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The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…only in Vegas (8/3-8/9)!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by LAURLUVS2BOWL, Sep 7, 2010.

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  1. LAURLUVS2BOWL

    LAURLUVS2BOWL Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2009
    Messages:
    206
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20

    My Trip Report

    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…only in Vegas (8/3-8/9)!

    **WARNING** – this report is CRAZY long, and probably will be most enjoyable to those who want a bit of education on the ins and outs of where I ventured in Vegas. Either way, hope all of you enjoy for one reason or another!

    A little background – this is my 7th trip to Vegas in a little over 4 years, and my longest by at least a couple days. I stayed 3 nights at Golden Nugget and 3 nights at California. My mom came with me for part of the trip, and my LA friend and her fiancée were with me for a latter part of the trip. During the times they weren’t there I was either on my own or with my friend (C) who was also in town for a week. So, here we go…
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    DAY 1 – TUESDAY 8/3
    My mom and I picked flights based on using miles through Continental, so our flight to Vegas left at 730am Houston time. While I had considered first class when I first booked, I passed because it would use up twice as many miles for each leg. Well, the day before the flight, I wanted to print my boarding pass, and lo and behold it only cost $89 for each of us to upgrade to first! Considering the flight cost a measly $5 fee after using miles, and considering that the $89 would include ‘lovely’ bag fees, we pounced on it. Oh, and did I mention this was not only my first time using miles to fly, but also my first time in first class??? SCORE! :thumbsup:

    We got to the gate and boarded practically right after that. I asked for champagne to drink, but disturbingly was told they only have it on international flights. What the eff. :( So I settled for a screwdriver but had them give me the baby vodka bottle by itself so I could add it as I pleased. We knew that breakfast wouldn’t exactly be great regardless of first class, and we were right. I got the same tasteless cereal and banana as coach, and Mom got an omelette with breakfast meat on the side (pork, which we don’t eat).

    IMPORTANT POINT #1
    Honestly though, I can’t complain much at all about our first class experience. The hot towel thing was a trip for a first timer like me (who had only seen it in the movies) and the free Direct TV (which would have cost another $6) worked out nicely. The best part for me was the seats. Everything about them. The comfort of the leather, the leg room, and the, um, seat size. I’m not a small person. I need space. This gave me the perfect amount! I realized I may have to do this again in the future (perhaps 6 days in the future)….. :D

    We got to Vegas at 8ish and got our bags quickly. First time staying downtown (finally realized that made sense considering how much I loved being down there) so we decided on Bell Trans shuttle to get us there. Considering it was a Tuesday before 9am, we had very little issue. We rode with maybe 4 other pairs – the only other stop besides Golden Nugget was the Strat, and we maybe waited 15-20 minutes from the time we got on the shuttle itself before heading out from the airport.

    Golden Nugget check in was relatively pain free. Would have probably been totally pain free had I not been awake since 230am Vegas time and here it was already 930. The hotel lady at the Gold Tower (which we stayed in the first night before moving to the Carson the next 2 nights) saved a room for us which someone had already checked out of, and told us to check back at 11 when it would be ready (the official check out time). I wanted to go ahead with our day but I knew from past experience that not getting your room as early as possible could result in a disastrous room assignment so I didn’t want to take our chances.

    Before leaving for a bit we noticed that something was going on at the pool that a bunch of people were watching through the glass. That something was the filming of CSI! So random. Turns out the pool would be completely closed to guests til mid afternoon that day, and the majority of the pool would be closed til mid afternoon the next day. Thankfully we were there longer than a day but MAN if I had booked that hotel knowing I was getting one of the best pools in Vegas (in August at that) and then not been able to use it? Not okay. CSI isn’t one of my shows but I have to admit it’s not every day you have a top show filming at your hotel! Too bad I had no patience to wait around to see who showed up on set.

    We walked over to Golden Gate to eat some food at DuPar’s. I had never been to Bay City Diner so I wouldn’t know one over the other but the pancakes were AMAZING as advertised. I’m pretty sure they were made with crack (or perhaps something legal that was just as tasty)! :wink Best part was that we inherited the LVA 2 for 1 coupon from a fellow VMBer and used it with no questions asked.
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    Wasn’t 11 yet so went across the street to Plaza to start gambling. Couple notes – I play VP and BJ only, Mom only does VP. Had updated my notes from VPfree on where to find full pay, and still spent extended periods of time finding it once getting to each casino. Turns out that’s not because it’s been moved (most of the time) but because slowly but surely it’s been eliminated. Eff my life. :grrr: I don’t do well enough on VP to risk not playing full pay, so yeah, not the most carefree experience I was expecting finding it to be! Either way, we found a few machines (ironically some in the exact same bank weren’t full pay) and went to work. I even got to use my ACG slot play, and having never used free slot play before I definitely am behind the concept! :nworthy:

    IMPORTANT POINT #2
    Since I did a ton of gambling this trip, I can’t specify what denomination I played each time or what game, but I stuck to $0.25 or $0.05 (solely $0.05 when I started losing LOL) and either JoB, Bonus Poker, or Deuces Wild. This was the first time I was playing anything besides JoB and it took some getting used to! So my first sitting netted me a few bucks before it was time to move on.

    Back to the hotel to go to our room, but oh go figure, the room that the lady assigned us to wasn’t ready! We were reassigned to a 3rd floor room. I could care less what floor we’re on most of the time, but honestly, would it have been impossible for them to call housekeeping and tell them to make sure to tidy up the room we were told we’d have within that 90+ minutes? Just a thought. I then mistakenly asked about getting a fridge – we like to store water and other beverages in there. Apparently it used to be free there, now it’s $20 a night. Yeah – you already know from what I’ve written in this report so far that I’m a bit frugal to say the least. $20 a night? Forget it. :yuck:

    Threw our stuff in our room and head by cab to Sahara to continue gambling. Gave my ACG matchplay coupon to the player’s club and got a voucher to be used at the table. Yeah – I could already tell this place wouldn’t let me use more than one matchplay during my week in town. Despite the matchplay I lost fairly quickly and took the monorail to Vegas Hilton before I could lose any more. Once at the Hilton, I lost a good amount more at both BJ and VP (esp since I didn’t want to wait for the $0.05 machines to open up and continued to play quarters instead – big mistake). Off to Venetian by cab, again.

    IMPORTANT POINT #3
    I’m a big time planner, but the one thing I guess I didn’t really plan for is how much the cab fees would add up. Next time I’ll seriously consider renting a car for a day or two and avoiding those fees like the plague.

    Once we got to Venetian I tried to recover from temporary gambling crankiness by getting a cupcake at Bouchon bakery. Please don’t do what we did and trek to Bouchon restaurant and expect to find the bakery. Instead it’s on the casino level fairly near the pretty food court, and has its own kiosk. After feeling slightly refreshed I head to the player’s club to use my ACG coupon for $25 free slot play. Started using it on VP and, lo and behold, was able to cash out fairly quickly and spend $0 to get $30! Happiness and joy! :woot: Definitely washed the bad gambling taste out of my system for the time being.

    Next off to Madame Tussaud’s wax museum. Had never been, figured Mom would like it, and had the ACG coupon for 2 for 1. My feet were already hurting but still managed to have a great time and ‘meet’ one of my favorite celebs – Buffy the Vampire Slayer (wax edition)!
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    Was really glad we went during the week to avoid crowds and save $$ (coupon only good from Sun-Thurs).

    IMPORTANT POINT #4
    I hate crowds. I hate walking. More than anything, I hate walking in a crowd. So even though my feet hurt pretty much the entire week, the crowds were non-existent and more than manageable. Thank goodness for the little things!

    Was getting to be late in the afternoon so we cabbed it back to the Nugget for some rest before dinner. Made an 8pm reservation at Firefly at the Plaza and made sure to mention we wanted a good view of the Fremont Street Experience light show. We got a prime table right in the center up against the glass – no obstruction! First time I didn’t have to break my neck looking up at the lights, and first time my mom had ever seen the show.
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    Food ended up being pretty good – we kinda stuffed ourselves by eating the better part of 3 types of tapas each. My mom had gazpacho, veggie chimichanga, and tilapia; I had mac & cheese (sooo cheesy), lamb chop, and eggplant cannelloni. Once again, used an LVA Buy 2 get 2 free coupon to help with the cost a bit. Once again, no problems using it.

    IMPORTANT POINT #5
    Before I get to my further experiences with coupon use, this needs to be said. Who the heck cares if you use multiple coupons or use them without showing the book/card/receipt? Truly? Bottom line – someone paid for the book that contains the coupons, therefore that someone should be able to give them to whoever he/she wants if he/she doesn’t want to use them, and the someone who gets the coupon shouldn’t get crap EVER. When a person is prevented from using a coupon for whatever reason, the establishment who denies the usage most likely won’t get the person’s business. So in the end, they lose money! It’s not like they get a big cut just from being in the coupon book – they have to pay just to be in the book in the first place. As an avid coupon user this whole thing causes more stress than it’s worth sometimes. :bang:

    Moving on – I realize this is the longest first day EVER but thankfully it’s about to be over. Even though I used matchplays from ACG, I lost at BJ at both Plaza and Golden Gate. I could tell that Plaza could care less how many duplicate coupons you have, while Golden Gate makes you sign stuff at the Player’s Club just to use the coupon. Again, a turn off, though there are ways around it. Thankfully, the night ended on a high note as I finished up on VP (using more slot play) and BJ (using yet another ACG matchplay) at Vegas Club. Off to bed I go!

    DAY 2 – WEDNESDAY 8/4
    Woke up at a decent hour because we had to move from our Gold Tower room to a Carson Tower room. The reason we started in the Gold Tower instead of spending all 3 in the Carson Tower was because apparently all the Carson rooms were booked for Tuesday. The bonus for spending $20 extra a night on the Gold Tower was that you get the Golden Nugget Values book which has a pretty good coupon selection. Either way, I was hoping the transition from one room to the other would be simple.

    Was given a room on the 22nd floor of the Carson Tower apparently to make up for the low floor the first night. Unfortunately, it was a hike from the elevator. Either way, the new room was practically the same as the old room, sans desk but plus an actual view.

    IMPORTANT POINT #6
    Can I just say that while there are good aspects of having different ‘front desks’ in the same hotel, it can get a bit confusing? 3 towers in the Nugget – 3 front desks. Whatever works I suppose. :confused:

    Oh, in case you were wondering, I got to witness more CSI filming when I was down in the lobby changing rooms. The yellow crime scene tape was all around the pool on Day 2. Let the autopsy begin! ;)

    We finished getting ready in the new room and then hopped in a cab to head off to Hash Hash A Go Go @ IP. I knew this cab driver would be special – right after I said ‘hi’ he replied ‘not for about 15 years now.’ :evillaugh

    After hearing about HH for some time, and being a great lover of (almost) all foods, I was really looking forward to at least getting full. I would have gotten full, except that what I ordered and what I received were subtly different. As a non-pork eater, I always order a version of eggs benedict at restaurants that have non-pork options on the menu. So, I ordered the smoked salmon version, expecting smoked salmon to be lox, as in what you put with cream cheese on a bagel. What I got is chopped/shredded pieces of cooked fish that did not resemble smoked salmon that I expected in the least.
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    The waitress already seemed to be having a bad day so I didn’t want to bother her with making it again. When I finally decided to say something (since the only fish I eat is either lox or sushi grade, and since regular cooked fish is not a breakfast food in this country), I told her that maybe she should let management know that the menu shouldn’t say smoked salmon when that’s not what you’re given. She tried to disagree with me on the fact the fish was smoked and then kept asking if I wanted something else. I was like, no that’s not the point (also I was halfway through what I could eat of the dish). I didn’t feel right about not saying anything though. I’m just grateful that I asked for sauce on the side – the sauce was some kind of chili sauce which determined from one taste that I would not have been able to handle.

    Anyways, bottom line, the only thing I loved about HH was the mashed potato situation that was underneath my benedict. I could eat that for all 3 meals of the day! :thumbsup:

    Way too hot at that point for us to start walking outdoors on the trip so we cabbed it again over to NY NY. Lost some more $$ at VP and even a few $$ down at my favorite old school video blackjack game. Went next door to Monte Carlo and made a good amount back at blackjack. Stopped at the new store Cupcakery and got a 4 pack to go. :licklips:

    IMPORTANT POINT #7
    Only take things ‘to go’ in Vegas when you are walking straight back to your room. Even if you have a car, whatever you put in it will melt. I carried those cupcakes around for basically the rest of the day. Thankfully, they stayed edible by the time I got around to eating them!

    Found the tram to check out City Center, which I had skipped when it first opened last time I was in town. Didn’t do my research and wasn’t really sure where to head so briefly checked out Vdara (and the lovely canoe ‘art’ outside) before walking to Bellagio. Spent a few minutes at the conservatory as usual and then the plan was to walk to Mirage. Yeah. Of all the walks I had during the week that may win (or lose actually) as the most painful. I was hungry because I hadn’t actually eaten any of the cupcakes, and the heat started to really get to me. Thankfully, the walk would culminate in the Mirage buffet, so I pushed on and survived!! Go me! :banana:

    Conservatory in August
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    I was expecting a line and there were maybe 5 people in front of us – huge bonus. When we got to the cashier she started yapping at us about not being able to use the LVA 2 for 1 coupon because it was already removed from the book. Another staff person came over to confirm this. I started making up some stuff about my dad having the book downtown and us not realizing the stipulation until after we had torn it out. The supervisor of these two people said it was fine to use it regardless, which was the right choice. Obviously there was no book downtown (I got all my LVA coupons in trade), plus who knows if they would have accepted it either way (because of it already being detached). I will tell you though that there is no way we would have paid full price after that walk I had – we would have just gotten something at either some other place there or TI. :wave2: Like I said, it can affect your business to be picky with the coupons.

    I hadn’t been to the buffet since the mid 90s so obviously I have very little memory of it. Once inside, I was really impressed. My mom started with the made-to-order salad station while I got sushi. Sushi was definitely better than the usually cold tough stuff I get at other buffets. We took advantage of most of the other stations which included italian, rotisserie, chinese, greek/middle eastern dips, and carving – prime rib and turkey. There was BBQ and Mexican areas too but they were avoided.

    IMPORTANT POINT #8
    I’m Texan, therefore 99.9% of all Mexican food or BBQ I consume will be in and from the state of Texas. Was this percentage altered in Vegas? Heck no! :eek2

    After a good selection of dessert, including the first of many bread puddings (my favorite dessert) sampled, we carried ourselves outside for the volcano show. Hadn’t seen it in years, and with it being redone wanted to check it out. Not bad – new music, more fire, worth checking out.

    Took a while to get a cab – apparently always does right after the volcano goes off. Headed back downtown – lost $$ at VP at both Fitz and 4 Queens (at least finally found $0.05 full pay VP there) and called it a night.

    DAY 3 – THURSDAY 8/5
    Woke up earlier than usual since Mom was heading home that day and we wanted to get enough done. Started the day with a 2 for 1 breakfast buffet at the Nugget, thanks to a coupon from their book. Worth full price for sure. Got waffles (w/strawberry sauce!) and chicken fried steak, and noted that under the label ‘smoked salmon’ was ACTUAL smoked salmon/lox. *shakes head*
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    IMPORTANT POINT #9
    I prefer that buffets overlabel as opposed to underlabel, but almost fell over laughing at the labels for ‘green apples’ and ‘red apples’! Amazing. :haha:

    Managed to find room for the Nugget’s ‘famous’ bread pudding at the end – it lived up to expectation! Wouldn’t want to pay full price for a huge order of it down at the café but was thankful for the buffet all-you-can-eat (aka ‘eat-what-you-can-handle’) offering.

    We got to breakfast towards the end of the shift and lunch stuff was being put out, and I confirmed that I was very thankful we chose breakfast over lunch.

    IMPORTANT POINT #10
    For those of you who aren’t seasoned buffet goers for whatever reason, it’s not always true that breakfast is better than lunch. If most of the time you have a taste for breakfast (like I do) to start your day, definitely wake up in time for it!

    Finally off to the pool which I really enjoyed. I don’t like to spend a ton of time in Vegas not gambling (or eating) but a couple hours a day can’t hurt. I had to show my room key when coming down, but determined that only one person per group had to show a key. Also determined that you can save seats with a towel and leave and come back whenever. With the pool area being relatively small compared to what they have on the Strip, I highly recommend putting towels down right when the pool opens to ensure you get the area you want.

    I sat on these interesting hard plastic water chairs in the very shallow end. Not two minutes after getting settled there I had to yell at some kids for splashing me and the women I was sitting next to. I don’t have kids – don’t want to deal with them on vacation. I made up for that stress by conquering the water slide! Besides that I just waved at the sharks and relaxed.

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    IMPORTANT POINT #11
    People say ‘always wear sunscreen’ and I do since I’m a lovely pale white. Did I know that I needed to put sunscreen on underneath my swim shorts or else I’d get a horrendously painful sunburn that hurt with every movement I made? Obviously not! :cry: At least I got to have some fun in the water before the sunburn materialized but still, eff my life yet again!

    After cleaning up Mom and I head off to more gambling. I finally got to Binion’s and was pissed to realize that they’ve taken full pay away from my special video poker bank – the one I play every time. I took my crankiness out on the blackjack table and lost. We then head back to 4 Queens to play some more cheap VP and I came out ahead by a little.

    Mom had to get her stuff from the room and head off to the airport. 3 days/2 nights is enough for her! After she left I cabbed over to Aria to meet my friend C for the dinner buffet, which was comped in his room reservation. I enjoyed the room setup and design but that thankfully was not all the buffet had to offer that was good! They had nigri sushi instead of just rolls (which the Mirage did not). There were 4 meats at the carving station – chicken, longhorn steak, turkey, and prime rib. I tried the longhorn since I am Texan – not bad. Some good pizza and made to order pasta. A bit of Indian food (2 kinds of naan bread)! I made a note that there were 3 different types of potatoes – I think mashed, fingerling, and something else. The desserts looked fantastic but didn’t taste as good as they looked. All in all, very glad it was free, wouldn’t have paid full price but maybe 2 for 1.

    The plan was to hit Bill’s, Orleans, and maybe Gold Coast to gamble that night, all via the free shuttle. But, we were really stuffed and not patient enough to walk to Bill’s and wait so we cabbed it to Orleans. I’d never been and was eager to try and win $$. I didn’t lose at either BJ (used my ACG matchplay) or VP so that was a plus. I forget if I ever found full pay VP – if I did it was very limited. We went outside Orleans to see about the shuttle and it came like two minutes after that – score! Took us directly to Bill’s where I, even using my ACG matchplay, lost a crapload at $10 and $15 BJ tables (I was playing only $5 before).

    Feeling frustrated, I tried to drown my sorrows in a frozen drink from Spanish Steps just outside of Caesars Palace. We then walked across to Bellagio and trammed it to Monte Carlo so I could hopefully do better (since I’ve been doing great at MC for a while now). Sat down at a $10 BJ table – started out bad, did well for a while, then did HORRENDOUSLY yet again. Very depressing. Cabbed it back downtown and went to bed very cranky! :grrr:

    DAY 4 – FRIDAY 8/6
    Woke up at a decent hour to check out of the Nugget and into Cal. Schleped my luggage through deserted downtown to get to Cal – not a bad walk but with all my stuff and being exhausted I was sweating pretty nicely by the time I got to the front desk. No problem checking in or going up to my room right when I got there at 11 (even though check in wasn’t til 3 I think). Only problem was when I came into my room, the A/C was OFF. Totally OFF.

    IMPORTANT POINT #12
    I don’t care if someone hasn’t stayed in the hotel room I’ve been assigned for a MONTH. There is no excuse for A/C not being on in a Vegas hotel in AUGUST. Considering I was just drying off from my walk, this was not a happy time. :nono:

    Thankfully, I was hungry and meeting C at Triple 7 Brewery for lunch right around then. I tried the Broccoli Cheese pizza! Yes – something I’ve never tried before. Ranch dressing serving as the sauce – YUM!
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    I only ate half of it and thankfully was able to walk across the street from MSS to Cal (without going outside, of course) to put it in my room fridge. I had never tried the Brewery and will definitely go back to sample more good stuff.

    Gambling time after that – VP and BJ (with hotel provided matchplay) at Golden Nugget, VP at 4 Queens, $10 worth of slots at Fitz (+ Krispy Kreme for dessert). Didn’t win anything. That basically killed the afternoon.

    I was due to meet up with my friends who drove in from LA after that. They had gotten in a few hours earlier and done the Star Trek convention, which I avoided like the plague. We hung out in the room at Cal for a bit and then drove over to Nora’s (per resident VMB food expert Ken’s suggestion) for an 830pm dinner reservation. Had to wait another 10-15 or so before getting seated but it was worth it. Great selection and quality. I ordered Pasta Alla Nora which had ground beef, marinara, eggplant, and pesto. Unique and filling. Only thing that I had a real problem with at Nora’s – our drink guy/bus boy was 100x more attentive than our actual waiter. I’d be exaggerating to say we saw the waiter more than once after we placed our order. Not cool. :nono:

    LA friends were tired so back to the Cal we went. I played some BJ and lost, then messed around with VP for a while (like 3 hours at the same machine or so) and came out ahead by a little.

    IMPORTANT POINT #13
    I’m okay with places like Cal and Vegas Club still having some VP machines that use quarters, but please, make sure they all have the option to put dollar amounts in. Some of us like not having to feed money every time we press a button. Just saying.

    DAY 5 – SATURDAY 8/7
    Slept in due to being up half the night playing VP and ate the weekend brunch at MSS with the LA friends. My friend and I paid 2 for 1 for ours with the coupon from the Vegas Experience website. Her fiancée woke up much earlier and was anxious to eat, so yeah full price for him.

    I had only been to MSS buffet for lunch before and was not a huge fan (though for the price you can’t beat it) but yeah I LOVE their weekend brunch! I love any place that has good waffles with strawberry sauce, plus they had lox spread (my favorite cream cheese flavor) and bread pudding. They also offered Chinese and other ‘Pacific Rim’ food, Mexican food, Southern food (like fried chicken lol), and carved ham/brisket. Made to order omelettes too. My LA friends are budding alcoholics so they were throwing back the all-you-can-drink champagne/mimosas. :beer: My friend made the mistake of having enchiladas with her spread so yeah, she had to pass out in bed for a couple hours after that with everything that was in her system. Her fiancée and I went off to Golden Gate and Plaza for some BJ – finally did well at both!

    IMPORTANT POINT #14
    As you’ve probably been able to tell, I have not done well at all gambling this trip. I usually come home up at least $100 on my gambling budget, and as a low roller, that’s great for me. Bottom line was that the cards just weren’t going my way, even at BJ tables where everyone was playing the basic strategy. So that made it twice as stressful to be at tables where people just played however they wanted to – thankfully no splitting 10s but still! One of the worst was a dude at my table asked the dealer ‘I should hit on that, right?’ EVERY SINGLE HAND. If you can’t catch on to how to play, maybe you should try another game or study up. Just a thought! That’s the cranky cynic in me. :mad:

    LA friend woke up and we were off to Sahara to pick up tix to Comedy Stop for that night that we ordered from Goldstar (highly recommended). We went to Luxor to pick up our Titanic exhibit tix (ordered from Tix 4 Tonight), but since LA friends had already started drinking – buying half yard slushy drinks @ Mandalay - we couldn’t go in, so we decided to do M&M World first. Another ridiculous unnecessary walk – I didn’t realize that when you tram it from Luxor to Excalibur you have to walk through the entire Excalibur hotel to get outside. Then of course you walk across to NY NY, through part of it, across to MGM, then another block to M&M World. Yeah – tired and sweaty again. Then had to walk back – thankfully caught the tram right at the front of Excalibur back to Mandalay and then over to Luxor so not any more unnecessary walking. Friends were finally done with their drinks so we could go in.

    IMPORTANT POINT #15
    LA friend doesn’t like having her picture taken. She told me I could take two pictures of her during the trip and that was it. So this was the first time during the trip she and her fiancée told the Titanic exhibit photographer who wanted to take our picture (optional for us to pay to have it at the end) that they wouldn’t take the picture. I guess you had to have been there but it was childish as hell. Before the comedy show that night the same thing happened and I just posed for the picture by myself. SHOCKINGLY they actually posed with me with the million dollar display at Binion’s so that we could have a picture of the 3 of us. *sigh*

    The exhibit was alright – my feet were killing me at that point and there was no where to sit so that didn’t help. Put it this way – I would have rather been gambling, and probably would have done that had I not gotten that good of a discount through Tix 4 Tonight. Either way, LA friends seemed to enjoy it.

    We didn’t have a ton of time to spare for dinner before the comedy show so we went back to NY NY to get food from the best food court in Vegas (IMO). Yes, the Venetian has a good one but it’s pricier with less variety. Unfortunately being the weekend I couldn’t use my ACG coupons so I decided to get a to-go order from Chin Chin Café – favorite Vegas Chinese food of the Frugal. LA friend got sushi from there and went on and on about how sushi shouldn’t be at a Chinese restaurant. My opinion? If it tastes good – who cares? Just saying…

    Drove to Sahara in time to wait in line for over 30 minutes to get into the Comedy Stop. No clue why the Rick Thomas Tiger show (that is in the same auditorium) went over or whatever but again my feet were killing me and it was very hot in the waiting area with no where to sit. Eff my life. Finally the line started slowly moving – apparently everyone gets escorted to their seats individually so yeah. This is an auditorium like I said and it was maybe 10-20% full. 3 comics – can’t remember any of their names. None of them were overly memorable. But, for the price, it is what it is.

    Amazingly, LA friends wanted to go to bed after that (I don’t think it was even midnight). Perhaps because of the excessive drinking, most of which took place in the Vegas heat? Just a thought. Either way, I was a bit frustrated but knew that I’d stay up to gamble. I actually had a pretty good night – played BJ at Cal, Vegas Club, Plaza, and Golden Gate finishing about even and won at VP at Cal again. Off to bed – last full day ahead!

    DAY 6 – SUNDAY 8/8
    LA friends went to bed early so they woke up early and went to Aloha Specialties in Cal for breakfast. I ate my leftover pizza from Triple 7 and some Lappert’s ice cream for breakfast. Hey don’t judge – that’s probably the weirdest thing I did the whole trip! We head over to Gold Coast for some bowling. I was proud of my high game of 141 since I basically whooped my friends. No bingo for me yet since LA friend’s fiancée thinks there’s a huge conspiracy behind Vegas bingo which never gives you a chance of winning. The one time I’m not as cynical as someone on something, even though ironically I’ve never won at bingo anywhere!

    We decided to drive to Henderson to see Ethel M’s Chocolate Factory after that.
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    I know there’s one in the Cal but this one was nice and big and wonderful. I stocked up on stuff for myself and was amused that there was a smaller M&M world right in front of Ethel M. That would have been great to know, but I have the feeling we would have gone to the other one anyways.

    We then head back downtown for the culmination of my LA friends’ time in Vegas – 2 for 1 prime rib dinner from Magnolia’s @ 4 Queens! I must admit I’d been looking forward to it as well. We had to wait 10-15 to be seated though because we were told the other half of the seating area wouldn’t open til 5 and it was just after 4. Either way, I feel like the food was worth it. The mashed potatoes were awesome and the slab of beef was nice and thick.
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    Make sure you have patience as it takes a while to get food after ordering. Thankfully we had just gotten a fresh deck of cards from 4Q because LA friend joined the player’s club to get an extra Magnolia’s coupon so I taught her some blackjack. She’s a rookie to say the least but she seemed to catch on.

    After LA friends got their stuff and prepare to head back to LA they were kind enough to drop me off at Rio where I was meeting my friend C and his friend (Mr. High Roller Comp man). After wasting time losing money at non-full pay VP for a bit I went with them to the buffet. I wasn’t all that hungry considering the prime rib but it surely helped that we didn’t have to wait in what appeared to be a 2 hour (!) line and instead got to go through the cool VIP entrance thanks to Mr. High Roller Comp man! Less than 10 minutes and we were at the table.

    IMPORTANT POINT #16
    For any of you who have been to Rio’s buffet, you know it’s the size of a city block. I can’t possibly review all the food, but I will tell you that Rio definitely has a lot more fried unhealthy fare than most of the other buffets I went to this trip and that is a turn off for me, even though I love the stuff. The desserts (especially gelato) were my highlight!
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    After dinner we head to Gold Coast where the Bingo finally happened. The boys had never played in Vegas and bottom line, none of us won. I did manage to win at BJ though and my ACG matchplay finally paid off.

    With it being my last night in Vegas (*sigh*) I had to spend some more time downtown, so I stuck with heading back to Cal and played some VP (broke even) and eventually BJ. I wasn’t doing well at the first table so I moved over to one where only one other guy was sitting. I noticed that his chips were kinda scattered all over the place but didn’t think much of it. A few minutes in he started to fall asleep. The dealer smacked the table to wake him up. I was a bit amused at this point but that was nothing compared to what happened next.

    As this was double deck BJ, all cards were dealt face down. Dude was playing 2 hands, and after hitting once on his first hand he exclaimed, “I don’t know what’s going on right now.†He proceeds to show the dealer that the 2 cards in his hand were a blackjack! He had hit on a blackjack! So yeah, we both realized he was drunk as a skunk, and the pit boss came over and said he should call it a night. Because the casino didn’t want to take more of his $$ than they had to, they helped him play out his other hand (he wanted to stay on a total of 10, lol), and then colored up his chips at my suggestion. Dude started getting a bit cranky but finally staggered away, supposedly staying at the hotel. Disturbing to say the least, but arguably greatest thing I’ve ever witnessed! :nworthy: I was thankfully offered a fresh shuffle and played a bit more, finishing up for the session. Had to call it a night after that!

    DAY 7 – MONDAY 8/9
    Woke up to check out of Cal and head to Wynn for my favorite buffet with C. They left the breakfast stuff out pretty much til early afternoon so I was happy about that and it delivered as usual. Favorite thing there is this chocolate oreo mousse thingie – delightful!
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    I then cabbed it to Sahara where I lost at BJ yet again. Head back downtown to gamble as much as possible before leaving. Won at 4 Queens playing VP, lost at Bingo and BJ at Plaza, won at Vegas Club playing VP, and won at Cal playing BJ.
    Sadly that was all I had time for as I chose to cab it to the airport, looking forward to flying first class for the ride home. At least i got a better meal since it was an evening flight!
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    Final thoughts:
    • While overall I did craptastic at gambling, I did hit a ton of good hands at VP which were memorable and which I documented!
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    • I was very disappointed by how few good BJ tables there are downtown. I honestly feel like I would have found more on the strip even if they started at $10 instead of $5 most the time.
    • I can’t stress enough how you need to spend a lot of time finding full pay VP anywhere, and then stick with it once you find it.
    • Whoever said spending a week in Vegas is too long obviously doesn’t love it as much as I do, despite its challenges!

    Hope you enjoyed! More to come in 2011 (G-d Willing)!
     
    Lucky trip 21!!
  2. Livelifeas1

    Livelifeas1 Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…only in Vegas (8/3-8/9)!

    Nice trip report! Thanks for all the great info. And I don't think you can count the virgin drink you tried to order at Spanish Steps as drowning your gambling woes away :wink2:

    On a side note as I'm not normally a downtown Vegas person I will say it has a lot of perks that you pointed out in your TR that the strip does not offer. It's worth at least heading Downtown for some good gambling and cheap drinks and It's a good time!

    Aria buffet was OK but not as good as others I've tried. However, the rooms are very nice and I really enjoyed my stay at Aria for my birthday! I would recommend to others!
     
  3. lithelady

    lithelady Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Silicon Valley (Santa Clara,CA)
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    I'm not much of a pool person, but August in Vegas with no pool? Specially when it's one that is a hotel attraction like the Nuggets? That's nasty. Actually I can't believe they are filming shows in August in Vegas.

    It looks like you had a nice run of quads!
     
  4. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Nice LOOOONNNNNGGGGG report

    Some good humor in there.

    Excellent bunch of quads.
     
  5. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

    Joined:
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    Wonderfully entertaining trip report!
    This isn't the first time I have heard about the GN having trouble with their keys, but I am surprised to learn that they now have THREE different check in desks???

    There are two different kinds of smoked salmon in the world. I eat the "other kind" all the time. It is made in a smoker ...like this.
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    It is delicious...but nothing like lox.

    Thanks for the great report!
     
  6. Aero

    Aero Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2010
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    374
    Location:
    Eastern PA
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    Great TR! Nice Pics. You should've gotten Dr. Scholls to sponsor that trip.lol:kill:
     
  7. Tonez78

    Tonez78 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2009
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    Location:
    The Great Northwest
    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Whew, I made it through your TR. Thanks for taking the time to write it. I sense my humor is like yours and we have about the same amount of patience. The sunburn through the bathing suit was hilarious. I hit ol' town every second or third trip and always have fun. The last time I was at the GN wasn't too pretty.

    Again thanks for sharing as it will hold me over until I am there on the 17th......

    Tony
     
  8. kinkette

    kinkette Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2009
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    Location:
    Pacific Northwest
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    What a wonderful trip report - I enjoyed it very much!! It was 'real' (if that makes sense) and I started wishin' I could hang out with you there! :nworthy:

    Thanks for the great read :)
     
    1st time @ The Bellagio!!! Yay me :)
  9. LAURLUVS2BOWL

    LAURLUVS2BOWL Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
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    20
    Thanks for the great feedback!

    I'm not surprised that they were filming CSI (which takes place in Vegas) in August, but even with as big a hotel as the Nugget is, there should be some sort of heads up on the lack of pool access if at all possible. Wouldn't have affected my reservation but i bet that wasn't the case for others.

    I did have a great run of quads, thank goodness considering how long i sat at those machines! Unfortunately it didn't put much of a dent in my other losses! *sigh*


    Yup 3 check in desks. Confusing when you first get there considering the signage doesn't always make sense, but you adjust and the lines are obviously smaller, usually. This picture was most traumatizing LOL! I actually found out later that there are two types, but when it comes to a breakfast plate like a benedict, you'd think they'd go with breakfast fish (i.e. lox). just saying...

    Had i increased my bankroll as planned, i would have called Dr. Schools for sure! lol

    I should specify that the sunburn was on my thighs, and that i had to experiment with 3 different products just to get some relief. None of them dulled the pain much when i was moving around, but i guess they worked overnight because the pain was gone when i woke up 2 mornings after it happened! Have a great trip!

    We'll hang out next time - the more the merrier! :thumbsup:
     
    Lucky trip 21!!
  10. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Calgary , Alberta , Canada
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    Nice report , great perspective , too

    lol I'm not a CSI person either, wasn't even sure of what that show was all about 5 yrs ago when I first went to Vegas and saw the T-shirts, n hats, etc but now SPIKE TV has been playing reruns and I've caught a few...interesting concept, and some have been quite good ....... a bit far fetched in some cases but makes for great entertainment

    I think I would have been rubbernecking around the set to see who appeared lol
     
  11. JaviSRK

    JaviSRK Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Texas
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    Werd. I never go Vegas to eat either BBQ or Mexican/TexMex.
     
  12. jmp6477

    jmp6477 Tourist

    Joined:
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    Location:
    NW Pa
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    Enjoyed the report very much. Great detail about lots of different places. You certainly don't get cheated on the Vegas experience. Glad you had a good time and thanks for sharing.
     
  13. CFioren317

    CFioren317 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Philly, PA
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    Great and thorough report. Wish I could write something that good, but I usually forget everything after the first couple days. Maybe my trip next week will allow for a better report since it is only 2 full days. Thanks!!!
     
  14. LAURLUVS2BOWL

    LAURLUVS2BOWL Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Houston, TX
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    20
    I am a wimp so can't handle the graphic nature of a CSI but whatever works! I am however usually one to celebrity stalk but yeah not when i'm on vacation usually.

    Props to you fellow Texan!

    Yeah sometimes i overbook myself but it's not like i can be in Vegas every month! I figure more detail is almost always better than too little!

    If you are worried about forgetting, take notes. I tend to write down a lot of what i'm gonna do before i leave and then make notes as needed for that (and other) reasons! Have a great trip!!!!:thumbsup:
     
    Lucky trip 21!!
  15. CFioren317

    CFioren317 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Philly, PA
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    I always say I am going to take notes...then I FORGET!!!
     
  16. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Great report, enjoyed the commentary.
     
  17. LAURLUVS2BOWL

    LAURLUVS2BOWL Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Houston, TX
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    Thanks! i enjoyed giving the commentary! :thumbsup:
     
    Lucky trip 21!!
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