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November 2014 Trip -- LA, Monte Carlo, MGM Grand, and a lot of Roulette!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by frankie, Feb 1, 2015.

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  1. frankie

    frankie Newbie

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    My Trip Report

    Long time lurker, first time poster. I love reading TRs and with another trip already booked, I figured I would share my latest experience with VMB. The full trip was from November 8-November 14, but the first day was spent in LA to visit friends. Our cast of characters is myself and my fiance (we'll call her AW). Mid-to-late 20s from the Midwest, have been to Vegas before a few times and love it. We are getting married at the Bellagio next fall and this was kind of a scouting trip for that as well as a well-deserved vacation after a busy work season. I run a small startup and she consults non-profits and associations. I'm writing this from some notes I kept during the trip -- see I do care about you, fellow Vegas addicts!

    Wanting to make the famous drive across the desert and save a little money (this didn't work out quite as planned), we flew into Vegas and then rented a car to drive to LA. We picked up a free Mustang upgrade thanks to my rewards card and started the trek to Hollywood. It was alright - we ran into a lot of traffic about halfway through and lost 90 minutes or so, but it was pretty smooth sailing and the desert was beautiful. I'll keep this part short: LA was great, friends were great, and even the drive back to Vegas the next day was great.

    What wasn't great was the Avis charges we got upon our return. With the excitement of arriving in Vegas and getting to our hotel, I forgot to fill up the tank and racked up $150+ in gas charges and other fees. Oh well, still an experience!

    From there we checked into our room at Monte Carlo (thanks to MyVegas), made ourselves some Grey Gooses and pineapple, and broke in the furniture a bit. :ssst: After getting the room set up and having a couple more drinks, we hit the Strip heading to wherever the wind took us. On this night, it took us first to the Bellagio fountains, where we arrived just in time to see "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" play. It was great -- I've seen the fountains dozens of times, but never this song. AW especially enjoyed this. After it was over, we headed to the Mirage and hit up BLT Burger.

    We've done Burger Bar and KGB and this places definitely stacks up to both of them (tied with Burger Bar and better than KGB, if I had to rank). We both had burgers and I had the PB&J milkshake. Amazing. From there, it was a little bit of gambling and drinking before we landed in the room for bed relatively early. It had been a long day after a long night and we needed some rest.

    We woke up at about 9am for some breakfast at Mon Ami Gabi at Paris. AW had the bacon, egg & cheese crepe and I had the steak and eggs. The food was amazing, even the toast was remarkable. Oh, and some of the best coffee ever. This was our first visit here in the 5 trips we've made -- it will be a staple from here on out. (side note from a past trip: surprisingly enough, another spot I've had great steak and eggs at is the Pyramid Cafe at the Luxor)

    After breakfast, we walked around a bit and gambled some. No big wins or losses. Killed a few hours and then of course needed more food!

    So we hit the hotel room, poured some more generous cocktails and walked to 800 Degrees Pizza in front of Monte Carlo. We had the Bianca with bacon. This would not be our only stop here this trip -- we highly recommend this place.

    As I mentioned above, AW and I are getting married in Vegas next fall, so we toured the Bellagio chapels. We saw everything and settled on an awesome outside terrace -- the Terrazza di Sogno (pictures here). It's right on the water and has a really amazing vibe. I guess once the ceremony ends and we kiss, the fountains will go off behind us to a song of our choosing. Nice touch. The whole thing blew us away and the woman that helped us was wonderful. We also toured the Wynn and Mandalay Bay later on, but we are going to go with Bellagio. The B was also the first place we stayed in Vegas, so kind of a natural choice.

    After the tour, we headed south (where are luck is usually best) and found ourselves at NYNY. We stopped here a lot in our prior trip due to a Southwest coupon I found on VMB (if you show a picture of the ad on your smartphone to a bartender, you get a free drink at any NYNY bar). We abused this a bit and redeemed our one free drink about a dozen times over the course of the week.

    This time, though, the goal was different: to check out the Roulette tables and see if any of our numbers were hitting. I should probably make this clear now: AW doesn't gamble much (usually just some Shoot to Win Craps machines every once in a while), but she does like sweating me at the Roulette table. We play the same 9 numbers every time. Some are my favorites, some hers. I would say since we started playing the wheel, we have been luckier than the average Joe. We rarely leave the table losers thanks to AW's strategy of taking our original buy-in away from me as soon as I hit anything. Luckily, I usually do hit pretty quick and so we have enjoyed some success.

    Unfortunately, nothing was looking too good at the tables, so we sat down at the Chocolate Bar right off the casino floor. The drinks were really good and the bartender gave AW some extra candy for the road.

    AW was a little tired still, so I escorted her to the room and then headed back down for some Poker at Monte Carlo. I played for about 2 hours, with the only notable hand being hitting a straight on the river after flopping top pair. Other guy mucked. I didn't take notes on any other hands and don't remember any of it besides the incredibly generous drinks our server was feeding everyone at the table. Talked some NBA with a couple guys and cashed out +148 for the session. Little did I know this would actually be the only time I hit the Poker Room -- very unusual for me, but it was because I was having a blast doing everything else.

    We went to Prime at Bellagio for dinner. Outstanding. I had a medium rare Peppercorn NY Strip. AW had the Scallops. We shared mac and cheese, fries, and Brussels sprouts. I had a 12 year old Jameson which was very good, but probably wasted on me because I had a bit too much to drink already. $250 total with tip. We had wanted to try Prime because we are considering it for our wedding reception dinner. Other places in the running are Jean Georges at Aria and Strip Steak at Mandalay. If anyone has any recommendations for us, we're open to them. Though Prime is great, it isn't totally our style.

    We loaded up togo boxes and took them back to the room. Left the hotel room at 10:30 to get back to it. Played craps machine and lost a little. Got a few drinks while playing some electronic Roulette machine and never really won or lost much. We primarily stayed at Aria over this time I believe. At some point in my drunken state, I made the regrettable decision of going to Five50 Pizza. Don't get me wrong, the pizza was great as usual, but probably not the best timing (it was like 2am). Woke up the next day feeling OK enough so maybe it did help soak up some booze. Who knows.

    Light gambling at MC in the morning, followed by Diablos for lunch on Tuesday. Got huge nachos and two of their Sinful Vixen drinks. Great stuff. Couldn't finish it all. Another first for us - would recommend.

    More walking and then took a nap (kinda) in the room for a couple hours.

    Got dressed and took a cab to Treasure Island sometime around 3:45pm. Worst casino ever. Just depressing, and I've stayed at Excalibur before. We got the hell out without playing anything. Went to Mirage. Went looking for Dolphins but it had just closed at 4pm. Maybe we'll hit that next time - AW was disappointed.

    We then went across the street to Casino Royale and played craps on the table for the first time. Our only experience before this was a lot of Shoot to Win craps machines and some online tutorials. The dealers were dicks, though I've since learned this is kind of a trademark of Casino Royale. We won a quick $30 and didn't like the vibe so went to roulette and had a hilarious dealer that also agreed the craps guy were dicks. Won $40 and left the casino up $70.

    Found our way to Harrah's and played some more roulette. We were playing with two older gentlemen and hitting a few numbers when one of the men was down to his last $5 chip. The table minimum was $10 but the dealer let him play with just the $5 anyway.

    He put it on 32 after it had just hit the previous roll, commenting "I never see 32 hit." What do you know? 32 hits again! Me and the other guy were playing 32 as well (we figured we'd ride with the guys last bet) so we were all really happy. Good $5 to $175 hit for the guy. The dealer wanted him to fist bump but he didn't know how - kind of a funny moment. He kept playing and winning and lucky for me I was riding every big play he made with a couple chips of my own. He ended up with over $380 in front of him when I cashed out. I think I got out of there about $140 or so ahead after giving some back.

    We then hit the Cromwell and won a little bit more. Standing at one roulette table, we found a chatty guy that put $100 on the 0-00 split, telling me he has been playing for 45 minutes and hasn't seen either hit once, but had a feeling. I went with him and put down a buck. It hit! I scored $17, but he hit for $1700. He had an amazing reaction and it was pretty fun. Cashed out up another $50 and we headed back to the hotel.

    Had some drinks and whatnot and then went to 800 Degrees again per AW request. Had the Bianca add bacon again and added a Margherita pizza as well. Amazing once again. It's very nice - you watch the guys build your pizza right in front of you as you pick our ingredients and then it goes into a 800 degree oven (what do you know!) for a quick 2 minutes. What comes out is a perfectly cooked and delicious pizza.

    After eating, we walked to Cosmo and won at Shoot to Win Craps playing at too high a limit for a quick $80. I really like that place. Walked to Bellagio and played more roulette winning another $140 or so after a lot of quick (and lucky) hit and runs.

    Went to Serendipity 3 in front of Caesars a few hours later and had fried Snickers sundae with AW. It was huge and really good. I don't think we even finished it.

    Went into Caesars and didn't really feel good about it, so we left and walked back to Monte Carlo. I planned on playing poker again, but we passed out in the room.

    Wednesday was moving day. We woke up and checked out of MC and took a cab to the MGM Grand. Though AW doesn't care for it, I like to stay at a couple different hotels if our trips are more than 4 days long. I like checking each one out and hope to eventually stay at every main Strip hotel at least once (though I am rethinking including some of the lower end ones). AW rolls her eyes, but puts up with me. This time, MGM was the pick due to another MyVegas comp. Those who have used this will know we got stuck with a crappy West Wing Room. I had heard the rooms were a bit small, but didn't realize the degree until we got in ours. It feel like you a staying in a submarine, with the compressed layout and the single round window above the bed. I called down and asked about upgrades. They gave us a Queen Grand up high with a nice view for just $20 for the night. I jumped on that and we moved over. Later I discovered they never even charged us for the upgrade - score!

    We left and went to the Mirage for another MyVegas comp -- a free trip for two to the Cravings buffet. It was really good. The food was tasty and it came with free beer and wine. AW says the sushi was incredible. Best buffet we've been to in Vegas, including the Wynn, Bellagio, PHo, and Paris.

    We left and won about $150 on roulette in the Mirage. Hit a bunch of numbers and it was a really fun group of people at the table. And the dealer had attitude which I always love. We left and went across the street to hit up Casino Royale again. Won $25 playing single deck blackjack for first time ever. I didn't know what I was getting into when I first sat down and the dealer was kind of shitty when she had to teach me to play, but whatever.

    Went to Harrah's and lost all my winnings at a new roulette table but regained $40 via a Shoot to Win Craps machine.

    AW was feeling sleepy so we hit the bedroom for activities and a quick nap. Never napped, but we did rest a bit.

    We went downstairs to the Underground where we got a Fat Tuesday drink and then took a taxi to the High Roller for a Happy Half Hour pod. I got the tickets from Groupon and it only cost $69 total. This was well worth the cost -- we had a ton of STRONG drinks on board including group shots with our riding partners. The bartender was awesome, our group of fellow riders were definitely ready to have fun, and the views from the pod were spectacular. I took pictures, but they don't do it justice so I'm not going to post them.

    We left and got margaritas and food at Chayo, a tacos & tequila place on the new Linq walkway. AW got lobster tacos, I got a chicken burrito and we shared chips and salsa. Good stuff. Oh, we also had Mexican street corn which was perfect. Gambled for a few minutes -- not sure how long, we kind of lost track of time. Eventually, we made our way back to MGM and went to bed.

    Woke up, showered, and got ready to pack up to go home. We still had a couple things on the agenda for the last day so we checked our bags at the bell desk and made our way to Mandalay Bay for the Shark Reef and lunch.

    Lost $20 on a spin at Excalibur on the way and got the hell out as fast as we could. I'm usually lucky there, but when I'm not I just find myself desperately wanting to leave. Walked through Luxor and hit Mandalay Shops to eat at Burger Bar. I had a burger with a fried egg and peppered bacon with skinny fries. Great as always. AW had the sliders sampler and loved it. One of them was the wagyu beef which was excellent.

    Went to the Shark Reef thanks to MyVegas -- it was interesting, but a shorter tour than I expected. I thought we were only halfway done when we found ourselves at the exit. Still, the sharks and other ocean life were very cool to see up close. There was even a Komodo Dragon. If you have to shell out full price, you may be a bit underwhelmed, but it is a cool activity if you want to get away from the tables for a few minutes.

    We took the tram back to Excal, but ended up in a different location than we thought, forcing us to walk through the casino again. I'm glad we did because I ended up hitting a couple spins on roulette there for a quick $200 score.

    We walked back to MGM with just about an hour before we needed to leave for the airport. I played a few minutes of blackjack and found a baccarat machine. Won $80 on it, lost that to a few last spins at roulette and that was that. We got our bags, grabbed a taxi and hit the airport. We had an easy flight home and arrived safely with some money left in our pockets.

    Overall, the trip was a great time and it was good to get some of this wedding stuff decided. We'll be back in just under 2 weeks, though this one is a surprise to AW. We will be staying at Mirage for a quick Valentine's Day trip. Thanks for reading. If you actually made it this far, I commend you -- you are a true Vegas addict. Maybe I'll have another report in a few weeks!
     
  2. abraxis

    abraxis Low-Roller

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    Great report, thanks for posting!
     
  3. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Thanks for posting and congrats on your upcoming wedding!!
     
  4. macwjp

    macwjp Low-Roller

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    Nice report thanks for taking us along. We actually had tickets to Shark Reef but didn't end up making it when we were there in late November....maybe next time.
     
  5. RM777

    RM777 Low-Roller

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    Great trip report! Thanks!
     
  6. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    loved the report, thanks for taking the time to post!! Congrats on the wedding!! Bellagio sounds like a wonderful place for a beautiful wedding ceremony!! :beer:
     
  7. Elf70

    Elf70 Low-Roller

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    Great report. My brother got married at Bellagio. It was beautiful! Good choice.
     
  8. LoveDowntownVegas

    LoveDowntownVegas Low-Roller

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    good report - how were the rooms at MC?
     
    Futbol - final game
  9. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!
     
  10. Mario's Backroom

    Mario's Backroom Low-Roller

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    +1 for me...how were the rooms and the general customer service at MC? Thanks!
     
  11. Tellafriend

    Tellafriend High-Roller

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    Your trip report made me tired from all the activities and bouncing around!
     
  12. frankie

    frankie Newbie

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    Thanks for the replies everyone. Glad you enjoyed it! T-minus 10 days until my next trip.

    Regarding rooms/service at MC: I've stayed there 3 times now due to MyVegas comps and I've been satisfied every time. To those wondering about $20 trick, I tried it twice and got nada (both time on MyVegas comp). This last time I didn't even attempt. Though they didn't bite on the free upgrades, the staff was very accommodating and I've had no complaints.

    Also, a quick walk through the Street of Dreams or whatever at MC (basically a hallway with shops and The Pub) gets you straight to the Bellagio/Aria tram or straight into the Aria casino right by the poker room/Five50 Pizza/sportsbook. Super convenient. I don't gamble much at MC because the Aria is such a short walk.
     
  13. abrolsma

    abrolsma Low-Roller

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    Awesome report - thanks for sharing.. and good luck with your upcoming marriage (the ultimate GAMBOOL!) :)
     
  14. theghost

    theghost Low-Roller

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    Great report and congrats on the upcoming wedding
     
  15. sindustry

    sindustry VIP Whale

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    Love the trip report! Really excited for you on your wedding next Fall! Bellagio would be my top pick for a Vegas wedding too!
     
  16. scc31

    scc31 Low-Roller

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    Great report! Love MC for gambling... would never stay at the rooms tho.
     
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