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Trip Report 9/25 - 9/29 (it's a bit long)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cruiser, Oct 2, 2003.

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  1. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    My Trip Report

    Brenda and I returned from 4 days/nights in Las Vegas Monday afternoon staying at the Tropicana 9/25 - 9/29. This was our fifth trip to Vegas since May, 2002 and we had a great time. Be aware - this will be a relatively long report.

    As a result of the amount of gambling we've done on our earlier trips to the Tropicana, our (new) host comped us up front for room and food for these four days/nights and this included an entry into the "Wine & Roses" Slot Tournament, their most exclusive VIP event of the year. Details of this tournament will be included in this trip report. Our host also arranged to have a limo pick us up at the airport when we arrived in Las Vegas.

    Day 1 (Thursday, 9/25):

    We're up at 3:30 am and neither of us had gotten much sleep - not much of a surprise there. We left the house heading for the Austin-Bergstrom airport at 4:23 am. We normally take Southwest Airlines to Las Vegas but we took Continental Airlines this time since we had a couple $100 vouchers for Continental and we wanted to be sure we used them before they expired.

    Brenda and I visited our daughter in Dublin, Ireland last Christmas and over New Year's while she spent a year there on a business assignment. When we left Dublin, we first stopped off for a short layover in Shanon before heading to the USA. Our daughter got us the tickets and we were able to get upgraded to business class on the way over there but we were 'stuck' in coach on the way back home. While in Shanon, we were paged and we immediately thought we were getting upgraded to first class. We were wrong. They paged us because one of our large hardcase suitcase had fallen off the cart and was being dragged across the tarmac. They were very nice about it and explained that when we got to Austin, we could file a claim. No problem - these things do happen. When we got to Austin, we found this suitcase with some of my clothes sticking out couldn't be closed all the way and had a half a mile of security tape holding it closed as best they could. We stopped at the Continental office and filed the initial paperwork but decided I would wait until we got hold to unwrap the tape and see how badly damaged it was. I had 45 days to file the claim against the airline. When we got home, I unpacked that suitcase and other than some scrapes and scratches, the suitcase seemed fine. It seemed to close okay so I decided not to file a claim. I did write a letter to Continental explaining what happened and that the suitcase was still usable and that I would not be filing a claim. Continental responded by sending us the two $100 vouchers. Unfortunately, three months later when I was packing for a business trip to NY, I found that when I loaded up the suitcase, it wouldn't stay snappped closed. Sh*t! The suitcase is useless. Well, at least we got $200 in vouchers. I ended up throwing out that suitcase.

    We get to the airport and while Brenda is parking the car, I do the curbside check-in. No problem other than I had to wait for my wife to come back before I could get her boarding pass. Not a problem. We head down to our gate and pick up a couple breakfast sandwiches. I was actually surprised we could get something to eat this early (just after 5 am).

    We board and have a short layover in Houston, then on to Vegas. Right on time, landing just before 9 am. We head toward baggage claim and meet our limo driver at the bottom of the escalator. We pick up our bags and head to the Tropicana. We arrive at the Tropicana at 9:30 am
    And head over to VIP services for our check-in. While waiting in line, wifey makes us a couple drinks. Mine was a tall bailey's on the rocks, hers was rum and diet coke. We weren't surprised to find our room wasn't ready yet. That's okay - we had already dropped off our bags with the bell cap guys. Brenda heads over to one of her full pay deuces wild (FPDW) video poker machines and I scout out the blackjack tables. This trip my Doc is allowing me to drink alcohol again so I start with a couple coffee kahlua's, followed by several tall bailey's on the rocks. This was my main drink while playing blackjack. I played blackjack from 9:45 am until 3:45 pm, a 6 hour session and left up $1700. We're finally able to get our room keys at 4:30 pm. We're staying in the Paradise Tower, room 1430. We had a basket waiting for us with a bottle of wine, assorted nuts, cheeses, crackers, sausage, and apples. We'll leave this unopened and take it home with us. We found that the room safe was broken. Damn, I need that safe. I noticed the pin was broken so I figured I just needed to get a new pin. I'll stop by VIP services later.

    We head over to the South Pacific Ballroom in the Island Tower to register for the tournament, pick our session times and pick up our welcome gifts - a glass picture frame, a glass clock, and $25 cash. There'll be two 15 minutes sessions tomorrow (Friday) and two on Saturday. You drop the low score of the fours sessions. I picked 9 am and 1:00 pm for both days.

    We take our small suitcase with wheels out for a brisk walk down to Walgreens. We pick up a 12 pak of diet 7-up and three 6 paks of water. This makes it so much easier to bring drinks back to our room. We get back to the room and load up the small refrigerator. The welcome dinner (buffet style) is scheduled for 5:30 to 7:30. We get there at 6:30 pm and load our plates. They had prime rib, beef tips, broiled swordfish, chicken, and a lot of other stuff I can't remember and of course the desserts had there own little corner of the room.

    After dinner, Brenda and I once again split up. She goes to play her video poker and I head back to the VIP services desk to tell them about the broken safe. They make a phone call and tell me I need to call security but I need to be in the room. Okay, I figure I'll take care of this tomorrow (Friday) during the day. Right now, I'm itching to play some blackjack. I play till after midnight for roughly a 5.5 hour session. I'm up $1500 this session. Head back to the room at 12:30 am. Wifey is still not sleeping yet - watching a little TV.

    Day 1 Gambling Summary:
    Blackjack - up $3200
    Video Poker - down $120 (six 'Wild Royals')

    Day 2 (Friday):

    We're both up early - Brenda is out the door first at 5 am. I leave $5 on the pillow with a little note asking for extra towels. I did this every morning and except for the day we checked into the room, we always had extra towels. For us, it was well worth the tip. I'm sitting at a blackjack table at 5:25 am and play for 2 hours dropping $500. We both carry our cell phones which is great if we need to find each other. We head over to the complimentary (part of the tournament festivities) breakfast buffet in the Tiffany Showroom. We both ordered omelets made to order, a dish of mixed fruits, juice and coffee. Breakfast was excellent. After breakfast, Brenda mentions that she had found a couple wifey gifts and picked up a daughter gift. We head over to the shops so she can show me the gifts I'll be buying. While there, I pay for one of the gifts and I'll take care of the second one later in the trip.

    Wifey decides that I should play all four sessions of the tournament. She doesn't enjoy pounding away on the spin button for 15 minutes straight. I love it! My first session is at 9 am. I have to be there 15 minutes early to pick my slot machine for that session. There's a roped off area near the harbor bar with 75 machines used in the Slot Tournament. I pick #33 and end up with a score of 15,354. That's not bad. Remember, we get to drop the lowest of our four scores. While I was playing my first session, Brenda was playing her deuces wild video poker. I didn't want her to worry about not watching me since she might lose her machine. After I finished my session, I told Brenda my score and headed back to our room to call security about our broken safe. I mentioned the broken pin but a new pin didn't help. The room safe is unusable. This guy from security offered to get us another room but even if there was another room available, we were already unpacked. So we were put on a list in case the 'safe' guy showed up during our trip. He never did.

    Back to a blackjack table for a 2.5 hour session before my second slot tournament session. I'm up $900 this session. Head over to pick my machine for session #2. I pick machine #2 and end up with a score of 12,296. About 7 pm this evening, they'll post the scores for the first two sessions. I head over to the shops to buy wifey gift #2 but the shop is closed. Okay, I'll check back later or tomorrow.

    I play another 1.5 hours of blackjack (up another $300) before heading back to room to rest up a bit before dinner. We have 6 pm reservations for Pietro's at the Tropicana. We get there a few minutes early and are seated right away. We both start with jumbo shrimp cocktail w/ harlequin sauces. For the soup, I order the lobster bisque and Brenda has the french onion. For the main course, I order the roasted duckling and Brenda has the filet mignon. For dessert, we ordered ice cream. They have the creamiest ice cream we have ever tasted. Dinner was excellent which we charged to the room since all our food will be comped. The only thing we have to pay for are the tips. Brenda has some steak left so we take it back to the room and put it in the refrigerator.

    After dinner, we both head back to the casino to do some more gambling. Brenda finally hits her royal for $1000. She's always plays quarters at max coin ($1.25 a hand). This is our fifth trip to the Tropicana and the third time she has hit the royal. An hour later, she hits four deuces for $250. Brenda is very happy and loves playing deuces wild. Before I start another session of blackjack, I head over to check the scoreboard. After two sessions, I'm in 26th place out of 519 entries.

    Here's the prize structure.
    1st place $30,000
    2nd place $10,000
    3rd place $5,000
    4th place $2,000
    5th place $1,000
    6th - 25th $300
    26th - 75th $100
    76th - 250th $25

    Time to hit the blackjack table. I play another 6 hours and leave after 1 am up $500 for the session.

    Day 2 Gambling Summary:
    Blackjack - up $1200 for the day, up $4400 for the trip
    Video Poker - up $935 for the day (one 'Royal', ten 'Wild Royals', & one '4 Deuces'), up $815 for the trip

    Day 3 (Saturday):

    Wifey is out the door first (as usual). I finally crawl out of bed and we head to our second breakfast buffet. We again order omelets. Nice to get some food in our bellies. After breakfast, I play blackjack for 30 minutes and drop $800. Time for slot tournament session #3. I arrive 15 minutes early and pick machine #12. My score is 13,376. Okay, that's better than my session #2 score. Three down, one to go. At this point, it's looking fairly good for me winning $100 in the slot tournament. Play another 3 hours of blackjack, leaving up $600 this session.

    Time for my fourth and final slot tournament session. I pick machine #70 and score 12,807. My three best scores total 41,537. Head over to wifey and let her know my last score. We'll find out at tonight's awards dinner who won the top 5 prizes and the point ranges for the $300, $100, and $25 prizes.

    Back to blackjack - can you tell yet that I love playing blackjack? I play another 3.5 hours, leaving up $300 this session. Damn! Missed a chance to take a nap today. I've been pounding the coffee kahlua's and double bailey's on the rocks. I love drinking bailey's while playing blackjack. They just go down too darn fast. At least this trip I didn't get dehydrated. I still drank plenty of water and mixed in a diet coke every now and then. On the way back to the room to get ready for dinner, I stopped at one of the shops and picked up wifey's other gift she had picked out earlier.

    Brenda had already gotten ready for dinner and was back to her deuces wild when I got to the room to get ready for dinner. I found Brenda and we headed to the awards dinner in the South Pacific Ballroom in the Island Tower. At the entrance to the ballroom, all the ladies were given a single red rose. We met up with our new host during dinner and I let him know that we wanted to see the comedy show the next night (Sunday). He made a note and said the tickets would be waiting for us at the desk in front of the comedy show. Every trip to the Tropicana, we make it a point to see the comedy show. They're always funny and I usually laugh so hard it hurts. The main dinner course was 1/2 lobster and filet mignon. Brenda had a red wine but I chose to stick to water for now. Dinner was very good. While they were serving dessert, they called up all the hosts, then announced the top 5 award places. Right after that, I headed over to the 'cash' desk and picked up my $100 prize for finishing in 44th place. This is my best finish for one of their slot tournaments.

    After dinner, we head back to the casino for some unfinished business. I start another blackjack session. I was hitting the bailey's on the rocks again and was involved in an 'incident' at the blackjack table. I was playing third base and had a good size bet up. I surrendered and I remember the dealer starting to separate/count my chips, then forgot she hadn't threw out the orange 'surrender' chip. She stopped what she was doing and grabbed the surrender chip and placed it next to my bet, then continued giving me back half my bet. Stop right there! Something not right. My brain said she wasn't giving me back enough chips. Now, I know I wasn't in any shape to drive a vehicle but I wasn't driving, I was playing blackjack. So I calmly explained the problem as I saw it, blurry as my vision may have been at the time. I was fairly certain I had up a bet of $225 at the time I surrendered. But the dealer was only giving me back $62.50 and not the $112 that my brain said I should be due. So, here's our dilemma - the dealer thought I have a bet of $125 and I thought I had a bet of $225. No one got real upset and we had a supervisor come over and after talking to the dealer to get her side, I was told (in a very nice way) that I was mistaken and only had $125 up for that bet. I said that I could have been mistaken but I really thought I was right. But I wasn't going to press the issue. Hey, maybe I was mistaken. So, we continue playing and the next couple hands, it's taking me a bit longer to decide on my play (hit, stand, double, whatever). I guess I was still a bit 'bothered' by that hand. Then after maybe three hands since the 'incident', the dealer turns to the same supervisor and says something that I couldn't hear. Patrick (the supervisor) comes over to me and says he going to call upstairs and have then check the film. I thanked him and the dealer for being honest enough to think maybe she did make an error. Patrick was on the phone for several minutes then came back and said it'll take a while but they'll review the tape and let us know. Well, after about 30 minutes, we got our answer. Turns out we were both wrong! I actually had a bet of $150 at the time I surrendered. The $225 that I though I had bet was a few hands earlier. So, the supervisor had the dealer (now, a new dealer) give me another $12.50 from the tray. I'm glad they checked because it just didn't feel right what they were giving me back after I surrendered. After about 3.5 hours this session, I decided to call it a night and left the table up $400 for the session.

    Day 3 Gambling Summary:
    Blackjack - up $800 for the day, up $5200 for the trip
    Video Poker - even for the day (four 'Wild Royals', one '4 Deuces'), up $815 for the trip

    Day 4 (Sunday):

    This is our last full day. Wifey left the room about 6 am to play her deuces wild and I didn't leave the room until 6:40 am. I play blackjack for an hour and drop $600. We then head over to Calypso's for breakfast. Brenda ordered a cheese burger and I order two grilled cheese sandwiches with a vanilla ice cream chaser. The grilled cheese wasn't great but I needed food in my belly. I was so darned tired at this point. I told Brenda I was going to lay down for a couple hours and then I'd feel a lot better. At least that was the plan. So I head up to the room after breakfast. Darn it - the maid's cart is right in front of our room with the door wide open. Okay, what's a tired gambler to do? Why, he heads back down to the casino. What else could I do???

    Sit back down at a blackjack table at 9:30 am. I could play for an hour or two, then take a break and lay down for a couple hours. Well, I'm more awake now, so I order a coffee kahlua. Then another. And another. I guess I was thinking these would make me tired so I could sleep for a couple hours. Man, was I wrong. I guess the caffeine was keeping me going. Heck, now it's time to switch back to my tall bailey's on the rocks. Well, as you may have guessed, I never did get my nap. I played blackjack for 7 hours this session, dropping another $1100. I'm now down $1700 today. Okay, that's not too bad, I'm still up $3500 for the trip and this is the last day.

    We head over to Savanna Steakhouse where we had reservations for 5:30 pm. We both start with the shrimp cocktail w/cocktail sauce. For the soup, I order the dungeness crab bisque and Brenda ordered the french onion. For the main course, I order the filet mignon and Brenda ordered the surf and turf (lobster tail and filet mignon). Neither of us had any room for dessert. We even took a bit of leftover steak back to the room.

    We had some time before the comedy show so we decided to pack. We have an early flight leaving at 8:15 am so we wanted to be pretty much packed before we started our last gambling session this evening. Okay, we're packed and head to the comedy show. We picked up the tickets and head inside. I always give the guy who shows you to your seat $10 so we get some good seats up front. 20 minutes before showtime. I get us some drinks and before we know it, the show begins. All three comedians were great. We loved the show.

    After the comedy show, we head back to the casino. I started playing blackjack at 9:45 pm. After about 30 minutes, I ask one of the pit supervisor if he could page my host. He does and tells me he'll be here in 5 minutes. When he comes over, he asked me if we're having a good time and of course we both were and I told him so. I then asked him if we could get a limo to the airport in the morning for our 8:15 am flight. No problem. He suggests we meet the driver out front at 6:15 am (two hours before our flight). I thank our host and tell him I'll be calling him about a possible trip in December. Okay... I wonder how much sleep we'll get tonight.

    After two hours, I'm up about $200 for the session. For about half of that two hours, I was playing one on one with the dealer. The rest of those two hours there were one or two other players at the table. I was playing at third base which is exactly where I was playing at my earlier 7 hour session. I decided it was time to move to another seat. So while I was the other player at the table and the dealer was starting to shuffle, I decided to move to first base (same table). Most of the next two hours, I was doing great. So good in fact that there were during a one hour stretch, three pit supervisors watching me constantly. Hey, I don't count cards. I'm too old for that sh*t. I was pounding down my double bailey's as fast as the waitress could bring them. I was suddenly making up a good chunk of what I lost earlier in the day. I had another player sitting at my table for an hour or so and we were both doing pretty well. About 1:30 am, I am very close to breaking even for the day. Every hand now, I check my chips and see where I am. Brenda comes by and I'm now down about $50 for the day. I play another hand or two and that's it! I have $2754 in chips in from of me. Even though I always tip as I play (unless I losing), I was so happy to have won that $1700 back that I lost earlier in the day, I threw $54 to the dealer and cashed out the $2700 in chips.

    We head back to the room and do a cash count and don't turn out the lights until about 3:15 am. I set the alarm clock for 5:30 am and we have a wake up call set for 5:30 am.

    Day 4 Gambling Summary:
    Blackjack - even for the day, up $5200 for the trip
    Video poker - up $225 for the day (eleven 'Wild Royals', two '4 Deuces'), up $1040 for the trip

    Day 5 (Monday):

    The alarm goes off at 5:30 am along with the phone (our wake up call). Neither of us want to get up but we do. We are moving pretty slowly this morning but make it down to meet our driver about 6:20 am. It's still a bit dark and looks neat with all he lights still on outside. We don't bother checking out, just leave our room keys in the room. We get to the airport and through security without a problem except that I'm carrying a lot of cash on me. I wear a fanny pak while in Vegas so I don't have to worry about keeping my wallet in my back pocket. I put the cash in the inside zipper compartment against my belly. The flight left on time and it didn't take me long to fall asleep on the plane. We had a 3+ hours flight to Houston that seemed more like about a one hour flight, then a short layover before heading to Austin. The flight to Austin was delayed 30 minutes when someone on the plane forgot her purse. Security found the purse in the waiting area where this girl must have left it.

    Everyday we both stopped at the promotions desk at least once for a deck of cards, a coupon sheet, and our minutes of play. Of our five trips to the Tropicana in Las Vegas since May, 2002, this has been by far our most profitable. Between us, playing blackjack and video poker (FPDW), we walked away with $6,240 in winnings. Everything (except airfare) was comped including the comedy show tickets and the limo, less tips and I also won $100 in the Slot Tournament. So now, we're beginning to plan our next trip in December, 2003.

    In case anyone was wondering how long we gambled over those four days/nights, here are the numbers:

    Blackjack: 46 hours 1 minute (average of 11 hours 30 minutes per day)
    Video Poker: 38 hours 35 minutes (average of 9 hours 38 minutes per day)
  2. Aceman55

    Aceman55 Tourist

    Jun 29, 2003
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Great report very informative about the Trop.
  3. HoyaHeel

    HoyaHeel Grammar Police & Admin

    Feb 24, 2002
    North Carolina
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Congrats on winning!! And, I can see why your doc might have to take you off the Baileys and Kahlua occasionally--looks like you made up this trip what you missed last time ;) I love the way your wifey picks out the gifts you're going to buy her :D I do the same thing. Some might say it's less romantic. I say, heck, I'm getting what I want and hubby doesn't have to stress about getting the wrong thing and then hearing me b%^ch about it for months :D

    Is there another tourney in December or are you just going for a pre-holiday refresher?
  4. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    I keep telling wifey that everyday is another opportunity for another wifey gift. And while we're in Vegas, I tell her to let me know if she finds any wifey gifts. It works for us!

    Our five day/night trip to Vegas in December will include entry into their $75,000 Holiday Wishes Slot Tournament December 14 - 17.

    T-? [​IMG]
  5. ringding

    ringding Tourist

    Aug 11, 2002
    Great trip!

    Have you ever asked your host about comping the airfare? It can't hurt to ask. All you need to do is show them your ticket. If they don't comp you both, they may take care of just you.
    They give you a ticket you take to the cage and that's it.

  6. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Jan 25, 2002
    Southeast of Sin City
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Cruiser, you are a MACHINE!!

    That's my kinda trip. Got me jealous that I can't go again until March.

  7. SH0CK

    SH0CK Stylin' and Profilin' Quasi Tech Admin

    Nov 2, 2001
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Now that's what I call a trip report. I hope for a trip like that some day! Congrats on the big wins.
  8. GGecko

    GGecko Tourist

    Sep 25, 2002
    Great report, congrats on the winnings!!!
  9. sunni

    sunni VIP Whale

    Feb 6, 2003
    Sunshine State
    I hope you left one of those Gambling Gods there for me next month.. [​IMG] great report.

    sunni :cool:
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