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Vegas Trip Thirty: Overdue, and Worth the Wait

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Morpheus7272, Jun 9, 2013.

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  1. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    My Trip Report

    Hi VMBers,

    It's been a while since I've written a trip report, but after enjoying 109 pages on the trips of BeeJay and the crew, I'm inspired.

    First, a little backstory. For years, I've been enjoying at least two trips a year, but a medical issue forced the cancellation of last year's October trip. A difficult beginning to 2013 made it look like there might be no trips this year either. Thankfully, issues resolved themselves, and I was able to book an April trip, almost a year since returning from trip #29. Just to add to the intrigue, this trip would be my first solo adventure to Las Vegas since September of 2006. As always, I made all manner of tentative plans, and many of them went out the window. That's all part of Vegas for me, though -- intensive planning followed by sensory overload and spur-of-the-moment decisions after arrival. I knew, though, that I wouldn't be all by my lonesome for parts of the trip, since a couple Vegas buddies would be out at the same time. It would be nice to have mealtime companions, at the very least. Another positive would be having a proper bankroll for 0.25 VP play, which would be a welcome change from my previous solo trips.

    On with the show....

    Day 1 - Wednesday, April 17th

    After a typical airport McDonald's breakfast, I was comfortably ensconced in seat 5F aboard a new-ish SWA 737. The plane left on time and then the only question was "Bloody Mary?" Why yes, thank you. After all, that plane was technically sovereign territory of the Republic of Las Vegas, so the "acquire drink" light was always lit. Enjoying a bloody on the flight over is always a good tradition to uphold, and I do not scoff at tradition. Following it with a Corona is an even better idea. After the libations, I enjoyed a short-ish nap, after which I saw that the ground had transformed from Midwestern green to Southwestern brown. Gettin' there....gettin' there. The majesty of the Rockies followed, and soon enough, Lake Mead was upon us. One last set of mountains brought the familiar joyous sight of the Vegas valley.

    It's. On.

    There's always something wonderful about arrival in Las Vegas. Before the first Franklin is put in a bill acceptor, before the first dice are thrown, you have before you a trip full of promise and hope. You never know if you'll be carrying a jackpot check in your limo back to McCarran Airport, or if you will have pawned your last set of clean underwear to make the WAX fare to catch your plane. The only thing you know for sure is that you will have a blast along the way. And that's how it should be.

    An on-time landing and a call to the Terrible's shuttle led to my first hotel check-in of the trip. As an aside, I know that many people have bad things to say about Terrible's in general, but I like the place and always have. Rates are great, the rooms are all either recently built or remodeled, and I enjoy the pool there. Since I always have a bus pass, the trip to the Strip is an easy one, and downtown is reasonably accessible as well. Beds are comfortable and the food in the cafe is good for the price. It is more of a blue-collar place, and if that bothers you, then you should look elsewhere. I've never had an issue there.

    Upon arrival at 10am, rooms were not ready, so I checked my bags with the bell desk and thought a bit about my next move. Eat? Hit the pool and relax? Head to the strip and walk around? Nope. It's time to start gambling. Terrible's VP has been decimated in recent years, but they still have 8/5 bonus (and full-pay DB and Loose Deuces, but the variance on those is out of my comfort zone) so in goes the first Franklin of the trip. The machines are as dry as the surrounding desert, and in no time, I'm down to $40. After moving around to several machines in the bank, I got down as low as $20, and then back up to $60. Zero quads in over an hour, and I'm licking my wounds, headed to the counter to check on my room. Fortunately, it was ready. The room was remodeled, with a comfortable king bed and 42" flat-screen. Nice.

    Since it had been almost a year, I decided that the first meal of the trip would be In N Out burger. After walking to Flamingo and Maryland Parkway, I stopped in at Walgreen's to grab a bus pass for my trip. The 15-day pass is $34, and it is all-access, and can be procured at Walgreen's and Albertson's, among other places. As I was traveling back down Flamingo on the 202, I realized that my hunger was getting the best of me. What better place for a quick bite to quell the hunger than the humble Stage Door Casino, across from Bally's?

    Okay, okay, I know there are 34,781 places better to fix your hunger problem than the Stage Door, but I LOVE this place! Quarter-Pound Dog and a Bud for $2.50? Jager Bombs for $2? Ice-cold Michelobs for a buck? Friendly bartenders and a total divey atmosphere? You bet, and I love it, every time. Straight away, I'm off the bus and seated at the Stage Door bar. Seated to my left were Kevin and his buddies, who were way past buzzed, on the way to wrecked. You see, it was Kevin's birthday and he decided not to remember any of it. I ordered a dog and a Bud and chatted up the birthday group. After getting all the slurred details of the day's events, I bought them a round of Michelobs, and they in turn sent me over a Jager bomb. After I bought a pack of smokes, we sat and drank beer for a couple of hours, and upon leaving the place, I was feeling no pain. I knew I had to take some time to sober up a little if I was to enjoy a long night of gambling, so a Strip walk was definitely in order. I walked the short block to the Strip, witnessing the sad demise of the Bill's, nee the Barbary Coast, along the way. I loved the dark wood and stained glass in that place, and I'm sad to see it go.

    Turning right, I noticed that the Deuce stop at the Flamingo had been moved, so I walked on, along a sidewalk that I swear was rocking back and forth! I figured I needed some sustenance, and two McDoubles from the McDonald's mid-strip would fill that void nicely. After picking up a Gatorade at Walgreen's, I continued up to the SDX stop at the Wynn, and hit downtown. The walk and bus ride sobered me up at bit, and my first stop was the D to check out the second-floor "Vintage Vegas" area. Sigma Derby junkie that I am, this had to be my first stop. I was pleased to find the Derby machine, as well as coin slots and an intact Vue Bar still containing the 8/5 Bonus with 3-way progressive. As I walked by, I noticed the progressive amount on the regular quads was $42, and I sat down to pick it off. As you know, theory and practice do not always match, and I was quickly down $50. As the progressive on the quads grew, however, my resolve strengthened, and I played on. Undeterred by variance, I stayed the course with the help from the friendly D bartenders and their seemingly endless supply of Corona. Just as the quad value peaked over $45, I hit quad queens. I was still down marginally but was enjoying my Vegas experience -- playing video poker, having a few drinks, chatting with those around me, and generally being happy with life.

    In the words of Anthony Bourdain, "What's the opposite of 'suck'? 'Un-suck'? 'De-suck'? This, my friends, does not suck."

    A few hands later, I was dealt deuces. Yep, wrong game, for sure! Painful, yes, but fifteen minutes later I didn't care, as I pulled quad aces for a hundred. This erased my earlier loss, and after playing it down to an even amount, I bid adieu to the D. The sun was down as I hit my next stop, the El Cortez. Much like the Stage Door, there's tons not to like about this place, but I love it. Old-school Vegas at its finest, right down to the stink. They were running a promotion awarding 5% freeplay for ATM withdrawals up to $1000, and of course I was all over it. After hitting the slot club and asking "is this for real?” I got my money and the $50 freeplay loaded onto my card. The LVA freeplay coupon netted me another $10, and I sat at the bar with $60 in freeplay. While enjoying Crown-and-ginger and Corona, I ran my freeplay through on video BJ and ended up with $66. Not bad for some quality time and several free drinks!

    Tipping the barman the extra $6, I took the $60 to the $3 craps table and bought in. I love playing craps, and at my bankroll level, their $3 table is perfect -- I can place my 6 and/or 8 and play come bets as I desire. This table was up-and-down, bringing me up to a high of $90 and a low of about $10 in a couple hours' time. I cashed out with a few bucks left, dead tired and smiling from the long, eventful day. A Deuce/202 bus ride brought me back to my room, and I was asleep shortly after hitting my pillow.

    Up next....Great times and great chow with Ms. Kiddo at MGM, why Quick Quads are a fickle mistress, and having a blast playing the (mechanical) ponies...stay tuned!
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2013
  2. Huddler

    Huddler VIP Whale

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    Great start! Enjoying the read so keep it going!:beer:
     
  3. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Enjoying it so far.:thumbsup:
     
    Christmas
  4. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Updated with Day 2...

    Day 2 – Thursday, April 18th

    After a much-needed full night of sleep, a shower, and a shave, I was feeling human again and ready to attack my first full day in Paradise. First up was a comped MGM buffet through the myVegas Facebook game. Getting the comp at the mLife desk was easy, and worth the time spent in line. I collected my dining companion, and Kiddo and I headed off to the buffet. The last time I ate here was in 2001 – back when MGM gave out funbooks with 2-1 buffets in them - and I thought it was decent then. This meal was an improvement over that, with good Chinese and Mexican, big fried shrimp, and good carved meats. Kiddo, who I hadn’t seen since 2008 or so, was great company. We chatted, ate, and drank mimosas (did I mention this was a Champagne brunch?) for a good couple of hours. Upon leaving the buffet, we planned our next meal together and I headed for one of the best things in Vegas, the Sigma Derby machine.

    In 2008, I discovered the Derby machine at MGM, and four hours of play later, I was hooked. The frustrating part was that back when I started coming to Las Vegas, these machines were all over town. Now, there are two, and I play them pretty much every day I am in town. The camaraderie and general silliness of yelling at plastic horses on these vintage machines makes them a must-play for me.
    Without a fun crowd, though, these machines aren’t as enjoyable, and that was the case after my chow-fest with Kiddo. I stopped after losing ten bucks and vowed to come back later in the night, when the group of degenerate plastic-horse players is generally better hydrated. It was then time to walk off a bit of the six mimosas I had by going up to the Palms for a bit of couponing. Through the site slotplaycoupons.com, I bought $40 in slot play for $25 at the Palms, and I also had a $10 matchplay for the table games as well.
    Getting to the Palms was easy. A quick walk up to Flamingo and a two-stop bus trip brought me to the sprawling Maloof complex. Walking in, I noticed that the cool vibe about the place that I like was still evident. There’s just something about it that I like. Once at the player’s club, I got the $40 put on my card, and confirmed that the matchplay coupon could just be presented at the table. The friendly boothling also informed me that I could get a free promotional gift for earning 100 points. Seating myself at the 50-plays by the food court, I settled in for some full-pay Jacks-or-Better with my freeplay. Drink service here is definitely spotty in my experience, but I was able to snag an ice-cold Corona quickly. Up a little, down a little, I neared my 100-point goal quickly. Once reached, I was a few bucks ahead, so I decided to play until I became rich, or until I had only the original $40. Riches were not to be had from this machine, so I headed off to claim my free gift. At the promotion center, I was optimistic. The person in front of me in line received $25 in freeplay, so things were looking up. I stepped up and received…..a Palms logo calculator. Figures.
    When walking through any casino, I’m always on the lookout for promo sheets that are left behind. I’ve often found matchplays this way, and today I snagged two $10 ones left on the side of a slot bank. Proceeding to the nearest blackjack table, I asked if it was okay to jump in for one hand and was allowed to do so. My hand of 20 beat the dealer, and I got an easy $20 profit. The other coupon was for mini-bacc, and there was only one table open. Putting down two reds with the coupon, I watched as the dealer put down both hands, drew appropriate cards, and took my money. But that’s the beauty of matchplays – going 1-for-2 puts you ahead one unit. I walked out of the Palms comfortably ahead and feeling good. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t last.

    The next stop on my “Flamingo coupon run” was Ellis Island, as Gold Coast and Orleans would be hit on a day when I was playing on my Boyd card. Ellis was having a scratch card promotion, and that was a great reason to go and play Quick Quads and enjoy their excellent beer. On my last trip, I hit a nickel royal on an Ellis QQ machine, so I was happy to play them again. I turned in my ACG coupon for freeplay at Ellis as well, so that I’d have at least $10 coming. Settling in at the machine that I hit the royal on, I started with 5-play nickel Jacks. After 45 minutes, I had almost earned my first scratch card. I was feeling pretty good, alternating the fine Ellis Island Light with their brewed root beer. I switched it up to 10-play nickel Jacks. Bad move, as this game was apparently set on “zero pay” and my balance began to shrink. I took a break after 20 minutes of that to grab my $10 in freeplay, and I added that to the carnage. Not good. Eventually, I lost the Franklin and only earned two scratchers, rather than the four I was hoping for. With visions of the $45K top prize in my head, I scratched. Those scratchers earned me….two free beers. Uh, who’s in charge here? I get those for free. So much for the scratcher promotion.

    After that beating, I proceeded back downtown, as I wanted to actually play the Derby machine at the D. My foray into the progressive bonus poker the night before left me wiped out and needing sleep, so today would be the day to try out the new Derby location. After getting off the SDX, I headed down to El Cortez to use my other freeplay coupon, this time from the ACG. I was in a Crown-and-ginger mood, so I sat at the back bar and played video blackjack, enjoying a couple drinks along the way. Cashing out a small profit, I headed to the D for some plastic-horse action.
    The first thing I noticed at the machine was its newer condition, with all the stations working. Buying in for $30 in quarters, I got down to business – ordering drinks, that is. The D had great cocktail service upstairs, and in no time I was several drinks in to a great night. The table was full of outgoing people, including Jared and his crew. Lots of fun and shenanigans followed, including a conga line with us as jockeys around the Derby machine. Ahh, alcohol. This made up for a lack of longshots on the Derby, and after exchanging my quarters for some great memories, I headed back down to the ElCo to hit the $3 craps table once again. Reaching the pit at the Sweaty Spaniard, I was surprised to find the table closed. I thought about hitting a different casino, but I knew I’d have a long day of couponing ahead of me the next day, so a Deuce/202 trip brought me back to home base at Terrible’s. The MGM brunch had gotten me through the whole day – as usual, I wasn’t eating much in Vegas.

    Up Next...more coupon runs, the Derby at MGM, more good food, and a roller-coaster ride at the D.
     
  5. agirl

    agirl Low-Roller

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    i love this paragraph!!!
     
  6. D in the D

    D in the D Low-Roller

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    I would love to see the old man go apebleep on chumley for accepting someones skivvies in the pawn shop. :yuck:
     
  7. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Very enjoyable TR. I like your usage of the term "boothling." Looking forward to more.
     
  8. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Writing up Day 3....

    Writing up day 3 as we speak....
     
  9. sabrina

    sabrina Low-Roller

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    excellent writing style! looking forward to more!
     
  10. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Day 3....

    Day 3 – Friday, April 19th

    My third day in Las Vegas began with rested body and rumbling stomach. The buffet at Terrible’s is pretty bad, but breakfast is doable. I had a buffet comp, and wouldn’t dare use it for lunch or dinner, so I trudged up to the buffet line. After having some fruit, cereal and pastries, I was satiated without the telltale signs of gastric distress. I was hoping they’d have some “I survived Terrible’s Buffet” stickers, but no dice on that one. They should, anyway.

    Today was a day for major couponing, so after verifying the stability of my digestive system (tough as nails!!) I was off to the Hard Rock. A short and easy walk from home base, the Hard Rock has always been enjoyable. It always has that great upscale, fun vibe. Redemption of their ACG/LVA coupons has become more convoluted, though, as you must visit the players club, surrender your matchplay, then scan your card at the kiosk, print out a voucher, and go to a table. I decided to play the voucher on craps, and the pit boss took a while to examine said voucher. All in all, the process took about 10 minutes from the time I hit the casino, and the shooter promptly rolled craps, costing me $10. Ugh. Sometimes you’re the windshield….sometimes you’re the bug.

    We take these things in stride though, and a $10 loss on a matchplay is certainly easier for me to take now that my bankroll per day is in the hundreds rather than years before when it was in the $40 range. Off to the nicely appointed and near-clinically dead Tuscany casino. They could rename this place The Library. It’s the only place I know that limits the amount of cruciferous vegetables they serve in the restaurant, since even the smallest test fart can be heard across the casino. But, I digress. I must not last long in their computer, since I always receive the new players coupon book at the players club. This time, I was also treated to “mystery” freeplay. Of course, there was no mystery, as my freeplay was $5. Playing it out on video blackjack, though, netted me a tasty Corona, and as the waitress passed through a second time, she brought me another. Such a problem, one Corona for each hand. Solution: drink faster. I’m nothing if not a problem-solver! There was an additional $5 matchplay in the funbook, and I was allowed to play that and the ACG matchplay in the same visit. A loser at craps and a winner at roulette turned into a small profit, and I was off to Ellis Island, site of the earlier Thursday Thrashing at the Quick Quads machine. My other $10 freeplay was now active on my Ellis card, and I enjoyed a couple tasty EI Lights while playing it through. After a quick matchplay loss at roulette and a sneer at the Quick Quads, I was out of there, headed to the San Re…..er….Hooters Casino.

    I was excited to visit Hooters, because it’s one of the few places where I was not a players club member, and they had a cool loss promotion going, where one could take a shot at a high-denomination machine with the potential of a great win, or have a $100 loss credited as freeplay, which could then be easily churned through and recouped. Upon visiting the players club, though, I was informed that I was already a member. Apparently, when you sign up at the San Remo in 2001, it carries over to Hooters in 2014. After protesting mildly, I was at least allowed to take a funbook with two matchplays in it. I used one, netting a $10 profit, and wasn’t allowed to use the second. The boothling at the players club had also credited my card with $20 freeplay, from the LVA and ACG coupons, so I settled in at the bar to run it through. The bartender was quick with the Coronas, and the crowd at the bar was fun. While chatting, I noticed a bottle I hadn’t seen before. It was the shape of a Crown Royal container, but with only a small label around the neck. The perky ‘tender showed me the bottle: Crown Royal Extra Rare. To my surprise, she poured out a generous dram, and it was quite enjoyable. Here I was again, enjoyable the Vegas Experience: fun chatter with outgoing people and the enjoyment of a healthy buzz, while winning a few bucks. It sure beats work.

    Once again, a sobering walk was necessary, and the journey to the front of the MGM (longer than you’d think) did the trick. Hey, I thought, they have Sigma Derby here. In we go. The crowd was a bit better here than last time, but I still lost my first $10 in a hurry. Fortunately, I hit a winning combination in the 50-1 range, and I was able to play on my next $10 for much longer, allowing for more Corona consumption. Since knew I wanted to hit the D again, I cashed in the $5 in quarters I had left and caught the SDX.

    For those who complain about the slowness of the Deuce bus, make sure you try to use the SDX whenever possible. While it does still travel the congested part of the Strip from Tropicana to Convention Center Drive, it only stops three times in that span (outside MGM, Paris, and WynnCore) and the boarding policy alleviates the long wait at many Deuce stops. It’s definitely the way to go for longer trips.

    This session at the D progressive BP was to be a longer one, since I wanted to use the LVA freeplay-for-points promo and get myself established for mailers, if I could. The LVA promo adds 1% to the EV of the game, pushing it into positive territory, so I was up for playing a while. After the first hour, I was down $70. Thankfully, it was time to take a break to meet Ms. Kiddo at the Triple 7 Brewpub at MSS for some good chow and fun. After waiting in the longest line of the trip, we got seated at the busy pub. Our minds were on the same wavelength, as we both wanted the excellent fish-and-chips there. It did not disappoint, being crispy, delicious, and filling. After dinner and what chatting we could do – it was loud in there – I wished Kiddo good luck and thanked her for the meal, which she covered with points, and headed back to the Vue Bar at the D to continue my session.

    Back to the D I went, determined to right the ship that started sinking earlier. To my dismay, the God of Variance was currying favor elsewhere, and my first Franklin finally succumbed to the lack of quads. My second hundred fared slightly better after catching quad kings and tens, but I was still down and eyeing the Sigma Derby machine to brighten my spirits. I declined a refill on my Corona when the one bartender came around, but as I returned my attention to the game, a new Corona appeared. This came courtesy of the other bartender, who had just assumed I needed another. Fine, then, I thought, I’ll stay and play a bit. That beer, it seemed, came with a bit of luck in addition to lime, as I held three aces and caught the fourth in short order. My bankroll restored, I played on, catching quad fours for $50 a few minutes later. This put me up nearly a hundred for the dual session, and I played down to $60 profit. Checking my points, I found I had run $2500 through for the day and would be receiving an additional $25 in freeplay from the LVA promotion. Claiming my freeplay, I searched in vain for a low-denomination video blackjack game, but found none. A little slot play wouldn’t hurt my record, and they had some original Goldfish machines near the Longbar (isn’t everything on the first level near the Longbar? I think so.) Shortly after sitting down, I hit the fish food bonus and cleared all the fish, a reasonably rare occurrence. This nice hit gave me plenty of play time, and I cashed out with $30 after nearly an hour.

    With the catchy Goldfish themes in my head, I caught the Deuce back to Flamingo and walked over to the stop across from Bill’s to wait for the 202. Apparently, I had just missed it, and the wait would be nearly an hour for the next one. This wait, however, allowed for all manner of drunken-people watching, always a plus in any trip. Highlights of this episode included four drunken twentysomethings walking down the middle of eastbound Flamingo, apparently impervious to any possible automobile-on-pedestrian crashes. Thankfully, they made it out of sight without suffering grievous bodily harm. Around 2:30 am, a drunken club-goer in sky-high platform heels asked for directions to the Hard Rock, as she was planning to walk there. We let her know the way, but suggested she take the bus, since the walk was over a mile. She didn’t like the idea, but rather than go on a Sheldon Cooper-like rant about the need for bus pants, she grudgingly agreed that mass transit was the way to go. At the stop for Paradise, I got out to go to Terrible’s and pointed out the Hard Rock. She was on her way, albeit in a wobbly fashion. I was a bit wobbly as well, but not from the height of my Louboutins. Advil, Gatorade, and sleep were definitely in order.

    Up Next…Food of the Gods Times Two, Pool Time, and Late-Night Sigma Derby Action!
     
  11. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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  12. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Agree....

    I agree with you on principle...but I would get some strange looks yelling at the Loose Deuces machine to "pick it up in the stretch" as I hit the draw button!!
     
  13. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    According to the compact with the tribes here in WI, they can hold up to 20% on slots.
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
    Christmas
  14. Blonde_4_ever

    Blonde_4_ever "The Welfare Queen of Windsor"

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    Wonderful, fun, UPBEAT report!
    My favorite kind!
    Loving this....

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2013
  15. breanna61

    breanna61 Super Moderator

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    A really fun read; I'm looking forward to the rest of your report. I know your buddy Kiddo and have dined with her in Vegas too.:eek:
     
  16. Lhammer28

    Lhammer28 High-Roller

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    LOVE this report, cannot wait for next segment!!
     
  17. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Hey Dave .... Love your report, and your many descriptive paragraphs, as only the "Morph" can do. :nworthy:

    Wishing I had been there with you on those coupon runs ... but a question about the Hard Rock. When did they start making you take the ACG - matchplay to the player's club for a separate voucher ? When we were there in February, we took our ACG coupons right to the table, and played them without a word. In fact, it is stated that way right on the front of the coupon.

    Looking forward to more of your report ....
     
  18. MGinCO

    MGinCO Low-Roller

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    Shoot, I had to get home from work to read this.

    Great report, Dave!

    I'm glad I am part of your report.
    Those were good buffets and meals we had, for sure.

    Kiddo
     
  19. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    More to come....

    Thanks for the kind words....there's much more to come :)

    @Kiddo...we sure did. Lots of fun and laughs!!
     
  20. Morpheus7272

    Morpheus7272 Low-Roller

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    Maybe I didn't have to after all....

    @Buddha -- I just assumed I needed to do that. Maybe I'll try it right at the table next time!
     
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