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June 21-23 Solo Trip: South Point, Golden Gate, and Mirage

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dis220, Jun 25, 2016.

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  1. dis220

    dis220 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Back yesterday from the summer half of my semi-annual solo trips (the other one is in December.) I like sampling different Vegas environments, so I decided to stay at three different properties this time, each one in a very different location. The fact that I had MyVegas freebies at Mirage (room and Cirque) and South Point (NASCAR sweepstakes) helped with that decision. I'd always wanted to stay at the GG, too, and the $59 suite was a very good value. Anyway, here's how it went:

    June 24
    Four-hour drive from LA was no problem. I live close to the 14 freeway, so that provides a sort of back-road that bypasses all of the LA traffic. Between Howard Stern and my podcasts, the time flew.

    Had lunch at Jamm's, a locals place out on Rainbow that is known for their Pot o' Bread, a warm soft roll that's baked in its own little foil cup. Very tasty food and VERY nice service. Out of the way, but if you have a 30 min. wait at Dupar's or Hash House, it would all come out even. A very nice family-run place.

    Got busy with some Las Vegas Advisor gambling coupons. It was nice to be able to play video poke rather than slots...

    Palace Station: A smoky dump. $10 free slot play into $8 cash

    Ellis Island: A smokier and dumpier dump. $10 free slot play into $13 cash; $25 matchplay into $50 cash (I had to buy-in for $100 to get the $25 matchplay, but after I won, I smiled sheepishly and bolted.) I have to say, however, that the lady at the player’s club booth was the sweetest.

    Hooters: $10 free slot play into $17 cash. Lots of frat looking guys, no surprise.

    Made my way to South Point to find that the computers were down, and the check-in line stretched back to the buffet. If you've never been to SP, that is a HUGE friggin’ line. Fortunately, it moved along, and SP management was kind/smart enough to be passing around free and endless bottles of water as people waited.

    SP room was exactly as I remembered: clean, comfortable, and boring. But, free is free, and they didn't charge me a resort fee! Threw down my bags and headed for the poker room. Two hours later, I was four beers in, $56 up, and ready to eat. But first, I used a free beer coupon and a free Captain Morgan coupon from the fun book and threw $20 into a video poker machine since I’ve been practicing perfect strategy. I played it right, but the machine didn’t care.

    Dinner at the Del Mar Deli, which was very reasonable and very tasty. Corned beef reuben and a free Bud (beer coupon #2) hit the spot. I wandered around the resort to encourage digestion (I love wandering around resorts and sticking my nose into closed rooms and banquet halls to find the little nooks and crannies) and discovered a cool activity for Thursday…more on that later.

    Played $5 craps for a bit and won $100. Hit the hay early around 10:30.

    June 25
    Woke up early and hungry. Showered, dressed, and found the 50% off coupon for the buffet. I don't usually eat buffets, but if coffee and something small to eat is going to cost me $7 anyway, I might as well eat at the buffet for $5. Food was decent and certainly a value at that price. Friendly service.

    Checked out of SP and headed out for part 2 of the coupon run:

    Gold Coast: $10 freeplay into $1.25 cash (not worth it)

    Orleans: $10 freeplay into $10 cash. I used to stay here a lot and enjoyed the nostalgia of being back in that familiar place. Checked out the poker room, but the wait was insane.

    Palms: $10 matchplay into $20 cash. Nice place that has never occurred to me as somewhere to actually stay and play.

    So far, I've won ALL of my coupons...never happened before!

    Tried to check-out Retro Vegas, but they were closed for the day. Ug.

    Headed to the Golden Gate pretty early and there were no suites ready. I LOVE the size of this place. Car to lobby is about 30 feet. I checked my bag and headed out for coupon run: part 3:

    Golden Gate: $25 matchplay into $50 cash

    Plaza: $10 freeplay into $4 cash; $25 matchplay into nothing...I lost; the hotel has put an employees-only sign over the old Amtrak ramp to prevent lookie-loos from checking out the mural and wandering into the old lobby (now an employee break room.) Screw that…I went up there anyway, as I always do.

    Binions: $10 freeplay into $7 cash. It’s a dump. Stood next to WSP champ Greg Raymer at the player’s club booth. Not knowing who he is, the lady behind the counter asked him if he’s playing the poker tournament. Priceless.

    Downtown Grand (clean and nice but empty): $10 freeplay into $14 cash; $10 matchplay into $20 cash. Very nice people working here. Could not have been nicer or more helpful.

    El Cortez: I picked an envelope from a HUGE drum that gave me $20 freeplay that became $16 cash. Also played some $.25 roulette (lost; Asian dealer kept looking at me and laughing…no idea what that was about) and some $5 single-deck blackjack. The dealer was a very nice young man who may have been hired that morning. He was trying very hard, but he was very slow, and the pit boss watched him VERY closely every time he made change for a new player. At one point, he paid off my $10 bet even though I had 18 against his 21. Won about $50.

    The D: $25 matchplay (lost). Spent $40 on the Sigma Derby, which was a lot of fun, and the cocktails were fast and furious. I always play the long-shots hoping they’ll come in…they never do.

    Four Queens: $10 freeplay into $1.70 cash. By the way, those restrooms past the rental car counter really are quiet and secluded…just like I’ve always heard.

    Got my suite at the Golden Gate, which was fantastic. VERY quiet and roomy. A steal at $59 even with the stupid resort fee. Just very comfortable. I gave my eyes a rest for a bit.

    I hit the Triple 7 for some happy hour grub: bacon wrapped jalapenos (A-) and the burger sliders (B+)…good value. I had not been into Main Street Station in over a decade, and I was pleased by the place. Took the elevator to see the Churchill snooker table. Not that impressive, but it’s fun to find a place in a casino where I am literally the only person. Again, wandering and snooping is my kind of activity.

    Went to give La Bayou a formal goodbye. Bought in for $10 at a sticky video poker machine, and those cocktails came FAST. There’s a 60-something waitress with HUGE fake eyelashes; I gave her a $5 tip when I walked in, and she kept me neck-deep in cheap booze for the next hour. I left $2 up on the gambling, but way up on the drinking, even if the liquor came out of a plastic gallon jug. .

    Stepped outside to watch the lightshow featuring the music of The Who. Great music…lame show. The overhead thing has always been overrated.

    Poker time at the Golden Nugget. Nice people, boring game.

    Time for an ice cream break at Lappert’s in the California. Why anyone would anyone go anywhere else for ice cream downtown? Two-scoop brownie sundae: $7. Macadamia nut ice cream…wow.

    Simultaneously drunk and in a sugar-coma, I called it a night.

    June 26
    At Dupar’s by 8. Couldn’t finish my short-stack, which was delicious.

    When I was wandering around South Point the day before yesterday, I noticed a sign for a casino chip/casino collectible show. It opened at 10, so I schlepped back the SP and wandered around the show for a bit. It cost $10 to get it, but that’s what I’d spend at any museum, so I didn’t mind. I picked up a nice piece of early 60’s promotional ephemera featuring classic Vegas artwork and iconography for $15, so I left happy.

    I headed over to the Mirage, certain that I wouldn’t be able to get in my room at 9:15. And…I was right. The lady at the desk, however, checked me in, gave me my keys, and told me to expect a text with my room number around 1. And sure enough…it worked. Very convenient system when arriving early. I didn’t have to pay for parking since my reservations was made before the paid parking policy change.

    I wandered around the Mirage for a bit, stopped in the Beatles store and realized I could spend about $4000 dollars without breaking a sweat. The box office was closed, however, so I would have to pick-up my ticket for Love later that day.

    Walked over to Caesars because I heard they had a self-guided tour to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Well, it was crap. The “tour” is just a property map with a bunch of b.s. “lucky sports and reminders about Caesars dining, retail, and entertainment. I walked in 112 degree weather for THAT?!? I left pissed-off.

    I stumbled into the 11:00 poker tourney at the Linq…and won! Very soft game, but $200 is $200.

    Lunch at Yardbird. Bad experience. Food was not good (soggy, fatty chicken, dry biscuits) and service was a con game. Was told the chicken biscuits came with a side, so I chose the mac and cheese. Waiter asked me if I’d like bacon with it…yes, I would! I get the bill, and the m&c was $10…the bacon was $3. If they came with a side, why was I charged? Tried to find the waiter, but he’d vanished, and I just wanted to get the hell out of there. Will never go back.

    Back to the Mirage. My room was waaaaaaaay at the end of the hall, but the advantage of that is that it was completely quiet. I’ll take a 90 second walk in exchange for hallway/neighbor silence any day. One note: the wifi service at the Mirage is absolutely horrible. Just assume you won’t get any, and you won’t be disappointed.

    Went downstairs and played a little blackjack, video poker, and that automated craps machine. Accidentally won $72 on the craps device by over-betting the hard four. I’ll take it, thank you. Picked up the MyVegas freeplay ($10), which turned into $8 cash, and spent about $225 in the Beatles store on souvenirs for my kid. Jeez, what a great piece of retail.

    Enjoyed Love for the third time, especially because I plunked down $24 for a huge plastic tub of my favorite drink: Di Saronno amaretto with cranberry and lime juice. Trust me – it’s delicious. The show has definitely been changed/updated, but I thought the updates were great. One of the big complaints people have about Love is that it’s more dancing than Cirque daring-do. That’s true, but the updated choreography with the projections was amazing. And I got teary during the Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds part, just like always.

    Dinner at that new Mirage burger place…can’t remember the name. Perfectly fine.

    I put $100 into a video poker machine and poked at that for about 90 minutes. Lost $40 or so.

    Headed back to the room.

    The Final Tally
    Time to go home. Room, food, entertainment, gambling, and shopping for the three days cost me a whopping $275. I know that Vegas is getting more and more expensive, but if you’re budget-minded, careful with your gambling, and take advantage of freebies, it’s a BARGAIN.

    Thanks for reading!
     
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  2. dis220

    dis220 Tourist

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    I don't know why the hotel names are appearing as links. Sorry about that...I assure you it was accidental.
     
  3. sunny123

    sunny123 Tourist

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    Thanks for the post. Sounds like you had a great time and you certainly got around.
     
  4. TomTWI

    TomTWI High-Roller

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    Good report!

    TomTWI
     
  5. Lady Fortuna

    Lady Fortuna High-Roller

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    I very much enjoyed your trip report! I'm usually a sucker for pictures, but your reviews and detailed reporting are great. Thank you!
     
  6. justdeb

    justdeb Low-Roller

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    nice trip report. We got the free room at South Point too, and i was happy they didn't charge the resort fees! it was a nice surprise
     
  7. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    That's the board formatting, not you.

    Nice TR! And never know about Greg, if the game is odd enough, he might have been playing. Not sure why he would be at Binion's otherwise, to be honest. :)
     
  8. smerrian

    smerrian Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the report. It was great and I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
     
  9. LinLV

    LinLV Low-Roller

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    I really liked reading your TR. Thank you!
     
  10. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Awesome report! Sounds like a super fun trip. Also loved this line:
     
  11. dis220

    dis220 Tourist

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    Thanks for reading and your nice comments!
     
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