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Mr. & Mrs. "Buddha" Take on Vegas - April 6 - 13 , 2016

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Apr 18, 2016.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Well, folks ... Vegas trip #58 is over, and here are the usual details for your reading pleasure ....

    Our Southwest Airlines flight out of Chicago Midway was purchased back in October / 2015, when SWA opened the April ticket window. Our 11:20 am non-stop flight to Vegas was priced at $189 for each of us (Nancy and me), minus $80 credit from a previous re-booking. Added to that was our usual $12.50 each for the SWA Early-Bird check-in. For our return flight on April 13th, our two fares were paid for with 23,662 points from our bank of Southwest Rapid Rewards. Our return Early-Bird fees, plus government taxes & fees, added on a separate $36.20 payment .

    Wednesday , April 6 , 2016 :
    At 6:35 am, we catch our local Metra commuter train to the downtown Chicago Union Station ... and walk over to the "elevated loop" commuter "Orange Line", which takes us directly to the back entrance of Midway airport. With our pre-printed boarding passes, WITH the TSA Pre-Chk, we are easily through security in less than 2 minutes. And, after a McDonald's breakfast, it was a 90 minute wait until we were lined up for boarding our 11:20 am "on schedule" plane. Our flight was uneventful, until we reached some very bumpy turbulence approaching the Rockie Mountains, but er arrived we arrived in Vegas right on time, at 1:15 pm Vegas time.

    After de-planing with all of our belongings, we immediately headed for the shuttle bus for the short ride to the car rental garage. We already have our Alamo reservation papers in hand, and headed directly up to the Alamo level, and picked out our white Toyota Corolla compact. This rental was priced at $206 , and 2400 RR points on an Alamo/Southwest promo code. The car was somewhat new, and but had a few minor scratches on it, that I reported at check-out ... and away we went.

    Upon leaving the car barn, we headed up to Flamingo Rd., and drove east to a local Dollar Tree store for a few supplies. Returning back west on Flamingo , we stopped at the Palms for a quick pair of Matchplay coupons (+10). From there it was a quick hop across to the Gold Coast, where we would spend the first night. Check-in was quick & easy, with a room on the 8th floor close to the elevator, and we were soon down in the casino. Nancy registered us at the player's club with a 5X points coupon, and also registered her player's card on the Kiosk for the "Young at Heart" (seniors) drawing at 4:30. We played Video Poker for about 2 hours, until the Young at Heart drawing ... but no luck there.

    Time for dinner, and we decided to use our ACG coupon for one free buffet, and used player points for the second person ... for a fully free dinner for the two of us. Back to our room at the Gold Coast for a little TV, but it didn't take very long before it nothing but ZZZZZZ's , after a long day from home. Tomorrow, we move downtown to Main Street Station.

    Thursday , April 7, 2016 :
    Up early, showered, dressed, and repacked ... we check out from the Gold Coast, no charges ... and head downtown to Main Street Station, where we will have a comped reservation for the next 6 days. Arriving at MSS, it's only 6:00 am as we enter the parking garage, so we leave our luggage in the car. Stopping at the hotel front desk, the clerk is happy to check on our reserved room, and temporarily checks Nancy in for our first 3 nights (I will have 3 follow-up nights), and tells us to come back at 2:00 am for the keys, and the room will be ready ... good deal !!

    We will be meeting our Illinois friends, Garry and Marcia at 8:00 am for breakfast at the MSS buffet ... so with some time to kill, we head for the casino at the California, for some video poker. After winning $38 at the Cal, we return to MSS for breakfast with Garry and Marcia, and pay for it with some of Nancy's many player card points. After a relaxing & filling breakfast, we part ways with our friends, head back to the California casino ... Nancy to one of her favorite slant-top, single-line Bonus poker quarter machines, and me to a bank of All-Star video poker quarter machines, where I play Triple Play (3 lines) , also playing Bonus Poker. We play here until noon, losing about $158, and decide to go on a downtown coupon run.
    From the Cal, we first head to the Downtown Grand, where two winning Matchplays earn us a $40 profit, and our two free-plays return $16.50.
    Walking over to the El Cortez, our two free-play coupons bring us a profit of $21.25, and then back down Fremont Street, at the Four Queens and Binion's, we pick up winnings of $14.50 and $25.50. We were very pleased with these assorted free-play successes.

    It is now about 2:00 pm, so we headed back to MSS, and were officially checked in on the 7th floor, requested a coffee pot & coffee supplies, and moved all of our belongings up to the room. With all things now in the room, and suitcases unpacked, we head back down to the California casino, to resume our VP activities. Nancy is still sticking to her previous "lucky" machine, and I'm still hammering away at my Triple-Play, and not making any progress ... Nancy winning about $92, and me losing about $130. Along with Nancy's room offer, also came a $25 free-play voucher for the Cal (+ $38).

    For dinner, we decide to eat at the California Market Street Cafe, using player points for a free dinner, which we ate from their large salad bar, where we had many, many delicious choices. We're done gambling for the day with eyes weary, but before getting to the room, we stop at the player's club, and pick up a comp slip for tomorrow's MSS breakfast buffet. Up in the room for the evening, with Nancy relaxing with a good book, watching TV, and me on my lap-top, grabbing a free signal from Fremont St. .... and eventually ... ZZZZZZZ.

    Friday , April 8 :

    Today starts off with our usual breakfast buffet (with our free comp) at Main Street Station, with very similar offerings as other weekdays, but still enjoyable, and we get to visit with many of the employees who we've made friendships with on previous trips. After breakfast, we return to our usual VP machines at the Cal, always hoping for the elusive winning sessions. Unfortunately for me, today's sessions are just as bad as the previous day, losing about $140, but Nancy keeps here winning ways, with a + $54.

    For dinner this evening, we again returned to the Market Street Cafe at the California. For this dinner, we decided to order from the menu, and the food was very good. Our waitress, Sandy, started us off with a bowl of clam chowder (absolutely delicious), with Nancy ordering the baked "Mahi-Mahi" fish dinner, while I stuck with one of my favorites, the "Country-fried steak & potatoes with the country gravy, and green beans. Outside of some of the buffet meals, this was my favorite meal. We again used player points here to pay for another free meal.

    On the way back to our room, we stopped by the player's club, and picked up Saturday's breakfast "brunch" buffet comp. The Saturday and Sunday breakfast "brunch" buffets are a little more special than on Monday though Friday, with more choice items, and even champagne.


    Saturday , April 9 :

    We were up early, down playing in the California casino at 7:00 am., winning $50 before I had a bite to eat, but Nancy had a slow start to the morning, losing $60. The weekend morning "Brunch Buffet" is always somewhat more special than during the week, as extra offerings are available, as well as champagne. This is always one of our favorite buffet meals of the trip, and it did not disappoint us. After breakfast, Nancy and I returned to our VP games for the late morning, and early afternoon ... and in those several hours, we managed to break even, as a "team" ... with me losing about $100, and Nancy winning about the same amount.

    At about 3:00 pm, we returned to our room, checked emails, and got ready for a special 5:00 dinner at Sam's Town. One of our dear friends at the MSS player's club has an April Birthday, and Nancy and I invited her to go out to dinner with us for her birthday. We also invited our friends Claire & Deb from Canada, and we all had a fun time, with lots of good Mexican food, at Willy & Jose's at Sam's Town. We had lots of chips & salsa, burritos, enchiladas, tacos, seafood, etc., and did not go hungry, at all. :) And Nancy and I once again used our player points to pay the bill, plus a generous cash tip to our superb waiter & waitress. This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip !!

    Sunday , April 10 :

    This is the morning that Nancy's 3-day MSS reservation ends, and our "stay-over" switches to my 3-day MSS reservation, staying in the very same room. My comp offer comes from the MSS hotel, from my preferred play in MSS casino, and our host at MSS is able to combine the room offers at MSS, so we can stay there, without having to move. And then, we have another fine breakfast (free) at the Sunday Brunch buffet at MSS ... lots of nice choices of fruit and breakfast entrees. You might have noticed that we never have any lunch between breakfast and dinner. :)

    Here at the MSS, my long-time favorite machines are the full-pay 8/5 Bonus Poke, Triple-Play , and Nancy again has several of her favorite slant-top machines with 8/5 Bonus VP to choose from. The other "side-bonus" in playing at the MSS casino is the possibility of earning "Scratch Cards". As long as you are playing max-coin, any 4-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush (or Royal Flush) will earn you a scratch-card (be sure to immediately light up your "service light") , and a floor person will show up with a scratch card. If you are playing a multi-line game , like me, it is possible to get multiple scratch cards in a multi-line game. I was dealt quad hands a few times on my Triple-Play machine, and would get 3 scratch cards. The high majority of scratch cards are for $2, but there are a few for $3, or $5, or higher ... and the Jackpot card is worth $5000 !!!

    We played several hours of VP here at MSS this day, earning 19 scratch cards (all for $2 ... $38), with me winning $215 on video poker, and Nancy losing $48 .... while putting 9288 points on my player's card. Dinner for this evening took place at the "777Brewpub" at MSS. Nancy had the "Taco Salad" (large), and I had the Fried Fish dinner plate, with fries and cole slaw. Including two LARGE ice-teas, the bill was almost $27, but I had a $15 voucher from MSS, plus player points, for a free dinner. :) We were comfortably full !!!

    After that, we retired to our room for some R & R , emails, and TV viewing.

    Monday, April 11th :

    Up early again this morning ... showered, dressed, and organized for another day in the Main Street casino, at our machines at 6:30 am. We played until shortly before 8:00 am, winning a few dollars, and earning a few scratch cards, and then meeting our friends, Claire & Deb at the MSS breakfast buffet ... Breakfast of Champions !!! Lots of good food, and fun talk, with good friends. Nancy and I will not be flying home until Wednesday, but Claire & Deb head back to Canada tomorrow (Tuesday). Hopefully, we will see them again, here in Vegas ... possibly in September or November, or next Spring.

    After finishing breakfast, and saying our good byes, we went back to playing at our usual VP machines here at MSS. At my Triple Play VP machine, I now meet up with Paul, another casino friend, who lives only 10 or 15 miles from us in Illinois. We were playing side-by-side, both playing the triple-line 8/5 Bonus Poker, laughing & winning, and getting more scratch cards on quads and straight flushes. Then, Paul was dealt the 10 J-Q-A of diamonds, and on one line, up pops the King of diamonds for a $1000 Royal !!! Even though I was still holding my own, I was so jealous that Paul hit that Royal right next to me. HOWEVER ... about 30 minutes later, I held the Ace & Queen of Spades, not expecting anything real special, and on the re-draw, pulled the King-Jack-10 of spades on the bottom line, for my own $1000 Royal !!! I almost fell off my chair, and Paul and I were both overjoyed and laughing at our good fortune. I took my cash-out ticket, and found Nancy, to show it to her ... she was happy for me, but she was in the midst of losing about $100, and not pleased with her own bad luck.

    We took a break from the VP, and grabbed our rental car from the MSS garage, headed out to do a coupon run. First stop was the Palms, with our MP's on the Roulette table ... one winner, one loser (+10). We had to take a pass on our Orleans MP's, as they now require you to present those MP coupons at the player's club, and once registered, it's "one & done", and no more. So, we headed down Tropicana, and stopped at the Hooters casino, where we did our MP's (+10), and also did our "play 10, get 10" free-play coupons (+ 17). From Hooters, we stopped at Ellis Island, and did three coupons each ... MP's (+10), the "play 10, get 10 or more" in free-play ... we each got $10 in free-play, for a $ 13 total return. The last coupon we used was the ACG coupon for a free, red Ellis Island T-shirt.

    We now headed back downtown to MSS, and took an afternoon break in our room, to check emails, and itemize our various road-trip profits. We eventually headed back down to the MSS casino, where I hit a few more scratch cards, but in between those, there were lots of losing hands.
    I still had one more $15 food voucher, which we decided to use (with points) at the MSS dinner buffet, for another free meal. :)
    A good selection of dinner choices filled us up, and then it was back to our room for some evening TV and relaxation.

    Tuesday , April 12 :

    This day started out as typical as could be, starting with the usual breakfast buffet at Main Street Station ... and then on to the MSS Casino for our daily sessions of video poker. I was happy with my Royal yesterday, and today, the cards were still running decent, with several quads ... and even got dealt quad 2's ... TWICE on my Triple Play machine !!! Yes, on the deal ... and I was rewarded with 600 quarters on each of those hands. After that hand, the random quads kept coming ... and by 10:30 am, I was $200 ahead for the morning.

    I temporarily stopped at 10:30 am in order to head up to our room, fire up the computer, and check in for our flight tomorrow. We had again paid for the SWA - "Early Bird" check-in ... and on this occasion, we get boarding positions A-28 and A-29 ... but only Nancy got the TSA Pre-Chk attached. So tomorrow, we will print our boarding passes at one of the airport kiosks, and Nancy will take my briefcase with her through the "Pre-Chk" line. That way, I will not have to take all my computer gear out, to go through the regular security line ... just my carry-on luggage, and take off my shoes.

    Time to begin packing up our suitcases, and get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's trip home to reality.

    Wednesday , April 13th :

    Today is check-out day , and an 11:05 am flight back to Chicago Midway Airport. We are cleaned up, and packed up, and we return to the MSS hotel desk for our final check out (no charges). All luggage is in the rental car, and we are off to the airport at 7:00 am. Down Main Street. over to Industrial Rd., linking to Dean Martin Way, across Flamingo Rd., across Tropicana, and all the way down south to Warm Springs Rd. East on Warm Springs Rd, and across LV Blvd. to the corner gas station for a fill-up before the return to the rental garage. Everything was in order there, and we are soon on the shuttle bus to the airport.

    We have breakfast at the airport Burger King, not far from our C-19 departure gate, and relax to wait for our flight to return to Chicago. The only problem is that our plane, coming in from San Antonio is running about 20 minutes late. And, when you combine that with the time for unloading that plane, and then reloading our group, we will definitely be arriving late to Chicago. We finally depart right at about 11:45 am Vegas time, and the pilot has us landing at Chicago Midway at 4:10 pm (Chicago time). I used my Southwest drink tickets for two glasses of wine to help me relax from the lateness snafu. :)

    Off the plane, and we walk out the back way of Midway, to the waiting Orange Line commuter train. Arriving at the downtown "Loop", we make the return walk to Union Station, and much to our surprise, we are only 10 minutes away from the departure of our suburban Metra commuter train to our home station. At 7:00 pm, we pull into our garage .... and our trip is complete.

    FINAL SUMMARY :

    >> Southwest Airlines MDW to LAS .... Credit Card purchase for 2 people
    >> Southwest Airlines LAS to MDW .... Used Rapid Rewards for free flight, plus $36.20 taxes, fees, and Early-Bird Check-in
    >> Alamo Rental Car -- Toyota Carolla -- One Week -- $225 w/ 2400 Rapid Rewards awarded on a Southwest Airlines Promo on Alamo Rental Car

    >> 7 nights --- Gold Coast ( 1 night free) , The California ( 3 nights comped) , and MSS ( 3 nights comped) -- all 6 nights booked at MSS )
    >> 13 meals ... all comped or free with coupons & points. Last morning breakfast ... $14.
    >> Tips (meals , drinks , floor attendants ... $90.

    >> Casino coupon matchplay bets .... + $ 50
    >> Video Poker .... "Buddha" (+ $1229 ) .... Nancy ( + $ 171)
    >> 49 scratch Cards @ Main St. Station .... + $ 101
    >> VP Coin-In , Cycled & Re-Cycled .... 60 K

    Hope you enjoyed the read ... Comments and questions are always welcome.

    "Buddha"
     
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  2. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Congratulations on the win and thanks for sharing the details of your trip with us.
     
  3. harveyd63

    harveyd63 Tourist

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    Busy week
     
    ??????
  4. Loverboy

    Loverboy Low-Roller

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    Nice trip report...Glad ya had a good time..
     
  5. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

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    Budda ; What did you mean when using your computer you used a free signal from Fremont Street? Sounds like a good solid trip.Thanks for the write up.
     
  6. Spivderman

    Spivderman Low-Roller

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    I always enjoy reading your TR's Buddha. I also keep track of every dollar just so I know the exact price of entertainment. Congrats on the Royal. My wife loves my red Ellis Island T-shirt; glad you got one.
     
  7. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Congrats! A winning trip is all about getting that Royal and you got it the hard way! Where else can you get paid to take a vacation! HaHa! Glad you had a fabulous trip!
    diane
     
  8. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Tcocona .... There are a couple wi-fi signals that come from the Fremont Street area. If you click on your connection icon on your bottom tool-bar, you should see a couple signal links, like : LV.net or LV free.net .... which will show up as "unsecured" open signals.

    "Buddha"
     
  9. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    So nice to hear about someone getting a Royal.
    Enjoyed your report.
     
  10. tcocona

    tcocona Low-Roller

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    Budda ; thanks for the info
     
  11. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Nice report and congrats on the Royal. :)
     
  12. mrstealth

    mrstealth High-Roller

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    Thanks Budda, another excellent report and congrats on the Winning trip!
     
  13. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    The Cal is my home Hotel/Casino and MSS is my favorite hang-out. Glad you had a great time! Congratulations on your Royal and Thank You for your report.

    I'm still hoping for my first Royal but in all fairness I've only been playing VP seriously for about 2 years now.
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  14. vwhiten

    vwhiten High-Roller

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    Always love your trip reports Buddah. Congratulations on the Royal.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary
  15. jrinct1

    jrinct1 VIP Whale

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    GREAT TR as always. Had always liked the MSS buffy. I know it has come under criticism from some.. but its straightforward and good. There are always the higher end buffies if ya something really fancy. Always look forward to your trip reports.. Nice hit for the ROYAL!! Stay well my friend.
     
  16. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    After reading one of your earlier trip reports I too took advantage of stopping by the player's desk for the buffet comp to be used the next morning. Works well and leaves more budget for the tip. Appreciate you sharing that little gem. Good trip report.....
     
    1st Super Bowl DT...Panthers / Browns no doubt
  17. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    Great summary as usual, Buddha. Congrats on the royal, and overall monetary success of your "free" vacation.
     
  18. Ty

    Ty ?

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    Buddha, Thanks for the TR, enjoyed reading it.
    Great results for you and your wife, even without the Royal you would still have been ahead.
    Congrats on the Royal. I know it had to be a lot of fun with you and your friend both hitting in the same session.
     
    Christmas Trip. Sam's Town & MSS
  19. zerofan

    zerofan VIP Whale

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    Great report - love MSS and downtown. Missed it my last trip because I just couldn't leave The Orleans.
     
  20. Sue24

    Sue24 High-Roller

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    Wow! Good job on the use of your coupons...... great to hear!
     
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