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Mandalay Bay 11/8 - 11/10 (Pretty Long!)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buckeye Bob, Nov 11, 2002.

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  1. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2002
    Messages:
    470
    Location:
    Chicago
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27

    My Trip Report

    Well, I’m back. My long-awaited group trip was this past weekend and we had a blast! We had four couples traveling from Chicago for a long, well-deserved weekend away from the kids. To start, I wanted to thank everyone for their help in planning this trip. Your advice was invaluable and helped to ensure that everyone had a great time. Hope this isn’t too long and detailed for everyone. It will also include an extended discussion of our experiences in the sports book, so if that’s not your bag, you can skip it.

    Woke up at 5 am on Friday morning and left for the airport about 6 am. Traveling out of O’Hare Friday morning on United, the flight was smooth and landed 25 minutes ahead of schedule around 9:30 am. Six of us were on this flight and the other two were due to arrive around 11:50 am. We caught two cabs to Mandalay Bay insisting on no tunnel. I had only been there one other time and had forgotten how beautiful this place is. We assumed that we would have to wait for our rooms but surprise, they had one available with partial strip view on a high floor. We chose not to wait for a chance at a full-strip view and checked in. We were in the Fiji wing and our view was of MGM, Tropicana, San Remo, and McCarron Airport. Oh well, I guess they did say partial strip view. However, the view was fine for the little amount of time we spent in our room. The rooms are awesome. Very nicely decorated and a large bathroom. We had picked Mandalay Bay from the beginning but had given up hope finding a decent rate so had booked at Treasure Island for $149 a night. However, as the time got closer, most of the other hotels were raising their rates but the MB website posted a special for $179 with 2 for 1 breakfast and then lowered it to $159 so we jumped at it. As I said before, this place is awesome.

    After check-in, we were starving so we went to their diner-type restaurant, Raffles Café. Food was good and hit the spot, but nothing spectacular. We were now ready hit the tables. Happily, since none of us are high rollers, they had $5 blackjack and Craps tables. I played BJ for a while, breaking even, while my wife bounced around between Roulette and the Wheel of Fortune machine. By this time, our other friends had finally arrived on their flight about 2 hours late as they were diverted to Denver because a passenger had a heart attack. After they dropped him off in Denver, (He was all right by the time he left the plane), they were on their way. We then headed to the Craps table. Initially losing about $100, the dice came to one of the guys with me and he proceeded to roll for about 10 minutes. Then, the dice passed to the next guy who rolled for about 20. After these two rollers, I was now on the plus side about $150. Good start. I did give some back at Blackjack but ended the afternoon up about $75.

    After a short nap (Who can sleep? We’re in Vegas!!!), we met up in the lobby to go to dinner. My brother, coincidentally, was also in town with a different group of friends and was also staying at MB so we had a drink with them before heading to the Rio for dinner. I had not been to the Rio in a while. We were able to catch the parade in the sky and caught some beads. Our dinner was at Rosemary’s at the Rio, which is where the old Napa restaurant used to be. This is their second restaurant as the first is located about 8 miles west of the strip on Sahara. We had eaten there during our visit in February and were very excited that they had opened up one on the strip. I have to say, the food is phenomenal. I cannot say enough great things about this place. I had a huge pork chop that was incredible. The Appetizers and Desserts were great too. Service was good but only being open a month, they are still working on a few things. I can’t say enough great things about our experience there. One example: From a comment at the table, they heard that my wife had a bad cold so they when they brought her tea, they gave her about six extra tea bags to go to help her feel better. Bill was about $120 per couple. Check out their website at www.rosemarysrestaurant.com.

    After dinner, we played at the Rio for a while. I gave back some of my winnings from the afternoon and then we decided to head back to the Luxor. I think this is one of the coolest places to see but I never win there. In addition, I’m probably stereotyping, but they have the crabbiest dealers there of anywhere I have been. This was my experience back in February and was the same this time. They scowl at you the whole time and then verbally abuse you when you don’t tip them.

    It was now after 11 pm so we headed to the House of Blues for Flashback Fridays. They play all 80’s music, which fits the ages of our group. The funny thing is that the majority of the crowd was in their 20s and were in Kindergarten when this music was popular. Oh well. We had a great time. We all caught our second (or third) wind and didn’t leave until about 2 am. Music was great. We all danced and drank and danced and drank and really enjoyed ourselves. I had to drag my wife out of there (the one with the bad cold) as we had been up for almost 24 hours. Finally fell asleep about 3 am.

    Day 2

    Being on Central time, I awoke about 6 am and could not fall back asleep. That’s okay, it’s Saturday and we have football to watch. After breakfast at the MB buffet, we headed to the Sports Book. As I mentioned in my pre-trip report, my beloved Ohio State Buckeyes were playing Purdue at 9 am and it should be a relatively easy win for them. I was salivating at the small 6.5 point spread. I hurried down there to get a table and was mesmerized by the sheer size of it. Mikey, as you stated, this place really is “God’s Living Room.†I was able to get us a table right in front of the big screen and hoped that Ohio State would be one of the games up there and they were. We quickly bonded with everyone around us and were surprised to find that the people at the next table were from the town next door to us at home. We had a number of mutual friends. We placed many bets on different games and parlays with my biggest bet being on OSU outright to cover. Well, for anyone that saw the game, they barely won and didn’t cover. However, about early in the third quarter, I stopped caring about the point spread and worried more about winning the game. I swear that half the people in the room were Buckeye fans and when they hit that last TD pass, the place erupted. My voice was gone but we are still undefeated. Unfortunately, with them not covering, it cost our group about $700 in different parlays. Oh, Well. Some other highlights from the book:

    One of our group just picked a random horse out of nowhere 2 minutes before post and we decided to bet on it. Little Snow in the 3rd race at Louisiana Downs. We all threw in $20 bucks to bet on him to Win and Place. Well, I did the bet but misheard it as Place and Show. The race goes off and about half way through, he makes his move. He’s now leading and we’re screaming but he fades right at the end and loses by a nose. However, since I screwed up our bet, we were able to cash in on both for a win of $68 each. I’d rather be lucky than good. The funny thing was that we had about 4 tables of people screaming for our horse and they had no money in the deal.

    A young lady (and I use the term loosely) at the table in front of us was a die-hard Oklahoma fan and after about 500 beers, she was none too happy with the result of their loss to Texas A & M. Some young A&M fans behind us were abusing her and she was letting the expletives fly. I don’t think I have ever heard a female use the f-word that many times. Then she started swearing at the men with her because they wouldn’t stick up for her. The fact is that they weren’t going to take on these guys and she deserved all the abuse she was getting. The whole scene was very funny for all of us not from Oklahoma.

    This was the day where time stood still. We were in the book for 8 hours and finally left around 3:30. It seemed like we were there forever but no one wanted to leave. We made friends with the groups around us and it was an awesome day for those of us that are big college football fans. For all the ladies out there, we were able to stay there all day as the wives were in their own nirvana at the spa. They all came out raving about how wonderful it was and would highly recommend it. My wife said that it was not stuffy like a lot of spas and she felt completely comfortable.

    After all the football betting was done, I should have now been down about $150 but a between games foray to the Blackjack table was very successful and I was now up about $200. I headed to the room to rest for a while and then we went to dinner over at Nob Hill at MGM. The food here was excellent but I must say that the service was terrible. It was very snobby. They pulled the bottled water for the table trick where they ask you if you want sparkling or plain water and then they hit you for $6 bucks a bottle. They had the revolving waiters where we had three separate people taking our orders and talking about the menu. Then, when asked about which wine he liked, the waiter recommended a bottle that was only $610 on the menu. Now we had no issue with spending some money on dinner but that was way over the top. They then assumed that we were all having wine so twenty minutes later, no one had come by to take our drink order. All that being said, the food was really good. Their specialty is a Lobster Pot Pie where they cook a two-pound lobster tail with a sauce and vegetables in a pot covered by puff pastry. 5 of us at the table ordered it and one of the ladies referred to it as the best meal she had ever eaten. Too bad the service took away from our enjoyment. To top it off, when we got the bill, they had charged us for an extra bottle of wine that we did not have. Maybe we hit them on an off night, as they were extremely busy. The bill was about $190 per couple and for that price I expected a better experience.

    After dinner, we headed to the Bellagio as some of our group had never seen the fountains. Beautiful as always, even if it was the Celine Dion Titanic song. After two shows, we were going to get a cab at the Aladdin but decided to walk towards Monte Carlo instead. As we got closer, we just kept going and caught the tram at Excalibur back to MB. It’s now about 11:30 and after a long debate on whether to go back to House of Blues for 70s night, we decided not to. Some went for a drink, my wife went to bed and I decided to gamble some more. Eventually, my wife came back down as she had forgotten her key so she took mine and promised to let me in later. After some bad early luck at the BJ table, I got hot and started winning and upping my bet. I was up over $300 at one time and playing $50-75 a hand. I was within $25 of where I said I would quit when the tide turned. All of you know this story. I started chasing it on the way down and ended up down on the session down about $50. Great money management, huh? To top it off, I go up to my room and my wife who is sick sleeps through my knocking so I had to go back down to get a new key.

    So now, through two days, after an additional $100 loss before dinner that I forgot to mention, I am up about $50.

    Day 3
    Actually slept in today. Always sad waking up knowing you are going home. After packing up and checking out, we went to breakfast at House of Blues and then said goodbye to half our group who had an earlier flight. The remaining four of us went to Caesar’s as they had not been there before. We walked around and then came back to MB. Had 30 minutes to kill so my buddy and I decided to make one last attempt at the blackjack table before we had to leave for the airport. Was immediately down about $75 but then got hot. Ended up $145 on the session and up $195 overall. Too bad we had to leave. We had a great dealer, Marie, who could have been my grandmother. She told us the story of a guy who sat at the table for 3 hours waiting for a shuffle before he went to the bathroom. He didn’t realize they had the automatic shufflers. We went to the airport at 12:45 and were amazed at how uncrowded it was. Guess lots of people were staying over for Veteran’s Day.

    All in all, an awesome trip. A few random observations:

    I’ve never seen so many brides as there were at the MGM Grand on Saturday. They must have been having a special. My wife counted 13 during the 3 hours we were there.

    Interesting crowd at MGM as there was an Aerosmith concert that night. I haven’t seen that many piercings and cleavage in one place in my life.

    I agree with Mikey’s comments that table drink service at Mandalay Bay is bad.

    It is impossible for me to win at the Luxor.

    I would stay at Manadalay Bay again in a heartbeat. The place is awesome.

    I can now say that I have actually had a winning trip to Vegas after six tries.

    I want to go Back!!!

    Sorry this is so long. Thanks once again to everyone for all your help.

    [ November 12, 2002, 04:43 PM: Message edited by: Buckeye Bob ]
     
  2. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Joined:
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    Hey Bob--

    Great trip to the South Strip!! Sounds like ya never made it north of Bellagio.

    I'm glad you liked the Sports Book at Mandalay. It is a great place.

    Me and the fellas were talking this week, it may be a South Strip March Madness for our gang.

    Mikey
     
  3. LV Terry

    LV Terry Captain Flop'N Fold

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2001
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Santa Barbara, CA, USA
    Great trip report Bob! I thought about you when I saw that Buckeye final score. Don't you love settling in at the sportsbook on football day and making friends with the people all around you? Suddenly your small group is five or six tables of people you will yell and scream with... Love that. The flip side of that is the feeling I get at restaurants like the one you described, where you can tell they are really soaking you...if you're getting a $100 a person, why not make it the best dining experience you can have, instead of making people feel bad because they don't want to get $300 bottles of wine? I just hate that.

    So....are you coming out for the Madness? After four months of Ohio winter, you'll be ready!!

    Do it!
     
  4. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2002
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    Wow sounds like you had a great trip. I'm sorry that Ohio didn't cover, but at least they are still undefeated (until they play Michigan! - lol - sorry had to put that in there)

    I'm glad you included the information about Nob Hill in your report. That's too bad about the service. As much as I love to drink wine, the price for that bottle was absurd. I take if from your report that you would recommend the restaurant though just for the food. I've heard that their Lobster Pot Pie was outstanding. I'm still up in the air about that place for an upcoming trip.

    Regardless, it's always nice coming home positive in the gambling department. It's nice to know that MB has $5 tables, if only during the day. I've been wanting to try my luck there and I definitely prefer low limit tables.

    Great trip report.
     
  5. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Chicago
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Unfortunately, I will not be able to come for the March Madness as we are leaving three days later for a Spring Break trip to Mexico with the family. Very sad I have to miss.

    Milehiman, the $5 tables were only there on Friday during the day and it looked like they were going to open some on Sunday afternoon. Saturday was $10 minimum, although there were lots of them even during the night.

    [ November 12, 2002, 04:58 PM: Message edited by: Buckeye Bob ]
     
  6. punkypete

    punkypete Tourist

    Joined:
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    Your report was lots of fun to read. Wasn't too long at all. Thanks!!! [​IMG]
     
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