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Venetian, May 7-10, or: Can I write this off?

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by thecarve, May 11, 2010.

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  1. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    My Trip Report

    I just returned from a stay at the Venetian from May 7-10. This trip was something of a company outing, but had no business component to it at all. It was just a little reward for the hard work that the guys in the shop put in and some compensation for some of the sacrifices they’ve had to make over the past 12-18 months with the economy not being terribly conducive to decent sized raises and big bonuses.

    The players involved were myself, my father (and business partner), my other partner and his wife along with two employees and their wives. Unfortunately, one of the employees was unable to make the trip as his wife and little girl both got really sick a day or so before we were to leave. I hated that for him as he is the model employee. He’s a hard worker, reliable and most importantly, dedicated to the company. He’s the type of guy that when he asks for a raise, you immediately agree. Mainly, because he’s worth it but also because he’ll never ask for anything outlandish and is smart enough to know when things are good and when they aren’t and will always ask for an amount that fits in with the climate of things. Plus, he’s the one employee that I would actually call a friend. So, it was a real shame that he wasn’t able to enjoy the 24/7 fun that is Las Vegas along with the rest of us.

    It was the first trip to Vegas for both of the employees and their wives as well as for my partner’s wife. Prior to the trip, I made a list of things that I like to do and see as well as places where they could find reasonably priced food, drink, entertainment etc (with a great deal of help from the gang at VMB). Other than that, I really wanted to let them all just check the place out and do whatever they wanted. So, other than a few dinners we all had together and the occasional chance meeting on the strip or in a casino, I didn’t really see a whole lot of them. For the most part, this trip was a blackjack marathon, usually alongside my father. Therefore, in order to save you from my ramblings and the minutiae of dozens of hours at the tables, I’m going to just try to hit the good and the bad points. Here goes:

    The High:
    -Separate Check Ins for player’s card members. I had to double book, Venetian and Flamingo, in order to get all the rooms free and there were huge lines at both places. Fortunately, there was only one person in front of us at the “invited guests†check in at Venetian and two people ahead of us at Flamingo at the platinum/diamond room. During really busy check in times, I’ll take this perk over about any other that comes with the rewards programs.

    -Upgrade at the Flamingo. I neither tried the $20 trick, nor even asked for any available upgrades. But, even before I could utter much more than my name, the lady gave both my father and me upgrades to Go rooms immediately adjacent to each other. Not only that, but one of the rooms actually turned out to be a mini suite, with a separate living area and two huge flat screens (plus the little one in the bathroom mirror). Plus, both rooms had great strips views, including the fountains of Bellagio. The guys and their wives were all completely blown away. My partner and his wife’s room was also upgraded to a Go room on the same floor as the other two. What a great start to the trip!

    -Rooms at the Venetian. My father and I both had standard suites in the Venetian Tower. Neither had a particularly great view but both were decent. I never saw dad’s room, but mine was immaculate and the room was in great shape and was showing no signs of aging. Plus, the mattresses were maybe the best I’ve slept on in Vegas. They were very firm, but the pillowtop was very comfortable.

    -Comps at Wynn. About 11pm the first night, I headed over to the Wynn to play some blackjack (key words: first night and 11pm – I arrived in Vegas at 1pm, so the state I was in should be fairly evident to any drinkers out there). I sat at a $50 table and immediately was on a hot streak. I started to press my bets in a ridiculously aggressive fashion. And within 15-30 minutes, I had gone from $100 a hand to $700-800 a hand. Like most drunks, I gave back all my winnings and then some. But, before I did, a host came over and introduced himself, gave me his card and said, “There won’t be any comps, but when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness.†So I got that goin’ for me, which is nice. :rolleyes2: Nah, what he actually said was to call him next time I was in town and that he’d take care of my room and food. That’s the first time a host has offered me grub on top of the room! :thumbsup: I’ll take that over the karma any day, I can always donate a few bucks to starving orphans or something.

    -Seeing the guys enjoying their first trip to Vegas. The guys and their wives were just in awe the whole time they were there, which was fun for this sometimes jaded Vegas veteran to see. I ran into them on the strip at about noon one day and they all had those huge drinks in their hand, already three sheets to the wind. I loved it.

    -Craps dealers at the Venetian. While most of my time was spent on the blackjack tables, I did spend a few hours at the craps tables at the Venetian. The dealers there were total pros. All of them were friendly and personable and really knew their stuff. My dad loves craps but isn’t terribly knowledgeable about how much he should bet on the various bets (i.e. always betting in multiples of 6 when you place the 6 or 8). So, when we went on a bit of a hot streak, he never knew how much to add or how much he should get back from certain bets. Finally, one of the dealers just said “trust me, I’ll take care of youâ€, and he did. He’d press in small amounts when he hit the 6/8 place bets, tell him how much he needed to take full odds when his come bet would be one of the bets that used to be a place bet and just move the 6 to the 8 or vice versa when the point was one of those numbers – pretty much everything my dad would have done had he known what was going on. It was good – he never got too aggressive but he immediately realized how my dad played and rather than stop the action to explain what was going on, he’d just make the right move for the situation. And, dad knew that I knew what was going on, so he was more than happy to let him make the moves for him.

    -Dinner at The Oyster Bar at Penazzi. Saturday night, we didn’t get to eat until fairly late and wanted something fairly quick and not too heavy. We were walking through Harrah’s and decided to try The Oyster Bar at Penazzi. I was quite happy we did. The oysters were very fresh and my king crab legs were fantastic. My father’s scallops were even better. The price was fairly reasonable too. I want to say that a dozen raw oysters, our two entrees and two cocktails a piece was something like $75-80. But, sometimes when I’ve been drinking, prices don’t seem as high to me as they would otherwise (and chip’s colors become less and less relevant). The guy working behind the bar mentioned that they are planning on closing Penazzi but are going to keep the oyster bar open. I guess I wasn’t the only one to choose the oyster bar over the restaurant.

    -Aria. My thoughts of City Center, and Aria in particular, can be seen here: http://www.vegasmessageboard.com/forums/showthread.php?t=55485

    -Sunday’s gambling. While my luck on the first two days of the trip literally had me checking into earlier flights out, my results Sunday made me glad that I didn’t find any reasonable flights. The (gambling part of the) day started out with Aria, where I won $2500+. Then, it was over to Bellagio to collect about $1500 from their blackjack tables. Finally, it was back “home†to The Venetian, where I hit a couple hundred on VP and a couple more at craps and blackjack. It was one of the better days I’ve had gambling.


    The Low:
    -Venetian/Palazzo Casinos. This was my first stay at the Venetian (I’ve never stayed at Palazzo), and I’ve only done limited gambling at either place. So, this was my first chance to really get to know either of them. And while I think that they are both fantastic places with as many choices for food, shopping and entertainment as you could hope for, and I would not hesitate to recommend either, the casinos of both were a bit disappointing in my opinion. I can’t place my finger on what it is exactly that has me disliking them. Maybe it’s just a combination of a lot of little things. Neither have any particularly good blackjack offerings (they aren’t HET bad, but nothing that good). The lay outs don’t seem to facilitate traffic as well as similarly sized places like Wynn, Bellagio or Aria. And, while other “upscale†properties (Wynncore/Bellagio/Aria) carry their style and elegance through even to the casino area, at the V/P, that style seems to stop at the dining and shopping areas and the casino is left looking somewhat out of place. I’m not saying that there’s anything that wrong with them, just that the casinos seem to be the weakest link of the V/P properties

    -Gawkers. I know that this is no revelation on my part, but I just can’t have a complaint list without having people who stop in the middle of a walk way or the middle of the strip at or near the top. Folks, I know that there’s a lot to see. Even after 22 trips, I sometimes am still just caught up in the sheer scale of everything. But, come on. I’m trying to get somewhere and more likely than not, I’ve got a drink in my hand. So, unless you want to get run over and smell like Miller Lite the rest of the day, please, move out of the way if you want to gawk and take pictures!

    -Video Poker pay tables. I’m not much of a VP player, but I’ll spend a few minutes of each trip playing a few hands. And, even if I’m not playing, I’ll check out the odd VP game just to see what kind of pay tables it has. And these things are getting downright ridiculous. While the degradation of blackjack seems to have halted or at least slowed considerably during the past year, the VP payouts seem to be getting worse at an ever increasing rate. I’m glad this isn’t my drug of choice, or I don’t know what I’d do. I suppose that I’m part of the problem as I did spend some time playing Deuces Wild at the bar at the Venetian just to get a few free drinks. So, I guess I should apologize to you VP players out there (but not the ones that play 6-5 blackjack, we’ll just call it even).

    -Friday/Saturday Gambling. This was a real downer and a continuation of the luck I’ve had the past four trips to Vegas – luckily, I’ve had as good luck at my “local†casino and a few trips to riverboats lately, so I’ve been able to endure the long string of Vegas losses. I had a few good runs on Friday, but each time I would give it all back and then some. Saturday was even worse, and was far worse to endure as my father, sitting at the same table, was winning everything. By the end of Saturday, nearly 90% of my bankroll was gone, and I was contemplating if my Vegas days were over. Fortunately, Sunday saw me getting back a decent sized chunk of those losses and restoring my faith in the gambling gods.

    The In Between:
    -Crowds. This was the least busy I’ve seen the strip in a long time. I make a trip, on average, about every three months. And, up until this trip, I had noticed the crowds getting bigger and bigger. Certainly, nothing like they were, say, three years ago. But, it looked like things were gradually coming back. On this trip, there was never a wait at a restaurant, the strip was easy to traverse, there was never a line at a taxi stand and except at the most popular times, the table limits even seemed to have come down somewhat. The only lines that I ever encountered were during check in, and it was Friday afternoon, so that’s to be expected. I don’t know if this is foreshadowing a double dip in the Vegas (or macro) economy, or simply the skewed results of the incredibly small sample size of a single weekend. But, the crowds were noticeably smaller than they have been. (I put this in the “in between†category because as much as I hate to see the economy struggling, it sure was nice to not have to wait on anything or look too far for a decent table.)

    -Dining experiences. Unfortunately, the only good meal that I can remember is the aforementioned dinner at The Oyster Bar, and even it was more of a pleasant surprise than it was a “to die for†experience. Everything else was entirely forgettable: Margaritaville, Canonita, Grand Lux Café. None were good, none were bad. Fortunately, I’m not having to say the same thing after having forked over big bucks on more upscale places. But, alas, I packed for comfort and not for fine dining, so I guess it’s my own fault.


    All in all, this was a very enjoyable trip. It never got too wild and crazy and therefore, probably makes for a pretty dull trip report. So, I do apologize for that. The most important thing to me is that it was a complete success as far as a reward for the employees. Each and every one of them looked to be in complete awe every time I ran into them. And, they all looked like they had packed as much as possible into the three short days when I saw them at the airport on Monday morning. So, for that, I am really happy. And, hopefully this has bought the company a nice morale boost for the coming months.

    Thanks for reading. And a very very special thanks to all who gave me such good suggestions to help the guys enjoy their first trip to Vegas.

    Cheers-
    Kyle
     
  2. SloppyJoe

    SloppyJoe Tourist

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    Nice report. Curious as to what the "model employee" will receive for not getting to go on the trip. Thanks.
     
  3. thestugot

    thestugot Low-Roller

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    excellent! sounds like my trips...
     
  4. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Nice report. I also noted in another thread that I was there the weekend before you for the fight, and other than the MGM being absolutely mobbed due to the fight being there, when we went down to the other end of the strip the same trip (Wynn / Encore), it was absolutely the slowest I have ever seen the casinos on a weekend. I mean a literal ghost town in the casino.
     
  5. Jinx

    Jinx VIP Whale

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    Very nice report, enjoyed it.
     
  6. Nancyb54

    Nancyb54 Low-Roller

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    Nice report! You sound like a really nice boss. Are you hiring? :D
     
  7. cougarenegade

    cougarenegade Tourist

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    good report. very insightful. I agree about v/p, something about their casino just doesn't appeal to me.
     
  8. Fish Tacos

    Fish Tacos Low-Roller

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    My employer should send me to Vegas all expenses paid. I sure could use a morale boost.
    I'm going to have to have a talk with my boss.
    BTW...Thanks for the nice report.
     
  9. gotavegasjones

    gotavegasjones VIP Whale

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    Very nice TR. Thanks for posting.

    later, GVJ
     
  10. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

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    Great report. I need a boss like you.
     
    Back where we belong
  11. jpw711

    jpw711 VIP Whale

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    Unemployed engineer will work for free Vegas trips - Nice report.
     
  12. thecarve

    thecarve Misanthrope

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    Thanks for the kind words, gang. But, to be truly honest, the guys needed something like this after the SOB I've been of late. :eek: Maybe I've just not been on this side of the boss-employee relationship long enough. Maybe I'm just supposed to be a 24/7 bastard :grrr:

    Hmm...what kind of engineer? Mechanical? I certainly can't afford a full time engineer, but if you're a mechanical engineer and are interested in some one off pay-by-the-job work, PM me. I don't have anything "hot" right now, but I'm constantly looking for engineering work. Seriously!
     
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