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All Over The Place Solo--Excalibur/Downtown/South Point

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by iambumbo, Sep 7, 2021.

  1. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    My wife was planning a girl's weekend to Mexico around Labor Day so she suggested I have some quality vacation time myself in Vegas as I hadn't visited since before the pandemic. I play mostly Blackjack, craps, and pai gow poker so I was looking forward to some small stakes casino action again.

    I looked at airfare in the area and found a deal for $81 round trip out of Rockford via Allegiant the week before Labor Day. I originally booked for the D but then found Mlife was offering three free night with a fourth for $13 plus resort fee so I figured I'd go that route. Seems like an odd offer since I very rarely play at MGM casinos but for 4 nights for $173 total? I'll take it since I'm rarely in the room anyways.

    Sunday Aug 29-- No issues flying out of Rockford and land in Las Vegas at around 3:00. I planned on taking the CX bus to Excalibur and had a short window after landing or I'd havre to wait an hour. Fortunately my bag was at the carousel as soon as I got there and made the bus with a few minutes to spare. I used remote check in through the Mlife app and was able to go right to my room using a digital key through the app without having to stop at check-in, which was great.

    I stayed in one of the Stay Well rooms in the Resort Tower, 14th floor. I loved the sound the room fans make as I like noise conditioning to sleep. Kudos for them keeping the room nice and cool at the lowest setting during the peak heat of August. I called down for a few extra pillows for the room as I like to sleep propped up high and they arrived by the time I got back in the room at bedtime. I did stop at the mobile check-in area to get a couple of hard keys as I headed out for the evening so I didn't have to mess around with the digital one on my phone each time.

    My plan was to hit Ellis Island which I hadn't been to in probably 10 years. I walked down a block in front of Luxor and hopped the bus which takes you right there. Fyi the Transit app is great as it tells you when the next bus is coming and if it's behind schedule. 10 minutes later I'm at Ellis Island and head to the cafe for the world-famous sirloin special which is just as good as the last time I was there. Great service, great food, and off to a great start for the trip. The $5 craps table was full and most of the blackjack tables for $10 so I waited for a spot at the $5 BJ ltable to open. Played there for about 4 hours consuming several of their tasty microbrews in the meanwhile. I love the nice pint glasses they serve it up in and the light ale is delicious. Held my own at BJ and decided to play craps for a few more hours when the second table opened up. Overall I ended up a few bucks up and decided a little after midnight it was probably time for bed. I hopped a Lyft back to Excalibur and called it a night. This was my first time using Lyft and was able to use a half off your first 5 ride promo code for the trip so saved a few bucks there. My headache regretted all those microbe use the following morning but a fun start to the trip! Subsequent days to follow...
     
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  2. RedChip

    RedChip VIP Whale

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    Love a little low limit craps, BJ and some tasty pints. Sounds like a great start!
     
    First trip back since Nov 2019. Solo Downtown.
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  3. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    Monday August 30th-- I had $25 in loyalty food comps from the Golden Gate downtown and $10 in freeplay so after I finally woke up, cross the street in front of NYNY to take the CX bus downtown. Being a little hungover I grabbed a few waters from a convenience store and then a few donuts from Dunkin Donuts in Fremont. Walking through the casinos along Fremont Street I basically found $10 Blackjack and $10 craps everywhere, even on a very slow Monday morning. I had hoped to find some $5 leftovers but none to be had. I know this is the new normal but a low roller like me still finds that disappointing. I had heard Downtown Grand had some $5 tables so decided to check that out after I stopped for lunch.

    With the food options limited at the Stevens properties, I settled on Saginaw in Circa. Had to do a lap first around Circa since this was my 1st time there and it really does live up to all the accolades. A beautiful casino and an amazing sports book if you loves sports like I do. I got a BLT sandwich which is a little pricey at $16 but to be honest it is without a doubt the thickest BLT I've ever had in my life. Probably 12 full strips of bacon. A hungover guy's dream! A couple of sodas perked me up with the caffeine and so I headed to check out Downtown Grand.

    They had some $5 blackjack tables along with $5 craps so I settled down for some more low roller blackjack. I only made it about 1⁄2 hour because frankly it was pretty depressing. Not a lot of customers and no ambiance whatsoever. So after wandering around a bit more I settled in at Binions for some $10 face up pai gow poker. I have to say I love the face up game compared to the traditional one. No more second guessing yourself on strategy as you can always set the hand however you need to try to at least go for the push. Also don't have to mess around with commissions which I get is the real reason why the house likes this version too.

    After a few hours of small losses I head back to Circa and decide to try their individual bubble craps game. An interesting concept and nice to watch the massive sports book while playing. Interesting that how hard you pound the button affects how hard the dice fly in the air. Makes no difference to the outcome of course but a fun observation. Would have liked to play the real tables but Stevens evidently thought all of his properties merit $15 craps. No thank you, sir. Made a few bucks and then head onto Tony Roma's at Fremont for the early prime rib special. Expected shoe leather but actually pretty darn good for a $9 deal. It's nice that Tony Roma's just took my name down and texted me when they were ready 1⁄2 hour later so I could donate some money to their blackjack tables in the interim.

    I wandered around for a while just checking out the scene and frankly downtown in general seemed more depressing than my last visit. I don't know if it's the cannabis dispensaries, more homeless, more oddballs or what, but it really just has become a big freak show even compared to just a couple of years ago. So I decided what the hell, let's hop into a Lyft and head back to Ellis Island! Guess that prime rib special didn't fill me up because I decided to get another sirloin special on arrival at Ellis Island while waiting for the tables to lighten up. In hindsight it certainly helped avoid another hangover the next day! After that Another 3 or 4 hours of $5 blackjack before calling it a night with a Lyft back to Excalibur. Largely broke even with several microbrews. I had decided tomorrow I would finally get around to checking out South Point so that was to be my full day itinerary after using a free MyVegas visit to the Mandalay Bay shark reef. All in all day 2 was pretty fun!
     
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  4. smerrian

    smerrian View from Bally's

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    Sounds like you had a great trip!
     
    PHX >> LAS
    PHX >> LAS
  5. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC TBD

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    Good stuff, looking forward to SouthPoint
     
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  6. RedRiverRose

    RedRiverRose VIP Whale

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    Waiting for more. Enjoy !!!
     
  7. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    Tuesday August 31-- My long term plan for the day was to spend it at South Point. But first, I had obtained a free ticket to the Mandalay Bay Shark Reef through MyVegas. To use the ticket though you had to pre-set a time to show up so I picked 1st thing in the morning at 10:00 AM when they opened. I decided to walk over from Excalibur thru the walkways. The stores were all closed during the 9am hour but made for an interesting walk. Not surprisingly the tables were all $10/$15 at Excal/Luxor, and $15/25 at MB with little action on a Tuesday morning.

    The Shark Reef was a good diversion as the exhibit had a number of different fish/sharks that I hadn't seen in other zoos or aquariums. You queue up in line at your allotted time and they let folks in a few at a time to avoid overcrowding. While pleasant, I think anyone paying the regular price of $20-$30 is over paying for a relatively small exhibit. After the reef I'd planned on taking a Lyft to South Point but none were available at MB but there was one at Luxor so i made the short walk back. 15 minutes and $7 later (thanks to the Lyft discount) down the highway and I'm at South Point's entrance.

    Now this is what a casino should look like. Huge pit of tables all right next to each other with plenty of options. Craps, BJ, carny games, baccarat, and pai gow poker, all there for the taking. Several $5 tables with a bunch of $10's. They even had $5 pai gow poker... what is this, 1996? I did a walkthrough of the entire casino to get a feel. It also had a great sports book and looked like the slot jockeys were happy. I didn't personally check them out but I'd heard they have a great bowling complex and movie theater for non-gambling entertainment.

    I'm hungry by now so I hit their coffee shop, Coronado Cafe, for lunch. Huge menu so should be something for everyone. I settle on a club sandwich which hit the spot. Walk around till i find a $5 BJ table that speaks to me. Unfortunately it was speaking a different language as I walked away down about $60 after a few hours and headed for some craps. Pretty good drink service at BJ table though.

    On a side note,why do i like $5 BJ tables? My betting system is start at $5, if I lose, rebet $5. If I win, cap a buck to $6 and keep adding a buck with each consecutive win. When you lose, restart at $5. I've found it's a nice way to ride a good wave in a shoe while minimizing your losses on a cold table. I think the most I've gotten up to is $14/hand before losing. Unfortunately as you'll hear later it doesn't always work.

    Anyways, back to the action. I settle in at one of the $5 craps tables and it proved to be even colder than the previous BJ table. Point, seven out. Point, number, seven out. This goes on for most of the next few hours. However, since I'm one of those cold, heartless dark side players, it proves to be quite profitable! My biggest problem is the seven outs keep hitting before I can get a few DC bets up. My standard is $5 don't pass, single odds, then up to 2 $5 DC bets with single odds. When I've got three numbers up, throw a dollar on Big Red for the dealers. Fun when it hits! That's actually why I bet dark side-- I much prefer winning all my best at once vs. losing all at once.

    The table started to heat up after about 3 hours which was my cue to grab dinner. The group I did not expect to start heating up the table proved to be a guy about my age (49), a buxom and scantily clad woman less than half his age, and a kid who looked about 17 and was clearly the guy's son. I'm not sure what happened later that night in the room but I'm guessing it wasn't Monopoly or chess. Welcome to Vegas. After giving back some of my winnings, I settle up with $110 profit at the craps table and decide to hit Coronado Cafe again for the prime rib special. Filling and tasty and not bad at all for $16.

    Unfortunately, that break proved to be the end of my good luck. Moved to another $5 BJ table. Lose badly. Tried my luck at a $10 pai gow poker table. Lose badly. To add insult to injury, one of my hands has a royal flush. Why is that bad? I never play the progressive or fortune bonus, primarily because in all my years I'd never even seen a royal flush be dealt. In this case though a dollar on progressive and fortune bonus would've earned me $650. At least the other players each got $50 on the envy bonus due to my "good fortune." After another hour of butt kicking at pai gow, I head back to BJ where more misery awaits me. By the time the clock hits midnight and I cry uncle, my winnings are gone and I'm out about $250. A Lyft was readily available and back to home base Excalibur 15 minutes later.

    While that experience made me briefly bitter, my overall reaction to South Point was positive. Generally friendly dealers and good drink service, lots of table game options, and nice food options if I wasn't so lazy. Not sure I'd want to stay there for an entire trip as I like to wander but definitely worth a return visit sometime.

    Final note for the day, when I got back to Excalibur, I decided what the hell, I'll shove $20 into an individual bubble craps machine. After a few rolls, the machine freezes. Since it's about 1:15 am by this point, there's nobody around so it takes about 15 minutes for someone to finally show up to let me cash out. On my last night, I put $10 into a slot and it jams in the slot. 2 for 2 on machine breakdowns at Excalibur says I won't be playing any more machines at this joint. C'mon, MGM, a little machine maintenance wouldn't kill ya!

    Tomorrow... Back downtown!
     
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  8. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

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    Love your description of this!!

    So far, sounds like a fun trip. Looking forward to reading more. Maybe a few pics too??
     
    BIG Birthday Celebration
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  9. RedChip

    RedChip VIP Whale

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    I'm enjoying your TR. I like your blackjack betting strategy. I pretty much do the same.
     
    First trip back since Nov 2019. Solo Downtown.
  10. Johnny Bollocks

    Johnny Bollocks Never mind the Bollocks...

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    South Point has more than 10,000 games returning at least 99%. This is more such games than anyone else has.
     
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  11. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    I've been typing these from my tablet but pics are on my phone, so here's some by request. View from room at Excalibur, and Ellis Island. 20210829_155638.jpg 20210829_171524.jpg 20210829_172929.jpg 20210829_174209.jpg
     

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  12. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    Some pics from Mandalay Bay Shark Reef. 20210831_101555.jpg 20210831_101931.jpg 20210831_102438.jpg 20210831_102836.jpg 20210831_103121.jpg 20210831_103451.jpg 20210831_103533.jpg 20210831_103737.jpg 20210831_104318.jpg 20210831_104603.jpg
     
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  13. bubbakitty

    bubbakitty Doing retirement again and happily so....

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    After reading other interpretations and observation, how can southpoint survive with 5$ bj & craps? It’s impossible …… according to some. :rolleyes:
     
    Tirement party over again…..poor thing.
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  14. The Rumor

    The Rumor VIP Whale

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    They're located in a place where land costs 2% of what it costs on the Strip. Would not be surprised if the $5 games are basically break even, though
     
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  15. Renaldow

    Renaldow Low-Roller

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    Sounds like a great trip! Solos are the best, right?
     
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  16. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    Out of at least 15 trips out there, this was my 1st solo! But I really enjoyed it and may become my new norm. It's nice to go where I want, when I want, and do whatever I want on my own time table without having to check in with others. Not sure I'd be keen on the idea in other locations that don't involve gambling but it works here.
     
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  17. Here2Learn

    Here2Learn High-Roller

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    Great TR!
     
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  18. Renaldow

    Renaldow Low-Roller

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    I used to do groups only, but then I did a solo trip and absolutely loved it. I also win bigger on solo trips. I think it's because I can long haul it in a casino long enough alone, where with a group I've been at the mercy of people wanting to leave.
     
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  19. iambumbo

    iambumbo Tourist

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    Some pics from first day downtown... 20210830_112157.jpg 20210830_114613.jpg 20210830_120519.jpg 20210830_124956.jpg 20210830_171210.jpg 20210830_175253.jpg 20210830_195900.jpg
     
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  20. AyDee

    AyDee is getting too old for this

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    your Southpoint stories vividly illustrate why if you're going to catch a beatdown, it's much better at $5 min tables than much higher.
     
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