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Mirage 11/11 - 11/14 My First Free Trip!!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buckeye Bob, Nov 17, 2004.

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  1. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    My Trip Report

    We are back from a wonderful trip to our favorite city. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the Trip Reports I have read here and wanted to share my own adventures. Although not on Hurricane Mikey’s level, hopefully, you will enjoy it. Sorry if it’s a little long.

    This was a trip that was almost cancelled a number of times for various reasons but finally came together in the end. It started as a larger couples trip but ended up with only four of us going. Thursday morning, I wake up at 4 am and cannot fall back asleep. Too excited about the upcoming trip and too much to do before we leave. As an aside, my brother and sis in law were coming to watch the kids. Unfortunately, a virus had been passed through all 4 of the kids so we hoped they would be okay while we were gone. As it turned out, the vomit count on my children while we were gone was in double digits so we felt pretty bad about the whole thing. Okay, enough of that. The day moves slowly but finally, it is time to go. We flew United (actually TED) out of Chicago and arrive in Las Vegas around 4:45 pm with no problems. Cab line was ridiculous but moved very quickly and we are on our way to the Mirage. Check in is very easy with no line although they are unable to upgrade me ($20 trick or not) due to the fact they are sold out for the next three nights. I had booked my room with them online a while ago and think I hit the low point for the room cost. We head to our room on the 3rd floor and the room is kind of average. Small bathroom and although non-smoking, it definitely has a funky smell to it. Oh well, we don’t plan to spend much time here. View is of the top of the casino but also some view of neon and lights from Harrah’s across the street.

    We take a quick shower and head down to the casino for a little table action before dinner. I was pleasantly surprised to see at least some $10 tables in spite of the crowd in town. This was the case all weekend. Tread water for about 45 minutes and we head over to The Flamingo to Margaritaville. My wife and I are big Jimmy Buffett fans and to us, this was the perfect place to hang out and wait for our friends to arrive. Margaritas were good and the rest of our group soon joins us. The whole table had the steak and shrimp and it was quite good and, in my opinion, reasonably priced. I think this place has a great vibe to it and is a lot of fun. I highly recommend it.

    We headed back to the Mirage for a little more gambling before calling it an early night…or so that was the plan. We start playing blackjack and getting no love from the dealer. We decide to switch tables after I dumped my beer on the table. Guess the margaritas were better than I thought! We move to the next table over and I’m starting to have some luck so I decide to stay a little longer. Table was a lot of fun with two good dealers. I will say that about three hands after I sat down here, I spilled my beer again. I think that my hand signals were a little too aggressive. However, they did let me stay. As time goes on, I got on a roll and it felt like I couldn’t lose. When I would get a rag hand, the dealer would bust. My better hands held up also. It was great. I kept pushing my bets up as I was playing with their money and by the end, was betting $50-$75 a hand, which is high for me. When I finally quit at 2:30 am (4:30 am Central…a 24-hour day for me!), I had $1,300 on a buy in of $200. When I headed back to the room, my wife, who had left at midnight asked how I did. I said that I only had 5 chips left. I paused for effect and then said, “Yep, 5 chips, 2 purple and 3 black.†She was excited as I was. [​IMG]

    Friday morning, I had planned to get up early to head to Mandalay Bay to play in their three-table $30 daily hold ‘em tournament. Unfortunately, I woke up at 5 am (still on central time) and finally decided to just get up and go over. I sat down at a 4-8 hold ‘em table to play until the tournament began at 10 am. Interesting in that the blinds are only 1-2 on their 4-8 tables. There is definitely more action on the flop with this structure. By the way, if you want to play in their tournament, get there early before the 7 am sign up and sit down at a table as they come to the tables for sign up first before they begin the registration. This was key that day as the tournament registration filled up in 4 minutes. Anyway, play at the table was painful for me for the first 2 hours, as I could not get a hand to play with. Very few hands I would even pay $2 to see the flop. I kept bleeding chips and my $200 buy in was down to about $45 but then I got on a roll. Started getting some hands and by the time the tournament rolled around, I was back up to $190. The table was fun and was all tourists like myself as opposed to locals. I did get a kick out of one guy at the table that had been playing since Tuesday night without stopping. When he fell asleep in the middle of a hand, he decided it was time to call it quits.

    Time for the tournament. The tournament is limit for the first hour with blinds going up every 15 minutes and then no limit after that. You only start with 300 chips so it’s important to pick the right hands to play. I hit some hands early but then got on a cold streak. Finally went out when my pocket jacks fell to an ace on the river and ended up in 19th place. This was my first tournament and it was fun even if I did not have much luck. I will say that this is a moneymaker for Mandalay Bay as they keep $5 of your buy in and take another $2 for the dealers so that of the total $900 paid in, they only pay back out $690. This is quite the rake. I didn’t notice this until after I was already sitting down but it does seem quite excessive. Is this unreasonable compared to other places?

    My wife and friends were supposed to come down and watch but they did not quite make it in time so I cabbed it back up to the Mirage. From there, the ladies were going shopping in the Caesar’s Forum shops and my friend Doug and I decided to casino hop down the strip. We went in and out of a number of places and decided to stop at Paris as he had never been there and we needed a beverage. We sat down at a blackjack table and the magic from the night before continued. Started winning and by the time we left, I was up another $525. Doug also won about $300 here to go with his $200 from the night before. I like this trend!! Next, we went next door to Aladdin and the blackjack luck ended. My $100 buy in was gone very quickly so we decided to mix it up a little. I started playing my normal numbers on the roulette table and Doug decided to bet on red even though it had come up 7 times in a row. I started hitting my numbers and kept upping my bets. The funny thing was that red kept hitting. Doug kept his bet there and watched it hit another 11 times in a row!! It was so funny to watch all of these random people walk up and plop hundreds of dollars down on black each time just because red had hit so much. When we finally left, I had won another $250 and Doug about $150 (his number bets weren’t hitting as well).

    Now, it is about 2 pm and we decided to head to the Barbary Coast for the 3pm Big Elvis show. The ladies were going to meet us there. While waiting, I decided to try my hand at craps but nothing was hitting. Through four shooters, not one point was made. $75 later, I headed back to the lounge for the show. As an aside, I did like the Barbary Coast casino. Had a cool retro feel and a good crowd enjoying themselves. The Bloody Marys are good too.

    The ladies arrive right before the show starts. Here comes Big Elvis. Wow, he is big. Bigger than I imagined. However, that boy can sing. We stayed for a set and really enjoyed ourselves. I will say that I’m not quite sure what I think about the old lady that is up there dirty dancing with some lucky volunteer from the crowd. I told my friend, “Okay, we are here in an ‘Old Vegas†style casino, listening to a 450 pound Elvis singing a Dire Straits song (Walk of Life) while a 90-year old lady in a walker is dirty dancing with someone from the crowd. This seems wrong on a number of levels.â€

    After this, I was hitting the wall, so I went back to the room to take a nap while the others went and had a drink. After an hour, I felt better so we showered and headed over to Caesar’s for dinner at Mesa Grill, the new restaurant there by Bobby Flay of Food TV fame. Very cool setting but interesting that the one wall is covered in these really cool windows but has a view of the sportsbook. Doug and I liked it but the tote board view probably took away from the “romance†factor for the ladies. Food is Southwestern flavors and was really good. Appetizers were great and I had a veal chop that was awesome. Cost was not too extreme for a restaurant of this level. With cocktails but no bottles of wine, the bill for four of us was $300 with tip. I surprised our friends by treating due to my big win the night before. We played in the Caesar’s casino for a while and my luck had changed. I lost the first 10 hands and with pretty good cards. The gambling gods giveth and they taketh away. $250 later, we headed back to the Mirage. Another $100 went back to the casino coffers. I will say that my friend Doug got on a roll here and had 11 blackjacks in an hour. 4 times in 6 hands at one point. Finally, we decided to call it a night a little early as we had an early appointment in the Mirage Sportsbook. My friend was going to get up early and get us a table but I wanted to get there early myself.

    Saturday, we wake up and head down to the sportsbook. I look for Doug but he is nowhere to be found. I was able to get us a table and call his cell phone. He said he got a “better offer†than coming down to the sportsbook early but would be there soon. We settle in and start betting. This is always one of my favorite things to do on our Vegas visits and is the main reason we come in the fall. Overall, my bets broke close to even with my biggest losses on my beloved Buckeyes (damn you Purdue!!) and big wins on Boston College, Miami, and Pittsburgh. We stayed there until about 4pm. What a great day!

    By the way, the ladies went to the Mirage spa and loved it. Two years ago, they went to Mandalay Bay’s spa and though they liked it, they thought this was so much better. They even went back later to use the facilities again in the afternoon to get ready to go out that night. Highly recommended for everyone.

    We cab down to MGM for dinner at SeaBlue, a newer seafood restaurant by Michael Mina. This place was awesome. Very cool setting. Great service and food was great. I had lobster corn dogs for an appetizer that were very unique but really good. For entrée, the scallops were wonderful and the others had different types of fish that they all raved about. Dessert was great also. This place is a little on the pricy side. We did drink more wine here, and with 2 bottles, our total was $380 for the four of us. One observation on the higher-end restaurants. They were all crowded and the crowd tended to be on the younger side. Guess the Generation X,Y, or whatever they call themselves now are not afraid to pay up for good food and drink. Once again, I highly recommend SeaBlue.

    We decided to head over to the Hard Rock as our friends had never been there before. It was packed with it being Saturday night and we just hung out and played a little. This session started off badly but I rallied a little bit before we left.

    Now on to the Boardwalk for the Purple Reign show. We had read some pretty good reviews of this show so we decided to check it out. I had never been to the Boardwalk before…mostly because that clown scares me. It was an interesting crowd. The show before Prince was a group that did MoTown (Four Tops, Temptations, etc.) complete with all of the choreographed moves. They weren’t bad. The Prince show was okay. A little over the top especially the hot girl dancer he had on stage with him. However, the band itself was really good. Overall, it was quite entertaining and if you are in the area, I would recommend.

    We walked back to the Aladdin to catch a cab. Out front, I overheard a guy on his cell phone tell someone in his best “New Yawk†accent, “Yeah, I’m right in front of the Desert Passage†with the accent on the second syllable rhyming with massage. Quite funny at the time but that was after a lot of alcohol. We get back to Mirage and the ladies want to go to check out the Baccarat Bar to play “Spot the Hooker.†There were only two there at the time but it was quite entertaining to watch them ply their trade. After yet another contribution to the Mirage bottom line, we headed back to our room.

    Next day is time to go home. We sleep in and grab some coffee and pastries at the Roasted Bean in the Mirage. Very crowded but moves quickly. We just kind of hung out and then packed to head home. Security line was non-existent at 10:00 am and we were at our gate with lots of time to spare. Flight home was uneventful and everyone was happy to see us arrive.

    Observations

    This was actually my first three-night trip and I was truly exhausted by Sunday. 2 ½ hours sleep the first night didn’t help. However, we never felt rushed and I think this is the right amount of time to come out.

    Although most of the hotels were sold out, it really did not seem that crowded. This town is amazing in its’ ability to handle huge crowds.

    Mirage Sportsbook is awesome.

    Mandalay Bay Poker Room was fun with a good crowd playing but they need to be a little less greedy on the juice in their tournaments. Another observation is that you must have to be 23 years old or younger to play No Limit as that seemed to be the maximum age at that table.

    Mirage Poker Room looked awesome but I did not get a chance to play there. At 2 am Thursday, they still had about 20 tables full.

    Big Elvis is BIG!!! However, highly entertaining.

    The restaurant selection and quality just keeps going higher. So do the prices but hey, we are on vacation.

    It is great to have your trip paid for at the tables on the first night.

    My final count was about a $1200 win that more than covered all of our expenses for the entire weekend. Overall, a great trip and I cannot wait to go back. Hope this was not too long and thanks for reading.

    Bob

    [ November 18, 2004, 06:04 AM: Message edited by: Buckeye Bob ]
     
  2. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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    Bob--

    What a great report. That helped my afternoon pass in a more enjoyable way then actually *working*...hee hee.

    Loved the 'Five chips' line. That's beautiful, man.

    Mikey
     
  3. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

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    Wow, great trip report Bob.

    I'm like you, great meals while in Vegas really make the trip special. I'll have to try Sea Blue since last time it was a toss up between there and Aqua Knox. I think one of the last times you went you tried out Nob Hill and liked it too.

    We like the feel of the BC too. However, getting our butts handed to us when we gamble there has resulted in us looking for a new place to play.

    I could have told you not to bet on Ohio State - LOL

    Glad you had a great time.
     
  4. Blind_Molly

    Blind_Molly Tourist

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    Bob, you have failed to include your sojourn to the Liberace Museum..... I'm glad Purple Reign was not a drag. Good report.
     
  5. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

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    Coming back to the room with purple chips... your buddy getting "a better offer"... a day in the book... sounds like a good trip. Nice report, thanks for writing it up. Maybe I should check out that Desert Pass-ahhge next time.
     
  6. bigbooner

    bigbooner Low-Roller

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    Terrific report but "lobster corn dogs" sounds like an oxymoron to me. Nothing quite like winning to make a trip even better.
     
  7. boxcars

    boxcars High-Roller

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    Nothing better than a free trip! ...Especially winning on the first day!
     
  8. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Great report. Nice way to start my day when I'm supposed to be working. *pondering lobster corn dogs*
     
  9. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

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    All,

    Thanks for the kind words about my TR. Lobster corn dogs are exactly what they sound like. A big chunk of lobster dipped in corn dog-like batter and served on a stick with some type of mustard. I was intrigued by them and had to order. They were awesome.
     
  10. Jer

    Jer VIP Whale

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    Great report...

    Also loved the 5 chip line,

    And Spot the Hooker is a great game.

    As Terry says, Outstanding!
     
  11. Aaron

    Aaron Tourist

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    Great report. Just to clarify, at the MB's poker room, all the 4/8 tables have 1/2 blinds? I'm staying there in December and am looking to play either 4/8 or 6/12 but would like to play with the blinds at a "normal" structure. Thanks.
     
  12. Buckeye Bob

    Buckeye Bob Low-Roller

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    Aaron,

    I think that is true about the blinds on all of the tables. Although, I can only vouch for our table, there wasn't any kind of choice on what blinds you prefer. Also, the dealer did say that they had switched to this new structure so my guess would be that all of the 4/8 tables would be that way. Not sure about 6/12.
     
  13. KathyinNY

    KathyinNY Tourist

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    Loved your trip report. I do get bummed, however, when I read reports that they've seen Purple Reign at the Boardwalk. When I was there in April of 2002 that was one thing we planned to see and the guy never showed up - talk about bummed. I sure do hope I get to see that when I go out next summer.
     
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