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Annual Race Trip to Vegas...

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by milehiman, Mar 13, 2003.

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  1. milehiman

    milehiman VIP Whale

    Sep 21, 2002
    Scottsdale, AZ

    My Trip Report

    This report is actually from a trip I took earlier this month. Sorry it's taken so long to post.

    Let me start by saying that I’ve enjoyed reading the other posts and I hope mine will entertain as well. However, if you’re looking for a trip filled with fortune and glory, you better re-read Mikey’s last trip report. Sorry, not much gambling or drinking this trip. This is also a long trip report, so if you’re not ready to read a novel you better take it in parts. I’ve split it up by days to make it easier to read. Don't worry I don't dwell to much on the race.

    The prelude: This is an annual trip that my best friend Doug and I take each year to catch the NASCAR race in Vegas. This was our fourth Las Vegas NASCAR race and each year has its highlights. We usually take a room/race package deal at the Orleans, but this year decided to make our own arrangements. We booked three nights at the Luxor – in Friday out Monday. We also make each year an event with shows and expensive dinners. This year’s dinner reservations were at Il Fornaio (NYNY) on Friday night, Delmonico’s (Venetian) on Saturday night (our new favorite steakhouse, having brushed Morton’s aside) and Nob Hill (MGM) on Sunday night. We decided to skip the show this year, since we’re usually dead tired on Sunday morning and have to get to the race early.

    Day One – Travel
    Traveling from DEN to LAS early Friday morning – flight departed at 8AM. Uncertain weather and a not too reliable car didn’t make sleeping the night before easy. Another factor of my restless night was my bursting anticipation in getting back to Vegas. I decided I’d get up and get to the airport and grab some coffee and a quick snack at the airport rather than my usual ritual of breakfast at home. Woke up at 4:45AM and was out the door by 5:20. There was a light snow the night before and the roads were lightly dusted, but overall a nice drive to DIA.

    Ticketing was smooth and fast – I started to see a smattering of NASCAR fans at the airport, which only fed my anticipation. The security check was fairly quick, but my boots set off the detector and I was given the wand treatment. But overall, I made it through with plenty of time to spare. This was helpful since my gate was at the absolute far end of the concourse.

    While hiking to the gate I decided this would be a great time to grab my coffee and snack and veered into the nearest shop. I sat down in front of the TV and heard Katie Couric interview some retired General about the impending war. I consciously tried to half listen since I was headed to Vegas and didn’t want anything to spoil my day.

    After finishing my quickie breakfast I headed to the gate and discovered I had been double charged for my coffee – I hoped that it didn’t signal some sort of ominous trend. When I arrived at the gate, I also discovered they were overbooked and taking sign-ups for a free flight anywhere in the U.S. I thought about it for half a second, but decided against it since they didn’t know when they could get you on a flight with “sometime this afternoon†being the answer. Finally boarding started and it was almost a mad race to get to the door.

    Is it me, or does the plane seem to take forever to load when you’re flying to Vegas? We finally pushed back from the gate – on time! My joy was short lived since after the plane was deiced we had to return to the jetway, as something onboard in rear of the plane was leaking water. It didn’t sound serious so I wasn’t worried. They got the mechanics on board, quickly fixed whatever was leaking and we were finally ready to leave. It only amounted to an hour delay, so I wasn’t too disappointed.

    We finally arrived in Vegas! The weather didn’t look too great though. There was a light rain falling, but I didn’t care. I was finally here! While getting off the jetway I started to hear the familiar sounds of slot machines which picked up my excitement level. I caught a cab to the Luxor and had a nice conversation with the driver. I thought it was funny hearing him talk about what awful drivers people were when a light rain fell. They only had an inch and three quarters for the week, and yet he saw plenty of accidents. For emphasis we heard about one that just happened over the company radio.

    When I got to the Luxor, I found out I couldn’t check-in until 12:30PM and decided to grab some lunch. I checked my bags at the Bell Desk and was good to go. I walked over to the Monte Carlo Brew Pub for some of their great beer – my favorite is their Jackpot Pale Ale. Had Fish and Chips and a couple of beers with a total bill of $20, not including tip. I was able to catch the Accenture match play on the big screen TV, which was a nice touch.

    When I went back to the Luxor I was happy to find a short line for check-in. It only took 10 minutes to get to the front of the line. Now I know that there is a big debate over rooms on this board, but I’ve always liked a nice view. When I made my reservations I asked for a high Pyramid room with a view and received it. I still don’t understand why somebody would stay at the Luxor and want to stay in the towers? Got to the room (22103) and opened the curtains to see what the view was like. It was great! Had a view of the Excaliber, the Tropicana, the tops of some of the NYNY towers, with the Rio, Orleans and the Thomas and Mack Arena off in the distance.

    As far as the room went, it was nice sized room with two queen sized beds, a small table with a set of chairs, another chair with a nearby light in order to read with. At the entry way there was a smaller table with chair with a mirror in front of it. The bathroom only had a shower (which was fine with us) and not the usual combo tub/shower. An iron and ironing board were in the standing armoire. Downsides – no in-room safe, and small closet space. Overall the Luxor is one of my favorite places to stay when I’m in Vegas.

    By this time I was itching to start gambling, and decided to head to the Tropicana to play some craps. I’ve never played there, and wanted to add another chip to my collection. On the way over I had to try something totally stupid.

    I saw a posting earlier last month about the various Vegas webcams and thought I would try to get various friends and family watch me make a fool of myself. I sent them the link to the MGM webcam site before I left. On the cab ride over I saw where the camera was located. So I positioned myself and waited for the camera to make the turn to the top of the stairs by the entrance to the MGM. I called them on the walk over and everybody jumped on-line or switched over to the link. I had my brother on the phone and discovered that the webcams work on about a 20 second delay. So I’m at the top of the stairs at the MGM and waving at the camera for what seemed like forever. People are walking by thinking I’m a nut (yes I actually heard some comments), but I finally hear from my brother that he sees me. Then he proceeds to call me a goof and breaks out laughing. I don’t know, I thought it was a fun thing to do…

    So after my bout with being web famous or infamous, I’m finally at the Tropicana. I quickly find a $5 crap table and I jump in with $60. Within what seems like minutes I lose three out of four times (which is my signal to leave) - point established, thrower sevens out; point, seven out; next thrower finally throws a yo eleven but then quickly establishes a point and then a seven. I pick up my few remaining chips and head to the nearest cashier. Getting spanked that quick really threw me for a loop. I’m not a big gambler anyway, but was hoping $50 would last a little while longer…

    So instead of gambling some more, I decide to head off to the Bellagio to catch the Andy Warhol art exhibit. I wasn’t sure that the tram between the Monte Carlo and the Bellagio was running so I decided to just walk up the strip to the Bellagio. On my walk over I glanced over and saw that the tram between the Bellagio and the Monte Carlo was up and running (I had heard that it might be closed), so my luck continues… Oh well. On the way to the exhibit I stopped by the Conservatory and checked out the incredible display. I’m sure you’ve read about it before, so I won’t go into it.

    When I was buying my ticket for the exhibit I started joking around with the cashier. I then said that I should stop giving her a hard time or she might give me a broken wand. She then said “How did you know?†We then had a short conversation about how the gallery staff had sneaked in a wand from the Shark Exhibit (Mandalay Bay’s?) into the rotation. They used to give it out at random to see if anybody would say anything. She said that nobody ever complained, but that management found out and had them take the wand out of the rotation. I thought it was hilarious.

    As far as the exhibit went, I don’t know what to say. I’m not an art coinsurer, but still found myself wondering why these works were so renown? Having Liza Minnelli narrate was a nice touch since I understand they were close friends, but she really didn’t add much information to the paintings. While listening to her inanely go on I was hoping that they still had the shark wand so at least something from this experience would be interesting.

    Having the need to get the “Huh?!?†out of my system I decided to played slots at Bellagio for a while and ended up down another $5. Question? Does it count as being close to winning a jackpot if you get the following line up - jackpot blank jackpot - showing up on the pull? Oh well, I decided to head back to the room to see if I could get some much needed rest (I was only working on about four hours of sleep from the night before). On the way back I stopped off at the Little Green Men slot machine at Excaliber, and lost another $10. This has not been a good day for gambling, so I decided that I would give my gambling ego some much needed time to rest up and lick it’s wounds.

    Meanwhile my friend Doug and I kept exchanging voice mails about his impending arrival. I decided to get cleaned up and hang out in the room. Doug finally showed up and we spent a few minutes catching up. He cleaned up and we were off to NYNY for dinner.

    I was glad I made reservations, as there was a line about 15 people long waiting to be seated. I went to the hostess stand and checked in and was told to take a seat on a nearby bench and we’d be seated momentarily. Less than five minutes later we were taken to our seats next to the artificial pond. It was actually nice even though you could hear the Manhattan Express rumble by every few minutes. I had heard about Il Fornaio’s calamari and we started with that. I had a glass of the special selection Chianti and we ordered a bottle of water with our appetizer. Since we had some catching up to do, we were more interested in talking than selecting what we wanted for dinner. Our waiter didn’t pressure us and checked from time to time to see if we were ready. For dinner I had the lobster filled ravioli and Doug had the seafood linguini. We both had Caesar salads. Have to say that although it was good, I was a little disappointed. The ravioli was OK, but not great. Neither one of us had dessert. I’m not sure what the bill was, since Doug picked it up.

    After this, we decided to call it a night. We were both exhausted, and knew we had a long weekend in front of us. Besides that, with my crappy luck that day I didn’t want to throw good money after bad. So we went back to the room and were both asleep within minutes.

    Day Two – The Race and Weather
    Since we went to sleep early the night before we got up early today. We were both up by 6:30AM and got cleaned up and headed out for breakfast. We walked over to NYNY and immediately headed for our favorite breakfast place, which was their 24-hour coffee shop – America. We didn’t think that we would have a hard time getting seated arriving this early, but we did. Although there were plenty of open tables, they only had enough wait staff to cover half the tables. So we had to wait. I have to say that the hostess handled the snide comments made by the people in front of us really well. Unfortunately they were all dressed up in their NASCAR gear and I hope she didn’t think that all the NASCAR fans were like that. We were eventually seated and ordered our favorite breakfasts – mine is biscuits and gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, hash browns, sausage and toast and Doug’s is eggs over easy, pancakes, bacon, hash browns and toast. We then settled into a discussion on the merits of playing keno while we waited for our meals to arrive. We both decided that we would rather play Powerball since the odds of winning were probably the same, but the payoffs were extremely different.

    Since the Busch race – the Sam’s Town 300 (the Busch series is a lower division of NASCAR racing) wasn’t until 1PM, we still had some time to kill before we headed off to the track. I was still smarting from the beating I took the day before and decided that nickel slots would fit the bill. Doug decided to head off to the local YMCA to work out and to a department store to buy a pair of jeans (for some reason he packed business casual clothes, but didn’t pack any jeans). We decided to meet back in the room at 11:00 so we could get to the track in time for the race.

    So off I went to Mandalay Bay to look for an inviting slot machine, which was kind of silly since I was only playing nickel slots. I put $10 into something called Billionaires or Millionaires and proceeded to play for a couple of hours on it. I actually had a few cocktail waitresses come by asking if I need a drink (which from other posts thought that they didn’t exist, especially for somebody playing nickel slots). At one point I actually had my credits up to $40, but of course kept playing until they were all gone.

    I went back to the room to meet up with Doug so we could head out to the track. On the way out of the parking lot we decided to stop off at a nearby In & Out Burger for a quick lunch. There’s nothing like their cheeseburger and fries!

    As far as the race went, it was interesting and had its scary moments, with one car (Jeff Burton’s) catching fire during one of the caution laps. The worst part about the race was watching the rain come closer and closer to the track. It wasn’t if, but when it was going to hit. It seemed like it was going to come in from all sides with an exceptionally heavy storm coming in from the west. We decided that if it rained and it was past the halfway point (which would have made it an official race) we would leave for the day. Sure enough the rain came and we made a beeline for the car. Soon a strong wind started up to round out the whole affair. It took us a good 20 minutes of fast walking to get to the car, but we eventually made it there with only a slight soaking.

    Surprisingly we were able to get out of the parking lot with some quick thinking by my friend. He spotted a line that was forming along road near the highway and headed straight for it. We were on I-15 headed back to the strip in less than 20 minutes, which beat the two hours we were stuck in the parking lot last year.

    Dropped off our jackets and other gear back in the room and headed over to the Excaliber to play some blackjack. We found a $5 non-smoking table and I proceeded to get spanked again. When was my luck ever going to change? Although the dealer never pulled a black jack, I’ve never had a dealer draw so many cards to hit 20 or 21. I didn’t want to press my luck and left down $30. Doug wanted to stay, and I wandered off to play my nickel slots again. I figured the way my luck was going I should try to minimize my losses. I proceeded to lose $5 at a Little Green Men machine and another $5 at Texas Tea. By this time I caught up with my friend and we both decided to head to the room to get ready for dinner.

    I just want to add a quick note for our out of country visitors. Doug had recently taken a trip to Ireland with his wife and had a wallet full of Euros. He had considered changing them over in the airport on his trip out, but decided to hold on to them. We checked the guest services book at the Luxor and found out that the cashiers would exchange them – no problem. The surprising thing is that there was a better exchange rate with the casino cashiers than he could have received at the airport, and they didn’t charge an exchange fee. We also noticed that there are different exchange rates at different casinos i.e. the Luxor was exchanging Euro’s for 1.05 and MGM’s rate was 1.02.

    We had made reservations at Delmonico’s five months ago. I had forgotten what time they were for and had originally thought they were at 7:30. When I called and checked on them I discovered that they were for 7PM. So we had to hustle over to the Venetian using Harmon Ave instead of the usual route up the Strip. We were able to come in to the parking structure through a back entrance, which was also clearly marked on Harmon Ave. We were stopped and the trunk was searched before we were allowed to get into the facility. This was the same treatment that we got at the Bellagio before getting into their parking structure so it wasn’t any big deal. On our way into the casino, Doug asked if were going to see Snoop Doggy Dog again. We saw him the last time we were in the Venetian in the middle of a pack of his entourage/posse/whatever. Nope no Doggy Dog this time, however I did see a sign pointing out the direction to the Dupont dinner and I was halfway tempted to see if I could catch a glimpse of my favorite driver Jeff Gordon.

    We made our 7PM reservation with a minute to spare and were seated immediately. Dinner was outstanding as usual. This is our favorite steak restaurant in Las Vegas and we had been talking about their bone-in rib steak since yesterday. Now I don’t know if they call it different things to different people, but we were given our “Welcome Back†treat – which was smoked salmon on a fried wonton. This is a nice touch, the last time we were here; we had a great cup of soup. I’m not sure if they offer it to everybody, or just returning guests?

    For dinner I had the rock shrimp appetizer, arugula salad, bone in rib steak, baked potato. To drink I had a glass of Chardonnay and a Merlot/Zinfandel blend when the steak arrived. I also preordered the chocolate souffle, which in retrospect was too much. Doug had the tomato/blue cheese salad, bone-in rib steak and smashed potatoes. I didn’t pay for dinner tonight since we split expenses for the weekend, but glancing over while he was signing the credit card receipt, dinner was slightly over $200. The service was excellent as usual. The one thing about Delmonico’s is that you get treated like royalty. The downside for tonight’s dinner was that it seemed a little rushed. We were in and out in a little more than 90 minutes; whereas most of the time we’ve eaten there it’s been at least a two-hour meal.

    After dinner we were both pretty much in a food coma and decided to head back to the room. Once again calling it an early night.

    Day Three – The Big Left Turn
    Since we went to bed early the night before, once again we were able to get up early. As a matter of fact it was early enough to have a full meal instead of having coffee and donuts before catching the bus to the track. We once again headed over to America at NYNY and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast. Still feeling the effects from last night’s meal, I skipped my usual and just had some bacon and eggs. After breakfast, I headed over to the sports book to place my bets for the race.

    NASCAR racing is very tough to bet on. The odds are pretty much based on fan preference and not really how the driver will do on a given track. The other risky part is at just about every race there’s usually a wreck which your driver might get involved in. This being said, I like the rest of the NASCAR sheep placed a $10 bet on Jeff Gordon winning the race, which was paying 5 to 1, and another $10 bet on any Ford car winning the race. For those of you in the know, Jeff drives a Chevrolet, but a Ford has won several of the last Las Vegas races, so it was my way of hedging my bets. The Ford bet was paying 7 to 5. I was also severely tempted to place a prop bet on whether or not Elliot Sadler, the driver of the 38 M&M’s car would finish in the top 10. “Yes†was +115 and “No†was –165, which meant I would have to bet $165 to win $100 (or some derivative there of i.e. $16.50 to win $10) if I took the “No†bet, which I was the only way I would bet on the 38 car. I decided it was too similar to betting the dark side in craps and I passed.

    We then headed out to the special CAT buses that were picking up race fans in front of the Tropicana on Las Vegas Boulevard. It was a great deal ($5 each way), but meant that you had to take your chances in either getting a seat or having to stand up for the hour trip out to the track. The alternative was taking a car and possibly being stuck in the parking lot for hours, catching a helicopter to and from the track ($270 round trip) or catching a ‘luxury’ motorcoach for a $30 round trip. We decided to catch the CAT bus and hope for the best. The wait to get on a bus was less than 30 minutes and we spent the time talking to the other fans that were waiting in line with us. When we finally boarded, we were fortunate enough to be able to sit in the rear step well for the trip out. So although we didn’t get a regular seat, we were able to at least sit down for the trip out.

    As far as the Winston Cup race went, I was initially excited that Jeff Gordon was leading the race, but that was soon tempered as he started dropping back after the first fifty laps (267 lap race). I was even more disappointed when he was caught up in a wreck, which pretty much ended his day. There went my $60 too. To top it off, the 38 car’s engine gave way, which left him in 40th place, definitely out of the top ten, which confirmed that I had the right instincts, even though I didn’t make the bet. The rest of the race was uneventful. So much so, we left the race early (the leader had a huge lead over second place) and headed to the CAT buses that would take us back to the Excaliber.

    While waiting in line for the busses we decided that we would take a chance of having to stand again since all the seats were taken. (The CAT people asked for volunteers to come to the front of the line if they wanted to stand since all the bus seats were taken.) We decided to take our chance since we were able to sit down in the wheel well. The CAT people didn’t help as they were trying to pack the bus with as many people as they could get on before releasing it. And pack it they did, constantly chiding people to line up either facing forward or backward so they could stuff more people in. After the “Nth†person crammed into the bus we finally set off back to the strip. Now this was a “fun†ride. The bus was a piggyback type set up – essentially two buses connected by a pivot point, which connected the two. This is where we ended up. This made for an interesting ride as one foot stayed still, while the other rotated to and fro depending on which way the bus turned. The driver must have been in some big hurry to get to the strip since most starts and stops required the people standing to hang on for dear life due to the quick starts and stops. We made it as fun as possible by telling jokes and talking the entire trip back. This made the trip go by pretty quick and before we knew it we were parked in front of the Excaliber.

    After dropping off our stuff in the room, Doug and I decided to play some blackjack before we had to clean up for dinner. We found a non-smoking $5 blackjack table and he settled into the “third base†seat and I grabbed the one next to him. I don’t mean to talk bad about people who use these cards, but out of the five people at the table, I was the only one not using a blackjack decision card. It drove me nuts. It’s like they couldn’t do anything without consulting the card and God forbid you do something that the card didn’t recommend. Although since my friend was one of them, I couldn’t say anything and in retrospect it really didn’t slow the game up too much. It also didn’t help that the Luxor did not allow the cards to be placed on the table, which meant the players had to hold them in their laps. I thought that was kind of goofy, since the four of them were constantly looking back and forth between their laps and their cards. In my opinion this was much slower than having them in relatively the same area as their cards if they were able to put the decision cards on the table. Oh well, I did pretty well and was up from the start. But after losing three hands in a row where I either split or doubled my bet, I decided to walk. Cashing in my chips I discovered I was up $50 and I was happy. Doug didn’t want to leave as he was recovering some of the money he lost the day before. I ended up wandering around for a while and settled at the Big Six Wheel or as it is better known to my friends and me as the “Wheel of Donationâ€. I didn’t lose that much money – and decided to head up to the room in order to get ready for dinner that night.

    After a while Doug showed up and was happy that he had recovered some of his losses from the day before. Dinner that night was at Nob Hill at the MGM. We cleaned up and headed out for the leisurely walk over. I had heard good things about Nob Hill from a previous post and wanted to try it out. We were seated right away, even though we were slightly early for our 7:30 reservations. We had a nice booth off the main dining area, and we both commented that it would be a nice place to take a wife/date to. We started with drinks – me a Kettle One Martini, very dry, up with a twist and Doug (who doesn’t drink) a non-alcoholic blend of different fruit juices. The waitress (who by the way could have easily passed as Reese Witherspoon’s sister) came by and explained the specials for the night, but we had both pretty much settled on having the tasting menu (with the wine option for me). We weren’t rushed like we were the night before, and as a matter of fact, when we ordered the tasting menu our waitress asked us if we had anywhere to be that night because the tasting menu did take a while to eat. We assured her that we didn’t and settled in to a leisurely conversation about an old girlfriend of mine.

    I won’t get into too much detail about the tasting menu selections, but will say that it was an outstanding meal! Since I started asking more questions about the wine pairings with each serving, our waitress soon started bringing over the bottle accompanied by a more detailed explanation about why they paired the two together. I always like those nice touches. The most unusual wine was the port that was served with the chocolate soufflé for desert. It had a black olive nose to it, but was very good. Dinner came out to be around $280 including a generous tip and took about two and half hours.

    After dinner we headed over to Mandalay Bay for a nightcap. I was originally thinking of Red Square, but decided to go to the Tropical bar that is located in the center of the casino. Our waitress must have had a tough day because she was pretty uninspired with our drink questions. So we had one drink and left.

    Not really feeling like gambling any more and pretty much near another food coma, we decided to call it a night. Back in the room I wanted one last look at the great view and sat in front of the window for a while. Like I said earlier, I know a lot of people just use the room to change and sleep, but there’s something about Vegas at night. I could see a line of jets preparing for landing at McCarran, the Excaliber towers bathed in light, and the exterior elevators at the Rio going to and from the Voodoo Lounge. Each of these sights sparked a different memory from previous trips.

    Day Four – Last Day

    Doug had a relatively early flight, so we skipped breakfast. I grabbed some Krispy Kreme donuts and a cup of coffee on our way to NYNY to collect on my NASCAR bet. I came out $4 ahead. We decided to play some blackjack at MGM. We found a $5 non-smoking table and Doug bought in right away. Since I still had my donuts and coffee I wasn’t allowed to sit until I finished the donuts. I should have bought some more donuts since I quickly lost half of my buy in no time at all. Deciding not to throw more money at what seemed to be a weekend long losing streak, I got up and wandered around a bit. When I came back to check on Doug he was ready to leave too.

    We decided to head back to the Luxor, where we both had good luck the day before. On the way out I had told him about me making a fool out of myself in front of the webcam and he decided it would be great to see if his wife could spot us. After a phone call and some searching for the right link, she finally got the webcam feed. Now, I don’t know if she did this on purpose, but she kept saying that she couldn’t see us so we kept waving to the camera like idiots. Of course people were walking by us wondering what the hell we were doing (and probably saying “there but for the grace of God…). Eventually she said she saw us and actually got a big kick out of it. She tried to save the pic, but I don’t think that it was possible.

    Well our luck at the Luxor didn’t last overnight, and after going up and down I decided that I had enough blackjack for the trip. I couldn’t draw a decent hand and when I did, I either a push or the dealer drew something better. So when I cashed out I was down another $20.

    It was time to check out which was really easy and didn’t take long at all. I checked my bag at the Bell desk and was good to go until I had to leave that afternoon.

    By now it was time for Doug to head to the airport. So we said our goodbyes and I started my trek to my favorite casino for craps – Treasure Island. Since my gambling luck this trip was awful I have to be honest, it wasn’t like I wanted to jump into a cab and run to the craps tables. I decided to walk and check out some other casinos along the way.

    First stop was the Bellagio. Checked out the conservatory again to get a breath of fresh air, all the smoky casinos were killing me. While on the way to check out their craps tables I passed a $25 minimum blackjack table and saw a guy who had a stack of black chips that were so high that I swear the top was even with his head. I wondered if any of the pit bosses would talk to him about separating it into smaller stacks, or what would happen if his little tower fell over. The craps tables were pretty dead, so I continued my journey without stopping.

    While crossing over Las Vegas Blvd I had the idea that I would check out one of Hurricane Mikey’s favorites and headed to the Imperial Palace. I’ve been there a couple of times to place Formula One race bets, but haven’t really checked the place out. I’ve also heard that the cocktail waitresses were something to be seen, which was an added bonus. I don’t know… I must have caught it at a bad time, because the only craps table that was packed was one where I heard – “OK, he just threw a five. The five is now what is called the point. He has to throw another five before a seven comes up…†The only other open craps table had two people at it and made the crap’s tables at the Bellagio look like Mardi Gras at midnight. So I decided to look for the other thing that made me come into the IP, but even they were no where to be found. I did see a couple of old ladies pushing the change carts around though. Wow, how bad is my luck going to get???

    So after heading back onto the street, I decided “No more diversions!†I eventually arrived at the TI and headed straight to the craps tables. Well it wasn’t as bad as the tables at Bellagio, but glancing around the faces at the table didn’t inspire me any either. So I decided to watch for a while and see if things would pick up. They didn’t. As a matter of fact, if I would have bet I would have lost $45 in a heartbeat… point seven out, point seven out, point seven out… The craps quest continued.

    I decided to head next door to the Mirage and see what the action was like there. Finally a craps table that had some activity! I bought in for $60 and was soon in nirvana. It wasn’t planned, but I was actually able to roll pretty much as soon as I got in. The guy next to me hit one set of numbers and then 7’d out. I didn’t do much better, but at least I made the idiot at the corner that was betting the “dark side†leave some money on the table! After I hit two points he stopped betting and then I 7’d out. Ha! He should have hung in there for a little while longer! The next couple of throwers did OK, but nothing spectacular. I didn’t care, I wasn’t losing and that’s all that mattered to me. By the time the dice passed to the far side of the table I was joined on my left hand side by a guy who had been standing on the sidelines for a bit. He was as betting as conservative as I was, but we both decided to bet on the hard four (which was the point). I bet one for myself and one for the dealers and sure enough it hit! Unfortunately I only had a dollar out there, but hey on top of my pass line bet with odds I was happy. His come out roll was a seven - winner! He then established a point of nine and hit that too. Unfortunately before he hit the nine he also threw an easy four and away went our hard way bets. He then set another point of four and we immediately threw in our hard way bets. Now you would have thought I would have stepped up and tossed out at least a red chip on the hard way bet, but I didn’t. Another couple of rolls and he hit it again! This time my new friend and I were exchanging high fives and the table was feeling great. But, like all good things, this came to an end. Another point established, but this time he soon 7’d out and so ended his run. The “dark side†better took another beating and once again didn’t bet when the shooter finally 7’d out – Ha!

    I stayed for a little while longer and lost and lost and lost. By this time I was starting to get really hungry and decided to leave. I have to say I was surprised when I cashed out that I was only up $40, but at least I was positive. I guess I stayed longer than I should have. The dealers were happy that I made bets for them and thanked me as they colored me up.

    I headed to Paris to grab a steak classique and frites at Mon Ami Gabi on the outside patio, but when I got there it was a 20-30 minute wait. I asked about eating at the bar, since it was only me, but when I walked back there wasn’t any room. So I decided that I would try something at Mandalay Bay. I had wanted to gamble there so I could add another chip to my collection, so off I went.

    On the way down I remembered I had to pick up a T-shirt for a friend at Coyote Ugly. She wanted a sleeveless “Tâ€, but didn’t want the “I danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly†since she already “done that, got the T-shirtâ€. Hoping that she would at least model it for me later, I found a great one but didn’t see one in any other colors but pink or white which I was also told not to get. While waiting in line, yes there was a line to get Coyote Ugly souvenirs, I over heard a great conversation. It was a group of older ladies talking about their husbands.

    Coyote Ugly has a frozen drink stand out front which had a… shall we say extremely top-heavy server working at. Wow, who would have guessed??? The ladies were talking about whose husband was going to make the biggest ass out of themselves while trying to get a drink and at the same time trying not to stare. They also thought it was hilarious that their husbands had ‘volunteered’ to get their wives a drink since they knew they were so thirsty. I have to be honest; they (the husbands) should have been where we were since I had a great view. I have to admit; frozen drink girl was a hottie! At least this made up for the IP!

    After buying the T-shirt and actually finding the right color on one of the sales girls (I guess I was too distracted by frozen drink girl), I took the express tram from the Excaliber to Mandalay Bay.

    Since it was after 2:00PM, I was seated right away. Which made me happy, but then struck me as a little ironic since by the time I was seated at the House of Blues, I would have already started eating my lunch at Mon Ami Gabi if I had chosen to wait. Oh well… Once again I had a great waitress who checked on me on a frequent basis to make sure I was happy. Had a bottle of water, two bottles of Bass beer and a pulled pork sandwich with fries. The bill with tip came out to be around $25.

    After lunch I went to find a craps table. Coming off my win at the Mirage, I was feeling pretty good. I was happy to find a $5 craps table and it was actually pretty lively. I bought in for $100 but came in during the middle of a roll. The point was 5, but I have this thing about waiting for the current shooter to finish up by either 7’ing out or hitting their point. I know I can place come bets or just about any other bet out there, but just don’t like doing it. He soon 7’d out and I put down my pass line bet. Unfortunately, not much action this time. I hung out for a bit, but walked away $28 down.

    The one thing I did notice was that the guy standing next to me had a sizeable rack of chips. Lots of reds, greens and a couple of black chips. I know it doesn’t sound that strange on the surface, but he seemed to be clueless when it came to laying down bets. The dealer was telling him how much money to put down and which bets he should cover. I guess it was working since he had the chips to show for it, but it was just kind of strange. He wasn’t pressing his bets, making come, field or hard way bets. He just collected the chips when his place bets hit. He also had pass line bets with odds. Once the point was established the dealer asked him for the correct amount of money so that he could cover the rest of the numbers. He also had to be told which color chip(s) to give back to the dealer when his place bets hit and the dealers didn’t give him exactly what he was owed. Maybe it’s just me, but I thought it was kind of strange.

    So by now I’m ready to head to the airport. I walked back to the Luxor, collected my luggage and grabbed a cab. Once again it was around $10 for the fare. This time the cabbie didn’t say a word and I was too tired to start a conversation.

    It was a ver short line at check in and a short line at security. This time I took off my boots so I wouldn’t get the wand treatment again. The elapsed time from being dropped off at the airport to getting off the tram at terminal “D†was less than 30 minutes. Which was a lot less than I had thought it was going to be. On top of that, the plane was running late so I had time to kill. So I headed for my favorite airport bar and had some martinis before the short flight home.

    The flight home was uneventful, and before I knew it I was back in Denver.

    Even though my gambling luck was crappy, I still had a great time. I never did get to see the fountains at Bellagio or the Big Elvis show at the Barbary Coast. Not sure when I’m going to head back out, but have tentatively planned a trip for September.

    This was a long report and I hope I didn’t bore too many of you. Thanks for reading.
  2. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Jan 25, 2002
    Southeast of Sin City
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Hey Milehiman--

    Great Report!!! I'm a big fan of the Luxor and have always felt lucky there.

    I'm sorry to hear about the IP. Usually it's a much better scene.

    Thanks for the info on the nice restaurants, though. I've never been to any of the places that you mentioned, but it's tough when you're usually with a bunch of drunks who'd rather spend their money at the craps tables (Yeah, that's me :rolleyes: ). Anyhow, I enjoyed hearing about them, and I've promised myself that next time I visit Vegas, I want to go to a 'nice' place for dinner at least once.

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