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TR: May 26-29, LVH/MB

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by sageblue, May 31, 2006.

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  1. sageblue

    sageblue High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Messages:
    662
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27

    My Trip Report

    [Warning: this trip report totals 7 pp in Word, so feel free to skim]

    No matter what people say, every trip to Vegas is different--your experience depends on where you stay, who you're with, and, if you gamble, how you're doing. This trip included a lot of new, a fair amount of old, and a fair amount of really bad luck for me. However, things turned around a bit, and overall I had a great time.

    We departed Philly late, but arrived early into Vegas, around 2:20 or so. We picked up our intermediate car--a Chevy Malibu, heretofore referred to as "Boo"--at National and proceeded to get utterly turned around in trying to get to the Hilton: damn confusing tunnel entrances! We finally got on Paradise and into the LVH. Because of my Diamond status at Harrah's, I got upgraded in the AC Hilton's slot club. I had hoped to get upgraded at the LVH, but they are synced with AC yet, and they only have one level. So much for a suite. We checked in and checked in for T and M, who were arriving later that night. We called A and J, who were already in town at Mandalay Bay, and decided that we would just meet at Bootlegger Bistro at 7 for our pre-arranged dinner. So, we chilled a bit and then decided to gamble. Duh. We found a $5 craps table and proceeded to do fairly well. The table cooled though and we left even, and it was then off to the VP in the Sportsbook. Again, not much good happening there for me--a recurring theme for this trip. I'll just abbreviate that experience with an L, ok (as in, LVH VP? L)? L for loss, lame, luckless, letmegototheatm.

    We drove, incident-free, to Bootlegger Bistro and found A and J at the bar, where we joined them for a nice drink before being seated. Dinner was fun and great. They have these garlicky nubs of bready goodness that I had to refrain from inhaling. Garlic, grease, carbs? Heaven! I had a salad and then the vegetable lasagna with cream sauce. Perhaps a bit too much sauce and cheese, but still tasty. A and J both had a lamb special over which they raved. R had the traditional spag and balls and enjoyed them. I don't know that I need to go back anytime soon, but I'd certainly recommend it for a different experience, and perhaps we'll come back when the performers are on.

    Next was South Coast. Now, we enjoy the Coasts (of course Barbary, but also Gold and Orleans), but I have to say I'm a bit bored with them. As many have noted, the Coasts have a formula and it works. That doesn't mean though that I have to be bowled over by it. We played craps with an "Aw Shucks" young cowboy who was new to craps and enjoined us to hoot and holler for this rolls. Fun. A bit more of L craps and VP and it was time to pick up M and T. Though their flight was deathly late leaving Newark, they too made up some time and we got them in the car not too far after midnight. Back to LVH it was, and after some settling in, we went down to the casino floor to use that $25 promotional chip we got for them at check-in (I had already burned mine on an ill-advised Field bet). T was feeling it at roulette and bet on black. Winner! And we were able to say that for the next seven spins: she called the correct color until some stupidhead butted into her betting space and interrupted the flow. Dude, don't disturb this groove!

    Finally, after some more L VP, bed called.

    We were up surprisingly early and decided to get the day started with T and M at Paradise Cafe, which turned out to be pretty good and quick. Then, after placing a bet on the Mariners (eventual L), it was off to The Drive. T is something of a speed freak, and I love to drive, so while M and R waited, we tooled around the course in the Corvette--getting up to 50 in nothing flat. Then they joined us in the Cadillac STS. That got up to 60 before the accompanying driver told me to brake...NOW. For $10, you get two laps each with two vehicles, and I'd have to say it was a good diversion.

    We walked back to LVH and called A and J, deciding to meet at the Riviera for some old school touring. Since Stardust is dying soon, and Riviera is surely to follow, I decided I should pay my respects. Well, I certainly will feel nothing when the Riv dies. God that place is a pit. We were greeted by a smell reminiscent of human waste, and things didn't get any better. After waiting for 15 minutes to get a slot card--and the line NOT MOVING--I decided I didn't really need to belong to it. We were all feeling pangs of hunger, so ended up deciding on Kady's. Thankfully, I had my PoV coupon for it, so my rather tasty Reuben was free; the others weren't so lucky, getting some questionable shrimp cocktail and scary ice cubes. What with the tile, the place reminded us of a public restroom. Not exactly the look they were going for, I don't think, though I'm sure it makes it easier to hose the place down. It was time to depart the Riv (but not before winning $70 on Reel 'Em In: A WIN!) for Stardust. We just did a walk-through to check out Sushi King, deciding to hit that for dinner. At that point, the others decided to head back for spas and saunas, while R and I were still up for gambling, so we headed to the New Frontier.

    We had a few coupons here, so we signed up for the slot club and got even more. We settled in at a decently paying VP machine and played for quite a while. R got dealt three to a RF with an Ace pair and asked me if he should go for the Royal, already really knowing the answer. I said go for the RF, and he did. And he got it--his second Royal ever, with the first just a month ago. It was a progressive, so he got handpaid $1069! Hurrah! We celebrated with many high fives and then, of course, Sigma Derby. Having never played it, we didn't really know what we were doing, but got the swing of things. It was fun, though I think it would have been better with more people playing (the one at MGM Grand was full Sunday night, and that looked much more entertaining). After paying homage to that kind of old school, we settled into a $5 BJ game, where we remained in the capable hands and wit of Theresa for quite a long stretch. We ended up doing fairly well, but the real draw was Theresa's quick comments and general blase attitude: exactly what I love from a dealer. We decided that we had exhausted all the Frontier had to offer and cabbed it back to LVH (Originally for this trip, this was going to be some pool time perhaps, but the winds coupled with highs only in the 70s made that not really attractive). We played for a bit at VP (L), and then it was time for dinner at Sushi King. Again, it was decent, but not really all that great. We all enjoyed our meals, but nothing really blew us away. However, we had fun, and that's all that matters, right?

    While the others all headed off to see Barry at LVH, R and I decided to take advantage of Arizona Charlie's promotion of $100 back on slot play. After some serious VP and $1 WoF play, we got our $100 and decided to try out the $2 craps. Despite some bizarre behavior by seemingly underage players (they'd sometimes be at the table, sometimes not, but would place a bet here and there. I can't really explain it...it was just weird and annoying), we did fairly well. However, the place (we were at the Boulder location) was sort of depressing and I don't think we'll be back. Given our love of GVR, we decided to throw Boulder Station a bone and found it much more amenable. We played BJ for a while, and then were at $10 Pai Gow for quite a while. It was fun until the drunk guy next to us had his even drunker friends come visit. I mean, I'm all for drunkenness, but not so much if it impinges unnecessarily on complete strangers. They dubbed him the King of Pai Gow and were falling all over everyone. Color in! However, we did like Boulder Station. Compared to South Coast, at least it has a personality and theme. South Coast was just really tan...

    After still more L play on freaking everything, we went home to LVH for some feeble attempts at VP wins, but got nothin'. Time for bed. I don't generally lose money there. Don't read anything into that.

    Time for checkout, and we got the rundown on Barry from T and M. M labelled him a cheap whore. Basically, it appears that Barry thinks that awkward bumping and grinding is what everyone is seeing him for--that and 50s songs. Yeah, it's your new album, but people want to hear your hits (whatever those are). So, I guess I won on that by not going.

    So, time to leave LVH. Let me say a few things about our experience there. For $110/night, it was a good deal. A large bedroom with a nice view of the strip, though with a small (meaning normal, not Vegas-size) bathroom. Elevators sucked as did the cheaper food options (oooo, Pizza Hut Express!). Also, the main casino is just sort of boring and small. The sportsbook and VP there are great, but...I don't know. I don't think I need to be back anytime soon. Its location also doesn't help. Not that I mind being off strip, but they need to give me more stuff to keep me occupied and happy if they're not going to be two minutes from another property. Especially a problem if the closest places are the Riv and Sahara. Yikes.

    Anyway, it was now off to Lake Las Vegas, where we were having brunch at MiraLago (with a $25 Restaurant.com coupon). Brunch was largely good, but our waitress was odd if not bad. She seemed put out when we didn't order our egg orders at the same time (eggs were done in the kitchen, but the rest was buffet), and I didn't like that she suggested I get my own coffee at the coffee station around the corner "in case I didn't see her". Yeah, what part of "server" don't you understand? After that odd meal, we toddled on over to the MonteLago Casino and again I had a L VP session followed by a L Apprentice slot session followed by a L roulette session. Yeah, I needed a tourniquet.

    We were there for a few hours, but M had a masque awaiting her at Mandalay, so we hightailed it over there. After somehow getting stuck behind the convention center, we finally parked and went inside to find an insane line to check in. Twenty minutes later, we got our room. It was a nice room with a nice bathroom. Other than that? Eh. Underwhelming, frankly. OK, perhaps if we had a view of something other than pipes, we would have enjoyed it more (we were on the 7th floor; I'd recommend something about the 10th), but I wasn't wowed. Here's the thing: I remember staying at Venetian and being overwhelmed by the luxury of the room--sumptuous fabrics, overstuffed pillows, attention to detail. Yes, it's rated 5*, but still. MB was $180 for the night. Not horrible, but I don't think I'll need to stay there again.

    Or perhaps even go there. I don't remember it always being like this, but it's like there was a pompous fratboy convention in town, and everyone went to MB. I'm not ancient or anything, and I like looking nice and drinking as much as the next guy, but I just couldn't handle the attitude here.

    Speaking of attitude, we decided to hit Mix at opening time to have a drink and check out the view. Yes, the prices are crazy, but so is the view and decor. I think perhaps I'd like to eat there someday. Anyway, I'm glad we went. We had to eat before we saw Zumanity with the others. They all wanted to go to Red White and Blue, which, based on our one and only experience there, I thought was a rip-off (turns out, they ended up having the same experience), so we tried to go to Burger Bar, but the wait was too long. I decided that we should get something quick at 'wichcraft. Yeah, it was quick...but it's at the freaking back of MGM! My feet were not happy, but my taste buds were after having a yummy cream of cauliflower soup and grilled ham, cheddar, and apple on pumpernickel. I highly recommend this place, but be aware that it's at the freaking back of MGM (convenient to the Monorail!).

    After getting some alcohol sustenance in the form of a mango margarita at 32 degrees, we made it to NYNY and Zumanity. I enjoyed it. I don't really know who the people are who think it's risque or something. Maybe I'm a freak, but all of the stuff seemed perhaps not normal, but certainly within the realm of sexual imagery and acts. It had some very funny bits (get there early for the great pre-show hijinks), some sexy bits, and some amazing physical feats. I'm not going to be a regular at the show, but I'd recommend it (this is only my second Cirque show if Celine counts; if not, it's my first).

    After the show, we headed back to MB and did some light gambling outside of HoB so we could hear Purple Reign; next trip, I definitely want to see them because they sounded great (we got there about an hour after they started, so we decided not to pay for half a show). After ogling some more breasts (I could have written an entire trip report about the breasts on this trip. It was ridiculous. It all started at South Coast and their waitresses who had the most ridiculously large fake breasts. It was very odd. Then, the theme just continued throughout the trip--so many showy breasts), the others decided to pack it in, but we decided to hit the strip.

    We drove up and parked at Bally's/Paris for relatively easy access to Barbary Coast. We of course headed straight for the WoF "Super Spin". After a couple minutes, we got access to a love seat and played max bet (which is a rather hefty $4). We very quickly got a spin: so exciting! We're cheering and doing an improvised drum roll: 5000x our line bet....$250! Nice! We played for a while longer and ended up cashing out $200 ahead, so that worked out well. It was then time for still more VP; we found the NSUD VP against the wall next to the doors facing Bally's. We played for a good long stretch without much happening. In fact, R changed over to DDB, while I plugged away at NSUD. I then got three to the RF and drew. At first, I just saw that I had drawn all diamonds; upon further review, I had indeed drawn all diamonds--a RF in diamonds! YESSSSSS! R had said earlier that since he had gotten a RF, I had to get one (since that's how it happened in AC with me going first), but I hadn't believed. I should have trusted in the power of the Barbary Coast. So, $1k made all the previous Ls much easier to swallow.

    We walked back to Paris to see if we wanted to gamble anything there. I wanted to put in some play there so we could maybe get some offers, since we enjoyed our stay there a few years back (yeah, see I think their rooms are just as good if not better than MB's...OK, I'll stop). R found the new Powerball slot and kicked some ass on it, while I L'd (but obviously didn't care). We then saw the new (to us) "Rapid Roulette": 12 terminals surround a real roulette wheel, and you bet using a touch screen. The minimum was only $2.50, but we stuck to what we usually bet ($10-20). It was actually pretty fun: not having to deal with pushing and shoving and getting paid correctly was nice. Since it was late (around 2), the dealers were pretty loose too and we were having fun. However, these are touch screens, which mean they can be touchy. I had some problems with getting bets on the right squares sometimes (adding to this problem is the limited time given--only thirty seconds from when they reset the machines after the last spin to the next spin; however, the rebet feature is a godsend if you play the same numbers each time), but I wish I had had the problem the guy next to me had. A 2 was hit, and he wanted to put down I think $1.50 on 2 again (they'd been all around the 0 and 00, which was good for us that they had quite a bias); instead, he hit the wrong denomination and put down $75 on 2.

    It hit.

    He cashed out with $2700. It sounded like he had had a tough gambling day, so I was glad he had some serious luck on his side.

    We headed back to MB and were in bed around three. We had some trouble getting the curtains to completely block the light (I hate it when that happens at hotels. And again, shouldn't this not happen at a upper-class hotel?), but I improvised with the chair to keep them shut. Didn't really need it though since I was up and ready to go at 9. We got our asses in gear, video checked out, grabbed the car, and headed back to Paris, because I had a jones for the buffet breakfast. And here's where my Diamond status rocked. There was a serious line for the buffet--at least fifty people deep. We got to sweep past and into the front of the line. We then had a little thing saying that we were Diamond, so our server was very attentive. It just rocked. I would have never done the breakfast if I would have had to have stayed in line. It was very good as usual (love the sausage and the waffles. MMMMMMM).

    Then, it was back to Barbary Coast, because I wanted to play craps before we left. Unfortunately, craps was not very kind to us, so after losing our $100, we went back to WoF "Super Spin". We found another love seat, and, once more, almost immediately got a spin. We were once more playing Max Bet and this time got....10,000x! $500 baby! We ultimately cashed out for $470; yeah, we love that damn WoF "Super Spin"! Energized by this win and not wanting to lose any more money, we (really more accurately, I) decided we should go for Harrah's $3 Million promotion. We hit Flamingo, then Harrah's quickly. Buoyed by O'Shea's $1 beers, we crossed over to Caesars (using that strange little entrance with the world's slowest people mover; seriously, I could have crawled faster) and quickly got our third stamp and $10 food voucher. After getting one of the adult lemonades outside of Caesars, we hit Bally's. They had but one person swiping, so this took maybe 15 minutes, instead of the 0 at Caesars. Perhaps because of the crowds and being flustered, the guy gave me another $10 voucher when he stamped me. After that, we made it to Paris and swiped. We then hopped into the car and made it to Rio; swipeage and we achieved our goal and got our last certificates (and they gave us a new card with a stamp, saving us a trip next time). The whole process was actually sort of fun, like a scavenger hunt. The alcohol helped. So, treat it like Drinking around the Strip, and you'll have a ball.

    Anyway, after some Rapid Roulette and penny TPIR, it was time to pack it in. Filled the tank and returned easily to National. Simple video checkin with SW (we had checked in on the cell the day before) and easy security. We plunked ourselves down on the floor at the end of the line of chairs for the A line and had a quick bite. Now, here's where I got pissy. If you see people sitting on the floor in a fairly discernible line structure, you can probably assume they are doing it on purpose. If you know that Southwest actually lines people up, then that assumption is further strengthened. When they announced that boarding would happen shortly, the people who had been sitting in line got up and got their things together: before I could really notice, a guy and his daughter (hopefully...otherwise, ewwwww) tried to breeze past me. I said to him that there was a line, and he said, all he saw was a bunch of people sitting. I tried to block him, but he got past me. At that point, it would have probably gotten a lot uglier, and I decided that I'd rather be able to fly home and just resolve to hate him intensely than have something far worse happen (listen, I've watched Judge Judy: never instigate or retaliate, because she doesn't take that crap!). So that sucked (we still got a row to ourselves, but still...the principle). Got home on time though and everything in Philly worked out well, though it was warmer at home than in Vegas.

    So, overall a good trip. Despite my horrible record at gambling and the fine-ness of lodging and food, we still had a great time being there and being with friends. We tried a lot of new things, and when you do that, sometimes things don't work out. However, since I don't have many specific things in Vegas that I absolutely have to do, I like venturing forth and striking out. And, thanks to this group of people, I've gotten a lot of great ideas and will continue to pick your brains--see the countdown!!!

    [Visit my website for some pics]

    [For the hell of it, here are the songs iTunes decided would be good for composing this trip report:
    --Gorillaz, "Tomorrow Comes Today"
    --Tricky, "Suffocated Love"
    --Saint Etienne, "Shoot Out the Lights"
    --Crowded House, "That's What I Call Love"
    --The Verve, "One Day"
    --Liz Phair, "Never Said"
    --Cowboy Junkies, "A Common Disaster"
    --Beth Orton, "So Much More"
    --Supergrass, "What Went Wrong (In Your Head)"
    --Massive Attack, "Future Proof"
    --Dolly Parton, "Travelin' Thru"
    --Prince, "I Like It There"
    --The Sundays, "Folk Song"
    --Oscar Brown, "Brother Where Are You?"]
     
  2. Wildcat Fan

    Wildcat Fan Tourist

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    394
    Location:
    Oxford, North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    17
    Great Report

    Thanks, that was a good one!!
     
  3. rje

    rje High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2003
    Messages:
    799
    Location:
    Chicago
    Great report.
    Sounds like a great time was had by all.

    As for the weather, it was a hot weekend here in Chicago. Who would think you could goto Vegas, at the end of May and cool off??
     
  4. lxmc

    lxmc Newbie

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    5
    sageblue:
    Since you are a diamond card holder at Harrahs,you shouldn't have any problem to get comped rooms at 6 harrahs hotels(Rio,Pairs,Flamingo,Harrahs,Bally and Caesars) in Las vegas,why you stayed at LVH and paid for $110/night?
     
  5. sageblue

    sageblue High-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2005
    Messages:
    662
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27
    We booked the rooms for LVH in January through Travelocity and had to pre-pay to get the rate (our friends were sort of driving this, and we were fine with the rate over a holiday weekend); I didn't get Diamond until April.

    We have comp rooms booked for August, but now with that Wynn offer, I'm tempted to go there for at least one night!
     
  6. TC535i

    TC535i Tourist

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    When we say "swiped" and "stamped"... you're just referring to the promo type people they have outside? I didn't know they gave food vouchers, I thought it was usually just 2-for-1 show tickets and misc. garbage?
     
  7. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2002
    Messages:
    19,131
    Location:
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    16
    Nope, that's not what he's referring to. There's a special promotion at Harrah's now for food vouchers--thread is in the Frugal forum here? Coupons? I'll try to find the link....

    Ah--Comps forum: http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=21456
     
  8. TC535i

    TC535i Tourist

    Joined:
    May 24, 2005
    Messages:
    39
    Thank ya much! I know what we're doing from noon-to-five in 2 weeks...!
     
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