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Buddha's Vegas Trip Report -- Nov. 9 - 16 , 2016

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Buddha, Nov 19, 2016.

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  1. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    My Trip Report

    Well, folks ... Vegas trip #60 is over, and here are the usual details for your reading pleasure ....

    Our round-trip Southwest Airlines flights, Nov. 9th and 16th out of Chicago Midway were purchased back on May 19 / 2016, when SWA opened up the November ticket window. These flights were priced "FREE" for each of us (Nancy and me), using some of our many SWA Rapid Reward credits. Added to that were basic taxes & fees , and our usual $12.50 per person, each way for the SWA Early-Bird check-in ... worth every penny for an "A" boarding pass.

    Wednesday , November 9, 2016 :
    At 5:09 am, we catch our local Metra commuter train to the downtown Chicago Union Station ... and then walk over to the "elevated loop" commuter "Orange Line", which takes us directly to the back entrance of Midway airport. With our pre-printed boarding passes, WITH the TSA Pre-Chk, we are easily through security in less than 2 minutes. And, after a McDonald's breakfast, we thought it would be a typical 90 minute wait until we were lined up for boarding our 9:30 am "on schedule" plane. HOWEVER, our plane was coming in from Kansas City was late, and departure was pushed back to 10:30 am. Everyone was very disappointed in this delay, especially when the destination is LAS VEGAS !!! The flight was uneventful, except for knowing we were losing prime Vegas time, arriving at 12:20 pm Vegas time. :-(

    After de-planing with all of our belongings, we immediately headed for the shuttle bus for the short ride to the car rental garage. We already have our Alamo reservation papers in hand, and headed directly up to the Alamo level, and picked out our white Nissan Sentra. This compact rental car was much better than the mini-van we had back in September. This Nissan compact was priced out at $187 for the week, which included all the usual "B/S" taxes & fees, and 2400 RR points on an Alamo/Southwest promo code. This car was somewhat new, and but had the usual minor scratches on it, that I reported at check-out ... and away we went.

    Upon leaving the car barn, we headed up to Tropicana Ave., and east to the Hooters Casino for our LV Advisor free-play coupons ( + $16 ). We then cut over to Flamingo Rd., to the Dollar Tree store for a few supplies, only to find the store temporarily closed for some strange reason. Luckily, there was a Target store in that general shopping area ... so we were able to get our usual supplies there ... albeit for a few dollars higher than Dollar Tree would have been. Returning back west on Flamingo Rd. , it was a quick drive west to the Gold Coast Hotel / Casino, where we would spend the first night ( comped free ). Check-in was quick & easy, with a room on the 1st floor (which is actually the 2nd floor). After getting our gear settled into our room, we were soon down in the casino. Nancy registered her player's card on the Kiosk for the "Young at Heart" (seniors) drawing at 4:30, and we played Video Poker for about 2 1/2 hours, until the "Young at Heart" drawing. Back in September, playing in the "high-limit" room, with the good Triple-Play quarter machines, I pulled a Royal. However, this trip my machine only teased me with a few draws to a possible Royal, but no luck getting any Royals, and ended this afternoon session down about $140. We found a "Jackpot Party" penny slot machine that Nancy seems to like ... so we each put in $10, and after several spins, we hit the party page of opening presents, and ended up with a "team win" of $16.

    No luck in the Young at Heart drawing, but for dinner, and we used our Young at Heart 2/1 coupon for one free buffet, and used player points for the second person ... for a fully free dinner for the two of us. Back to our room at the Gold Coast for a little TV, but it didn't take very long before it was nothing but ZZZZZZ's , after a long day from home. In the morning, we will be moving downtown to Main Street Station for the next 6 nights.

    Thursday , November 10, 2016 :
    Up early, showered, dressed, and repacked ... we check out from the Gold Coast, no charges ... and head downtown to Main Street Station, where we have a comped reservation for the next 6 days. Arriving at MSS, it's only 6:00 am as we enter the parking garage, so we leave our luggage in the car. Stopping at the hotel front desk, the clerk is happy to check on our reserved room, and temporarily checks Nancy in for our first 3 nights (I will have 3 follow-up nights), and tells us to come back at around 1:00 - 2:00 am for the keys, and the room would be ready ... good deal !!

    So, with some time to kill, we head for the casino at the California, for an hour of some video poker. After winning & losing a few dollars at the Cal, we return to MSS for the breakfast buffet, and pay for it with some of Nancy's many player card points. After a relaxing & filling breakfast, we head back to the California casino ... Nancy to one of her favorite slant-tops, single-line Bonus Poker quarter machines, and me to a bank of All-Star Video Poker quarter machines, where I play Triple Play (3 lines) , also playing Bonus Poker. We play here until about 1:30 pm, losing about $80, and head back to MSS, and were officially checked in on the 7th floor, requested a coffee pot & coffee supplies, and moved all of our belongings up to the room. With all things now in the room, and suitcases unpacked, we head back down to the California casino, to resume our VP activities. Nancy is still sticking to her previous "lucky" machine, and I'm still hammering away at my Triple-Play, but not making any progress ... Nancy losing about $100, and me only losing about $17, thanks to a few quad winners . Along with Nancy's room offer, also came a $25 free-play voucher for the Cal, which she then turned into a profit (+ $27).

    For dinner, we returned to the Main Street Station buffet, again paid with Nancy's player points. This Thursday dinner buffet had a nice selection of entree choices, from beef, chicken, 2 or 3 types of fish, pasta, along with several side dishes, and salads & desserts. We did not leave hungry !! :)We're done gambling for the day with eyes weary, but before getting to the room, we stop at the player's club, and pick up a comp slip for tomorrow's MSS breakfast buffet. Up in the room for the evening, with Nancy relaxing with a good book, watching TV, and me on my lap-top, grabbing a free signal from Fremont Street. .... and eventually ... ZZZZZZZ.

    Friday , November 11 , 2016 :

    Today starts off with our usual breakfast buffet (with our free comp) at Main Street Station, with very similar offerings as other weekdays, but still enjoyable, and we get to visit with many of the employees who we've made friendships with on previous trips. After breakfast, we return to our usual VP machines at the Cal, always hoping for the elusive winning sessions. Unfortunately for me, today's sessions are about the same as the previous day, losing about $100 on my Triple Play, but Nancy keeps her winning ways, with a win of + $34.
    We take a break here for a road-trip to the Westgate Casino (previously the Hilton) in order to play some LV Advisor coupons for free-play and MP's. We had to wait in a long line at the player's club here, in order for them to process our coupons, but it was worth it. The free-play got us a $27 profit, and our $10 MP's earned us a double win for a $40 profit. This little road trip here was surely worth it, and if you go there, be sure to park in the FREE parking area off of Joe E. Brown Road, behind the casino, by the sports book entrance. All other parking areas & parking garages will cost you about $10 !!! :-( Time to head back to MSS, with a smile on our face !!! :)

    For dinner this evening, we visited the Market Street Cafe at the California. For this dinner, we decided to order from the menu, which included a trip to their extensive salad-bar, and the food was very good. Nancy ordered the T-Bone steak dinner, while I ordered my favorite, the Prime Rib steak special, with mashed potatoes & green beans w/ the salad bar !!. This is one of my favorite meals, and we used a 2/1 coupon, and player points for another free meal. :)

    On the way back to our room, we stopped by the Cal player's club, and picked up Saturday's breakfast "brunch" buffet comp. The Saturday and Sunday breakfast "brunch" buffets are a little more special than on Monday though Friday, with more choice items, and even champagne. Back in our MSS room for some TV, catching up on emails, and planning for more Video Poker at the Cal tomorrow. Lights out .... ZZZZZZZZZ.
    Saturday , Nov. 12 , 2016 :
    Up early, as usual .... getting showered, dressed, and prepped for another attack on the VP machines at the Cal. We were at our usual machines at the Cal by 6:00 am ... Nancy at her single-line slant top, and me at my Triple-Play VP upright machines. In the hour's play before heading to MSS breakfast buffet, Nancy lost a few dollars, while my Triple-Play machine gave me one line of quad deuces, the another line of quad threes ... and about 15 minutes later DEALT me quad three's .... this one hand for 600 quarters ($150) ... sending us to breakfast with a tidy profit. :)
    After a delicious breakfast at the MSS buffet, we returned to the California casino for a few more hours of video poker, back at our usual machines. This lengthy session was very choppy, and there were losses for Nancy, but some nice periodic wins for me on my Triple-Play machines. When all the smoke cleared, we had a small win of about $29. A lot of play for such a small return.

    Sunday , November 13 , 2016 :

    This is the morning that Nancy's 3-day MSS reservation ends, and our "stay-over" switches to my 3-day MSS reservation, staying in the very same room. My comp offer comes from the MSS hotel, from my preferred play in MSS casino, and our host at MSS is able to combine our two room offers at MSS, so we can stay there, without having to move. But first, we stop by the hotel counter, and officially sign Nancy out, and then my reservation back in, with a fresh set of key cards. Housekeeping is notified, and does a full clean-up of the room, so that by noon to 1:00 pm, we will have full access back to our room. At 7:00 am, we have another fine breakfast ("free") at the Sunday Brunch buffet at MSS ... with lots of nice choices of fruit and breakfast entrees. You might have noticed that we never have any lunch between breakfast and dinner. :)

    Here at the MSS, my long-time favorite machines are the full-pay 8/5 Bonus Poker, Triple-Play , and Nancy again has several of her favorite slant-top machines with 8/5 Single-Line Bonus Poker to choose from. The other "side-bonus" in playing at the MSS casino is the possibility of earning "Scratch Cards". As long as you are playing max-coin, any 4-of-a-Kind, Straight Flush (or Royal Flush) will earn you a scratch-card. Be sure to immediately light up your "service light" , and a floor person will show up with a scratch card. If you are playing a multi-line game , like me, it is possible to get multiple scratch cards in a multi-line game. If I was ever lucky enough to be dealt (or fill in) a quad hand on all lines of my Triple-Play machine, then I would get 3 scratch cards. AND, that very thing happened three times on this trip, The high majority of scratch cards are for $2, but there are a few for $3, or $5, or higher ... and the Jackpot card is worth $5000 !!! Lots of luck getting that one !!!

    We played several hours of VP here at MSS this day, earning 18 scratch cards (eighteen for $2, and one for $3 ... $39), with me winning $85 on video poker, and Nancy winning $18 .... while putting 9650 points on my player's card. Dinner for this evening took place at the "777-Brewpub" at MSS. Nancy had the "Taco Salad" (large), and I had the Fish dinner plate, with cole slaw and fries. The bill was about $27, but I had a $15 voucher from MSS, plus player points, for another free dinner, with a cash tip. :) We were comfortably full !!!

    After that, we retired to our room for some R & R , emails, and TV viewing.

    Monday, November 14th , 2016 :

    Up early again this morning ... showered, dressed, and organized for another day in the Main Street casino, and at our machines at 6:30 am. We played until shortly before 8:00 am, winning a few dollars, and earning a few scratch cards, and then headed to the MSS breakfast buffet ... with another free breakfast voucher from the MSS player's club. Lots of good breakfast food, as we discuss our successes and failures from these past few days of video poker.

    After finishing breakfast, we went back to playing at our usual VP machines here at MSS. At my Triple Play VP machine, I now meet up with Paul, another casino friend, who lives only 10 or 15 miles from us in Illinois. We were playing side-by-side, both playing the triple-line 8/5 Bonus Poker, laughing & winning, (and sometimes losing), and getting more scratch cards on quads and two straight flushes. Back in April, when Paul and I met up here at MSS, Paul and I each managed to fill a Royal Flush here at these MSS Triple-Play machines. However, on this trip, no matter how many times we were dealt the possibilities of filling in a Royal, it never happened. Paul and I were still winning small amounts here and there, but Nancy was in the midst of losing about $140. Not pleased with her bad luck, she took a break up in our room to relax, and read her book.

    After Nancy came back down, we decided to take a break from the VP, grabbed our rental car from the MSS garage, and headed out to do a coupon run. First stop was the Palms, with our MP's on the Roulette table ... one winner, one loser (+10). We had to take a pass on any ACG -Orleans MP's, as they now require you to present those MP coupons at the player's club, and once registered, it's "one & done", and no more. Next, we headed east from the Palms on Flamingo, crossed the Strip, and continued to Koval Lane where we stopped in at Ellis Island, to do our LVA "Play 10, Get 10" free-play coupons, and to our good fortune, we turned our $10 investments, and our coupon free-play into a team profit of $43.75 !!! From Ellis Island, we returned back west on Flamingo Rd., to go to the RIO casino. We don't usually play much at the RIO, but we needed to put a couple points on our Harrah's player cards, so we don't lose our previous credits. Surprisingly, I hit a couple decent hands, and actually won $5 !!! :)

    We now headed back downtown to MSS, and took an afternoon break in our room, to check emails, and itemize our various road-trip profits. We eventually headed back down to the MSS casino, where I hit a few more scratch cards, but in between those, there were lots of losing hands. I still had one more $15 food voucher, which we decided to use (with points) at the MSS dinner buffet, for another free meal. A good selection of dinner choices filled us up, and then it was back to our room for some evening TV and relaxation.

    Tuesday , November 15 . 2016 :

    This day started out as typical as could be, starting with the usual breakfast buffet at Main Street Station ... and then on to the MSS Casino for our daily sessions of video poker. I was happy with my small wins and quads yesterday, and today, the cards were still running decent, but with not as many quads. Not as many scratch cards today, but there was one small surprise .... in the previous two days, only earning $2 and $3 scratch cards .... and today got one for $5 !!!!!

    I temporarily stopped my casino play at 10:30 am, in order to head up to our room, fire up the computer, and check in for our flight tomorrow. We had again paid for the SWA - "Early Bird" check-in ... and on this occasion, we got boarding positions A-33 and A-34 ... and once again, both Nancy and I got the TSA Pre-Chk attached. So tomorrow, we will print our boarding passes at one of the airport kiosks, and we will have an easy trip through the "Pre-Chk" screening line. That way, I will not have to take all my computer gear out out of my satchel, to go through the security line, nor take off our shoes.
    Back down to the casino for some more video poker at my Triple-Play machine at MSS. We always try to get a standard amount of daily points on our player's cards, so as to keep our Boyd cards at the "Sapphire" level, and also earn plenty of comp points which we use often on each trip. These comp points save us lots of $$$, as we spend the points just like cash.

    Soon, our evening video poker play ended, and it was time to return to our room, to begin packing up our suitcases, and get a good night's sleep for tomorrow's trip home to reality. :-(

    Wednesday , November 16th , 2016 :

    Today is check-out day , and a 10:30 am flight back to Chicago Midway Airport. We are cleaned up, and packed up, and we stop at the MSS hotel desk for our final check out (no charges). All luggage is in the rental car, and we head down Main Street to Wyoming Street, south on Industrial Rd., linking to Dean Martin Way, across Flamingo Rd., across Tropicana, and all the way down south to Warm Springs Rd. East on Warm Springs Rd, and across LV Blvd. to the corner Rebel gas station for a quick fill-up before the return to the car rental garage. We also go inside to the McDonald's which is attached to the Rebel gas station, for an easy, inexpensive breakfast here, instead of the higher prices at the airport. Everything was in order at the rental car drop-off, and we are soon on the shuttle bus to the airport.

    We have plenty of time to relax at our C-23 departure gate, and relax to wait for our flight to return to Chicago. Nancy relaxes with her library book, and I fire up my compact laptop computer, to check emails and other information. The only minor problem is that our plane coming in, is running about 10 minutes late. And, when you combine that with the time for unloading that plane, and then reloading our group, we might be arriving late to Chicago. We finally depart right about 15 minutes late, from scheduled 10:30 am Vegas time, but the pilot has us landing at Chicago Midway at about 4:15 pm (Chicago time). I used two of my Southwest drink tickets for two "bloody mary's" to help me relax, while working on a few crossword puzzles.

    Off the plane at 4:30 pm at Chicago Midway Airport, and we walk out the back way of Midway, and onto the waiting Orange Line commuter train. Arriving at the downtown "Loop", we make the return walk to Union Station, and much to our surprise, we are only a few minutes away from the 5:17 pm departure of our suburban Metra commuter train to our home station.At about 6:15 pm, we pull into our garage .... and our trip is complete.

    FINAL SUMMARY :

    >> Southwest Airlines MDW to LAS .... Two free tickets using Rapid Reward points, plus $36.20 taxes, fees, and Early-Bird Check-in
    >> Southwest Airlines LAS to MDW .... Used Rapid Reward points again for two free flights, plus $36.20 taxes, fees, and Early-Bird Check-in
    >> Alamo Rental Car -- Nissan compact -- One Week -- $187 , w/ 2400 Rapid Rewards awarded on a Southwest Airlines Promo on Alamo Rental Car

    >> 7 nights --- Gold Coast ( 1 night free) , The California ( 3 nights comped @ MSS) , and MSS ( 3 nights comped @ MSS)
    >> 13 meals ... all comped, or free with coupons & points.
    >> Tips (meals , drinks , floor attendants ... $60.

    >> Casino coupon matchplay bets .... + $ 60
    >> Video Poker .... "Buddha" ( - $ 280 ) .... Nancy ( - $ 420)
    >> 31 scratch Cards @ Main St. Station .... + $ 68
    >> VP Coin-In , Cycled & Re-Cycled .... $ 50 K

    Hope you enjoyed the read ... Comments and questions are always welcome.

    Jim ( "Buddha" )
     
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  2. jENBEAU

    jENBEAU VIP Whale

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    Super fun TR!
     
  3. jrinct1

    jrinct1 VIP Whale

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    Buddha always love your trip reports my friend. Guess you like the Main Street Station buffet ???? ;). I know some trashed it but I always found it good of my journeys out there in years past
     
  4. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    I always enjoy a Buddha trip report and how to do Vegas frugally and maximize all the offers.
     
  5. ddechenne

    ddechenne Low-Roller

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    :beer: Great trip--I wish you many more!
     
  6. Miller12pack

    Miller12pack High-Roller

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    I always play at MSS a few times each trip, usually $100-200 each time. Every time I ask for a breakfast comp, they tell me I haven't played enough. How much play for a comp? I play 25 cent Vp
     
  7. LV2GAMBLE

    LV2GAMBLE Certified LOW Roller

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    Nice report. Thanks for sharing as always.
     
    Whooping it up with the in-laws
  8. dbueler

    dbueler High-Roller

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    Another great trip! Man, you guys have the worst luck with flight delays! Fortunately, the return delay didn't cost you hours of waiting for later trains tho! Sounds like another great trip for team Buddha and Nancy!!
    diane
     
  9. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    I guess my bad luck rubbed off on the 2 of you, but it looks like you did another masterful job combining coupons and points.

    I do have one question on why, with early bird check-in, you went to the room 24 hours in advance of your flight to check-in? Your assigned boarding pass numbers are locked in so they won't change whether you check-in 24 hours in advance or on your arrival at the airport the following day.
     
  10. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Miller12pack .... You should easily be able to get a breakfast buffet comp at MSS after earning 2500 points. We earn our points one day, and then request a the breakfast buffet comp for the next morning. Never had a problem.

    "Buddha"
     
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  11. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Westie .... My checking in at the 24-hour point is only out of my own "curiosity". I know I'm getting the automatic check-in, whether I check in, or not ... but I just like to see what boarding positions we have, and whether we are going to get the "TSA Pre-Chk" .
     
  12. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    You know what they say about curiosity and a cat? :)

    I do have a question about your concern regarding TSA pre-check. I believe you stated in your in a prior trip report that you and Nancy had paid for pre-check so why wouldn't it be included on your boarding passes? When we initially paid for pre-check I had to call the airlines to have our known travelers #'s affixed to our existing reservations, but the more recent ones have it included automatically. Have you had a different experience? I hope not because I have not been checking ours lately.
     
    Last edited: Nov 19, 2016
  13. john1516inny

    john1516inny Low-Roller

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    Really top-notch trip report, We are going tomorrow to Paris, I have to try and write one sooner or later!
     
  14. Buddha

    Buddha VIP Whale

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    Sorry, Westie .... but Nancy and I have NEVER paid for the TSA pre-check. We get it free so many times just because we are such regular fliers with Southwest, that I do not want to spend the $85.
     
  15. M0rtyC

    M0rtyC TBD

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    Thanks for a great report.
     
  16. westie

    westie VIP Whale

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    Nice.
     
  17. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    Fair enough, but it is $85 ($170 total) for five years. To keep my shoes, belt and wallet in my pocket makes it well worth it for us. We fly 5-6 times per year.
     
  18. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    I had the precheck for free in March in PHX... aaaand they still made me take off my belt and take out my wallet. They were surprised i had a confused look on my face. Pretty much solidified me from ever paying for that "service"
     
  19. Joe

    Joe VIP Whale

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    I don't know. We have had it for three years now and have never had to do the shoes, belt etc. Maybe you look like a terrorist. :wink2:
     
  20. saintpauljeff

    saintpauljeff VIP Whale

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    I guess? Certainly not paying $85 to leave shoes on
     
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