathleen did a 30 minute set, and John’s set was 45 minutes.

    After the show, I hopped on the Deuce (stops right in front of the Riviera) and headed back downtown. The ride downtown on the Deuce from the Riviera isn’t too terrible (about 25 minutes), but I wouldn’t recommend taking the Deuce to anyone going much further in either direction. Take the SDX, and transfer to the Deuce if necessary.

    Back at the Boar’s Head Bar again, I proceeded to play Jacks or Better VP from 10:45pm to 6:45am. I know there are folks on here whose VP sessions are longer than this, but this was my longest VP session ever. I started with $100 (by the way, I play quarters, so $1.25 per hand). I hit several four-of-a-kinds during this session (about 12 or so), most garnering $2 scratch cards with an occasional $3 card. At 6:45am, I cashed out a ticket for $100. So I was exactly even (not counting the money from the scratch cards, which were all converted to cash and added to the tips for the Marker Pale Ale). I added about 12,000 B Connected Points to my card score, and added about 1500 bonus points. After cashing out, it was definitely time for bed.

    Sunday, July 14th

    I slept in until 1pm. After my “morning routine” went down to 777 Brew Pub for lunch. I had a burger with onion rings. It hit the spot. Service was quick and kind as usual.

    After lunch I tried out VP on the floor. I have never done this before, I usually do VP at the bar. However, on a previous trip, someone told me about a VP game at MSS that features a Treasure Chest Bonus. When you hit a four of a kind, you pick a treasure chest on the machine that could pay up to $1199. Plus, you still get a scratch card. I hit three four-of-a-kinds playing this machine, but still lost about $150 during what was about a three hour session. Two of the treasure chest bonuses got me 140 coins, and one got me 250 coins. Plus scratchers for $2, $2, and $3. I had zero Marker Pale Ale today, as I just didn’t feel like drinking. After coining out of the Treasure Chest VP (this is not a TITO machine, it pays out in quarters), I took my bucket of quarters over to the cashier. Then I went to wash the silver off my hands. I’m glad TITO is mostly the standard now. Picking quarters up out of a tub is not my idea of a good time. So I took the money I got from the quarters and tried my luck at the MegaBucks machine. I fully expected I’d be donating $100 to the MegaBucks progressive of $11 million and counting. But instead I actually hit three 7s (I forget what color they were) for $300, so that was a nice surprise. So I cashed out that TITO and headed back to my room.

    On the way back to my room at the California I stopped at Lappert’s, the ice cream shop that’s in the walkway connecting the Cal with MSS. I hadn’t ever tried their ice cream before, and I have to say, it is tasty! I got a cup of Praline Pecan. For $3 they provide you a very generously sized scoop. And the ice cream is served at the perfect consistency. Not too hard, and not so defrosted that it is soupy. It’s just right! You can use your BConnected points here too. Now I know why there is a long line here most of the time.

    I took my ice cream up to my room and then packed my things, as my flight was departing in a few hours.

    I tried taking the WAX back to the airport from downtown. I waited at Fremont and Casino Center for the 6:29pm WAX (which arrives at the airport at 7pm). The nice part about waiting for the WAX here in the summer is that you can wait right in the Binion's entry way where it is air conditioned and still see when the bus arrives.

    Anyway, I have taken the WAX numerous times and it is typically rather punctual. So when 6:47 rolled around I asked the overzealous security guard - whose post is at this transit stop - where the WAX was. The security guard called dispatch and apparently there was a fatal accident (I didn’t confirm this in any media outlets) at the corner of Tropicana and Las Vegas Blvd which prevented the WAX from running, and that the WAX might show up in an hour.

    I couldn't wait an hour, so I had to take a cab. Doh! The cab driver long hauled me, and I called the cab driver out on it quickly. When I asked, "is this the shortest route to the airport?" the driver refused to give me a straight answer. The cab driver tried to give me some hogwash about “the local route.” The cab driver laughed when I asked again if this was ‘the shortest route to the airport?” When I suggested that I call the taxi authority, my cab ride was suddenly "comped."

    Once at McCarran, getting through security was rather expedient and uneventful. My flight was delayed, but only by 20 minutes so no big deal.

    Overall I lost money on the trip, but that is to be expected. I keep telling myself that I should try doing other stuff besides gambling so much on my Vegas trips, but that’s what I go there to do. Also, most of my Vegas trips are solo, which means there’s nobody to pry me away from the bar or the tables. :nono:

    A few casual observations:

    I found myself getting more 4 To The Royals than I remember in previous trips. Nothing particularly noteworthy there, just something I noticed.

    The Downtown Grand looks like it’s still coming along. There is much more construction-related stuff present in the Downtown 3rd area now than when I was there at the very end of May.

    The Gold Spike is advertising live music every Thursday through Saturday night. I didn’t go find out what that entailed.

    Still lots of people in Fremont doing the Pictures for Tips thing. I saw that sad-looking Cupid guy, A couple of in-shape guys posing as firemen, a couple of showgirls, a Transformer, the Mario Brothers, Sponge Bob (she was standing there sans square pants when I passed by), Freddy Krueger, a ventriloquist, some guy who would make up songs about you based on your name, and some fat guy wearing a dress. I did not see KISS or Michael Jackson this time around.

    The Zipline doesn’t look like it’s going to be open by the end of summer, but I’m not a construction management guy so don’t take my word for it. Now that the FlightLinez is gone, though, there is a teeny bit more room to walk under the canopy. For example, the bar outside Four Queens seems more open than before.

    If anybody is planning on hitting up MSS over Labor Day weekend, I am told there is a big basketball tournament (adult amateur hoops) that will be causing their rooms to be sold out that weekend. So if you were hoping to stay there over Labor Day, just keep that in mind. I know the last time I was there during one of their basketball tournaments, it was very tough to get a seat at the Boar’s Head bar in the evenings because all of the tournament participants took over the bar.

    If you made it this far, you are a trooper. Thanks for reading. I’m sorry that I’m no Squidward when it comes to entertainment value in trip reports.
    My next trip is planned for September 20-23. We’ll see if an impromptu trip happens between now and then.

    - jimboguy
     
  2. VegasGarden

    VegasGarden Low-Roller

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    Great read ... Thanks Jimbo
     
  3. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    While sitting at #1759, Kelly – the bartender – mentioned that a gentleman at the other end of the bar hit a Royal Flush playing 50 cents. You wouldn’t have known the gentleman won, he didn’t cheer at all. Maybe he’s just so used to winning?

    Must of been Joe!

    Good report and thanks for the detail on traveling to and from.
     
    1st Super Bowl DT...Panthers / Browns no doubt
  4. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the detailed report:thumbsup:

    Trivia: As you face the Boar's Head, at one time the first 5 machines on the left were Treasure Chest. I think that's why that became our favorite place to play. I've hit two $1,000 chests but now I wouldn't think of playing anything that wasn't TITO.

    One other note, besides Labor Day crowds, on Oct 12th U of Hawaii comes to town to play UNLV and my guess is that Cal & MSS will either be sold out, or high priced due to all the Hawaiians that come in for that game.
     
    Christmas
  5. walylama

    walylama Tourist

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    Great read. Easy to visualize if you've ever been down there. I booked at elco for labor day not realizing it was the holiday, glad I changed the date especially now I know about the basketball folks.
     
  6. eloisegirl

    eloisegirl Low-Roller

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    Great report, and I am totally stealing, "That's just foul, bro!" as my new favourite saying!
     
  7. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Great report! I also enjoyed trying the Treasure Chest VP, but didn't like the coins or 8/5 part. I generally play the FP machines near the MSS entrance, but will try a few beers at the Boar's Head bar next month (have only played at 777).

    Those late night chasing sessions can cost you sleep and ca$h, but it's hard to avoid the Sirens who tempt with memories of successful past bail out sessions.

    I'm a livelong Chicago resident, and while some claim Portillo's are "just for tourists" (the uninformed, the hipsters, the ****** bags), Portillo's hot dogs and beef sandwhiches are among the top served in the city. I prefer the non natural casing dogs Portillo's serves vs. natural casing dogs found at Gene & Jude's, Nathan's or American Coney Island Dog.

    My favorite hot dog joints have closed over the last ten years. They served Leon's Sausage Hot Dogs and a "Garden on a Bun" at Wally's & Bowser Dogs - replaced by a Walgreens and Condos, respectively :cry: . I'm down to Portillo's and Superdawgs for quality, non Vienna hot dogs.
     
  8. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

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    Thanks for the trip report. Love playing VP at the Boars Head bar end eating at the 777 Brew Pub :beer:
     
  9. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the report.
    Losing $$$ is expected. As long as you didn't say you lost too much it should be considered a successful trip. :beer:
     
  10. Smokedegecko

    Smokedegecko Tourist

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    Thanks for the trip report! Looking forward to visiting the Cal soon...
     
  11. mild67

    mild67 Tourist

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    love reading peoples vegas reports, i can not wait to get there.
     
  12. Loki

    Loki Tourist

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    Great trip report!
     
  13. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Great read. I'm jealous of those who can decide on Thursday to go to Vegas on Friday.
     
  14. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    That's a good piece of trivia. I mostly played machine #1759 during my trip, which I think was the 3rd or 4th machine from the left (pretty close to the area where the cocktail servers put in their orders).

    I liked the Treasure Chest concept, but since it's sans TITO I don't think I'll go back to it. Plus, the bar is more social. :thumbsup:
     
  15. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    Ha ha ha ha ha. The saying is all yours! :jester:
     
  16. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    I definitely prefer the non natural casing dogs too, but if I had to have a dog with natural casing, American Coney Island has a good one.

    Kind of a funny story about Portillo's:
    Every year a buddy of mine (he lives in the western suburbs of Chicago) and I head to the Phoenix area for Spring Training (we are both Cubs fans). This year a Portillo's opened in Scottsdale just a few days before our trip. So, of course we went there for lunch. While waiting in line, a woman working there recognized my buddy and said hello. She works at the Portillo's in Naperville and was down in Scottsdale training the new employees.
     
  17. jimboguy

    jimboguy Blubbery Whale

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    Yup, didn't lose too much. I hope it didn't sound like I was complaining that I lost.

    And, it didn't feel too hot when walking around (especially under the FSE canopy) even though it was about 105 outside.
     
  18. Viva Las Vegas

    Viva Las Vegas Ramblin' Gamblin' Man

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    Cool story. My brother moved to Vegas a few years ago and gets stoked to hit up Portillo's via trips to Scottsdale or Southern California. If they opened one up in Vegas, I'm there every trip. I would likely pick future hotels based on their proximity to Portillo's. :thumbsup:

    I'm downtown next month and will try American Coney Island (or mooch a piece before buying). I may try a Gyros if they have the right ingredients (Kronos gyros meat on a spit, good pitas and tzatziki). The only time I typically eat hot dogs in Vegas are on the run at the Gold Coast, South Point or a Stations sports book.
     
  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Just got around to reading this, good detail for a couple of days!

    "That's just foul, bro.", wow, hilarious. The combination of foul and bro is just perfect.

    My g/f would love Vegas even more if they offered Portillo's...lol
     
  20. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Super TR... thanks for sharin' BRO!
     
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