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Third time (for 2010) is a charm: Wynn/Palazzo, July 24-27 Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by thecarve, Jul 28, 2010.

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  1. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    My Trip Report

    First: A Warning

    During this trip, my luck at the tables was so good that I really didn’t do a whole lot of anything else. If you get incredibly bored reading about gambling, then this TR probably isn’t for you. For those of you that continue reading, I apologize in advance…

    Intro

    This trip was a father-son (I’m the son) outing for three nights, July 24 – July 27. There was no particular reason for the trip, other than the fact that the “degenerate gambler gene†is apparently quite dominant in our family. I received an email from my host at Wynn a few months ago, offering me free nights and a little food money, and that was about all it took. I made the reservations and told my dad about it and he was in. He couldn’t get comp’d at Wynn, but could at Palazzo, so he booked there.

    We left out of Charlotte on the direct 11:25 am US Air flight, Saturday the 24th. There was about a 45 minute delay at the airport while we waited for our flight crew to arrive. But, I’ve got to hand it to them, they really did a great job getting everyone on the plane, and we took off about 25 minutes late. Weather was great the entire flight, so we arrived only about 5-10 minutes late.

    The Digs

    This was my first stay at Wynn. I received a standard-issue resort room on the 10th floor overlooking the golf course. Actually, being only 10 stories up, it was really only a view of the tree tops of the course, and more of a view of, well, the Wynn – pretty lame. The room itself was nice. It had pretty much the same bathroom that all of the newer or reno’d places have: two sinks, separate shower and tub, separate room for the W.C., small TV, two robes, iron and ironing board, hair dryer, etc. etc. The sink/cabinets/vanity did have that sort of “furniture†look to them, with the chunky wooden legs. Other than that though, there was nothing to tell you were in the Wynn, and not the Venetian, Palazzo, Caesars’ etc. The living area was larger than average, with a king bed, small sofa with ottoman, writing desk and chair and a small circular table with two chairs. There were also nightstands on either side of the bed and a small dresser – one side of which was dedicated to the mini bar. There was a very large flat screen TV that swiveled a full 90 degrees so it could be easily watched from the sofa or the bed. What distinguishes the Wynn from the other “nicer†places that I’ve stayed is the very bold use of color. Wynn eschews the typical light walls with dark wood accents and brown/tan/khaki furniture and instead goes with a very bright coral for the walls, along with very colorful pieces of art on the walls. And while I commend them for doing something that is truly original, I can’t say that all that color did much for me. I actually thought it made the room look much “cheaper†than it really was. I’m sure many of you like it, but it just wasn’t my cup of tea.

    The rest of the property, of course, was beautiful. Everything was incredibly clean and well kept, and the service was exceptional throughout my stay. Everyone from the front desk, to the dealers, to room service was friendly and went out of their way to make you happy and comfortable. I truly cannot think of a single thing about which to complain. While I still don’t think it’s my favorite place on the strip, I would most definitely stay there again.

    The Weather

    The weather was incredibly hot on Saturday. Someone said it was 112, and I have no reason not to believe that. It made walking the strip a less than enjoyable experience, and so we didn’t wander too far from the Wynn/Palazzo area. Sunday was a little better, but not much. By Monday, it was only in the low-100’s which was far more bearable.

    Celebrity Spotting

    There was some sort of USA basketball deal going on at UNLV (I assume), so the Wynn was chock full of cagers, both past and present. Frankly, with the exception of April-June, I find the NBA to be nearly unwatchable, so I wasn’t able to put a name to many of the faces. There were a few that stuck out, though. The first were (from the where-are-they-now archives) Dominique and Gerald Wilkins. I rode the elevator with them on my way up to my room right after check-in. They were both friendly. I told them how much I enjoyed watching them as a kid :)othat might not have been the best thing to say), and they were very appreciative and nice about it.
    The two others that stood out to me were Lamar Odom and Kevin Love. I was playing BJ at the Wynn on Sunday night near the B bar and Odom was hanging out just outside the B bar. I watched as countless people came up to ask for autographs and pictures. He was incredibly patient and friendly with everyone and didn’t appear to turn down any request - a real class act. That’s nice to see in this age of one hour ESPN infomercials telling your old team to go f*** themselves.
    Love was playing BJ directly across from my table at the Wynn. I couldn’t see how much he was playing or if he knew what he was doing. But, when the dealers rotated, the one from his table came over to deal at mine. She said he was betting $75 a hand and was literally shaking any time he had to double down. Obviously, he’s no $20M a year guy, but I’m sure he’s doing just fine, and I found it pretty funny that he got so nervous over what would equate to $5-10 for most us.

    Gambling

    This was truly a “one for the ages†trip for me, gambling-wise. Shortly after arriving, I sat down at my first game of blackjack at the Wynn. I bought in for $1000, and about two hours later, cashed out with $3500. The rest of the trip, I would be playing with “the house’s moneyâ€.

    After that win at the Wynn, we headed down the strip. We’re both NASCAR fans, so we went looking to see if anyone had lines on the Nationwide race. No luck at the Wynn or Venetian, so we walked to Harrah’s – no luck there either. We had no desire to go right back out into the heat, so we decided to grab a quick bite at the Oyster Bar. After dinner, we sat down at a BJ table at Harrah’s and my luck would continue. By this time, I was getting pretty drunk, so I’m not 100% sure of the totals, but I know I took about $2000-3000 of Harrah’s money with me.

    The next stop was the Venetian. I put down about $500 bucks for the race the next day (I would lose it all), and then we hit the BJ tables there. Well, funny thing happened at the Venetian…I won! Again, I can’t remember the totals, but I believe another $2000-3000! So, it’s now about midnight of the first night of the trip, and I’m up over $8000! I couldn’t believe it. And my father, whose luck did not start out as good as mine – he dropped $2K in the first couple of hours – was now up almost as much. It was ridiculous, how much longer could this last?

    Unfortunately, while my father’s luck would continue to get better, mine went south at this point. After winning at Venetian, we decided to grab a drink at the bar and figure out our next move. While it was still fairly early, about 12:30, we had been up since about 3 am Vegas time and were feeling the effects of a day’s worth of travelling, 112 degree temps and many, many beers. We contemplated calling it a night and started making our way north. We got to the Palazzo, and were about to go our separate ways, but that empty double deck game was just calling out to us. Well, dad proceeded to continue his winning ways, but I dropped $2000 in very quick order and decided that I needed to get myself to bed before I gave back any more of my winnings. It hurt losing so much so quickly, but when I got up to my room and counted my money, my wad was about 60 Benjamins thicker, so it was hard to complain about too much.

    Day two started with room service of pancakes (incredibly disappointing) and bacon (very good). I watched the NASCAR race from my room, and for about 90% of the race, one of the drivers on whom I had bet (Juan Pablo Montoya) dominated. Unfortunately, his crew chief made a critical strategy error on the last pit stop and he was out of contention. That decision cost me $1800, damnit!

    After the race, dad and I decided to check out Encore. He’d never been there before, and I had only just strolled around it to check it out once. While the casino is certainly very pretty, I’m not too fond of its lay out. It’s very “broken up†and segmented. I can see where some might favor this type of set up, but it really didn’t inspire me to want to sit down and play cards. So, we walked around the place, just checking it out. Then, I saw a Top Dollar machine. I seldom play slots – maybe $100 once every two or three trips – but when I do, I enjoy the Top Dollars. So, I took out $100 and put it into the ($5) machine. My first spin was good for a $25 win – good start. Then four spins that didn’t yield a thing. On my sixth spin, I hit two of some symbol, and the machine started going nuts. I assumed that I had won something, but no credits were being shown…what the hell is going on, is this thing defective or something? Then I read “720 credits – call attendantâ€. Sweet! I just won 720 dollars! Wait a minute…this is a $5 machine…that’s…carry the one…$3600!! Hell yeah! Ten minutes later, I received my first ever hand-pay, and was $3400 richer ($200 for the attendant) and dumbfounded by my luck.

    After the big win at Encore, we decided to go to Aria. Everyone seems to either love or hate Aria, and I am firmly in the “love†camp. I am absolutely smitten with the place. We stayed there playing most of the afternoon and into the evening. Unfortunately, my luck could not penetrate the City Center perimeter, and I lost badly. I can’t remember the exact count, but probably in the $3000 range. It wasn’t pretty. Our time there was not a total loss, however, as late in the afternoon a host came by to introduce himself, and we got a very nice dinner at Union out of it. It wasn’t 3K nice, but it was certainly good to get something out of my losses.

    After dinner, we headed back to the Palazzo where my losses would continue to mount. After another $2000-3000 there, I took my leave of dad and headed back to Wynn, tail between my legs. I sat down at the first open table I found, and within 15 minutes had lost another $1000. It was now well after 3, I was drunk, and had squandered about ¾ of my once huge winnings. It was time for bed…or maybe just one more try. I pulled out my now much smaller wad and found only $1400 left from the $4000 I started the day with plus the $3400 I won on the slot. Not wanting to go to bed with nothing, I put one bill back in my pocket, and tossed the other 13 down at a $100 double deck BJ table. I played for about a half hour, mostly just treading water. I started to notice that I was extremely tired and pretty damn drunk, so I told the dealer that I would play one more deck, and then it was time for bed. Well, that deck turned out to be a good one. And so did the one after that…and the one after that…and, well, you get the picture. By about 5 am, I was handing the cashier a flag and two yellows! My day had been saved. I was too tired to count that night, but the next morning, I found $9000 more in the safe than I had arrived in Vegas with. Not a bad two day total!

    By the third, and final, day of the trip, I was really starting to feel the effects of two days of hard drinking and little sleep. I just couldn’t get myself going. Dad and I walked around Wynn, Encore, Palazzo and Venetian, but I just wasn’t feeling like gambling. So, we took a cab to Bellagio and strolled through the place, checking out the botanical gardens and putting a few bucks into VP machines here and there. Eventually, we found a good double deck game and decided to play. It was a pretty boring couple of hours, where I just slowly but surely lost. I dropped about $1500, while dad probably won about that much. By mid to late afternoon, we were both just beat and headed back to our respective hotel rooms for a quick nap.

    I wasn’t able to sleep much, but an hour and a half of lounging around, watching TV and drifting in and out of sleep did me some good and by about six, I was ready to get going again. I headed over to Palazzo to check out dad’s room. He had a great view of the Wynn golf course from the 46th floor and the room was very nice. We hung out in the room for a while, trying to decide on what to have for dinner. We wanted something fairly quick, so we eventually decided on Dos Caminos.

    While the guacamole and salsas there were quite good, the rest of the meal was pretty “blahâ€. So, after the unexceptional dinner, we decided to find a game. The tables that we had played at the two prior nights were $100 tables, and not having had a thing to drink yet, we weren’t brave enough for those stakes. We walked around and eventually found a good $50 double deck game and sat down. I treaded water for an hour or two, while dad very slowly lost his $1000 buy in. He decided to go find a craps game, and I figured I’d play till my last few hundred dollars worth of the buy in was gone and then go find him. But, that’s when things started to get interesting again. Our dealer left for her 20 minute break, and the replacement must have brought my luck from Wynncore with her. I couldn’t lose. I started pressing my bets aggressively, and went through two double-deck’s worth of hands only losing once. By the time dad got back from playing craps, my purple stack was bigger than my black or green ones. During the original dealer’s 20 minute break, I had won over $8000. Freaking ridiculous! Once our regular dealer returned, my luck had run out. I tried to get my stack to $10,000, but couldn’t get over the $9500 mark. After a few decks of slowly losing, I decided it was time to get while the gettin’ was good. I colored up for $8000 – a chocolate and three yellows!:thumbsup:

    After the big win at Palazzo, I sat at a bar for a while, having a few victory drinks. It was then about 12:30, I was tired and figured that if I didn’t want to be miserable for the trip home, I should probably call it a night and get my first decent night’s sleep of the trip. I got back to the room, grabbed a beer from the mini fridge and slowly counted my money. The grand total would represent my biggest winnings ever - $13,900! Wow! (I would make it an even $14K the next day at a Wheel of Fortune machine at the airport.) Dad’s total was around $9000 to the good. Both pretty damn impressive considering we each started with an $8000 bankroll.

    Food

    Due to the fact that we spent so much time either gambling or hung over, we ate only four meals over the course of the three day trip. The Oyster Bar at Harrah’s was decent, and I feel it represents a pretty good value for a strip restaurant. My allergies were acting up, though, so I was congested and really couldn’t taste much. Dad, however, said that his seafood risotto (w/shrimp, lobster and clams) was very good.

    The room service breakfast at Wynn was a huge disappointment. My pancakes were tough and chewy and without much flavor. The bacon saved the meal though, and the coffee was very good. However, at $65 after tip, I would have to rate it as the most overpriced meal I have eaten in my entire life.

    Dinner at Union, inside of Aria, was excellent. I had a mixed greens salad and a Porterhouse that was probably more meat than most folks on the planet have eaten in the past year. The stars of the show, though, were the deep fried asparagus with horseradish aioli and the bottle of Zinfandel that the waiter recommended (of course, I can’t for the life of me remember what it was). I liked the atmosphere there as well. It was essentially right there off the casino floor, but elevated a bit and removed somewhat from the noise and hustle and bustle of the casino. It certainly wouldn’t be my first choice for a romantic evening with your sweetheart, but it was a good time with my dad. Also, it was terribly overpriced. I didn’t really care, because we were being comp’d. But, at $350 for the two of us, including tip and a $100 bottle of wine, it would be very difficult for me to recommend this place to anyone spending their own money. While the food was excellent and the service was even better, there are plenty of places where you can get as good a meal for significantly less money.

    Dos Caminos, inside Palazzo, was about as unmemorable as any meal I’ve had in a while. As I mentioned earlier, the salsas, guacamole and chips were good. But, the rest of the meal was pretty bland and tasteless. It had a decent atmosphere, and it served its purpose as a fairly quick meal. But that’s about the best praise I can give it. It was also overpriced.

    The Trip Home

    When we got to the check in at McCarran, we were asked if we wanted to upgrade to first class for $200. Is the Pope Catholic? I’ve got more cash in my bag than I’ve ever even seen in my life and you’re asking me if I want to hand over two measly little bills for a first class seat? I’ll save you the suspense – we accepted. :rolleyes2: It was well worth the money, especially since there were thunderstorms around Charlotte and we had to circle for about 45 minutes before they’d let us land. Then, when we finally did land, we had to sit there for another 30 minutes and wait till the lightning had left the area so the workers could pull the jet way up to the door.

    A Couple Funny Things…

    • After checking in and taking the elevator up to the 10th floor, the doors opened and I was greeted by guy in nothing but his tighties pleading with the security guy to let him into his room. The security guy was on the phone with the front desk trying to confirm the kid’s identity. Welcome to Las Vegas!

    • The first night, dad and I were in the cashier line. He went and made his transaction, and then it was my turn. As I was waiting for the cashier to count out my money, I looked back and saw dad talking to a short, chubby Asian lady in her 50’s. He looked as if he was being bothered, so I assumed she was pleading with him for a hand out of some kind. I got my money and went back to talk to him, and he said she was asking him if he needed any “girls†for the night. Did we just witness the world’s most unlikely pimp or least attractive hooker?

    Some General Observations

    • Overall, the strip was about as empty as I’ve seen it in about a year. The same could be said for McCarran. Also, table minimums at some of the higher end places seemed much lower than usual, at least during the daytime. I was absolutely shocked to see about a half a dozen $10 and $15 blackjack tables at Encore that were completely empty. And, while we’re not talking “great†rules, they certainly weren’t 6-5 or anything like that. It could be that the extreme heat kept weekend warriors from SoCal away, but I don’t think the heat can be blamed for the airport looking like a ghost town. I’m really concerned for our favorite city.

    • On the plus side, it seems to me that the casinos, or at the very least, the folks on the “front line†are starting to “get itâ€. I felt more appreciated by dealers, waiters, CW’s, hosts and other service folks this time around than I think I ever have. Maybe the guys in the corner offices haven’t received the memo yet, but the folks who work for a living have figured out where their bread is buttered. Here’s to hoping the guys in the C-suite get on board before it’s too late.

    • During my incredible run at Palazzo, I had three “suits†hovering over my table. One was constantly on the phone, while watching me like a hawk. Here’s a little hint guys: card counting is not the money-maker it’s portrayed as in the movies. Any tiny advantage I could have got if I was counting (which I wasn’t – mostly) could not explain a run of $8K in 20 minutes! People get lucky, deal with it! Oh, and my guess is that most card counters aren’t tipping $50 a hand during such runs and putting down Sapphire & Tonics like it’s their job.

    • Wynn and Aria take top honors for friendly and attentive service. Nowhere have I ever felt as if my patronage was more appreciated than those two places. Dealers were incredibly professional as well as friendly and personable, and were extremely appreciative of the tips. The folks in the pit also were quite friendly and acted as if they were genuinely happy for me when I was winning and sympathetic when I was losing. While these attributes SHOULD be something that we consumers just take for granted, we certainly know that isn’t the case everywhere.


    Conclusion

    Well, obviously this was a very fruitful trip for me. I really can’t believe my luck. And the thing is the majority of it probably came over a period of about 1-2 hours, where I got on incredible streaks and was lucky enough (or dumb enough) to press my bets very aggressively. After six consecutive losing trips – four of them being fairly significant losses – it certainly felt good to finally get a win in such convincing fashion.

    The downside to the winning (did I really just write that?) was that I spent sooo much time on the tables that I didn’t have time to do much else. Oh well, my next few trips are now paid for, so I’ll make sure to take in a few sights then.

    Thanks for reading. I hope the endless blackjack talk wasn’t too terribly difficult to get through.

    Kyle:peace:
     
    Number 50!
  2. DavidR82

    DavidR82 Low-Roller

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    Sounds like you had some amazing wins at the blackjack tables! Congrats! Hopefully I will have some of your luck when I go next month - most of my time will be spent at the Blackjack tables back and forth between Venetian/ T.I./ Mirage.
     
  3. unomas

    unomas Low-Roller

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    Great report!
    Since I never was lucky enough to win so much on a slot I have never had the chance to tip the slot attendant, tipping $200 on a $3400 win is that normal? Sorry for the stupid question, just curious.
     
  4. sailor53

    sailor53 Tourist

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    Amazing wins. And who needs to do anything else in Vegas when you're knocking it out of the park? Enjoyed the read and thanks for posting!
     
  5. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Actually, I have no idea. It was my first hand pay ever. I'm sure someone else knows - hopefully, someone will let both us know. The attendant was certainly appreciative but didn't act as if it was anything out of the ordinary.
     
    Number 50!
  6. kel3420

    kel3420 VIP Whale

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    WOW, what an awesome read! :thumbsup:
     
  7. Royal Flusher

    Royal Flusher Savvy Gambler

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    Chocolate chips...

    beautiful.
     
  8. atcmurph

    atcmurph Watcher Of The Skies

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    Seems to me I heard somewhere that 2-3% of your winnings is appropriate. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong :thumbsup: On the other hand...my boyfriend and I were at the Cal a few weeks ago. We showed up to these VP machines and this woman had won a jackpot before we got there...and we saw her wait like 20 minutes...and who knows how long she waited before that. Not sure how jazzed I would be about tipping if I had to wait half an hour.
     
  9. iPhreak

    iPhreak Tourist

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    Awesome report, and even better time. Gotta love the Choc-o's (as I call them). :)
     
  10. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    2% or $68 would be the technicallt recommended tip. Id prob go $100 or $80 depending on service.

    Awesome report! loved it!
     
  11. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Great report, congrats on the win, most answered already, but 50-100 is probably more in line with a tip on that amount. I tipped $40 to attendant and $20 to a cocktail waitress on my 4k hit.
     
  12. BetYouFiddy

    BetYouFiddy Tourist

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    Great report! Enjoyed reading Kyle :)
     
  13. CaptainJack

    CaptainJack Low-Roller

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    To chime in on the jackpot tipping, $200 is very generous. I'd recommend 1% and that's dependant on service, I top out at $100. I rack up quite a few W2-G's in my VP play and generally tip $40 on a $4k royal, $80 on an $8k royal, and $100 on a $20k royal. I tip $20 on anything between $1200 and $2000. Also, I do not tip anything on a machine malfunction or non-W2G event. For instance, if the machine runs out of paper or coins and they handpay me instead...that's my inconveinance, and not worth a tip.

    Remember TIP means To Insure Promptness, and is a reward for good service or an incentive to work just as hard next time. I've never seen anyone complain about my 1%...it may not be as much as others but when you think about it...they are probably dispensing $20k in jackpots each hour, if everyone tipped 1%, they'd make $200/hr. That's pretty generous.
     
  14. MarkY

    MarkY Low-Roller

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    GREAT report, a nice read. The part I liked the most.......... you got to share it with your DAD. That is very cool.
     
  15. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    What a great read! And now I'm hungry.
     
  16. JulieM

    JulieM Low-Roller

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    Great TR..congrats on your wins...:beer:
     
  17. Tonez78

    Tonez78 Low-Roller

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    Kyle,

    I enjoyed your TR, well done! Awesome runs on the gambling......I have only had one real great trip like that and would love to have that feeling again. That's why we go back and go back right? Hopefully in September the gambling Gawds will be kind to me.


    I had to laugh at "we got a very nice dinner at Union out of it. It wasn’t 3K nice, but it was certainly good to get something out of my losses." A friend and I always joke about the 5k cigar lighters we bought one trip.............

    Thanks again,

    Tony
     
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