1. Welcome to VegasMessageBoard
    It appears you are visiting our community as a guest.
    In order to view full-size images, participate in discussions, vote in polls, etc, you will need to Log in or Register.

What happened when I tried to win the Harrah's Millionaire Maker Blackjack Tournament

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by RebelDiceMan, Jan 14, 2008.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    712
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21

    My Trip Report

    Before you begin, let me warn you that my trip reports are always loooong because I never met a detail I didn't like. If that type of long, detailed TR gets on your nerves, go ahead and skip this one. I like to try and let you see/experience what I saw/experienced. That takes including all the details. BTW- this trip took place several months ago but I am just getting around to writing it because I just now found my lost notebook with all my notes on what we did on that trip.


    For the second year in a row, I was fortunate enough to qualify for the Harrah's Millionaire Maker Blackjack Tournament. This was only the second MM Blackjack Tournament ever held so I certainly appreciated my opportunity to play in it a second time. In case you are unfamiliar with this event, here is how it works. Harrah's holds qualifying tournaments at all of their properties scattered around the country to determing the participants in the big national Millionaire Maker blackjack tournament. (the one where first place pays ONE MILLION DOLLARS) The national tournament field is limited to 280-300 people. The number varies depending on how many people each property sends. (each individual property pays all of the trip expenses for their representatives so some properties send more people than others) I won my seat in the national tournament by finishing in fourth place at the Tunica Grand Casino qualifying tournament. That was a decent payday in itself. I won $7,000 for fourth place but it would have really been sweet to take down that $50,000 first place prize. So that is how this tournament works and how I got to play in it.

    We flew out of Jackson, MS. on a very early AM flight one bright Sunday morning. One likeable thing about flying out of small to medium sized airports is the ease of going thru security. Less crowds and TSA people who are less stressed out. (usually) My girlfriend (The Baboo) and I fly 2-3 times a year and have never had a problem with security. However, this time she misread the newly relaxed regulations after they eased up a little and let people start bringing jells and liquids aboard but in limited quantities. Somehow, she missed the limited quantities part. So we (actually she) wound up throwing away several brand new containers of lotions & potions. Of course this held up the line which stressed us both out and I compounded things by making a totally uncalled for smart-aleck remark to her about her packing expertise. I stayed in the doghouse for that remark until at least the Grand Canyon. After an hour layover in Houston, we took off on time and landed at McCarren a few hours later. Basically the flying was pretty uneventful except for some guys sitting in the back of the plane with us who were going to some sort of asbestos convention. When our connecting flight took off, it was still mid-morning and these guys must have had nothing but double bloody marys for breakfast. They were fun to talk with because they were all very excited about all the fun things they were going to be doing in LV. Oddly enough, I didn't hear anything about what they were going to get accomplished at the convention.

    Harrah's had representatives waiting to meet us in the airport and they directed us to where our transportation awaited us. The year before, they had two scantily clad showgirls there to welcome us. It was easy to spot them with their huge headdresses. This year it was just regular people and wasn't quite as exciting. Still, a free ride is a free ride. At least they still had the snacks and drinks available out at the shuttle.

    We were the first ones to board the shuttle so we grabbed a couple of seats on the front row. We knew from last year that this would be beneficial when we arrived at Caesars. Once we arrived at the Caesars VIP entrance, everyone piled off and stood around waiting on the Harrah's people to unload our luggage. From our experience the previous year, we knew that the VIP check-in was about to get extremely crowded as a group of 30-35 people descended en masse on the check-in desk. The Baboo made a brillant suggestion that I go ahead and register us while she waited on the luggage. (Great Gal, she is) So I pop into the check-in area and happily discover that I am the only person in line. Within a minute, I was giving the clerk my name. I had a $20 discreetly tucked under my credit card and I.D. in case I needed to try for an upgrade. They had individual packets for us with all the tournament information & credentials and she had quickly retrieved mine after I told her my name. After she got my packet, she looked up and infomed me with a big smile that she was going to upgrade me to some sort of mini-suite. We had stayed in the same tower (Palace) during last year's tournament but not in a suite. I could see that this was going to be a wonderful trip. I thanked her with as much Southern charm as I could muster. I hadn't even shown her the $20 before she did the upgrade but I decided to give it to her anyway. I was here to compete for a Million Dollars and I didn't want to take a chance on screwing up my karma by being chintzy. By now, the line behind me stretched out of the VIP check-in room and on down the hall as the rest of our shuttle mates got their luggage and joined us. Since I was already done, I got our keys and went outside where the The Baboo guarded our luggage. We didn't bother with a bellman and made our way upstirs to our sweet mini-suite.

    Once inside the door of our suite, we began that initial inspection of the room and were quite pleased with our good fortune in the accommodations department. We had a great view overlooking the Garden of the Gods with the strip in the background. The room featured a huge king bed with a beautiful headboard covered by a half-canopy and a settee down at the foot of the bed. There was a nice comfortable couch and sitting chair over by the window. If someone wantd to do some work in such luxurious surroundings, there was a desk with all the connections needed to conduct business. There was a huge flat screen TV and a CD playing alarm clock. The closets were big enough that there were 6 louvered doors (3 sets of 2) that opened from it. One neat thing about the closets was that the lights in the closets were wired into a motion detector. Any time you opened them, the closet lights came on. The only drawback is that we had to make sure the closet doors were closed when we went to bed. If they were open and you walked by them on some nocturnal journey, they came on and annoyed the person still trying to sleep. The bath area was basically two bathrooms with sinks and dressing areas connected by a glassed in shower complete with double shower heads and room for 3-4 of your closest friends to join you in the shower. The bathroom on one end had an oversized tub with jacuzzi jets while the bathroom on the other side of the shower had a little private room for the toilet. Of course, this being Caesars, we each had our own fluffy robe and slippers in the closet. We had a great time exploring our home for the next 3 nights.

    The Baboo always uses casino rooms as a relaxation tool much more than I do and she decided to lay around and unwind from the trip for a while. I on the other hand, was itching to get down on the casino floor so it worked out good for both of us. I like to start out my gambling day with some bartop video poker and a few cold beers to get my mojo going. Therefore, my first stop was at the VP bar just down from the sports book. I like playing here because it is like a people highway with people constantly walking by. The only down side was that the $ JOB had a crummy paytable of 7/5. I can only imagine what the .25 paytable looked like. It looked like I was going to have to endure awful odds to enjoy some bartop action. So be it. I played long enough to knock down four or five beers. I hit enough flushes/full houses to keep my meter clicking but never enough to double up and cash out. I have to compliment the bartender on his service. I don't think I ever got one of my beers completely empty before he had another one sitting there. That is one thing I really love about bartop VP. You never run dry if you have a competent bartender. I stayed there for over 2 hours playing and drinking. One amusing thing happened when I spotted one of our friends from the plane (the guys going to the asbestos convention) come strolling down the aisle. I called him over and quickly realized that he and his buddies hadn't slacked up a bit on the inbibing since I saw them last. He had a pretty good buzz and shared the news with me that he had lost $100 on the slots before he ever left the airport. So obviously, he was off to a roaring start on his Vegas convention vacation. They wandered off and I decided to take a walk-about thru Caesars myself. I was up and down during this VP session and finally walked with about a $50 loss to begin my trip.

    As I made my way around the various table pits, I saw more and more unfavorable gambling rules. I expected all the blackjack pitch (handheld single or double deck) tables to have that abomination of 6-5 blackjack payouts but I had thought that the shoe tables would have decent rules. I was wrong. While the shoe games did pay 3-2 for blackjacks, all the placards I read for $25 tables and down restricted you to doubling only 10s and 11s with no double after splitting a pair. Those are crappy rules. You had to move up to the $50 tables to get more favorable rules. The 3 card poker pay tables only paid 3-1 for the flush. (back in MS, most of the casinos still pay 4-1) Dice tables had low odds and high minimum bets. I was not overjoyed with the gaming opportunities.

    I decided now was as good a time as any to make my run to The Stage Door to stock up on supplies for the room. We always get snacks, cokes, and alcohol for the room and it is always my duty to go "hunt and gather" on our first day. As I was headed out towards the bridge over to Bills (old Barbary Coast), I realized the trip would be much more tolerable if I would stop at the outdoor bar and get me a frozen daiquiri. (after all, this was late August and it was hot) I sat there and enjoyed the outdoor ambience until I had the drink about half finished and then set out on my provisioning journy. One thing that caught my eye was the Battiste's sign. It proclaimed "We have 23 years left on our lease. We are here to serve you". I guess there had been some speculation about their future after Harrah's bought the Barbary. After filling several sacks with our needed room supplies, I headed back toward Caesars. Since I enjoyed that first frozen daiquire immensley, I decided to break up my trek by having another. I gotta tell ya, sipping on a frozen daiquiri while watcing the incredible kalidescope of people pass by with the towers of Caesars Palace as a background is one fun way to spend an hour. This wouldn't be my last visit to this bar.

    By the time I made it up to the room, The Baboo was in the early stages of preparation for the welcoming party scheduled for later that evening. She also mentioned that one of the hosts from Tunica had come by and left a Team Tunica (HET has 3 properties in Tunica and all their MM qualifiers had identical shirts) golf shirt with the Millionaire Maker logo emroidered on the front and the 3 HET Tunica properties embroidered on the sleeve. Soon, we made our way down to the ballroom in which the welcoming party was being held. I'll give Harrah's this, when they throw a party, they do it pretty well. We were welcomed by a group of Roman Centurians who stood guard at the ballroom doors. Once inside, we immediately noticed the four open bars in each corner of the room. There was a nice jazz band on stage playing some cool tunes and plenty of tables to find a seat. After securing a drink (White Russians), we made our way to one of the four food lines to get a plateful of treats such as little baby back ribs, minature Beef Wellingtons, chicken tenders, and little sandwiches as well as all sorts of fruits, salads, chips, dips, and nuts. The best thing was the two tables dedicated to nothing but delicious desserts. I made two trips to the dessert table. Who cares about calories? I am on vacation! Caesar and Cleopatra were there in all their magnificence. We went over and had our pictures taken with them and their guards. Harrah's printed us both an 8X10 souvenir photo to remember them by. We were sitting around enjoying our free White Russians (aren't free drinks always tastier?) and those decadent desserts when a few people I knew from the tournament circuit came wandering in. I saw a couple that I had made friends with at a number of different tournaments over the years. We initially became friends because she and I share the same profession. Their's was an odd situation. Last year, he qualified for the MM tournament and she came to cheer him on and this year their roles were reversed as she qualified for the MM tournament and he was here to offer his support. There were another 6-7 people that I have met at tournaments back at home. It was fun visiting with some of them. We picked up our tournament gift, which was a set of casino quality chips in a nice carrying case with the Millionaire Maker logo embossed on the front. By now, The Baboo was ready for some more lounging in the room so up the elevators we went.

    After she got comfortable, I made a beeline back downstairs to the casino floor. I played a little bartop VP and wound up squeezing in 2 more beers and a $100 loss for my trouble. Since I was ready for a change, I found an open seat on a 3 card poker table and settled in. I played for an hour and was $250 down so I switched from betting $15 on the pair plus & the ante to betting $10 on those bets. As it seems like often happens when I cut back on my bet, I soon hit that holy grail of 3 card poker - the straight flush! YeeHaa! That paid me over $400 and got me back in the black overall. It is just a shame that it didn't come earlier when I was betting $15. I decided to take my money and run.

    I walked down to The Pussycat Dolls Casino (actually it is just one pit outside their lounge but they call it a casino) and took a look at their blackjack rules. I expected them to be like the ones at the old Bikini Pit at the Rio which would have made them terrible even in comparison to the bad standard blackjack Caesars rules. I was surprised to see that they were no worse than those I had seen on regular shoe tables earlier. Let's see, I could play on a regular ole blackjack table with a regular ole dealer or I could play on a blackjack table with a smokin' hot dealer dressed in short shorts, fishnets, and a little naughty policewoman outfit. (at least that is what it reminded me of) Which one to choose? When you throw in the two elevated cages full of exotic, energetic, and even hotter dancers that were situated behind the blackjack tables and my choice was clear. I sat down and had a blast. To make things even sweeter, I wasn't even giving up an awful lot rule-wise. I stayed and enjoyed the experience for well over two hours. As improbable as it sounds, I actually won $200 while having as fun a time as you could want.

    By now it was well after midnight and I made the short walk over to the poker room. Fortunately, I was able to get a seat after a short wait and played 4/8 limit hold-em until almost 3 AM. I guess by that time, I was beyond taking notes for my TR because I don't have any for the poker experience and I certainly can't pull it up in my memory banks after so long. The only thing I noted about my time there is that I finally lost a rack ($100) and called it a night.

    Wow! That was a long first day! I started off Monday by stumbling down to the food court just outside the Forum Shoppes entrance and loading up on coffee (for Baboo), Red Bull (for me) and a bunch of pastries for breakfast. After we finished breakfast, I headed down to the blackjack tournament. They were holding it in the tournament room located just behind the poker room. Caesars holds poker tournaments here. This room is also where they held the National Heads Up Poker Tournament that some of you might have seen on NBC. Once they checked my credentials and I was able to enter the room, I saw that they had it set up the same as the year before. That meant that the10 tournament tables were at the end of the room to the right and were roped off from the rest of the room. At the other end of the room was a buffet of snacks similar to what was at the welcoming party but with a little less variety. There were several cocktail waitresses charged with keeping drinks in the hands of everyone who wanted one. There were lots of tables and chairs for friends & family to sit at while the tournament rounds were being played. I wasn't scheduled to play until 2 so I got a White Russian and went out to the sports book to sit there and go over the tournament rules one last time. I already had them memorized but I get OCD about the rules as my round approaches in a tournament. The Baboo eventually joined me so that she could watch me try for the million dollars. We went back into the tournament room so she could get a drink and we stood around talking to a couple of people that I knew. My host from Tunica came by and I thanked her for my Team Tunica shirt. She had on the same shirt. I liked the idea of all of us being easily identifiable. It gave you reason to support one another.

    Finally it was time for my round. The room was done up very nicely, they had one "feature table" that had a camera over it and the play of that table was broadcast over 4-5 TVs scattered around the room. That would be the final table once we got to that stage. All the dealers were wearing tuxedos and it was a pretty festive atmosphere. Festive that is until you stepped across those ropes and got ready to play, then it became very serious indeed. They gave us 20K and the betting limits would be from $100 to $5,000 during the 18 hands that we would play. I know I made some play-by-play notes immediately after the tournament but I can't locate them now. If I do, I will add the details of everything that happened in the tournament later. However, the critical last hand is burned into my brain so I can share what happened on it. I was in second place going into the last hand. There was a lady that had $33,000 and she was pretty safe for first place since I was in second place with $21,000 and it would take me winning over two max bets for me to catch her. Fortunately, I was in pretty good shape since the top two scores from each table would advance. One person had busted out and one had less than $5,000 left so there were essentially 3 of us still in contention for that second place position. All three of us made $5,000 max bets. After the cards were dealt, the person in fourth place had a 17. She stood on her total. I had a hard 12 and the person in third place had two 3's for a total of 6. OK, what to do? What to do? I had the lead on both of them. The fourth place person could only win $5,000 and I would have her covered if we both just won our hands with a single max bet. I would also cover the third place competitor if we both won our hands with a single max bet. One complication was that I would have to play my hand before him since he would be the last to play his hand. Unfortunately, I was certain that since he needed to get more money on the table if he were going to pass me for that all-important second place finish, he would either double that 6 and hope that the dealer would bust or take the more likely path of splitting the 3's into two hands. Whatever path he took, I also needed to get more money on the table to match his two max bets. Therefore, I pushed out five $1,000 chips and doubled down with my hard twelve. Doubling a hard twelve for your tournament life definitely gets your heart pumping. The dealer peeled off a wonderful 8 to give me a total of 20. Man, I was feeling good now. As expected, he split his pair of 3's into two hands. I wasn't too nervous yet since I had enjoyed a lead of $3,000 going into this last hand and I would keep that lead if we both won our two max bets. His first card was a 10 for a total of 13. He stood on that hand and signaled for a hit on the second 3. I was just hoping he wouldn't get something like a 7 or 8 that he could double. Well, he didn't get a good double card. What he got was even worse. The dealer peeled off his card and it was another 3. Oh Damn, the absolute worst card for me that he could have gotten. Of course, he split his hand again. He wound up with another 13 on the second hand and a 17 on the third hand. If the dealer could make any sort of hand at all, I would wind up in second place and advance. A dealer bust would give the win to the guy with 3 hands split out. She had a 10 up. A ten in the hole would give her a 20. I would push the hand and everyone else would lose. I was definitely calling for a "Monkey" to be under there. As you might guess, there was no ten under there. She flipped up that 5 and then followed it with a 10 to bust herself out and give second place to my competitor by a total of $2,000. Dang!!! For about 15 seconds, I really had that good feeling that I was going to advance to the second round. Then that darn third 3 had to show up. So there I was, out of the tournament and reduced to hoping for a wild card to get me back in it. After months ( I qualified for the MM tournament 6 months before it was played) of anticipation and planning, it was all over in less than 30 minutes. I have to admit it was pretty disheartening.

    OK, I have to go to the bank. I'll pick this up in the morning. Hope you come back for the rest. We continue to drink, gamble, and party at Caesars for another couple of days and then move over to Paris for three days.

    I'm back. Here comes the rest of the story. (with apologies to Paul Harvey :) )

    One thing I left out about the tournament was the good fortune that I did enjoy. Every casino property in the Harrah's empire contributes a door prize that they give away during the tournament. Once they got us properly seated at our tournament seat, they announced the winners. The very first name that they called was mine. I was so intent on running over last minute reminders to myself that I didn't even notice it. A friend of mine who I play against in a weekly blackjack tournament back home (he also played in The World Series of Blackjack on GSN this past year) was on a table directly across from me. He looked over at me and shouted "Hey Ray, that's you". I jumped up and shouted to the tournament director "I'm here, I'm here". I am glad I finally woke up. The door prize was a very nice (and expensive) MOVADO watch. The property that contributed it was from Atlantic City. THANK YOU Showboat Casino. At least I wouldn't go home completely empty handed.

    After that disappointing finish to my tournament round, The Baboo and I went over to the Seahorse Lounge and she listened to me whine as we enjoyed a couple of White Russians. As part of our tournament package, we had $150 in food and beverage credit we could spend anywhere in Caesars. I think we spent every bit of ours on beverages. It was nice to know that HET was picking up the tab since some of their lounge drink prices are a little steep. After relaxing for a while and getting a slight upgrade in my mood, she asked (very sweetly) if I would mind going to a drug store and replacing some of those lotions and potions that TSA took from her back at the airport. Since one of my vacation jobs is to "hunt and gather", I readily agreed. Plus, a nice long walk down the strip would probably burn off the last vestiges of my tournament frustration. I remembered that there used to be a drug store pretty close to the Boardwalk Casino so I left Caesars and took off walking in that direction. After walking in that August heat for a pretty long time, I got there and of course that drug store was long gone due to the construction taking place on it's old site. Well, maybe there will be one at the Hawaiian Village so I kept on walking South. Once I get there after another long stretch of walking, I see no drug store. However, there are several souvenir stores and I check them out in case what I need just happens to be in their sundry section. No such luck. Further South I go. By the way, did I mention that it was HOT? OK, I may have these two things out of sequence but either just before Hawaiian Village or just after, I went into the Miracle Mile shopping mall in hopes that they would have a drug store within it's walls. I walked about the Miracle Half-Mile before I found a directory of stores and saw that there was no drug store anywhere in this property. At least this little hike was in an air conditioned environment. I think that is one reason I kept on walking. I know they were remodeling but it really surprised me how much of the walkway was torn up and being re-done. It seemed like every 50 ft or so, they had a section roped off while workers were either busting up the old floor or putting in the new floor. I hope they finally finished. Making my way back to the entrance, I took a left and headed further South. (leaving that blessed air conditioning) By now, I was starting to feel like a veteran of "The Long March" back in China. However, things were looking up. Either my heat induced delirium was causing me to see desert mirages or there was a WalGreens in sight up ahead. As anyone who has ever done any walking on the strip knows, looks can be deceiving with regards to perceived distance and actual distance. Yes, it was a Walgreens but it sure looked a lot closer than it was. After another 15 minutes of walking, I arrived at this treasure chest of lotions and potions. Once my sacks were full, it was time to make that long journey home. Strangely enough, that walk back over the exact same distance seemed to take much less time. Maybe it was because I knew cold beer and an air conditioned casino awaited. This hike gave me new understanding as to why you have to hold horses back from a gallop when they get within sight of the barn.

    After dropping off the supplies, I went back downstairs and took what seemed to be my assigned seat at the Sports Book VP bar. After about 3 beers, I was re-hydrated and back in tune. I cashed out a whopping $15 ahead. Since breakfast was a long way in the rear view mirror by now and I knew The Baboo hadn't eaten eanything other than room snacks since then either, I made my way over to the food court. First, I got a couple of slices of pizza with different toppings and took them over to the "Slice" video poker bar. I played some more VP and taste-tested these pizza offerings while enjoying a couple of nice cold Miller Lites. I was sure glad my beers were being comped as a player. While I was playing, a guy walked up and ordered 3 waters and a beer. Yes sir, that will be $21.00. Wow, that must be some good water! Once I finished the pizza, I went back and ordered a whole pizza to go, using the winner of my taste test as our topping. While walking down the Appian Way on the way to the room, I noticed the Godiva chocolate shop and decided I would add dessert to our late afternoon lunch menu. A four pack of Godiva peanut butter cups would round out this meal quite nicely. If you ever get a chance to try these, they use very smooth real peanut butter and a heavenly chocolate. They are divine.

    After playing pizza delivery boy and receiving my appropriate Thank You from The Baboo, I decided to lounge around a little myself. It wasn't too long into my rejuvenation nap that the phone rang. It was Baboo's sister. We had planned on meeting up with her and her husband on Wednsday when we moved to Paris. They got antsy and decided to drive on up a couple of days early. They were in their RV and parked at a RV park here in LV. Plans were made for them to join us that evening.

    Since I was awake and my rejuvenation nap was partially successful, I again caught that elevator down to the casino. A little tired of VP, (imagine that) I made my way to a 3 card poker table. Things started out poorly when the dealer only gave me $300 in chips for the four $100 bills I gave her. Once we got that issue straightened out, things went a little better. This was mostly a roller coaster session (up & down) until the short changing dealer was replaced by her relief. On about the third hand the relief dealer dealt, I looked down to see the J-Q-K of diamonds. Hurrah! My second straight flush in two days. I was only betting $10 a spot but that still payed me over $400. I played with her for most of her time on our table but decided to color up and scoot before the other dealer returned.

    By now, it was getting about time to start getting ready for the tournament banquet that night. A quick shower and a change of clothes was all I needed. I was completely ready by the time Sis and BIL arrived. We sat around our room having drinks and catching up on news. Mostly Larry (BIL) and I sat around drinking while Baboo and Sis caught up on news. After an hour or so of this, we were getting pretty close to banquet time. Baboo and Sis decided that Larry and I should go to the banquet while they stayed in the room running their mouths. Since I had to be at the banquet because that is when the wild cards into the second round would be drawn, I thought that was a good idea. We made our way down to the banquet and saw that things were set up pretty much like the night before. Roman Centurians guarding the door, 4 open bars in each corner of the room, buffet style food servings. The year before they had used waiters, I guess this way saved a little money. The food on the buffet was more of a traditional dinner offering with vegatables, baked chicken, etc. Thankfully, they kept multiple tables dedicated to nothing but desserts. The first thing we did was visit the bar and get us libations. Then we made a run thru the buffet and commenced to eat as we waited on the wild card drawings. An announcer got our attention and welcomed us all to Caesars again and worked everyone up a notch spirit-wise. Caesar and Cleopatra showed up to do the wild card drawings. Before they started drawing, he announced that each table (of 8 people) had a chair with something on the bottom and the person sitting in that chair won a prize. Guess what! I was the Lucky Dog again. All of us lucky dogs were standing up holding our ribbons as the tournament crew was running around bringing us our prizes. We all got these big rectangular polished wood boxes lined with velvet and containing every kind of accessory you could imagine to make wine drinking more pleasant. It was like a tool kit for sommeliers. The best thing was that the beautiful wooden box had the Millionaire Maker logo somehow burned into it. Well, that was the high point of the banquet because they certainly didn't call my name as a wild card. At least all hope was not lost. They would draw wildcards again for the semi-final round and the quarter-final round.

    After the banquet, we went back up to the room. The two sisters were still deep in conversation. BIL decided to go down to the poker room and I tagged along. Once we got down there, I found out the waiting list was pretty long for a 4/8 seat. I decided to hit the casino floor and BIL decided to wait it out for a seat. I walked over to the PussyCat Dolls pit but it was unoccupied. It turns out that this pit is not open every night. Fooeee. It seemed like a good time to go check in at one of my favorite bars - The Shadow Bar. I was able to procur a nice comfy chair at the bar and ordered up a Stoli and Red Bull. I was starting to drag a little and this would be just the ticket for restoring my energy level. I sat here drinking, watching the dancers, and being entertained by the antics of the flair bartenders for over an hour. Properly energized, I went and found a craps table and bought in. The minmums were a little higher than I like but hey, when in Rome, do as the Romans do. Basically it was a pretty choppy session without that one long roll that allows players to pick up some profit. With no one (including me) able to supply a good roll, I left $200 of my bankroll for the vaults of Caesar.

    Thinking the waiting list for a poker seat might have gotten shorter by now, (around midnight) I made my way to the poker room. I signed up and was third on the list so I walked over to see how Larry had fared. From his chip stack, it looked like he had doubled his money if he bought in for a rack ($100) and done even better if he bought in for less. Then my seat opened up and I began to play. Once again I played late, this time until almost 4. I had been steadily building up my stack until I gave a chunk of my winnings away on one horribly played hand. This was towards the end of my night and all I can blame is fatigue and alcohol. I was drawing to an open-ended straight. I also had a pair but the straight is what I was shooting for. This hand was getting bet up by several players and a big pot had been built. The river card completed my straight and I got into a betting war with two other players. We bet until betting was capped. My hand beat the guy with 3 of a kind but in my exuberance over hitting the straight, I completely overlooked the fact that the card that completed my straight also put 3 clubs on the board. Yeah, a flush still beats a straight. I was really, really mad at myself for making such an idiot mistake. At least that convinced me that I was either too tired or too into the alcohol to play winning poker. So I colored up my now somewhat diminished winnings and made my way upstairs for a visit to Sleepy Town.

    Tuesday morning I made another run down to JAVA for coffee, red bull, and pastries. The two sisters had planned for us to all eat lunch together. Once they got to our room, we agreed to find something in the Forum Shoppes. Sis & BIL wanted Mexican so we decided to go a place called La Salsa. We made our way down the FS checking out all the stores and looking for La Salsa. We did come up on the moving statues just as they were beginning a show so we had to stop and watch. Then more walking and after that, some more walking. I was beginning to feel like I was on the indoor version of "The Long March". We finally got to the end of the Forum Shoppes where La Salsa was supposed to be located. However, La Salsa is nowhere in sight. We walked over to a nearby directory (this was by the entrance on that end of the mall) and located La Salsa again on the directory. According to this directory, La Salsa should have been right behind us and only 40-50 feet away. Well, it was not. There was a clothing store where LS should have been. By now, it is starting to get uncomfortably close to the quarter-final wild card drawing and I am running out of time. A quick conference put us on the way to the Planet Hollywood restaurant we had passed on our way to this point. We got there in record time with me leading the way. The PH hostess said it would be a few minutes before we could get a table. (despite the first 6 high tops behind the hostess stand being unoccupied) We said "fine, we will eat at the bar". Thankfully, we had a chipper bartender who got us much needed drinks and took our food orders promptly. We enjoyed the drinks but I told them that they were going to have to bring me my food because if I stayed, I would probably miss my wild card drawing. Just as I downed my last swallow of beer, the bartender brought out the plate of sliders we had ordered as appetizers. I grabbed two and took off at a fast-walk for the tournament room. Luckily, they were running a hair late and I made it with time to spare. Unfortunately, once again my name was not called. Wild cards seem to have an aversion to me. So I got me a White Russian from one of the waitresses and went back onto the casino floor.

    Since there would be another wild card drawing in two hours for the semi-finals, I didn't want to get too far out of pocket. Therefore, I made my way to my home away from home, the Sports Book VP bar. Again, I have to give kudos to the bartenders at this bar. They were very friendly and certainly didn't mind keeping your beers full. They even look out for patrons. I heard one explain to a customer that they could get a much larger bottle of water and pay less for it if they got it from the gift shop. Instead of my usual $ JOB, I decided to try some video blackjack. This was a horrible game with no double-down, no splitting pairs, and even money payout for a BJ. Playing a dollar a hand, I piddled away $25 before going back to the slightly less bad JOB game. After a while, my lunch mates came by with the rest of what I had ordered back at PH. They stopped and had a drink while we chit-chatted. BIL went to the poker room while the two sisters left to do some gambling. They like to pool their money and play $5 machines together. They have a ball playing and laughing and drinking together. I stayed put. I asked the bartender what time it was and his answer revealed that they should be just about ready to draw the last wild cards of the tournament. I jumped up and zoomed over to the tournament room. Luckily, the VP bar I was at and the tournament room are only about 100 yards apart. Unluckily, I ran off and left about $50 in credits on my machine. I could have taken my time. Once again, no wild card for me. That officially put me out of the tournament for good. Now, I could only hope I could beat the odds again next year and qualify again. Maybe the third time would be the charm in my attempts to win a million dollars. While I was in the tournament room, I remembered that I hadn't cashed out. As expected, those credits were gone when I went back to check.

    Suffering a twinge of depression over my lost opportunity, I decided to visit a place that always puts me in a better mood. No, not the Olympic Gardens or Cheetahs. I was headed for the Garden of the Gods and some pool time. Laying around casino pools is one of the main reasons I love going on casino vacations. I found the sisters over in the high-limit slot area and told them of my plans. The Baboo said she would join me late as Sis & BIL were going back to the RV later that afternoon.

    I went up and changed into pool attire. One more good thing about the Palace tower is that as soon as the elevator doors open, you are just outside the entrance to the pool. When the doors opened I was raring to go. However, the sight that greeted me took me slightly aback. Just outside the elevator was a really heavy (hey, I weigh 210 and this guy's stomach dwarfed mine) man clad in a red speedo and a cowboy hat. No robe or shirt. Whoah! Oh well, to each his own.

    It wasn't terribly late in the afternoon yet and there was still good sun but the crowd had started thinning out a little. Therefore, I was able to score a primo seat next to the round pool with the courtyard gazebo in the middle. I always bring 3 beers in my pool bag so I got started drinking them and enjoying the surroundings. This is my favorite casino pool and I soaked up up it's pleasure. Just after I finished the last of the beer I brought, The Baboo joined me. We flagged down a waitress and got her a frozen pina colada and me a bucket of beer. Those 6 beers and a pc were only $68.00. That pretty much finished our $150 food/beverage allowance that Harrah's gave us. Just as well, we are checking out in the morning and down the street. Last year, I just completely forgot about the $150 allowance and only spent about a third of it. I wanted to get my full value this year. Anyway, we laid around drinking and enjoying that bright Nevada sun until it set. Then we enjoyed the cool Caesars shade. :)

    We eventually finished off the bucket of beer as the sun really got low in the sky and made our way upstairs. We rested for a while and then ordered some room service. It was pretty simple fare, just sandwiches, but it hit the spot. Once The Baboo gets full, that is often lights out for her and tonight was no exception. I left her in Slumberland and rode that elevator down to where fortunes awaited. (for someone, just not me) I went back to the PussyCat Dolls pit and it was not open this night either. Dang, I was looking forward to playing there. I was in the mood for blackjack so I played for a while. After about the third time that I couldn't double a soft hand or double down after splitting a pair, I said the heck with this. Fortunately, the hour or so on this table didn't cost me much. I went back to my first lucky 3 card poker table but it wasn't quite as lucky this time around. I did hit a fair number of straights and flushes to keep from getting drained but none of the big jackpots that insure a winning session. I finally caught a straight that paid 6-1 and put me $30 ahead. I figured that was as good a time as any to take a break.

    I hadn't even had a drink at Cleopatra's Barge so I walked around there and got a seat at a table right next to the rail. I got a Stoli and Red bull which was tasty and cold. I spent the next 30 minutes just watching all the people coming and going in front of me. Deciding that I only needed one of the $14 S & RBs, I made my way back to the Sports Book area. I checked the NFL and college football futures odds and took a couple of sheets with me. I always make a few futures bets when I am out here. Some I give away to friends and customers at my bar. Some I keep for myself. By now it was getting on into the evening so I went over to play a few more hands of VP at the Sports Book bar. I stayed for an hour or so. 3 beers later, I cashed out exactly what I had put in and called it a night.

    Wed was moving day. Time to say good-bye to fancy Caesars digs and move over to Paris. We packed up and went down to the cab line for the short ride down the strip. We were a little excited. This was the first time we had actually stayed at Paris and we were looking forward to it.
    The next 3 nights were in The Baboo's name. I had tried to explain the $20 trick and how to pull it off. She was going to ask for a "P" room and the $20 was there to help make sure we got it. We went into the Diamond check-in area and gave it a try even though it wasn't quite noon yet. Despite a little awkwardness on the exchange, she was able to successfully negotiate an upgrade to us for our desired "P" room. The original plan had been for BIL & Sis to get out of the RV for a few days and join us here. They checked in later that afternoon and got a regular room but it was located right next to the pool area. So they had a great view right outside their window.

    This was another very nice room. It had the requested big king bed. There were windows on two walls for two views. (neither was a fountain view) The King bed was big and ever so comfortable. There was a nce comfortable couch and a little love seat on one end of the room. The bathroom was nice with a glassed in shower with double heads and plenty of room in the dressing area. I can't remember much more about it and I don't have any notes about it. I can remember that it was very nice indeed. Even the Caesars mini-suite didn't overshadow it by much.

    Since we had consumed all of our cokes while at Caesars, I made a little supply run over to The Stage Door. I stayed inside most of the way by taking the walkway connecting Paris & Bally's and then going out the back door of Bally's. The only problem with this plan that you have to cross the street without benefit of a light to stop traffic. Talk about hazardous duty pay! Luckily, I was nimble enough on my feet to avoid getting splattered by a speeding taxi and returned to the room intact. After I got us restocked on supplies, I went down to gamble a little. Baboo was going to wait until she heard from Sis so that they could plan out what we were going to do.

    As I said, I like to start my gambling day with a little bartop VP. I went down to Gustav's and grabbed me a seat. I would spend enogh time here that I got on real good terms with the bartenders. This bar also had a great team of bartenders. My favorite was a guy named Millo (pronounced Meo) He kept the drinks flowing and could be very entertaining when he had time. He also kept anything from aggravating his customers. Once I saw a guy trying some sort of hustle while I was at this bar. He was going from customer to customer with his hustle. Millo noticed it quickly and in moments, security had the scam artist escorted away. There were other good ones, most noticably Zak, Pete, & Pinita. I played for over two hours on my first hundred but finally went broke. At least I was racking up the TR points.

    Feeling the need to move around, I took a walk around the property and checked things out. The firs thing I noticed was that the blackjack rules were a lot more favorable than they had been at Caesars. I could play here without feeling like I was being played for a fool by the casino. I also noticed that the Paris poker room was tiny in comparison to Caesars. I probably wouldn't be spending as much time here as I did in the Caesars room. While strolling thru the walkway to Bally's, I noticed several places we could get a bite to eat. There was also a display in the walkway for the Millionaire Maker Video Poker tournament. It was in the very middle of the walkway and had a rendition of the Paris hot air ballon about 4 feet tall. Directly beneath the ballon's basket was a glass case full of money. (packs of hundred dollar bills) I don't know if it was an actual million dollars but it looked like it could be. I finished my little exploration and went to the room to check on our plans.

    One other thing. I can't visualize them now but I made a note about how stylish the doors to the stalls were in Le Toilettes. They were real solid wooden doors with carvings on them. They must have been impressive if they made an impression good enough that I wrote about them. ????

    By the time I got to the room, the Baboo had heard from Sis and BIL. We were going to meet them for drinks later that evening. She had convinced Sis that Napoleons would be a great spot to get a drink, people watch, and hold a conversation. Later, we all met up there and sat out by the window with our very tasty drinks. For some reason, we switched to screwdrivers and took a break from the ever present White Russians. We all had an enjoyable time just talking and watching the parade of people go by. It was still early enough that the pianos hadn't started dueling so we could hear each other talk. After we had had our fill, BIL went to check out the poker room (I didn't tell him what I thought. I wanted him to decide for himself) and the sisters went off to play slots together. That left me to myself and I decided to go take advantage of these better blackjack rules.

    I easily found a seat and was rewarded with a super nice dealer. In addition to her sterling personality, she was also a hottie. Not only did she have a fun personality and was nice to look at, but she could deal some really nice cards. I played for an hour and a half with my bankroll being $300 larger when I left. Everyone at her table was enjoying themselves and that made the entire time that much more pleasurable. Once my winnings crossed that $300 mark, I thought it prudent to lock up those winnings and take a break.

    I went and found the sisters and they were about done gambling. Sis was going to find BIL and see what he wanted to do. We said we would catch up with them in the morning. The Baboo was a little hungry so we went back down the walkway to a place called "J.J. Boulagaires" (probably misspelled) and got us some supper. It was only sandwiches but it was good and just what we needed. She was ready to call it a night. If she doesn't win anything gambling, she is ready to get off the casino floor. I bid her adieu and made my way back to Gustav's for some more VP and beer. After about an hour of Gustav's, I was ready to join her so up the elevator I went.

    When we got up Thursday, Baboo wanted coffee. I volunteered to go get some. I went downstairs with the intention of getting coffee and crepes at the crepes shop. When I got there, it was packed with a huge line. I hate standing in lines so I tried to come up with an alternative plan. I remembered seeing a coffee shop of some kind towards the back of Bally's when I went to the Stage Door. I took off in that direction. On my way, I had to go thru the area that Bally's was holding a video poker tournament. (not the Millionaire Maker VP tourny) I had gotten an invite to it but would have had to stay at Bally's if I played in it. I figured staying at Paris was worth skipping the tourny. Anyway, they were having fun. I finally got the coffee but they didn't really have the type things I was looking for food wise. Fortunately, there was another kiosk a little further back up the hall that had some killer brownies and cakes. I stocked up. Later on, I ran across a coffee place up in the main casino area of Bally's. When I got to the room, we had a fine time with our breakfast.

    After breakfast, I told Baboo I would be at Gustavs if anything got planned. She wound up going down to Sis's room while I was at Gustav's and hatching a plan for later on. She and I had tickets for Zumanity tonight over at NYNY. We would all go over there and eat. Then Sis and BIL would check out NYNY while we were in the show and we would all get together for a little partying after the show. ( I found this out later) Since she knew where I was, I stayed in the same seat at Gustav's for over 3 hours. I put 400 TR credits ($4,000 coin in on VP) on my account during this session and wound up finally cashing out an $80 winner. According to this napkin in front of me, I hit 7 flushes, 12 straights, 9 full houses, and one 4OAK. I love it when you get to play for a while. I stayed there from 11:30 to 2:30.

    I went upstairs and checked in. She had only recently gotten back from Sis's room. She was dressed and face was on so we decided to go downstairs. We walked over to the Paris Sports Book and I explained how to read the numbers up on the Sports Book wall. The Baboo is very knowledgable about football. She and my mother make up a betting team that is the only team in our 12 team betting league that has cashed a payday at the end of the year for 6 consecutive years. They are the only all-female team in the league and it just aggravates some of our more macho guys to death to keep getting beaten by "the girls". She wanted to get some NFL futures tickets and wasn't exactly sure of the procedures to follow. After that, we decided to take a walk over to Bally's. My old host from Harrah's New Orleans was working here now and I wanted us to visit with him a little if he was on duty. He is the only host I have ever developed a friendship that I felt went beyond the casino part of it. I send him stuff from home (New Orleans) on a pretty regular basis. (I go down there 8-10 times a year) He takes good care of me, even from afar. If there is some tournament or event I want to go to, regardless of what property, he can usually get it arranged. Back before Katrina, we would go out for drinks when I was in New Orleans and party a little. He came over to the tournament to try and check on me but it was at a time when I wasn't in the round. We went by the hosts office but they informed us that he was off Wed. & Thurs. We left a note and went over to the closest VP bar for a drink and a little gamble. When she finished her drink, The Baboo was ready to go. We were going to meet Sis & BIL for drinks at Paris so we needed to get moving.

    Once there, we grabbed a table at that slightly elevated bar over close to the Diamond Lounge. It wasn't long before they showed up. We had a lot of fun, sipping on some Vanilla White Russians. (made with Vanilla vodka and absolutely wonderful tasting) BIL stuck with whiskey. We enjoyed a couple of rounds and decided we needed to go ahead on if we were going to eat. We went out to the taxi line (which wasn't a line, we were first) and caught our ride to NYNY. We got unloaded and I convinced them that I needed to make my traditional pilgrimage to the 9-11 memorial around the base of the Statue of Liberty. My brother is a fire fighter, The Baboo's oldest son is a firefighter and we come here for a moment every time we set foot on the NYNY property. It is always a moving experience for me.

    Time has again run short. I'll finish this for sure next time. My notes are less prodigious for the last two days of our trip.
     
  2. angel81chick

    angel81chick Abuelita

    Joined:
    Jun 29, 2007
    Messages:
    2,685
    Location:
    City of Angels
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    999
    Wow...long it was, but I definitely felt like I was right there with you. Especially your last hand.

    It is great so far :D
     
  3. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,691
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24
    Man, it sounds like Harrahs puts on a real nice tourney. That was a real rough way to get bounced out of second place; now, you have me waiting for your next instalment to see if you got a wildcard into the second round. That was a nice score on the suite upgrade.
     
    Back where we belong
  4. SmitRock

    SmitRock Guest

    Hi RebelDiceMan.

    Just wanted to say hi from Colorado Springs, CO! I am your home boy from Jackson Ms... Diamond member, Caesars Palace and Paris takes darn good care of Ms. SmitRock and I. I was with you man on your trip report! Good job!:nworthy:

    SmitRock
     
  5. btodd

    btodd High-Roller

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Winnipeg, Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    27
    Love the detailed reports............bring on the rest!!
     
  6. ssfblue

    ssfblue Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2007
    Messages:
    407
    Location:
    The Bay Area
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    20
    GREAT review, thanks!

    EDIT: Oops I mean report!
     
  7. jbh3522

    jbh3522 Tourist

    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2007
    Messages:
    19
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    4
    That was great...cannot wait for the ending.
     
  8. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    712
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    Hey Y'all.

    Instead of adding some more of this book-sized TR in a reply, I just went back and used the edit button to pick up where I left off. I know this thing is stretching on forever but one reason that my TRs wind up that way is that I write everything I can remember so that it brings everything back to life when I re-read it a couple of years later.

    Hey SimtRock!

    The Sonic Boom is going to be marching in our (Meridian) parade Monday. I am looking forward to it. My first principal was a former majorette at Valley. She marched in the Rose Bowl Parade while there but I still picked at her about the Sonic Boom. As you might guess from my handle, I went to school in Oxford.

    You Air Force? Or maybe some graduate work?
     
  9. gmoney590

    gmoney590 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2006
    Messages:
    1,691
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    24
    Don't sweat the length I love your TRs. You give me a look into how some of these bigger tourneys are run.
     
    Back where we belong
  10. jgates8

    jgates8 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2007
    Messages:
    6,160
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    19
    Love your trip report so far!!! Just as a side note, you normally can stay at Paris for a Bally's tourney - usually they have a different code for the rooms at the other hotel. Maybe not always, but that was what happened for my slot tourney.

    Can't wait until I am retracing your steps...............................
     
  11. RebelDiceMan

    RebelDiceMan High-Roller

    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2004
    Messages:
    712
    Location:
    Mississippi
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    For some reason, I can't use the edit button to add the conclusion to this tale so here it is in a reply.

    Once we got inside NYNY, Sis & BIL needed to get players cards so that was our first duty. Finished with that task, we proceeded to the ESPN Zone for a bite to eat. We were immediately seated and served our drinks. The food was typical bar food but there were no complaints on our part. Hot, tasty, and filling. After our repaste and a couple of rounds of drinks, it was close to showtime. Sis & BIL went off to explore the Manhattan replica and we got in line for Zumanity. The line was long but once they opened the doors, they processed us in pretty quick. We had seats on the fourth row from the stage and if you were looking at the U shaped stage, we were about halfway down the right side. We had gotten some fairly good sized drinks from the theater bar and so we were set to be entertained. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed the show. We like a little bawdiness in our life and this Cirque production gave us what we wanted. In addition to the additional skin, humor & comedy seemed to be emphasized more than in the other Cirque shows that we have seen. (O and Mystere) Of course being a Cirque show, there was an abundance of aerials and acrobatics but we laughed much more at Zumainity. We had gotten these tickets for $50.00 from a special that Ticketmaster was running but it would have been well worth their full admission price.

    After the show, we went over to Times Square to meet Sis & BIL but they were nowhere to be found. After waiting a while, we decided to go on in. When we got to the front of the line, we were informed that we could either get a table and chairs for $30.00 or take the standing room only option. After looking at the standees jammed together like sardines, we took the table/chair option. A waitress was there to take our order almost as soon as we sat down. The Baboo is pretty outgoing and before long we were pals with all the people at the surrounding tables. Everyone in our immediate area seemed to be there to party and really enjoy themselves. One funny thing happened before we had even finished our first drink. The floor was pretty wet from spilled drinks and ice. The Baboo decided she wanted her chair facing a different angle towards the pianos and slid it over. When she sat back down, that chair just kept on sliding and she busted her butt all over the floor. I couldn't help but laugh. She laughed too. That is when our newly cultivated friendships paid off as several people from surrounding tables sprang into action to help me pick her up. Two or three of them even admitted that they had done similar things in bars before. So it was good that the people around us were true party animals. We spent the next 45 minutes singing along with the piano players and having fun with the people around us. Finally, I happened to glance out the window and see BIL and Sis sitting at a slot machine. I grabbed Baboo and we rushed out to catch them before they moved on. Once we were all together, they let us know that they were ready to go back to Paris. By now, so were we and off to the taxi line we went.

    Back at Paris, everyone but me called it a night. I found a spot at Gustav's and played a little VP but I was feeling the itch for something else. After two beers, I decided to walk over to Caesars and see if the PussyCat Dolls Pit was open. (Yeah, I liked that place a little) Much to my disappointment, it was not and the trip was a waste. I grabbed a sandwich from the food court and headed back to Paris. (The Baboo had already told me that she was going to order room service) Once I got there, I still had a blackjack itch so I found me an appealing table and jumped in. THE FORCE had guided me to a good table. The dealer was a really fun guy. He was an older guy from the Philippines who seemed to enjoy his job a lot. He would high five us every time someone got a blackjack and seemed genuinely supportive of our efforts. In return, we were tipping him at a very good rate. I was ahead over $400 when he went on break. His relief was almost a total opposite. He was one of these speed dealers who seemed to feel that if you didn't make your decisions fast enough to keep up with him, you were holding him up. I never saw him smile and he sure as hell would not have high fived us if he ever dealt a blackjack. After about three rounds of this, I decided I would just as soon go back to Gustav's until the other dealer came back. So I took my $375 profit and walked.

    I was able to grab a seat just as a couple was leaving and got back into the JOB grind. Basically, it was just play a hand about every 30-40 seconds, take a sip of Beck's and watch the crowd the rest of the time. One odd thing I kept seeing over and over was people coming up to the bar a few stools to the right of me and trying to order drinks from the bartender on that end. That end of the bar was also where the cocktail waitresses got their drinks. That bartender refused to make drinks for anyone other than her cocktail waitresses. That may have been company policy to make sure the people on the floor got their drinks as soon as possible but it sure resulted in some dissatisfied customers when there were no cocktail waitresses at their window and the bartender replied to their requests for drinks that she couldn't because she was busy pouring for the cocktails. Still, they had multiple bartenders and it wasn't that hard to move down a few steps and get a drink. My sort of leisurely pace at VP worked out OK. I was able to stumble into a 4OAK and eventually cash out $150 ahead. By the time I cashed, it had gotten fairly late so I made my way up to our humble abode and prepared to get some deep sleep therapy.

    I woke up Friday with my usual "last day" feeling that I needed to catch a faster gear to get all the things I wanted to do in. This feeling usually wakes me up a little earlier than usual and today was no execption. I was up and in the shower before 8 AM. (easily the earliest day of the trip) Since Sleeping Beauty was still snoozing, I went downstairs and caught the shuttle out to the RIO. Once there, I checked out the bowling alley for a while and then stopped at the VP bar by the Sports Book & Poker Room. There is such a difference in the properties who really want to be known for their poker (Caesars, Wynn) and those that just throw something together to say they have a room (Paris, Rio). The Rio poker room looks like they just noticed a kind of open area next to the Book and decided to plop a few tables there and call it a poker room. Heck, some of the most fun games I have ever enjoyed were played on a butcher's block at a deer camp, but if a casino is going to jump onto the poker craze, they should jump in all the way and dedicate a nice room to the effort. (ESPECIALLY if you are the host of the World Series of Poker) Well anyway, I stayed there and played VP and drank a few beers despite the early hour. The RIO was one of the properties that I wanted to leave enough of a footprint at that they knew I was still alive. I figured a couple of hours of $ JOB would do the trick. My two dealers stayed in a very spirited conversation about a soccer game that had been played the night before. I stayed out of that conversation. It wound up costing me a Benjamin to do this but my longest relationship in LV is with the RIO and I didn't want them to completely forget about me. After my VP, I went to the World Series of Poker store and bought a bunch of shirts and hats for friends back home. All of the stuff with this year's date was marked way down so you can surprise a BUNCH of friends without breaking your bank. Once I got my shopping done, I walked by to see if the Tilted Kilt was open. It was still too early for them so I made my way back to the shuttle stand and caught a ride to Harrah's.

    Once I got to Harrah's, I cut thru the casino and into the Carnaval Court area. I got a beer and did a little shopping. (mostly stuff from the firefighter kiosk for some of my firefighter friends) After that it was time to go check on The Baboo. She was up stirring around when I got there so we visited for a little while. She informed me that the four of us were going to the Paris buffet later that day. That sounded good to me. I had been vegatable deficient most of this trip. Since it didn't look like anything was going to be happening any time soon, I took off for the Bellagio. (last day, you know) This was the other place I wanted to leave some sort of footprint for future benefits. Unless we stay here, we never play enough to impress them much and this quick visit certainly was not going to impress them. Still, I wanted to at least stay in their system. I quickly decided my best bet would be VP and was in a seat at the bar outside the Sports Book in no time. They had machines that could either be one dollar $ or two dollars $$. Knowing my time was limited, I set mine for the two dollar JOB version. The paytable for this version was not too bad at 9/5. I played for a little over an hour and ran up over 300 credits on the machine. The best I could tell was that you got 3 points for every 10 coin-in. That gave me between $1,100 and $1,200 coin-in. I knew that wasn't all that much, especially by Bellagio standards, but it was about all the time I wanted to dedicate to the effort. Plus, the dealers seemed a little cold and sure didn't push fresh beers on you like at Gustav's. I lost $130 over here. The only memorable thing in the game was when a was dealt A-K-Q-J of spades. This story would be a lot happier if the 10 of spades had popped up after I discarded the junk card. It didn't then but the very first card on the next hand I played was the 10 of spades I needed so desperately the hand before. As they say, timing is everything.

    When I got back, Baboo was dressed and ready. We had agreed to meet at Gustav's. Both of us got a drink and fed our respective machines. About 30 minutes later, the rest of our party arrived and we left for the buffet without either of us accomplishing much on the machines. Small losses for both of us. Once we got to the buffet, our guests were dismayed to see the line that stretched quite a distance down the hall. Not to worry we informed them, We can use that other entrance (Diamond) that has no one in line. Soon, we were whisked into our seats in an area they seat Diamonds and began the task of engineering the food onto our plates as we made our way around the various serving stations. At this late date, I can't remember what anyone had other than the multple vegatables I got. Still, I do remember that we all thought everything was quite tasty and that it was a nice setting in which to enjoy a meal.

    After we ate, BIL and Sis went off to do something and Baboo and I went to find us a machine to play togethere. We usually have one session in which we find a promising $5 machine and see if we can't generate a W2G. She picks a machine and we each put in $100 and play it out. If that machine doesn't produce anything, I pick a machine and we repeat the process. As always, she led us to a Top Dollar machine and we got it to spinning. The way we play is whoever's pull hits the bonus round, that is the person who decides what to keep. I tend to take any mid-range to upper bonus while she will go all the way to the last bonus offering trying to hit the biggest jackpot.
    The only bonus round we hit was on her spin. None of the first 3 bonus offerings were enticing enough for her to take and she went to the last chance offering. That last chance offering gave us $150 which wasn't bad but it wasn't the big jackpot she was chasing. Still, that gave us a little more time on the machine. We eventually went broke and it was time for me to choose a machine. I don't play a lot regular slots but my two favorites are Wild Cherry and 5 Times pay. I like the Wild Cherry if I want to build credits and play for a while. I like the 5 times for the seemingly larger jackpots. (basically less variance for one & more variance for the other) I saw a 5 times that seemed to be what we needed. We played our combined $200 but THE FORCE was definitely not with me when I choose this machine. It took no time at all for it to suck down our money. At least we had our companionship to enjoy.

    She wanted to get some of her packing done today so we split up with her going to the room and me going to Gustav's. I didn't stay here too long. I decided to walk over to Bally's and see if I could catch up with my friend, the host. I went to the Host's office but he was out on the floor with a client. I told them not to bother paging him but left my room number at Paris and asked them to tell him to call me. I walked back to the back of Bally's to their sports book. It was a little smaller than some but I liked the layout of the place. It wasn't very busy and loked like it might be a good spot to watch a game without being overcrowded. They also had a VP bar there with the best paytable (9/6 JOB ) that I had seen this trip. It seemed as good a place as any to play a little so I took a seat and played for about 45 minutes. Despite the good paytable, I started off on a slow drain but finally got a few hits to keep me playing. When I hit full houses back to back that put me back over 100 credits; I played another couple of hands and cashed out with exactly ($100) what I had started with. I liked the machine but there was very little foot traffic back there and I wanted some more people around.

    Even though I had stuffed myself, I still couldn't resist getting one more brownie from the kiosk that I had found them at earlier. Once back at Paris, I decided to try my luck on the blackjack tables again. It's funny, at Caesars the only blackjack I had played was at the PCD pit but over here, I played a pretty good amount of BJ. At Caesars, I played 3 card poker pretty often but hadn't played a hand here at Paris. Anyway, I grabbed a seat. Once again, I found a fun dealer who seemed to enjoy her job. She was an attractive Asian lady about 30 who made everyone at the table feel welcome. She laughed a lot and even told the occasional humorous story. There were only two other players on the table and we had a fine time playing together. I was able to creep up my bankroll in small increments until I was $200 ahead. Since this was my last day, I decided to take a chance with my winnings and threw out a $100 bet. I got a nice 20 and won this hand. Wanting to see how far this might go, I kept my bet at $100. This time I got a stiff hand (15) but the dealer had a 5 up and then busted for my second win in a row. One more win and I would be $500 ahead and I planned to cash out if I hit that milestone. Unfortunately, it was not to be. I lost that third hand and dropped back to $300 ahead. I played two more hands at my normal $35 level (1 win/1 loss) and decided that I was happy with my $300 and cashed out.

    I went over to Gustav's and piddled around with VP for a while. Mostly I wanted to get off the beer and onto the Vodka and Red Bull. I knew there wouldn't be any problem with the bartenders there.
    A couple of rounds of V & RB had me feeling pretty good so I stuck around for a while. I guess the bartenders and I were getting along pretty good because the third drink I got was a doozy. They used a slightly larger glass and upped it's potency. Now I was really ready for action.

    I went upstairs to see what Baboo wanted to do and she said I had a message on the phone from my friend, the host. I called him back as requested and we made plans for me to meet him over at the Host office later that night. Baboo said that Sis was coming up and she wanted to stay in and visit since it might be another year before they got the chance to do so again. (Sis lives in Calif., we live in MS) That suited me. I wanted to give a little play to Bally's before I saw my buddy.

    I made my way over there and started out with a little VP at the same bar we had played at earlier. Nothing much happened other than I drank two beers and lost $50. Weary of VP, I made my way over to a craps table. After buying in, I made my usual bets and actually made some headyway when a guy down on the other end had about a 15-20 minute roll that resulted in profits for all of us on the table. It was mostly back and forth as the dice made their way around the table to me. Once I had them, I made my usual bets for me and the dealers (I stack their bets on top of my odds-so I control what happens if they win). I didn't have a great roll but it wasn't terrible. I was able to make 2 points which made a little money for me and got some tokes for the crew. If I had been able to hit my placed numbers (6 & 8) a couple more times, it would have been even better. I stuck around to see if the earlier good roller still had it. He was about like me, he had a decent roll but not a really good one. Still, I won just enough to creep over the $200 mark in profits and that was good enough for me.

    Feeling lucky, I moved over to a promising blackjack table but I should have stayed with the dice. I was a little bit ahead when the wheels fell off on one hand. I was dealt a pair of 8's which was bad. The dealer had a 6 up which made it not so bad. I was at the top of my betting progression ladder ($65) so this could be a big hand. I split the eights and got a ten on the first one for 18. On the second 8, I got another 8 so I split again. I then got a 2 on the second eight and doubled down. The 4 I got didn't look promising but hey, the dealer had a 6 and was going to bust, right? Who cares if I stood on a 14? The last 8 got another face card so it looked pretty good. Now, let's just watch this dealer bust and collect our money. All total, I had four big bets on the felt. Here is the dealer's hole card and it is a 3. Well that sucked but not as bad as the next card she peeled off the deck which was another face card to give her a total of 19 and winning all three hands. Dadgummit! That was a quick $260 hit to my bankroll. I took my shrunken chip stack and tried to battle back but it was not to be. I wound up walking with a $350 dollar loss with the biggest part of it coming on that one big hand.

    By now, it was the appointed time to meet my buddy so I walked over to the Host's office. My buddy was glad to see me and I was glad to see him. We caught up on all of our news and discussed the New Orleans area at length. (his hometown and my playground) He had been offered a promotion but he would have to change to the Tunica market and he wanted to hear what I thought of that market since I get up there 2-3 times a year. Anyway, we had a good visit. He looked up my account and took off all of our charges. (without me asking) He then told me he could print up our boarding passes from his office and took care of that. Finally, he asked how we were getting to the airport. When I told him a taxi, he made a call and set up a limo to take us to the airport the next morning. Well, that was all very nice my friend. Thanks a lot. He told me it would take a little while to print up the boarding passes and that he would bring them to me if I knew where I would be. I told him that I would stay at Gustav's until he came by. We bid each other farewell and I took my last walk thru the French Village that connected the two properties.

    That limo news had lifted my spirits and energy level as I took my seat at Gustav's. After about an hour, two attractive girls squeezed onto the stools to my right. It wasn't long before one asked me if I was from New Orleans (I had on a Saints coach's shirt) and informed me that she was from Metarie. (a suburb of N.O.) Even though I admitted that I was not, she wanted to keep the conversation going. That was OK with me, after all, both were easy on the eye. Now let's see. Two hot girls initiating conversation with a guy 20 years older than them. I know rugged good looks :) and an aura of sophistication :) appeal to some 20 somethings but I suspected that this might not be the case here. What could it be? Maybe they were sorority girls from UNLV on a scavenger hunt? No, probably not that. Maybe one of them had lost a bet and had to pick up a geezer? No, there were a few more geezerly candidates in sight. Wait, I'll bet that these girls are hookers. Well, I never found out because this was about the time that my friend, the host showed up with our airline documents. I shared the information that the girl to my right was from Metarie and told her that he was from New Orleans. They exchanged quick pleasantries. My friend had brought another host with him and he introduced us. This host was one of those gregarious, back-slapping, good-ole-boy types who never meets a stranger. The three of us launched into a fun conversation and it wasn't long before the two stools to my right opened up and the girls made their way to a different spot at the bar where they made some new friends. That was good because then Mr. Gregarious could extoll us with some amusing stories about his encounters over the years with ladies of the night. We sat around a bull-$hitted for about 45 minutes before they got called and had to leave. I thanked my buddy for his efforts and we all said our good-bys. I looked around and realized that the party was over and it was now time to prepare for our trip home. The elevator whisked me up to our floor and I went in to tell Baboo about our good fortune with the limo the next morning. That perked her up. We often take a limo from the airport to the hotel on our own but usually just take a taxi when we are departing. This would make the trip even easier.

    The next morning we finished packing and still had a little time to spare. I still hadn't made my NFL futures bets so we went downstairs to take care of that. Once in the book, I got a couple of futures sheets to see just what all the Paris book offered. I wound up making 7 $10 bets on the Saints to win the Super Bowl at 12-1 (last year I got them at 60-1) and 2 $10 bets on the Cowboys (10-1) to win the Super Bowl, plus one $10 bet I had to hide that the Baboo's second favorite team (Packers) led by her hero, Brett, would win the Super Bowl. Almost all of these would be given away to either friends or customers at my bar. I made one bet of $160 that the Saints would win at least 9 games and one $100 bet that the Packers would win at least 8 games during the regular season. The Baboo got three $10 Super Bowl tickets on the Saints for her relatives and a $10 49rs Super Bowl ticket for BIL.

    Once we got that done, we walked over to the Diamond Lounge. It normally didn't open until 4 but this was Saturday morning and it was open. We went in (for the first time) and enjoyed a very nice breakfast of eggs, bacon, and hash browns washed down by a couple of delicious screwdrivers. After eating, it was getting close to our appointed time to load up in the limo. We went upstairs and called for a bellman. He soon arrived and we said goodbye to our P room. He noticed that one of my bags was a black leather piece with a Saints helmet embroidered on the side. He got to talking about football as we walked down the hall. It turns out that he was from San Deigo and a big Charger fan. He was also a big fan of Drew Brees who left the Chargers and came to the Saints. We talked about how great it would be if they could meet in the Super Bowl and all agreed that we would be pulling for the other's team until we met in the Super Bowl. Well, by now we know my boys didn't make the playoffs but I am still keeping my pledge to pull for that bellman's team. Now we hope the matchup is between Baboo's second choice and his first choice. I will be happy with either of the NFC teams left. I totally admire and support Brett Favre and Eli Manning and I went to the same school so it is a no lose situation for me.

    By now, it was truly time to leave. We went out to the limo departure area and I walked over to a drive and asked if he was waiting on me. No, he wasn't. It took a minute but we finally determined that my buddy had put the limo in Baboo's name since the room was in her name. A quick pleasant trip to McCarren and we were on our way back to alarm clocks, work, and responsibility. Well, you know that just sucks. :)
     
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.