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Reno TR - Sands Regency May 28-31

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Jun 2, 2016.

  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    As with April's trip report to Las Vegas, I am posting this entire trip report here, one day at a time. I was in Reno over Memorial Day weekend to bowl the USBC Open Championships.

    Saturday, May 28
    -

    The often-used 6:25 AM CDT departure from Milwaukee was in play (again) (Side note; I wish there was a flight that would get me into Nevada at 10:00 AM PDT without me having to set my alarm for 3:30 AM CDT). My alarm went off and my lovely wife was already up. I had assumed that she was too excited to sleep and was already dressed and ready to go. I grab my robe, schlep to the bathroom, then go to the living room to see her in her pajamas with ice on her knee (she had knee surgery three weeks earlier) and watching Law and Order (Side note; That show is ALWAYS on). I ask her why she is up, and she said that her knee was sore so she wanted to ice it a bit before going back to sleep for an hour.

    Turns out she did the math wrong in her head and had her alarm set for almost 5:00 AM CDT. Thank goodness I had my alarm set!

    But we did get ready, left the house on time and arrived at the off-site parking by 5:00 AM CDT. We knew that the holiday weekend might be busier, but there were about 15 cards ahead of us. Suddenly I was worried about the security line and even being at our gate in time to pre-board (we get the authorization with my "Customer of Size" extra ticket on Southwest).

    Regardless of how bad it looked, we were inside the airport by 5:20 AM, and through security by 5:45 AM, and to our gate just as they called for the pre-boarders. Apparently we left at the right time!

    About two years ago, I began to re-watch every episode of the HBO series Treme. I had almost finished season two six weeks earlier when we arrived in Milwaukee after our trip to Las Vegas, but the DVD player ran out of juice just before the end. So a week before this trip, I made sure the battery was fully recharged. But what I neglected to do was make sure the power was off. By the time I was ready to watch the show, I tried to turn the DVD player on but the battery was again dead. I had five hours to kill and no entertainment.

    I did manage to doze a bit, but I woke up halfway to Denver. I resorted to using Southwest’s free TV service – which is great when flying during prime time, but not so much when it is barely 7:00 AM in New York. Southwest’s free TV service also includes some on-demand titles, so I watched a couple of Simpsons episodes and about three full episodes of NFL’s Top Ten by the time we got to Reno.

    (Note that I am at over 560 words and I just arrived in Reno. You might want to pause here and grab a beer.)

    My Uncle John, who has bowled with me for years, picked us up at the airport. For this trip, it was just my uncle, my wife and myself. In October, I had my own knee surgery, and not knowing how long the recovery would be, I told my team to replace me for this year and I’d just catch on with another team that posted a need on an internet sub forum. My uncle wasn’t crazy about me dumping him and the team, so I had to find a group for him as well.

    Our first stop was the former John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks. I am not sure of the proper new name, and I am certainly not sure how to differentiate it from the little Nugget downtown on Virginia St. The reason we were at the Sparks Nugget was because I wanted an Awful Awful. Although I like the one at the Sparks Nugget better, the real reason we were there was because my wife’s recovering knee wouldn’t really allow her to walk from our hotel (the Sands) to the Nugget on Virginia St.

    2.jpg

    The Awful Awful certainly did not disappoint, and I even won $2.50 at Keno… well, as my wife would say, it’s not a win when it costs you $20 to play. I love her, but sheesh… what a buzzkill.

    4.jpg

    After lunch, in a surprise “Separate Activities” portion of the trip, we dropped her off at the Gold Dust West Casino. I had been tipped off this promotion….

    Gold Dust.jpg

    For earning 150 points, my wife could get a stuffed animal with a prize inside. So I dropped her off and went to check into the Sands and take the luggage up. Shortly after, I got the call that (dum-da-da-duuuuuum) the stuffed animal promotion was only the previous Monday. I turned around, picked her up and we then headed to Walgreens for some room supplies.

    Remember this TR from a couple of years ago when I decided to honor the signs of local motels that really should be condemned and demolished? Well, having a car allowed me lots of opportunities to photograph away. Here are just a couple.

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    After some gambling time at the Sands, we headed to the National Bowling Stadium as my uncle was scheduled to bowl Saturday evening. We watched him for a while, but bailed on him before the first game was done because we had to get to the Atlantis for dinner and the Dana Carvey show.

    Where I had gotten lucky underestimating the crowd on the way to the airport, I didn’t do such a bang-up job at the Atlantis. The resort’s valet was full, and I drove around for 20 minutes looking for a parking space before settling on one close to Circus Circus (that's an inside joke to Reno fans... Circus Circus is the furthest casino possible from the Atlantis in Reno). I can honestly say that I’ve never seen Reno so busy as this past weekend. I mean, I knew it would be busy when the best hotel room that I chose to afford was the Sands, but this was ridiculous. The worst part was that it was for a (mostly) kids basketball tournament, which meant tripping over obnoxious, oblivious kids traveling in groups of four to seven.

    Now way behind schedule, it was going to be a challenge to eat separate meals (in hindsight, I didn’t actually spend a lot of time with my wife this day) and get to the show in 90 minutes. She headed to the Painted Parrot, while I first went to pick up the tickets, then went to the Sky Terrace Oyster Bar.

    I got to the Will Call area of the theater – well, I thought it would be a theater, turns out it was their Grand Ballroom – and excitedly opened my envelope to see my seat location. Turned out my $75 (each) tickets were General Admission. Looking at my watch turning 7:00 PM (and on a “5-10 minute wait” for a bar seat) and having been craving a Lobster Pan Roast for years, I had to weigh a decadent dinner with decent seats… and becoming frustrated that nowhere had the “General Admission” part of the VIP Pricing Level been identified.

    I went with dinner at the Oyster Bar, and when my wife texted me that she was done with her meal, I asked her to come up, get the tickets and go snag some seats.

    While my pan roast was absolutely to die for, I inhaled it so that I could get to the show on time. I did taste it, but I wasn’t able to properly savor it.

    14.jpg


    Next time…

    As I was walking to the ballroom, I received a text “Last Row of Sect B”. Dammit. Now I really wish I knew about the GA seating in advance as I would have never stayed around to watch my uncle bowl. Even worse than the last row was that because it was a ballroom, the floor was flat, and the seats were those horrible banquet chairs that don’t fit a man of my ample carriage in the first place, much less when squished in the middle of a row of them packed frame-to-frame.

    The show was really great, I think, though I became even more frustrated that I could see the show better on the big screens they had set up next to the stage. Here I was, spending $75 each (plus fees) to lose feeling in my left arm (as I kept it on the back of my wife’s chair as it was the only way I fit on the chair) and watching the performance on TV.

    One other thing about the show… Dana Carvey owes me a drink. He lives in the Bay Area and is obviously a Golden State Warriors fan. He came on stage while the game against Oklahoma City was in the fourth quarter, and was obviously watching the game while doing his set. When it got down to the last minute or so, he started doing a play-by-play and during a commercial break said “Sorry about this… but if the Warriors win, I’ll buy you all a drink”.

    I’m still thirsty, Dana…

    Atlantis is really good to bowlers, so I had stopped at the desk for my packet of love, which included a $5 table game match play. The Dana Carvey tickets also had a $5 match play, so I decided to play a few hands of blackjack. I sat down and used the first coupon (the green bowler’s coupon) with my $5 bet had an opportunity to double and I lost. So I pulled out the second coupon (the blue Dana Carvey one) and placed it on the spot with another $5 bet. The dealer called over the floor supervisor, who said that I could only play one coupon per day. I tried to argue that they are different coupons, and I swear to God he pulled out a small penlight and showed me the fine print about one coupon per person per day. It had been a very, very long day (remember, I had gotten up at 1:45 AM PDT time and by now it was after 9:30 PM PDT) and I had been frustrated by horrible seats to the show, and so I said a few choice words (that I probably regret) and stormed out before they threw me out.

    How in the Hell, on a weekend when the casino is packed to the gills, can they be sweating two $5 match plays? I still don’t get it. And I am still not convinced that you can't use two different match plays in one day. I can see not being allowed to use two of the same ones, but different ones?

    After walking back to the Circus Circus to get my car and driving back to the Atlantis to get my wife, we went back to the Sands. We gambled a little bit, but I was pretty tired so we went to the room. That was the first instance of having only one elevator working in the Regent tower. I had pressed the button to call the elevator, when it arrived, people started falling out as if they had been in a clown car, then the door closed before ANYONE could get in. There were at least five of us, and we all agreed on “That’s *bleep*ing *bleep* *bleep”. About five minutes later, the elevator came back and we made sure to keep the door open long enough for people to get on, but by this time there were so many people that a few got left behind due to capacity.

    Evening came and morning followed, the first day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2016
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  2. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Sunday, May 29

    Knowing that I had nine games to bowl on this day (and the likelihood that I’d be dead tired when I got back) I had to pound my daily gambling bender early and hard.

    I was only down about $200 (only) when my wife and uncle found me and we headed to Mel’s Diner for breakfast. I’ve stated my dislike for eggs often which makes breakfast a challenge. I mean, how many pancakes can one eat? There is a local bowling writer in Wisconsin who famously touts the Mel’s Diner banana shake (well, he is also a USBC Hall of Famer and five-time champion… but he loves his banana shakes!) and I decided that 10:00 AM would be the perfect time to try one so I ordered it with a BLT. The breakfast of champions!

    After losing the rest of my daily gambling stake, I got ready for bowling and we arrived at the National Bowling Stadium around Noon for our shift that started at 1:00 PM. (Side note; considering I blew through 600 words about Saturday before we even landed in Reno, Sunday morning was unremarkable. I could even condense it to this “Woke up, gambled, had a banana shake, gambled, went bowling”. But that looks a little sparse, so I will keep everything as is.)

    Because of my October knee surgery, I had told my team to replace me for the season and I would find a different group to play with… In other words, I was the famous “Internet Sub” that everyone seems to contact when they have a bowler who had committed but not yet paid, then decides very late that he can’t afford plane fare either. For the first set of events (six games of doubles and singles) I was paired with a group from Colorado.

    For the 2013 and 2014 tournaments in Reno, the USBC had the bowlers compete on a relatively easy pattern. Relative, that is, to last year and this year. For last year’s tournament in El Paso, the Congress decided to really put out challenging patterns, so that you really had to perform to win. From 2008 to 2014, I averaged 198 at the National tournament. In 2015 for comparison I averaged 186.

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    My doubles partner was not competitive, so my main focus was my 9-game All Events score and any side jackpots that I entered. When the event was complete, I had averaged 184 (which was on par with the previous year). When we started singles, I got locked in early, started with a 250 game and ended with 215 average for those three games which will give me a nice cash once the tournament ends.

    Normally, a player’s day is done after the six games of singles and doubles. But I am not normal.

    The Central-Illinois team that needed the famous Internet Sub just happened to bowl the Team event scheduled right after my singles event. Though I am 48, overweight and recovering from knee surgery, I didn’t think that nine games straight through would be a problem. And physically, it wasn’t.

    But there was about an 80 minute gap between when I finished singles and started Team, and my mind went to mush. For all the great work that I did managing the lanes, keeping the focus, repeating shots and making spares, I was useless in the Team event. I felt horrible for my team for misreading my own abilities (then again, my horrible, horrible score was high on the team, so they thought I had bowled well). Bottom line is that once I was through, my nine game score averaged 189. Still better than the previous year, but all I could do is stew about my collapse in the Team event.

    By this time, it was 8:00 PM and I hadn’t eaten for 10 hours. I wanted a pizza, so we went over to Noble Pie (in the decrepit Hotel El Cortez). The restaurant was full and the line to order was long, and by the time I got to the front it was almost 8:30. The order-taker-guy said that they could only give it to us “to go” as they close at 9:00.

    Now in Wisconsin, “close at 9:00” means the kitchen and the bar closes then, but you can take as long as you need to eat.

    At Noble Pie, our pizza came out at 8:45, so we stayed and began eating. Very soon after, they started shooing people out. We finished eating right about 9:00, and though they didn’t kick us out, the look on the guy (who was adorned with a man bun) was clear. I really like their pizza, so it was a little disappointing that we had to race through our meal, but I was beat and was fine with going back to the hotel.

    After managing to get on the first elevator (as they still hadn’t fixed the other two), we went to the room to assess the evening. That innate “I am in Nevada” vibe told me to go gamble, but both the mind and body weren’t willing. I was asleep – in Nevada – by 10:00 PM. That didn’t stop my wife, though, from cycling through a few late-night dollars.

    Evening came and morning followed, the second day.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  3. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    haha, for all the years I've bowled and all the years I've gambled...I've never been on a league that went to nationals..I've often thought about it, but something about not being able to bowl consistent 300's deters me. (no, 800 series neither; consistently in the mid/low 700's even on PBA patterns)
     
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  4. kankan53

    kankan53 Low-Roller

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    Enjoying your trip report. Looking forward to what happens next.

    We stayed at the Sands many moons ago and we were a little nervous about walking to the other casinos.
     
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  5. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good stuff so far!
     
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  6. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Starting in 2017 in Las Vegas, the USBC has added a third division. So now there is a 180 and under, 181-209 and 209 and above division.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  7. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    Nice, may have to give it a try...although I'm a little too serious for most people on bowling teams, haha
     
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  8. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Monday Funday, May 30 (aka “Work Day” in Canada) -

    As I had fallen asleep around 10:00 PM the night before, I wasn't totally surprised when I woke up around 6:00 AM, and rolled around for another hour. My wife was still sleeping, so because she gambled late into the night, I decided to head down to the casino to make up for lost time. Now, I love my wife all to bits and pieces, but this lady (who has hearing loss and was wearing a CPAP mask) must have heard me slide my money clip into my pocket as she sat up in bed like a shot and said “You going gambling? Wait for me!”

    So I grabbed the 2-for-1 latte coupon that we were given at check in, got my coffees and settled in. We found slot machines that were on a 90 degree angle from each other. Before long, I heard the familiar “Quick Hit Bonus” music, and watched my wife hit for $90 or so. My machine was this cool, 3D Dragon's Temple… and it wouldn't stop paying me!

    We each played for about two hours, and had built my buy-in from $100 to about $300. I decided to see if I had “the touch” today, so I found a Batman slot in the walkway from registration to the main casino, and managed to give a hundy back before I could finish the sentence “What the…?” I went to play a little video poker at a quarter machine where the Royal Flush progressive was over $1300. Suddenly, I was even for the day.

    My uncle was ready to start our Memorial Day adventure, so I stalled him by stopping at the craps table. The thing about craps… what is a “hot” roll? I ask this, because the Holy Grail of shooters is to make a few points, increase your bets as you go, and as the roll continues keep racking the money. Well, I thought my roll was “that roll”, so I kept pressing my bets each time they hit… and sevened-out with a whole lotta money on the felt, and only a $39 profit in my rack. Everybody (well, both other players) cheered my and said “good roll”, but, eh. Whatever.

    If you recall from our trip to Las Vegas in April, my wife hurt her knee on Saturday when we went to the Valley of Fire. That next morning we went to the Black Bear Diner, but actually spent most of that time looking for an urgent care facility that took our insurance. Not really enjoying that meal, we decided to try again at the Black Bear Diner in Reno. This meal tasted as good as the first one probably did. Being a Midwesterner, the closest location is 16 hours away bar car, so this chain rates as one I'd be happy to return to often.

    From there, it was on the road for a drive around Lake Tahoe. Taking US 50 through Carson City, we stopped at Spooner Summit for bear hunting.

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    I didn't find any bear in my seven minutes on the mountain, so we continued on and turned north on Hwy 28 towards Incline Village.

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    Continuing around the north end of the lake, my uncle suggested a bathroom break, and we just so happen to be driving past the Grand Lodge Casino at the Hyatt Regency. My uncle went on his way, and I had one thought in mind… get a $1 chip for my collection. I walked up to a blackjack table, bought in for $40 and started playing. I never lost a hand, and cashed out about five minutes later for $160.

    My uncle came out of the bathroom and I was surprised when we stayed for another half hour or so to gamble (and even better, that I didn't give much back) that after we got back on the road and started to head south, I thought nothing of taking my own bathroom break five whole miles later at the Tahoe Biltmore.

    Before I go too far, if you guys like old-school casinos, you'd better get up there quickly. While doing some surfing recently, I see that the property was sold years ago, but financing is in place to begin the transformation to become the Boulder Bay Resort. But that's not why I had stopped there; this trip had became a chip run.

    There were only about a dozen cars in the parking lot, but saw someone walking out so I figured that they were open. In an odd set-up for a casino, you walk in and there is a large foyer with a seating area and coat check booth (all of which was deserted when we walked in). From the foyer, though, you could easily see the casino down a flight of stairs. I lost my wife and uncle to slot machines while I saddled up to the only open table game… Super Fun 21.

    I had no idea what it was, and when I asked the dealer and she explained it, only one thing stood out… even money on a blackjack. I laid $21 on the felt and gave it a go. Four hands later, I didn't find it super or fun, so I did what anyone else would do… I put another $20 on the table. That went just as quickly, so I went to find a slot to try to win back my money. I found an old Kenny Rogers Gambler slot, and sure enough I hit a couple of bonuses and cashed out for a $70 profit (and a $30 profit at the Biltmore).

    We got back in the car and continued our tour south, stopping at Emerald Bay (possibly my favorite photo stop).

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    My wife patiently sat in the backseat and was given one job to do… determine what was for dinner. As we headed east, she came up with the Lakeshore Beach House. I suggested that she make a reservation for a little later and when she called, the number was disconnected. That put pressure on her to find another location.

    Around the south shore through the aptly named South Lake Tahoe, CA, I stopped at a stoplight at the state line. Looking out my mirror, I saw this…

    [​IMG]

    I put the photo on my Facebook page, and my sorta-sister posted “If you water it, will it grow up into a BIG STARDUST??? Sighhhhh... “ Some people struggle to let go.

    Not knowing what my wife would pick for dinner, we did know that dinner time was still about two hours away, so I went chip hunting. The only Stateline casino in which I am chip-free is the newly minted Hard Rock Casino, so guess where we stopped.

    That's right. The Hard Rock Casino (sheesh, I think you made that harder than it had to be).

    I had been in the former Horizon Casino only once, about 10 years ago, and only remember that my wife and I saw a magic show there. But the new owners did a bang-up job as it looks remarkably good. I headed right to the craps table, and after an hour was up at least $200, but I stayed too long and cashed out with only a $30 profit. I had figured everyone else was ready to leave, but to my surprise their butts were glued to the slot machine chair. So when in Rome…

    I started sliding $20s into one machine after another, and was getting nothing at all. Finally my uncle found me and said that he was ready to leave right when the Frodo bonus started on the Lord of the Rings machine. After a nice win, my uncle said that he would find my wife, so I slid over to the Willy Wonka slot and quickly got an Oompa Loompa bonus that paid well, too. With those nice hits, I only lost $60 on slots at the Hard Rock. Kinda puts my slot losses into context.

    My wife announced her dinner choice of Fox and Hound, which is a barbecue restaurant four miles up into the mountains. We were a little dubious that a mountain top restaurant would be open on a holiday, but sure enough, it was full of people watching both the Golden State Warriors Game 7 and the San Jose Sharks in Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Finals.

    And how is Top of the Mountain barbecue? Quite splendid.

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    Though the ribs were a teeny, tiny dry, they had amazing flavor. The barbecue tri-tip was also great and the beans, too. I didn't do any research on the owner, but he has to be a transplant. No way anyone wakes up and says “I want to smoke meat for my restaurant on the top of a mountain”.

    After getting back to the Sands and their sole working elevator, the tables had turned. My wife was too pooped to pop, so I headed down to the casino. I must have gambled for five or more hours already this day, and was ahead on the day, so apparently I needed to change that.

    Because there was nothing I could play that won me money. Craps was crappy and slots shredded my benjamin. I decided to play blackjack, and I saw a single-deck game that paid 3:2. I had to play. $150 later, I had to go to bed. Its hard to get on a run playing single-deck because after two or three hands, the cards get shuffled again. But to drop that much? I overstayed my welcome.

    Evening came and morning followed, the third day.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  9. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    When I first read fox and hound, thought you meant the chain. We stopped in there tonight actually. Lol
     
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  10. kankan53

    kankan53 Low-Roller

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    No place in the world more beautiful than Lake Tahoe. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.
     
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  11. Camp Rusty

    Camp Rusty Low-Roller

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    Wonderful photos........haven't been to Tahoe in several years, good grief, it was the Horizon for a wedding I think.

    Balck Bear's are a great place to eat.........we always hit the one in Vegas at least once.

    Good luck :):):)
     
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  12. FABismonte

    FABismonte Low-Roller

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    I remember Sands at Reno had good odds at the craps tables. Are there any bonus craps games like All Tall Small or Firebets?
     
  13. win4me

    win4me Low-Roller

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    Great pictures of Lake Tahoe! One of my favorite places.
     
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  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    No side bets at all on craps.

    The only other table game I played was blackjack, and the side game there was the Royal Match.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  15. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    the only one in Reno anywhere is the Firebet.
    Atlantis has one called "SharpShooter"...
     
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  16. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Tuesday, May 30 -

    The last day in Nevada is always melancholy. Sure, theoretically I have to return sometime, but I am never “ready to go home” like I read and hear so often.

    I woke up to an empty left side of the bed. “Curses”, said I, “That beyotch got the casino jump on me”. As I was making haste to join her, she comes into the room trying to hide the beaming. Not being very successful at it, I ask her how much she won, and she waves about $700 in front of me. Now I, er, I mean she has some play money, so we hustle to pack so we can go down and play.

    After packing the room, we kept a close eye on the clock. For various reasons, my wife was taking an American flight home leaving at 12:30 PM (and arriving at 8:00 PM) and I was taking a Southwest flight leaving at 1:10 PM, but would also leave me “stuck” in Las Vegas for almost four hours.

    I ask her which machine she hit, and I sit there and slide in a $20. As the money drips away, I tell her that she must have taken all of the money out of the machine… and just as I say that I hit for $177. After trying to get greedy and spending some of that winnings in a $5 slot, I swear off slots and keep my win.

    While I was playing, a guy came up to me and handed me all of the coupons they gave him at check-in because he had forgotten to use them. The table game match play interested me as it can be used for a $5 to $25 bet. I sat down at the blackjack table and got on a nice little run.

    When the time was right, I made a $25 bet and used my coupon. My hand was QQ and the dealer had a 10 showing, but she flipped up a 7 and my streak continued. I played for a little while longer and cashed out with a $100 profit. A good morning so far.

    That's because I hadn't tried to check-out, yet.

    As I was trip planning, I was shut-out of the good comps because of that basketball tournament (as a matter of fact, Harrah's said “Stay away” as they didn't even allow Saturday check-ins). The Sands was about fifth on my list, but one of their hosts is a contributor to a couple of Facebook groups related to bowling, so I checked with him. He offered me the first night (Saturday) as a comp, with the promise to review my play on the back end.

    Unfortunately, I was told that he started this day at 1:00 PM, but they will see if they can find another host. Peg's Glorified Ham and Eggs had been the planned breakfast (just a few hours before this happened), but we didn't know how long we'd have to wait for host contact, so we ate at Mel's Diner. I missed the call that came from the other host, but his message said to contact him through the switchboard, so figuring that he must be on the property we went back to the registration desk. Well, they couldn't find him and we had flights to catch, so I said some choice words to the desk manager and went on my way.

    I guess I wonder why hosts aren't available in the morning at check-out time? (To jump the story a bit, the next day when I was at home I sent my host an E-mail, and by the end of the day had reviewed my play, comped the whole magilla and sent through a credit on my card).

    The trip to the airport was uneventful and my curbside check-in for Southwest was slightly eventful (here's a hint… if you have a Customer of Size extra seat on Southwest, be very wary of using the curbside check-in. They screwed mine up and though I got my seat and extra seat without incident, I got an E-mail during the flight that I didn't check-in and both my flight and extra seat were gone with no refund. That was my second order of business after I got home, and the Southwest agent figured out what happened and happily processed the seat refund for me).

    From the moment I booked my ticket, I knew that I would spend my layover in Las Vegas in some casino or another (read on to find out how the gambling gods have a sense of humor). As soon as I get off the plane I contact Uber for a ride and the driver pulls up as soon as I get to the waiting area. He takes me to Hooters (though the Tropicana was my original choice. Because chip-hunting.)

    If you've never been there (and judging by their financials, you haven't) Hooters is actually a very nice place. Every employee (save for the one craps dealer that moved in ultra-slow motion and didn't give two shits about her pace) was very pleasant, the games were modern, clean, functioning and the video poker had decent pay tables.

    Except I couldn't win there. In the course of 2-1/2 hours, I lost about $200 total on every game I played.

    My flight was to leave at 5:55 PM, and with only the duffel I was carrying (I had planned for this layover when packing my suitcase) I knew I'd breeze through security, so I called for my Lyft ride at 4:30.

    In Vegas in April, as soon as I got into the Lyft, the driver started telling us how easy it is (and how) to steal a Honda. On this trip, I no sooner get in and the driver starts complaining about the short trips (apparently I was his fourth consecutive trip that originated at the corner of Las Vegas Blvd and Tropicana) and that nobody tips when paying by credit card. We then discussed tips in general, and that it is easier to have a $18 fare and say keep the change, than to tip through the app. So when we got to the airport, I felt compelled to hand him $3 cash... to which he promptly said that he couldn't take. I am thinking that in the future, Uber might be the way to go.

    I had a buddy who had bowled three weeks earlier in Reno and had that exact same Reno – Vegas – Milwaukee leg that I did. I had told him to spend a few hours on the Strip, and he didn't find it worth the hassle to hit security a second time. So to show superiority (and for you women folk, this is VERY important for man-buddies) I charted my time.

    Called Lyft – 4:30 PM
    Lyft pick-up – 4:33 PM
    Drop off at airport – 4:38 PM
    Through security – 4:50 PM

    Only 20 minutes from the time I called Lyft and I was already heading towards my gate. That's how you manage a Vegas layover.

    With more time to kill before my flight, I found a slot in the airport and when they called to line-up, I had a $20 profit. With my preboard pass, I was near the podium when the gate agent disappeared down the jetway and was down for quite a long time. He came back with a long face and announced that the radio had failed prior to landing, and there will be a delay while they try to find another, install and test it. As we all get out of line, I figure my luck would be an extended delay or even a cancellation, so I figured I'd play video poker, using the Royal Flusher “drilling holes” method.

    On my first $20, this…

    [​IMG]

    As the meter is rolling up the credits (because I was trying to kill time) the gate agent mentioned that they had found a radio and it is working perfectly. I cashed out with a $188 profit ($208 on all airport games, and completely shot the theory that I'd lose less money if I gambled on the strip).

    Some end of trip stats (because this TR isn't long enough)…

    All blackjack +19
    All craps -133
    All slots -401
    All sports bets +103
    All video poker -129

    Total -561… not horrible for four days in the desert.
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2016
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  17. Grid

    Grid VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2011
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    Great report and pics!
     
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  18. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Very enjoyable - thank you!
     
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  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
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    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Nice delay with the plane radio! I hit Aces with a kicker in Tunica after being told our room wasn't ready. Nice when things work out like that!

    And agree with you on Hooters. It could be a worse place. And the VP isn't that bad. Last trip it was one of the few places I found the "Family Guy" slot.

    Thanks for sharing!
     
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  20. Hoofy7

    Hoofy7 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2016
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    30
    Fun report to read and sounds like you had a great time!
     
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