We were in Vegas last month for 4 nights so I thought I’d just post a few notes about our trip. After reading all the live trip reports lately, my report seems kind of lame. Rooms: We stayed at Sam’s Town for the first time this trip. We had gone out there for a few hours last trip and got an offer for 3 comped nights and some freeplay. We booked the first 3 nights for Sam’s and then double booked the last 3 nights for El Cortez. Other than the first night, we weren’t really sure where we’d stay, it would depend on the gambling. We were given a room overlooking the Mystic Falls courtyard which was nice although there was a strong scent of chlorine in the room. The room was on the small side, a bit narrower than most but still a nice room. Everything was as expected except for one thing – there was no safe. That didn’t sit well with us, not just for being unable to lock up our money but more so for having our passports and credit cards sitting loose in the room. I asked at the front desk and was told that only the suites and premium rooms have safes in the rooms, otherwise they have safety deposit boxes available at the front desk. Having no safe is pretty much a deal breaker for us and since we can get comped rooms elsewhere with a safe, I doubt we’ll return to Sam’s. We gambled at Sam’s Town the first evening and again the next morning for a few hours. Around noon, we took the free shuttle from Sam’s to the Fremont and walked over to the El Cortez. We had planned this trip a couple months ago before we had offers from the El Cortez so we had booked our room without going through the player’s club. Our plan was to ask for the room charges to be comped off at the end. A few weeks before we left, my husband got an offer for a free slot tournament at the El Cortez that were the exact days we were staying. It included 3 comped nights so he signed up for the tournament but never received any confirmation from them. So a couple days before we left, I emailed them and asked if he was registered as a player in the slot tournament and if so, would they switch the reservations over to the comp offer. About 5 minutes after sending the email, I received a phone call from a host who said we were all set for our comped stay. Great customer service! The reason we wanted to stay at the EC was because the tower rooms were so quiet last time we stayed. It didn’t quite work out the way we planned this time though. The first night we were having a great sleep when at 3 in the morning, a screeching alarm came over the loudspeaker and woke us both instantly. The alarm was immediately followed by a voice saying to stay put, the alarm was in error. Are you kidding me? They woke us up to tell us to go back to sleep? That didn’t make sense! Now wide awake, we decided to go downstairs for a bit. We talked to a few people about the alarm and they all told us that it had been going on for over half an hour before they announced it was false. Somehow, we must have slept through the first half hour of alarms and only woke up for the all clear. Thank goodness it was a false alarm. At least we weren’t as bad off as one woman we talked to. She said she was so rattled and confused when the fire alarm went off, that she ran upstairs to the roof! At least we were sober enough to go down instead of up. Gambling highlights: So after unpacking our first night at Sam’s Town and doing our best to hide our valuables, our first stop was the Winchester Bar. My husband had won $1000 there last trip. Got to start where you’ve been lucky right? The bar was packed on a Sunday night but we were eventually able to squeeze into a couple random spots. My machine had a yellow glow and was hard on the eyes to look at. After losing 7 hands in a row without even a pair (seriously, 5 of the first 7 hands where complete redraws and combined with the yellow glow, I wasn’t having fun) I took my drink, told my husband I was bailing (and had to listen to him laugh about how easily I give up) and went for a walk around the casino to see if I could find some 9/6 DDB since it’s 9/5 at the bar. I didn’t find any 9/6 so I ended up back at the Winchester Bar. Luckily it had emptied out and I found a seat at a different machine without the yellow glow. By this time I’d been in the casino for 12 minutes. I played just a few hands and got my first ever Royal Flush for $4000!!! I played for a few more hours and got a few 4OAK and one $800 win with 4 Aces as well. I ended the night well ahead. We finally did find 4 machines offering 9/6 DDB on dollars though at Sam’s Town. They are in a group of 4 just in front of the Security sign by the Cashier’s cage. We did check their high limit room but they were 9/5 as well. El Cortez slot tournament: This was our first slot tournament so we weren’t sure what to expect. It turned out that the EC puts on a buffet dinner in their Fiesta Room where everyone goes the night before to pick up the details of the tournament. The buffet runs from 4 to 7 so we had plenty of time to drop in. Although the food looked good, we were meeting my sister and BIL later for dinner so we just grabbed our package and left. We discovered that there would be 2 sessions tomorrow and one session the following day. Each session would involve slapping the slot button for 7 minutes. My husband didn’t want to do it but they said it would be okay for me to play the machine, although the tournament entry would still be in his name. The top prize was $5000, followed by a $2000, $1000, $500 win and then I think they had 4 $100 winners. There were also 50 (not positive on that number, it could have been more) $50 prizes for random picks. With only 300 people in the tournament, we thought we had a pretty good shot at it since there were at least 57 prizes. That’s a 1 in 6 chance to win something while getting 3 free nights, 1 buffet dinner, 2 buffet breakfasts and a cake and champagne party on the 2nd day when they announced the winners. All these prizes were in cash too instead of just winning free play. The next morning we had breakfast at the buffet set up for players in the Fiesta Room (how can you not be happy starting the day in a FIESTA room!) and then we played at the EC until 10 when it was time for our first session at the slot tournament. I did well, coming 2nd in my batch of 25 people. The 7 minutes went by very fast but my wrists were slightly sore when I was done. Since our second slot session was at 4 we didn’t make it back to Sam’s Town that day. Actually, we never did make it back to ST for the rest of the trip so I’m not sure we’ll be invited back even if we wanted to stay there. My second session at the slot tournament went pretty well but after about 4 minutes, I was hoping the 7 minutes had gone by. My wrists were definitely feeling it. We did one more session the following morning but my machine was cold. I knew I wasn’t in the top contenders but could still hope for a random prize. We went to the champagne and cake party later in the day to see how we did in the tournament. I never did see everyone’s final numbers but do know I was well back from the big money winners. Still, by just showing up for the party, we managed to pull off a $50 win from the random winners. I’d do it again if it was free. It was fun, didn’t take long and you could win a lot! Other gambling: My sister and her husband met us on the second day of our trip so we booked them into The D on one of our 3 night comp offers. It was their first stay downtown and I wouldn’t be surprised if we converted them from staying on the strip. Once I introduced my low rolling sister to Sigma Derby at The D, she was hooked. While my husband spent time at the bar playing VP my sister, BIL and I got to visit for a bit while horse racing. For a quarter a race and comped drinks for a dollar tip, she was having a great time and winning too. It was fun to see her get excited about a $3 win! We spent an evening downstairs at The D playing blackjack and craps. My husband had a good roll at the craps table and left with $2020. It’s interesting when I look back on the picture of his winnings, that they didn’t just give him 2 $1000 chips. Although he’d been tipping all through the game, I guess they were still hoping for a little more. I won a few hundred playing BJ at The D but those tables where cold. Not the cards, but the air. It was flippin freezing at the tables. It was cold in Vegas anyhow, but the air conditioning was coming full blast on the tables. I’ve heard people complain on here about the lack of dancing from the dealers at The D but I think they are just frozen in place. All the dealers were shivering and unhappy but one dealer who I played with was very vocal in complaining, even with the pit boss standing beside her. I was surprised she was speaking so freely with him there but she said the pit critters aren’t happy either. She told us “the owner here believes people play poorly when they’re uncomfortable so he purposely keeps the table area cold.” I sure wasn’t expecting her to throw that out there so boldly! Whether true or not, I sense Derek may be slipping off his pedestal a bit when it comes to his staff. And that’s not good. One of the greatest reasons I put up with louder than I like music and slower than I like elevators is because the staff have always seemed like they are The D’s biggest cheerleaders. They are the ones that make it fun. When they are grumpy and complaining, the fun stops real quick. Anyhow, I did leave while ahead a few hundred dollars because I needed to go warm up. Who knows if I might have stayed longer if it was more comfortable. We visited a few casinos on Fremont Street during the trip and spent a couple hours at The Plaza one day. Wow, what a difference. They have changed the layout of the slot machines, walled in some empty spaces and cranked the music up. Those changes alone made a big difference but since they’ve upped the payouts on the VP machines, it was all good. Well done Curtiss and crew! We’ll be back. On this trip, my husband and I both came home winners. I probably gambled less this trip than I normally do because my sister was there. I also took a few hours off to dye her hair, which is a whole other messy story. It wasn’t the best choice doing that in a hotel room with white towels but we made it work! But between my husband and I, we came home $6700 ahead. Our next trip in January will be our first week long trip so it was sure nice to pad our gambling account a bit.