The “Oh So Sweet” Trip Report Greetings Everyone, I was invited to play in the $5000 “Oh So Sweet” Slot Tournament at Main Street Station. Even though I had just been in Vegas for a weekend two weeks prior, I figured another getaway to Las Vegas would perhaps be “oh so sweet.” So, I booked a flight and a room at The Cal a week before the tournament. Here are the details of my trip. Thursday, July 25th I took an evening direct flight from SLC to LAS on Delta. There were no boarding issues, but as we were on the tarmac the pilot came on the loudspeaker to announce that an indicator light came on in the cockpit. The pilot stated that they were communicating with maintenance to discuss the issue, and that he hoped we would be underway shortly. I feared the worst, thinking that I would be one of those passengers on a flight they write about in the papers the next day: the story about passengers stuck on the tarmac for hours on end, facing sweltering conditions on board with crying babies, no beverages, and an overwhelming sewage odor. Fortunately for me and my fellow passengers, that story was never written. For, after just a few minutes later, we really were underway. We even ended up landing in LAS on time. Oh, so sweet! After deplaning, I went to the Zero Level to await the WAX for a trip downtown. The WAX arrived on time, but was a bit delayed getting downtown due to a lane closure on Tropicana. Even so, I made it to 4th and Carson only 10 minutes later than scheduled. I moseyed over to 1st and Ogden and checked in to The Cal. The check in process at The Cal was quick and painless, as usual. I was given room 1401. After unpacking and freshening up, I walked over to Main Street Station to register for the slot tournament which started the next day. The registration process was quick and painless. I was given an envelope that included the tournament rules, my tournament schedule, and four $5 food vouchers. I then walked over to 777 for a late dinner. I sat at the bar and had the Baked Italian Sub Sandwich accompanied by a Marker Pale Ale. Good service, as usual, and I paid with a food voucher that was provided when registering for the slot tournament. There were no particularly funny or exciting people-watching experiences at dinner this evening like there were on my last trip a few weeks ago. Fortunately, the 777 is equipped with plenty of televisions for droll entertainment when the 777 patrons aren’t crazy. Even the crew of about ten 40-something doing shots just down the bar from me were quite respectful. After dinner, I walked the short walk over to the Boar’s Head Bar for some Marker Pale Ale and Jacks or Better. I played VP for about an hour, then played at an MSS blackjack table for a bit before calling it a night at about 2am. I didn’t win anything, as expected. Friday, July 26th I awoke earlier than typical for me this morning, about 8am. My slot tournament time was 10:30am, so I was sort of anxious about oversleeping the tournament. I futzed around in the room for quite a bit, then shortly after 10am I walked down to MSS to draw my number. This was the first time I played in a slot tournament; a very interesting cultural phenomenon. About 15 minutes before my time, I drew my number. I drew machine 23. About five minutes before 10:30 I sat down at machine 23. The gentleman to my left seemed very superstitious. As soon as he sat down he started rubbing the machine as if his hands were soapy and the machine was a pair of dirty boobies. When 10:30 started everyone started mashing on the button, getting a sight of their neighbor’s scores as inconspicuously as possible to see where they ranked in comparison. The gentleman to my left got up halfway through the game to seek out a tournament host, claiming that his machine was not counting every one of his hits. Mostly it just appeared to me that he was not happy with his score at this point and wanted another chance. After 20 minutes, time was up and our scores were recorded. To my surprise, I was told by tournament host that I had the highest score so far today. However, there were still three more sessions after mine, so I was sure it wouldn’t hold up. After the slot tournament session was over, I walked down to the other end of Fremont Street and visited the El Cortez barber shop to get a haircut. I got to the barber shop just after 11am, and there was nobody waiting so I got the chair right away. I like getting my haircut here because the haircut is good quality and the barber doesn’t force you in to unnecessary small talk. Being an introvert, this is a nice feature for me. The freshly groomed me then walked over to Fremont @ Casino Center to buy a 24-hour bus pass. As I started to put my money into the ticket machine, the security guard stationed at this bus stop came over to me and offered to sell me a 24-hour all access pass for a discounted price of $5 in one of those “fell off the truck (or bus)” sort of deals. “You didn’t get this from me” he said as he peddled the pass my way. The pass he was offering looked legit to me, so I took him up on his offer. I guess they must not pay their security guards that much if they need to peddle bus passes in addition to making sure nobody gets on the SDX without paying the full fare. Kind of ironic, eh? After “purchasing” my bus pass, I walked down to 4th at Carson where I awaited the WAX to take me to the Suncoast. I had two ACG coupons for the Suncoast, and I had never been there before. Plus, VMB members wilsje1 and tringlomane enlightened me in the ways of 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe, a game offered at most of the Suncoast bars. The WAX arrived just a few minutes late, and an air-conditioned 30-minute ride later, I found myself in the parking lot of the Suncoast. The Suncoast is a nice looking casino. It is perhaps a bit generic looking, but there is a lot to offer here: Movie Theatre, multiple restaurants, bowling alley, golf. I also noticed two different wedding parties getting pictures taken. The Suncoast appears to be surrounded by a very nice/high-end neighborhood/community. The condos across the street looked quite fancy. I stopped by the BConnected players club to redeem an ACG coupon offering 5x points on the day of redemption. After activating that coupon, I went over to the St. Tropez Buffet for lunch. I had an ACG coupon for 50% off the buffet, and I used points to pay the remainder. The buffet was decent. The food stations included a Mongolian Grill (cook to order), a deli sandwich bar, dessert bar, Chinese, seafood, American/BBQ, and Mexican. I wouldn’t go out of my way to eat here, but for the price the food is satisfying. After lunch I went and sat at one of the bars to play 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe. The bar had Sierra Nevada Pale Ale on tap, so that was good for me. I played for about 2.5 hours here. During that time I hit two Straight Flushes and three Four-of-a-Kinds. I was able to leave with a small profit as a result. So thank you to wilsje1 and tringlomane for the suggestion and advice. I will likely return here again. Back out to the Suncoast parking lot, I hopped on the WAX which took me back downtown; dropping me off at Fremont @ Casino Center. From there I decided it was time for a nap. But first, I decided a stop at Lappert’s was in order. For those that may not know, Lappert’s is the ice cream parlor situated on the mezzanine between the Cal and MSS. I ordered a milkshake and took it up to my room. It was very tasty. If you are a fan of ice cream, I highly recommend this place if you are downtown. The nap I took actually turned in to a full night’s sleep. In fact, I slept for what turned out to be closer to a night and a half. I knew I was tired, but damn! Saturday, July 27th Since I had plenty of rest, I woke up early again. I got ready and went down to the buffet at MSS for breakfast. I got to the buffet at about 8:30am and was surprised to see that there was no line. The nice employee taking payment said that even though the buffet is open at 7:30am on Saturdays, it doesn’t really start to get busy until 9:30 – something I will remember for future visits. I paid using points and was promptly given a table. I grabbed a plate and immediately went over to the omelet station where the omelet-chef extraordinaire, Manny, was working. If you have not yet experienced the Manny omelet, I highly recommend it. Manny is very entertaining with his sense of humor and his showmanship when making the omelets. I am amazed at how he throws up the omelet in the air and catches it in the pan. A little tip: when you tell Manny what you want in your omelet, make sure you also request eggs! After breakfast I had a little time to kill before my next slot tournament session, so I played VP at Boar’s Head for a bit. Then I went over and sat at a penny slot (I don’t remember what it was called, but I think it had a 50s/diner theme). I played max credits, and after about six spins I hit for $200, so that was neat. I then cashed out and went over and drew my slot number. I drew slot #16. Again at 10:25 I went and sat down at my machine. At 10:30, we all started mashing the buttons again. I was doing fairly well. After the session ended, the woman to my left let out a rather audible groan after seeing my score. The tournament host told us that the final standings would be posted at 3pm. After recording my score, I left the tournament area and went back to Boar’s Head Bar to play more JoB VP. I went on quite a good streak of hitting 4-of-a-Kinds. Lots of $2 scratch cards were accumulated. After a few hours of VP and a few more Marker Pale Ales, I decided a change of scenery was in order. But first, I went to find out if I placed in the slot tournament. Over by the BConnected desk at MSS, they had the results posted. I finished in 11th place. Places 7-30 won $50, so that was pretty cool placing in the money in my first tournament. I was about 5,000 points behind first place, but only 300 points behind 6th place (which paid $250). I went over to The Cal cashier and collected my winnings. Then, I sauntered down to El Cortez to play some blackjack. I found a single-deck $5 table. I mostly flat bet $6 with $2 on the Royal Match side bet, and occasionally I went up to $15/$5. I hit two Royal Matches during my session. If you don’t know Royal Match, it is a side bet that pays 3-1 if your first two cards are the same suit. If your first two cards are the King and Queen of the same suit, it pays 10-1. I had $2 on my first Royal Match, and $5 on the second. I played for about three hours, and walked away up a little over $100. I was getting hungry, so I went back to 777 at MSS. I sat at the bar and got a burger and fries. Hit the spot. Now it was time for a nap. Fortunately, this nap lasted the typical nap length, so I freshened up and headed back down to Boar’s Head for more JoB. I thought I’d shake it up a bit and instead of drinking my typical Marker Pale Ale I went crazy and started drinking Vodka with Sobe. Sobe is what the bartenders suggest to you if you ask for a Vodka with Red Bull. While Red Bull is available at this bar, the bartenders prefer to give you Sobe if you are getting comp drinks. It’s pretty good. No crazy wins or losses during this BP session, but I did find it funny overhearing two gentleman pseudo-competing for the “love” of an attractive young woman sitting at the end of the bar. The portion of the conversation I overheard was about the three of them being very upset with another individual – who was not present – asking the attractive young woman where she bought her boobs. Just before midnight, I decided a change of venue was necessary so I made a phone call to Cheetah’s and had them pick me up and take me to their club. I hadn’t been there since they remodeled, so I wanted to inspect the changes. The place looks much nicer, although part of me misses the seedy look of old. I spent about two hours there, but just couldn’t take paying $12 for a vodka/tonic any longer and got a ride back downtown. You’ll never guess where I ended up next…yes, that’s right…Boar’s Head Bar for more JoB. I played for about two hours or so, and for most of that two hours I was the only person at the bar other than Ronnie, the bartender. At just after 4am, I hit this: This was my second ever Royal Flush at Boar’s Head (first was in March of this year). I did a quick cheer, and then waited for the slot attendant to verify the win and pay me. Even though this is a jackpot of under $1200, they still do a hand pay at the bar for some reason. I played just a couple more hands and then went up to my room. Now, my flight was scheduled to leave today (technically Sunday now) at 8am. However, it was now almost 5am and I hadn’t been to bed yet, and I just won some money. So, I made a phone call to Delta and changed my flight to 6:25pm. This turned out to be an oh so sweet idea. I then walked over to the Fremont to get a fried egg sandwich at Lanai Express and a couple of Dunkin Donuts. I took the heart-stopping culinary grotesqueness back to my room and wolfed it down, and then dozed off into a peaceful slumber. Sunday, July 28th I woke up at about 12:30pm and got ready for the day. I headed down to the 777 at MSS for lunch. I got the Filet sandwich. It was quite tasty, and I would certainly order it again, although I would probably order it cooked rarer next time. I ordered it “medium” and there was no pink to be seen. After lunch I decided I would kill some time playing more JoB. However, this time, instead of playing at Boar’s Head, I decided I would find a machine on the casino floor since I didn’t feel like drinking. So, I found a Game King upright machine that had 9/6 JoB. I put $100 in, and maybe 15 hands in to my session I hit this: The queen showed up again! I always did have a thing for brunettes. Since this machine is not at the bar, it did not require a hand pay. And, in my excitement, I forgot to signal a floor person to get a scratch card. Shucks! I probably only missed out on $2, but maybe I missed out on $5000? I guess I’ll never know. But I was really on Cloud 9 after hitting the Royal earlier this morning, now I was just ecstatic. After hitting the Royal, I decided to walk over to the Main St Bar at The Cal and purchased a large bottle of water. While there are many places on Fremont St downtown that sell water for cheap, if you are ever at The Cal and want water, I recommend going to Main St Bar and asking for the large bottle. They give you a 1.5 liter bottle of Aquafina for $2.50. Then, it was up to the room to pack. I had plenty of time, so I packed at a leisurely pace while listening to the Cubs game on my phone using the MLB.tv app. Pat Hughes is a great radio announcer. A little after 4pm I exited The Cal, cut through Binion’s, and waited in Binion’s right next to the Three Card Poker table just off the corner of Fremont @ Casino Center for the WAX to the airport. The WAX showed up right on time, and 30 minutes later, I was back at Zero Level of LAS. Security and etc were uneventful, and the flight arrived back in SLC as scheduled. It was indeed an oh so sweet trip, as I came home a winner. My next trip is planned for September 20-23. I’m hoping my indulgent side doesn’t get the better of me, and I actually wait until September 20 to go to Vegas again rather than booking another impromptu trip. If you have made it this far, I hope you skipped at least part of the report – my writing style comes across as a technical field manual more than an entertaining read. One observation while I was waiting for the WAX to the airport: It was about 4pm on Sunday, and there were two men in wheelchairs in the middle of the Fremont Street Experience with cardboard signs requesting donations. At one point, a third person came up and started a conversation with these two men. While I was too far away to hear what they were saying, nonverbal indicators suggested the conversation was getting heated. Then, one of the gentleman in the wheelchair stood up and started walking over to the third person to get in his face. He was puffing his chest up and vociferously pointing at the third person. I don’t know if this third person irritated him, or if the man – formerly of the wheelchair – was thanking him for the miracle he performed allowing him to walk again. The other man in the wheelchair remained in the wheelchair during the entire event and appeared to emulate the political position of Switzerland in the confrontation. One observation about Binions: I cut through Binions frequently during this trip. In the back of Binions, by the poker room and the “discount apparel” area, there appears to be an Elvis museum under construction. There is a vehicle sitting in this area (in addition to the Binion’s vehicle – the one with the bull horns), but no information about an opening date or anything. Does anybody know anything about this? Upon arrival at the Salt Lake airport, I saw Oregon Ducks basketball head coach Dana Altman. Apparently he was in Vegas on a recruiting trip. From what I gathered, a few other coaches were in Vegas (and on my flight) this weekend as well. I overheard a community college coach on the plane saying that NCAA rules dictate there is about a two-week period in July when coaches can do open recruiting, so they were taking advantage. OK, that’s it. Let me know if you have any questions.