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Jinx Trip Report 9 days July 1 -10

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Jinx, Jul 31, 2009.

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  1. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2007
    Messages:
    1,790
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    25

    My Trip Report

    Forgot to post this here, how is it this is one of my favorite boards, but the one I make it to least often. Anyway, hope you enjoy.

    This was a 9 day trip for me. When I got home in March, I started looking online for what was available for Summer, turned out I could get 5 days at Caesars comped and based on my play, that wasn’t going to happen again, so I booked some weeks over the summer, until I confirmed my airfare and then wound up deciding to add 4 nights onto it in case there were any other offers I wanted to take advantage of. I thought I was set at the Flamingo for 4 nights and then a NYNY overlapped trip. But 2 weeks before TI and Luxor sent me $100 free play, $70 resort credit and free night offers, so I stayed at each of them for 2 nights and then Caesars for 5. My wife was supposed to come out for the first 4 nights of the trip, but decided she didn’t want to go (not a huge vegas fan). So the first part was solo, but I had convinced my brother and friends to change their annual Atlantic City trip to Vegas, so they would be arriving Saturday for a couple days. Last trip I changed my TR format from a foggy memory blow by blow, to sections. Which is how this report will be. Since I try and view each place as sort of an experience, not only will it be a review, but more like a summary/commentary of the experience there. Take it for what it’s worth and I hope you enjoy. This will be long as I tend to cram a lot in for small trips. Also I write as I think, so I’m sure there are grammatical errors. Apologies in advance, but in truth I’m not overly concerned with how the grammar is in this book.


    Dining and Drinks:

    Border Grill: Used a $25 Restaurant.com cert. that I got for $2, the hard thing was having to spend $50. Had tortilla soup (with chicken $6 additional) and their steak entree to get to the $50. Meal wasn’t bad, soup was average for a ‘high end’ Mexican place in my opinion, chicken was flavorless. Steak was ‘meh’ which just reinforces the point of not getting a steak somewhere that’s not a steakhouse. It’s unfortunate too as it’s not what I wanted, but I got tied to the damn coupon. Good service though and a very good black Cherry Mojito, waitress actually brought me a second for free as she said the waiter had made an extra accidentally. (Or it was just a nice way of saying, damn your food is taking forever, so sorry). I probably wouldn’t go back though based on the food here.

    TI Buffet (2 meals). Not bad, this wound up being part of my resort credit money and a nice way to get some vegetation and average sushi. They have a made to order salad station and I opted for Caesar twice. Sushi was fairly good for a buffet as well. The highlight here though was their chicken gumbo, which was very good. Desserts were fairly average with the carrot cake being the only memorable dessert. They do fresh made donuts, but make so many at a time, they sit (and they are munchkin sized) so the freshness kind of gets lost. They also make cotton candy, of which I’m not really a fan but for those that like it, would be a nice novelty. Lunch and Dinner menus seemed to be identical. It’s a mid range buffet, which is what I expected. I will say the fountain soda they had was well carbonated, one of my pet peeves in Vegas is that many places have crappy fountain soda. So it gets another plus from me. If I was staying here, I’d return in a minute, especially to use some comp dollars, to keep the meal budget in tact over a long trip.

    Canter’s Deli at TI. Decided on Saturday morning, that I needed to relax for the day, as Thursday and Friday I had ran pretty hard. Plus with the brother and friends coming in later, I thought resting would be a good idea. So I grabbed a Reuben sandwich and fries at Canter’s Deli. It took me forever to find it inside of TI. No real reason why, just kept missing it and had no real idea where it was located. Meal was about $15 total, soda, fries, and sandwich. Sandwich was normal size and solid. If I was staying there, I’d probably visit again, easy to pick up and take the meal back to the room.

    Toby Keith’s Bar and Grill: I wound up getting here early as I was meeting my brother and friends who had just got in to town and I sat down to play some VP (drinks not comped at Toby Keiths, but TR card does earn points). I wound up getting there drink special which was some Jeremiah Alcohol tea that they mixed with your choice (bartender said lemonade worked best, so I got it). It was good, good size drink for $10, plus it was pretty refreshing with a kick. For diner, I got the steak quesadillas, which was perfect size and flavor. I needed something to eat, but wasn’t extremely hungry from being in the sun for a good portion of the day. I also got another JTea and Lemonade. Two girls sat next to us, one started talking to my friend on the end immediately. He unfortunately did not have much game though, however when we were talking to them and they said it was their first time in Vegas, we all groaned when they said they were here on a 2 day trip. (they said they were getting that a lot). Anyway, I decided to tell the bartender I’d buy a shot for each of them if they wanted it. They decided on crown and jager, much to the surprise of the bartender, on top of that the bartender definitely hooked them up, with damn near a full cup of each. Seriously it would have choked a horse. We spent some time hanging out there a bit and chatting more and then all took off our separate ways. Nice tip to the bartender as well. I’ll say this about Toby Keith’s it’s not my style of place, but service there has always been very good. When I was playing VP I couldn’t even hear myself think the music was so loud, but when we came back in to eat, it was at a much better level. I don’t mind it loud, but seriously it was insane. For a small group of people for a couple drinks and food, I’d definitely return.

    “Slice†Pizza at Caesars food court. I actually grabbed pizza here twice and in my opinion it’s the best pizza I’ve had on the strip. It was good NY style pizza and while I don’t know how NYers would view it, considering Cleveland and Ohio has the most pizza places per sq. mile in the country, we know a thing or two here. I enjoyed the pizza here so much so I might go out of my way during a future trip for a quick slice.

    Rumjungle: I walked back from the Hard Rock to MGM after meeting the guys there, (cab line was crazy on Rehab Sunday) they had gone to Hofrahaus and I just met them at HR, since I was checking in to Caesars that day and I had grabbed pizza for lunch. Anyway, I was a bit tired after my walk over and early in meeting them at Red Square where they were planning on doing flights of Vodka. I stopped in at Rumjungle and grabbed a seat at the bar and ordered my favorite rum Cruzan Black Strap. Simply awesome rum, thick and syrupy and by mixing it with a little diet soda you tone down the sweetness of it, without letting that flavor be overpowered. Since I was hungry I ordered the calamari appetizer and the beignets for dessert. The calamari might have been the best I’ve ever had, great sauce for the fried calamari and a nice tempura fry on it. The Beignets were good, but nothing special, some of the dipping sauces were better, but they didn’t wow me. I’d definitely recommend the calamari and the beignets are worth trying once for your own opinion. Love the service at Rumjungle too, Rum is becoming a bit of a hobby of mine and while it’s diversity isn’t what scotch or tequila has, there are enough varieties to find favorites in. Every time I’ve been here I’ve been impressed with the bartenders knowledge of rum and always have had some good conversation. I’d highly recommend stopping in for a drink or for some apps.

    Red Square: This was a tent pole event for the group, meaning it was one of the things the whole group wanted to do and had penciled in to meet at. We had a table with about 7-8 people and about 5 of them ordered flights. This was the first day my voice had disappeared (from over singing the first two nights, see Entertainment) so I was trying to take it easy and had thought about retiring early, but knowing what a good flight of vodka will do to even the most hardened drinker after a day in Vegas and imbibing I figured it would make for some interesting moments and it did. Everyone enjoyed their flights immensely and had a great time. It was nice to sit around for a couple hours and really just soak in Vegas. I wound up having two foo foo cocktails, some banana type martini, as I the voice was going. It was pretty good and we were there for so long, I wound up getting one during happy hour pricing (reverse happy hour 11pm to close). Definitely worth a visit if you are a vodka fan. One note, noone confirmed or went in, but I’m fairly certain that they were charging just $10 for someone to go back to the vodka locker. If you’ve ever been looking at going and didn’t want to buy a bottle (the only previous way for a customer to get in)

    Mexican Wrap at Caesar’s food court. I met up with the guys during the day and we hung out at Bill’s for a bit. It was one of those days where I hadn’t grabbed anything to eat before meeting them and when we were leaving Bill’s it would be another 2 hours before we grabbed dinner, so I decided to improvise and grab a Mexican wrap at the Caesar’s food court. The meal itself was about $10. Quality was pretty good, nothing great, but for a food court offering it was ok.

    Augustus Café for late night dining: I ate here two nights of the trip, after being out all evening and drinking or gambling and realizing I could use something to eat. Had a turkey reuben both times, same server. Good service, quick delivery and decent price. $17 for sandwich, fries and drink with tax. Just what a coffee shop should be. Probably a little overpriced, but it’s expected if you are on the strip and at one of the upper tier properties.

    Nine Fine Irishmen: After an eventful Happy hour at Coyote Ugly (see entertainment section for that commentary) we all decided to go to Nine Fine Irishmen. I have always wanted to try the place specifically for one menu item. Beer battered fried sausages with an assortment of mustard. Seriously fried pork fat, ah my arteries are busting just thinking about it. Luckily I was sufficiently buzzed to not care about the calories and we had two orders between the 5 of us, that were quickly devoured. They were great and the mustard was good (spicy and sweet options). Unfortunately my entrée chicken stuffed with brie was horrible. Chicken was way overcooked, where eating it was painful without a cup of water per bite and let’s face it, Brie just isn’t for stuffing and cooking as it essentially evaporates and melts away. The entrée was severely disappointing. However the guys had rave reviews on the shepperd’s pie and the horseradish crusted halibut. I’d return based on the appetizer alone. We dined out on the patio right on the strip, which was nice. My brother in his slightly intoxicated state (who had his back to the strip) didn’t realize until halfway through dinner that we were literally on the strip. My preference would be to dine out here again, as inside seemed small and claustrophobic. Fine for most restaurants, but one thing Vegas has is space, so seemed even more cramped because of it. Our waiter was good, bonus points for being fairly local to our group from Sandusky Ohio.

    Starbucks: I actually had the least amount of Starbucks trips that I’ve ever had on a trip. Partially because there is none at Caesars’ partially because I seemed to ween myself from caffeine this trip. Anyway only one point of commentary. As you’ll see in the other sections, I had lost my voice during the trip, so in trying to keep it from getting worse I set out when we were downtown to have some icy frappucino Which really kind of sucks when you think that there are like 3 Starbucks in MGM alone. Anyway rant over.

    Mesa Grill: This was my third time at Mesa Grill, staying at Caesars I decided to take the opportunity to grab some lunch here without making a special trip. I declined the price fix as it had scallops and a burger. I’m allergic to shellfish and was anticipating having a burger for dinner, so I just wanted something to eat and a margarita. I wound up with the sweet potato/chicken hash, which was good. I’ve had it twice now and that’s probably the last time I’ll get it. It’s ok but nothing special, and I can put it down to the I tried it column. I also tried a margarita, one of the unusual ones from cocktail menu. It was the worse drink I’ve ever had. I’ve had this particular margarita before (I forget the name though, desert pair perhaps) anyway and it was fine, but for some reason today it was undrinkable. I probably should have said something but in truth I’m not a fan of telling someone my drink stinks, especially since they are going to remake it. So I drank my water and took it in a to go cup and left it out on the casino floor.

    Bradley Ogden: One of the things on my list was to hit BO for their lounge price fix menu. $30 for a caesar’s salad, steakburger and fries, and butterscotch pudding. I was seated quickly at the bar in the lounge right around 5:30. It was fairly empty. I ordered some watermelon style drink, that used fresh watermelon juice and just to confirm it, the bartenders were working on the next batch, slicing the watermelon’s up to get it ready. The drink even at $15 was truly outstanding. I’m not a big fan of paying a premium for an alcoholic drink, but when it’s that special, I can almost feel justified with it as it’s an experience. The salad was very good, essentially a Caesar dressing delivery device and the dressing was outstanding. The burger lived up to all the hype I had heard on it. Simply delicious, I ordered mine medium rare, and I’ve never had a burger cooked to that specification so perfectly. If I have one slight criticism, it’s that the chef came close to having a heavy salt hand. I like my food well salted and for someone that didn’t they could definitely find the burger and fries oversalted at least in my opinion. The butterscotch pudding was good, and the two fresh baked cookies were tasty as well. For $30 for this menu, it’s an unbelievably good deal. Highly recommend it. I will definitely be back. One interesting point from dinner. A well dressed women sat down at the bar and asked for a drink menu and water, something out of a glass bottle she indicated to the bartender. As he proceeded to get her a glass, she asked what was the best restaurant in Caesars, money no object. He advised Guy Savoy, which she told him he must write as she just couldn’t understand him (or be bothered too). He wrote down the name of the restaurant and as she asked for directions, she huffed and sighed accordingly clearly not understanding or really taking the time to try and understand.) I decided to jump in and try and communicate in a language she might understand, using spa and vip checkin as references, which seemed to do the trick and she was on her way. You do have to love pretentious rich wives, I just didn’t realize the stereotype could be so true at times.

    Paris Pastry shop: I went over to meet my brother for a little morning gambling on Thursday morning before he left. I stopped at the pastry shop as he still hadn’t woke up from the night before. Had a really nice raspberry cheesecake concoction and a good cup of coffee. I took it to go and sat out in the bar by checkin, a great place to relax in the morning. As it turned out a friend of mine was in the faux patio seating of the coffee shop so after finishing I headed over and sat with him for a bit.

    Chinois: My last meal was at Chinois in Caesar’s forum shops. This is Wolfgang Puck’s asian fushion restaurant. I’ve been here many times. I did receive a nice suggestion through Twitter on Wazuzu at Encore, but decided against it as I wanted to take advantage to the vicinity of Caesar’s offerings. Chinois used to offer a happy hour, reduced price sushi rolls, some drink and appetizer specials. If it was still going there was no mention of it. I stuffed myself here only having had the pastry during the day. I started with a spicy tuna roll, had an order of springrolls and their Asian Chicken salad. I’m not a big salad eater but wife and I had got this previously and it’s awesome. ully shredded lettuce, chicken, won ton strips, candied cashews, and a miso vinaigrette. The spring rolls were good but not quite the mindblowing taste I had previously remembered. I also had a mandarin mojito which was very good. Overall it was a good dinner, I only ate half the spring roll and in truth I could have done without the spring roll and the sushi roll. One last thing the chef gave everyone dining a sampling of schezuan green beans which were very good and a nice offering. The restaurant was beyond dead and unfortunately I don’t know if it’s going to be around much longer. Service was good, hostess sat me at a table that the top wasn’t attached to as I put my hand down it almost fell in my lap. I heard my waiter berate her for sitting anyone there and he quickly apologized and moved me. If you have a chance and are looking for asian food, I would definitely recommend Chinois. Total bill with tip was about 63, for the 4 items.


    Gambling:
    I did a lot of it this trip and built a fair number of points. The good news is I didn’t go over budget and didn’t put one cent on a card, that I didn’t keep in cash reserve. While not great news, I also came home with some budget for a future trip (the number one goal of any trip for me). However there weren’t any big wins this trip, just some grinding. I continue to try and understand my likes and dislikes when it comes to gambling and how to enjoy the experience. My March trips seem to be plagued by chasing losses and for my summer and fall trips, I tend to avoid tilting and just enjoy things. If I could fix my March trips (note to self), I’d really be ahead of the game.

    During my last few trips, I’ve played less and less table games. I wish I could tell you the reason, maybe it’s still the hangover from my first solo trip years ago where I planted myself at a craps table and didn’t move for 4 days and got killed in the process. In my opinion, I just don’t feel I have a strong enough bankroll or am willing to be at high enough levels to leave the tables with a significant profit. While it maybe boring for some, I prefer to just play some VP and mix in some table game play and slots for amusement. Looking to hit a nice win and then go do something else.

    That way I can plug the ipod in and totally veg out, not worrying about whether my card hit pisses someone off at the table or whether the gentlemen who hasn’t skipped a meal at the buffet decides he has to shoulder his way into a craps game, where I’ve found a spot.

    This trip I played Double double Bonus Poker exclusively for the first time at the quarter level. It’s nice that when I hit a 4oak even non premium I stay afloat on a hundred and if I hit a premium I can walk with a nice profit. No royals this trip, although my brother did get a .25 one. Overall I was down, but I hit everything except Aces with the kicker. I was actually a bit surprised in I hit no straight flush as I seem to at least once a trip. First 5 days I had nothing close to the royal, the last three I wound up with 4 on the draw at least twice and 3 to the draw where I got one of the cards probably 5 times. I definitely think I’ll continue playing DDB from now on, having moved on from BP.

    Couple points about bartops, as most know TI has a progressive at their breeze bar and they make a pretty darn good mojito. Bartenders here on average were good and if I wind up making TI a new home base, I will be spending a lot of time here. Progressive never really got beyond 1,200 here, as there seemed to be multiple hits.

    I also played a lot in the two days I was there a the Luxor Flight bar. They have multiple progressives from 4oak up and their .25 royal was up to $2200 for DDB. I wasn’t able to hit it but a 2200 royal for quarter play has to be a pretty solid +EV regardless of the pay table. Drink service here was good with a friendly bartender, and while it was a Thursday night I played, I imagine weekends would be a good viewing spot as it’s right outside of LAX’s door.

    I played a bit at Caesar’s sports bar VP, Paris Napoleon Bar VP, and PH Heart bar. All were ok with nothing big to report, besides the fact that PH is hooker central. Seriously if you want a show, grab a couch or seat at the bar anytime after 11pm and be prepared to fend off too. After a rather abrupt end to downtown on Monday night one of my friends and I headed to PH to play. Within 5 minutes, there was one buying a drink at the bar and hustling me and when I got up when my stake ran out and took a walk, one from the other side of the bar put the hard sell on my friend. He turned her down and managed to escape, she did catch him later though and tried again as we were leaving PH. As he put it he’s a bit of a hooker magnet and I can’t dispute his statement.
    Some of the other stuff I played, video blackjack with the computer dealers (why, well for the minimum most offer 3/2 at $5 a hand) I also played the Texas Hold’em game like this which was a $1 bet down at Binions, I played about an hour and half on $20 and doubled it and probably had 5 drinks in that time as well. I also played some of the video community slot games of Reel em In (Bills and PH) and Monopoly (new one at Caesars back by Forum shops). These were a lot of fun if you had a good group and a nice diversion. I mixed in some minimal craps, paigow, .25/$1 slots, and some more video slots for fun (Indiana Jones, Monopoly, Jaws, Deal or No Deal, Star Trek, and Star Wars). Craps I bought in for a $100 and has been my recent experience it was gone in 10 minutes, with just pass line and 2X odds bets, brutal to say the least.

    Overall a good gambling trip in my opinion, coming home with some budget left over and getting my fill for 9 days was a scary concept before the trip and only on the last day or two, when I determined that I was going to come home with X amount did I have any hesitation in playing anything I wanted to.

    I will say this, I also find I enjoy playing more and more in the morning rather then at night. And I don’t find myself drinking as much when I play. If I want to drink I may start out with an evening vp bar session and then quit playing and go drinking. I’m sure that my preference for morning play is partially due to getting older and realizing that drunk gambling leads to tilt a lot more then casusal morning play. My best days were some early morning gambling, a visit to the pool for the majority of midday, a 2-3 hour evening gambling session and then off to something at night, which if there was gambling was intended to be minimal. Definitely worked this trip and I hope to incorporate it into all future trips.

    Hotels:

    All the hotels I stayed at were on offers I had and all three were ones I’ve never stayed in before. My hope is to provide an honest review of them.

    Luxor:

    I stayed 2 nights here, offer was for 3 weeknights or 2 weekend nights, 100 in freeplay and 65 resort credit. I was put in a Tower Deluxe room, at checkin I asked to stay in the Pyramid (since I never had) and the clerk as I anticipated shook her head, you really don’t want to. So I conceded to her knowledge and stayed in the Tower. She did say if I went with an upgraded room in the pyramid it wouldn’t be so bad and it could be comped off, but for 2 nights at the beginning of my marathon trip,I just didn’t know how much realistically I was going to gamble.

    Room in Tower was nice, no view to speak of and clean, although the molding on the shower, appeared to have a little mold. Room was a haul from the casino floor, which is just the way it is at many of the resorts, so not a huge issue. Bed was forgettable, especially compared to TI and Caesars.

    I made the mistake of thinking any room charge I made from MGM prop restaurants would qualify for the $65 off, that wasn’t the case, as my border grill charge was on there, but my Luxor pool drinks just showed the tip. So on the last morning, I bought a bottle of stoli and some smokes at the gift shop to utilize the balance. I liked the fact, that it was automatically on the room charge, so I could still check out by TV. Plus with the fitness center free for the resort fee and since comp rooms have no resort fee, I was able to work out for the two mornings I was there, which helped a lot in keeping the energy up and not feeling like a slug through the trip.

    The restaurant and lounge offerings all come across the same to me at Luxor. While it’s standard MGM trendy, at least some of the other resorts have some character or something distinguishing per spot. I couldn’t tell you the difference between Flight and Aurora, or between Company Bistro and the Pyramid Café. Which is a shame, because with a little character, these might be some nice places.

    There are some things I do like about Luxor, out of the MGM props, it seemed to have the newest machines, the Flight bar had a 2k royal progressive at the .25 level. Prior to arriving, they sent me a link with offer details on my stay catered to my name (which was a bit personable). In addition, they have specials for hotel guests that are published on their website, nothing great, but things like happy hour drink prices all the time at Company Bistro with room card etc.

    I didn’t love the fact that I felt more isolated then ever from the strip, having to get through Excal to get close stunk, along with the fact that the tram has Luxor as a pickup point, on only one way between Excal and MB. Which just made it seem like an afterthought.

    I’d stay here again though, given the right offer, this was my first ever resort/food offer, and I was impressed that just by charging to the room it was automatically debited according to my offer. I did make the mistake in thinking MB Border Grill charge would eat up part of my credit and it didn’t (Luxor facilities only) so on the last day I had to quickly burn through 40, which was fairly easy in the gift shop getting a bottle of stoli for the rest of the trip and some other things.

    Treasure Island:

    I had a 3 night offer here, 75 in free play and 75 in resort credit. I double booked with Luxor one night, so I wouldn’t have any time without a room when I checked out with Luxor, which was nice, although I suspect they would have let me check in early.

    I checked in easily at VIP checkin, quick and painless and was given a floor on the top floors, available by card only. Nothing special about the room, I had a view of Wynn, Trump, and Encore. Bed was much nicer then Luxor and it definitely appeared my room had been remodeled more recently at TI then at Luxor.

    I spent a lot of time at TI. For the 2 days I was here, I don’t think I left the resort. I spent a ton of time at the Breeze Bar chasing a royal. Service here was hit and miss, had some great bartenders and some I’d rather not have again. They did serve mojitos, which was a nice change of pace, and they were very solid. Got a lot of play in with no significant wins or losses. Given how much I drank and played here though and even after evenings at Kahunaville, I never tilted, which for me is a very good thing.

    I also spent some time playing some slots and the video blackjack they had here. It was a way to pass the time and continue earning points. TI’s offer had 2x points earning for the trip, so I wound up with about $40 more in freeplay.

    I checked out their spa Saturday morning, for just a day pass. It was ok, workout room was ok (surprised I got in workouts for 4 days on the trip, but it helped keep my energy up and burn off the effects of the night before in many cases). The spa itself while nice, was organized in what I would consider a weird way. The sitting room for tv viewing/coffee drinking, and relaxing, is right in the middle of the changing room. While not a huge thing, it just felt a little unusual, even given no one was in here. Probably not a big deal as being in a spa, everyone’s typically in robes or towels anyway, it just felt weird that they didn’t have any separation between the spots. The other facilities were fine, sauna, steam room, and whirlpools although they didn’t have a cold plunge, which was sort of disappointing. I’d visit again if I was staying here, but definitely would not go out of my way to come back to the spa.

    I’d definitely stay here again, given the quality of stay (see food and entertainment) and from a gambling perspective I got some good solid play in and didn’t get killed (which isn’t necessarily a property specific thing). Given that it’s under new management, I don’t believe it’s long before Social House (rumored to be closing) and the nightclub are gone. There is definitely a sense that while Ruffin isn’t going to change it into Frontier 2.0. It’s going toward less trendiness and maybe high to middle middle class. If my play meets there levels and I’m sent the same offers, I’ll likely keep this as a definite place to stay on trips.

    Caesars Palace:

    In truth this is the real reason for this trip, to have a chance to stay at Caesars free for 5 nights. When I got home in March, I started doing some checking on Summer rates as I wanted to get back during pool season. As it turned out, Harrahs, rates were rock bottom for awhile there and Caesars popped up for multiple weeks at 5 nights comped in a Forum tower room. So I booked a couple weeks and then cancelled the others when I found an airfare that worked. Given my level of play (probably my last year of Plat at Harrahs, as MGM has basically given me more for same play). I highly doubt that I’ll be comped at Caesar’s anytime in the near future. I’m so glad I made the trip out though to stay there.

    Let’s start with staff, I know all properties are hit and miss, but overall I give Caesars’ staff an A+ during my stay. Check in clerk was fast, efficient and friendly. Bellmen were great, with a much needed thank you to the bellmen who when I was leaving and saw the cab line was approximately 30-45 minutes long, told me to wait in front while he got my bags and he’d take care of me and sure enough he flagged a cab down and had me in and gone before anyone even knew better. His $10 tip was well earned and given that I had three ready for my three ‘heavy’ bags’ it was a bargain at $7 to avoid the damn line. Waitresses, bartenders, and other staff were all very good too, nothing outside of these two previous examples, but it just goes to show solid service with a couple of exceptional points makes for a high opinion of one’s staff.

    My room at Caesars was very nice, while I would have loved to get an Augustus Tower room, I was given a Forum Tower room. It was at the end of the hall (small hallway), large size room, huge bathroom with a rain head shower, that you could probably fit 10 people in. Bed was extremely comfortable and it had electronic do not disturb, which are so nice in that you never have to worry if you have a sign and it lets the maids know when you want the room cleaned.

    It was also nice to be in the Forum Tower as it opened into the part of Caesars casino that I prefer. I found a variety of things to play in Caesars, including Indiana Jones slots, .25 and dollar slots, a new Monopoly big event game with reel slot (bar) as the regular game with community and some others. With a mix in of my standard VP play.

    I did sort of tilt once here. I came down to play some V-Blackjack, and it was a $5 machine. I was planning on playing $10/hand and go through a hundred or get a profit for some gambling that night, the goal to get a couple drinks and play for a bit. All the machines even at the $5 level previously had $1=1 credit. Of course I didn’t think otherwise so I play 10 credits on the first hand, and win my $50 bet. Which was nice and I should have stopped there or when I got it up to $80 profit. One of those moments where I know I was going to dinner, take the $80 and scram or play another $20 off later. No unfortunately in this case I got stupid, lost the 180 I had in the machine and of course had to reach into the wallet for another $20 for the Split Aces I had on my last hand, and I think I put in another $50 or so after that. So from an $80 profit to essentially a $250 loss in short time. Hate when that happens, luckily it was one of the few times of the trip.

    Otherwise nothing else exciting to report on Caesars, outside of Bradley Ogden which is under the Restaurant section. I had a great time here and wouldn’t hesitate to stay again in a Forum Tower or better room if it was free. I don’t think it will happen again anytime soon though, as my ADP with Harrahs dropped after this trip and whereas previously I had everything comped 7 days a week, now I’m back to IP and Ballys only for weekends and even on some of those they want $25. Oh well, fun while it lasted. I do have reservations for Harrahs in December and Flamingo in March though, for full comped nights, planning ahead before I went in case prices jumped up.

    Gambling:

    There isn’t a ton to tell outside of brief mentions previously, I basically grinded along, playing DDB, if I hit a premium 4oak I usually walked with a $100 profit and played something else for awhile. I played a ton of VP and mixed slots in with it trying to hit something big and to pass the time. I mentioned probably earlier but I didn’t play a lot of table games, 1 session of craps, 1 session of paigow and some roulette were about it. I didn’t miss the surly dealers I seem to run into lately and by playing machines on my bankroll, I’m able to control my spending better and continue to generate offers. So it works out.

    I may have mentioned earlier that I like playing more in the morning now. Sunday and Wednesday morning I had great runs. I met the guys over at Paris and hit Aces for the first time on a .25 machine early in a session for a $200 win. I was debating giving my brother $100 (and his trip bankroll was a little light) since his first day hadn’t been great. I figured if he won later, great I’d get it back if not he’d have some money to play with that day for fun. He was running up to his room to put my money in his safe. (since I was without a room,I was moving between Caesars and TI). Anyway, he was taking awhile and my other friend was playing craps. So I sat at a triple play quarter machine and eventually put in $20 of what I was going to give him, at least that’s the way I justified it. I wound up hitting 4 3’s on one of the draws for a quick $100 profit, and definitely decided to give him the $100. Which I didn’t expect to get back, but he hit a .25 royal the next day and returned the $100, so it was another nice surprise.

    Sunday morning, we then went over to PH to play some, A friend and I hopped on the new community Reel ‘em in game, and there were two others playing at the time. It was my first community bonus game and we all hit it big in getting two bonus rounds on the first play and then like 3 other bonus games very quickly. At one point during the boat race, we were all yelling for our boats, that a waitress came over and chastised us for being so loud. (which technically wasn’t me as I had lost my voice two nights before). Anyway, I won another 80 or so on this game, but gave 30 of it back, but a very productive morning, up $350(250 from the loan).

    The other great gambling morning was Wednesday morning, by the time Tuesday night rolled around, I had walked back after meeting with everyone for a bit and I was beat, so I had headed off to bed, without playing anymore. Which meant Wednesday morning I was up early and refreshed and couldn’t wait to get started, so going downstairs at about 5am (after having the mental battle with myself whether I should try and sleep longer) and I had one of those perfect gambling sessions. I first hit 4oak aces again for a net $175 win and moved to play some $1 and .25 reel slots. After doubling my first buy in, I decided that I would just collect tickets and I’d go through what was in my wallet and either double it at this point, or lose the bill I inserted. I doubled everything in my wallet except one $20, before with $50 left I decided to play VP again for a bit, got on a machine at the bar and was ordering my bailey’s and coffee, when I realized I had already been playing on a $1 machine. Of course as soon as I realize it I was dealt 4 to the royal for the first time all trip. In hindsight I shouldn’t have pointed it out to the bartender, I should have just hit draw, as I hit a K for a pair, but that random number generator punished me for not continuing to play in my golden gambling state. So I went back up the room, glad for the morning profits, and wishing I had more in my wallet when I went down to double up.

    Side note my tilt at Caesars happened later in the day and I definitely put that early morning wins back in the machines in short order during the rest of the day at other properties, so while it was a great win, in retrospect, given I was 7 days into the trip at that point and had only spent 33% of my budget, after that morning I should have sat down and put away what I wanted to take home and play off the rest over the last couple days, which would have kept me in check. Hindsight is 20/20, but given I did this Thursday morning, after a brutal afternoon and evening in gambling. It would have meant more take home in all likelihood, and probably would have made me walk with an $80 profit at that v-blackjack machine.

    I gambled all over otherwise, and earned the type of points I hoped for given I came on this trip with less budget then I expected and managed to make it hold thorugh the whole trip. On top of that, I spent cash on the whole trip, with no card charges and I came home with money after 9 days, so overall a pretty solid gambling trip.

    Nightlife/Entertainment

    Kahunaville: Treasure Island on Thur, Fri, and Sat is RoctheMic Live, which is a lounge/rock band, that allows patrons to sing for certain points in time for the night ‘rockstar karaoke’. They used to have this at HOB, and while the band at Kahunaville was very good. The band at HOB, had a much heavier sound. Anyway, I came to the show for Friday and Satursday nights and got to sing both nights, two songs each night. I proceeded to also drink a good deal during the evening and met some really cool people that were just hanging out. To describe the nights would take too long, although if you are ever in Vegas and we are hanging out getting a drink, as about it, as they are good stories. I do have to say if you have any interest in singing/karaoke, you do have to try this, if nothing else the guys in the band are very good and the music for the night makes for a great night on its own. I don’t love the venue, as it’s basically a couple tables in front of the stage and then the whole square bar, but it works for the night. Crowds were diverse and good size for both nights I was there. The band is also on twitter @rocthemicliv

    IP Karaoke:

    This is usually a staple for me when I don’t want to gamble, even if I’m not up to singing, the drinks are decently priced and there always seems to be a crowd of people having a good time. The bartenders are some of the best on the strip in my opinion. I only made it here one night this trip (my last night). It was great as I was tired of gambling and wanted to go home with the bankroll I set aside. I did wind up singing even though I didn’t quire have my voice back and it wasn’t too bad. For a Thursday night the crowd was very light (don’t think I’ve ever seen it that light). I also got to see a bartender who I’ve chatted with on many trips and just hung out. It was good seeing him again and needless to say he wasn’t shy with the pours. I definitely did a stumble walk back to Caesars. It was a great time though and if you get a chance I recommend this for a place to hang out for a bit, there are usually some pretty good singers and a wide variety of music. It runs every night and starts at 9 or 10pm.

    Stone Temple Pilots at the Joint

    I saw that STP was playing while I was in town and realized I have only been to one concert in Vegas (Billy Joel). Having seen STP two times when they were first starting out at outdoor venues, I was pretty excited. I made it to the HR early and wandered around for a bit and gambled some. It was only my second time here and it wasn’t bad, fairly busy pre-concert. The show itself was just ok though. I do like the “new†joint’s site lines and sound was very good. However, 2 songs in I realized that Weiland’s voice was at a higher pitch then it used to be and in truth it affected the songs. Person who I had struck up a conversation with at the show thought I was nuts and I left thinking perhaps I was given the alchohol, etc of the trip. But in a conversation with one of my friend’s friend that was a local a couple days later, he mentioned that he had heard that was an issue with Weiland after I just casually mentioned I was at the concert. So who knows. Show was good, but it did remind me why STP was never a big venue band. They seem to fit the small stage and an arena probably just wouldn’t work for them.

    Epoker at Excalibur

    I played two times on the Ptek machines at Excalibur. I wanted something with a low buy in max and where I didn’t have to try and hear across the room to actions of other players and it seemed like a good match. I played the cash game the first night and got up about $60 for the night and then played the low buy in tourney the next day that I was knocked out in early. (but not early enough to rebuy based on how high the blinds were getting). Anyway, the ptek tables were fine, it’s different experience from standard dealers and for low levels it makes sense in my opinion. There were some fish at the table and I got 60 off of one, when he continued to push a bad bluff with nothing. I just don’t have a ton of patience to play poker during a trip. Even with a long trip I found it difficult. I’ll keep trying to work it further into the rotation on trips though.

    Pools:

    I visited the Luxor and TI pool, I wanted to go out to Caesars but with friends in town who weren’t interested, I just didn’t make it there. Luxor’s pool was nice, a lot of area and multiple pools although only one was open during the day I was there. Crowd was light and plenty of chairs available. It was a pretty mellow pool scene, no drinks in the pool and mostly just people relaxing. About what I expected. Drinks were $10 and their Mai Tai was outstanding. Pool might have been a little less crowded due to it being rather overcast during the day.

    TI Pool: It was another hot day and I headed out, this pool was everything Luxor wasn’t, full house, DJ playing, cocktail waitresses everywhere, drinks in the water, loungers all full. It was an extreme party scene. But nothing that made me feel out of place at 35. Pretty mixed crowd, average joes and janes, hardbodies, and not so hardbodies. I had always heard the pool was small for this size property and it is, but in truth it just seemed to make the atmosphere a bit more party like, as you sort of had to find a spot in the pool to hang out if you wanted to cool off. It usually didn’t take long to find one. I must say I wasn’t expecting this environment. I’ve been to some of the other pools and while not a morgue like Luxor, I haven’t seen the party scene work quite this well before either, that wasn’t promoted and admission charged.

    Kahunaville

    One of my favorite things to do as I pointed out for IP Karaoke is sing. Kahunaville on Thurs through Sat has www.rocthemiclv.com . They do a standard set from 10 til 11:30 and then they open it up to singers. They have a 1 to 2 page list of songs that you can sing and it’s a good time. I headed here Friday and Saturday. (Saturday sort of accidentally as my party that had arrived that day was worn out from some early drinking, the time change and 4.5 hour flight. All I can say is it was a great time. If you are looking for a lounge style act, the band is great to go and listen too. If you are looking to sing with a band for a couple songs, it’s a great place to go. If you simply want to go and hang out for a bit somewhere with a fun, diverse crowd, it’s a solid option. Drinks are a bit pricey as is typical at Kahunaville and in my opinion the layout stinks (the center bar works for their restaurant lounge, not for a band to perform. My only hope is that they could actually give these guys a little better stage to play on as seating to view the band is somewhat limited. I met a ton of really fun people during the two nights and we drank a ton. Luckily I didn’t get in any trouble though! The one negative, come Sunday morning my voice was gone for basically the rest of the trip except the last night. I’ve never experienced laryngitis before so it was a little freaky to lose my voice and especially sucked considering I had friends in town I could talk with, whereas on solo trips I don’t seem to have a problem. It turned out to be no big deal as upon arrival home it was back in two days, but the desert air, combined with the singing, drinking, smoking, and hot and cold extremes of the casino seemed to do me in.

    Coyote Ugly:

    I had been here before, but my friends were up at NYNY and hadn’t. So I was on my way to meet them in the casino when they texted me that they wanted to go into CU for their happy hour. 2 for 1 drinks, you buy one they give receipt and then when you come back for second you bring receipt. It’s a nice way to not have to pound drinks and a nice way to keep the tips up for the bartenders. (Although honestly, these ladies have no problems on the tips department, just a hunch). CU is a branded dive bar. They basically walled off a section of the upstairs at NYNY, through in some bar tops and hired a bunch of nice looking women. It’s non pretentious and touristy and for my friends who are all bigger guys in their mid to late 30’s, looking to drink, have some fun and ogle some women without strip club prices it fit the bill. In order to protect those not writing the trip report, all I’ll say is the guys got their money’s worth for the night. Drinks and shots flowed pretty heavily and since the crowd was only about half full. My friends were more then happy to participate in many of the activities that the coyotes directed. I enjoyed getting to watch them have their fun and didn’t even have to participate to enjoy it. I did realize halfway through the time there, that in truth my friends are perfect Coyote Ugly customer’s out to have fun and enjoy themselves, perhaps trying to capture some of the things we did in our youth, but not really trying to be anything other then they are. They were never a ‘nightclub’ crowd and it’s ok with them. So while other’s may not find CU to be their cup of tea, I think we’ll be returning for a happy hour on a guys trip, as a matter of fact I’d bet on it.

    Big Elvis: My brother has been wanting to see his show forever and we finally did. We were able to get a table in the lounge area and the show was good. Not much more to say on it, other reviews have done it way better, but it’s definitely worth a couple hours time in the afternoon to hang out there and see him.

    Downtown: Let me be honest I’ve never liked downtown. I’ve been down twice before and essentially hated it. So I was trying to be openminded this trip. I figured with a large group and staying away from heavy drinking during the day, it would be a good time. And I must say my opinion of downtown is changing some. Now I say my opinion of downtown is changing some despite the fact that we basically had a horrible trip down there. No one seemed to be in the mood to drink outside of me, who didn’t have any voice to talk with anyone with, so it wasn’t as much fun to hang out either. On top of it, my brother became ill when we were down there. A combination of dehrydation and exhaustion in my opinion, brought on by a slow dosing of alchohol for a 7 hour Pai Gow session through the day. However he was able to get back to his room at NYNY with no problem. So overall downtown was a bomb, but given the friendliness of some of the workers I encountered, the size of a crowd for a Monday night and the fact that many of the slots and VP were newer machines than anything I had seen on the strip in a while. I will definitely be giving downtown another try and if I stayed for 9 nights again, I’d consider staying down here for a night or two as well at one of the places with a pool.

    Hard Rock
    Outside of STP concert, I met the group back at the HR after their visit to Hofrahaus. This is by far the most time on a trip I’ve spent there. My group didn’t stay long, but I gambled there for a couple hours. Rehab was letting out and the parade through the casino of bikini wearing women was not unusual. As a matter of fact on the shopping promenaded groups of guys had sort of formed their own red carpet viewing parties. Which was a little weird for me, and I can only imagine what it was for the women. Talent was outstanding as to be expected though. Service at HR was pretty friendly as well. Good bartenders and CW and I may try to work this into a stop every trip going forward. I did walk from HR to MGM after my gambling session here, and it wasn’t bad. Given the cab line looked like it was 40-45 minutes, I figured my time would be better spent walking. Came in back by the garden arena and although it was late afternoon didn’t see anyone or anything that would concern me. I probably wouldn’t make the walk at 11pm, but I’d make it again at that time no problem.


    Weird things, people, or other casual observations

    Here’s the random stuff I’ve thought of that happened on the trip that either didn’t fit or got forgotten during the writing.

    To the Euro dude with the mullet on the Flamingo Ballys escalator. Man, it’s ok to look at the ladies and it’s even ok to stare a bit sometimes (if you must) but turning around as you are walking down the stairs and plastering your face agains the plastic of the escalator as she’s going up it, as if you are looking up her skirt was kind of creepy.

    I like most bartenders at Planet Hollywood, but to the weird one on Sunday afternoon that wanted to tell us how we should rent a car and get out of Vegas for the day every trip. Thanks but no thanks bud. I get that it wears on you when you are here, but for me it’s a vacation and it’s where I want to be. Bonus points for you for trying to move me from playing video poker to keno, because as you put it that’s what the locals play.

    Caesar’s service as I pointed out was outstanding for me. I’m sure experiences differ. However given I’ve stayed at all HET props besides Rio now, I can say there is still something the employees who have been there forever are holding onto as Caesars employees which is a good thing. Hopefully they’ll continue to In the face of all of HET’s regular cuts and difficulties.

    I really enjoyed drinks at the Bacardi stand outside of Caesars, the dragon lemonade (mixed with some captain from my room), the Whiskey tea lemonade mix at Toby Keiths, the mojitos at TI, and the pool drinks at Luxor and TI. I found myself drinking a lot less cola this trip, and no redbull, (just 5 hour energy) and I found I slep immensely better then when I dosed myself with rum and cokes, coffee, or redbull from a day and only sleep due to exhaustion and wake up with the heart pumping. This was a much more enjoyable way to drink get a buzz and enjoy the trip.

    I booked my December and March nights at HET previous to the trip as I wasn’t sure I’d earn the points to continue being comped for 5 nights including weekends. Not sure if it’s my ADT or whether HET has just decided they are going to try and push room rates a bit going forward for revenue. But I’m no showing no weekends available except once or twice a month at IP. Which probably means for the time being I’ll be playing exclusively at TI and MGM props, as long as they continue to send me offers.

    I saw in someone elses report that they thought they were getting close to identifying their perfect trip. I think I am too. I thought 9 nights would be tougher for me, but I found myself drinking less and really just relaxing and enjoying myself. Whether it was at the pool or Kahunaville. I didn’t constantly have a drink in my hand this trip. If I was drinking I typically looked for something more then the shot glass of capt and coke they serve and it paid off. Outside of losing my voice this trip recharged me and is going to hold me over nicely until I get to December. I’ve found a perfect kind of Vegas day is gambling in the morning, grabbing either some lunch, pool time, or spa time. Relaxing through the afternoon. Gambling in the evening and then finding somewhere to hang out at night. Mix in some wandering and trying new things on a trip and I think I’d be set. This trip was great as I didn’t put one dime on a card and I came home with some of my budget which makes it infinitely easier to put one together for the next trip.

    Thanks for reading this report. I know it’s long and in many places grammatically incorrect. I’ve worked on it over a week’s time so I’m sure there are some parts that are repeated as well. Feel free to ask any questions and I hope you enjoyed some of the insight.
     
  2. zerofan

    zerofan VIP Whale

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    Great job! Loved it!
     
  3. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

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    Fantabulous report :)
     
  4. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

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    Enjoyed your attention to detail and analysis.
     
  5. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    good report, stayed at the Augustus tower at cp a few weeks ago, didn't have the electronic do not disturb signs. Did take the hallway walk and peeked in rooms being made up, and even the older towers (roman) looked redone. I don't think you can go wrong anywhere there.
     
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  6. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Thanks all.

    JPW, I've heard only the 'classic' rooms are the ones to stay away from and looks like they are getting remodeled with new roman tower designation as a choice on the site. Which would be good in my opinion, still on my to do someday to stay in Augustus tower for sometime. I liked the Forum rooms, just have heard great things about Augustus and Palace tower rooms.
     
  7. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Very nice Trip report. Thanks for taking the time to write and post.

    later, GVJ
     
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