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Best Las Vegas Trip So Far - ROYALS!

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by PSM, May 19, 2017 at 10:41 AM.

  1. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2011
    Messages:
    373
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8

    My Trip Report

    Note: I'll break this up into a day per post to make it easier to read since it's long with a lot of details.

    My wife and I are back after four fun-filled and WINNING nights in Las Vegas! We each got two free nights at Mirage via MyVegas and ended up on one of the best vacations we’ve taken. If you like plenty of pictures, detailed trip reports, and most importantly, ROYALS, read on!

    THURSDAY

    Our flight was at 3:30pm direct out of Austin. I had the day off but my wife had to work a half day, so it was strange having to wait as I normally like to fly out first thing in the morning. These flight times saved us some money and saved her a half vacation day, though, so it was worth it.

    The Frontier flight was smooth and basically on-time - under three hours in the air - so we landed around 4:30pm Vegas time. We actually ended up doing a little loop around the valley because as we were coming in to land, we were apparently too close to another plane. The pilot sped up and climbed back up again before banking left and circling around past Red Rock for a second attempt, this one successful. It gave us a little overhead tour of the whole valley and Strip, which was cool.

    We grabbed our checked bag and a shuttle to the rental car center where we picked up a black Kia Rio hatchback from Avis for $89 total. Gotta love the cheap rental cars in Vegas. How do you beat $89 total for four nights, even in a Kia Rio?

    The drive up the Strip to Mirage had minimal traffic and we soaked in the sights with the windows down. I usually rent a car, so that first drive up the Strip is where it really hits me that I’ve finally arrived. I love seeing the pyramid, the castle, and especially the gold lion at MGM.

    We self-parked at Mirage with free parking for the whole trip because I got the MLife MasterCard. This also gave us a sign-up bonus of over $100 in comp points because we paid $1,000 worth of bills on it over the first few months, so that was nice to have. Check-in went well and we had an awesome check-in person who took care of an issue with the MyVegas booking that I had screwed up. She also gave us a 15th floor Strip view king room looking out towards TI, Wynn/Encore, Venetian/Palazzo, and Harrah’s/High Roller, so I tipped her for going out of her way for us and being extremely pleasant; gotta start off with that good karma!

    We love the rooms at Mirage; they’re everything we need and nothing we don’t. Plenty of space for two people, plenty of drawers for clothes, good quality, modern feel, and not worn or dated. The only thing we felt needed an upgrade was the shower head but that’s not a big deal.

    After we settled in, we decided to get dinner at Fin in the Mirage. I’ve read mixed reviews but we both thought it was really good, if not a little pricey. I got the general Tsao’s chicken and she got some sort of seafood thing. It was expensive but I wouldn’t necessarily say overpriced considering the general cost of Strip hotel restaurants. The ambiance was unique and very cool.

    Afterwards, we just wandered the Strip up to Cromwell and back. I had never seen Cromwell and wanted to check it off the list. Neither of us was particularly impressed but there was nothing bad about it. I’d gamble there if they had good DDB, but then again I’d gamble just about anywhere that had good DDB.

    We crossed the street and wandered through Caesars and forum shops, then eventually crossed again and wound up playing video poker at the bar at Casino Royale. No more 9/6 there, unfortunately, but at that point we had been in Vegas for hours and I just wanted to gamble and sip on free drinks. She played quarter DDB for a while and didn’t hit anything but I found out they had nickel triple play DDB, so I stuck with that on five coins. I ended up hitting two different Aces with kickers on lines 2 and 3 and a single quad, although it was only nickels, so not huge payouts. It didn’t matter, I just like playing nickels so I can play for a while. We’re low rollers and I like the playing aspect just as much as the winning aspect, so if I can play nickels for a long time and end up roughly even, that’s worth it for the hours of entertainment. I can’t normally play quarters for hours unless we hit something good right off the bat because $100 can go so fast on quarters without a good hit. I ended the night up $20, though, and she didn’t lose much after hours of both drinking for free, so I’ll take it.

    After that it was back to the room somewhere around 12:30pm Vegas time.
     
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  2. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    FRIDAY

    We woke up and got ready around 7:30am, I won $100 on a Wheel of Fortune slot at Mirage, then we headed to Mon Ami Gabi for breakfast on the patio. It was a short wait, which was nice. Coffee, mimosa, chocolate waffles, and she had the eggs benedict. All delicious. The waffles blew my mind with the homemade whipped cream. I also really loved their coffee.

    Back to Mirage for some pool time and there were no chairs available, so we got one of the private padded chairs at the private pool. It was worth it to have a more secluded spot to keep our stuff, access to the private pool, and a nice comfortable lounger to soak up the sun. We got a large pina colada and margarita. Pina colada was good, margarita was better. Yeah, they were like $24 each but realistically they were large enough to be two separate drinks, so it was really more like $12 a drink in my opinion.

    For lunch, we ate at Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, which did not disappoint and had no wait. I won’t pretend to be a connoisseur of fish and chips but my wife is a huge seafood fan and we both loved it. Perfectly flaky, crispy, and moist, and the fries were delicious. And I AM a connoisseur of french fries. We would definitely go back.

    We spent the rest of the night wandering up and down the Strip as far as Excalibur and Tropicana. Along the way, we lost a little at craps at Cosmo, maybe $40. I did a whiskey tasting at Monte Carlo’s High Limit bar that my wife got me with MyVegas points. We walked through The Park, which was another checklist item since I’d never seen it. I thought it was a cool spot but we didn’t really do anything there. Next, we went into NYNY, had a slice of pizza and a couple sides from Greenberg’s, then went up to the arcade because I wanted to see if they still had that sweet Ferrari racing game, which they didn’t. We played other games and my wife got some purple rock star glasses with her arcade points.

    Excalibur netted a $20 loss for me at roulette and a $20 win for my wife at a Top Dollar slot before crossing to Tropicana where we both lost $20 on slots. Not only have I never won a single dollar in that place, I’ve never seen anyone win anything there. I know it’s basically random walking up to a slot and throwing $20 in but it leaves a bad taste in your mouth when you never get a single decent hit somewhere after doing that once or twice on every trip.

    Next up was MGM where we both played Sigma Derby for a while. Played for a long time and only ended up losing $20. It was a lot of fun and had a good group of people playing cheering on the horses. The last of the night was spent wandering back to Mirage via Planet Hollywood and eventually the Linq casino, which was a third checklist item. I’d stayed at Imperial Palace previously and last time we were there it was The Quad. The casino seems pretty nice but we didn’t play at all. Got back to the room somewhere after midnight or maybe later.
     
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  3. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

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    SATURDAY - ROYAL DAY #1

    Saturday morning, it was finally time: PAYARD. The best eggs benedict we’ve ever had. Coffee, mimosa, and eggs benedict in that delicious, buttery, flaky croissant. Heaven. I can’t even express my level of disappointment at the fact that they’re closing this year. For us, Las Vegas will not be the same destination without it. Sometimes something just connects with you and although it may not be your only reason for going, it becomes a staple of the trip. I will miss it dearly.

    After breakfast, we walked to the Rio to use a Travelzoo coupon I had for KISS mini golf because I’m a huge KISS fan. It was a blast. Lots of black lights, cool paintings on the walls telling KISS stories, live concert footage playing on big screens, a huge Les Paul, and a DJ playing requests, all KISS songs, of course. I was apparently so fun and having such a good time that the DJ gave me a guitar necklace thing (her words on me being fun haha). Totally worth it if you’re a KISS fan.

    The Rio was also nicer than I remember. I had been there once about a decade ago for the Sunday brunch buffet they used to have but didn’t remember the property very well. If it was a slightly closer walk to the Strip, it would be a nice option for people.

    Next up, we walked over to Palms for some long-awaited 10/6 DDB video poker. After all these years of playing, I never even knew anyone had 10/6 nickels. Being that we’re low rollers with a small bankroll, I was looking forward to being able to put some cash in and hopefully just play for hours. Turns out we’d be able to do that a few times this trip. For anyone who isn’t a VP person, you play DDB with five coins to get the full royal flush payout, so 25 cents a hand on nickels. We started playing nickels for a bit and I actually blew through about $50 much faster than expected before I finally hit four aces for $40 to get me back up near even. I was happy because this meant a lot more playing time (I would have probably slowed down or moved to something else if I had lost $60 without any good hits on nickels).

    Right about then, I made a comment to my wife that if she upgraded to dimes (so 50 cents a hand), she’d still be on 10/6 and could potentially get bigger payouts without having to go all the way up to quarters and losing money too quickly. So she upgrades to dimes and boom, hits a royal flush in the first hand. $400. Seeing as how we only bring about $100 each per day for gambling that we’re willing to lose, this was a big win for the trip and the first royal either of us has ever hit. We celebrated with a lot of drinks and wound up playing for hours on end. I stuck with nickels and ended up hitting my first straight flush ever and enough various paying four of a kinds to leave up about $20. She eventually upgraded to quarters and also wound up hitting a bunch of smaller four of a kinds, leaving up probably $450 or so.

    When we were done, we took a Lyft back to Mirage. It was our first Lyft/Uber experience and it went very smoothly. I don’t think we waited more than a few minutes for the car to show up and the driver was very nice. We walked to Crystals and ate dinner at Wolfgang Puck’s Cucina, my wife’s favorite celebrity chef. We had a MyVegas deal for a buy one get one free appetizer, which helped because the food and drinks were not cheap. We split the ribeye and the seabass and both were phenomenal; tons of strong flavors and everything cooked to perfection. They also brought us a complimentary chocolate dessert since it was our five year anniversary dinner.

    Afterwards, we wandered back to Mirage through various casinos and wound up playing a bit at Mirage. We were down a little bit when I remembered they have 9/6 DDB if you play $2 games, so we took turns at a machine just playing one coin per hand. $2 a hand is normally too rich for us, especially since the royal doesn’t give you the huge payout, but we wanted to play a bit more at Mirage before bed. We ran a little bit through and then my wife hit quad two’s for $200, then proceeded to play a while longer before cashing out up $100 or more. We figured that was about as far as we should push our luck after such a great day, so it was off to bed after that.
     
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  4. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

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    SUNDAY - ROYAL DAY #2

    Sunday was our planned off-Strip day to be spent mostly at Red Rock Canyon and then Red Rock Casino. We started with breakfast at The Pantry at Mirage, which was really good but on the pricey side, and I also played a little Ultimate Texas Hold’em at the hotel before we left. I walked away up $25 after tipping the dealer $5, so nothing big but a nice start to the day.

    We got married at the overlook at Red Rock Canyon in 2012, so we wanted “five years later” pictures from this anniversary trip. We did the loop first with a little hiking and climbing on the rocks, then took some pictures at the overlook. Red Rock Canyon is one of my favorite places in the world. I could spend hours and hours there and never get bored.

    When we were done, we drove to Red Rock Casino for some more 10/6 DDB. They only have quarters but we felt good going into it because we were doing so well on the trip. It didn’t take almost any time, though, before my wife turns to me and goes, “Hey watch, four to a royal…” and we both chuckled a bit. Then she hit the button and bam. A second royal. Two royals in two days, this one for $1,000. I think I actually jumped up out of my seat and yelled with a giant fist pump, then started yelling out, “Where the drinks at?! Where the drinks at?!” looking for a cocktail waitress. We took photos and just sat soaking in the situation for a few minutes before we even started playing again, getting a celebration shot from the waitress when she came around. We continued to play for quite a few more hours with me hitting a second straight flush, a couple higher paying quads and both of us hitting smaller paying quads. I left up somewhere over $100 and she left up almost $800 after all of that playing.

    We drove back to Mirage late afternoon and spent a couple hours at the pool, then went to Roku Sushi at Forum Shops with a view of the Strip. We got a large variety of food and rolls but the dumplings, in particular, were great. All of the food and sake was good and we splurged a bit getting pretty much anything we wanted after the big wins. That was nice. Next we went on the Higher Roller with an open bar via Groupon deal. We felt was totally worth it to do once for the unique view, especially at night. This was also our first time fully walking through The Linq shopping area and it was cool; gave me a sort of 6th Street (Austin) kind of vibe, only newer and a bit more upscale, obviously. We spent the rest of the night at the karaoke bar upstairs at Chayo and met and hung out with a bunch of locals who were a lot of fun. I had at least one too many Hendricks and tonics and only vaguely remember the walk back to the hotel, but it was a great time.
     
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  5. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

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    MONDAY

    Our flight didn’t leave until 6:15pm and we had a late checkout already scheduled, so we were able to relax and take our time enjoying a good part of the day before heading back to return the rental car. We started with breakfast at the Mirage buffet, which is generally disappointing but was free with two MyVegas comps, so why not save some money? I wouldn’t ever pay for this buffet after the few times I’ve been there but I’ll go for free. We also lost a few bucks each on Wheel of Fortune slots, I think $20 for her and $40 for me.

    Next, we had to walk to Crystals to pick up my wife’s credit card she forgot at Cucina a couple nights before, but it was a nice final walk down some of the Strip and back on a beautiful day. The only bad part was the security took forever to bring it to us, like unreasonably long, which sucks when you’re trying to make the most of a last day. Oh well, we’d hit two royals, a bunch of great quads, had a lot of great experiences, and pretty much perfect weather, so nothing is getting us down!

    We walked back to Mirage to pack and check out. Stopped at the MLife desk because I knew I had some comp points available to apply to our room charges and turns out they comped the majority of our bill for the two nights we were on my wife’s reservation. It wasn’t a huge amount but it was a pleasant surprise. We also checked out at 1pm, so they downgraded the 3pm late checkout fee to the 1pm checkout fee, another nice surprise.

    Our final adventure was to drive down to Mandalay Bay since my wife had free Shark Reef passes; I think it was our final MyVegas redemption we could use. It’s cool but kind of small and quick, not something I’d be happy about paying full price for; we enjoyed it for free, though. We wanted to do a little gambling and grab food for the plane before heading back to the rental car center, so I went to the MLife desk to make sure I didn’t have any comp/free play points left and I didn’t but they wound up giving me $22 to Citizens restaurant. We played a bit before we left and I wound up winning back my $40 from earlier in the day plus another $12 on roulette, and my wife ended up winning back her $20 plus another $20 on a Wheel of Fortune slot. They weren’t big wins but it was a great feeling to be leaving on a positive note. We also counted the unexpected $22 food credit as a final win and grabbed more than enough food for two people at the take-out counter at Citizens, all of which was delicious.

    We drove to the rental car center, quickly and easily returned the Avis car, hopped on a shuttle that was waiting, and were at the gate with our bag checked probably two hours before our flight. The flight itself was on time and with the tailwind was only in the air for about two hours and fifteen minutes. We left Mandalay Bay a little after 3pm Vegas time and were back at our house in Texas getting ready for bed at midnight our time, which is two hours ahead, so 10pm Vegas time. 7 hours from on Strip gambling to at home in bed; you really can’t beat that considering we used to live on the East coast and often had to deal with longer flights, connections, and/oror long drives to and from the airport.

    END RESULT

    This was probably the best trip I’ve had to Las Vegas. We stayed within budget on our food/other spending money we had set aside for the trip and when I counted our gambling cash I had brought with us specifically for playing (which I always keep separate), we came home up $800. I’ve never had such a winning trip and I’ve certainly never been able to play nearly as much as we did on this one; it was a blast and like living in a dream being able to just sit and play long enough to hit a lot of great hands, never mind walk away a winner almost every session. The amount of time we spent there was just long enough to make all of the planning and saving and travel time worth it but still left us wanting to go back sooner than later, which is a perfect balance. And the weather was great, 80s to low 90s peak most days and 60s to 70s overnight. We couldn’t have asked for more from this trip.
     
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  6. WHU66

    WHU66 Low-Roller

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    Nice report, well done with the wins! Glad you had fun and congrats on the anniversary!
     
    Meeting up with the family
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  7. vegasvette

    vegasvette Low-Roller

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    Super congrats on your 5 years of marriage and your winning trip. It seems as though you both thoroughly enjoyed yourselves.
     
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  8. bighouse304

    bighouse304 Low-Roller

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    Nice job! Sounded like a great trip!!!
     
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  9. crm1310

    crm1310 Tourist

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    great wins! thanks for sharing
     
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  10. Niteshade

    Niteshade Low-Roller

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    Loved the tone of your trip report. So nice
    to hear such upbeat thoughts and experiences
    throughout your whole trip. Happy Anniversary
    and thanks for sharing your wonderful time with us.
    Congrats on the Royals!! So glad you had such
    a nice anniversary trip!
     
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  11. erica1025

    erica1025 Low-Roller

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    Awesome trip! And happy belated anniversary!
    I had to look up Payard and now might make that a stop on my upcoming trip
     
    Solo Trip
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  12. TIMSPEED

    TIMSPEED !địt mẹ!

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    All that winning and no iPhone....
     
    Alice Cooper!!
    Backstreet Boys!
  13. Spock

    Spock Tourist

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    Thank you for the report .. Congratulations on the Royal and glad you had a fantastic time.
     
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  14. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    It's a shame they don't have 9/6 DDB since they actually bother to have a "full pay" bank. They could have offered 9/6 Double Double Aces and Faces (99.46%) to be above 99%...but no. :( Or you could have tried your luck on 9/7 TDB (99.58% max).

    Congrats on the Royals!
     
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  15. God-Speed

    God-Speed Low-Roller

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    Congratulations on your 5th. My wife and I always go to Vegas in August to celebrate our Anniversary and Love staying at the Mirage. Its is also a good feeling to come Home with More Money as well. Nicely done!! :thumbsup:
     
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  16. PSM

    PSM Low-Roller

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    Sorry for no pics in the original post! I have a bunch but ran out of time when I was writing the posts. Here are a few!

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    Last edited: May 20, 2017 at 3:27 PM
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  17. God-Speed

    God-Speed Low-Roller

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    Great pictures guys, I also forgot to mention, we live in Austin as well!! :thumbsup:
     
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  18. sinkster

    sinkster Tourist

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    Congrats on your TR and winning trip!! Sounds like you two had a lot of fun.
     
    25th Wedding Anniversary
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  19. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Ye of little faith...lol

    Nice pics, @PSM!
     
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  20. Ckspores

    Ckspores Tourist

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    Thanks for sharing! Congrats on 5 years and on all the winning!
     
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