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Resurrecting a Dead Trip - St Paddy's Day 2015

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by irishdave, Dec 10, 2015.

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  1. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    So after I commented on the “what am I missing?” thread, Vegas Chic demanded that I do a trip report next trip. As I usually try to make beautiful women happy, I decided to try to do more by attempting to recreate TRs from my three other trips this year. This is the first installment. I’m a $500-$750 per day bankroll kind of guy so you won’t see much chip porn, but I’ll share some food porn and other pics. I’ll try to do one post per day attempt a little of a live feel from a dead trip, so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully I can remember enough to make it entertaining!

    My first trip started because a buddy of mine was trying to get me to go to Savannah with him for St Paddy’s Day. I’ve heard that Savannah has a great party scene, but I was like “why would I go there when I could go to Vegas??” Which immediately transformed into…I should go to Vegas for St Paddy’s Day!

    I couldn’t find any evidence that Vegas has a special St Paddy’s Day vibe, but c’mon, it’s Vegas!! Fortunately, my wife bought into the idea and we planned a Mon – Fri trip. We are Hilton timeshare owners, so we booked the HGVC Flamingo and my 22yr old daughter and her boyfriend would join us. It was his first trip to Vegas. We didn’t realize Thursday was the first day of March Madness so that was a happy accident.

    The basic trip framework was: Land in Vegas Monday afternoon. Ride the High Roller bar car as an “overview” of Vegas for my daughter’s boyfriend, then get to gambling! Tuesday…it’s St Paddy’s Day, I’m Irish, what do you think I’d do??? Wednesday, dinner at Gordon Ramsey’s Steakhouse, then my daughter and boyfriend go to see Penn and Teller. Thursday, no plans for max flexibility on our last day. Friday early morning flight home.

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    Last edited: Dec 13, 2015
  2. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Trip Out and Day 1

    We take the dogs to the kennel on Saturday as they don’t have Sunday drop off, do the obligatory yard/housework, and we’re all starting to get excited for the trip. We pack early on Sunday and realize a major planning error…if you’re going to Vegas on Monday, you really should go Sunday. We sit around all day wishing we we’re in Vegas! Of course, we pre-trip at our local pub, but it still isn’t satisfying, we can’t wait to get on the airplane.

    Next day, the flight on Southwest from goes smoothly and we land about 30mins early! Off to the rental car center. Second major error…renting from Dollar. Wait in line at the counter for about 45mins, then over an hour waiting for the car. Ugh. Then just as we clear the airport property the tire low pressure light comes on. Back through the terminal and another half an hour wait at the counter. The only compensation they offer is an upgrade, which is really pretty worthless considering we’ve lost the entire afternoon. I'm done with Dollar...this better not be a sign!

    So two lessons learned. 1) Don’t rent from Dollar. 2) Really, don’t rent a car period, you don’t really need it.

    We finally check into a 2 Bdr suite at HGVC Flamingo. Very nice room. Small entry foyer with 1 Bdr suite through one door (see pic) and a studio through the other door, not a lock off. Nice setup for two couples or a family with older kids…wouldn’t be so great for younger kids, but IMHO, why would you take anyone under 21 to Vegas anyway.

    flamingo.jpg

    After freshening up, it’s off to the High Roller. I’d read mixed reviews, so I wasn’t optimistic, but we had groupon tickets so the goal was to recoup the ticket price in alcohol. Who rides that thing full fare? Anyway, we had a really good time. There were only eight people in the car and the bartender was a lot of fun, mixing strong drinks with good stories after an initial $20 tip. The nighttime views were cool and we each got four drinks in the half hour ride, so we got our money’s worth. It was certainly worth doing once and I’d do it again if I was with a Vegas newbie, but probably not on my own.

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    Next stop, O’Shea’s. The only way to start a St Paddy’s Day trip is with Guinness and Jameson! My daughter and boyfriend love the party vibe and the Guinness is cold. Pay tables suck, but it’s a fun atmosphere and we don’t lose too much. We work our way into the Linq and I discover the beer selection at TAG sports bar. Wow, just wow. But before too long the beer and jet lag catch up and day one is in the books with no big hits, but only a couple of hundred loss between my wife and I. Not a bad, if short, first day.
     
  3. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    St Paddy's Day Part 1

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    My wife and I start St Paddy’s day with a stop at O’Sheas for a tall Guinness before we head up to Venetian, our casino of choice for the morning. We’ve never been to the V/P, so we wanted to check it out this trip. Definitely impressed, we really like Venetian, but it doesn’t like us today, we’re down early…no hits on anything, but they do comp Jameson so it’s not a total loss. How can it be a bad St Paddy’s Day if you’ve had Guinness and Jameson before noon?? But even the Diamonds of Dublin slot has no luck for this Irishman today, so we take a break and wander the grand canal shops trying to decide between the many lunch offerings. We decide on Canonita because where else would you eat on St Paddy’s Day besides a Mexican place?

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    We are seated next to the indoor canal and have a very enjoyable lunch. I had chicken flautas and my wife had the Mexican chopped salad. Decent food in a very nice atmosphere watching the boats float by... a good chance to lick our wounds and sober up a bit. After lunch we head back towards Venetian when the sobering up ends abruptly as we walk by Delmonico.

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    Wow! I really hadn’t done much pre-trip planning and had no idea of the whisky selection here. A 37 page book of whisky! The luck of the Irish hasn’t deserted me after all and fortunately, it’s only 1pm and the bar is still open for lunch. Unfortunately, it’s only open until 2. Probably a good thing in retrospect. I opt for a Scotch whisky, Highland Park 30 yr old, as I’ve read about this fine dram but have never had the opportunity and HP 18 is one of my very favorites.

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    What a great dram. Glad I’d sobered up a bit before I found this so I can appreciate this superb whisky. Incredibly balanced and refined. Much more subtle than the 18, it actually takes a fair amount of attention to truly appreciate, definitely without the burn and punch you’d expect from a whisky at 48%ABV. Complex sweetness and spice, with floral, grassy heather, and dried fruit/citrus notes, with a light smoke. Ok, so I’m a bit of a whisky snob…but it was worth the $95 price just this once. Not something I’d get every visit, but one of those great discoveries/surprises that make Vegas great and make a trip memorable.
     
  4. nsideirish

    nsideirish Low-Roller

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    Keep it coming! Enjoying the read. I am a big fan of Highland Park 18. Nothing will ever come close to Redbreast 21 for me though.

    Slainte!
     
  5. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Redbreast 21 is definitely a great whiskey, nice complexity for an Irish and superbly crafted. And you can't beat single pot still! Slainte!
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2015
  6. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    St Paddy's Day Part 2

    My wife is a bit taken aback by the price of the dram, but I point out that in four hours of VP and slots, we’ve lost about $100 per hour…at least I got a return on this $100. She scowls, but only because she knows I’m right! I’m beginning to formulate a hypothesis that it’s actually cheaper to buy high-end drinks and take the time to truly enjoy them than it is to gamble. This line of reasoning doesn’t sit well with my better half so we trek back to the Linq where we can play poor pay tables but have a great selection of beer at TAG sports bar.

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    I’m down almost another $100 and up about 3 Guinness and then, at long last and on crappy pay tables…

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    And then my wife walks up with this from slots. Maybe our luck is changing.

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    Yep, things are definitely looking up.

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    After playing at TAG and Linq for a couple of hours my VP skills are being eroded by the beer and, since Caesar has rendered unto us almost all that Sheldon has taken, we decide to walk the strip for a bit. And the strip is on fire! Oh, wait, it's just the Mirage, but the first eruption startles my daughter as she had no idea what to expect!

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    We end up a Planet Hollywood for a while and my daughter's boyfriend wants to play roulette. I'm not a big fan, so I just watch.

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    I actually like PH a lot, and not just for the dancers! I don't know exactly why. I'm in my 50s, but I really enjoy the vibe, the music, and the overall feel of the casino. And I usually do ok there, even with CET's poor VP. He does pretty well and the group decides to move on to NYNY.

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    I'm the exact opposite with NYNY. I find it kind of chaotic and I always get completely turned around in there. I just don't like the feel of the place. Doesn't create a good mindset for gambling for me. The only thing I like at all is Nine Fine Irishmen (go figure!) and even the arrangement there feels somewhat haphazard to me. Of course it's packed for St Paddy's so I don't even try to get in and go looking for some decent VP. And my good St Paddy's Day fortune continues!

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    It's now pushing 1am and I'm still basically on east coast time and starting to fade... and with all the Guinness on board, we kinda forgot to eat. So we head through MGM to the monorail to take us back to Flamingo. In my buzzed state, I find the My Vegas advertising on the men's room sink amazing.

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    Great thing about the HGVC Flamingo, it's right on the monorail, you can bailout down one of the service stairways on the walkway to Flamingo and be right at the entrance.
    So while we don't do any St Paddy's Day specific events and don't even sing any good drinking or rebel songs, we have a great time and end up pretty close to even so far.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  7. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good stuff so far!

    But pointing out the poor VP at CET, it's only got worse since your trip. TAG Lounge is the only CET strip bar left with traditional 6/5 Bonus (96.87%). All others at CET have been replaced by a 30(all quads)/6/5 "Bonus" game (96.18%). Good news for me that TAG has held on because I love craft beer! Also the 9/6 JoB (99.54%) for quarters at NYNY is also gone. :(
     
  8. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Low-Roller

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    Great trip and the pictures!! I agree with you on PH. I love the vibe there, the music is great, the location is perfect, the mall is right there for anything you may need. To me it is my favorite place to stay as far as CET hotels are concerned. Looking forward to more of the report and lots of winning pictures!!
     
  9. ttom

    ttom Low-Roller

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    With all those premium 4oak's you should have been on double double boner. Last time I was playing deuces wild got dealt quad aces and was so pissed... That was money wasted.
     
  10. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Yeah, I don't really miss the NYNY games, but the CET downgrades stink. At least TAG is still sorta playable. And they have the same comps at the bubble craps and virtual blackjack.

    I'll take 'em anytime I can get them! I am just mastering JoB and BP strategy, maybe I'll branch out in a couple of trips!
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  11. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Day 3

    I wake up on day 3 and my wife is already out of the room down at Flamingo. I shower and head down to the casino. She’s not had a particularly good morning at slots, and fortunately I head off disaster as I catch up to her just as she’s about to order at the food court. I’m like WTF??...Mon Ami Gabi is only a 5 min walk from here. And she’s like, “what’s a Mon Ami Gabi?” What would she do without me?? She’d have an imitation Egg McMuffin, I guess.

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    We head to Mon Ami Gabi, but it’s a bit chilly and a 20 min wait for the patio, so we elect to eat inside. I get the french toast and she gets the three egg breakfast. Both excellent, and much better than the Flamingo food court!

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    The siren call of Paris beckons as we exit the restaurant and pulls us in to allow Caesar to exact some revenge from the previous evening.

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    My daughter is now awake and itching to go to the pool. One of the bennies of HGVC Flamingo is an agreement that allows guests to use the actual Flamingo pools and my daughter is a real pool person. It’s too cool to pool this am for me, so while the rest of them hang out at the sparsely populated Go pool, I wander out to the Linq promenade and look around a bit, finally ending up at…you guessed it…TAG.

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    Caesar continues his bloody counteroffensive in his outlying province of the Linq but my allies charge in to extract me from this peril and we all retreat to the Venetian.

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    We find sanctuary in the (now about to close) Bourbon Room. I’m not much of a bourbon drinker really, but my daughter’s boyfriend loves it. Considering the drubbing I’d just taken, any alcohol was welcome. We shared a flight of Bernheim Original Wheat, Maker’s Mark 46, and Hudson Baby Bourbon. Take the following for what it’s worth from someone who greatly prefers Scotch or Irish over bourbon. I found the Bernheim rather washed out and uninteresting, very little complexity. It wasn’t bad, nice balance, just not my style. The Hudson was quite grainy and definitely a young (hence the baby) whisky, but it was ok. I found out later it is a 100% corn whisky and it shows. Now Maker’s 46 is one bourbon I really like. I’d had it before and it didn’t disappoint in this tasting. More complex than most bourbons and the higher alcohol content gives a bolder flavor profile. Much more balanced than regular Makers, with nice vanilla, caramel, cinnamon, and other spice notes. The Bourbon Room serves its flights with a small side of caramel corn, an excellent touch. The caramel complements the bourbon, of course, and the popcorn helps cleanse the palate between different drinks. I can hardly drink bourbon without caramel corn now!

    Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly than drinking (wait…did I just say that??) my wife has convinced Sheldon to return most of what he took yesterday.

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    Now it’s time to head to Paris to make our reservation at Gordon Ramsey’s Steakhouse. Love the “Robert Palmer” outfits on the hostesses.

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    We were a little early, so I started in the bar with an Oban 14. Always a good choice and in this case a precursor to a great meal. We were seated upstairs in one of the semi-circular booths. The service was outstanding and the iPad style drink menu is cool. My daughter’s boyfriend had been talking about having the Beef Wellington since we began planning for the trip. He’d been drawn in by the television show. My wife had it as well and my daughter ordered the bone-in ribeye. I decided on the rib cap, which turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made!

    The bread plate came out first, with focaccia, walnut and stilton baguette, and mushroom-truffle. The the breads were amazing; fresh, bold, and complementary flavor. I loved the mushroom-truffle, it even had a bit of a bacon flavor to me. I was going to skip a salad, but the waiter talked me into the baby beet salad. If you haven’t be able to figure it out by now, I’m not exactly a subtle, foo-foo kinda guy and a salad seems like a waste in a steakhouse to me. But….this was the best freaking salad! Goat cheese, beets, candied pecans, apples, all that sounds like something someone who drinks cocktails with little umbrellas in them would like, but wow! A great combination of fresh, complementary flavors. Ok, back to the manly stuff, the rib cap. The rib cap is essentially an 8oz steak made from the top, tender portion of a rib eye. A phenomenal steak, better than any fillet I’ve had... actually, I think this is the best steak I’ve ever had. Flavorful, great marbling, nice texture, just fantastic. Trust me, don’t be fooled by the hype, skip the Beef Wellington and go straight to the rib cap. Both my wife and daughter’s boyfriend agree! Not that they didn’t enjoy the Beef Wellington, but the rib cap is just that good. Even the sides were outstanding. Definitely try the mac and cheese, it’s made with cheddar, blue cheese, parmesan, and truffle. It complements a steak perfectly. Finally, out came the sticky toffee pudding. As good and decadent as advertised. A moist spice/pudding cake drizzled with toffee and brown butter ice cream. Oh. My. God. I was already stuffed, but… I’m not a real foodie, but this was one of the best meals I’ve had in a long time, if not ever. It wasn’t cheap, but it was worth it.

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    Once we were rolled out of the restaurant, the “kids” headed over to Rio for Penn and Teller and my wife and I were alone for the evening! We decide to head downtown, starting at the Plaza. We settle in on the VP at the Omaha bar and I ask for a Jameson on the rocks. The bartender says he can’t comp Jameson, but can comp Makers. WTF??? A bottle of Jameson is about $5 cheaper than Makers back home and a sweet bourbon after that dessert is not gonna happen. So I guess it’s a whisky sour. We play for about an hour, see the world’s oldest cocktail waitress, and leave pretty much even. I haven’t been downtown in years and the FSE is definitely an experience, not only the canopy but the “entertainers” as well! We casino hop for a bit and I hit my only 4OAK of the night at the Golden Nugget.

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    I’m still stuffed from dinner, but my wife decides she’s hungry so we head to the still open food court at the Fremont. Once we sit down, we both realize we’re beat, so we wander Freemont street and gawk at the lights and sights for a bit, then grab a cab back to the hotel and collapse after a packed, fun-filled day. And we're only down a couple of hundred.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2015
  12. IM ALL IN

    IM ALL IN Low-Roller

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    That was a good day!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 16, 2015
  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Well double check my bartop sticky thread in casino gaming if you do. Within my intro post, there is a link that discusses key strategy changes from 9/6 JoB for other games, which should help you learn games like DDB easier.

    And sucks you only got one quad for the day. But given the 9/6 JoB paytable. I'm guessing that was at Plaza, not Golden Nugget.
     
  14. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    You may be right Trig, my recollection of end of that evening is a bit hazy! Thanks for keeping up the sticky, that's great info and I'm sure it's not a trival effort
     
  15. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Yeah, it really was, amazed how much we packed in the entire trip
     
  16. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Day 4, Part 1

    We slept in a little on our last day and wandered through the Flamingo habitat on our way out to find a late breakfast/early lunch. We settled on the Yard House in the Linq promenade. We didn’t plan it this way, but it was a great place to watch the first games of March Madness. Typical of the chain, with a lot of TVs, varied menu, and large beer selection. We watched Georgia State up end Baylor, what a fun vibe and one or two really happy gamblers.

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    I then resolved to go see Caesar to complain about our rough treatment at the hands of his provincial governors in Paris and Hollywood and at the Linq and Flamingo. We go to Caesars Palace and, just as with Alan, Caesar is not in residence. We are however granted an audience with Cleopatra. She is somewhat moved by our tribulations and modestly shares in her treasures. We also see the last couple of minutes of the UCLA/SMU game standing on the other side of the bar from Caesars sportsbook. So much fun to watch when I don't have any money riding on it and hundreds of others do! Seriously, a great atmosphere, really a blast.

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    We continue casino hopping over to Bellagio, where apparently Cleopatra has more discretion than when under Caesar’s thumb and she shares her treasures much more freely to the tune of a $480 payout. Forgot to take a pic tho.

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    A Verbena is next on the agenda! I’d read about the drink online, but didn’t tell the full story to our small band and it was a lot of fun watching my daughter's and boyfriend’s reaction to the Szechuan button. My wife, not so much, she kind of panicked thinking she was having some sort of allergic reaction. Pretty funny in retrospect, not so funny in the moment. I don’t think she’ll try one again. Comso has some of the best bars, but I am consistently impressed with the cocktails at the restaurants and bars throughout Vegas. If not at a VP bar or on the gambling floor, it seems the mixologists really know their craft. I’ve seen folks complain about the drink prices, but the prices are only a couple of dollars more than the nicer places back home and the drink quality, freshness of ingredients, and imagination of the bartenders in Vegas are much better than my local watering holes.

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    We cross back to the CET side of the strip and work back towards the hotel. Once again Caesar’s legions decimate our bankroll. PH, Paris, Ballys, Flamingo…a string of disasters. It’s every man for himself as we split up to try to survive the onslaught, with a plan for any survivors to rendezvous at the room prior to dinner.
     
  17. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    Last Day, Part 2

    We’re bloodied and bowed, but somehow we all make it back to the room with some bankroll for the evening activities. Not willing to risk another engagement with Caesar’s forces, we take the monorail to MGM for dinner at FiAMMA. I really enjoy the Blueberry Press (ginger vodka, blueberries and lemon soda) and my daughter’s boyfriend loves his Old Fashioned. I have the Raviolini, made with short ribs meat and black truffle cream, my wife has lobster gnocchi, my daughter has chicken fettuccine alfredo, and her boyfriend has mezzaluna. We’re all very happy with our meals and head out for our last evening in Vegas.

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    MGM Grand is hopping. The arrival of March Madness crowd has definitely amped things up. We’re not having much luck and my daughter and her boyfriend are approaching tapped out, so we decide to head over to Excalibur and Luxor and their lower limits. Apparently, Cleopatra is a slut when back in Egypt as my wife makes a nice hit early after arriving in Luxor. My daughter’s boyfriend had been way up on roulette early in the trip, but soon learned that positive variance corrects to the mean the hard way. I hit one final 4OAK, but otherwise find the VP slow going, so he and I adjourn to RiRa to do some Irish whiskey tasting.

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    We start with Tullamore Dew, then move on to Green Spot, Yellow Spot and finally Bushmills 21. He’s pretty new to whiskey other than bourbon, so the Tullamore Dew with its sweet, almost vanilla notes is a good introduction for him. Green Spot is my go-to Irish, a couple of steps up from Jameson and I think better than Redbreast 12, smoother but with the same single pot still character. Not quite as edgy as Redbreast and well balanced malt and dried fruit notes. Yellow Spot is a slightly more refined Green Spot. I could tell it was a little older, and the mouthfeel was a touch better, but to be honest, I really didn’t detect a great deal of difference from the Green Spot. The Bushmills 21 ended the tasting for the evening, and we definitely saved the best for last. A very high quality whiskey with dark fruit, apricot and raisins, and malt notes. Well balanced and a rich texture with more complexity than most Irish whiskeys. We leave the pub very contented.

    Back at Luxor, my wife has gone full tilt as Cleopatra has turned into a bitch. But my daughter is beaming; she took Ellen for almost $1100. It’s now past 1am and since we need head to the airport about 6, my wife and I head back to the hotel.

    Surprisingly, we wake feeling pretty good and go to the small shop at the hotel for some pastries where we meet our daughter’s boyfriend holding a large margarita. My daughter passed out around 3, but he decided to stay up all night and drink. Right now, he thinks that’s still a great idea, but by the time we get the cab, he’s telling us he might have made a mistake. By the time we get to the gate and wait to board he's sure!

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    Vegas baby!!

    My wife and I end up down about $1500, could be better, but within budget for a 4-night stay; my daughter is up about $700, but her boyfriend is wiped out. Overall, we had a lot of fun, a couple of fanstic meals, and some great experiences. All-in-all a great trip!
     
  18. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Wow. The clear all nighter for the bf. And she's looking rough too. haha

    And RIP Luxor progressive. JoB is 7/5 now, so double royal isn't that good. :(
     
  19. irishdave

    irishdave VIP Whale

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    It's pretty depressing to go back and see how much the pay tables have degraded in a mere 9 mos. At that rate slots will be better than VP and we'll only be getting one drink per hour by summer....
     
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