Trip Report: 6/13/03 to 6/16/03 Last Wednesday, I dropped off the wife and kids at the airport for their trip to Michigan. With a free weekend at my disposal, there was little doubt about my plans. However, a few days before the trip, I came down with a major cold. I was considering canceling this tripâ€¦ yeah, right. But it did cross my mind. Anyhow, here's my brief trip report. It was a good trip and served its purpose to take care of my gambling jones. jones (jOnz) n, vt. An activity performed often to the point of excess. An addiction, esp. to drugs, sports, gambling, and other enjoyable acts. Borrowed from the cartoon "Fat-Albert" and the drug-ladened 60's and 70's. FRIDAY After finishing some work, I was out the door by 9:00am. Movie of the day was "Dances with Wolves". Arrived in town a little after 1:00pm. Got checked in at the Plaza and promptly hit the casino. Jeff "Caveman" (from Vegas Watch) showed up about 5 minutes into my 101% FPDW session. Our plans for this trip were two-fold: 1. Get established at Main Street Station. 2. Make money on Match Play coupons (Casino Perks and others). After Jeff checked in, we took off to do a mini-coupon run at the Strat (+37.50) and Frontier (0). Back to the Plaza: FPDW (-60), Craps (+435), Elvis (-20), Multistrike (-5), FPDW (+80), BJ(-25). That craps session didn't have any monster rolls, but had a decent upswing. Over to Las Vegas Club: NSUD (-20), DDB (-20). I was pretty sick this whole trip, so I called it a night about 1am. Gambling: +$402.50 Food and accommodations: 0 SATURDAY Up at 6:30 am. After wasting $100 on FPDW, Jeff finally makes it down. We use the free buffet coupon from the Plaza Pleasure Pak. Say what you want about the Plaza buffet, but here's my take. I'm in Vegas to gamble and to optimize time. In Vegas, I prefer NOT to spend more than 30 minutes eating anything, anywhere, unless it's a social function or a nice meal. The Plaza buffet serves it's purpose much like a "continental breakfast" at a Holiday Inn Express. You fill your plate with calories, input those needed calories, and GOâ€¦ all in less than 5 minutes. Here's an summary of our MP trip. STARDUST: (Net -40) This place has the lamest coupon of them all. It's a $20 BJ "alternate play" coupon. First, you have to play $20 without a coupon. On your second $20 bet, you use the coupon. If you win, you only win 3:2, or $30. So, in essence, you're risking $40 just to win $10 extra. Come on, give me a break. If you play there anyhow, it's an ok coupon, but it's definitely not worth the special trip. In addition to the MP's, they had a promo for 20x points for the first 30 minutes of machine play (for new sign ups). So we took advantage of that, also. (BJ: +20, 25c BonusDW: -40, $1 9/6 JOB: -20) FRONTIER: I didn't play here, but Jeff won all 5 of his $5 MP's. Like the Stardust, they make you validate the coupons at the slot club before using them. I like this casino. It has a good feel to it. The pit crew seemed friendly enough, and craps is 10x odds, but with $5 min. KEY LARGO: (Net 0) I never liked this place. The casino is so small, you're every move can be tracked. Again, the MP had to be validated at the gift shop/slot club, and is also an alternating MP (for second bet, only). Only one MP per day. I win the first one, but lose the MP. TERRIBLES: (Net +10) This is just a regular $10 MP, but also one per shift. No validation required, but you have to have a card. Without FPVP, a measly $10 MP, and a pit that sweats, this place isn't worth the visit. Last years $25 MP made it more of a compelling stop. ARIZONA CHARLIES WEST or DECATUR: (Net +115) A slight deviation from our schedule. Jeff left his significant bankroll in his room. He didn't want to leave the money in the room, so we had to back track to downtown pick it up. That's why we went from Terribles to ACW. No big deal, but his smelly feet was killing me all day. He had to put up with my coughing so I guess I could put up with smelly feet. Out of all the MP's, the ACW, ACE, and Strat coupons were the most inconvenient to use, due to the length of the validation process. In addition to waiting in line, once you reach the club counter, it takes an additional 5 minutes for them to enter the coupons in their computer. They did validate two coupons each. For those of you who have never been to ACW, you're not missing much. It's truly a locals casino, located on one side of a shopping center parking lot. With one stop, you can play FPVP, get a $5 haircut at the barber shop, hit the clearance rack at Mervyn's, buy motor oil at the auto parts store, and change your oil. It's the most disgusting parking lot of all the casinos in Vegas, period. CASTAWAYS: (Net +30) The two Casino Perks $25 MP's have to be validated at the slot club. The LVA $25 MP's can be used w/o validation. Apparently, they don't have daily minimums. Other than bowling, there is no reason to stay at this place. It's just too far from anything. FPVP is scarce, and craps min is $5, but with 10x odds. (BJ +50, 8/5 bonus -20) ARIZONA CHARLIES EAST or BOULDER: (Net -40) Again, the validation process wasted quite a bit of time. There is no comparison to ACW. ACE is much cleaner and brighter, but I hear the rooms are pretty basic, if not substandard. Really, there is no reason to play here other than to check it out. Craps, as I recall was $3 with 5x odds. BARLEY'S: (Net -50) Time for some free caloric intake. I'm sick as a dog, coughing and hacking away. I'm not hungry at all but I knew I had to eat something. The pizza was actually pretty good and hit the spot. Regarding the $20 MP's, the lady pitboss was pretty strict on the one-per-day rule. Usually the male pit bosses at this place let you use one AGC MP and one LVA MP. In addition to losing the MP, I played a few more hands to chase the loss, but to no avail. MONTELAGO: (Net -30) We just had to see this place for ourselves. They claim to have something like 600 FPVP games. We signed up for the slot club and played a while. Nice place with some hotties walking around. Ugly waitress outfits. Smelled like a brand new casino. A lady walks around the casino passing out "chakalit cahndy" to all players. Nice touch. Drink service seems very regular. I would definitely play here if there were compable rooms, but who knows? Craps, as I recall, was $5 with 3x4x5xâ€¦ or was it double odds? Too much Dayquil. HYATT LAKE LAS VEGAS: (Net +5) Still a deserted casino. There are more suits in this place than players. My dealer friend, Ray, was working the craps table. They recently changed it to double odds from 3x4x5x. Of course, I didn't play craps, but used my ACG MP's. Ray told me that there is talk about closing this casino down. It's losing too much money. This will be my last time at this casino. Back to the Plaza for a quick craps session (-70) and then head over to MSS. I tried to get a buffet meet going at this place, but I don't think anyone showed up. That's ok. Time for some nice FPDW slant-top action. We played for 5 hours straight on these lightning-fast machines (-63). Only drawbacks are that they are not ticket in/out, the A/C blows right on you in this area, and the reflection of the lights on the slant-top screen. Other than that, these are the best machines in all of downtown. The 4-of-a-kind scratchers are icing on the cake. After our FPDW session, we tracked down Brenda Manligius (MSS host). Nice lady. She promptly wrote us up for a brewpub comp. In addition to the Jumbo Shrimp cocktails and Chicken Tenders, I had the Pale Ale Ribeye and Jeff had the Prime Rib Burrito. Although my ribeye was cooked to order, the outer layer was overly-burnt. I still wasn't feeling well and wasn't too hungry, so I didn't say anything. Plus, my head was spinning from exhaustion and medication. Back to the Plaza for some light action: Craps (-33), Top Dollar slots (+20), FPDW (+20). We called it an early night around 1am. SUNDAY Up at 7:00am for a short FPDW session (-20). We hit the 5 minute buffet and head down Fremont Street. Checked out 4Q, Fitz, El Cortez, Gold Spike, Lady Luck and didn't gamble at any of them. I can almost guarantee you that Neonopolis will never become a profitable business venture. They sunk quite a bit of money into that project and will never recover it. It's just not inviting at all, there are too many bums in that area, and there is simply no reason to go there. We stopped at The Cal to check out the Golden Arm. Man, those Japanese-Hawaiians really like that place. Even though there are much better craps games all over the place, their craps table always seems to be hopping. Back to MSS for more FPDW (+300). After about 5 hours, I finally hit quad ducks. The scratchers added another $24. Jeff took off back to Phoenix. I fetched a solo comp for the buffet. It was a dinner buffet, so it took me 15 minutes (with dessert). I'm still sick as a dog and couldn't eat much. After the buffet, I hit the nice craps table. Even though it's a $5 min, the ambiance and the friendly pit crew makes this one of my favorite tables downtown. Plus, the $5 min keeps the riff-raffs out. I'm surprised they let me play. I buy in for $200 and color up for $600. That makes this +700 venture to MSS. Back to the Plaza. At this time, I'm estimating my profits for this trip to be around $1000. So now there is absolutely no pressure at all. Hit the craps table for a short session (-120). Hit the quarter WOF for -20. Hit the penny WOF for -10. Hit the nickel Monopoly for -20. Hit the new "extra spin" WOF nickel game for +30. I like this game. One short session of BJ (-50). FPDW for -20. More craps for +50. Back to that nickel WOF game for +10. Head over to The Golden Gate to use the 2/1 BJ coupon, $10 craps coupon, and $5 roulette coupon. Walk out +15. And that's all the gambling for the trip. I called it a night at around midnight. MONDAY Up at 6:00am. Used a free breakfast coupon for the diner. Checked out and hit the road by 6:40. No traffic. Movie of the day was "A Few Good Men". Home by 11:00am. SUMMARY - Even though I was feeling like crap the whole time, this was a good gambling trip. - With all the MP's that I used, I came out approximately even. - Because of the hassles involved and weakness of some of the coupons, Casino Perks is NOT a good deal. - The two $400+ craps sessions and quad deuces at MSS made the trip. - I used the "cross-six" set during the whole trip. It was very reliable. - The temperature was perfect the whole time. It was never an issue. - Jackie Gaughan wasn't anywhere to be found. The new owners haven't taken over yet. - MSS is now my favorite downtown casino. NET GAIN = $840 Thanks for reading and God Bless America.