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Trip Report: A Tale of Two Grands 12/15-12/18

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by WWGB, Jan 11, 2014.

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  1. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13

    My Trip Report

    Background: This was a solo trip and my eighth visit to Las Vegas. I had so much fun in December 2012 that I decided to return around the same time of year. Sadly, I just missed the rodeo crowd this time.

    I mostly play quarter video poker (VP) and $5 blackjack (BJ), and am always looking for a bargain, especially when traveling alone.

    I was actually on the fence about returning in December, having just visited Las Vegas with friends in August, but I received a mailer from Golden Gate that swayed me: 3 free nights, $10 free play (FP) (Dec 1-15), another $10 FP (Dec 16-31), and $15 for food (anytime in December). I had already been thinking about arriving on the 15th, so I would be able to get the full $20 in FP. That was just the push I needed.

    I found a good deal on Sun Country, using Ufly points for one flight and paying less than $100 for the return. Sun Country will let you pool your family's points (http://www.suncountry.com/page/1/uflyrewards.jsp). I think of them as the airline that doesn't hate its passengers. I rolled the dice and opted not to pay for seat assignments ahead of time.

    Dollar proved to be one of the cheapest car rental options again, coming in at $68.27 for a mid-size car for three days including all taxes and fees. I've found the best deals just clicking the "Check for City Special" button. Oh, and I saved another $1.74 clicking through Fat Wallet (http://www.fatwallet.com/).

    Although I have visited the downtown area several times before, I never stayed there. I decided to spend my first night downtown and the next two at MGM Grand (see below). Even for free, I wasn't sure I wanted to stay in a regular room at the Golden Gate. Those pictures of the bathrooms look scary! I was torn between the Golden Nugget and the sparkling new Downtown Grand (DTG), initially booking direct with both hotels while I made up my mind. DTG won out, and proved to be a fantastic bargain once I noticed that Expedia was 20% cheaper. I successfully used the best rate guarantee (http://www.choicehotels.com/en/bestrate) to get my one night for free.

    As for my 2 nights at MGM Grand, I redeemed 47,500 MyVegas points for each night. I also used 19,500 points for the Aria breakfast/lunch buffet award. I waffled (no pun intended) between choosing Aria and Bellagio (for 34,000 points). Between the "price" difference and reports of renovations taking place at the Bellagio buffet, I opted for Aria. Plus there was a Super Times Pay (STP) machine I wanted to try out. I spent another 6,000 points on the buy one, get one free (BOGO) 24-hour monorail pass.

    I had some Total Rewards credits from Caesars Social Rewards (http://socialrewards.com/caesars/) to cover another couple of meals.

    Shortly before I left, I bought a "VIP" ticket for the Armando Vera/Nathan Burton magic shows for $22.50. My other planned entertainment selection for the trip was a visit to Madame Tussauds at half price, courtesy of http://www.destinationcoupons.com/. Sadly, I think that coupon is now for only $10 off, instead of half off.

    In addition to my Golden Gate FP, I had a few coupons left from the American Casino Guide (ACG) from my earlier trip, and the full set of gaming coupons from a Las Vegas Advisor (LVA) booklet. With a 5% sale, I also purchased $40 in slot play at the Palms for $23.75 through http://slotplaycoupons.com/.
     
  2. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    December 15: Meatballs!

    Unlike last year, I didn't have a snow storm to contend with on the way to the airport. Sadly, I still had to deal with a nearly 2-hour delay. I scored an aisle seat - for free! I picked up a local newspaper and a novel (The Fifth Assassin), and read neither of them on the flight. Instead I rented Sun Country's digital player for $8 and watched "Now You See Me." I couldn't resist a movie that combined a heist, magic, and Las Vegas. I liked it, although it grew increasingly implausible toward the end. Between the newspaper, novel, and movie, I'd already spend $20 on entertainment. What kind of bargain trip was this shaping up to be? Still, the flight time passed quickly, and I was soon on my way to the rental car center.

    I had my tip in hand, but the shuttle bus driver never came back to unload the bags. Doesn't he know how this is supposed work? He's supposed to hand me my bag which I could easily have retrieved myself, and then I give him the first tip of my trip. If he's really lucky, he grabs my bag first so all the other passengers see me tipping him and feel pressured to join in.

    Thanks to the free Dollar Express membership, I skipped the long line upstairs and walked directly downstairs to wait in a much shorter line. In theory, my name should be on the board with a stall number, and I would walk right to my pre-selected car, but not this time. I think I messed things up by calling ahead to let them know my flight would be late. Still, I only had to wait about 2 minutes instead of 20 or more. I picked out a Chrysler 200 and headed for the freeway.

    I knew that two refreshing bottles of water awaited me in my hotel room, so I drove directly to the hotel. Almost. Either pilot error or the outdated maps in my GPS caused me to miss the exit. After "recalculating," I got off at a later exit and backtracked to the hotel, which has the nicest valet parking downtown. I'm letting out a contented sigh as I'm typing this. Seriously. Every time (by which I mean twice) I valet park at the Golden Nugget, I feel like some sort of automobile contortionist. DTG's parking area, on the other hand, is nice and airy with wide lanes.

    No problems using the best rate guarantee. The clerk knew the room was free, and I was only responsible for the resort fee. Which I guess means it's not quite free.

    Everything was clean and new. The elevators even smelled nice. When was the last time someone said that?

    I had room 1718 in the Casino Tower, facing 3rd Street. The newly remodeled room was quite comfortable, and, of course, very clean. No years-old dust bunnies. The towels were fluffy! The wi-fi worked great.

    The only negatives on the room were the strange half glass for the shower and the unusually worn bathroom door. I couldn't tell if this was an original door that had a new veneer applied, or if it was a new door that somehow sustained water damage while waiting to be installed. In all honesty, I might not have noticed if it hadn't been reported elsewhere.

    For dinner, I had planned to take advantage of the FP offer at Chicago Brewing Company. However, the day before I left, I saw this post on Vital Vegas: http://vitalvegas.com/five-favorite-las-vegas-meatballs/

    As much as I hated to pass on the deal at CBC, my check-in packet did include a 15% off coupon for Pizza Rock. I ordered a side of meatballs (of course!) and a baked Brooklyn calzone. It was my favorite meal of the trip. Service was quick, and the food was so very, very good. There was no problem getting a view of a television to watch Sunday Night Football. Lots of screens, all tuned to the game.

    The only downside was that I didn't see an individual pizza option on the menu; all pizzas seemed to serve 2-3 or more. There were, however, small pizzas on the happy hour menu, and individual slices were available from a take-out menu.

    After dinner, my first gambling stop was at El Cortez. I redeemed the $10 LVA coupon and put $5 FP into the Silver Strike slot machine. Ran the $5 up to $12, back down to $5, and then it happened: I won a Silver Strike token! Except the machine was empty! It took around 20 minutes, but eventually 2 slot attendants and a supervisor came by to refill it so I could claim my prize. I then frittered away my other $5 in FP on other slots and video poker.

    Not finished yet, I had one more promotion to try. I took $1,000 out of an ATM to get $50 (5%) in FP. I don't recall what VP I played, but I think I cashed out at $35.

    I signed up for a players card at Binion's and earned 10 points to get $10 in FP, and used the LVA coupons for $5 FP each at the Las Vegas Club and the Plaza. At the Golden Gate, I redeemed the first half of the month's FP ($10 for 12/1-12/15). I lost my notes on how I did playing VP at each place, but I don't recall any exciting wins with any of the FP.

    For my last video poker stop, I went to the Four Queens to redeem the $10 LVA coupon. I also still had my point-doubling coupon from ACG, so I played for a while with "real" money on a quarter 9/6 Jacks or Better (JOB) machine. Eighty-two points ($656 coin-in, I think) later, I cashed out $60 ahead, having hit a straight flush along the way. I got $7 cash back between that night's points and points from an earlier trip.

    I walked back to Golden Gate to play BJ. I bought in for $100 and, betting $5 a hand, was down to $50 or $60 at one point, but went on a fantastic winning streak and colored up at $209. I was up something over $200 total for the night, so I headed back to DTG.
     

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  3. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    December 16: Twenty Thousand Hands

    I picked up a cup of free self-serve coffee in the Art Bar off the lobby and headed to the D to check out the VP upstairs. I hadn't even eaten breakfast yet and was only planning to scout out games for later, but I wasn't *that* hungry yet and had an LVA coupon for $5 in FP for every 50 points ($500 coin-in). I put $100 in and played the 8/5 Bonus Poker progressive at the bar. Getting to 50 points took most of the $100, and I played the rest down to zero. I don't even know if I had finished my coffee yet. Well, at least I'd recover $5 in FP. Except I hadn't read the fine print which said I had to present the coupon at the players card desk *before* I started earning points. Ack!

    Having given back half of the previous night's winnings, it was time for breakfast. I used my $15 Golden Gate food comp at Du-Pars. I ordered scrambled eggs, hash browns, and a short stack of pancakes. I got a blueberry muffin to go. The comp covered everything but $3.51 and the tip. The food was good but seemed a little expensive. I'd go here again, but only if I were staying downtown for the night.

    The other half of my Golden Gate FP ($10 for 12/16-12/31) netted me a whopping $1.25. The $10 LVA coupon at Binion's got me another $8.75. I was slowly recovering from my losses at the D.

    I stopped in at Golden Nugget and saw $5 3:2 BJ tables. I'd never played here before, so I was pretty happy to see the $5 tables. I found a table without smokers, waited for a new shoe, and sat down. Almost immediately there was a dealer change. The new guy was a klutz, dropping cards on the chip rack with almost every deal. No expression. No banter. No personality. Eventually he hit on 18, taking a face card. The pit boss or supervisor (not sure what her role was) advised him to just burn the card. I'm not sure what the rules are, but it just felt like the card should have been offered on the next hand to the 1st base player, or we should have had the option of pulling our bets. Something to acknowledge that, yeah, he screwed up. I immediately colored up and left with a $5 profit.

    Returning to my room, I didn't see any option for checking out on the television, and there was no receipt under my door. I knew I'd feel better with a final receipt showing only the resort fee, so I checked out at the front desk.

    I didn't gamble at DTG, and held off on getting a players card. I figured I'd wait for a loss rebate promo or at least an ACG or LVA FP coupon.

    I liked the DTG, and will likely stay there again sometime. As I wrote in my TripAdvisor review: "The only thing keeping this from a 5-star review is the abysmal video poker pay tables. I couldn't find any Jacks of Better, and at the quarter level the best Bonus Poker I could find paid 6/5 (96.87% return). Within easy walking distance, the Golden Nugget had 8/5 Bonus Poker (99.17% return) putting the house advantage nearly four times higher at the Downtown Grand. Even among Caesars properties on the strip, I can easily find 7/5 Bonus Poker.

    While I would be happy to stay at the Downtown Grand again, until they improve their video poker, I would stay there but play elsewhere. "

    It was way too early to check in at MGM Grand, so I made a coupon run, with the first stop at Gold Coast. I got lucky early upstairs on a 9/6 JOB machine and was up probably $10 or $15 on my $10 FP. I like playing here, surrounded by the motorized scooters and oxygen tanks. I ended up playing my early wins down to zero.

    Next I went to the Palms to redeem my Slot Play Coupon for $40 in FP. I played it on a single line quarter 9/6 JOB machine and cashed out with $30-something. I also had the LVA coupon for $10 FP with 1000 points. I found a full pay 50-play machine and started playing 1 cent at 20 hands, full coins. At $1 per deal, it would take exactly 1,000 deals or 20,000 hands. For whatever reason, the previous machine I was on was labeled as ineligible for promotions so those earlier points didn't count.

    After a few hundred deals, I grew restless and increased the number of lines to speed things along. This is the first time I can recall being bored playing VP. Eventually I hit the magic number and redeemed the coupon for the additional $10 in FP. I also got an upgraded "Pro" players club card. Whoo-hoo!

    In the end I finished with $27.60, having paid $23.75 for the initial voucher.

    I stopped by the food court McDonald’s for a Coke, and ate my muffin from the morning.

    Next stop was the Orleans for another LVA $10 coupon. I stopped by once last year to check it out, and let's just say that I only returned because of the coupon. I knew there were some full pay Bonus Poker Deluxe machines somewhere, but I couldn't find them and hadn't brought any notes from VPfree. Sigh. I settled for 8/5 Bonus Poker on a dirty machine with a distorted screen at an abandoned bar. I left ahead $5.

    Now that I was finished with Orleans (at least until the next coupon), it was time to head to MGM Grand to check in. I had been interested for a while in staying here, especially once they renovated the rooms. Sadly the MyVegas award was only for a Petite King or West Wing King or whatever they're calling it now.

    MGM sent me an email offering to upgrade my room to a Grand King. Hooray! For $10 a night. I hesitated. It was only a $5 a night difference on their web site, so $10 seemed a bit steep. There was also the concern that it might apply to just one night and not the other. By the time I clicked on the offer several days later, it had expired. Boo!

    Surely I could upgrade at check-in, right? Yes, but now they wanted an extra $20 a night. Add in the resort fee, and I'd be looking at $45 a night for a "free" room. So I sadly declined, took the elevator to the 4th floor, and hauled my luggage down the hall to room 4-555.

    That was one long hallway. I'm not sure, but I think the first half of the hallway may have been the renovated grand king and queen rooms. The hallway seemed pretty spiffy. Then I continued on to a dimly lit gray hallway. It seemed to go on and on forever. Turns out there's a mirror at the very end, so that it would look infinite, too, rather than just feel infinite. My room, of course, was the last one.

    Once I opened the door, I thought about just returning to the DTG. Sigh.

    On a positive note, the check-in clerk left a voicemail saying that she had been mistaken and that the resort fee did not apply to my room. That savings alone covered more than half my losses from the D.

    I walked to Hooters to use my LVA $10 FP coupon. Last year they had almost full pay JOB machines. It was 9/6, except I think that they paid 239 coins for a straight flush instead of the 250 for five coins. This summer I saw that they were downgraded to 9/5. Now it was 8/5. Turned the $10 FP into $10 cash. No reason to linger here.

    I used the MyVegas award and bought two 24-hour monorail passes for he price of one ($12). I rode the monorail to LVH, and walked by the remnants of Quark's Bar. On my very first trip to Las Vegas, DW and I went to the Star Trek Experience and ate lunch here. So sad to see it now.

    I signed up for their players card. Strictly speaking, they didn't have a sign up bonus for new members, but offered $5 for each of my email address and phone number. I turned the FP into $5 playing VP in the sports book.

    I rode the monorail back to Harrah's and caught the Mirage volcano show while walking to Palazzo to have dinner at Grand Lux Cafe. I had eaten at the Venetian location several times, and wanted to check out its sister location. I couldn't recognize the difference, but my waiter assured me that the Palazzo location had a more extensive menu. I still stuck with my usual, the chicken royale.

    I walked across the street to the Mirage and played the quarter 8/5 JOB VP near Carnegie Deli. Down $30, I gave up waiting for the cocktail waitress to return with my drink. Luckily I saw her as I was leaving, so I got my $30 bottle of water to take with me.

    I then took the tram to TI. I had an email offering me $5 in FP, and I played I Dream of Jeannie and cashed out with $3.

    I rode the monorail from Harrah's to Bally's, and wandered through Paris and stopped at Planet Hollywood. It took me a while, but I eventually found the 5 cent Super Times Pay and played one line 7/5 Bonus Poker. As an experiment, I played with DW's card that night, and planned to return the next day putting in more time playing 3 lines using my card. I am curious if CET makes a distinction among its microrollers. I hit my second straight flush of the trip and finished $20 ahead. Pretty good for betting 30 cents a hand.

    I picked up some bottled water at Walgreens and passed yet another Walgreens on the way back to MGM. I used the "secret" West Wing entrance and dropped the water off in my room.

    I headed back out, stopping at NYNY to play the electronic craps game. It was my third time playing, and I still wasn't greatly entertained. At least I didn't have to worry about throwing the dice off the table.

    I walked through Excalibur to get to Luxor to play their 9/5 JOB progressive machines. At the quarter level, I think these are among the best options among the Mlife point-earning machines. I finished with a $15 gain, and stopped for a donut at Krispy Kreme on the way back to my room.

    I'm exhausted just writing this.
     

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  4. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    December 17: Avengers Assemble!

    My plan was to take the monorail to Hash House a Go Go, but I made a detour by the Lion's Share progressive slot machine. I fed in $21, had one win for $15, so had a total of 12 $3 spins before I hit zero. Identical result to the last time I played.

    I picked up my free newspaper and noticed a drop of bright red blood on the floor. Wow, somebody must have had a rough night.

    I made my way to the monorail. While waiting, I noticed blood on my water bottle. What the heck? Then I saw the blood on my shirt and jeans. Somehow I must have cut my finger without noticing and bled all over myself (and the floor, apparently). I made the long trek back to my room to tend to my wound and to change my clothes.

    Once I finally returned to the monorail station, they had us board on the southbound side of the tracks. Apparently they were doing maintenance on the northbound tracks. The monorail would stop at Bally's, Flamingo, and Harrah's, and if you wanted to keep going, you'd exit at Harrah's, and pick up the monorail on the northbound side. Simple right? Well, the train stopped at Bally's and then Flamingo, but they must have finished the maintenance because the monorail reversed direction and went back to MGM where I had to exit and catch the same monorail on the northbound side of the tracks.

    I finally made to the Harrah's/Quad stop and went to Hash House a Go Go. I had the corned beef hash, coffee, and fresh squeezed orange juice. I like their breakfasts, but the biscuits seem a bit dense. Total Rewards points covered everything but the tip.

    I had heard that the Quad had a free daily slot tournament, but it turns out that you have to earn ten points first. Their STP VP machines were roped off for some reason (maybe a VP tournament), so I gave up on the slot tournament.

    I had thought to print out a free coupon for the Auto Collections, but couldn't find it, so I continued on to Madame Tussauds. My dear wife (DW) thinks wax museums are creepy, so this was a perfect choice for a solo trip. At half price ($14.98), I think it was worth it. The Avengers movie was fun, although I thought the Nick Fury statue was posed at a strange angle. I bought some pins in the gift shop.

    I finally caved and signed up for a players card at Casino Royale and played their promotional slots. Lame, as expected, but at least it gave my feet a rest.

    I rode the monorail to Bally's and walked to Ellis Island. To use my LVA $10 FP coupon, I first had to play $10, which I turned into $16.25 playing 9/6 JOB. My $10 FP then netted me $8.75.

    I walked to Planet Hollywood for more Super Times Pay fun, with brief interruptions for a magic show and for dinner.

    Armando Vera's show was enjoyable. He performed pretty standard close-up effects, but the presentations were clearly his own. He was very funny, and several of his lines had me chuckling even days later, although I won't spoil them here. I am an occasional amateur magician and while I could often anticipate what was going to happen, I could never catch any of the "moves."

    He was very good interacting with the audience and especially the children. I liked him much better than Mike Hammer, but not as much as Mac King.

    I did not stick around for Nathan Burton's show (the second half of the package), having already seen it several years ago. While they were seating for Burton's show, I went to the restroom and then ducked out to continue the Super Times Pay fun.

    Today I played all three lines, for $0.90 a hand. I lost $80 total, but still had fun. The drink service was very efficient, too.

    Dinner was at Earl of Sandwich, again covered with Total Rewards points. I had the Holiday Turkey sandwich, which may be offered year-round. It was just as good as I remembered from my first visit last year, although my sandwich wasn't very photogenic.

    I walked back to MGM and, after a brief stop in my room, retrieved my car. I drove to Hard Rock to redeem my ACG coupon: $10 for new members. I turned the FP into $8.75 and left quickly. It was dead here. I can only assume it's livelier on the weekends. The only thing of note here was that they were hosting a college football team (Fresno State, maybe?).

    I headed back downtown, parking at my new favorite valet parking at DTG. I walked to Golden Gate bought in for $100 at an empty $5 3:2 BJ table. Despite being dealt more than my share of blackjacks, I was down to $50 within an hour.

    I took a break from the blackjack losses and walked to Main Street Station. I played quarter 9/6 JOB at the Boar's Head bar. No four of a kinds, and hence no scratch cards, but I did enjoy my $40 ginger ale. I'm trying to like MSS, but I can't seem to win here. On the other hand, the Four Queens doesn't dazzle me (except for the glare off the VP machines), but I've never lost there.

    Back to Golden Gate where I bought in for another $100. I was dealt 15(!) blackjacks in an hour (maybe an hour and a half) this time, but had lots of unsuccessful doubles. Unlike one of the other players, who successfully doubled on a soft 20. He was taking a break from losing at the craps table and was pretty entertaining to play with. I lost another $50 but mercifully climbed my way back to even and decided I was done for the night.
     

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  5. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    December 18: More Super Times Pay!

    I had a 5 o'clock flight, so I was planning a leisurely day: breakfast buffet and VP at Aria, followed by VP at Luxor. I actually slept in until almost 9.

    I tried for a late check-out, but could only get until noon for free. I didn't want to rush back after breakfast, so I packed up and checked out. No resort fees were charged, so my total cost was zero.

    I stopped by the MGM gift shop and picked up playing cards and magnets for my children.

    The valet was very quick to retrieve my car. I was so stunned to see my car that quickly, that I grabbed a larger tip from my wallet.

    Thanks to Aria's web site, I had a pre-planned, non-strip route (Tropicana to Polaris to Harmon) to Aria's valet parking.

    No problems redeeming the MyVegas buffet reward. The clerk even realized that the buffet pricing would roll over to lunch before I got upstairs, so she loaded the higher amount on my card. It was busy, but not too crowded and there was no wait for a table. The room was nice and bright and airy.

    My server was great. She brought me two Cokes so I wouldn't have to wait for a refill and cleared my plates quickly. Sadly, with the switchover from breakfast to lunch, the hash browns were whisked away while I was in line for an omelet. My potato choices were then reduced to cilantro potatoes and mashed potatoes. Ketchup and other condiments were self-serve, which was convenient. Some pineapple rounded out my first plate.

    The omelet was great, almost good enough to overcome my fundamental opposition to tipping omelet chefs. The pineapple was good, but I didn't like the cilantro potatoes.

    When I went back to check out the other choices (ultimately passing and moving on to dessert), one of the chefs commented "You came back!" I thought he meant that I came back for more food, but then he kept chatting and eventually stepped out from behind the counter to shake my hand. Not wanting to embarrass him, I played along. I wonder who he thought I was? On my last trip, someone on the rental car shuttle thought I was Philip Seymour Hoffman!

    For dessert I tried the Oreo gelato (great), some sort of chocolate cake (good), and cheesecake (blah).

    I'd come back if it was free, but I'd either make an effort to show up earlier for the full breakfast selection or show up later when I was actually hungry for lunch foods.

    After my lunchtime breakfast, I went back downstairs for a round of Super Times Pay Bonus Poker Deluxe Video Poker. I played just one line, for 6 quarters a hand, and got lucky with 4 2's early on. Ultimately I cashed out $40 ahead.

    I'd only visited Aria once before for a brief visit at night. By day, I found it to be far more impressive. I'm hoping to use MyVegas points to stay here some time.

    Next I made my final visit to the Luxor. For the first time, I found $5 3:2 BJ tables here and sat down at a table with just one player, a newbie. The dealer was very patient with her, and even used some of my hands as examples. I actually enjoyed the slower pace. Sadly, I could never get anything going and gave back my Aria winnings.

    Finally I made my way back to the 9/5 JOB progressive quarter machines. I went on quite a run with a straight flush (third of this trip) and two four-of-a-kinds. With that kind of luck, I feel like I should have finished better but left only $20 ahead. At least my final day was a winning one.

    No problems returning the rental car, and the flight was on time. I scored an aisle seat again and had a bag of Combos for dinner. I had to settle for the pizzeria pretzel variety. I checked every store, and none had the cheddar cheese pretzel.
     

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  6. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2013
    Messages:
    188
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    Conclusion:

    I don't know how long it will last, but I will enjoy the MyVegas prizes as long as I can.

    Even after accounting for the cost of the Palms voucher and the LVA book, I think I finished a few dollars ahead on gambling.

    The whole trip cost under $500, so I definitely satisfied my bargain hunting needs. I even left with an unused 24-hour monorail pass I can use within the next year. However, I may have pushed the bargain hunting too far (gasp!). I honestly could have skipped LVH and Hard Rock, and probably should have sprung for the room upgrade at MGM.

    In all honesty, though, the MGM room did have some advantages. Especially being at the end of the hall, I had very quick access to the strip, and it was dark enough and quiet enough to sleep in late.

    Lots of firsts this trip: splitting my trip between two hotels, staying downtown, staying on the east side of the strip, completely avoiding driving on the strip (side streets and freeway only), BJ at Golden Nugget and Luxor, and Super Times Pay(!).

    Super Times Pay is awesome, but I'm not sure how I feel about combining its variability with the variability of Bonus Poker Deluxe. That combination might be too volatile for my low rolling tastes. On the other hand, too little variability and I'm looking at my watch while grinding out the points on a 50-play machine.

    If all goes well, I'll return with DW for my birthday in April and again for a solo trip in December.

    If you made it to the end, thanks for reading. As always, I'm happy to answer any questions.
     
  7. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    9,901
    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    15
    Yeah boner poker deluxe + STP = "Super Double Double Bonus" variance. But as long as Aria has 8/6 Boner Deluxe, it will be on my hit list.

    As for PHo, were the 7/5 Bonus nickel STP machines ancient or brand new? Please God say brand new!!! I want to have a few reasonable places to play on the strip for nickels! :eek:

    And sorry they threw you in the petite king with myVegas, my g/f and I lucked out and they auto-upgraded us to the grand king...easily worth 10-15 extra a night. I am surprised you didn't play the 7/5 Bonus 5c nickel quick quads there! Although I haven't pointed it out to VPFree2 either...lol

    Thanks for sharing!
     
  8. petunia

    petunia Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2009
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    Thanks for a great report! I love it when there are pictures as well :) Sounds like you had a wonderful time and not a big outlay of $$$$, that's what we all hope for LOL
     
  9. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Nice in-depth report!:thumbsup:

    I haven't seen it mentioned for a while so it dropped off my radar. Silver Strike...I get that you receive some kind of token, but does it have value? Why do people covet them?:confused2:
     
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  10. vegasqc

    vegasqc VIP Whale

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    Thats great news i also have a 2 night my vegas stay coming up at MGM, i also have the smae problem you had they sent me a email to upgrade but only for the second night of my stay


    Really enjoyed the Tr
     
  11. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

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    I'm not sure if the STP machines at PH were new. I don't know if the attached picture would help. They certainly didn't seem old. There were 3 or 4 of them side by side near Planet Dailies.

    I thought about the Quick Quads, but hadn't learned the strategy and frankly just ran out of steam before I returned to MGM each night. I thought someone mentioned seeing ten's or better there, but I couldn't find it.
     

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  12. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

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    The tokens were worth $10. I decided to keep mine rather than redeem it at the cashier cage. I suppose it's like anything else that people collect, like an advanced version of collecting chips. Sadly I think there are only 3 or 4 casinos left in Las Vegas that have them (El Cortez, Four Queens, Mirage, and Venetian might be adding it).
     
  13. NewVegasCowboy

    NewVegasCowboy Tourist

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    Sounds like you had fun, thanks for sharing
     
  14. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    Great report! It sounded like you redeemed more than the 3 MyVegas rewards they let you get within the 90 day period - how did you swing that?
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  15. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

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    I used just 3 "MGM" rewards: 2 nights at MGM Grand, and the Aria buffet

    The monorail reward doesn't count against the limit of 3.
     
  16. undathesea

    undathesea Grandissimo

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    Awesome report. At Aria you can change those STP machines to nickles and dollars. Although I'm sure you knew that. Seems to me you'd want to be playing more lines when the bonus even if that meant taking it down a level.

    STP is definitely my favorite and definitely very addictive.

    I also love hearing about the VP downtown as I intend to make it down there one day to play!
     
  17. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    A "new" IGT machine would have a video screen for the game's title instead of an illuminated sign. Also they likely would likely have bigger, clunkier buttons. :grrr:

    I failed to find 10s or better on my last visit. It's supposedly near Lion's Share. But I couldn't find Lion's Share either, so that explains it...:rolleyes2:




    Yeah, but quarters has 8/6 Boner Deluxe!!! One of the best quarter games MLife offers period. Although if they had it for nickels that would even be better!

    WWGB, did you check any of the other games on that Aria unit for nickels or quarters? Was 8/6 Boner Deluxe still the best overall?
     
  18. weluvvegas

    weluvvegas Vegas Slot Junkie

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    Ah, ok that's right. Isn't MyVegas great? I love free stuff!
     
    40th Birthday Bash!
  19. WWGB

    WWGB Low-Roller

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    The first time I found the Lion's Share, it was with the help of a hand-drawn map provided by a cashier, and it still took me a while.

    I wish I had taken notes on the Aria machines. I know the Bonus Deluxe was better than either JOB or BP. Not sure about the other choices.

    At least for Bonus Deluxe, nickels had a worse paytable than quarters, so I stuck with a single line at quarters. I didn't want to risk more than $1.50 per deal.
     
  20. LV_Bound

    LV_Bound VIP Whale

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    I haven't played those types of VP machine but the past few trip reports I have read apparently they have performed pretty well.

    Great trip report.
     
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