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The November "Buddha" report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Nov 26, 2013.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Las Vegas -- November 13-20 @ Main Street Station :

    OK, folks … this was Vegas trip #50 for us, right on the heels of our recent September trip. We are not fans of summer trips, with the intense Vegas heat, so we stick to our usual Spring and Fall trips. We booked our November Southwest flights back in May, when the reservation window first opened up. Our round-trip flights were priced at $176 per person, each way out of Chicago Midway, but we each had $40 SWA credit from re-booking our September flights, resulting in $156 each way, and each of us earning 918 Rapid Reward points on each leg. And, of course, we used our Southwest Visa for double Rapid Reward points (1248) on our flight purchases. Also added to that were the Early Bird board fees of $12.50 each way, per person … well worth it, to reduce the anxiety of logging in later for our boarding passes, and boarding the plane early enough to get priority seating and luggage space for our carry-ons.

    In setting up our room reservations, I had my usual mailer offer from Main Street Station for 4 comped nights (our Wed. thru Sat. nights), plus $35 free-play … followed by Nancy receiving her usual 3 comped nights (our Sun. thru Tues. nights.) at the California , plus two $15 dining coupons. However, our Host at MSS is able to book Nancy’s room offer at MSS, instead of the Cal, which then allows us to stay all 7 nights in the same room at MSS, and not have to move from MSS to the Cal, but we can still do our casino play at both properties..
    Next was the rental car for the week, and I search the Alamo reservations page, as our usual source for decent prices, along with RR promo points from SWA. (As you can see, we really try to max out every trip with SWA points). As expected, my first search showed the compact cars at over $200 all-in for the week … I passed. About two months later, the all-in price dropped to $138, and I booked it, but in the following days, it dropped three times, and my final re-booking came in at $119 all-in. This booking also comes with 2400 RR points from SWA, plus being charged to our SWA-Visa card, this price will also yield 238 additional RR points. Collecting all of these SWA Rapid Rewards for this entire trip will eventually add up to about 7658 points for a future trip.

    Our daily itinerary is planned, my dozens & dozens of ACG and LVA coupons are organized, our bags are packed, the early-bird boarding passes ( # A-26 & A-27) are printed, and we are raring to go !!

    Wednesday - Nov. 13 :
    As is our regular plan, we park our car at the local commuter lot for the week ($10), and catch the 6:08 am commuter train ( $2.75 each - Senior fares) into downtown Chicago Union Station. From there, we walk about 5 blocks over to the elevated (the “L”) CTA transit trains, (except it was 20 degrees that morning), and board the Orange Line ( $1.10 each for Seniors) for a 30 minute ride directly to Midway Airport. Years ago, we would drive from the suburbs, and the park in one of the airport parking lots. However, the morning drive traffic got worse and worse, and the week-long parking would cost over $60 … so our present method is more relaxed, and much cheaper.

    TSA screening at Midway was quick & easy as usual, and we were soon on our way to Gate B- 3. Our plane is scheduled to depart at 10:40 am, so we have time to grab some breakfast grub from the McDonald’s, in preparation for the 3 hr 45 min. flight to Vegas.
    After take-off, and reaching cruising altitude, we enjoy a couple traditional free Bloody Mary’s along with the standard in-flight snacks, and settle back for the ride, as we read the paper, do puzzles, sleep, and arrive in Vegas 10 minutes early, and 75 degrees. J Off the plane with our carry-on bags, and onto the shuttle bus to the rental car facility. at Alamo, and we are soon up the escalator picking out a new Hyundai Elantra for our week in town.

    We head down Warm Springs Rd., across LV Blvd., to Dean Martin Way (Industrial Rd), and head up and over to the Dollar Tree store on East Charleston , picking up a case of water, a few snacks, and some incidental toiletries. And, it is now only about 1:45 pm, and it seems like we have much of the day left to enjoy....

    Back down west on Charleston to 7th Street, heading north past the El Cortez to Stewart Ave, and heading west directly to Main Street Station. Check-in is quick, up to our room at MSS (# 801), with a good view to the south, and at the extreme east end (next to Main St.) away from the railroad tracks. We unpack our bags, as we receive delivery of a house coffee-pot to our room … and then it is off to the Four Queens for our usual arrival dinner at Magnolia’s. Using an LVA 2/1 coupon, Nancy orders the open-face turkey sandwich & gravy and mashed potatoes, and I get the country-fried steak and eggs … delicious and satisfying, at a final billing of just $12 + tip.

    We finish off the evening with some video poker at 4Q (+12 for me, and -90 for Nancy … ouch !! ), and match-play coupons at the Las Vegas Club (+5), and the Plaza (-20). We also met up with “Foos”, from the Vegas Message Board, in order to help him out with some coupons, to thank him for the tip on the ALFA range extender antenna for my netbook. Works like a charm, Foos !!!
    More fun tomorrow …. ZZZZZ ……

    Thursday & Friday & Saturday - Nov. 14 - 15 - 16 :
    These three days of casino play will be spent mostly at MSS, as my comp offer came from them, and we will both be playing on my B-Connected card, in order to maximize the daily play to around $7500 to 8000 per day. We both typically play quarter 8/5 Bonus (99.17 % game) and 9/6 JOB (99.54 % game) … and there are plenty of those single-line games at MSS for Nancy …while I prefer the 3-Play / 5-Play machines at MSS (both in quarters and nickels) in order to maximize my coin-in, and the additional opportunities for a big hand. We will also periodically be doing several match-play coupons from the ACG book, and the Las Vegas Advisor rewards book, on our coupon runs at the Riviera, Palms, Orleans, Tuscany, Longhorn, Jerry’s Nugget, and the LVC & Plaza downtown
    .
    Thursday began with a breakfast buffet at the Fremont, using a Las Vegas advisor 2/1 coupon, plus my player points. The strange thing about these LVA 2/1 buffet coupons is how the Boyd properties treat them so differently. Fremont allows you to take the LVA coupon directly to the buffet cashier, plus use player points. Sam’s Town also has you take the coupon to the cashier, but will NOT let you use points … but Main Street Station makes you bring the coupon to the Player’s Club for a separate voucher, but DOES let you also use points. After a great breakfast, our attention turned to the casino action at MSS. Nancy and I begin our first day’s serious VP at MSS, with us cycling about $5K (-150 and 6 scratch cards ), with additional LVA & ACG MP’s at the LVC (+20 ) and the Plaza (+10 ). A coupon run to the Palms, Orleans, Tuscany, and the Riviera yielded a return on our MP’s of (+ 80).

    The evening dinner was a new adventure at the Chicago Brewing Company. It was a fun time meal, as the friendly waitress helped us out with the many good food choices ... As we picked out the potato skins and chicken tenders appetizers (half-price for NFL Football Thursday), plus a 10” deep-dish pizza, plus discounted drinks. Our bill was only $21 + tip, which at the player’s club gave us $21 in free-play, plus a $10 match play. We managed to earn back $18 in the Football Free-Play Promo, connected to your tab at the CBC, and then I played the $10 MP at a BJ Table. I get dealt a 12 against the dealer showing a Jack … looks bad for the Buddha, I take a hit, and the lovely dealer gives me a 9 !!!!! She flips over her hole card (an 8), and I walk away with a $20 profit …YES !!!

    Upon returning to the MSS casino for some evening video poker, we settle in at our usual machines, finishing with a (-50) for Nancy, a (+53) for me, plus I hit the LVC & Plaza BJ tables for a MP win at each (+30 total). We pick up a breakfast comp on our way back to our room … and then watch a little TV before …. ZZZZZZZ

    Friday morning (15th) began with an early VP session at MSS (+10). We take a break at this stage, and head for the MSS buffet, with our comp voucher from last night. The selection of morning chow is good, pretty much their usual layout, but a small reward for losing yesterday. Back to the MSS video poker machines with a full tummy, we find the VP games again troublesome (-100).

    Time for a road-trip break, doing an assortment of MP’s which yield an opposite result … Palms (+40), Orleans (+10), Tuscany (+5), and the Riviera (+10). Along the way, we had dinner at the Palms 24/7 Café, using the LVA - 50% off coupon. Nancy had the Philly Cheesesteak sandwich, and I had the Fish basket, both of which came with a mountain of fries that we could not even finish (-16).

    After our dinner and the MP‘s, we return to MSS for one final VP session for the day. Nancy looked around for a “luckier” Bonus Poker machine, and I switched gears to a nickel five line machine. Nancy held her own, and my nickel 5-play was giving me more winners than the 3-play quarter machines. And then, I was dealt the King/Jack of Diamonds, and the bottom line filled in a $200 Royal. Figures I would get it on the nickel machine, but it helped us finish off the evening (+74).

    Before heading up to the room, I found Joe (from the Vegas Message Board), and his lovely wife, at the MSS Boar’s Bar. We chatted for a while ... great people who live just a couple hours north of us back home. Glad we finally got to meet up, and maybe again in April. Time for some TV, and catching up on some emails …..

    Saturday morning (16th) brings us back down to the MSS casino for some early morning luck at the VP machines (+85). We then grab the rental car, and head over to Boulder Station for a cheap breakfast buffet, using the LVA 2/1 coupon. Not the greatest selection, much less fruit than when we were here in September, but there’s always enough to fill your plate.

    We return to the VP machines at MSS, back where we started earlier, and kept our head above water (+45), and we put a bunch of points on my card. We take a short break from the VP, and walk over to the Las Vegas Club (-10) and the Plaza (+40) for some MP profits. While at the Plaza, we visited their McDonald’s for a couple ice cream cones...

    Back to MSS, we resume our attack on the VP machines, with different results (+72 for me, but -80 for Nancy). And, over the last 3 days here at MSS, like most rips, all of the scratch-cards (for quads or better) were ALL just $2 … never anything better.

    For dinner tonight, we drive down to the new Silver Sevens (previously Terrible’s), as we have two free buffet vouchers that I traded for. We did not know what to expect on this first visit, as the buffet area looked to be the same set-up as before. However, much to our surprise the quantity and quality of their entrees was wonderful … turkey, roast beef, pork chops, seafood, pasta, Asian, etc., etc. The one thing that was disappointing was the desserts … very dry, like they had been sitting out all day. We would definitely eat there again. Not sure what the breakfast buffet would be like ….

    Back to MSS, in an attempt to recapture the earlier magic, we end up (-40), and we turn to the relaxation of the TV before the sleep fairy hits us …..

    Sunday -- Nov. 17 :
    Sunday is our usual “moving day”, but we really are not moving at all. This is the morning that we go down to the hotel front desk, and I check out, and Nancy checks back in … to the same room. This is a practice we started a couple trips back, with the help of our host, putting Nancy’s 3-night offer from the Cal, connected right behind my reservation at MSS. After the “sign-in” was completed and the room is left in the hands of the house-maid, we headed for the car for our usual Sunday destination … the Rampart, out west in the Summerlin area, with a quick stop for breakfast at McDonald‘s.. This is also NFL football Sunday, where we plan to watch the Bears game at 10:00 am, as they play the Baltimore Ravens.

    We first have time for some full-pay VP here at the Rampart casino. Nancy likes the single-line slant-tops for quarters, around the back side of the Round Bar with 9/6 JOB, and 8/5 Bonus, as well as 16/10/4/4 Deuces (99.73 %) …. and, I settle in at my favorite 10-play uprights, with the same games, even for nickels … at $2.50 with max coin. We play for a couple hours, including me hitting another nickel Royal ($200), and even with that we only end up at (+35).

    It’s getting close to game time, and we find the Rampart sports-book completely full. However, we notice a large flat-screen monitor on the outside, just above the hot-dog cart, and I ask the sports-book manager if they could put the Bears / Ravens game on that monitor, and he happily obliges. We grab two seats at the 10-play nickels bank just a few feet outside from the hot-dog cart. The game came close to being rained out, but they got it started, but eventually had to suspend play and the wind & rain was awful.

    After an hour of nothing, and not knowing when the game would be re-started, we headed for the Rampart brunch buffet. We have a free voucher for two people for the Rampart buffet, given to us by our friend, Lee … and enjoy a very nice afternoon brunch with everything from eggs benedict to baked salmon....

    Back to our VP seats outside of the sports-book, we find the Bears game has resumed on a very sloppy field, and after even sloppier play by both teams, the Bears pull out a victory, with a last second field goal.

    From here, now running a little behind on the rest of our schedule, we head for the Palms (-20) and the Orleans (+10) for match plays. However, getting over to the Riviera for the Comedy Club and more match plays, is troublesome with the annual Rock & Roll Marathon … as we can’t get across LV Blvd. We detour south on the Dean Martin Way frontage road, then east on Warm Springs Road, around the airport, back up to Flamingo Rd., and north on Paradise to the back entrance of the Riviera. Whew !!!!!!!!
    The comedians at the Riviera Comedy Club were not top drawer this time, but there were a few good laughs. Better was the two sessions of match plays (+50), as well as (+13) on a house free-play mailer offer.

    Heading back to MSS at 10:15 pm, the Marathon blockades had been lifted, and we quickly got back to our rooms, where we absolutely crashed after a very busy day.

    Monday & Tuesday -- Nov. 18 - 19 :
    Breakfast today (Monday) is at the MSS buffet, using the LVA 2/1 … getting the voucher at the player’s club, and then using points with that voucher. Good standard fare here again like back on Friday, and at no cost to us (but we always tip our servers).

    Today & tomorrow, we will be doing all of our VP at the California, and both playing on Nancy’s card, since these days were part of her mailer offer. Nancy has her choice of several 8/5 Bonus machines, and her favorites are the slant-tops right in front of the cashier’s counter. I sometimes play those same machines, or a couple of their 9/6 JOB uprights over in the alcoves over-looking the tables. But today, I have decided to try the 50-play nickel machines with Bonus Poker, but I only play them with 10 lines. We play our VP at the Cal for about 2 hours (-65), while at the same time purchasing a 25-game Keno ticket for $10, and allow it to play in the background, while we do our VP.

    We also take a walk around Fremont St., hitting the LVC and the Plaza with match plays (+45) … and upon returning to the Cal, we check our Keno card and find that we won back 80 cents !! Not our lucky day.

    We settle back in at our earlier machines, but things are a little better now, as the cards have improved somewhat (+60). We continue our VP play for another 90 minutes, but mostly just hover, a little up, a little down, and decide to stop for dinner at the Market St. Café downstairs at the Cal. Nancy uses her first $15 coupon from her mailer offer, and orders her favorite honey grilled chicken sandwich plate, while I opt for the country-fried steak dinner with the salad bar. Good food here at the Market St. Café, and very reasonable prices. Nancy presents her $15 coupon to the cashier, along with her points for the few extra dollars, and we walk away with no charges.

    We thought about playing a little more VP, but our eyes are already tired from staring at the VP screens, and we decide to call it a night … TV on …. ZZZZZZZ ……
     
    Tuesday morning (19th) begins with our breakfast at the Fremont buffet, with Nancy using her LVA 2/1 coupon and points (free again). The Fremont breakfast buffet does not have as many breakfast entrees as the MSS buffet, but it does have a lot more fruit varieties (which we like), and cottage cheese for Nancy, which the MSS hardly ever has.

    We play for a couple hours here at the Cal, at our usual machines with very mixed results, with Nancy at (-45), and me at (+20). From there, we once again visit the LVC (+5) and the Plaza (+10) with MP’s. Back to the Cal for a new session of VP at our usual places, and this time the cards were more favorable … with both of us hitting a few quads, and a straight flush for Nancy, and another nickel Royal (#3) for me !! Anyway, we came away from that session at (+235) … and time to take a break up in the room, and check in on our Southwest flight for tomorrow’s early-bird boarding. This time, for whatever reason, we only got # A-44 and # A-45, but much better than searching for seats & luggage space at the end of the line.

    We decide on an early dinner, and head back down to the Market St. Café, where we will once again use Nancy’s $15 off mailer coupon.. Nancy decides on a special of “grilled chicken alfredo”, while I stayed with the country-fried steak dinner and salad bar. Nancy used her points once again with her coupon, and we had another no cost tasty meal.
     
     
    Wednesday -- Nov. 20 :
    Our bags are packed, our early-bird boarding has been logged in, and all paperwork organized for later, and we check out from 7 nights at MSS … no charges. As it’s become sort of a tradition, we hop on the I-15 South, and head for the South Point Hotel / Casino, for a final getaway breakfast buffet. This time, Nancy and I each use 50% off buffet coupons (and points), from South Point fun books, which I acquired in a trade … Wow, who would believe that !! J

    The buffet at South Point is always good, with a solid variety of choices. And, after you go through the cashier here, don’t forget to pick up your complimentary Bloody Mary … no need to order juice. J

    After a great breakfast, there’s still time for a some VP action, before ending our trip. Nancy finds her single-line 8/5 Bonus machines, and I’m only a short distance away at one of the many Triple-Play machines, which contain both 9/6 JOB and 8/5 Bonus. Nancy has one winning sessions, but three other losing sessions (-45), while I was doing only a little bit better (-30). It seemed like I would fall behind on every JOB session, and then make a small come-back on the Bonus Poker. Not the good fortune that I usually enjoy at the South Point casino.

    Leaving South Point, we gas up the rental car on LV Blvd, at the Circle K just north of South Point ($3.23 /gal)., and make the return to the “car barn” … $119.00 all in. Shuttle bus quickly delivers us to Terminal 1, we print out our Early Bird boarding passes , and are soon to be on our Southwest plane, for our 3 hour 10 min. gate-to-gate flight. HOWEVER … as it seems to be a regular happening … the incoming flight from Orange County , Calif. is about 15 minutes late arriving to our gate, and by the time they unload, and we load, we are 30 minutes late departing. Luckily, with a strong jet-stream behind us, and the extra padding in the flight schedule times, we arrive at Midway only 10 minutes late.

    Back through the Chicago transit system, and onto the suburban Metra commuter train, we find our car sitting where we left it …and we pull into our garage just a few minutes later. Vegas trip # 50 is complete … # 51 coming up in April …..
     
    Summary :
    >> 7 nights @ Main Street Station … all comped through our two mailer offers
    >> Alamo rental car - Hyundai Elantra --- $119.00 all-in total , and 2400 Rapid Rewards credits
    >> Meals with cash out-of-pocket --- $46
    >> 9 free meals, from room offers, comps, coupons, and player points
    >> Tips --- Maids, waiters, waitresses, service personnel, shuttles --- $75
    >> MatchPlay coupons : + $375
    >> Casino play : cycled & re-cycled about 34K coin-in
    >> Video Poker (including Free-Play) : Nancy -520 , Me +235

    Hope you enjoyed the read (beware of typos, and inaccurate data due to old age & senility).
    Questions & comments are always welcome.
    Next trip in April …. Viva Las Vegas !!!!

    "Buddha"
     
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2014
  2. smartone

    smartone VIP Whale

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    Wow... Great read, THANKS! You folks sure know how to do Vegas, I'm impressed!!!
     
  3. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Great report and we enjoyed meeting you.:thumbsup:
     
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  4. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty native Texan; born and bred.

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    Easy read and great report. How did you consolidate your play on one card? Currently we both have individual cards and I go about 3x or more to her trips but would be interested in combining with the wife if no too much hassle. Good you got to meet Joe....Saw them at the California a few trips back and it is obvious who is lucky in that couple....ha....some good hits on MP and coupon using.....thanks for the report
     
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  5. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    We always each carry two player cards for each property. So ... when we are staying on my room offer, we each use my cards to increase the "coin-in" on those days, to keep the offers at a better value. When we switch over to the days of my wife's offer, we both play on her cards. Simple ....
     
  6. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

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    Great report and nice net winnings on the match plays! What games were you using them for? Did you just play one hand or spin and then move on to something else?
     
  7. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    Thanks for all the details. I love reading your reports. Like this past year, I'm going in March and look forward to a few trades with you. I can repeat 2013, and send you whatever I plan on using, but don't.
     
  8. edinpa

    edinpa Tourist

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    Another great Buddha report! Congratulations/condolences on the nickel royals!
     
  9. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Another frugal trip by the master. Thanks for all the tips (non monetary) you share with us each trip. I am sure
    trip #51's planning has begun.
     
  10. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Played the MP's at the BJ tables if they were not crowded (hate to interfere for one bet) ... or otherwise we played them at the Roulette table (even money bets only).
     
  11. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Always willing to trade, if coupons are available ... just let me know.
     
  12. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Yeah, Ed ... never had three Royals on one trip, but they did help offset some of my quarter losses. I guess it's always "risk / reward".
     
  13. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    You know me too well, Westie. April airfare is already booked, and I'm sure we'll be back at MSS. Let the coupons guide our way ... :thumbsup:
     
  14. edinpa

    edinpa Tourist

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    Yeah I know but why does the reward always happen when you're risking the lower bet?
     
  15. agirl

    agirl Low-Roller

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    I hope you don't mind my asking, and feel free not to answer if you don't want to, but I am curious about the amount of matchplay coupons you use. Are you ever afraid of getting called out by the casinos for so many repeats? I would guess you go on different shifts, but still....and do you buy multiple books or mostly trade for your coupons? Husband and I have used multiples before, but not to your level so I'm just curious/envious/in awe.

    Great trip report as always, thanks!
     
  16. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Glad you enjoyed the report. In regard to the MP's, I do buy multiple books, and I also do a lot of additional trading, as we make at least three trips to Vegas each year. We are very careful about going on different shifts, and checking out the dealers and pit bosses that we might recognize. We try to never overstep our limits.
     
  17. rsees

    rsees Low-Roller

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    nice report jim

    Good read and details as I see how you utilize coupons etc to the max. We left LV on the day of the RR marathon. We were lucky there.
    Ron
     
  18. gambler

    gambler VIP Whale

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    I always enjoy reading your reports Buddha. You guys really get around.

    Chicago Brew Club is one place we always end up at for good food. You did well with getting the reimbursement and then winning on your matchplay.

    Now for my burning question - I'm curious as to how you enjoyed the potato skins. I know it's personal taste but we ordered them once and didn't enjoy them. It's a great snack so just wondered if we hit them on a bad day and if we should give them another try? Other than that one time, I've always found they have consistently good food. Their sliders and pizza are very good!
     
  19. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thanks, Gambler ... glad you enjoyed the report.
    That was our first visit to the CBC (because of the football promo), and we fully enjoyed the food options. Our potato skins were delicious, with the melted cheese and sour cream.
     
  20. Red&BlackSmoke

    Red&BlackSmoke Low-Roller

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    Congratulations on trip number 50. I enjoyed your report, Thank You for taking the time to detail your experience. One quick question… I know that you said that you stay at MSS and Cal, but have you stayed at Golden Gate in the past, and if so what was your experience?
     
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