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Six days starts Sunday

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Terry Benedict, Jul 23, 2010.

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  1. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    The Players: Myself and my Lady, J & M, R & D, B (J’s dad) & K, Mel & L, and K2.

    The Flight: We booked flights in April, SWA, $265 each total. We have a stop in Sacramento on the way down, but the flight times were better.

    The Room: We usually stay Sun-Thur, but this time we are looking for a little more relaxing so now it’s Sun-Fri. We started looking for hotels in April as summer promos were coming out. J & M like the big rooms at the Rio and it is less expensive than the Strip, so we decided on the Rio. Me and Lady usually get better offers than J &M, although they have more points on their cards. Go figure. Our website offers were a couple nights at HET places, discounts at MGMs, and discounts at P/V. So I called the Rio. Bingo! Five free nights. Lady called a couple days later and Bingo! Five free nights. So we are giving her room to J & M. R & D and B & K got $45 a night. They are only staying until Wednesday. Just for kicks, I called Palazzo, my favorite hotel. Bingo! Five free nights. So Lady called her best friend and offered the Palazzo room to Mel and her fiancé L. Mel was diagnosed with cancer in October, it got worse, and we wanted to help her live with it. You know, anything we can do to help to make her world a little better. Then she invited another friend, K2. We may not see Mel, L, and K2 much during the trip but will catch up for dinner once or twice.

    The Plan: I jumped on the Summer of Cirque special and grabbed LOVE tickets. At the time, there were only six of us going, but at that price I got the maximum eight. I figured even if no one else went, I could sell them for $110 no problem. Then B & K booked so we’re all good for a show. We’ll probably find another discounted show while we’re down there. I’d like to check out Gordie Brown. We are also considering Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, considering we have a group of us. I also picked up two $25 McFadden’s coupons from Restaurant.com for three bucks and one $50 for BB King’s Blues Club for six. I’m excited for BB King’s. I saw it when I was in Nashville a couple months ago but the fellas overruled me for Joe’s Crab Shack (still a win). We are also considering the Bellagio Buffet. The only high priced buffet I have been to is the Seafood Market and am looking forward to trying Bellagio or Wynn. I figure one or two nice dining restaurants, but mostly just some good grub like Gold Coast, Canter’s Deli, and Gran Lux. Top-notch meals can really take dollars out of my gambling stash so I have to be disciplined not to blow it on food so I can blow it at the tables.
    The Score: I’m not a high roller. I am continually amazed at the offers I get based on my relatively low play. My win/loss at HET was about -$69 for 2009/10 and -$600 for 2008. For P/V it is -55 for 2010 and +222 for 2008. I usually slow play for the first few days so I can really play on the last night and day. I don’t really go to Vegas to gamble, I can do that at the tribe casinos out here. I like the fact that I can get a resort in the sun for under a hundred a night. So I’ll take the rooms, thank you very much. I usually play nickel blackjack and craps, and penny slots. I’m looking forward to a good fire bet. I’m also planning to play craps at Casino Royale with $2 pass and $15 odds instead of the usual $5+10. I figure just a couple bucks more would pay out much better in a good roll. J and I found we like the fifty-play poker machines for the slow burn and, with a good waitress, the ridiculous head rush when we stand up after an hour or so. Speaking of…

    The Spirits: J and I are Crown & Coke guys. The caffeine and sugar help us with the marathon nights down there. My Lady and M are into vodka tonics lately and have made D, who is not a big drinker, promise that she will keep up with them. R is a vodka guy. I don’t know about the others. I am going to ask every casino if the hotel has a signature drink. It could be a lot of fun, it could be disaster mixing alcohols. Speaking of…

    The Duke: The back-story is from an episode of Dharma And Greg. Dharma and her friend had a statue of a duck for whoever did it in the most exciting place. The punch line at the end was when Greg asked “Why a duck? Why not a plaque or a trophy?â€. The answer was “Because ‘trophy’ doesn’t rhyme!â€. So we have a pin of John Wayne for whoever can’t hold their liquor. Hence, The Duke. Two of us have acquired The Duke in Vegas. I got him after a fun run at the Casino Royale craps table. I was That Guy staggering down the Strip at night. You’ve all seen it. You give your friend an elbow, point, and say “Hey look at that guyâ€. Yeah, that was me. From the Flamingo to Palazzo, I was That Guy. And after Lady and J & M got to the room, I got The Duke. But it was a great night and totally worth it. Lady got it the year before at Caesars right before getting on the shuttle to Rio. The driver was not happy. But it was a great night and totally worth it.

    The Updates: I’ve never done a live trip report before. We’ll have the laptop, but frankly I don’t know if I’ll have the desire to stop and pop in the wins and losses of the day. No promises, but I’ll try.

    Wish me luck!
     
  2. sybgal

    sybgal VIP Whale

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    Sounds like a great time....enjoy and good luck!
     
  3. sb_039

    sb_039 Tourist

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    Great prequel and good luck!
     
  4. FL Mary

    FL Mary Low-Roller

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    Good luck! I look forward to your reports!
     
  5. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Have a great trip!!!
     
  6. shaggyboiler

    shaggyboiler Low-Roller

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    Good luck, have a great time. We (me and the wife)will be leaving Sunday @ 2:30 EST staying till Wed afternoon celebrating our 15 years of marriage. Hoping to have a great time (when don't you in Sin City though
     
  7. Blondie76

    Blondie76 Low-Roller

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    Have a great time! :)
     
  8. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    hope you get a lotta ducks while you are there.
     
  9. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Ha! Love the story of The Duke. Have a great time and looking forward to reading!
     
  10. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Looking forward to your live reports; well it's Sunday so you may already be well on your way to acquiring The Duke!
     
  11. shaggyboiler

    shaggyboiler Low-Roller

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    I'm stuck in airport with a delay right now. Hope to be on my way soon though.
     
  12. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    Day One

    Woke up bright and early Sunday morning. Well, at least early since I never sleep well the night before vacation. Light traffic to the airport, which was nice. Since M called shotgun the day before, J and I watched half of The Hangover on the drive. Touché.

    Good flight, only one bump on the landing at McCarren. That was a pleasant surprise. We used some photo copied free drink tickets a buddy emailed me to load up the first buzz —we sure were glad the flight attendant took them. Southwest makes some strong drinks. The next surprise was Presidential Limo. J & M didn’t know we set up a limo for all of us. Mimosas kept the buzz alive. It’s always fun getting a ride to the hotel like that. And I think Presidential owes sites like this a million thanks for the word of mouth business we send their way.

    Check-in at the Rio was easy peasy. G and J continued the new tradition of Coronas during check-in. So all eight of us dunked our limes and affirmed our love of Vegas. Checking in for four rooms on a Sunday at one o’clock kind of limits room selection, so we got twelfth floor. But I would rather all be on the same floor than up high on different floors. The rooms are exactly what I expected. Not perfect, but totally acceptable. We didn’t choose a luxury hotel and didn’t get one. But it has good style and flavor. I’m happy with our choice.

    We were all starving so we hit the All American Bar & Grill. The third surprise of the day was how good the New York steak was. My Dad told me once that the sign of a good steak is when you don’t have to add any sauce to it. And this was a good steak. Everyone else was happy with their burgers and sandwiches too.

    I had to go to Palazzo to check in Mel, L, and K2 so the guys and I caught the shuttle to Harrah’s while the girls went shopping for supplies, and B & K hit Caesars to see how old school has grown up. Man, I really like Palazzo. We hit a couple slots, the girls showed up, so we played a little more. Then the age old question: What do you want to do now? So we wandered through Treasure Island, picked up new players’ cards, checked out the Gilley’s Girls, and threw a few more bucks into the slots. A quick tram over to the Mirage to grab LOVE tickets for Monday night kind of finished up our first night on the Strip.

    The exhaustion of Travel Day was competing with hunger pangs in all of us. Food won. Next question: Where? Since we didn’t quite understand a lot of the choices on the Ping Pang Pong menu, we went to the Noodle Exchange at Gold Coast. Most of us got comfort food, but J & M got the mini hot bowl. I don’t know if he had ordered it before, but I was pretty impressed with his adventurous attitude. If you haven’t seen it before, you light the gel under the pot of broth. When that comes to a boil you add meat, veggies, and noodles. I hadn’t heard of some of the items and some of them none of us even had a guess on what it was. But they finished the whole thing.

    So ended Day One. We all dragged our butts back to the Rio and crashed. On the way up the elevator, I mentioned how it was pathetic that six of us were stone cold sober in Vegas. I attribute it to the state of the cocktail “serving†of the town now. None of us were offered a drink at the Rio, Palazzo, or Treasure Island. I hope it gets better.

    By the way, I’m only down $40.
     
  13. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    Day Two, LOVE in Las Vegas

    Monday morning we opened up the pool. The adult pool was closed, so we staked our spots by the one with the seashell waterfall. The staff came by and let us know they were closing that pool so they could hit it with some chemicals. Huh? They couldn’t have figured that out last night or before they put out the lounge chairs that morning? Oh well. At least they opened up the adult pool so we got some good spots there. I liked the bench to sit on that goes around the inside of the pool. Again, waitress service sucked. My Lady had to flag down the one waitress at the pool to get a menu. After about twenty minutes, she came back to pick up the menu. And didn’t take a food or drink order. I guess part of cost cutting is no service at the pool. I’m ok with that, but from my past experience here, I expected it and would have been really ok with it if they had a sign or just told us there is no service. Now I feel like I’m being picky and snobby. I have to remind myself sometime that the Rio is a midlevel hotel, not a luxury one, and as far as getting what I’m paying for, this is a nice place and I’m really pleased with it. J brought the book The Bro Code from the tv show How I Met Your Mother. There is some real funny stuff in it and as far as wanting some shallow reading by the pool, it was perfect. It was nicely overcast and still hot so I didn’t get sunburned. Sweet.

    J and I hit the Sports Deli for pastrami and brisket sandwiches that really hit the spot before getting ready to hit the Strip for the night. J & M cabbed over to Caesars with B & K to get a little shopping before dinner. My Lady and I cabbed with R & D to Bellagio for the Conservatory, Aria, and Crystals before hooking up with them for the Bellagio Buffet. We have been fortunate these past two days with getting into lines at just the right time. It seems like we are always about fourth in line and by the time we get to the front, there’s fifty people behind us. I found out the reason tipping is 18%. The buffet charges 18% for groups of eight or more. When we questioned why a buffet “server†gets 18% for bringing drinks, the response was that the server union negotiated it with the hotels/restaurants. Now although I dislike the idea that a buffet waitress gets the same rate as a full-service waitress, I understand the reasoning. So all the questions I had in my previous thread were now answered. The Bellagio Buffet did not live up to my expectations of some uncommon or exotic foods. Although there weren’t uncommon items, everything had good flavor. The price was also lower than I expected even with the ten dollar tip so it’s all good.

    So now, on to LOVE. I wanted to take the long way around so we could see a fountain show. Sometimes I miss seeing it from the front and regret it when I leave town. There is nothing better in Vegas than watching a fountain show at night holding hands with your sweetheart. It didn’t disappoint. Even a Sinatra song. We are all anticipating a great show except for B & K, who haven’t seen a Cirque show so they didn’t know what to expect. WHAT A GREAT GREAT SHOW! B is in his sixties and was toe-tapping and clapping along. He and K were blown away. For me, it’s always nice seeing footage of John Lennon smiling and laughing. I grew up thinking of him as a soulful, contemplative, tragic figure and it’s good to see him as a fun-loving twentysomething. An All-Timer.

    So now it’s time to get drunk and win some money! We crossed the street into Harrah’s. The ladies played a bunch of slots and the men played spotty on tables. The Harrah’s staff broke the trend and gave some great drink service. Crown and Coke and shots all around. Drunk: check. Win some money: not quite. But good enough, only down about fifty more. Three-thirty is time to stagger our butts to the cabstand to get home. It seems like the longest walk in Vegas is the one from the taxi to the elevators in the wee hours of the morning.

    So ends Day Two.
     
  14. Terry Benedict

    Terry Benedict VIP Whale

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    Day Three, Fremont fun

    Tuesday morning started Tuesday afternoon. It is so difficult for me to get a good sleep here, and I finished up a restless night around noon. I had some yogurt and granola, bagel and cream cheese, and Starbucks my wonderful Lady was nice enough to go downstairs to get for me. She had some postings to do for her masters so I just chilled in the room for the day. I couldn’t get a nap mixed into all the uninteresting daytime tv shows, which was disappointing. And seriously, can we get more Law & Order on? It’s only on two channels 24 hours.

    The crew starts showing up around 4:30 to get our drink on. Some cheese, meat, and crackers to go with the vodka tonics and C&C. We went to Dick’s Last Resort at Excalibur because, you know, for the atmosphere. It is a light-hearted and sometimes off-color insult fest. We said it was our friend’s birthday so they made her a hat that said “It’s my birthday and candles won’t be the only thing I’m blowing tonight.†Fun dinner. Lady and I split the bbq pulled pork, chicken, and ribs. The food wasn’t too good, but it also wasn’t too expensive. The atmosphere is the hook of the place.

    We walked through NYNY and Monte Carlo to show them the hotels before we went downtown. I am so disappointed they dethemed NYNY, and good luck to the Monte Carlo. They have no hook except inexpensive rates. Faux French luxury is not a theme.

    We cabbed down the Fremont on Fremont and met up with M, L, and K2. They had two-buck Coronas, thank you very much. L and I walked the canopy while the rest went off to find a table. Fremont East seems to be taking off nicely, although I really didn’t go past the canopy. It seems the clean, safe area is expanding, which is going to help continue the growth downtown. The crowd size was perfect. Enough to make a good vibe but not too much to have everyone in your way. American Pie and The Doors were the shows I saw. It was kind of cool hearing the crowd singing American Pie. It reminded me of the National Anthem at a ball game.

    The crew had taken over a blackjack table in the Fremont, a five dollar 3/2 double deck. It had surrender available. Does anyone use this? We had a three newbies at the table and I didn’t want to overwhelm them with more options. Lady had sat down with twenty bucks, won the first hand and kept going. I showed up a half hour into the game and she pulled $100 out of her purse to give to me. She was already up $175. Sweet! Found money is fun money, so I bellied up to the craps table with J. The rookie Brit was already 16 rolls in (they have a counter), so I went after the come bets. After we found out this was her first time playing craps, we went aggressive with the beginners’ luck. I played more come bets than I usually do, and more hard ways. It was a $3 table but with only double odds. After I got up around fifty, I put Lady’s hundy in my pocket. After my first round of come bets hit, I went to five dollar bets. After the second round of come bets hit, I went to ten dollar bets. The Brit went 48 rolls without a seven. That really helped me because it kept my come bets up. At sevenout, colored up and got the hell out of there. Up $175 with Lady’s in my pocket. It was a nice run. We went back to the blackjack table to brag a little, but the whole table was up more than we were. Sweet! Lady gave me another hundred to sit at an empty seat and I ran that down to fifty before it was time to get up. The table was rowdy and the poor dealer Hannah had a headache. Hopefully the tips they were throwing worked better than Tylenol. We got the pit boss to ok some Jager shots for the table to boost the Coronas that were flowing. It was loud and I was kind of letting a college guy at the opposite table know that he wanted to be at our table. I started calling him Long Island every time another blackjack dropped.

    So after I drained Lady’s fifty, J and I took a stroll down Fremont looking for another good dice game. It was about eleven so we knew we needed fourth meal. A Golden Gate sandwich and shrimp cocktail hit the spot very nicely. It was a good little run: got to shoot a couple times each, got a couple drinks each, didn’t lose, tipped the dealers and walked. Back to our crew.

    As we walked up, a seat opened up so Lady gave me thirty to sit down. For the next hour, I went on a good run. My progressive betting was working. I didn’t get any doubles or splits, but after about five or six wins, I got two blackjacks. There was a dealer change so I dropped my bet from forty to twenty and lost. I was pleased with the idea it was like a twenty dollar win. Then the wins kept coming. I started chatting with the pit boss about breakfast for all of us. Bet at forty, BLACKJACK! “So Jay, is there a good breakfast restaurant here?†Bet at fifty, BLACKJACK! “You can hook us up at Main Street Station? Great.†Bet at fifty, BLACKJACK! “ Thanks Jay, we had a wonderful time here tonight and we’re going to tell everyone we know.†Off to MSS for steak and eggs which no one finished.

    After her twenty dollar stake and initial five dollar bet, Lady and I ran it up to a $700 night. Sweet!

    So ends Day Three.

    Now I will recite the oath: Raise my right hand and put my left hand on the Vegas magazine with the Kardashian sisters on the cover. “I, Terry Benedict, do solemnly swear to acknowledge I’m getting older and cannot consume excessive amounts of alcohol, stay awake until the morning radio shows start, and only sleep three hours. So help me God. Unless I do.â€

    Observations:

    Dick's Last Resort isn't for everyone. It was for me though.

    There is nothing like taking over a table and winning for five hours.

    That horseradish in the shrimp cocktail sauce at the end really has a great kick.

    Jay, I know you probably won’t see this, but thanks. We had a great time.

    Lady got The Duke, but it was totally worth it. What a great night!
     
  15. lou709

    lou709 Tourist

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    Love your report. Agree wholeheartedly with Love.
    Saw it 4 times and enjoyed it more each time.
    Keep those wins coming...........

    Louise
     
  16. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    great report, congrats on the wins, nice litte run there.
     
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