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Ten Free Days in Vegas

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by dewey089, Jul 9, 2003.

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  1. dewey089

    dewey089 Guru of Value

    Aug 4, 2001
    averill park (near albany) ny
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report


    Lucky Pete called me up and told me he was going to the Silver Strike convention and do a couple weeks of Vegas with mostly free rooms and would I like to leave the women at home and share his rooms. I patched in two free nights at the Orleans, packed all my free and 2-1 coupons, and off I went to meet him. When you go to Vegas with Lucky Pete, the goal is to spend the most number of days for the least number of dollars. So here is how the free trip went.


    Southwest out of Albany NY Cost: $228. Voucher after getting voluntary bump: $308. So I was 80 bucks up before I left the ground. Thank you, Jean Scott.(even if I did have to run between terminals in Baltimore to make my connection in 7 minutes)


    Lucky Pete and I patched together free mailings and managed nine totally free nights for our mutual time together. As for the quality of the rooms, hey, we quit worrying about hotel room quality. They are all better than any $50 motel on your way to anywhere else. And they are free. Besides, I hardly use the room.

    I get up at six to work out and shower either in a fitness room or before I swim the pool and then gamble or play until midnight or later and then crash.

    We tip the maids and tell them not to bother cleaning up until we check out.
    When you’re paying less than camping prices, who cares if you don’t have lots of little stuff in bottle to take home or a brass bed? And we even had one of those at the Orleans. We had 2-3 day stays at Stratosphere , Plaza, Orleans, Las Vegas Club. All the rooms were fine. Las Vegas Club North tower was much better than any others, except the Orleans which was not any more roomier or comfortable, but was more plush. But what do I need with an ironing board? Oh, at LVC you need to ask a maid for bar soap or make due with soap from a dispenser.


    Lucky Pete and I both need to lose weight, but we both wanted to over indulge buffets. So, we ate once a day, midday, all we wanted, snacking on free fruit in fitness clubs, airplane peanuts, free scratch card ice cream or some other small something in between. Unless of course we had a free breakfast. We took anything free. We did have to pay some cash for our main meal twice in the ten days, for a total of $33.00. We’ll try harder next trip. Here is how I rate what I ate (on a scale of 1-10):

    #4 Sahara café Prime Rib special. Had to pay for this one because I arrived too late after the bump and too hungry from ten hours without food.
    #4 Stratosphere Buffet
    #1 Las Vegas Club Upper Deck 20 oz sirloin and prime rib. See the LVC story of how I got this comp.
    #4 Silverton Buffet. I know it is small, but I like the taste of what they serve, especially strawberry shortcake over cornbread with thick whipped cream.
    #2 Fiesta Henderson buffet. Includes duck.
    #2 Boulder Station Buffet. Always a treat.
    #1 Texas Station Buffet – Great for beef. Don’t miss the selections of chili on the end. My favorite is Buffalo Breath and I like it served in a crispy, deep fried shell I find in the Mexican section located near the middle of the buffet.
    #1 Einstein Bagels on Maryland near Tropicana. My hardworking grandnephew is Assistant manager and he treated us for breakfast. Tell Chris Rehac I said, “hi†if you eat there.
    #2 Las Vegas Club Upperdeck breakfast free with free room.
    #2 Las Vegas Club pistachio ice cream won on a scratch card. Made a good breakfast.
    #1 Hilton Buffet. Free wine or beer at night only. Great desserts like cream
    #3 99 cent fake crab cocktail at Golden Gate.

    puff balls with real, old fashioned cream. A definite cut above the others in this list.

    You can see I liked everything. For true low rollers there really is no such thing as bad food just as there are no bad hotels or no free things to pass up.


    This live Texas Hold Em is killing me. Do these guys play together every day? I guess I’m just a poor liar. Good $2-4 games at the Palms and at the Plaza. Spread limit 2-4-8 games seemed ok at the Monte Carlo. I won’t play the tight locals at the Orleans anymore. Don’t confuse the game with what you see on TV. Low limit is not like that. Absolutely best dealer overall for the second trip is Joe at the Palms in spite of the free comedy tickets a woman who says she is related to MC Hammer got for me at the Plaza. I think Hammer was at the Palms in the high roller area. Some hi hop fellow was, with body guards. But what would I know. Too old to be hip hop.

    Fiesta Henderson craps is the best in Vegas. Very friendly dealers, no heat if you set, $1 minimum with $10 free odds and never full. I got next the short throw space to the dealer every time I played in the two days we went there. Only I lost. Still, my points at Fiesta bought me and the grand nephew and a grand niece a free buffet.

    I used Win cards at Fiesta Henderson and the Four Queens, but you now only get them once a lifetime.

    Video poker was very good to me. I hit the Royal at the Plaza and with the $1000 went a bonus of $50 in Mobil gas cards, but I still only tipped $5 for the hand pay. At the Las Vegas Club I only remembered to stop playing after two 4-kind in order to wait to get their scratch card promotions, but I got a really nice hat for one of those and an ice cream for the other. Well, actually, it was supposed to be for a frozen drink, but I talked the waitress into a cone to go.

    I played 10/7 in quarters at the Palms (ticket in ticket out- great for waiting for a seat at live poker) at Fiesta Henderson, at the Orleans, the Plaza, and The Four Queens where there is a full pay progressive that was up to $1400 when I played. I found full pay 10/7 DB at two Orleans bars too if you like to play there in spite of the recent notes that VP is poorer there. I also played a nice 9/5 bonus poker at the Stratosphere using a strategy sheet I created with Tomski’s VP Strategy maker. No real wins expept the one royal. Did not even hit the aces all ten days.

    Blackjack at the Golden Gate with an hour LVA coupon for 2-1 pays and the first deal a blackjack on a $10 bet still cost me $135 and I played head to head in a double deck game and could count aces and slip back to $5 when too many showed. Go figure?

    Slots…..well…..I don’t play them. Dropped just $5 in nickels twice because I was waiting to play the free tournament at the Monte Carlo and wanted some of that micro brewed jackpot ale. The bottle made great souvenirs.

    Using matchplays I played blackjack, craps, roulette and even a game of keno at the Rivera the Stratosphere. Broke about even. Don’t forget the single zero roulette at the Stratosphere if you play much of that game. It makes a bit difference.


    Used coupon and $15 to play the video poker tournament at Fiesta Henderson five times, but did not even hit a jacks or higher four of a kind for the free carry bag. Played the Monte Carlo tournament three times so I have three free coffee cups and I won a nice blouse for Lucky Pete’s wife in the drawing.


    To go to Vegas with Lucky Pete means that you follow the Silver Strike trail. To go at convention time means the trail is everywhere and eternal. But it is a lot of fun to watch someone enjoy his passion and learn more about collecting and about other collectors. For those of you who are not aware of Silver Strike slot machines, they are in many of the Vegas casinos and in others around the country. They payout in limited edition, $10 collector coins cast in silver with Brass borders. In some places 20 of the $10 coins can be turned in to the casino for a $200 coin. Some of the coins double or triple in value, so the collections are investments too. Lucky Pete writes on Silver Strike bulletin boards every day and pays attention to e-bay sales. He came prepared to win more coins, to trade coins, to upgrade his collection and to network with other collectors and he had a fine time doing that and left ahead of the slot game because the value of his coins offset his slot losses. Playing the slots is also how he gets so many fine free room offers. Much more than I do for playing over 100% video poker. And yet by knowing what he is playing for, he also realizes over 100% of his invested slot play.

    Tracy is another Silver Strike collector. Tracy and Lucky Pete know one another from talking about Silver Strikes on the Internet. Both are passionate and can trade and talk for days just about Silver Strikes and the different configurations and which are most popular. The hobby is half collection and half investment.
    So Tracy drove from Seattle to Vegas for 14 hours and started to play Silver Strike machines. Four days later he figured maybe it was time to get a room, only he had not made any reservations, and it was a Friday night.
    Generous Lucky Pete invited Seattle Tracy to stay with him in his room (for three nights Pete actually had two free rooms, one for him and one for me.) Tracy stayed with Lucky Pete for two nights and the plan was that we were all going to hit a buffet with our free coupons, but Tracy never showed up to go eat.

    The next day Pete found him at the Four Queens playing the Silver Strike machine and there Seattle Tracy stayed for another four days, until he had to drive back to Seattle to host his 4th of July party.

    True madness!


    Lucky Pete is not the lounge lizard that I am, so I never see as much live music or shows on our trips. I did catch the Tuesday night jazz show at Brendan’s Irish Pub and a very talented and sexy young woman sang blues, R and B and moved in ways that made my caught my attention. In between sets she stopped to thank me for coming. Her name was Debby and the group was something like Winelight. It was a fine night of free music with a pint of free Irish stout. Lucky Pete and I caught the topless version of the Folies on a 2-1 I caught in the Tropicana free pull coming in. The show was wonderfully sensual and tasteful with women who did not need silicone implants and a pole to entertain and titilate, but just small breasted grace and beauty. I love that show anyway.
    We paid to sit in front, but I should have sat just a bit back in the half circle booths. My favorite parts were the 30’s feather dance reflected in a circular mirror and the 50’s beat scene where only day glow gloves, stockings, and hats are visible in black cubicles until the women disrobe and then are “Real gone!†as the beats say.
    At the Plaza I saw the Sunspots but their stereotypical faked Chinese humor was inappropriate. They get away with it because they are Filipino and white guys figure all Asians are alike, but they should not. Otherwise, they were corney but fun. They are followed by Dusty who I always enjoy seeing with all his props and assorted music and comedic interactions with the audience.
    The Fremont Street performing Chaskis were the best bamboo flute players I have seen.
    Once again I caught a couple short sets of the Dixieland guys at the Gold Coast and they were great as always. Very talented and every time is different. It feels just like being on Bourbon Street fifty years ago.

    Great old piano player at the Golden Gate one late morning about one. He talked to us about each song. It was like Marilyn Mcpartland’s jazz piano show.


    The fellow in the downtown store who sells us our favorite 4 for $9.99 T shirts was out of them this time. We did find some fine fleece jackets at the Silverton on sale for $10 each. With a $5 e-mailed coupon and my points, mine cost me 60 cents.

    The Four Queens has a great luggage tag. Use the free coupon you get at the free pull. Better than another key chain.

    Free cards and keychains at the Riviera.

    50 cent cards and 25 cent used dice in the Orleans gift shop.

    Free colorful insulated coffee cup in the Monte Carlo slot tournament.


    I worked out for about two hours every day, except my first and my last. Most of the fitness rooms were very basic, but the Orleans with free coupon is plush and a wonderful treat. I even got a breakfast there of tomato juice and a sweet apple as well as a bottle of cold water to go. The pool at the Orleans opens at 10 AM. One morning they let me swim at 7:30AM. Another they did not. It doesn’t hurt to try. The outside Jacuzzi is open even when the pool is closed, so don’t go back when you see the closed signs. If you are staying at the LVC, you can use take a LVC room key to the Plaza desk and they will print you a fitness room key. The stratosphere charged me $5 to workout.


    On the Las Vegas Club website last month I put a note. I wondered why the web site did not mention the new promotions and why the food advertisements had December dates on them. I knew the LVC had improved much of their casino and rooms and the web did not seem to reflect that. I thought I was being helpful.
    But I also added my biggest beef, that the “Most liberal Blackjack in the world†was no longer the liberal game it once was because of the change in BJ payouts.

    A week later Calvin Mack, director of Casino Operations, called me up and wanted to clarify what my comments meant. We talked a long while, and I told him that I had actually felt tricked when I sat down to the table under the same signs I had remembered where I had played hours in other years. He said that since he had taken over, he had not changed that game, but that he had added some very good single deck BJ and he felt that compared to the 6-5 BJ in some places the LVC was giving good gaming. I am not a mathematician, but I told him I would check with someone who was and get back to him. He invited me to come and see him, and he would buy me dinner. Actually, he said something about there being a new chef and my fantasy was that maybe it would be the Great Moments Room, so I got excited. I checked out the math on this great blackjack site: http://www.skister.com/bj/

    It did not list that game, but I wrote the site owner who told me how to figure the changes. It turns out the liberal game is not liberal at all. So I brought some of that information and talked again to Calvin Mack in front of the game. He was very cordial, but not giving an inch. He claimed that numbers can be skewed to indicate anything. Hard to argue with that. But he comped us for the Upperdeck, which was just fine with my buddy Lucky Pete because he would rather have the cheaper meal than the fancy one that requires the bigger tip. In fact, the waitress had to talk a long time to convince Lucky Pete to order the prime rib and try it. He is a pot roast kind of low roller guy. She just kept telling him that they were “famous for their steak and prime rib.†Which was a way I think of telling him the pot roast was not that great. Later he admitted it was a fine prime rib and that it had not disappointed him as the cheaper prime ribs often do.

    If you play at the Las Vegas Club tell Calvin Mack that Dewey sent you. In spite of the math argument, or perhaps because of it, I really wound up liking this guy and the casino. I’m going back next month and play some single deck blackjack.

    So there it is kids, all the details and adventures. Few regrets. I could not use all the free meal coupons I had and have two free served dinners at the Orleans to get in August. I did not have the Feel Good Soup at the Fiesta Henderson. Otherwise a fine trip.


    By the way, I did not mind the heat. I was only oppressed by heat when I came off the plane and ran into Albany, New York in the humid high 90’s. I could not get over what a shock that was to my body and how quickly I was uncomfortable. The dry heat is much easier to bear, even if you do feel you need gloves to drive the car out of the parking lot. But then I did not spend much time wandering in the desert, either.

    And the final score looked like this:

    Total expenses, including airfare and $66 in souvenir clothes- $494

    Total winnings - $449 left from the royal and a $308 travel voucher for next time.

    Lifetime gambling score (counting every win from a wager over the last nine years of this hobby) Ahead exactly $2000.

    And another trip scheduled for the end of next month. Not a radical low roller trip , but not too expensive either.

    Thanks for reading. Have some luck.

    [ July 09, 2003, 04:31 PM: Message edited by: dewey089 ]
  2. chef

    chef Resident Buffetologist

    Apr 20, 2002
    That made for some good reading. You covered all bases.
    What I liked about it is that you talked about all aspects - eating, entertainment, gambling, exercising, different hotels, frugality (right down my alley), air travel, weather, etc.
    I even learned what the Silver Strike trail was.
  3. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nifty report, dewey, a great read. I like the LVC but the "liberal rules" blackjack table is a scam. When he says it compares to 6-5 BJ, he is telling you as much. Of course, arguing the point with him is like arguing the value of the monorail with a cabbie. :rolleyes:

    How about posting some of your hold'em experiences to the Casino Gaming forum? There's been a fair amount of interest in casino hold'em around here lately...
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