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Mr. & Mrs. Buddha -- April 2015 Vegas Trip

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Apr 20, 2015.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Wednesday, April 8, 2015 -- Off to Vegas :

    My wife, Nancy, and I , (both 70) , began planning this trip (#54) to Vegas back on Nov. 10th, when we purchased our Southwest airfare out of Chicago Midway for April 8th at $229.20 for the both of us, charged to our SWA - Visa, along with the "Early-Bird" check-in (510 total Rapid Reward points). Our return flight , Nov. 15, was booked for free, back to Chicago, using 21,360 of our bankroll of SWA - Rapid Reward points, and again with the "Early-Bird" check-in (50 Rapid Rewards).

    Our arrival date in Vegas was booked at the Gold Coast, on a free, one-night comp, and the following 6 nights were booked at Main Street Station, on a 3-night comp from Nancy's mailer offer, along with a connected 3-night comp from my mailer offer.

    The final piece of preparation was the rental car, which were priced higher than normal, due to large conventions in town. We eventually settled on a one-week rental from Alamo at a final all-in price of $195, and a SWA bonus of 2400 Rapid Rewards, in addition to 390 Rapid Rewards given on a SWA partner purchase.

    Wednesday morning began early at 5:00 am, with a combination of two commuter trains taking us to Midway airport, for a 9:45 am departure. While on the 2nd train, I received a call from SWA, that our 9:45 flight would be delayed until 11:00 am. Upon arriving at Midway, and passing easily through security with our "TSA Pre-Chk" , we noticed that our plane was now listed for an 11:30 am departure. And after having a McDonald's breakfast in our terminal / gate area, we noticed that our plane was now listed as a "Noon" departure. DAMN !!!

    At this point (it's still only 8:30 am), I go up to the gate counter, and inquire as to the situation with our plane. The lady gate agent then told me that the problem with our plane was that it was STILL sitting in Ft. Meyers, Florida, with a "mechanical" issue, and would still eventually be flying up to Chicago.

    "Eventually", the Florida plane arrived at our gate at 11:30 am, unloaded, and by the time we all re-loaded, our departure from Chicago was about 1:00 pm ... 3 hours 15 min. late, arriving in Las Vegas at about 2:55 pm Vegas time. By the time we picked up the rental, and stopped by the Dollar Store, we had to skip some Free-Play and casino Matchplay plans, in order to get to the Gold Coast for check-in, casino plans, and dinner plans. It was a VERY long day !!!! :-(

    Upon check-in at the Gold Coast, we were assigned Room # 663, with a view looking straight across at the Palms. The room was a standard King-bed, non-smoking unit, very clean, with a nice quiet A/C system ... we unpacked quickly, and headed back down to the casino.
    The evening at the Gold Coast began with playing 8/5 Bonus Video Poker, in order to first earn 200 points each. With those 200 points and an ACG coupon for that amount, we were each able to redeem them for a nice free dinner buffet. After dinner, we played more video poker ... I won a little, Nancy lost a little ... and we then returned to the player's club to redeem an ACG $10 Matchplay coupon. We then took those MP's to the Roulette table, won both bets, and walked away to our room with a nice $40 profit ... and soon to be falling asleep ... ZZZZZZ

    Thursday - April 9th :
    Up early at 6:00 am, showered, dressed, and repacked, we check out from the GC at 7:00 am, and head downtown to the Main Street Station parking garage. We will have to wait until the other side of noon for check-in, even though our reservations have all been pre-arranged and set up by our Host at MSS. The first order of business is breakfast at the MSS buffet, which we pay for with points from our Boyd player's card. Breakfast here at the buffet is a nice standard offering of various fruits, egg options (including the fresh-made omelet station), meat choices, potatoes, side dishes, pastries, etc., etc.

    After breakfast, we head directly over to the California Casino, since our first three nights at the MSS hotel come from Nancy's mailer from the Cal, where she like to play. Nancy has her favorite single-line 8/5 Bonus Poker machines, and I like to play the "multi-line" poker machines. After about 3 hours of VP (Nancy wins some, I lose some), we take a break with a short walk over to the Vegas Club, where we each play a $5 matchplay coupon ... one winner, one loser, for a $5 profit. From here we cross over to the Plaza, to each do an ACG $5 free-play. The bad part is that we find out that the Plaza will NOT allow "free-play" to be done on any of its video poker machines. So, after getting registered at the player's club, we are relegated to playing our $5 credits at a choice of slot machines. This results in only a combined $4 credits out of our combined $10 starting credits. :)
    We do much better on the way out of the Plaza, as we each do a $10 Matchplay coupon, with each of us winning, and walking away with a $40 profit.

    At this point, we head back to Main Street Station to see if check-in is available ... which it was. We remind the hotel clerk of our back-to-back reservations, called a "stay-over", and also request a coffee-pot and coffee supplies be brought up to our room, #721. Nancy goes up to the room, while I go out to the garage, to retrieve our suitcases and other supplies. The room is again the standard King-bed, non-smoking unit, facing south ... giving me a nice shot at the free wi-fi signal from Fremont Street. We unpack for the 6-night stay here, tip the delivery person who brings up the coffee-pot and supplies, and it is back down to the casino at the Cal, to continue our assault on the VP machines.

    After finishing off the afternoon of VP at the Cal (win a little, lose a little), we decide to have dinner at the Triple 777 Brew-Pub at MSS. Nancy has two $20 dining coupons in her mailer offer, and we will only need one of them tonight. Nancy has the "San Francisco Burger" w/ fries & slaw, and I get the "Fish & Chips" w / slaw , and two soft drinks ... all very tasty ... never had a bad meal here at the "777". The bill is completely paid with Nancy's dining voucher, and additional player points ... leave a tip for the waitress, and we head to the room for some TV, and a relaxing evening.


    Friday and Saturday followed similar patterns ... free eats, play video poker, free eats, play video poker ... it's what we like to do. And, since we are Sapphire card holders, all of our play at the Cal and MSS earnd us "2X" bonus comp points on our player cards
    Down in the Cal casino early Friday, playing our usual 8/5 Bonus Poker, but today we're getting more winners than losers, with a few more "Four of a Kind" hands.

    By 8:15 am, we leave downtown for a breakfast meeting at Harrah's, with a close friend from St. Louis. Getting to Harrah's a few minutes early, Nancy and I put a couple points on each of our Harrah's player cards, to protect losing our thousands of card points. At 9:00 am, our friend, Diane is right on cue, and we head for the buffet, where Nancy uses an LVA coupon and her points for the three of us to enjoy a free breakfast.

    We all ate well, but spent most of the time reliving current events and old war stories, as Diane is just crazy about playing VP in Vegas as we are. We had not seen her for quite some time, but we are always in contact with email stories, amid her busy work schedule. A good meal, and a great time visiting together, and after big hugs, we part ways until next time, and Nancy and I head back downtown.

    On the way, we make a quick Matchplay stop at the Riviera, split a win and a loss for a $10 profit ... and once back at the Cal, we also do the same at the Vegas Club, for a $5 profit. Inside the Cal, we hit the VP machines for another 3 hours, with some winning profits for both of us this time. Time for a break up in the room, check our emails, and freshen up for dinner.

    This evening's dinner is at the Market Street Cafe at the Cal, where there was no line, and we were seated quickly. Our choice for both of us on this visit was the "Hot Open-Face Turkey & Gravy" sandwich platter, and soft drinks ... always a good meal. Nancy uses her 2nd - $20 dining voucher , and a few of her card points, for another free meal.

    We had already played close to 7000 points at the Cal today, so we chose to relax the rest of the evening, with some of our regular TV shows, get a good night's sleep, and be ready for another morning of VP. But first, on the way past the MSS player's club, we pick up a comp slip for the Saturday morning buffet.

    Saturday morning begins at the MSS brunch buffet, similar to their usual breakfast offerings, but including additional entree offerings, and a glass of Champagne, all paid for with our free comp slip.

    For the rest of the day, we return to the Cal to pound away on the VP machines for several hours. Nancy is still cashing out small wins, and I'm still cashing out small losses. At the end of these three days playing at the Cal, we have cycled and recycled over $18K (36,000 bonus comp points) ... more than enough to keep Nancy's offers rolling in. Nancy is now currently ahead by about $200 , and I'm down about $180. Good enough, as our goal on every trip is to just break even, with our rooms free, and our meals free.

    For dinner tonight, we are meeting our friends Claire & Deb (from Canada) at Sam's Town at the "Willy & Jose's" Mexican Diner. We keep in email contact off & on throughout the year, and try to meet up in Vegas whenever possible ... and the last time was also dinner here at Willy & Jose's. Lot of reminiscing of past times, and discussion of current activities, while we absolutely stuffed ourselves with burritos, fajitas, enchiladas, Mexican salad bowl, along with chips & salsa ... Wow, what a meal. My treat this time, which of course meant another free meal using Boyd points from my player's card. We will also be seeing Claire & Deb again at Main Street Station, as they move over from Sam's Town.

    Nancy and I return back to MSS for some evening TV and emails, and some ZZZZ's.

    On Sunday, April 12, we were not ready for another MSS breakfast brunch, after all that we ate yesterday, sooooo .... we took a walk to the Plaza, and had a light breakfast at McDonald's. While at the Plaza, we did our LVA - free-play coupons ( + $4), as well as at Binion's (+ $6), Four Queens (+ $ 8), and the El Cortez (+ $5). On the walk back, we stopped at the Vegas Club for a couple winning $5 Matchplay coupons (+ $20) ... and eventually back to Main Street Station.

    For the next three days in the MSS casino, Nancy again played her favorite quarter single line 8/5 Bonus Poker machines, while I settled in at the quarter Triple-Play machines, with 8/5 Bonus VP. Nancy's luck slowly turned negative on the MSS machines over the Sunday-Monday-Tuesday sessions .... with daily losses putting her into negative territory.

    I was also having difficulty on my Triple-Play machines over these 3 days at MSS, even though I was dealt "3 of a Kind" about 109 times, giving me 327 opportunities to draw the "4 of a Kind", and get an MSS scratch card. ( It happened so often, I was counting them ). Of those 109 hands mentioned, I only drew the completing 4th card FOUR times out of the 327 opportunities. !!! And yet, I completed a number of quad hands, while drawing to a single pair, and a few one-card holds. I even filled a quad once drawing all 5 cards ... but those "3 of a Kind" holds were brutal. Even with being dealt these many good hands, I was slowly going backward, to the point that by noon on Tuesday, I was about $550 behind. But then, I was dealt the K-Q-J of Spades, and pulled the Ace -10 of Spades on the re-draw for a $1000 Royal, and I was back on the winning side !!!! :)

    Over these 3 days playing at MSS, we cycled & recycled almost $ 24K, earning approx. 48,000 Bonus comp points. And, the scratch cards that we earned gave us additional earnings of about $56.

    Today, Wed., April 15, is our departure day, with our flight home to Chicago Midway scheduled for 12:20 pm. We are up early, showered, packed up, and checked out from MSS at about 7:00 am. As is our usual custom, we head down to South Point for a little extra video poker, and a very good breakfast buffet, complete with a complimentary Bloody Mary upon entry. The buffet was good, but we dropped about $40 at the VP machines.

    Leaving the South Point, we gas up the rental car , and return it to the car-barn on Gillespie, north of Warm Springs Road. All is in order, and we are soon being bussed back to the airport. Once at the airport, we head to the self-service kiosks to print our "early-bird" boarding passes, but this time, only I get the "TSA Pre-Chk" , while Nancy has to go through the "regular" security line. Strangely, the "Pre-Chk" line had so many people lined up, that Nancy actually got through the normal Security quicker than I did.

    Our departure gate was C-24, but the tram dropped us off at about C-3 / C-5, and, and then we had to walk back around to the other side, down to gate C-24. This gate area is large, but there was a large throng of people waiting for impending flights. We checked the flight boards, and everything was still list as "On Time" @ 12:20 pm. We were somewhat early, and settled in for what we thought would be a relaxed wait of about 2 hours. At about 11:30am, we checked the flight board, and we were still listed as 12:20, On Time. But then, we checked the arrival listing, and saw that our plane was coming in from Salt Lake City, and listed as "Late" at 12:30 pm. When I then approached the Gate counter, which even had their electronic sign-board listing our flight as "On Time", I asked about the Salt Lake flight as not arriving until 12:30, the agent gave me a cursory look, and said, "Yeah, it's going to be a little late, but not a big deal." Nothing more was said, nor announced until 12:30 pm, when it was announced that our "arriving" plane was going to be late, and that our group would have to move to Gate C-7. Upon 140 people now walking all the way back down to C-7, with hardly any seating space available, we are told to locate scattered seating, and report back to C-7 at about 1:20 pm , when hopefully boarding could begin. By 1:20 pm, we headed back o C-7, got into our "A-line" positions, and waited, and waited. Finally, the Salt Lake plane arrives, unloads, and eventually we board, not to pull away from the gate until 2:15 pm. Late, late, and very disorganized, with very little accurate information. I presently have a message pending with SWA - Customer Relations ... but nobody has yet to return my call ...... :-(

    Video Poker -- Nancy (- 113 ) , Jim ( + 465 )
    Matchplays -- + 100
    Hotel / Casino meals -- "Zero" .... McDonald's -- $11.00
    Tips (all types) -- $ 85

    Next trip to Vegas .... Sept. 9 - 16
     
  2. Mooda

    Mooda Low-Roller

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    Great trip report. Sorry about all the airport issues.
     
  3. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Thanks Jim - it does not surprise me based on what I have been reading that the all-in price of your rental was $195. What category of vehicle was it?

    Being delayed in one direction is a pain, but in both directions is truly bad luck.

    Good use of coupons as always - boo to the Plaza.

    Did I miss it or did you not play any coupons at the El Cortez?

    MSS should have a photo of you and Nancy on the wall near the entrance to the buffet and Triple 7 restaurant. LOL

    Again - thanks for taking the time to share your trip with us.
     
    Last edited: Apr 21, 2015
  4. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Westie .... That $195 rental car was a very basic Nissan Versa (compact).

    And yes, on our Sunday go-around, we hit the El Cortez with our LVA - Free Play coupons.
     
  5. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Excellent report as always!
    What denomination are those triple pay machines?
     
  6. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Hello Blonde !!
    The Triple-Play machines that I play are for quarters, but Main Street Station also has nickel Triple-Play near the escalator.
     
  7. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    I will be giving those nickel machines a try shortly!
    Thanks!
     
  8. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!

    Good to hear a Royal bailed you out of that trip conversion drought. A streak like that or worse is only a 1 in 610.75 shot (I was actually guessing it was rarer!).
     
  9. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Enjoyed your trip report! Getting delayed both ways is a nightmare, yet it seemed you handled it well. I hate the 5 1/2 hr. flight I have to endure to get to Vegas so if it happened to me I would've been very disappointed.

    My Wife and I are thinking of staying at the Gold Coast for the first time. We got some offers after giving them some play. Their lack of in-room safes is why we are still undecided.

    Thanks again for the report!
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  10. Simpatt

    Simpatt Low-Roller

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    Thanks for the TR Jim! I hope the free rooms keep coming for you both :)
     
  11. Tammy58

    Tammy58 Frugal Slot Jockey

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    Nice report! Sorry you had so many difficulties your first day. We have similar likes in our trips.
     
  12. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Thanks for the TR and congrats on another Royal, how many does that make for you?
    Can the boothlings still hand out buffet comps? When you get a comped buffet do you use the Invited Guest line?
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  13. jrinct1

    jrinct1 VIP Whale

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    Jim another great trip report as usual and as always love hearing about the dining reports can't wait for your next trip out
     
  14. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    TY ... I'm old and forgetful. :) However, in the last 15 or 20 trips, I "think" my Royal count is about 10 or 12.
    At the Cal, you still need to see the Host on duty to request a buffet comp. At MSS, a couple of the regular boothlings, like Ingrid or Jeannie, can do the comps ... but we saw 2 or 3 clerks this trip for the first time. Not sure about them, but whatever Host is on duty are usually very amiable.
    Most of the time, if the buffet line is short, we just take our comp slip in the regular line. If that line if full of lots & lots of people, then we'll go to the "Invited Guest" line.
     
  15. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Your answer brings up another question. You seem to play more multi-line VP than your wife. I'm assuming this means you play more hands. Do you have more Royals than your wife?
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  16. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Yeah, she's not willing to risk the bankroll for Triple-Play ... perfectly content to play her single line. But she has gotten 3 or 4 Royals in the last 2 or 3 years. I like the action of the Triple-Play machines, even if it is $3.75 / a spin ... but the multi-wins help cover a lot of that extra expense.
     
  17. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Always enjoyable to read your TRs! Thanks for the ride.
     
  18. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Always enjoy your reports, perfect tonic to the less then 2 week wait I have, congrats on the winning trip
     
  19. Simpatt

    Simpatt Low-Roller

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    Thanks Buddha for your TR, nice read. For a non VP player, your TR has got me thinking about giving it a try!
     
  20. wa8ckt

    wa8ckt Tourist

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    Great trip report as usual. Sorry about the problems with the flights, thankfully you had safe trip once boarded. Have had problems at times, but usually not both ways on same trip! Glad you were blessed with a Royal to absorb some of those low streaks ending up with a profitable trip which, as we all know, is not an easy thing to do. All of your planning, coupon and points usage sure pays off and more then elevates the two of you to "experts" in the field of Vegas vacations. Very impressive and maybe a "how to" book is a thought, lol. Of course the casinos would buy you off so it would never get published. Our next trip will be the end of May carefully worked out between the grand daughters horse shows which Kathy would not miss for anything. I'm ready to go anytime, we even had snow this morning! A few days of Vegas sun would do wonders. Good luck on your planning of the Sept trip. Thanks for the report.
     
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