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Nov-Pioneer/MSS/Rio for 8 (days)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by bluestreak, Dec 16, 2005.

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  1. bluestreak

    bluestreak Tourist

    Dec 21, 2002
    Northern AZ, South of Mars

    My Trip Report

    Vegas Adventure-Posted on various sites

    Well I finally made it back to Las Vegas because of a couple good back-to-back room offers. I was at MSS last Jan and March, but no Summertime visit. I gave MSS so little action then, I expected a reduction in quality in future offers...my coin-in was less than $5k over the 5 nights.

    My usual mailer for MSS was for two nights (sun-thurs), 2x points and $20 food. To my surprise these continued throughout the summer and then a couple of specials tossed in. But when I got a four nighter over the weekend before Thanksgiving…I booked it. This matched up nicely with the Rio Winterfest Slot Tourney offer that took me to Turkey Day.

    I did Diamond in a Day at Harrahs-Laughlin in January. This was my first offer for the Rio, which I never have even parked my car. I can't believe how I have milked this Diamond status all year. I barely have given H-L any action since, but have done several drawings, tourneys, cash-for-gas offers in Laughlin. I was looking forward to a new joint to check out...the Rio.

    But heck lets spend a Wednesday night at the Pioneer in Laughlin too. This was comped too. But the Pioneer is straightforward with their Getaway night requirements. Once you qualify for your first $10 in cashback, you are eligible for two nights/month (Sun-Thurs). To keep eligible you need $1k in VP action or table buy-ins.

    I was checked-in by 8am. Walked down to the Colorado Belle and got a haircut appointment. Pat had the place to herself and by 10am I looked a lot better. Frankly, I had no gambling budget for this trip. This was more of a vacation...hoping for some early success.

    I did the Wincard promo at CB, the $15 chips for $10 thing. You can do this one every month. It was the only Craps I played all trip and walked away up $5. I played my $20 coin-in at the Pioneer to be eligible for the free $1,500 VP tourney they do on Weds/Fri. These are a blast playing 1500 credits/20 minutes on Bonus 8/5 machines. They pay 11 spots and have $25 free-play drawings for each session. It really is a no brainer. No cash out with my 1530 score.

    I wandered down to the Riverside to collect my cashback. I gave them $6k in action last May one day and got summertime offers. Then the mail went back to $22/nights. But December brought me a special for three nights and two meals/show tickets. Anyway, collected my $31 in cashback and quizzed them about a mystery comp account. I got "you got enough for a few meals" line.

    I burned $70 bucks at 80% return that afternoon playing Pioneer and CB/Boiler Room 99.5%+ games on the bartops. I don't like drinking those $10 beers. Called it an early day. Heck I am going to Vegas tomorrow!


    Thursday morning I was ready to go by first light. This time of year I gain an hour crossing the Colorado River, which I like. The original plan was to go through Searchlight and hang out at Railroad Pass Casino until the Vegas rush hour subsided. After all on Thursdays Railroad Pass has triple points and 10/7 DB. But while driving out of the river valley I pondered a different route. So at the Nugget Casino in Searchlight I turned left onto the Joshua Tree Highway. This runs across the railroad tracks in Nipton and then runs into I-15. This really is a scenic way into the Vegas Valley. You are in California for a few minutes, but that's OK.

    I did this route last year going the other way but did not stop in Primm or Jean. This time I did. Primm is just yards inside of Nevada. So I parked and went into the Primm Valley Resort, which is supposed to be the nicest of the five casinos out this way. It was 7:30am or so. I was hoping the slot club would be open. This joint and the Nevada Landing on the other side of the highway are owned by MGM/Mirage, but do a separate slot card. But the boothlings weren't in...so I wandered over to the bar to chat with the tender. He saw me checking the bartop paytables and commented that there isn't anything to play anymore in the casino.

    I saw the one Mini-Bertha with $1 Jacks listed in the database. The only quarter play I found was one Double Deuces 16/11 (slant-top mid-casino) in assorted single games. It was sad since this is a nice/roomy casino.

    I wandered down the see the Bonnie and Clyde car/exhibit. The outlet mall is down this way too...looks pretty nice and surprised me. By 8:05 no boothling, so no card and I left without any play.

    Drove all the way to Jean to the Gold Strike. These three casinos in Jean are connected with the same card and were Mandalay Resort Group properties. But we know MGM/Mirage is now the parent. Hey a boothling and I can get a card! Wandered around this casino. Being normally a Laughinite I can see doing Primm/Jean for something different, especially at Primm Valley Resort since they do Laughlin level entertainment.

    As an aside: There used to be another Gold Strike Casino. The Hacienda by the Dam occupies the sight. The joint burned to the ground (Smoke on the Water!) in what 1997? In May 1996, Mom held up the bus waiting for a hopper-fill on an incredible 20 minute quad run.

    I found the bank of six FPDW and put in my new card. It has been awhile since I was a virgin...0. Ten bucks, a set of Queens and nine total hands for my sawbuck. Oh well.

    On to Vegas or at least un-incorporated Clark County. MY original target was to check out the Silverton. To my surprise the new South Coast property popped up not far down the road. They really mean south don't they. What is that 4 miles south of I-215? I started getting into traffic and the Blue Diamond turn-off was a bit screwed up. Sorry Siverton.

    So I turned off at Charleston and doubled back on Industrial. Westward Ho! was my drive-by destination. I never even saw the Little Ho! before and wanted to drive-by. The Ho! was the site of my first royal flush in 1993 and I wanted to salute, since I missed Queen Jean's party the day before.

    On to Downtown and park the car at MSS. The car didn't move for four days, like a good car should.

    Next: Downtown observations and discoveries (even some VP)

    Part three of a series-

    It is so nice to park the car in your home casino's lot. At Main
    Street Station self-serv park is painless. Some downtown lots are
    adventures, led by the Fitz's first seven floors are valet/two way
    traffic lot.

    By 11am on Thursday I am walking up to the MSS registration desk.
    The gal gets the paperwork going...show her the offer...stamps
    it...gets me into the system. Take the mailer to the no line slot
    club to get my triple points going. It is really too bad I don't
    have any monies to gamble this trip...buying four tires and a battery
    for the chariot burned it up. It is just a vacation.

    I get the info about the dinner, "gobble-gobble/drawing", that is
    part of the offer. The MSS "Social Club on Friday Night at 5pm" are
    the key words on the handout.

    I then go look for my bartender and cocktailer...that would be
    Richard (from Boston) and Lori. Lori recognized me from past trips,
    she usually does days and the south end of the casino. She has seen
    my Nov and Jan royals (before TITO) on that south end of the Boar
    Bar. Frankly, she only has served me a few times playing Deuces on
    the floor, but still pays attention.

    She tells me Richard and three other tenders got canned. This is
    disappointing. Richard was a good bartender, maybe MSS's best.

    The bartops indeed have been re-converted to 9/6 Jacks at three
    levels, but the Bonus game is now 7/5 with a progressive on the
    royal. Someone should take Hal Welch down to the Boar bar since
    Jacks is the only playable game. Nothing else is fun...fun bartops
    will be found at the Four Queens.

    Wander around under the canopy a bit, eat a couple of Golden Gate
    shrimp cocktails for lunch, almost barf looking at the new carpet on
    the Cal/MSS walkway...purple spots.

    Get my keys for room #1705, top floor looking south. This is the new
    edition/remodel. Nice understated tones. Hell, I don't know! They
    stuck in a hair dryer, an iron/board, a writing desk, new wall paper
    and lighting fixtures.

    What got my attention is the curved shower rod and new fangled
    curtain. Wow! Why didn't I think of this! I bet this will be the
    trend in Vegas and the World.

    Let me explain. The shower bar is now curved with maybe a ten inch
    flair in the middle. It bows out, so the curtain doesn't attack you
    in static cling. This is good for you.

    But, the ergonomics come from the shower curtain itself. There is a
    clear window of 18 inches at eye level. But, the labor dollar
    savings come into play with the unique design of the fasteners.
    There are no fasteners/clips/hangers.

    The rod is about one inch in diameter, the holes in the curtain 1 1/2
    inches, with slits between paired re-enforced holes. You can
    probably install a curtain in 20 seconds and rip one off in five
    seconds. It is a weave! Someone is going to make millions!

    I initially have no clicker for the TV (resolved in five minutes) and
    no working ice machine on my floor (never fixed). The view is south,
    with the Wynn and beyond.

    Next: The Social Club at MSS


    Part Four-

    The MSS Social Club is that stand alone building north of the casino on the way to the parking garage. It is a nice banquet hall with an old wooden bar in the corner. The Friday buffet was just fine. Admission was handled by raffle tickets gained at the slot club. One note, five o’clock means the time the buffet lines open and not the doors. They moved things along and started doing the drawings for cash totaling about $1k. They had several staffers scattered about with cold hard cash. They would give away $25-50 at a time and the nearest worker would give you currency. Such an easy straightforward way to give away low levels of cash. I snagged $25.

    Downtown Video Poker has improved a bit overall. The Plaza and Vegas Club don’t have much to play anymore. But the improvements for low rollers are led by Binions and the Four Queens. Binions indeed stuck in twelve playable uprights (FPDW, KBJW, 10/7 DB) over by the west side snack bar. I think they will last too. Why, because they incorporated the new "Binions" logo into the paytable glass.

    The biggest downtown surprise was at the Four Queens. This joint is now 100% TITO and proud of it. They also deal a good Craps game and no 6:5 nonsense on Blackjack. There are several good VP plays on the floor that are listed in the vpFREE database. What is not listed are the new Game King bartops. All three bars (Kings, Palace, Chicago Brewing Company) have identical plays with a mix of progressives on some of them. So there are about 50 stations feeding the meters.

    Not every game was promising like 17/7/progressive royal KBJW, but three got my attention. The quarter Deuces (15/9 Illini/Airport) royal was at $1,840, and grew about $100 overnight. The Double Bonus 9/7/5 had meters on the three quads (no royal meter) and the Double Double Bonus 9/6 had meters for all five quad lines. My Winpoker exercise, once I got home, put all three plays in the positive range. Of course your mileage may vary, but normal cashback still is $320 coin-in/$1 (.31%).

    You can get a homebrew at the bars too. The Chicago Brewing Company opens at 11:30am and has six Game King stations. They comp frosty pints up there. The downside is they also sell the place as a cigar lounge, so beware. The pizza looks really good too, really thin and also deep dish pan style.

    Other assorted downtown notes- The ABC store sells cheap Vegas calendars. Bring back the old canopy light shows. The Golden Nugget still is cramped. The Fitz made me get yet another new slot card. I still like the purple outfits the Cal cocktailers wear.

    Time to move to the Rio.

    Part Five-

    I am too old, or at least don’t have the wad of cash to be hanging out at the Rio, hell the soda machine wants two bucks a pop! But, this three night offer came about from going Diamond in a Day the first week in January in Laughlin. Harrahs threw in two shots at $10k in the Winterfest slot tourney too.

    So I drove all the way from downtown to the Rio. At 7am I took Main to the Strip to Flamingo Blvd. Barricades were already set-up in front of the Ho! What just is a TI? I drove past the Rio’s main gate and did the back door off of Valley View. Parked the chariot on ground level in the Carnival garage and tried to find a door.

    The west side entrance was right by the buffet. It has been a long time since I stayed at a new joint and went exploring a bit. The place didn’t overwhelm me like MGM did coming off the mono-rail a summer ago. I could actually keep track which way is north.

    I found the Diamond Check-in lounge. A couple of drunk punks where giving the one clerk a hard time. I never figured out what their problem was… don’t think they knew either. I had the clerk and lounge to myself soon. She, like any Harrah’s Corp. employee, must take "happy lessons". She got me in at 8:30am and I was off to find room #28003 in the Masquerade Village.

    I know this joint is called "all-suite", but I am used to standard issue rooms. So all this floor space was a bit much, but nice to have a sectional couch. Why do I need two sinks? Sure it was nice to turn on 14 light bulbs with one switch, but no dimmer? That snack thingy under the TV scared me. The bathroom shower had glass doors, but where do I put my eyeglasses? Of course they go on top of the toilet, just like any other bathroom.

    Just like MSS, the ice machine was worthless on my floor. The view overlooked the pool complex. What is up with all the sight-seeing helicopters? There must be 100+ runs down the strip? Isn’t this irritating or a bit scary to anyone else?

    I scouted the casino some more. To my dismay the "Sky Show" was dark for ten days getting ready for Christmas. This Masquerade experience must liven the place up. So many outlets were also going to be closed during this Mon-Wed stay. I was so looking forward to playing the worst blackjack game in the world in the bikini pit. So I settled for crummy VP. I found some Bonus 7/5 and Double Bonus 9/6/5 on the floor but this wasn’t bad enough for me. I had to play some Bonus 6/5 on the sportsbook bartops.

    It was nice of the Rio to post menus for most of the restaurants, $2.50 for coffee is the best I found, even the most coffee shop-like outlet wanted $8 for two eggs any style.

    My one Rio meal was taken at the All-American Bar & Grill. This looks like a great place to take in a game in the front area with several plasma TVs. I hung out playing bartop VP in this cozy well lit area. The back had a more formal room for service. My bartender, Robert took care of me at an excellent level of service. I got to play Triple Bonus Plus 7/5 while chatting with other patrons. The Rio has no draft beer. But Robert kept insisting I have another frosty 20 oz. glass with every Heineken bottle. I finally ordered a mushroom/swiss cheese burger to-go. Best $10 hamburger I have had in a long while.

    I did the buffet a couple of times at the Gold Coast. It is surprisingly easy walk from the Rio to the Gold Coast. Valley View is not that busy and you have a traffic island to help you. Gold Coast buffet is just fine.

    I never have been a fan of the Coast’s coin-out system, it seems like you take a double-hit when things go bad. But what amazed me is the slot club found me in the system after three years. I had Gold Coast, Orleans and Barbary individual cards from the past. But the boothling got my new address and told me my total points. Well, I should have several thousand or most likely zero, but not 168! I have no faith in their system.

    I managed a donation on 9/6 Jacks, but bar service sucks compared to the Rio. The Coasts still have decent prices in the Liquor stores though, if you need to stock-up for a Rio room party.

    Anyway enough of this trip report. My results for this eight night adventure…I must have run through at least $5k on quarter VP…that is it! Rio only got $170 coin-in. Down $135, don’t you just love those 95% return trips!

  2. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

    Mar 3, 2002
    Las Vegas
    So, is Pioneer a decent place? The landscaping out by the river walk is nice enough, but we weren't impressed by the casino. We ventured in there almost two years ago and we stopped to play some $1 blackjack. It was late and the clientele was very interesting – filled with all kinds of odd characters. We found a table and shortly after buying-in, we got annoyed by a couple at the table and left. We haven’t been back since.

    We always do the Win Card at the Belle and Edgewater, as well. Combined it’s $12 free bucks if you include the dealers’ tip coupon - You can't beat that. Last weekend, we made a killing off the promo chips at $1 craps table at the Edgewater.

    We’ve taken Nipton Rd. on couple occasions when we’ve wanted to avoid rush-hour traffic on 95. It’s a nice detour.

    I don’t like the Coast’s coin-out system much, either. It really sucks when you lose. Still, they treat us pretty well, but it’s hard to keep your play consistent. I wish their comps were earned by coin-in. As far as your points earned… Club Coast is odd how the accumulate points earned at each of the properties. We had an issue, similar to yours, and we were told that they will only show the points earned at that particular location. Unless you ask what your total points (for all properties) earned are. Has your play been at properties other than the Gold Coast? If so, maybe the clerk didn’t look at the total for all the properties.
  3. Perry Spring

    Perry Spring Tourist

    Jan 17, 2003
    Iselin, NJ
    Great report, I liked the Rio a little better before Harrah's bought it...
  4. bluestreak

    bluestreak Tourist

    Dec 21, 2002
    Northern AZ, South of Mars

    The Pioneer is a fine place. It can get smoky though with the low ceilings. They have been dealing a good BJ and Craps game. The VP is OK. The slot club is straightforward with banked comps and you use your card as a debit card. They do alot of promos. The website is great and every inquiry gets answered promptly.

    The rooms are adequate, but it it nice to park right outside your room. You can't beat the location. The grounds surprise folks along the river and the pool is standard issue.

    It is my understanding that they just redid Sassy Sue's Saloon (river bar) adding premium draft beer taps (which Laughlin lacks) and bar food.
  5. Nevada Kid

    Nevada Kid VIP Whale

    Feb 26, 2002
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I've never been a big fan of the Pioneer, but to be fair I've never stayed there. I've glanced in a few rooms while housekeeping was going about their buisness though. I've also spent a little time in their casino, and I've eaten at the Boarding House a couple times. I do agree their landscaping along the river walk is real nice. They have the best sign in Laughlin, good ol River Rick, and I've heard Granny's Gormet is real gool vittles (no possem though). The old west feel that so many places try for is carried out a little better here too. I also agree the location is great!! Thanks for the report!!
  6. KevinSTP

    KevinSTP High-Roller

    Dec 22, 2001
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    I enjoyed this trip report, thanks. I'm definitely going to be spending time in MSS when I'm out there next month.
  7. vegasbound

    vegasbound Moderator

    Mar 3, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Thanks for the Pioneer info. We'll have to give it another try...
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