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July / August 2013 - 1st trip report lots of food / gambling

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by CarolinaGambler, Aug 5, 2013.

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  1. CarolinaGambler

    CarolinaGambler Tourist

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2013
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    12

    My Trip Report

    I found this forum this winter when I was dreaming of going to Vegas. I have lurked here for a long time, and I figured it was time to contribute. So – here goes. Warning – this will be long.

    Purpose of the trip:
    I am an I.T. Infrastructure consultant for a living. A lot of the work that I do has a security focus. So, we planned a trip to Vegas for me to attend the BlackHat and DEFCON conferences. My wife came along to relax and have some fun.

    Tuesday – July 30th
    We flew out of Raleigh Durham on SouthWest around 2PM through Chicago. We arrived in Vegas early that evening (around 5PM Vegas time). We were staying at the Mirage this trip on a marketing offer (3 free nights / discounted rate for remaining nights). About two weeks before our trip we got an email asking us if we wanted to upgrade to a better room on the 24th / 25th floor for $19 per night. We decided to do it. We have stayed at the Mirage many times in the past. In our view, it offers an excellent value combined with a great location. I think for our six night stay including all taxes etc we paid less than $500 total.

    We waited about 15 min in the line to check in. We always enjoy watching the fish at the Mirage while we check in. The huge fish tank behind the check in desk is very cool. Check-in went very well. I did not try the $20 trick this time. I tried this last time, and it did not get me anywhere, so I did not try again.

    We went up to the room and dropped off all of bags. The wife stayed to unpack a bit, and I walked next door to Caesars to register for conference #1 (Blackhat). After I got back, we headed down to the Mirage Buffet for dinner. We had purchased some sort of deal on this from Travel Zoo. The meal was solid. The wife liked the Sushi, and I enjoyed the steak, lobster ravioli, and deserts. It was far from the best meal we had in Vegas, but like everything at the Mirage, it was a good value.

    Shortly after dinner the wife headed up to bed (body still being on east coast time). Wanting to enjoy the first night in Vegas, I decided to stay up and play some at the tables. I generally play $25+ per roll on the outside at Roulette with a $500 session bankroll. At craps I generally play at a $10 or $15 table with a $1K session bankroll. I play a pass line bet, at least 2x odds (more if I am doing well) and sometimes come bets with odds as well. Once in a while, I’ll even do a hard 6 / 8 or 10 just for fun (I know I know, the odds are bad on these bets).

    Unfortunately, I proceeded to have terrible luck. I burned through about $1,300 at craps and single zero roulette. Needless to say, that was not the start I was looking for.

    Wednesday – July 31st
    The wife woke up not feeling great on Wednesday morning. So, we hit up the Starbucks in the Mirage for a simple breakfast. I headed over to BlackHat, and she headed out to the Mirage pool. The first day of my conference went well, and the wife enjoyed her time at the pool relaxing. I ate lunch in the food court at Caesars. What an absurd rip off. I think my mediocre (at best) turkey sandwich, with a bottle of water was $20 – crazy. The wife ate a bit at the café at the Mirage pool. She liked it. After my conference was over we headed over to the Palazzo for dinner at the Grand Lux café. The Grand Lux café in both the Venetian and the Palazzo has a huge menu full of great food. For what you get it is very reasonable. For that reason it is one of our favorite meals in Vegas.

    After dinner I played some craps at Palazzo, and the wife played some slots. I ended down a couple hundred bucks if memory serves, and the wife fed the slots $100. The Palazzo is one of our favorite places to play. It is bright with high ceilings, and it just feels comfortable. The dealers are generally really friendly. Now if only we could get some offers to stay there at a discount :).

    Thursday – August 1st
    The wife still did not feel great this morning, so we grabbed some Starbucks for breakfast again. I headed over to BlackHat, and the wife headed to the Mirage Spa. She got a 50 min deep tissue massage, and a 50 min blue berry bliss body wrap. She liked these both very much.

    That evening once my conference was over, we headed over to Mon Ami Gabi in Paris. We LOVE Mon Ami Gabi. We go there at least once every time we go to Vegas – it is just part of our Vegas routine. We shared some French onion soup. The wife had the scallops and I had the Filet. Both were excellent. While this may not be the absolute best steak place in Vegas, it is very very good, and I would argue it is one of the best values.

    After dinner we headed to the Bellagio and watched the fountains play a couple of times. This is a must for us each Vegas trip. Then we headed inside for some craps. We also really like playing at the Bellagio. The dealers over there are a lot of fun to play with. I was down a couple hundred bucks at craps and the wife still did not feel great, so we walked back to the Mirage and headed to bed.

    Friday – August 2nd
    This morning we hit up the Mirage buffet for breakfast. The wife had gotten a two for one breakfast buffet coupon at the pool café on Wednesday, so our total cost with a $5 tip was just over $20. The Mirage buffet has cook to order omelets and is over all a really good value.

    I headed to DEFCON (at the RIO) and the wife headed to the Mirage pool.
    Once my conference was over, we headed up to Aria for some fun. We have stayed at Aria before, and we like the vibe there. I played a bit of craps, and the wife played roulette. Craps started off so bad that I quit quickly down a couple hundred bucks. We only stayed an hour or two.

    For dinner (thanks to good reports from this message board) we headed to Gordon Ramsey’s Burgr over at Planet Hollywood. That was an absolutely fantastic meal. We had the Jalapeno poppers as an appetizer, I had the farm burger, the wife had the hells kitchen burger, and then we finished up with shakes. Every part of this meal was absolutely awesome. That was far and away the best burger I have ever had. We highly recommend this place. Thanks for those of you who mentioned it in prior posts. It will certainly become one of the places we go each trip.

    After dinner we headed back over to the Bellagio and played a bit. I blew out my $1K session bank roll, and the wife lost her $300 by in. So far on this trip, we were getting killed gambling.

    Saturday – August 3rd
    This morning we headed to the Grand Lux Café in the Venetian for breakfast. I had the French toast, and the wife had a breakfast sandwich. The French toast is absolutely fantastic – if you like French toast, don’t miss the Grand Lux.

    I headed back to DEFCON, and the wife headed back to the Mirage pool.
    That evening we headed up to Aria to have dinner at Bar Masa. It is a very cool looking restaurant. They are heavily focused on Sushi and other fish dishes. The wife got some sushi (a spicy tuna roll and salmon with avocado roll) and I got some beef pasta of some sort (I’m not a big fan of fish). Her sushi was excellent. Overall this seemed like a bit of an expensive meal. In addition the restaurant was never more than 30% full. On a Saturday night, this surprised both of us. Unless they can get more folks in there, I’m not sure they will make it. Quite honestly, I’m not sure we would go back. The food was good, but the non-sushi portions were small (our waitress warned us of this). However, the service was excellent and they have a great wine selection.

    After dinner we headed back over to the Bellagio. After the rough night at craps the night before, we decided to play some roulette. We played at a double zero wheel (which I do not like) but we had a great time and actually ended up making some good money. I walked away up $1,000 which was enough to cover the previous night of craps losses. Things from a gambling standpoint were starting to turn around.

    We stopped by Jean Philippe to grab some ice cream, and headed out to watch the fountains a couple more times before heading back to the Mirage for bed.

    Sunday – August 4th
    On Sunday morning, I decided to skip the last day of DEFCON, and just have some fun with the wife in Vegas instead. Several people on this board had mentioned the breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi as being great, and we wanted to sit outside so we headed up to Paris. Breakfast was fantastic! I had the cinnamon pancakes (really sort of a crepe) and the wife had a ham and cheese crepe with an egg. Both were fantastic! I have no doubt on future trips, at least one breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi will be part of our Vegas routine.

    After breakfast we headed down to Wynn / Encore. We also really like the Wynn / Encore casino. We decided to play more roulette. We played for several hours with a great dealer. We were up and down, then I finally lost all of my $500 buy in.

    Next we headed over to the Fashion Show mall. The wife loves watching the fashion shows on TV, and we figured it would be cool to check out the runway show they do periodically. The show was fun, and we would recommend it if you are into fashion.

    After the show, I headed over to TI to play craps while the wife shopped at the mall. I have had some good luck at TI with craps in the past, and I wanted to give it another try. I bought in for $500 (1/2 my usual session bankroll because we had taken such a beating on this trip already from a gambling perspective). I was playing at a $10 table, and as sometimes happens in craps we just went on one heck of a run. A couple of hours later I was up to over $1,800. I kept setting money aside that I was not willing to risk again. So, when I got down to $1,500 I cashed out. Thanks T.I.!

    We had not eaten lunch, but we did not want to spoil dinner, so we headed over to Grand Lux and split a couple of appetizers as a snack. We had the burger sliders and the chicken stacked quesadillas. Both were great.

    After lunch we played a bit at Palazzo. I blew through a $500 roulette session bank roll in record time. I decided craps had been good to me once today, so I would try it again. Thankfully, we went on another awesome run and I walked away from the table up $400. I went back over and played roulette again, and ended up walking away from the table even.

    We headed back to the room to rest a bit before dinner. At 7:45PM we headed over to the Palazzo for diner at 8:15PM at Carne Vino. The wife is also a fan of some of the cooking shows on TV so going to a restaurant owned by Joe B. and Mario B. was something she was really looking forward to.

    I had the dry aged NY strip, the wife had the filet, and we shared the mashed potatoes and mushrooms sides. The dry aged steak was new to me, and it was very good. It is probably the most flavorful steak I have ever had. The wife’s filet was also very good. The sides were excellent as well. The service was out of this world. Over the years we have eaten at a lot of places, but I think the service here was the best I have ever experienced.
    Begin rant -> The only disappointment with Carne Vino was the tiramisu we had for desert. You would think that two famous Italian guys would make one killer tiramisu. Nothing could be further from reality. The tiramisu was honestly terrible. Someone is clearly trying to be a bit too creative here. Traditional Italian tiramisu is awesome – DON’T TRY TO MESS WITH IT! <- End rant

    Anyway enough of that. Overall this was a great meal. It was pricy (~$200). We both enjoyed it a lot, but I’m not sure we would go back. Next trip we might try Gordon Ramsey Steak or another of the high end steak houses.

    After dinner we played a bit of roulette at Palazzo. We walked away very close to even, and headed back to the Mirage. The wife was ready to head to bed. Me – not so much – last night in Vegas baby – time for fun!

    So, I kissed the wife good night and proceeded to gamble. I started at the $25 single zero roulette wheel. I generally bet $25 on one of the outside 12’s (1st / 2nd / 3rd) and if it hits sometimes I will let it run one time. Another guy playing at the table was piling chips all over the place / thousands of dollars per roll. He walked away down over $10K (I started counting). Ouch. Anyway – I ended up even, and decided that since craps had been so good to me all day, I would give it one more shot. I bought in for $1,000 at a $10 table. We had a decent run, and I ended up walking away up $500. I proceeded to take that back to the roulette wheel and blow it out carelessly around 4AM. At 4:30AM on Monday I decided It was time to head up and sleep for an hour and a half before we had to get up to head to the airport.

    Sunday – August 5th
    We woke up this morning at 6AM, packed up and checked out of the Mirage. We headed to McCarren, and Southwest gave us a nice smooth ride home.

    Summary:
    Overall we had a great trip, and lots of fun. I hope some of you enjoy reading this as much as I have enjoyed some of your reports in the past.
     
  2. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Excellent job on your first report. Feel free to inform us every trip you take. It sounds like you both had an enjoyable time, despite some rough tables.
     
  3. mildcigar_2001

    mildcigar_2001 Tourist

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    MAG

    I had to laugh when reading your trip report re: Mon Ami Gabi. MAG has become a must stop on our trips to Vegas as well. I'll be there in a couple of days; this time I'll (based on your recomendation) I'll have to try breakfast as well.
     
  4. CarolinaGambler

    CarolinaGambler Tourist

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    Thanks! It was a good trip overall!
     
  5. CarolinaGambler

    CarolinaGambler Tourist

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    Give the cinnamon crepe pancakes a try - they are awesome!
     
  6. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    Awesome craps story.
    As I was reading it started out like my previous trip but my trip didn't end like yours. Congrats. :beer:
     
  7. theghost

    theghost Low-Roller

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    Great report, thank you for sharing!!!

    Gotta love the Mirage for location and value :)
     
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