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TR Bally's October 6-12, VP losses and more

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Tubbs, Oct 19, 2010.

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  1. Tubbs

    Tubbs High-Roller

    Dec 7, 2009
    Leicester, UK
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    My Trip Report

    Another incredibly long trip report, with lots of flight details. It is a historical record for me and Mrs T but hopefully there is something of interest for others.

    There is lots of video poker (VP) play in this TR. For those not familiar with the game, JOB = Jacks Or Better, BP = Bonus Poker.

    Wednesday 6 October

    We manage to occupy ourselves until the 11am witching hour, then we are on the road to London Heathrow airport. An accident close to the airport means that we are 15 minutes late to meet valet parking but no other problems. On previous trips we have flown Virgin Premium Economy on 4 occasions and Virgin Economy once. The last 2 trips we have sampled Business Class with Air New Zealand and Continental. This is to be the first of many Business Class flights with British Airways (BA).

    Check-in and fast track security at T5 are completed quickly. It takes us a while to locate the Travelex desk to supplement the dollars I already have in my wallet, then on to the lounge. It's a large, very comfortable lounge with the usual newspapers and TVs. There is also a cinema and complimentary massages available but we no not indulge. The range of food and wine is good and there are 2 sections with a decent range of self-pour spirits and mixers, as well as a couple of nice bottles of port. Must...resist........will...not...get...drunk. I eat more than I should before a flight but manage to limit myself to 2 glasses of wine. Mrs T is even more moderate. We agree that the BA lounge beats the BMI lounge used by Air New Zealand.

    We head off to the gate to find that there is no priority boarding. In fact, there is no boarding at all and everyone shuffles on to a bus to take us to the 'plane. The bus seems to get half way to Manchester before we finally pull up alongside an aircraft. The Heathrow-Vegas route is served by a 3 class 777 so no First Class on this route. Presumably BA decided that they would have trouble filling First Class with full fare passengers on a tourist route and that makes sense. Anyway, BA's seat configuration in Business Class is a bit strange with 8 (yes really, 8) seats across the cabin in a 2-4-2 configuration, with half the seats facing backwards. It sounds strange and it is strange. When passengers have their feet up or their bed laid flat, getting out of most seats involves stepping over the outstretched legs of other passengers! It does not compare favourably with the Air New Zealand 1-1 seat configuration in the forward cabin. But flying direct means Virgin or BA.

    We have 2 rear facing seats together in the centre of the cabin. This means that we are almost facing the random strangers to either side of us until the privacy screens are raised. But these are the only seats where we can sit side-by-side. The welcome sparkling wine is a bit flat and not cold enough. Real champagne follows after take-off with an hors d'oeuvre of a bag of salted cashews! Food and food service is a far cry from Air New Zealand, where there is a large table laid with a cloth for each passenger and all dishes are served separately. There is plenty of wine with the meal but no dessert wine, although a port is available on request. No chocolates. Service is adequate but nothing more.

    After dinner we settle to watch 'Wall Street' but I doze off before the end. This could be linked to the amount of wine I have drunk! We have given up trying to watch new releases on aircraft. We try to get some sleep but the cabin is hot and the snoring and coughing of other passengers does not help. The late meal is some packaged sandwiches which we do not eat, a solid Victoria Sponge and scones with some sort of spread and preserve, but no clotted cream. Oh well. Just as we have full cups of coffee, turbulence kicks in and my coffee goes all over the table and drips into the storage drawer below. This contains, amongst other items, Mrs T's handbag and a folder of documents. With quick use of napkins and wet tissues we manage to avoid any serious damage.

    Unfortunately the turbulence shakes Mrs T around until she is feeling queasy and breaks out in a cold sweat. This seems a little unfair as she has eaten and drunk much less than me. She avoids being sick and is feeling slightly better by the time we land 10 hours 40 minutes after departure.

    Our first experiences with BA are not impressive. Business Class is certainly a huge step up from Premium Economy but, apart from the lounge, BA falls well short of Air New Zealand's transatlantic service. We also preferred Continental, apart from the non-flat seats (these have now been refitted). I can only assume that BA does not compare favourably with many of the Asian carriers on other routes.

    OK, we are in Vegas. Mrs T perks up with some fresh(er) air. We are second in line for immigration and priority bag tagging works well as our suitcases are quickly on the carousel. No line for taxis at T1, we are on our way to Bally's. Credit to the taxi driver who asks whether we want to take the Express or go through town. I suggest something like Paradise and Flamingo. No hold ups and $20 covers the fare and a decent tip.

    We use the Diamond check-in lounge, which is empty. We are booked for 6 nights in a South Tower room with 4 nights comped and Friday/Saturday for $220 total. The flashing of a $20 bill and my persuasive tongue get us nothing beyond the standard Diamond upgrade of a North Tower room on a Diamond floor. The check-in lady does try hard though, including going off to speak to a host so I tip her $10 for her efforts. Our room is on 20th floor facing the back of Paris, with a side view up to the strip to the right side of the Bellagio fountains. We can just hear the music and the boom of the fountain finales.

    This is our second stay at Bally's. Last time we had a room with an extra vanity area on 16th floor. We had no complaints about that room but this room is in slightly better condition with a marble top desk and a sofa instead of armchair. The only sign of wear is a small area of flaking on the unit in the bathroom. The bathroom is not huge and certainly not a two person bathroom, but it is clean and more than adequate. The TV is the old style CRT. That is not an issue for me as I do not switch it on, but it serves a purpose to provide Mrs T with her news fix.

    The room is a really good size, we hardly hear a word from other guests during our stay and housekeeping is efficient. The bed is very comfortable, although I would prefer larger pillows. The only other Vegas hotels we have stayed in are Bellagio, Wynn, Encore and Mirage. Anyone criticising the Bally's rooms must be staying in something quite different to what we had for our last 2 trips.

    A few photographs of the room are attached at the end of the report.

    After unpacking we head downstairs for some 25c BP and the first of many losses before retiring around 10pm, 24 hours after we last woke up in UK.

    Thursday 7 October

    A typical first night with broken bouts of sleep. Mrs T is out of bed at 4.30 and by 6.30 we are strolling through Paris and on to Planet Hollywood. Close inspection of the VP machines confirms my suspicions that all the full pay BP has been removed from the casino floor, the high limit room and the bars. The pay tables were only upgraded in July before being downgraded again in September. My plans to play a lot of $2 BP at Planet Hollywood are quashed. I will just have to take my losses elsewhere!

    We play some 25c BP for a while before heading back to Paris and the breakfast buffet. We use the Diamond entrance to bypass the line. This is our first time here and we are quite impressed. The surroundings are pleasant and the breakfast selection is extensive, even for veggies.

    A brief return to the room and we are heading north up to Imperial Palace. This is another first and while there is nothing to lure us back, the casino is fine if not fancy. We head for the Total Rewards desk to collect a voucher for complimentary tickets to Human Nature, courtesy of my Diamond status. The Box Office does not open until 10am so we play some 25c BP, both losing our $50 funds.

    I am not expecting great seats for Human Nature, booking just 2 days in advance for a Saturday performance. The plan is to palm $20 to the usher and get a booth or a better seat. As it happens, we are offered seats at the front of a table immediately behind the first row of booths, left of centre but not too far left. We are very pleased with these and decide against trying to upgrade on the night.

    Back on the strip, we head for Bellagio. It is time to step up the gambling. vpFREE reports a couple of $2 BP machines but, as expected, these are not to be found so we settle in at $5 JOB machines. Neither of us can hit anything so when we have a combined loss of $2000 we get up for a stroll around the conservatory. Bellagio is still a great place and the conservatory displays are always worth seeing, despite the crowds in the common areas.

    Time for things to pick up on the VP but the downward trend continues. We keep waiting for the tide to turn but we get washed away. We decide that this is not our day and total our losses. $3725. Ouch! We have put over $40000 through the machines and added over 9000 points on my card so I decide a visit to the host office is in order. My request for a restaurant comp for Michael Mina is met without question, $150 limit on booze, no limit on food. The host makes the reservation for Sunday evening. I do not need a paper slip or an entry on my card. Nice and easy. The host gives me his card with an invite to contact him before our next trip. I should be able to get us a room comp for some future date and I might get some offers in my account. We'll see. Some compensation for a hefty loss at any rate.

    I now have $100 in free play (Point Play) on my account so we head over to the Baccarat Bar to run it through on the 25c machines. I cannot get the free play activated and decide to leave it for a future trip, but we play for a while, adding to the deficit. The Baccarat Bar has 3 machines with 9/5 JOB at 25c, which is quite impressive.

    I see Mrs T back to the room at Bally's and head back over the bridge to Bellagio. I settle in at a double deck BJ table with a couple of other players and buy in for $500. It goes well from the start and I eventually cash out for $1225. It's good to recover some of the VP losses.

    It feels much cooler as I walk back to Bally's and I have to report to Mrs T that it is probably too cool to eat on the patio at Mon Ami Gabi, as planned. With the Michael Mina reservation, we now have meal plans for all nights, so we agree to postpone MAG for a future trip. Incidentally, the Fontana Lounge is also closed during our trip, as it always seems to be when we are in Vegas. Another postponement there.

    After getting ready for the evening we walk through to MAG to cancel the reservation and settle for a drink in the Diamond Lounge at Paris. Then on to Planet Hollywood and PF Chang's. This is a new restaurant for us, which I only recently discovered. Any restaurant which highlights the vegetarian dishes is worth visiting. The place is bustling and it looks like there will be a wait. We agree that we can play a little VP before dinner. The host tells us that there will be a 30-35 minute wait, I casually mention that I have a Diamond card if that makes any difference and his response is “just give us 5 minutesâ€. Result!

    Food and service are both very good. Unlike most quick turnaround restaurants, our waitress actually spends some time at the table, offering advice and explaining the sauces. Veggie lettuce wraps to start and 2 main courses to share comes to a very modest $28 + tip. We will be back here again. As we are leaving, there is a long line of people streaming into the restaurant. The place is obviously incredibly popular.

    Mrs T is still catching up on her sleep so I see her back to the room and head out again. I have read so many reports of people stating that they glanced at Venetian/Palazzo through a taxi window as they were passing by and they are now receiving offers for 3 nights comped, that I thought I should join the party. My plan is to put 1000 points on my card while losing no more than $100 playing slots. The first step is to upgrade my Players Card to Gold by flashing my HET Diamond card. I can then earn 1.5 points for each $1 coin-in on slots. Having completed this stage, I go in search of a 3 reel Double Diamond machine. This proves more difficult than expected. The basic slot has mutated into a whole range of Double Diamond variations. I find a simple 3 pay line version and feed in $50. By the time I have lost $10 I realise I would have more fun jabbing a fork in my leg so look for something more exciting. Texas Tea! It may be old school to you slot jockeys but it's new to me. I pump the wells for a decent time before dropping $20. Then I find it...Goldfish Race For The Gold.

    I have never put a cent in a slot in Vegas before this evening but I can just about understand how the latest generation of slots appeal. Sharp graphics, good sound, lots of 'winning' spins and lots of bonus rounds. I play for a long time on $20 at $0.45 a spin, including 2 races, before finally losing my money. A check of my points shows that I am nowhere near 1000. The problem with all the bonus rounds is that I am not getting enough coin-in! I feed in another $50 and up the stake to a whopping $0.80 a spin. I break even on this mini-session and decide that is enough. I only have 662 points and have lost only $50 of my $100 sacrifice. I now realise that I should have been using slightly higher stakes from the start. Oh well, I will wait to see if I get any offers. I am not really a fan of Venetian/Palazzo but I would certainly accept a free or heavily discounted room offer. I probably will not get anything, given some recent comments about tightening of comps, but I quite enjoyed my venture into slotland.

    Back to Bally's around midnight and fall into bed.

    Friday 8 October

    Up early for another buffet at Paris and a taxi to Wynn. More losing 25c BP is followed by a walk over to FSM. Mrs T roots out a few bargains for me but, as usual, finds nothing for herself. We then head over to TI where I join the line to sign-up for a Players Card. There is a long line for the desk all the time we are in TI, although there are 3-4 people helping. I'm not sure if this is standard for TI. I get my cards and $10 free play, which I convert into a $275 loss playing $1 JOB. TI has full pay JOB at $0.50 up, which is to be commended, despite adjusting the comp return on these machines to require $15 coin-in for each point. Mrs T loses $200 to continue our miserable run on VP.

    We get the tram to Mirage and have a wander around before walking back towards Bellagio, where we go our separate ways. Mrs T back to the room, me to the Bellagio poker room. There is a wait for a seat, which offers me the opportunity to drop another $50 at the Sportsbook Bar. 25c 9/5 JOB at the bar is excellent, but I cannot win, whatever the pay table.

    I get my seat at a $4/$8 limit Hold'em game. A very steady session follows, although I throw a few dollars away late on after getting frustrated with the lack of opportunities. A $33 loss overall.

    The plan tonight is to head over to Rio and the Voodoo Lounge, something we have not done for a few years. There are quite a few people waiting for the Rio shuttle outside Bally's. Mrs T is pleased that Diamond members are given priority on the shuttle, any risk of not getting on is removed. On arriving at Rio we head straight for the Diamond Lounge. It's a fairly soulless place with no bar. I ask for a Bombay Sapphire & tonic but the waiter replies that he only has Bombay, no Sapphire. I wonder if he is joking but his face tells me otherwise. We do not see Bombay gin in the UK. My drink is fine and Mrs T gets a glass of champagne. It seems that US does not distinguish between champagne and sparkling wine at most places but Mrs T is happy with her drink.

    Having studied the menus at every restaurant at Rio, Gold Coast and Palms, in the hope of finding something half decent for veggies, we have given up and decided to give the Carnival World buffet a chance. We usually avoid dinner buffets but this fits in well with our plans to have a quick buffet before the show tomorrow night. It means the 24 hour buffet pass is worthwhile so we head for the Diamond entrance and no line. I hand over my card and request 2 of the 24 hour passes. A request is made for Mrs T's card. She does have one but not with her. I assumed that all the info could be entered on my card. Wrong. Mrs T is told that she can have a wristband and pay an extra $6 for the privilege. I think the comment that it is washproof was supposed to reassure but Mrs T has no intention of wearing the band of gluttony for the next 24 hours so we head out in search of a Total Rewards desk.

    We return brandishing Mrs T's shiny new card and the transaction is completed. Having stated that we do not want to wait for a booth we are seated near the cashier, approximately half a mile from the food stations. The food selection is actually quite impressive with plenty of choice for veggies. A table closer to the action would have improved the ambiance.

    After dinner we have a wander around the casino. It's more pleasant than we remember. Last time we were there it just seemed incredibly noisy. After increasing our losses with some more 25c BP we head off to the elevator to the Voodoo Lounge. We are joined in the elevator by a group of screeching young women. I am not usually averse to screeching young women but this is just too much in an enclosed space. The lead screecher insists on shouting at the top of her voice even though her friends are all standing within about 2 feet of her. We make it to 51st floor without our ears bleeding and the views are as spectacular as we remember. We just appreciate the view and take a few photos (something we hardly ever do) before heading back down to the casino.

    A few of the photographs are attached at the end of the report.

    There is no line at all for the shuttle to Bally's, which suggests we have just missed one, so we look for the taxi line, passing the head screecher on the casino floor on our way. Traffic near the strip is ridiculous and it takes forever to get back to Bally's with most of the time spent not moving. With hindsight I should have asked the driver to drop us at the Bellagio north valet. I have plans to head out again but Mrs T informs me that I look desperately tired and my eyes are bloodshot. What does she expect, I am in Vegas! I decide to take note of Mrs T's wise words and recharge my batteries for the days ahead.

    Saturday 9 October

    Another Paris breakfast buffet sets us up for a low rolling VP day. We decide to start at Flamingo with some 25c BP on the machines near the poker room. The very first hand I am dealt a pair of threes. I am about to hold them when I realise I have 3 to a Royal Flush. I hold those instead and am dealt the missing cards for the Royal and $1000. Great start to the day and this makes it 3 trips in a row with a Royal for me or Mrs T. Unfortunately they have all been on 25c machines.

    We play for a while at Flamingo with Mrs T balancing out my losses, outside of the Royal, and we exit exactly $1000 richer than we entered. Next stop O'Shea's, another first. I can just about lift my feet off the sticky carpet at the entrance to make it into the bowels of the casino. Once there, it seems fine. We are still to enter a casino that we wanted to leave right away, perhaps we are not going downmarket enough. I break even on my 25c BP play, while Mrs T manages a small profit. Things are looking up. On to Harrah's, which I quite like, although it took about 6 trips before I finally crossed the threshold. We confirm the location of the Diamond Lounge and then play for a while. Again it is 25c 7/5 BP and again we lose, this time $150 between us. Not much but it keeps adding up.

    Final stop on the trip north is Venetian. We check out the Gold Lounge, which is quite comfortable with complimentary soft drinks, newspapers and and some food. No alcohol though. Definitely more of a daytime pit stop place than an evening hangout. My slot journey at Venetian allowed me to identify the playable VP so we take our chances and make a small profit between us.

    Over the strip and on to Caesars. A passing poke at a few banks of VP machines fails to identify anything worth playing so we keep walking until we reach the Diamond Lounge. This is quite a different animal to the Paris Diamond Lounge. Paris is old school and dark woods, Caesars is modern and white plastics. I like both. No Sapphire again so I order Tanqueray and Mrs T gets the best glass of champagne she has all trip. Nice place.

    We walk down to Paris but fail to find any playable VP on the casino floor. The bar is crowded so we walk through to Bally's and drop some more at 25c BP before heading back to the room early today as the show is at 7.30 and we have plans beforehand.

    Having donned our show gear we take a leisurely stroll back up to Harrah's and the Diamond Lounge. This has a bar and is quite comfortable, although a step down from Caesars and Paris. Then it's time for the Harrah's buffet. The food selection is not as extensive as Rio and the cheese pizza is poor but it's a pleasant place and we get plenty to hold us down for a few hours. Our waitress insists on serving us champagne, although we have just ordered iced water. This seems to be something of a theme in Vegas – “you have paid for it so you should have itâ€.

    We are over at Imperial Palace in good time for the show. Our seats offer a good view of the stage. It is one of those old style theatres with a mix of long tables, side on to the stage, and booths. There are some round tables on the top section and it does feel like a Vegas theatre. For anyone who does not know, Human Nature are 4 Australian guys who perform covers of classic Motown songs. It does not sound like much but it is. All the guys have great voices and they obviously love the songs they perform. There is plenty of interaction with the audience and they all come across as genuinely nice guys. I would have preferred a little less interaction and a few more songs. I would also like to have seen 'Tears of a Clown' performed, but it's tricky when they have such a large catalogue to draw from. I can definitely recommend the show, even at full price, but there are plenty of discounts to be had.

    I see Mrs T back to the room and decide to time the walk to Aria. This becomes pointless when I exit the strip too early and head off towards the parking garages. I am surprised by the lack of lighting and pedestrian walkways before the penny finally drops. Back on the strip and a little further south I make the right exit and find Aria. We paid a visit last trip during the day when the place seemed dark and quiet. This time, on a Saturday night, there is plenty of action and the casino seems lighter than I remember. I have a good walk around and like what I see. $1 9/5 JOB on the casino floor and at one of the bars seems as good as it gets for VP. There are plenty of $50 double deck BJ tables so I grab a seat. It's a nice comfortable table with 2-3 other guys and a friendly dealer. The highlight is when I split 3s against a dealer 7, get a 7 on one hand and an 8 on the other, double both and the dealer busts. A quiet clenched fist signals my pleasure. No jumping out of the seat and high fiving!

    I play for a while, enjoy a Bombay Sapphire & tonic and cash out with a $675 profit. I manage to take the direct route to our room at Bally's and time it at 22 minutes. That's a steady walk late on a Saturday evening, not a power walk at 6.00 in the morning. I can imagine staying at Aria sometime in the future.

    Sunday 10 October

    Breakfast on the patio at MAG. 2 omelettes, 2 coffees $32 + tip. Nice temperature. We ate breakfast here last trip and it was a bit chilly but today it is just right.

    Today is off strip day. We walk over to Barbary Bill's with the traffic just holding up the arrival of the shuttle long enough to allow us to get there. We get dropped off at Gold Coast and walk across to Palms. We hit our first Royal here and have done well generally but not today. We play $1 JOB with me losing $150 and Mrs T dropping $200. I do, however, have a glass tankard as a momento of my time there. Mrs T's attempt to sample a glass of champagne and a Mai Tai at every Vegas casino comes unstuck when she is informed that Palms do not serve Mai Tais at the slots. What?! Everywhere serves Mai Tais. The waitress suggests a rum punch which seems to go down well enough.

    Back over to Gold Coast and some more $1 JOB on the machines near Ping Pang Pong. The restaurant is packed with Asian families enjoying Sunday brunch/lunch. Mrs T manages $100 profit but I lose all the $200 I started with. Next stop Orleans via the shuttle. The driver informs us that everyone has to get off at Orleans as he has to use the bathroom. As we are getting off I ask him when the company stopped issuing colostomy bags to drivers but my remark seems to pass him by. Perhaps it is the accent.

    I thought Orleans was supposed to be VP paradise. I know the full pay JOB was removed some time ago but I cannot find full pay BP on the casino floor. I also cannot find any 9/6 Bonus Deluxe machines. There is 8/5 BP at the bars and I eventually find one bank of Aces Bonus ( BP with an extra bonus for getting 4 aces in a certain order) on the casino floor. I cash out with a tiny profit while Mrs T breaks even. The place seems incredibly noisy. I doubt we will be returning.

    We wait for the shuttle back to the strip but just fail to get on a full bus. The driver informs us that there is an accident near the strip causing problems with traffic so it does not seem worthwhile trying for a taxi. We wait around 10-15 minutes for the next shuttle. It is hot today and there is little shade at the front of the line, despite a cover. Mrs T frazzles at anything over 70F, so I offer myself as a human sun screen. She is pleased with my chivalry.

    It takes a while to get back to Barbary Bill's as the accident means we have to route past MGM and back up to Flamingo Road. Mrs T has seen enough action for a while so I head off on a solo wander. First stop is the Bellagio poker room but there is a significant wait for a $4/$8 game. There is very little action at the BJ tables so I wander over to Planet Hollywood. No limit games at the poker room. I consider the double deck BJ game, then I realise that they are all 6:5 BJ games. Not in this lifetime.

    Next stop Paris and I actually get as close as sitting down at a BJ table before I notice that double after split is not allowed. I can accept dealer hits soft 17 but when casinos start tweaking the other rules, I will not play. Back to Bally's and I am ready for a drink. Sully's Bar looks busy so I head down to the Casino Bar and feed $50 into the VP machine. The Bombay Sapphire pours are generous and my 2 drinks are just what I need. The $50 disappears of course.

    We get ready for dinner and stroll over to Bellagio for our meal at Michael Mina. We ate here last year and enjoyed the vegetarian tasting menu & wine pairings. We start with a Bellagio Cocktail and a melon amuse bouche. We let the waiter know that we are not in a hurry and the meal is paced to our liking. 4 savoury courses and a dessert, each with wine pairing, 2 coffees and complimentary sweet nibbles. The wines are not as tasty as last time but the overall tastes and experience are very good. One nice touch is when I return to the table after using the restroom. My old napkin is removed from the table and a fresh one is laid in my lap. Attentive service. The bill is $348 but we hear the welcome words “Everything is taken care off, I just need a signature from youâ€. A signature and $70 tip later, we are on our way after well over 2 hours at the restaurant.

    I see Mrs T back to the room and head out to Mirage for some BJ. I have a good record here but cannot get on a roll tonight. I get a few hundred ahead and eventually cash out even. It's been a long day and I am pleased to get to bed.

    Monday 11 October

    Breakfast on the patio at MAG again. Our waitress is confused about which tables she is covering and we end up seeking help from a passing waitress. We also confuse the drinks waiter (not sure of the correct title) by stating that we do want coffee immediately, but we will start with orange juice and have coffee with our food. This seems such a wild request that we have to repeat it several times and prevent him from removing the cups from the table. I try the French toast while Mrs T samples the waffles. Both come with blueberries, plenty of sauce and whipped cream. Both are very good. The bill for these, 2 coffees and an orange juice is $42 + tip. Service was not great today but we will be back.

    On the way back to the room we pass an unoccupied bank of Goldfish Race For The Gold machines. Time to initiate Mrs T! She hits all the bonus rounds apart from the race and breaks even. I seem to have a great many spins with no return, dropping $20. Good fun for a short while though.

    We do not have firm plans for the next few hours so decide to go on another VP crawl. This will give me the opportunity to add the 100 or so points on my Total Rewards card to ensure that I get Platinum status when Diamond expires next March. We start at Flamingo, where we both lose. The area at the back of the casino is actually quite smart, with a couple of bright VP bars. We spend a short while wandering around the Wildlife Habitat, enjoying the views and the sunshine.

    Next stop Harrah's, where we play for quite a while and recover some losses, then over the road to Mirage. Mrs T suggests that I give the BJ another go while she plays some 25c 8/5 JOB so I head off to the double deck pit. Not much action but I settle in with another player for a few shuffles. A bit of a struggle this time. On my last 2 hands I am dealt or draw to 20. The first hand the dealer gets 20, the second they get BJ. I decide this is not my day and accept a loss of $225 and my first overall losing trip at Mirage in 4 years. Mrs T loses just a few dollars at VP.

    We stroll back to Bally's, where I set up the laptop with the wireless network and leave Mrs T to catch up with the news. The last room we had at Bally's only had wired internet. I'm not sure if wireless is now available in all rooms or just certain parts of the hotel. Down in the casino I see that there is a $3/$6 game running in the poker room with no wait list so I put my name down. I have to wait a while for a seat but have a good session, winning $91. The $4/$8 games at Bellagio, Wynn and Venetian are often tight so it is good to play a game with a few callers, without the maniacal play that often characterises the $2/$4 game.

    I leave the game to get back to the room to check-in for the flight home. BA does not offer seat allocation until 24 hours before flight time, unless you have status or are prepared to pay for the privilege. Even in Business Class! We are rewarded by bagging the last pair of seats on the upper deck of the 747.

    We spend some time packing and tidying up the money and my notes, ready for a morning departure. We then get into our finery for our last night of this trip. The evening starts with drinks in the Diamond Lounge at Paris. We both enjoy a glass of champagne with a second glass appearing without us asking, and before we have finished the first. Then we head for Eiffel Tower restaurant for our 7pm reservation and a new dining experience. We have to wait a few minutes for a table but are delighted when we are seated overlooking the Bellagio fountains and centre strip.

    We both have the blue cheese soufflé to start and the vegetarian crepes as main course, sharing a potato side dish. We decide against dessert as we have enjoyed the meal so much and do not want to end up feeling uncomfortable. The bill, with a glass of wine each, comes to $135 + tip. Service is excellent and the overall experience is really good.

    Mrs T is happy to bow out on a high so I see her back to the room and decide to end my day with some more poker. I am expecting to have to head out but Bally's has a $3/$6 game running again so I put my name down. I end up having to wait about 45 minutes until a new table is opened but it proves worthwhile, with another good session and a $81 profit. Time for bed.

    Tuesday 12 October

    Mrs T suggests that we avoid a heavy breakfast before our flights home so we just have a pastry and a few nibbles in the room and finish packing. We check out in the Diamond check-in lounge, cashing in my whopping $14 in comps, although $20-$30 seems to disappear off the bill. We are at McCarran in no time and are impressed by the service at the American Airlines counter. Our bags are checked through to London, we are given boarding passes for the BA LA-Heathrow flight, as well as the internal flight, and everything is done in a very friendly manner. Fast track security ensures that we are at our gate well ahead of our flight time. Time to take advantage of the free WiFi and catch up with a few favourite websites and e-mail.

    The flight to LA is uneventful. First Class is comfortable but it's hard to get excited about a 75 minute flight. We walk round to the international terminal at LAX and another encounter with security. By the time we get airside we realise that we have missed out on the duty free. The duty free shops at Tom Bradley are landside – what is that about? We find the lounge and discover that we are the first passengers in there. It's an OK lounge, nothing exceptional, but a chance to relax in comfort and enjoy a few nibbles with a glass of wine before the flight. A decent range of Asian cooked food is put out later, but none of it is labeled so we do not take the risk.

    More time to catch up with that internet thingy while Mrs T makes her way through a range of newspapers and it is time for the flight. Priority boarding and we are in our seats in the Business Class cabin on the upper deck. This has a totally different feel to the cabin on the way out with a 2-2 layout and just 5 rows. I have the window seat, facing the rear, while Mrs T has the aisle seat facing forward and looking at me though the gap between the seats. We are close enough to allow easy conversation. It's a pity that this configuration is not available on the direct route but we will try to get a window and aisle seat in the main cabin for the next trip.

    Food and service on the way home are much better than on the way out. I get a few hours sleep before breakfast. We are slightly late landing in London and have to wait for our car to be returned before we are on our way home.

    Final Thoughts

    The gambling was not kind to us this trip. Final figures are:

    BJ +$1175
    Poker +$139
    Slots -$70
    VP -$4380

    Overall a loss of $3136, so not a great trip. VP was just brutal, apart from hitting the Royal Flush. Most sessions consisted of feeding money into the machine and watching it disappear. We played a lot of BP and did not hit 4 aces all trip! We only hit 4 2-4s twice. The $1 and $5 JOB was just as bad. BJ & poker were reliable as usual and the small amount of slots play was good fun.

    We will probably stick with 25c & 50c VP next time, with BJ & poker for 'serious' gambling and perhaps some low stakes craps.

    Next trip February, probably Wynn, possibly Bellagio, possibly Bally's.
  2. Soreyes

    Soreyes Tourist

    Oct 11, 2003
    San Jose CA.
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great Report. You may have lost a few dollers, but it sounds like you had a good time.
  3. BigRoss71

    BigRoss71 Low-Roller

    Sep 30, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report Tubbs. Read the whole thing. Better luck next trip with the VP. Thats gotta be a long flight back any way you cut it.
  4. letsgo2vegas

    letsgo2vegas Tourist

    Mar 16, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Very nice, detailed and well written TR.
    Sorry for your losses, but it seems you had a great time overall, plus you played at a level that will allow future comped trips.
  5. Gaggles

    Gaggles VIP Whale

    Nov 28, 2009
    Calgary Area
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Well done sir. The kind of report that (other than the losses) makes me wish I was there. That is a pretty big variance for BP. I can only imagine comparable losses on my good old Double Double with that kind of luck.
  6. hammer88814

    hammer88814 Tourist

    Jun 10, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report! The VP was brutal. Seems it was like that everywhere too, not just at a couple of places.
  7. BackInVegas

    BackInVegas VIP Whale

    Mar 14, 2008
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    thanks for the report

    For the next one I request a happier $$ ending.
  8. techie223

    techie223 High-Roller

    Jun 17, 2010
    Ottawa Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the detailed report. Too bad about the VP losses dragging you down.

    I've flown Air New Zealand and they're fantastic. Very friendly and the food was quite good.

    Love the view from the Voodoo Lounge. We were there in September and definitely would like to go back for a drink.
  9. blackjacknut

    blackjacknut VIP Whale

    Nov 26, 2008
    Northeast Ohio
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Loved the report, I like it when people include the flight details/ experience..well done!
  10. Kiwicol

    Kiwicol Low-Roller

    Mar 29, 2008
    Christchurch, New Zealand
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Good report thanks.

    I enjoyed your comments on some of the differences in how things are done between England and the USA. I know what you mean and it always adds an interesting element to a trip to the US.

    Nice to hear the good comments about Air New Zealand. I am biased but they do stack up against most of the competition pretty well.
  11. throwbackid

    throwbackid Guest

    A very nice report other then the losses, sounds a lot like my last trip, did awesome on everything but VP.
  12. IowaRyan

    IowaRyan Low-Roller

    Jan 2, 2006
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report, I enjoy some of the smaller details you provide. By the way while I'm sure you're already aware, you should nominate Mrs T for sainthood-a woman who only objects once about her husband going back out to gamble more is a rare and special gift.
  13. HOUtoLAS

    HOUtoLAS High-Roller

    Jan 31, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report. Sorry to hear the VP didn't roll your way, but at least you hit one Royal. I love VP, but sometimes win more money playing BJ. Looks like that happens to you too.

    I have been Diamond for many years, and never made it up the Voodoo Lounge. I think that will change soon. Nice pictures.
  14. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

    Aug 23, 2008
    Chicago & Jersey City
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    loved the gambling detail, and I know how you feel on the VP, seems like either you hit everything and win big or hit nothing and get pounded. especially playing quarter JOB one would think something closer to break even would be a reasonable expectation.

    my favorite quote was the buffet bracelet of gluttony.:beer:
  15. Blondie76

    Blondie76 Low-Roller

    Sep 19, 2008
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Nice TR. I enjoyed reading it. Let us know if any comp offers come from V/P. I do think they are getting stingier there. Sorry about your losses. I hope your next trip is more profitable. :)
  16. silversilver

    silversilver Low-Roller

    Apr 29, 2010
    Southern California
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    :thumbsup: Great report. Quite amusing too!
  17. TVC15

    TVC15 Tourist

    Sep 18, 2009
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    thanks for the detail and the dry humour Tubbs! Sorry for VP losses but sounds like a fun trip.
  18. VegasDiva

    VegasDiva VIP Whale

    Apr 23, 2009
    Calgary , Alberta , Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great Report

    Loved the details and the dry humour :) I'm hoping the slots will be a little looser in January when I return to Vegas ......:evillaugh

    Great insight on the flights , too ....I'm only a 2.5 hr flight from Vegas but sometimes feels like 25 hrs lol
    Another Musical Therapy Trip
  19. jjzpc813

    jjzpc813 Tourist

    Jan 22, 2010
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    good report
  20. Tubbs

    Tubbs High-Roller

    Dec 7, 2009
    Leicester, UK
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for all the responses.

    Gaggles - Yes, I was thinking of you and BeeeJay, amongst others. I do not know how you would have survived a similar run at DDB. No quad aces and only 1 coin returned for 2 pair. Ouch!

    IowaRyan - I am very fortunate. She did not actually object to the one occasion, she just suggested I would benefit from some more sleep! Our arrangement works well - I used to play a lot of BJ and drag Mrs T about with me. Now we play VP together but I get plenty of free time for BJ, poker and exploring. Mrs T is happy to spend more Vegas time just relaxing than I am.
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