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2017 Downtown Summer Trip 6/11-6/15 [Semi-Live]

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Txvp15, Jun 8, 2017.

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  1. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    *Mods: If you need to move this until Sunday 6/11, that's fine, just please move it back*

    - Tried doing a live TR last year and had issues posting w Tapatalk, so calling this a "Semi-Live" TR, but will try to provide daily updates.

    - This trip will be my 5th straight trip to downtown during the summer (9th trip overall). Each summer, my wife, myself and various family members on my wife's side of the family spend a few days in downtown. Over the years, the group has evolved to include family friends as well. This year's group will consist of about 15 people.

    - For the summer trips, we always book our stay at the Golden Nugget since we typically will all pitch in one of the days to rent a couple of the cabanas in the pool area. Last year, we had a Gold Club suite in the Gold Tower, but didn't feel it was worth the additional cost. We're back to a regular room in the Gold tower this year.

    - This year, we've switched up the days of the week to get a lower avg nightly room rate (Sunday-Thursday as opposed to Tuesday-Saturday). Last year's flight cost was the lowest we ever paid, about $80 round trip per person, including 1 checked bag each way from DFW. This year, the flight cost more than doubled to about $200 per person round trip with checked bag each way. Total flight + lodging cost should end up being about the same as last year because we had to pay an extraordinarily high room rate for the Friday night last year due to a major concert event at FSE.

    - The amount and variety of gambling within our group is all over the map. Since I spend the majority of my time gambling, that will be the TR's main focus. I'm almost exclusively a $0.25 level and lower video poker player, but will occasionally play blackjack or craps if I feel like I need a change of pace. This trip, I'll likely be sticking with JOB, with some Pick Em, NSUD and BP mixed in when necessary. So there will be a lot of time spent gambling at Four Queens and the Boyd properties. Our group also tends to make at least one visit to El Cortez during our stay, so I'll likely spend a bit of time playing the $1 virtual blackjack and bubble craps (PUSH THE BUTTON!!!) machines while I'm there.

    - Since I do play at a lower level and typically spend 12+ hours each day gambling, I do always split the trip bankroll by day and session. If I have a rough stretch during a session, I move down in denomination once I reach a certain level. For example, if I start out with 1000 credits at the $0.25 denom, I will switch down to the $0.10 denom once I reach $100 remaining on the machine (ie, 1000 credits at the $0.10 denom). I'll repeat the same process from $0.10 to $0.05 denom if need be, but of course, my hope is to be able to play at the $0.25 denom the whole trip (wish me luck!).

    - This year, our group doesn't have as many activities planned as in year's past:
    • Dinner at Therapy downtown (we had lunch here last year and loved it)
    • Partial pool day at the Golden Nugget. Cabana rental is charged by the day (roughly 10 AM - 6 PM), so our group can come and go as they please
    • Find a replacement go-to for pancakes with Dupar's closing (perhaps EAT near El Cortez)
    • Spend lots of time at the MSS Boar's Head Bar, the Cal alcoves and the upright JOB machines at 4 Queens
    • Consume as much alcohol as possible in 4 days
    Feel free to follow along!
     
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  2. IHeartDancers

    IHeartDancers Low-Roller

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    I'm looking forward to hearing about your VP experience! I'll be at the 4Q next week trying my luck there!
     
  3. carolineno

    carolineno VIP Whale

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    Looking forward to it! Very curious about the GN pool and the shark waterslide or whatever it is. Will be following along!
     
    Optimistic, might make Identity Gold?
  4. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Packed and ready to begin the journey in the morning. Doing a last minute check on VPFree2 to make sure there haven't been any VP machine changes. Looks like the only change of note is the $0.25 10/7 DB progressive bank at 4 Queens is still MIA, but may be back in action sometime this week while we are there.

    Will be using 'GoA2B' app, which allows you to estimate trip prices b/w Uber, Lyft, etc before booking a ride, all completely free. Highly recommended for those who use rideshare services.
     
  5. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Thanks! Hopefully it will include some big wins, as I played about 40k hands last year with no royal and only 1 SF. Be sure to take advantage of 4 Queens freeplay promotion if you're going in June. Its tiered based on play, but you can earn gift cards and/or freeplay based on your level of play, in addition to whatever offers you may have. Make sure to check it out at the player's club. Best of luck on your trip!
     
  6. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    I'll try to post some pics if I don't run into the issue I was having on last year's trip. Our group loves the pool day as a change of pace, and we definitely feel its worth it to reserve the cabanas with the group size we have. No hassle/worry of losing/reserving chairs.
     
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  7. IHeartDancers

    IHeartDancers Low-Roller

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    Oh thanks! I wasn't aware of that promo. Wow. I don't think I play nearly as many hands as you do though
     
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  8. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    I'll post the details once we start playing there.
     
  9. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Ubered to the airport and flight is delayed several hours. Guess we were due for a delay after a few years of no issues
     
  10. mescalita

    mescalita old and in the way...

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    Ouch. Please update us about the DB progressive - we'll be downtown in 8 days, 6 hours, and 35 minutes (but who's counting?) I usually start every morning in Vegas with a big cup of yerba matte while hammering away on those machines....
     
  11. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    I did a quick run through the casino last night and did not spot them. I will ask about them today and post an update.
     
  12. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Day 1 Quick Update (will post more details at end of trip):

    - 3 hour airport delay has thrown off my original plan a bit, so only did $6k coin in so far
    - Up $30. Was at one point down $200 but came all the way back last night thanks to 4OAKs and scratch cards at Boar's Head Bar
    - Played sigma derby at D for an hour
    - Ate Triple George for dinner and was excellent (had the burger)
    - It's been very windy and cool (60 degrees right now)

    Hopefully Day 2 will be just as pleasant!
     
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  13. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Glad I made this a semi live TR, as I just realized I haven't posted since the 2nd day. Here's a recollection of various events that happened since last post:

    - Wife won $1k jackpot at El Cortez on dollar slots!!!
    - Pool day was a blast, but much cooler than usual. Slide was still out of service when we were there, but was told it would be open later this week
    - Didn't get to the coin in levels that I originally had hoped for. Averaged about $8k coin in per day at 4Q and $6k per day with Boyd.
    - 4Q freeplay promo for June + freeplay offers netted me $210 in freeplay, which was played through and cashed out for $235.
    - Played JOB 100% of the trip and rode the ups and downs. A few sessions where I hit 1 4OAK in 4 hrs, then other sessions where I hit 4 in 1 hr. 1 straight flush, no royal. About 30k hands played in total.
    - Played a lot at Boar's Head Bar near the cocktail waitress station. Lots of laughter and chatter amongst the waitresses and bar staff. At 4Q, the JOB uprights are now in 4 rows of 4 due to the rearranged table game area.
    - Mixed word on the fate of the $0.25 10/7 DB prog bank. One attendant said it would be put back in "soon", another said it wouldn't be put back.
    - Food choices were excellent on this trip. A few new places mixed in, will post more detail in final recap.
    - FSE was crowded each night with it being summer. Some members of our group complained of noise/trouble sleeping from rooms in Gold Tower. No such issues in our room in Gold Tower closer to Carson Tower.

    I'll post final recap at some point in next few days.
     
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  14. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    Thanks so much for the report. Will you please post more about the 4Q freeplay promo? Trying to figure out if it is worth going over there to play next week.
     
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  15. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Here's the promo details, based only on play during June. You will see signage all over the casino for the promo. Promo is tiered based on your play. For VP, $8 coin in equals 1 point. I believe slot play is $5 coin in equals 1 point. Here are the tiers:

    1. $100 in Freeplay after 1000 points earned ($8k coin in on VP). This is technically paid out in $20 increments for every 200 pts.

    2. $50 in Freeplay and $50 Shell gas card after 3000 points earned ($24k coin in on VP).

    3. $100 in Freeplay and a $100 American Express gift card after 5000 points earned ($40k coin in on VP).

    Everything is redeemed at the Players Club. I had already earned freeplay for the month of June, so this promo is in addition to any freeplay you have on your account. For me, I played on my money up until the near end of the trip and had the Players club add all of the Freeplay (offer + promo) to my account. I cashed it out after I played it through the machine ($30 profit + freeplay converted into cash).

    It does add a bit more value on top of the high comp level you get at 4Q, which is one of the best downtown. The rooms are another story, as many mention on here. Hope that helps.
     
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  16. kathiemc23

    kathiemc23 Low-Roller

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    Thanks you for the 4Q promo info, I think I might have to go give it a shot!
     
  17. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Thanks for the report so far!
    I'm looking forward to your recap.
    Hopefully it was a great trip for everyone in your group! :D

    RICHARD
     
    The Alperts Take Polo Towers!
  18. Txvp15

    Txvp15 Tourist

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    Since the trip is complete, here's the detailed recap.

    Gambling:

    * Finished the trip up about $700 overall, without a royal flush. My wife did win a $1k jackpot on El Cortez $1 slots, so we walked away with some of the money we lost last year
    * Estimated about $40k coin in exclusively on $0.25 9/6 JOB, $18k at Four Queens and $22k at Boyd
    * Played about an hour of Sigma Derby the first night of the trip for $5. As others have mentioned, great way to pass the time / get drunk on the cheap!
    * Spent a lot of time at the Boar's Head Bar at MSS and the JOB upright machines at 4Q. Spent a brief time at the Cal JOB alcove
    * Earned $100 in Freeplay at 4Q during the June promo. Also had $110 in earned/offered freeplay. Played through the $210 Freeplay and cashed out $250 in cash. ACG coupon for 500 addtl points

    Lodging:

    * 4 nights @ Golden Nugget Gold Tower room (about $275 total at $60 per night with resort fee included)
    * Rates were purchased during Cyber Monday special in November 2016.
    * Overall, the room was just what we expected. Clean, cool and quiet. We had paid for upgrade to Gold Club room last year and didn't want to stay in that room again. We like the gold tower rooms due to the short walk to FSE and reasonable prices. Will request a room towards the South end of the tower going forward, as others in our group were staying closer to FSE in the Gold Tower and the noise from FSE kept them awake at night
    * Its becoming seemingly impossible to be downtown without a concert or some band/DJ playing at the stages on FSE every night. I've noticed this has become the 'norm' downtown, even compared to say 2 years ago. Things change, so one must adjust with the change as they best see fit. For us, even being deep sleepers, we will definitely request a Gold tower room on the pool facing side of GN and/or as far south and away from FSE as possible.

    Pool Day @ GN:

    * We reserved 2 cabanas on the lower level on Day 2 of our trip. Weather was very cool that day for this time of year (70s/80s) and we didn't do as much swimming as in the past due to this and the pool not being heated during the summer (no need, as temps were back to 90s/100s the next day)
    * This is a great option for 'change of pace' during the summer, especially when people in your group are tired of gambling/losing money. The cabanas are charged by the day, so you have access for the entire day (10 AM - 6 PM)
    * Food and beverage are NOT included, but a waitress comes by every so often to take orders
    * Our group had a mix of folks who wanted to swim and folks who just wanted to lounge in the pool area. The cabanas are shaded fairly well, but you do have to move some of the seats around depending on the time of day and shifting sun angle
    * Pool was not overly crowded for a Monday during the summer, but some of that was probably due to the weather and the slide still being closed. The slide is one of our favorite things to do during our trips, so we were a bit annoyed that it was still closed for repairs midway through June
    * We split our food/drink/rental bill with the group and our portion of the tab was $150 (2 people). Not bad for the 6 hrs we spent there

    Food/Drink:

    * I praised the Grille inside GN in last year's review but have to give it a C grade for this year's review. Upon a late arrival to Vegas due to flight issues (more on that further down), we waited in a short line (6 people) for 30 minutes before getting our order placed. The ridiculous wait time was primarily due to the 2 ladies taking orders at the time who worked at a snail's pace. If they are working again when we want to eat here, we will go elsewhere
    * We had reservations at Triple George near Pizza Rock/Downtown Grand and the meal was excellent. Seafood dishes and steaks were the main meals ordered by the group and I ordered a burger after reading reviews that it was great here. Not to disappoint - we will make it back. A large and loud group of 20 year olds sitting next to us nearly got into a fight, but the restaurant was quick to force the perpetrators out the door. It felt like we had gone back in time to a new episode of Jersey Shore!
    * Magnolia's in Four Queens is as consistent as always. One of my favorite places in all of Las Vegas to eat for the value and consistency. Ate here for breakfast two of the days. Used 2 for 1 ACG coupon one day and the Player's Club special the other day. Country Fried Steak and Eggs is my go-to, but I've had all of the breakfast combos and none are a bad choice
    * We tried Hash House in Plaza this trip since DuPars in Golden Gate is no longer open. Highly recommend this place. HUGE portions. We ended up getting a couple of to-go boxes and giving away food to a few bums/homeless on FSE. Excellent brunch options - come ready to be full and share the plates
    * We went back to the Therapy restaurant near El Cortez this trip for dinner. Food was still great, but prices are notably higher for dinner than our lunch menu from last year. Still recommended, but would say Triple George is a better value for a similar dinner
    * Didn't get to stop into Pizza Rock this year, but did eat pizza at the Grotto in GN, Chicago Brewing at 4Q and snack pizza from Picadilly near the D. Grotto is an excellent Italian option while in Downtown and I enjoy the beers and pizza options at Chicago Brewing

    Airline:

    * We booked our flight on Spirit Airlines back in February/March when the fares were about as low as they would probably get. We've flown Spirit in the past and have had hit/miss experiences, generally getting what we've paid for. However, after this trip, we've decided that we will fly another airline unless the Spirit fare is absurdly cheap as it was for last year's trip.
    * We were delayed a combined 6 hours between both flights, with no weather or mechanical issues. The delays were 100% due to the ongoing contract negotiations between Spirit and their pilot fleet, which of course made news last month with the cancellations at Ft. Lauderdale airport. The effect is cascading and it seems they haven't caught up one bit from last month's debacle. On both of our flights, a plane and flight crew were on time and waiting at the gate, but pilot crew had either "called in sick" or were forced onto another flight that had a longer delay than our flight. Members from our group flew in and out of Vegas at various times/days and all who flew Spirit experienced similar delays due to the same issue. To make matters worse, members of the flight & gate crew have either been encouraged to do so or are naturally making a joke out of the delays in their safety check/interactions with passengers, as if its no big deal to be consistently delayed due to things that are completely within the airline's control.
    * When you factor this and all of the usual drawbacks you get when flying Spirit, we've just decided that we aren't going to put up with their shenanigans again until they make lasting changes for the better.

    Miscellaneous:

    * When requesting an Uber/Lyft ride at McCarran, start the request upon leaving baggage claim as you have to walk/take several elevator rides to get to the parking garage level where ride share picks up. You end up waiting at the pickup area for 10 minutes if you wait to request the ride upon getting to the parking garage.
    * Have read several reviews suggesting to play at the Main St Boars Head Bar machines closer to the left side of the bar near the cocktail waitress station and will definitely be playing here on future trips. Tough to beat the playing experience here between the paytables, drink selection, and good conversation/laughter amongst the guests and staff. On this trip in particular, we shared a lot of good conversation and laughs with Jose, Robert, Oleg and Jerry, who I believe is a new barback. We always have a pleasant experience here.
    * Newly renovated rooms at the California west tower are very nice. I had double booked a room for a family member here and his room here was close in quality level to a Gold Tower room at GN. We will definitely consider staying here on future trips, particularly trips in the winter months.
     
  19. Texas Steph

    Texas Steph A Work in Progress...

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    Thank you for the TR, congrats to the Mrs on that $1000 hit! Sounds like you both enjoyed the trip
     
  20. Fet297

    Fet297 113 survivor North Vegas

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    Thanks for the details on your recent trip. Very enjoyable read.
     
    AirBnB Henderson. They say social distancing...Will we make this trip?
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