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Vegas TR - SunCoast & MSS Jan. 30 -Feb. 5

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Feb 9, 2013.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Well, folks … this was the trip that wasn’t even on our original planning radar. Our next trip that we had booked (and still is) was for April. However, back in December, we received offers for Jan. & Feb. that were too good to pass up. My wife, Nancy, got a complete surprise out of the blue, with an offer from the SunCoast for 2 nights in January (her birthday month), and 2 nights in February, with $100 in dining credit and $100 in free-play. I added on 2 nights from my Main Street Station offer, with $35 free-play, and we had the beginnings of a 6-night trip to La-La Land. Our next obstacle was airfare out of Chicago, but upon checking the Southwest Air schedules, I was pleasantly surprised to find fares for Jan. 30 and Feb. 5 for $118 each way !! That was it, and the bookings and reservations commenced. Rental cars were high at first, but in a few days, I found a rate for Dollar at $176 all-in total. But, I never stopped checking during the days ahead. Soon I found an Alamo compact for $141 all-in, and a few more days ahead, I rebooked at $116 all-in. Yes … plan completed !!

    Wed. - Jan. 30 : As the departure date approached, we had all kinds of weather changes, from cold to warm (a record 63*), with lots of rain, and an approaching cold front with snow & ice. Luckily, it was still 39* and a light drizzle as we headed for Midway airport, and the only drag was heavy traffic on the way there. Everything was still on schedule, and we departed just a few minutes late, because several late-boarding passengers were unhappy with being stuffed in the only available middle seats. Arrival in Las Vegas was even a few minutes early, even with the storm turbulence, and a slight head-wind.

    We were off the plane quickly from our 3rd row seats, thanks to our A-26/27 “early-bird” boarding passes, and soon boarding the rental car shuttle bus. Our Alamo rental was all in order, and in short order we had a Toyota Corolla exiting the car barn. Before heading out to the SunCoast, we first turned toward the South Point Hotel / Casino, where Nancy will put a point on her card for her birthday month, and be rewarded with 2500 player points ($7.50)… and she even won 25 cents doing it !!!

    From the South Point, we hopped on the I-15 north, then onto the 215 west, off on Rainbow north to the Wal-Mart north of Flamingo Rd. There we picked up a few incidentals for the week, got back on the road, north to Charleston, west to Ft. Apache / Rampart Blvd., and north to the SunCoast. We were amazed that from the time we got off the plane, and eventually arrived at the SunCoast, it was only 1 hr. 45 minutes. Check-in was a breeze with Nancy’s January comp offer, and we got a nice non-smoking room on the 5th floor.

    After a quick move-in, we were down to the casino, with Nancy turning in her first $25 free-play coupon, and me scoping out our video poker options. We settled in at a couple 8/5 Bonus single-line quarter machines, and Nancy quickly turned her free-play into a $20 profit. We sat at these two machines for about 90 minutes with consistent winners … I even got DEALT two sets of quads, and Nancy filled out a couple more, including Aces.

    About now, dinner was sounding like a good idea, and Nancy also gets $25 dining credit per day. Ignoring the buffet, we checked out the Café Siena, but then settled on the Coasta Cantina, when Nancy spotted the special of half-priced fajitas. I opted for the enchilada platter, and with the generous addition of chips & salsa and a warm bowl of refried bean dip, we had a glorious free dinner.

    Gambling was limited to only a few hours of video poker, due to the partial arrival day, but after about 2K cycled & recycled, Nancy won $73 (including her $25 free-play),and I won $47, which included four DEALT quads … and thank goodness for those, or I would have definitely been in the tank. Before hitting the sack for the night, we swiped our player cards for our free breakfast buffet in the morning, and our entry ticket to Thursday afternoon Variety Show. It’s been a long, busy day …. ZZZZZZ ……

    Thurs, - Jan. 31 : Up at 6:00 am, showered, dressed, and prepared for another busy day. The SunCoast breakfast buffet doesn’t begin until 8:00, so at 7:00 we are playing VP (today is 7X points on VP), each with a Bloody Mary in hand, delivered to us by the friendly cocktail server. At 8:00, Nancy turns in her daily $25 free-play coupon at the player’s club, and with our free breakfast voucher (earned yesterday), we head for the buffet. Lots of the usual breakfast goodies here, including an omelet station, a carving table with a big-ass ham, and a pan full of the best eggs-benedict I’ve ever had.

    After breakfast, we played another hour of VP, and then headed out for a road trip of activities : free-play mailer at the Rampart, MP’s and Nancy’s birthday points at the Orleans, MP’s at the Palms, ACG “match plays“ (free bets) at the Gold Coast, and more birthday points for Nancy. We also tried to get over to Ellis Island for a free-play opportunity with an LVA coupon, but there was a horrible traffic gridlock on Flamingo Rd. heading to the Strip … so we just headed back to the SunCoast. It was approaching 1:00 pm, at which time the SunCoast Showroom opens its doors for its weekly (Thurs.) Variety Show. Very entertaining show, as some regular local talents hosting the show did a complete musical tribute to Tony Bennett on his 85th birthday … Well done !!!!

    After the show, it was back to the VP machines … I headed to a Triple-Play quarter machine, and Nancy went back to her single-line quarter 8/5 Bonus machine to do her $25 free-play. I cycled about $500 through my Triple-Play, and finished with a nice $45 profit, and Nancy turned her free-play into $38. We each then played (and lost) a couple more 20’s, and decided to have an early dinner at the Café Siena, using Nancy’s $25 daily dining credit. Nancy chose the chicken parmegian dinner w/ side salad, and I opted for the fish & chips (french fries) w/ navy bean soup … and two iced teas. There was so much food, we couldn’t even finish it all, and it was good stuff. Total bill was $25.38 (not including tip), so Nancy paid the 38 cents, and charged the $25 to our room, which had the credits applied to.
    Waddling back to our single-line VP machines, Nancy lost two more 20’s, while I managed a small win of $15. We decided to relax up in the room the rest of the evening with some TV viewing, and some ZZZ’s. Tomorrow (Friday), we check out, and move to Main Street Station for two nights … before eventually returning here at the SunCoast on Sunday for two more nights.

    Fri. - Feb. 1st : Checked out of SunCoast at 7:00 am, and drove the short distance to the north over to the Rampart Casino. The Promenade Café there has daily “Early Bird” breakfast specials for $3.99 (including coffee, tea, etc.), which we pay for using our Rampart points ($8 = 1600 points). From there, it is a busy morning drive on the Summerlin Expressway onto Hwy 95 & the 515 to downtown, where we will be staying two nights at Main Street Station. Too early to check-in, we leave our luggage in the car, and head to the casino, and settle in at our favorite VP machines.

    Nancy likes the single-line slant-tops, with 8/5 Bonus Poker, and I prefer to play my quarter Bonus Poker at the Triple-Play machines. After a couple hours, I have managed a profit of $148, while Nancy wins $66. Our king-bed room is now ready, (# 501), but it is a smoking room, as the hotel is packed for Super Bowl weekend. We take the room, which was very clean, plus we spray it all down with our scented aerosol, and set up shop, including a request for a single-cup coffee maker. After the move-in, we return to our VP play for a short session, where I add $53 to my win total, but Nancy drops $62 of her previous profits.

    Time for a break from the VP machines, and we go around Fremont Street on a coupon run. We start at the Plaza, with two MP’s (+$10), and two LVA free-play coupons ( + 11) ... and then the Las Vegas Club, with MP’s (+5) and free-play coupons (+ 12) ... and then free-play at Binion’s (+12), and free-play at Four Queens (+18), finishing everything off with dinner at Magnolia’s. Using an LVA 2/1 coupon, my choice is the hot open-faced turkey sandwich & gravy, and Nancy opts for French beef dip sandwich, and besides the tip, we needed only to pay the cashier $10.

    Returning to MSS, we take one more shot at our VP machines, with Nancy losing just $7, but I hit quad Aces twice, and finish the session winning $125. On the way to our room, we stop at the player’s club to pick up a comp voucher for the Saturday morning brunch buffet.

    Sat. - Feb. 2nd : Up early, with the buffet not opening until 8:00 am … we of course head to the casino for some early morning VP, and I think someone turned off my lucky charm, as very little goes my way, and I drop $111 before I even have my breakfast !! Nancy, on the other hand, found her magic, with a win of $68. Our free brunch buffet was as good as always, with all the usual offerings, and the omelet station, as well as a ham and beef brisket at the carving station, plus baked salmon, and several international choices. After breakfast, we returned to the business of VP, where my minor success was to break even, while Nancy dropped $23. We retired to our room to plan the day’s remaining activities.

    After our planning break, we decide to play one more VP session at the California (sister property of MSS ), then have an early dinner at the Cal’s Market Street Café, before going on another road trip, The VP session was a mistake, as the two of us combined for a loss of $69. The early dinner at the Cal consisted of a couple specials of “soup & sandwich” for Nancy, and “eggs, sausage, and pancakes” for me, which I paid for with my B-Connected points (600 points = $1).

    Grabbed the rental car from the MSS garage, and headed to the El Cortez to do our ACG free-play coupons (+ $19), and then a brief drive up to Jerry’s Nugget for two MP’s (-10). Leaving Jerry’s, we head down LV Blvd, over Paradise Rd. to Flamingo Rd, and over to Ellis Island to do our LVA free-play coupons. The place was really FULL of people, like I had never seen before, but we managed to find a couple VP machines to play our first $10, to then activate our free-play at the kiosk (“supposedly” between $10 to $100). Not much luck here, as we only cleared a small total profit of $9, and left quickly !!

    A very short hop back on Flamingo Rd. to the Tuscany for two MP’s (-10), followed by a drive back up to the Riviera. Once parked in the Riviera garage, and the long walk in to the Riviera table games area, we play two MP’s (+10), and head up to the Riviera Comedy Club. We are using the ACG coupon for two completely FREE tickets here … no fuss, no muss, as we just handed the coupon to the seating manager, and we were led to our seats. Very funny show, with two quality (but raunchy) comedians … and FREE !!! Before leaving the Riviera, we do two more MP’s (big mistake) and we lose $20, making a total MP loss of $30 on this road trip. Not exactly how this is supposed to work !!!
    Returning to Main Street Station, we organize our notes for the day, and the Sunday move back to the SunCoast … and we crash into bed … exhausted … ZZZZZZZ ....

    Sun. - Feb. 3rd - Super Bowl Sunday : Checked out of Main Street Station at 7:00 am, and also confirmed our 7-night April reservation with the hotel clerk, as well as a specific hold on our room of choice. We are not heading immediately back to the SunCoast, but first to Red Rock Station, to meet up with friends, Nancy & Jeff from New Jersey, for a nice Sunday breakfast brunch buffet. Our 2 hour breakfast consisted of more conversation than food, but both parts were very enjoyable. Thanks N & J … it was great !!!

    It’s still only 10:15 am, and too early to check in at the SunCoast, so we instead head to the Rampart Casino for a couple hours of VP. Nancy likes their single-line slant-top consoles, with 8/5 Bonus and 9/6 JOB. My all-time favorite here are the 10-line machines, where you can play lots of good VP for as little as nickel credits, up to dollars. I play the nickels, which is still $2.50 per hand. For the first 90 minutes on the 10-play games, it was very much up & down, with lots of small wins, but at one time, when I was in a downward tail-spin, I was DEALT quad 10’s for a win of 1250 nickels ($62.50). After that, I hovered around even for the next 15 minutes, and was then dealt four cards to a spade Royal, missing the “10”. On the redraw, line #8 rewarded me with that pretty 10 of spades, for a win of 4000 nickels ($200), plus a couple other straights & flushes. 10’s were definitely my lucky cards here today. I cashed out for an overall win of $201. Nancy struggled for most of her sessions, just trying to stay even, and finished with a $15 loss.
      
    Off to the SunCoast for our last two nights in town. As Nancy is checking us in with her reservation for a King-non Smoking room, the clerk first told us that there were no King rooms yet available. She then saw our disappointment, and looked at Nancy’s offer of the comped room, $50 in free-play, and $50 in dining credit, and continued searching the computer for rooms. Lo & behold, she finds one of their nice “golf view” (slightly over-sized) rooms on the 6th floor, looking out over the golf course. Great !! We’ll take it !!

    After getting settled into our very attractive room, we head to the casino, where Nancy turns in her third $25 free-play coupon at the player’s club. We spend the next two and a half hours at the VP machines, playing mostly 8/5 Bonus Poker, with Nancy coming away with a $30 win, while I played the nearby Triple-Play for a $79 win. But now it’s nearing Super Bowl time, and Nancy and I scope out the Corner Deli at the southwest corner of the casino. We use Nancy’s daily $25 dining credit here, and order two ½ lb. burgers and a large stuffed turkey sandwich, all with sides of cole slaw, fries, pickles, and lettuce & tomato slices all included … to go. Up to the room with our large bag of goodies, to sustain us through the next few hours of football.

    We rooted hard for the 49’ers, since head coach Jim Harbaugh was once the quarterback of the Chicago Bears. Good thing we had the food to calm our periodic disappointment of the game, but we thought they would pull it out when their offense grabbed the lead. But, it was not to be … hats off to the Ravens. What better to do to now? You guessed it … hit the casino for another hour before calling it a day.

    For this session, we sat together, both playing 8/5 Bonus on a single-line upright machine, both going up & down, up & down. No big quads, and when all was said & done, Nancy had won $5, and I had lost $10. No big excitement here, so we head back to the room for some short-lived TV, which soon turned into dreamland …

    Mon. - Feb. 4th : Today is the last full day of our trip, with not much planned but more video poker. A little early VP before breakfast, with a couple of Bloody Mary’s in hand. No big excitement as we each lose a few dollars. The player’s club is now open, and Nancy turns in her final $25 free-play coupon for later play, and also turned in an ACG coupon for 5X points all day today, and we then head for the buffet. Nancy uses an ACG - 2/1 SunCoast buffet coupon here, along with additional points for our free breakfast. The usual offerings this morning … lots of fruit, egg dishes, meats & sausages, pastries, etc., etc.

    Back at the VP machines, Nancy turns her free-play into a $27 profit, while I return to my nearby Triple Play machine. For about 3 hours we pound away at VP, and Nancy is unable to add to her profits. I actually had three great hands … got dealt quad 5’s on my quarter Triple Play, along with filling out TWO separate straight flushes, but with other losses, only came away with a $60 profit. Time to take a break …

    Up in the room, I grabbed my laptop computer, and signed in for the SunCoast room internet connection -- 24 hours for only $4.99. While Nancy was reading her book, and taking a short nap, I spent the next couple hours surfing the internet, and catching up on the news and my emails. I also logged in to the Southwest Airlines web-site, and did our check-in for tomorrow’s flight home … and got A-47 and A-48 … good enough. While I was on the SWA site, I also remembered that today was the date that SWA is opening its reservations up to Sept. 27. So…I went to the reservations page, and booked our flights for our September trip to Vegas. First time that I ever booked a trip to Vegas , while I was actually IN Vegas.

    We used Nancy’s last SunCoast $25 dining credit for a buffet dinner. The offerings were fairly standard … a carving table with prime rib and turkey, three choices of fish … sole, tilapia, and salmon, a variety of international options, plus a salad and dessert offerings. Not necessarily outstanding, but plenty to put together a nice dinner.

    After dinner, we made the mistake of attempting one more VP session, instead of just relaxing in our room, in front of the TV. Not much went right in this session, and after an hour, I dropped $150, and Nancy lost $33. Not wanting to lose any more of our week’s casino profits, we wrapped it up, and returned to the room, watched a little TV, and started organizing our stuff for tomorrow’s departure.

    Tues. - Feb. 5th : Up for early morning coffee, and after we're packed up, we checked out at 7:15 am. From the SunCoast, we wind our way over to Charleston, and hop on the 215 - South expressway. We took the 215 all the way down to the I-15 south, and headed for our usual getaway breakfast spot … the South Point. This is a very nice property to have a great breakfast buffet, maybe play a little VP, and still be within a short drive to gas up and return the rental car.

    Michael Gaughan runs the South Point, and always has his staff put out a quality buffet … starting with the complimentary Bloody Mary as you head to your table. We have a 2/1 coupon from the Las Vegas Advisor, which members can log in, and print. You then have to take that printed coupon to the player’s club for the official 2/1 voucher. Nancy uses her points for the balance, and we’re in at no charge. The buffet has several fruit choices, and a wide array of breakfast entrees, including strip steak, sausages, eggs benedict , baked trout, etc., etc., as well as an omelet station. Never had a bad meal at this buffet.

    After our wonderful breakfast, we still have time for an hour, or so, to play a little VP. My end-of -the-trip bad luck continues, as I drop $50 playing 8/5 Bonus Poker, but sitting right next to me, playing the same game, Nancy wins $41 . Go figure ….

    After leaving the South Point, we headed north on LV Blvd, and stopped at the 7-11 at Pebble Dr. to gas up the rental car. We had put 138 miles on the rental, and I topped off the tank completely, with only 3.72 gallons ($12.00) … or 37 mpg … the best we ever did on a Vegas trip. Returning the car to Alamo, in the “car barn”, was quick and easy, receipt in hand, and we hopped on the shuttle back to the airport. After passing through security with no problems, we still had 2 hours for our SWA departure back to Chicago, but all indications showed everything was “on time”.

    Well, our plane from Los Angeles did in fact arrive 10 minutes late, and afterwards, our gate attendants were very slow to get things moving. The pre-boards were not taken down to the plane until it was only 17 minutes before departure … and then our larger “800” series 737 still had to board 168 more passengers. At that point, we “might” have been able to depart only 10 minutes late, but then another pilot came on to the plane to ride in the cockpit, and dead-head back to Chicago. After about 15 to 20 minutes of chit-chat and paperwork, we finally departed 30 minutes late … even though our pilot said we would still arrive in Chicago on time. Well, that never happened either, as we pulled into our Midway gate 20 minutes late.

    I had to clean off a few inches of snow off from our car that has been sitting outside at the airport parking lot, but we were soon on our way out to the suburbs, happy to be home from another “positive” trip to Vegas.

    Summary :
    >> 4 nights @ SunCoast, and 2 nights @ Main Street Station … all free.
    >> Alamo rental car - Toyota Corolla - $116 all-in total
    >> Meals out-of-pocket cash --- One , for $10
    >> 13 free meals, from room offers, comps, coupons, and player points
    >> Tips --- Maids, waiters, waitresses, bartenders, service personnel, shuttles --- $68
    >> MatchPlay coupons : - $40
    >> Video Poker : Cycled & recycled about $29K , Nancy + 131 , Me + 249

    Hope you enjoyed the read. Questions & comments are always welcome.
    Next trip in April …. Viva Las Vegas !!!!!
      
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2013
  2. gongoman

    gongoman MIA

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    Thanks for trip report neighbor..Sounds like ya had fun..:beer:
     
  3. jfn111

    jfn111 Low-Roller

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    nice trip, sounds like you had fun
     
  4. sunny123

    sunny123 Tourist

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    Suncoast and MSS

    Nice report. It's a lot of fun to read about my second home, the Suncoast.
    The rooms there are great. It's relaxing to spend a couple of hours watching the golfers (or sunbathers) from your room.

    The gambling is good there too and the wait staff is superlative.

    Glad you had fun there - look forward to seeing you there some time as I'm sure you'll return.

    :beer:
     
  5. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    It is always a good trip when you eat for free, enjoy a little entertainment (free) and win. Congratulations!!!
     
  6. couponqueen

    couponqueen Low-Roller

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    Trip Report

    Love your trip reports - so informative and entertaining!!! Your coupon use is great!!
     
  7. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Great report!
     
  8. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Great report! So much detail! I'm impressed!:thumbsup:

    So question for you...you hit a few quads at MSS.:thumbsup: Someone posted that you have to scratch while the card person is standing there, sign your card and they want you to go to the cashier immediately to cash it.

    What was your experience?
     
    Christmas
    My wife's birthday
  9. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Yes, Joe ... there are indeed two changes with the scratch cards. First, they require you to do the scratch-off while they are watching. AND ... they also ask you to play off the quad hand on the screen. One attendant told me that a few people were trying to use the same hand to get extra cards ... but I did not understand the immediate scratch-off, unless someone was trying to forge a big winner ... ???

    But, there is no immediate requirement to cash them in. I would often be at the cashier with 3 or 4 cards. And, I NEVER had to sign any of them.
     
  10. blackjacknut

    blackjacknut VIP Whale

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    Nice TR...thanks for posting.
     
  11. Electroguy563

    Electroguy563 Over-Fried Gambler

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    Enjoyed your trip report. Gotta visit South Point. Thanks for posting!
     
    Going to Hawaii's 9th Island!!
    Going to Hawaii's 9th island!!
  12. amjacob

    amjacob Tourist

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    Very nice trip report. The coupons sure do come in handy.
     
  13. wa8ckt

    wa8ckt Tourist

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    Great report, as usual.

    Thanks for the great report. You two sure make your Vegas trips fun to read about. The details are unreal. I can't remember what I had for breakfast any given day while in Vegas (usually doesn't change much anyway). When we rent a car we get out of town, can't imagine driving in that traffic, of course we live in a small town. It is obvious your trip planning and gaming results allow extra trips. I realize we need to "divorce" the strip places and have a "relationship" with the local places. I am sure they would treat us better. I don't think Caesar's Group would pay us alimony but it is mental cruelty. Of course self inflicted, :confused2: .
    Will try again May 7th to see if they have gotten treatment for their poor behavior. Southwest just announced they will be having a direct flight out of Flint which is only one hour away which we often use but always had connections. We grabbed a flight for Sept trip. :) Thanks again for the report. John and Kathy
     
  14. LaRae

    LaRae Low-Roller

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    Hey Buddha!! What a great budget for a great trip. Love it!!
     
  15. oldcrabtom

    oldcrabtom Low-Roller

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    Wow ! You really do things errrr Frugally ! Well done and well researched...:wave:
     
  16. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Thank you, friends ... for all the kind words. We're glad you enjoyed our report. Many years ago, we would come to Vegas with not much of a plan, and just wing it from day to day. But over time, we learned from others (like our long-distance friend, James in NY) how to be more organized in keeping to a plan, using coupons, points, and earning comps, and eventually became control freaks with our itinerary plans. We do indeed keep track of every gambling session, and every dollar that we spend, or win, or lose. It has become so habitual, that it is almost automatic, without even thinking about it ... yet we still take on a wide sort of activities, and have the time of our life.

    "Buddha"
     
  17. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    You make better use of coupons than anyone I know!

    First time that I ever booked a trip to Vegas , while I was actually IN Vegas.

    Cool! I have never done that before.
    Thanks for the great report.

     
  18. 21wins

    21wins VIP Whale

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    Great TR !!

    When I started reading it I sounded just like something I would write. Coupon here, free play there, free rooms etc.

    Nice job !!!! I look forward to your next TR.
     
  19. edinpa

    edinpa Tourist

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    Another great report from Team Buddha, but I have to know was that an official big ass ham or just a knock-off?

    Great report congratulations on the winning trip!
     
  20. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Ed .... That was indeed an officially inspected big ass ham. That sucker was huge !! :licklips:
     
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