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TR - May 11 thru May 17

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, May 21, 2013.

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  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    I write a blog for one of the on-line suburban sites of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. I try to get it posted as soon as possible after a trip (and then link it here) but many personal issues have conspired against me. I've seen others post TRs here a day at a time. I am going to try that, then when I do have more time I can copy-paste it to my blog.

    I will add a day at a time as I have time, but I have a very, very busy week so there might be a day or two delay in between postings.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  2. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    hope this gets better.
     
  3. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    It'll get a lot better, I promise.

    I had every intent of punching out Day 1 on my lunch hour at work on Tuesday, and as you can tell, didn't make it.

    Tomorrow. For sure.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  4. BeeeJay

    BeeeJay President of The Red Lobster Hostess Satisfaction

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    Gaggles-esque!:beer:
     
  5. lvmb

    lvmb Low-Roller

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    That's a bit harsh without a smiley.

    Hope it gets started after that! :wink
     
  6. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Saturday, May 11 -

    My wife and I caught the 6:30 AM flight from Milwaukee and managed the boarding procedure perfectly so that there was an empty seat between both of our amply portioned frames. Landed just after 8:00 AM PDT and the captain was patting himself on the back for an early arrival... then came on the mic and said that since they were so early, the arrival gate was not available. So much for an extra 20 minutes of Las Vegas.

    Headed over to the Car Rental Center to pick up our Mustang convertible (I must have hit the internet one random day at the right time, as I found a rate of $18 per weekend day, less a 10% promo code I had for Dollar; all in for two days for $57.) Except...

    Except for the $500 security hold they wanted to place on the credit card. They were really pushy on the insurances (as it is a "high risk" vehicle) which I declined; I don't know if the security hold (which coincidentally matches the insurance deductible that I told them that I have) was because I declined the insurance or not, but I knew I had three hotels and two other cars to rent over the next few days, and I didn't have that much available room. The result is that we used my wife's work AMEX to hold the car with the intent of going back to my credit card upon return. They were happy to do that for a $10 a day extra driver charge. But the $20 vs a tied up credit card for the rest of the trip was a frustrating but ultimately easy decision.

    But that's not all. When they moved the transaction to my wife's name and card, the rate skyrocketed to $57 a day. By this time, I made a trip to the restroom while my wife finished the transaction. When I met her at the car, she said "When you said $57, I thought it was total for two days... not per day before taxes".

    Of course, now I am seeing red. I take the contract back to the Dollar counter (I have to wait in line AGAIN) and the clerk (a different one) was happy to make the correction, saying that sometimes the computer does that. I less than friendily told her that there really isn't any excuse and that someone needs to either reprogram the computer or be super-100%-diligent if they know this is a bug. She wasn't impressed with that comment. I wasn't impressed that the whole time to get the car was almost 45 minutes. I've never had either of these problems at Alamo (where we normally rent). Then again, I've never seen a convertible for $16.20 a day at Alamo...

    Still angry, we pulled out of the garage with our white Mustang, flipped the top down and noticed LAS VEGAS!!!! The mood changed considerably as we headed up the strip to our first stop - Mon Ami Gabi at Paris.

    I had made a reservation on-line for Mon Ami Gabi, but that was for inside seating only. When we made it to the restaurant, there was a "short" wait for patio seating so we decided to wait. I walked over to a Hangover slot, played max credits and won $196. I didn't even have a chance to lose it as our pager went right off.

    I ordered a Cafe au Lait (it is a French restaurant, you know), and the waiter asked "large or small". I said large (money being no object when using a TR comp voucher). He brought my coffee in a bowl. An honest to God bowl. I felt like an idiot drinking it (and the bowl got mighty hot, too). My boring ol' wife had a diet Coke... then again, she doesn't have a blog to populate. My skinny cinnamon pancake was pretty good (nothing spectacular) and my wife's hamburger (remember, no blog) was reported as being excellent.

    When estimating the amount of the voucher at the TR desk, the lady said that I should make up a huge number, as only the actual amount of the check is deducted from the TR points; the rest are returned. That was good information because I wasn't sure how that whole process would work.

    After breakfast, we got the car and drove over to Terrible's (not the Silver Sevens, yet). If you recall my last trip, I had downloaded Cantor Gaming app for my Android for sports betting. It was an absolute train wreck to use... slow, boxy, lost connections, no chance to review bets before submission, etc. For this trip, I downloaded the William Hill sports app, and my trip to Terrible's was to set up my account and make my initial deposit.

    It took a few moments because my account number and password were generated at a separate location, so while I waited, I dumped almost $100 in a bartop VP machine. I still had half of my Hangover winnings left, so I wasn't worried.

    Once we got the account number and password, the clerk walked me through it, and let me tell you how VASTLY easier and better that the William Hill app is compared to Cantor Gaming. I will never again use Cantor's current app, and someone else can Guinea pig the changes before I consider an update from them. No need to. The William Hill app was everything the Cantor app wasn't. I was very happy with the performance, just not happy with six days of results (I thought I knew baseball better than that!)

    Next, my wife and I used a Groupon for the CSI Experience at the MGM Grand. We had done the trip on a Groupon a couple of years ago, but even though this was a repeat, my wife was very interested in another scene (there are three different scenes to choose from). I had no problem with it; the price was right and it killed an hour or so. On the way out to the car, it gave me a chance to give MGM the rest of the money I had won at Paris. I felt like I had robbed the Montagues to give to the Capulets. Or Hatfields/McCoys. Or FOX/MSNBC. Use your favorite analogy and put a coin in the tip jar.

    The original plan was to get to The Mob Museum after the CSI Experience, but we instead decided to check into Harrah's and relax - maybe catch a nap - before the evening activities.

    At the Harrah's check-in desk, I had considered doing the "$20 trick", but instead decided to do the "Very Pleasant Smile and Request Trick" and it worked like a charm. Even though it was a Saturday night, the clerk said that because it was a one-night stay, they could move us up. We got an Executive Suite on the 35th floor, overlooking the Quad and the south Strip! I immediately took a seat on the most uncomfortable couch ever (the only real bad part of the suite) and fell asleep for a half hour before my wife woke me with "Are you just going to sleep Las Vegas away"?

    Yielding to the relationship's power broker, we decided to head out... somewhere. We tried to get to the Strip (Side note; you can't get there from the Carnival Tower). After walking approximately forever in the 98 degree mid-day sun, we saw Serendipity 3 and I decided that I wanted a Frozen Hot Chocolate. Between the VMB and the Five Hundy FB page, I've seen raves about it. I, however, was not impressed. It was a large, $12 soupy shake. Meh. My wife chose the Apple Crisp a la Mode, which was fantastic, and which made my Frozen Hot Chocolate seem even more weak.

    In the first of a trend for the week, they couldn't get our TR cards to work to use RCs for payment, so they wanted me to use my gambling money. No dice (Get it? Gambling money? Dice?) I told them, and that I would head to the Caesers TR desk to get it straightened out. The waiter said "Let me try one more time" and he got it to work. This would happen two more times on the trip, making me wonder if there are some restaurants that are feigning computer issues as a way to take less and less RCs for payments. I am not a conspiracy theorist, but three times at three different properties seems too much for a coincidence in six days.

    We went back to Harrah's so I could lose the money that I had tried losing at Paris. Success! After a brief trip to the airport to pick-up a couple of friends (though they weren't going to hang around with us Saturday night) my wife and I got dressed and headed back to Paris, this time to Gordon Ramsay Steak.

    I have not seen a bad review for GR Steak, and you won't get one here, either. I used the iPad to see that they carried John Smith's Extra Smooth beer (which a very good English mate loves, but I'd never seen it in the States) and the wife a Cosmopolitan. We didn't have an appetizer, but the bread selection was so good that we asked for a second plate.

    For dinner, I had the bone-in ribeye, which was everything I want in a steak. Usually, even at the uppity steak houses, I will get at least some onions, and maybe a sauce or Gorgonzola on the side. But I wanted to let the meat speak for itself, and it spoke volumes. I give two thumbs halfway up, as that was all I could manage while they were cutting a fantastic steak.

    Ever since my wife started watching a bunch of untrained clowns bollocks up Beef Wellington by the dozen each week on Hell's Kitchen, she had wanted to try it. And in the end, her dinner didn't live up to her hype. She said it wasn't bad, it just wasn't great. She tried my ribeye and said that she immediately knew she picked the wrong dinner.

    I had also heard great things about the Sticky Toffee Pudding and the French Press coffee service, but we were both stuffed... I think it was the mid-day trip to Serendipity 3 cost us dessert here. Speaking of dessert, we did see Hell's Kitchen winner Christina from last season... she looked to be in charge of the dessert station. She was very busy, but didn't look like she was earning a quarter of a million dollars.

    This trip was the fourth time my wife and I did Vegas together, and three previous times we were thwarted in seeing the Mirage volcano. The first time, we had to decide between the TI Siren show versus the volcano, and the Sirens won (in a show that was postponed by high winds, but there was no time to get to the Mirage). Once we got stuck in traffic and missed the last volcano show. And once we got there and was told the last show was cancelled.

    This time, however, we got there about 2 minutes before the show. My wife sprang from the car and raced to the viewing spot. The show started right away and she loved it. I thought the flames added an awful lot of heat to an evening that still was over 90 degrees.

    When the show ended, we turned around and saw our Mustang right where we left it. We asked the valet for the keys so we could take it right away, and the valet insisted on driving the 20 feet to us... and in doing so backed into the car that was pulled in behind it. My wife was mentally preparing her resume (expecting to be fired for using the company card and expecting Dollar to charge about $5000 for repairs). But I took a quick look at it, and could not see even a scratch on the car. From that point, however, my wife told me to forget that she even has a work credit card!

    Evening came and morning followed, the first day.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  7. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Nice report so far, very detailed!:thumbsup:
    I've never had a problem with Dollar. Not a good way to start the trip and then the valet.
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  8. kitson

    kitson VIP Whale

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    that is much better! nice report so far, and an entirely new realization for me that the "difficulty". getting the points program to work might be fake, thanks.
     
  9. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

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    Loving your report..Keep it up..:beer:
     
  10. RAWDAWG33

    RAWDAWG33 Low-Roller

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    Great so far... Love the detail,a fun read
     
  11. skybank

    skybank Low-Roller

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    Nice start!
    I advise everyone to join evey car rental company member club. For the most part they are free and you get to by pass the counter in Vegas and go straight to the garage to pick up you car without any up sale!
     
  12. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    Looking forward to the rest of your TR!:eek:
     
  13. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Sunday, May 12 -

    My lovely wife (and mother of her kids) suggested that we invite bowling buddies Ken and Glenn (who I picked up from the airport the day before) to Mother's Day breakfast at eat. (and I can't explain enough how difficult it is to use a proper name that does not have a capital letter but has a period at the end of it. I've spent way too much time this evening trying different ways to list the name of the restaurant. But if they are so pretentious that eat. is a good idea to them, then that is how they will be identified. I hope, Dear Readers, that you figure out the name of this restaurant. And you know the funny thing? The food was SO good...)

    As for the food, my wife and I each had the hand-breaded Chicken Fried Steak, which was perfect. Glenn's Banana Fosters French Toast, however, was quite mushy in the center, and there were some service hiccoughs. But it didn't affect my food, and though the temps would rise this day, it was about 75 degrees on the outdoor, shady patio. A wonderful way to start the day.

    From there, we had some time to kill so we drove to Main Street Station for some craps (wow, the bad sevens were flying) and some Treasure Chest VP. I had two four-baggers, however each Treasure Chest chosen was the lowest amount (140 quarters) and both scratch-offs were $2 each.

    My wife and I had to catch an early-afternoon flight to Reno (and Ken and Glenn were going to use the Mustang for the day) however on the trip to McCarran, we somehow got sidetracked to Count's Kustoms. As a man who can usually get a car started, this held no interest to me. But Ken is a geek about this kind of stuff (which is OK, actually, because we all have our own geek phases in Las Vegas).

    After a brief, uneventful flight into Reno (and the Reno portion of this trip will be a bit less detailed) I contacted my Uncle John and Aunt Barb (who are also in town to bowl the respective Open and Women's National bowling tournaments) for a dinner meet-up. I had suggested Rosie's Cafe at John Ascuaga's Nugget in Sparks (Side note; There is legendary debate in Reno about the true origin and "proper" preparation of the Awful-Awful. So much so that Food Wars on the Travel Channel pitted the one from Rosie's Cafe with the one at the Nugget Diner in downtown Reno. Though the Nugget Diner's version "won" the Food War, I'd had theirs a couple of times and wanted to try the Rosie's Cafe version. An Awful-Awful is a lot of hamburger on a fresh bun. The Nugget Diner is one big patty, fried, on an onion bun with Russian dressing. Rosie's Cafe's version is two flame-broiled patties on a bun baked in-house).

    My aunt and uncle weren't interested (Ha! Fooled you!) but they suggested dinner at the cafe at the Western Village Casino in Sparks, which is owned by the Peppermill group. The cafe does serve a lot of decent food, pretty cheaply (I had a 1/2# burger for $7.99). The star of the trip out to Sparks, though, was finding $3 blackjack, double-deck, double on anything, double after split, dealer stays S17. Allowed me to bet progression-style at $10 to start, with my uncle playing $3 and bytching up a storm at every 13 against a dealer 2. I think she may have been dealing those just to aggravate him. Was kind of funny, in a way.

    We kissed them goodbye, my wife went back to our room at Harrah's Reno to watch the Survivor Finale (Just, just don't. I tried. I don't get it either) while I went to the National Bowling Stadium to watch some other friends compete and to check in my group. I handled the paperwork for a second team, so I walked to the Silver Legacy to give them their packet of coupons and promo items. I turned a $10 match play coupon into $40 on one machine, then took it to a Blazin' 7s machine for a $200 hit. Made almost $260 with no risk. Nice, eh?

    [​IMG]

    Evening came and morning followed, the second day.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2013
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  14. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Your wife is worried about the rental car being on her work Amex card, but you loaned the car to friends for the day. I'm assuming they are not listed as drivers on the rental agreement? Wow, that's chancy for several reasons!
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  15. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    That's what I get for trying to be more concise... which is why I don't often try.

    When Ken and Glenn took me to the airport, we stopped at the rental facility and added Glenn as a driver, and then we put the whole charge on his credit card and I paid him cash for my portion. Took my wife's card off the hook and made him responsible for his own damage.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  16. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    It was just a head scratcher for me, so I had to ask.:peace:
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  17. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Monday, May 13 -

    This isn't going to be the most exciting day in Las Vegas TR history, as it doesn't take place in Las Vegas and it is almost exclusively bowling.

    My lovely wife and I start with a hearty breakfast at the Hash House A Go Go at Harrah's Reno. Since I don't eat eggs, there aren't a lot of options for me, so I go with a solid standby - the blackberry granola pancake and a side of bacon. My wife has something, too, and we use a $10 off coupon that was in the coupon book given to all bowlers, so the combined price is less than $20.

    Since both my wife and I recognize that there won't be much time for gambling today, we do our bender in the morning instead of the usual evening binge.

    I start with some dollar video poker, and I may as well have shredded that Benjamin... It would have taken the same amount of time. I then head to a double-deck blackjack table, and over the course of an hour, I am down another hundy... all this by 9:00 AM! I pull out another C and immediately get 88 vs a 6. One card is another 8. I split and the next card is a 3. I double. I've got $40 on the table, and three hands over 17 against a dealer 6... 5... 10. Shoot. Now down $240 when I see my wife stroll by, and she pulls me off the table before I can lose the other $60.

    She reminds me that there is a bowlers coupon for a $5 Field bet match play in craps, and a $5 Ace (coupon serves as a match play and an Ace) for blackjack.

    Not happy with hemorrhaging money this morning, I sheepishly say that maybe she should play the coupons and I will wait until later. We go to the craps table and nobody is shooting. Well, you need a shooter to place a Field bet, and you need a Pass Line bet to shoot. My wife looks at me. :kiss:

    I sigh and throw my last $60 on the felt.

    23 rolls later, my $60 has colored-up to $275... Almost even for the day (for the record, in the midst of that run, both my wife and I lose our Field match plays).

    With a "Starting the Day Over" bankroll, I go all-Clark Griswold on that same blackjack dealer (who has moved one table over) with my $5 Ace. I put my nickel on the spot, and with my coupon Ace, I am dealt... an Ace! I immediately put $10 on the spot to split the Ace, and the floor supervisor comes over, almost like she was sweating the action. Apparently nobody that she know of has been dealt an Ace with a coupon Ace on the table. Eventually, she rules that I do have $10 in bets on the spot, and two legitimate Aces on the table, so she has the dealer give me a pair of Kings. Whoopie! :woohoo:

    I take my $20 in winnings and run up to the hotel room before I get a chance to lose it. It seems like the entire trip, I would go way down, make a miraculous comeback, but can't get into positive territory. Granted, "even" is way better than losing, but I could have done without the wild swings.

    I get dressed and get to the National Bowling Stadium, first for a practice session, then for our Team tournament squad. This isn't a bowling forum so I will save the boring bowling-speak, but I averaged 220 for three games (which is really good in that setting) and $170 in side action returned $415 to me. I don't count those as gambling winnings (they are a separate category of bowling wins, as I will be 1099ed on my total amount of wins).

    When we set this trip up, my wife had planned on bowling the Women's tournament (which is concurrently being held in Reno). But after nursing a sore elbow all season, she finally had an MRI which revealed a torn tendon. She actually had surgery yesterday (as I type this... one of those things that has really screwed up my week and is delaying this TR). Since her torn tendon was not going to allow her to bowl, my Aunt Barb bowled as a sub. Unfortunately, after me spending the better part of six hours at the Stadium doing my own bowling, I am stuck for three hours at the Convention Center watching my aunt bowl.

    My wife and Aunt had left the Stadium earlier so that they could get settled into the Convention Center, so my Uncle and I drove over when we were done, and decided to go to a gas station for some sodas. Just to the left of the front door was a line of five or six penny slots... and four of the machines have players.

    Which of these scenarios is more likely?
    • The customer went in for gasoline (or convenience items) but is such a degenerate that s/he couldn't get past these machines, OR
    • The customer is such an addict that he got an amount of money, and couldn't wait the extra six blocks to get to the nearest casino (the wonderful Atlantis resort) but instead selected this particular gas station as his destination of choice.

    My uncle and I concluded that there was only one answer... "C'mon...."

    After my Aunt completed bowling, my wife and I found the In N Out Burger on the south side of Reno (a 2 x 3, extra toast, Animal Style with Animal Style fries, please). After dinner, we went back to the hotel and basically right to bed, as I had a 5:00 AM wake up call to hit the lanes at 7:00 AM the next day.

    Evening came and morning followed, the third day.
     
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  18. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

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    Tuesday, May 14 -

    Morning came really early, and my bowling shift was scheduled for 7:00 AM. We bowled two three-game series. My first series of the day was 651, however because it was doubles and my partner (my uncle) bowled like a 70-year old man at seven in the morning, we will cash, but not for a lot. I then bowled my three games of singles like a 70 year old man, destroying a potentially nice 9-game score. My decent 9-game score will still make some money at the end of the tournament, and I did turn $200 in side action into $395, so I guess I am happy. Also happy that the bowling was complete.

    Every year, I get so excited about planning Nationals, and every year I can't wait to be done, as it gets in the way of a vacation. Doesn't make sense to me, either.

    We were done bowling by 10:00 AM, and eventually all went to the Eldorado to use a free breakfast buffet coupon that the bowlers get. However not all of us arrived before breakfast ended, and the coupon is also worth $5 off at the cafe, a group of us ended up there (and as it was, it cost me $100 in VP waiting for them to arrive). I had a surprisingly good burger with pepperjack cheese, bacon, deep fried onions and jalapanos and Russian dressing on a big, fluffy bun.

    Ken, Glenn and I (and possibly my Aunt and Uncle) had discussed going to the Reno Aces baseball game, which started at 11:30 AM (it was "Education Day" with events geared at students). Unfortunately, everybody bailed on me but I went to the game anyway (I do love watching baseball). I bought the best seat available, seventh row behind home plate. I was a little surprised to pay $22 for a minor league ball game, but I had bowled well so I decided to treat myself.

    It was 80 degrees in the shade, I had a cold beer in my hands, with baseball less than 100 feet in front of me... and fought to stay awake for three hours. It hadn't occurred to me that getting about 4-1/2 hours sleep before bowling for three hours would make me a wee bit tired by early afternoon, and having a beer didn't help. Having Reno running up the score over the Iowa Cubs made for a non-interesting game, too.

    I did manage to wake up in time for the game to end, went back to Harrah's to take a proper nap, and met up with my wife. We decided to take a walk aimlessly, and let the wind tell us which casino to end up in.

    As the Indian casinos have begun sprouting up in Northern California, Reno's casino industry has taken a beating, causing downtown to fall into an odd mix of vibrant casinos (Circus Circus, Silver Legacy, Eldorado, Harrah's and Cal Neva), closed casinos and vacant storefronts and panhandlers. Well since my last visit to Reno two years ago, one thing that got really cleaned-up was the panhandlers. I did not see one in three days in Reno.

    Another thing the city did was to create a river walk along the Truckee River, just south of downtown. My wife and I walked about a mile of it, coming across and watching instructors teaching a whitewater rafting class. Being so close to downtown, it was nice to be completely separated from the casinos for a while, and just see all the locals walking, biking, taking their dogs out, etc.

    But being tourists, we did get to the Siena casino to lose some money. The Siena is a hidden gem, but just far enough away from the Big 5 casinos that it doesn't seem to get much action. On this night, we were the only two people playing table games. The Siena does have a promotion where they reimburse up to $200 in losses, but the reimbursement comes the next day so we couldn't use it before we left. They said the reimbursement stays for one year, so we might use it next year if we schedule our bowling dates properly.

    After doubling the Siena's monthly revenue, my wife and I decided to head to Rosie's Diner in the John Ascuaga's Nugget to finally try their Awful Awful. I thought it was excellent, but not having had the Nugget Diner's version in a couple of years, I still can't make a comparison about "which is better". Both are damn good.

    After dinner I dropped my wife off at the Convention Center so she could watch my Aunt bowl, while I went to the Atlantis and played three hours and lost exactly $1 (and certainly I had a dollar's worth of entertainment). I got the text that everyone was done, so I picked up my wife and headed back to Harrah's. But when I got back to my room, I still had that gamblin' itch (apparently I didn't lose enough at the Atlantis to satisfy the jones).

    I headed down into Harrah's casino, and it is good to know that the pattern held. In very short order, I was down about $200 playing a range of slots, VP and a little craps (didn't take long). I dug back into my pocket for a third bill, cringing at my luck, and already kicking myself for the pocket dive.

    Considering that I don't really like slots, I did find a penny (and I really hate penny slots) Quick Hit that was kind to me. I hit a 6-Quick Hit progressive of about $75, then the very next spin got me some free games. I cashed out, found a $0.25 Blazin' 7s and had given a little too much of that Quick Hit money back when I hit three mis-matched sevens for $50. Pulled that out and played some dollar VP and won a little more, getting almost even for the night. I breathed a big "Whew" and headed towards the room... until I saw a midi-Baccarat table with two Asian players playing for thousands of dollars per hand.

    These two players were doing all of the things that makes the game fascinating to watch... keeping the paper, not playing a few hands (and I never knew this, but the players can have the dealers deal hands that nobody has bet on... but the score is still kept) and handling the cards. The funny thing is that they had an amazing knack of when to bet huge, and when to sit out... and even when to play the Dragon side bet. After not playing it while I was watching, one player (playing the $2K table max) put $50 on the Dragon, and won the hand 9-0, winning $2000 on his hand and $1500 on the side bet.

    I must have watched about 10 hands when the pit critter suggested that I sit down. I was almost embarrassed to, but I did so and played the table minimum of $15, and I just played the player every hand. About an hour later, the two Asians decided to stop playing, and Billy Sherbert-like, the pit boss suggested somewhere private to count the money. He didn't offer to count my money in private, but the dealer did color me for a $75 profit, which was nice, considering I was almost $300 down at one point in the gaming session.

    Evening came and morning had already begun, the fourth day.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2013
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  19. mjames1229

    mjames1229 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,168
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    Wednesday, May 15 -

    This is when the trip started getting rough.

    As my wife and I were packing to leave Reno (she coming home to Milwaukee, me back to Las Vegas for what was supposed to be one more night) I got a phone call from a friend back home. Scott, one of my very best friends (who had been fighting cancer) had been given Last Rights and wasn't going to get through the day. I had seen him ten days earlier (another friend and I had dragged him out of the house for a birthday lunch) and he looked bad... I had presumed the end was coming, but to hear that today is the day was startling. And to top it off, I was on vacation. Very rough mourning a friend (who had been to Reno with me about a half dozen times - including this time where he was featured prominently - and twice to Vegas with me) when I was supposed to be having fun.

    My wife handled the rest of the packing and the drive to the airport while I called the people I was responsible for, then managing the texts from everyone asking if I had heard. When I turned off the phone in the plane, he was still with us. But by the time I got to Vegas...

    Upon arrival in Vegas and once we got the rental car, I checked into the Flamingo. I wasn't in the mood for the "Very Pleasant Smile and Request Trick", though I believe that I mumbled something about a Strip view. Lo and behold, Scott pulled a couple of strings Up There and I was given a Go room. It was quite lovely, and had a 20th floor view of both Caesers and the Bellagio fountains.

    Glenn (who was staying at Harrahs) was going to meet me in about 90 minutes after some naps, but between phones / texts / Facebook messages about my buddy, I never did get a chance to relax. I was sure to be ready at 6:00 PM to check in for my flight on Southwest. And I was still trying to check in at 6:05... and 6:10... and 6:15. After double and triple checking my confirmation number, I called Southwest to find out what might be happening. I finally get through at 6:30 (and now certain to have a C60 seat assignment). The agent very pleasantly had said that my flight wasn't until FRIDAY night.

    Hmmm. I am sure my confirmation said Thursday night.

    I call back. I get the same agent (which, I am certain is a first in the history of phone banks) and she was quite humorous in telling me that she is really, really sure my flight is Friday night.

    See, back after the Great Race, I made a comment that I wish I could use RCs for miles, and ngrund gave me a link where you CAN trade RCs for airline vouchers. Once you go to a Caesers property in person for the transaction, you get a voucher number and you have to contact Caesers Passport Travel to make the arrangements. It was the travel agent that errantly made the reservation for Friday, and sent the confirmation that said Thursday.

    I was in quite the spot; I didn't have a room set up for Thursday, and had to make arrangements at home too. And, oh yeah, I was still fielding calls and texts about my friend who had died.

    I first went to the TR desk at the Flamingo, and I knew I was in trouble when none of the three clerks had ever heard of trading RCs for airfare vouchers. I then went to the front desk to get my reservation extended. Completely non-plussed about my tale of woe, the best I could do was to get a different room for $50 a night. I reserved the room to make sure I had something, but was not planning on paying to fix the travel agent's error.

    Once that was done (and way, way past the allotted 90 minute "nap" time), Glenn and I headed off to Tacos El Gordo, in a strip mall near Encore. Wowie! That was good. I had the Taco Adobada and wow. Just wow. For two bucks a piece and a fountain pop... It was probably the best $10 I spent all week.

    Now concerned about having enough bankroll for an extra day, I talked Glenn into playing a poker tournament at the Hard Rock, as we could get a lot of play for a finite amount. We join the tournament and go to our table, right below the Godsmack display. Since Godsmack was my friend's favorite band, I saw it as a sign that I was supposed to win the tournament.

    Well, almost. Glenn ended up splitting 1st/2nd place. I guess Glenn and Scott were friends, too.

    It was a very long day, and I didn't even want to gamble. I went back to the Flamingo, returned a few more phone calls and texts, and tried to use the in-room DVD player to watch a movie. I could get the movie loaded and on the screen with sound, but I couldn't figure out how to maneuver the menus to actually START the movie. I am certainly not afraid of technology (I mean, my DVD player at home as the correct daylight-savings time - give or take a minute, I mean, I am not OCD.

    Gotta pause and wash my hands.

    Again.

    OK, I think I got it.)

    So I give up on the DVD and take some time to reflect on Scott. I am normally one to sleep with a room as dark as possible, however in 2006, he and I shared a room at the Stardust for Super Bowl weekend, and he insisted on sleeping with the drapes wide open so he could see "His Town". In his honor, I leave my drapes open and try to remember as much as I can about that trip. I think I get as far as (dream sequence starting...) I took the first flight in and told him I would be in Las Vegas by 9:00 AM, and when I call him to find out why he wasn't at the airport, he says that he just got to bed from the night before.

    I know we did a lot more that weekend, but I was asleep before I could remember more.

    Evening came and morning followed, the fifth day.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
    Super Bowl with my son
    2017 USBC Open Championships
  20. uli_1515

    uli_1515 Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2013
    Messages:
    218
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    2
    Sorry for your loss.
     
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