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Downtown Grand Nov 5 / Encore Nov 6-9

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, Nov 13, 2016.

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  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    2,276
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26

    My Trip Report

    It must be autumn... in addition to leaves flying in the air, there is the faint smell of poker cards in the air. That must mean that our poker crew is back for the the seventh (almost) annual Poker Guys Trip to Las Vegas for Playing Poker.

    As I prefer to do on these Poker Trip recaps, I like to time stamp them. Now why do I prefer them that way? I dunno. But this is my trip report, so neener, neener, neener. First to recap the players, the Original Four are myself, Scott (who is the plant supervisor where I worked when we started this pilgrimage in 2009), Pat (who was the lead engineer at the same place) and Ben (Scott's Stepson). By the following year, Pat had left our company to join a competitor, and brought along another engineer, Phil. A few years after that, one of my bowling buddies, Pete, joined our group. Finally, for the first time, Jimmy joined our group this year. Jimmy is Pat's brother in law, and a regular member of our home poker game. Jimmy is also afraid of flying, likes to do his own thing, and is probably an undiagnosed adult ADD victim.

    Didja get all that? No, well, I'll skip ahead to the very last picture that was taken before taking the group to the airport...

    20161108_134726.jpg

    From left, Scott (seated), Phil, Pete (seated) Pat, me, Jimmy, Ben.

    Now that you can put a face to the name, here is how our poker weekend generally works. The Original Four (plus Phil) enjoy poker tournaments (long play for reasonably little money). We aren't bankrolled for the higher buy-in, long format tournaments. We also enjoy the casino hopping, as each poker room has its own character, characters, and appeal. The idea is we hit a tournament in the morning, drive to another after that, then one more after that. After we are pokered-out, we head back downtown (which is where we usually all stay) and do some social gambling before heading to bed. The next morning, we shower (hopefully) and repeat.

    So without any more endless paragraphs of delay, we start in Milwaukee on Saturday morning (all times are PDT until Daylight Savings Time ended, then it switches to PST... except where noted. Still with me?).

    Saturday, November 5 @ about 3:30 AM CDT
    - Although I hate the 6:30 AM flight that we sometimes take anyway, this year Southwest's earliest direct flight left Milwaukee at 8:15 AM. So please, anyone, explain why I am rolling around in bed after about three hours sleep, waiting for the 5:00 AM alarm to ring. Around 4:00 AM I get tired of rolling around and just get up and start watching TV

    4:30 AM CDT - Dozing in front of the TV, my wife gets up to use the loo, and asks why I am up. I mumble about getting some sleep and hoping the alarm eventually wakes me. She decides to sit with me so that I don't fall back asleep.

    5:55 AM CDT - I told Ben that I would be there at 6:15 AM. I was a little early. I explain why, he says that he also had been rolling around in bed since about 4:00 AM.

    6:15 AM CDT - Picking up Pete 15 minutes early as well. He was ready, though, as he had been rolling around in bed since about 4:30 AM. Notice a trend? I think we were all excited to go to Vegas.

    6:45 AM CDT - Earlier this year, I bought the TSA precheck service (5 years for $85) and we arrive at the screening area with zero bodies in line. I still use the precheck line because, dammit, I paid for it. I hand my boarding pass to the screener and make a funny about wasting my money because there is no line for the peasants, and like a trained drone he monotonically replies "Sir, you can keep your shoes and belt on, so I'd say you are still ahead". He must bring down the house at parties.

    7:45 AM CDT - We all play the "What boarding position do you have?" Game. I have pre-board authorization since I bought a Customer of Size ticket. Pat and Jimmy are in the A20s as they paid for the Early Bird, Phil had Bsingle digit, while the rest were buried in the Bs because they didn't check in on time. Jimmy (who, again, is afraid to fly) had been saying for weeks that he wanted to sit alone, didn't quite get his wish...

    20161105_112220.jpg

    From left, Phil, Pete, Pat and Jimmy. Scott and Ben ended up in the back somewhere.

    This must have been before takeoff, as Jimmy is still smiling. Actually, he did fine. He and Pat played cribbage and Jimmy won... must have taken his mind of the flying part.

    10:30 AM PDT - After a very uneventful flight (the best kind) we headed to the rental car shuttle, then directly to the car (thanks to the great service offered by Alamo). I had rented a 7-person minivan for $183, but when we got to the garage, the attendant said we looked like we could use extra room, so he pointed us to the 8-person minivan. Though nice of him, I am not sure we really could have tucked another body in the way back.

    11:00 AM - We decided to have lunch prior to the first poker tournament, and I remembered from my recent April trip how much I liked Rollin' Smoke BBQ, so we headed back there again.

    20161105_124542.jpg

    I had the two-meats-and-a-side plate ($12.59 less 10% coupon) and it was just as good as I had remembered. Phil got the beef ribs, and it looked like steaks attached to bone... something Fred Flintstone would eat. Everybody raved, so I felt good that my honorary title of Tour Director had thus far been earned.

    11:35 AM - We had decided in advance that our first game would be at The Orleans. The others headed to the poker room while I headed to the jhon, and when I got back... that look I got... like my Tour Director title was on the line. The Orleans had a special event in progress, and no extra dealers to work the tournament, therefore it was cancelled. Luckily, Poker Atlas said that Red Rock's tournament started at 12:05 PM, and was 25 minutes away.

    11:36 AM - Running through the self-park garage for the minivan.

    12:04 PM - I pull the minivan up to the main entrance and let everybody out. I figure that I can miss a few hands so I find the parking space.

    12:15 PM - I check into the tournament ($110 entry, with about 35 total entries) and see that Jimmy and Pete have decided to instead play a cash game. I am seated at a table with nobody else from our group.

    1:00 PM - A little earlier, Ben had been moved to my table as a couple of people had busted, and in the last hand before break, I was dealt JJ. Ben was a bit short-stacked, but made a big bet before the flop. As nice of a guy as I am towards my buddy, I went all-in. He called, having 99 in his hand. I dodged the 9, knocking him out and giving me an above-average stack.

    2:30 PM - Along the way, I bleed a few chips and I was dealt 99. I wasn't as short-stacked as Ben had been, but I played it exactly the same way; I made a big bet, somebody put me all-in, and I called. He had 88 in his hand. I avoid an 8 and now I have a pretty big stack of chips.

    2:40 PM (I actually checked my watch on this...) 10 minutes later I get 99 again. This time I have a lot of chips and don't want to risk them, but another guy was short-stacked so when he went all-in, I sensed desperation and I called. He had AK. The flop included a K and a 9. An A fell on the turn, but the river was nothing and my three 9s beat his two pair, giving me a commanding chip lead.

    3:30 PM - I've put it in neutral (even folding AK suited when I was out of position) and guys are knocking each other out left and right. Finally, it is down to two players and we decide to chop. Since I was the chip lead, he offered me a little more money.

    20161105_140815.jpg

    I turned my $110 entry into $800, which is my single largest tournament win ever.

    5:00 PM - Normally we'd scramble to a second game right away, but Jimmy (who doesn't quite get the cadence) used his only vote of the weekend to head downtown to check into our hotels. Both Jimmy (The D) and Pete (4 Queens) were using my offers, so I had to check in to each, not allowing me time to check into the Downtown Grand. We had decided to play the next tournament at a place we'd never played, the Suncoast. I had never been there, so I checked the map and saw it was very close to Red Rock. Good thing we were splitting gas money.

    6:45 PM - Suncoast gives an extra amount of starting chips for arriving 15 minutes early. Unfortunately at this time, I was heading towards Reno as I had missed the turn from US 95 north to Summerlin Parkway. It was kind of my fault, as I had told the co-pilot that I had looked it up and knew where I was going, but Ben stopped navigating and the crew was giving both of us a hard time about it. But we turned it around and did get to Suncoast right at 7:00.

    7:05 PM - Suncoast was also having a charity poker event, so they were a dealer short and were late starting the tournament. The poker room manager said that because the tournament might not start for 15 minutes, he'd give us the early-entry bonus, so all was good. There was one catch... since all seven of us wandered in at the same time, we were all (except Pete) put at one table. That was an odd dynamic, as we could have stayed at home and not dealt with Jimmy's flying issues (or my directional imbalance) and played a home game. But the competitiveness got to us and we played a little bit of cutthroat poker. We did have a non-group join our table (out of 25ish entries at $70/each), and Jimmy baited him and I thought the other guy would get pissed off, but he gave it back to Jimmy as good as he got it, and they each raised a glass to each other as it was all in good fun.

    8:15 PM - I fell out of the tournament before the break to the non-us guy (who proved to be quite the drinker) so I headed to the casino floor for my first real gambling of the trip. Emboldened with the big Red Rock win, I decided on Royal Flusher's Strict Rules of Parley...

    20161105_214619.jpg

    I cut off the pic, but that was clearly quarters.

    20161105_215006.jpg

    The half dollar parley hit, so onto dollars...

    20161105_222117.jpg

    OK, so I bailed on dollar video poker, but Frogger was very nice to me.

    9:30 PM - I cashed out with a ticket for about a $400 profit, and for that brief (oh, so brief) moment, I was over $1000 up on the day.

    10:30 PM - I met up with Phil and played some double-deck blackjack, giving away $200 of my uppage, before the group caught up with us, celebrating Ben's win in the poker tournament.

    11:30 PM - We headed back downtown, and Phil, Scott, Ben and I decided we were a bit hungry and headed to Binion's Cafe for their apparently wonderful hamburger. I had never tried it and decided to give it a go...

    20161106_010127.jpg

    It was alright. Nothing special. It was fine. Would I have it again for $6, sure. Would I go out of my way? Maybe not. One of our traditions is that tournament winners buy the next meal, so I picked up the tab, said good night to everybody, then I headed to the Downtown Grand to check in and go to bed.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  2. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    Sunday, November 6 @ 12:01 AM PDT - I headed over to the Downtown Grand to check in, but dammit all... they put a casino with these shiny, brightly lit slot machines between the door and my room. What's a boy to do?

    1:00 AM - After an insane loss to those bill shredders, I head to the front desk to check in. I posted all about my issues on this thread, so I won't rehash here, but when I finally got to the room at 1:45 AM, I hadn't really calmed down and figured I'd be up all night.

    1:46 AM - I think I was asleep

    6:00 AM PST - Once again, I couldn't stay asleep or fall back asleep, so I pulled myself out of bed. I've been trying to be more active, and I had charted a two-mile walk around downtown, so I decided to get up and take my walk. I started at the Downtown Grand entrance at the Commissary and headed towards the Mob Museum.

    20161106_061021.jpg

    Although many Las Vegas casinos come alive at night, Main Street Station looked quite shimmery facing the sunrise.

    20161106_061121.jpg

    I made sure I took a last look at the train cars before they head to their next destination.

    20161106_061321 (2).jpg

    This hadn't started as a photo-walk, but I had all of Downtown to myself, and noticed things I hadn't previously. Like the Ace/King on top of the Las Vegas Club. I mean, they must have been there before because I can't believe they would add decoration to the building after its closure, but I'd never seen it.

    20161106_061521.jpg

    I wasn't kidding when I said that I was the only one downtown at 6:30 AM.

    20161106_062021.jpg

    20161106_062521 (2).jpg

    By next April, my wife and I will be of acceptable weight to finally ride a zip line.

    A little backstory that I alluded to on this thread that I seemed to hijack. I've always been a big boy, and when I went for my yearly physical last spring, my doctor strongly suggested I drop some weight. So using a medically-managed plan through my health care provider, I started in late-June at 332#, and my last weigh-in before this trip I weighed 272#. Early in our journey, my wife challenged me that if we can weigh 250# by the time of our April trip, we can ride the top of Slotzilla. I never imagined that I would be 60# down in four-plus months (and my wife almost 75# in the same time frame). So when I got to the Slotzilla part of the walk, I had to take a motivational photo.

    7:00 AM - After making a second loop to get to my two miles, I sat down at Royal Flusher's, Blonde4Ever's, my favorite people watching spot at the 4 Queens and played some video poker and had a few cups of coffee.

    20161106_070021.jpg

    8:00 AM - After playing about 80 minutes of break-even video poker, I headed back to the Downtown Grand to shower, pack and leave. I double booked Sunday (with the other reservation being a three-day stay on a bounce-back offer at the Encore) and after the hassle I got checking in, I wasn't going to give them another nickel of my money on this trip. And they have some grovelling to do before I spend any more there, either.

    10:00 AM - By this time I've picked up the group and we were at South Point for their morning poker tournament. There were about 25 entries at $60 each, which is pretty good for the early morning. But South Point's poker room is close to the sports book and they have plenty of TVs, so we get our action in and enjoy poker and football. And who could really ask for more?

    12:00 Noon - I was making a pretty good run through the early part of the tournament, and at one point I am dealt AJ of spades. I raise preflop, and John (a local regular player) raises me. I call and we are the only two in the hand. The flop is all spades - I've flopped the nut flush (which is kinda funny, as my wife had earlier texted me about being careful of flopping my nuts, as nobody wants to see them). I've become a decent poker player, but sometimes I struggle in this scenario... I want to keep John giving me chips so I don't make a huge bet. If he had re-raised me with the 78 of hearts, he isn't calling a big bet. So I make bet that is twice the big blind, and he takes for-ev-er to decide what to do. He plays with his chips, counts them, stares at my chip stack, grabs two handfuls while keeping more chips in front of him, then finally raises all-in. I don't think he finished the sentence before I said "Call" and turned over my cards. He had the KQ of spades, and he just couldn't believe that he ran into the nuts. The look of disbelief was priceless.

    12:30 PM - I've given John's chips away and most of mine, so after a desperation move, I hit the gambling floor while Ben and Pat keep playing. We have standing plans to watch the Packers game at Rum Runners, and they start at 1:25 PM. Based on Ben's chip stack, we weren't going to get there for the start, so I start gathering the troops telling them to be ready at "go" time.

    1:20 PM - Ben and Pat make it to the end when they all decide to split the pot five ways, and suddenly the urgency to get to Rum Runners has faded for everyone not named mjames1229. Pat and Scott decide to stay at South Point for the 2:00 tournament, and Pete also decides to stay and play the live poker game. As the valet brings the car, Pete starts running out of the casino... he's decided that he wants to play live poker at the MGM Grand, and could I drop him off, please? Sigh, I don't have a big problem with it, except that I can get from South Point to Rum Runners without getting near the Strip, and now I have to get right up in the middle of it.

    1:26 PM - Indianapolis runs the opening kick back for the touchdown. 7-0 Colts.

    1:45 PM - I dropped Pete at the Tropicana (and tell him politely to be careful crossing the street) and book it over to Rum Runners. We arrive in the middle of the first quarter and we are able to find seats close to a TV. I breath a sigh of relief and savor my seltzer with a lemon (remember, the diet).

    3:00 PM - I do enjoy their hamburger and the halftime bratwurst and potato salad, as the Packers are getting killed. We do take time to trade photos with the waitress.

    20161106_142021.jpg

    From left, Jimmy and his Corona Lime, Ben and Phil with their PBRs, and me. Not pictured, my seltzer with a lemon.

    20161106_154411.jpg

    Ben is single, and pretty regularly horny. He was crushing on the waitress, Tiara, so he insisted on a photo. I insisted on not being in the photo, as I know my wife would see it.

    4:15 PM - This game has gotten interesting. Ben had won all of the first legs of a 5-team parley and a 6-team teaser. If the game goes OVER 51, he wins both bets and pockets a cool $1000. Personally, I wouldn't make a $50 5-or 6-team bet, but he did and pulled it off. With that and two poker cashes, Ben was having himself a very nice weekend.

    4:40 PM
    - The Packers make a comeback but can't finish it, and we head back to South Point to get Scott and Pat. During the car ride back, the conversation between the three drunks gets a little blue, but fascinating. Which is worse? Bad pizza or a bad blowjob (mods, feel free to change it to any other euphemism, like hummer or "a tune from the skin clarinet"). Men, think about it though... there is not a universal answer.

    5:30 PM - We've collected Scott and Pat (who cashed in back-to-back South Point tournaments) and after Ben and Phil have a little sushi at the Big Sur Oyster Bar, we head to The Mirage for their 6:00 PM tournament ($65 and about 35 entries). We get hold of Pete, who by this time is in Full Tourist Mode, and is walking the Strip and said that he will meet us at The Mirage.

    7:00 PM - In the last hand before the break, I get in a three-way all-in with the second-best hand, and instead of hanging around, I decide to take the opportunity to check into the Encore. On the one hand, I decide to walk it (I knocked out of the tournament so quickly that time isn't an issue) but I kinda twisted myself in a circle. I took the tram to the TI, but I made a wrong turn in the casino and walk a very long way and end up nowhere near the Encore. My Fitbit says that my round trip from The Mirage to Encore was just under four miles.

    8:30 PM - The Encore check-in was a pleasure compared to the Downtown Grand, and even though word is that Wynncore is now charging Resort Fees on comped rooms, the front desk clerk beat me to the punch, saying that my room is exempt from fees. She hands me the keys and I head to my room.

    8:35 PM - I've out-kicked my coverage. I don't belong here. I'd only set foot on the property just once (that recent April trip), gambling for about 2 hours and only losing a hundred or so dollars (and it wasn't like I was playing the high limit slots).



    10:00 PM - I made it back to get the guys at The Mirage (spoiler, this is the only tournament where nobody from our group cashed... however...) Jimmy reports that while he was playing the live game, he got an unbelievable run of cards and cashed out for an $889 profit. We head back downtown and most of us are hungry.

    11:00 PM - Jimmy and Phil bail on us, so the rest of us go to Du-Par's at the Golden Gate. Pat only wants pie, and it turns out that only Pete and I get a full meal. I recalled that I already had a big cheeseburger and a bratwurst at Rum Runners, so in trying to be a good boy, I present my Sunday dinner...

    20161106_230023.jpg

    I can have as much shellfish as I want, so this is a good start. Even the cocktail sauce is very low in fat and calories.

    20161106_230504.jpg

    Now, let me just state that the tuna salad was very good, and though there was cheese on the salad, I did have the low fat ranch dressing. However, its not a plate of buttery pancakes. But I did it. I proved to myself that I could eat well in Las Vegas, if only for one meal.

    11:45 PM - I thought that we were done for the night, but Ben reminded me that a Sunday night tradition is to take over a Pai Gow Poker table and play while drinking Captain and Cokes. I told them I am not drinking, but the hunt is on for a game. We try five casinos before we find an open table at the Golden Nugget. There is more to this story, but it happens after midnight, so you'll have to wait until I get around to writing Monday;s entry.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
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  3. Uranium 235

    Uranium 235 Low-Roller

    Joined:
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    Love the pics and layout of the story. Looking forward to the next instalment - good luck!
     
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  4. Miller12pack

    Miller12pack High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Looks like a fun group of guys. Hope you all had good luck.
     
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  5. Fet297

    Fet297 108 survivor North Vegas

    Joined:
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    Great read. Love it! :woohoo:
     
    36th Wedding Anniversary trip
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  6. Suekel

    Suekel VIP Whale

    Joined:
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    Really enjoying this TR so far, looking forward to more.

    That room at Encore is pretty nice - I've never stayed there and may have to drop some money on our upcoming visit just to see what (if anything) they offer us in return.
     
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  7. emmas

    emmas High-Roller

    Joined:
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    Enjoying reading about your trip. I appreciate all the details. Can't wait to read about the rest of the trip.
     
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  8. justchuck

    justchuck Low-Roller

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    I love trip reports, looking forward to more!
     
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  9. zenvegas

    zenvegas High-Roller

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    Great report so far. I'm hoping it will stretch out over a few more days and I'll be that much closer to my trip.
     
    We begin again
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  10. jENBEAU

    jENBEAU VIP Whale

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    What a well-written TR: super entertaining!
     
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  11. Hurr1cane310

    Hurr1cane310 Tourist

    Joined:
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    This is going to sound really strange, but do you have a son named Aaron?
     
  12. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Oh-oh....

    Now what did that little pisher do?
     
  13. vegasdev

    vegasdev VIP Whale

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    hey you are great at this TR thingy! I love the Fremont street pics. there is something kind of awesome about it when it gets clear and quiet around 5-6 a.m.
     
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  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Monday, November 7 @ 12:01 AM PST - All but Jimmy and Phil decide to play Pai Gow Poker at the Golden Nugget and we managed to sit at the same table. But there's a catch. This isn't a true Pai Gow Poker game, it is the Tiger 9 variant. Simply stated, there is no commission on winning wagers, however if the dealer sets any had which has 9-high in the low hand, the entire table pushes. You could have five Aces and a pair of Kings, if Tiger 9 appears, the game pushes. In thinking back, only one Tiger 9 appeared in the hour or more that we played. I know that Ben had a full house negated, but I don't recall pushing a winning hand. That means either I had a losing hand that I pushed or was destined to push anyway. But not paying the commission was pretty good.

    12:30 AM - I don't get it. Most downtown casinos only have one Pai Gow Poker table the way it is, and when we do find a property with a couple of tables, it has to be a higher house-edge variant. Are the casinos trying to job us, or does Pai Gow Poker not bring the hold it needs to stay viable? Like I said above, I believe that I benefited, but I might not have been so OK with it if it were my full house nullified by Tiger 9.

    1:00 AM - Scott, who is about to leave the table and go to bed, asks me why we are meeting for breakfast at 8:00 AM. Fact was that I was meeting a friend at breakfast and we had set the time months earlier, not knowing we'd still be gambling in the middle of the night. I am instructed to move breakfast to 9:30 AM. I text my friend about the schedule change, and hope that he can still make it.

    1:30 AM - It's been a very long day, but I still have to drive back to Encore. I do so without incident, but I really wish that we hadn't played so long at the Golden Nugget.

    7:00 AM - With my alarm set for 8:00 AM, I am again wondering why I can't fall back to sleep. I decide to slip into one of the bathrobes hanging in the bathroom and check up on Facebook.

    8:30 AM - I head into the casino to use part of my free play. I download $100 of my $225, hit MAX CREDITS, look down and realize that its a $5 slot machine. Luckily it is a 2-credit max, and even more luckilier I hit that first spin for 25 credits. I decide to play that entire $100 of free play in that machine and cash out with over $150.

    9:00 AM - After giving away my $150 in free play winnings, I pick up the guys at the designated spot, Manneken Pis. I collect most of them (for the first time EVER, Pat is the one running late and tells us to leave without him) and head over to Eat for breakfast. The hostess asks me to wait until my entire party arrives so we text to Pat to hustle up. Good thing it is only about a four block walk from the Four Queens. While waiting, I learn that my breakfast guest, the inimitable Royal Flusher needed to decline due to our schedule change. I can't wait to read his blog and find out what was more exciting than eating with some fan boy from Milwaukee and his six dorky poker friends. Can't. Wait.

    9:30 AM - We are finally seated and looking over the menu, and I see Chef Natalie at the table behind us. At first, she was talking to someone, but shortly after, I see her alone. I don't do well with celebrities... usually not approaching because I am told that celebrities are people too, and they don't want to be bothered when they are at breakfast.

    9:31 AM
    - But maybe if I ask nicely...

    20161107_095236.jpg

    Ohmigod!!!

    So OK, maybe I am exaggerating her celebrity among the Downtown Hipster crowd, but when her place serves food like this...

    20161107_100404.jpg

    I don't even know if they offer anything other than Country Fried Steak on the menu, because that's all I ever order. However, you can tell I am on a diet... no extra gravy for dippin' the potatoes.

    20161107_095436.jpg

    From left, Ben, Pat, Pete, me, Phil and Scott. Notice who is missing? That's right. Jimmy missed the best breakfast in Vegas for... (I can't even believe I am typing this) a spa appointment. He had noticed that he was quite stressed after the flight, and he'd been over-stimulated for two days (and if he had asked, everyone else could have told him that, too), He said that he likes spas, and that upon completion he would take a cab to wherever we go to play poker.

    10:00 AM - We bow our heads for Jimmy. Our group has a rule, that even though we are ostensibly there to play poker for four days, this is everybody's vacation and if someone wants to peel off and do his own thing, more power to him (though that guy incurs the transportation costs, if any). For example, Pete did a touristy walk of the Strip on Sunday evening. A couple of years back, I missed two poker tournaments to watch a Pro Bowlers Tour TV broadcast with Pete. But I can safely say that none of us had ever considered a 50-year old man missing poker time for (gulp) a four hour massage.

    12:00 PM
    - After considering playing at the Hard Rock casino (which was nixed when I called the poker room and the manager admitted that the Noon game usually doesn't get off the ground) we head to Harrah's for their Noon tournament which had about 30 entries at $70 each.

    1:00 PM - I am playing very well, and have amassed a nice set of chips, and was also having a nice conversation with the guy to my left. On one hand as we're talking, I had a great hand and he made a big bet which I had to call (and did). I won that pot and left him very short stacked. A couple hands later I have a pocket pair and flop three of a kind, and he goes all-in. I gulp, sigh, and said "But I like you, I don't want you to leave yet" before calling and showing my cards. He got a good laugh, but that was his bust out.

    1:30 PM - Just before break, it is one of those hands that I will never forget. I am dealt 22 and the flop is 2A9. The lady across the table is very low on chips and she pushes all-in. Since I am also in an early position, I also go all-in (in an effort to dissuade anyone else from calling). I was horrified when a guy with almost my chip stack called my all-in. Instantly, dire scenarios crossed my mind. Maybe he had AA or even 99... no, he MUST have AA or 99 because why would he risk a ton of chips? Oh, Lord, this is going to cost me...

    1:32 PM
    - He turns over A9 and the other lady AK. I dodge the board pairing and get a massive amount of chips... Based on the tournament board that is displayed, I had half of the chips in play at that moment.

    3:00 PM - Because this is Michael James brand poker, there are only two scenarios... I put the car into cruise control and coast to a win, or else I manage to lose it all.

    20161107_150158.jpg

    I wouldn't say that I played it wrong, per se, but while I've parked the bus, two other guys (one of them being Pat) have managed to get the rest of the chips, and my chip lead (as a percentage) wasn't as big as it was an hour earlier. We chop the prizes, and each of us even gave 4th place (who happened to be Phil) $25 each so he got his money back. Pat (who had the least chips) offers me an extra $10 as I did still have the chip lead, turning my $70 entry into $329.

    3:30 PM - We've got an hour to kill before dinner, so I invite the guys back to my swingin' bachelor pad. Among other things, some of the guys need to check in for the next day's flight, but really... I had to show SOMEONE my suite live and in person.

    20161107_154645.jpg

    This is not a grumpy group, this is a group that has been running for 2-1/2 days and is now running on low energy. Pat being Pat, he's checking the schedule for which game to play after dinner.

    4:28 PM - Circus Circus smells like vomited cotton candy.

    4:30 PM - But The Steak House at Circus Circus has this wonderful, mesmerizing scent of mesquite wafting through the restaurant. We take our seats and are given the menu. Since I couldn't find any pricing on line, I present the menu with pricing as a customer service (feel free to put a tip in my jar).

    20161107_163714.jpg

    Since all but Pat and Pete like shellfish, we get two of the Seafood Sensation platters.

    20161107_171040.jpg

    There doesn't look like a lot of seafood there, but it is even bigger than it looks.

    20161107_171216_1478567677085.jpg

    After the five of us devour every succulent morsel, we move on to dinner.

    20161107_163727.jpg

    The great thing about The Steak House is that steaks come with soup or salad and a potato.

    20161107_172938.jpg

    The salad is nothing to sneeze at. Meanwhile, Scott had the Navy Bean Soup.

    20161107_172952.jpg

    The photo is a little blurry, but Scott said that it was outstanding.

    20161107_175313.jpg

    Baked potato fixings came at no additional charge.

    20161107_175933.jpg

    This is my Petite Filet (diet, you know). And other than a tiny bit to taste on my fork, I passed on the sauce, too.

    20161107_175924.jpg

    Scott's Cowboy Ribeye

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    Jimmy's lamb chops. In addition to massages, Jimmy likes when baby animals are slaughtered. He's an odd one, that's for sure.

    7:15 PM - Dinner for seven people (including dessert for the two guys who didn't like seafood) plus tax, tip and alcohol was about $800, which really wasn't too bad considering the amount of food and the wonderful atmosphere there. Remember the "winners buy the next dinner"? Well, that was sort of in effect, but as a group we had won so much between poker and sports betting, that Jimmy paid for all of the alcohol and me, Jimmy, Pat, Ben and Pete paid for Phil and Scott's dinners. During the table discussion, Ben mentioned that he loves playing at the Hard Rock, so we chance it that their 7:00 PM game will be better attended than their Noon game, and head over.

    7:30 PM - The seven of us are the only ones in the poker room, despite Hard Rock's promotion that those arriving 30 minutes early get extra chips. We effectively ripped Little Ben's heart out of his chest when the rest of us decide to move on instead of waiting to see if anyone else shows up. We've played the Hard Rock tournament in the past, and we like a lot of things about it (its decent starting stack, the waitress uniforms, the classic rock music, the good structure, the waitress uniforms, etc). Its just disappointing that they can't get a game, and if they can't get a game, we can't keep attempting to play it.

    7:40 PM - Luckily the Planet Hollywood entrance is pretty close on Harmon and head over there for their 8:00 tournament.

    7:50 PM - Which actually started at 7:00 PM. I am not sure how we got the wrong information, but Jimmy and Pete head to play a live game and the rest buy in as late entries to their tournament. I will give the PH credit. Last year we played their tournament when their poker room was in the hallway outside of Earl of Sandwich.

    12003018_885056731572564_8583728658127365649_n.jpg

    This year, it is near the Heart Bar (where it used to be) and right outside the Fetish Pit... which is great for the half of the poker players that get to face them.

    SFvn2U9L.jpg

    9:00 PM - I did OK, and lost when my KK got beat by the chip leader who first sighed, and then called with an absolute garbage hand... which built into a full house when all the cards were played.

    10:00 PM - Pat wins yet another tournament, then we head back downtown. The other six non-me guys are leaving on Tuesday afternoon and most need that last gamble. Jimmy, true to form, decides to go back to his room. We park at Binions and look to find a Pai Gow Poker table again. There was no seating at Binions, so we walk to Fremont. They only had one table as well, so I decide with Phil to sit and play blackjack for a little while.

    11:30 PM - Make that more losing blackjack. Phil and I find Scott and learn that Ben and Pat are back at that same Tiger 9 Pai Gow table at the Golden Nugget. By the time we get there, there are no empty seats. Phil goes off on his own, while Scott and I decide to head to the Plaza to shoot some dice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2017
    • Like Like x 3
  15. Drewm1972

    Drewm1972 VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2016
    Messages:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
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    What a great trip report and awesome friends you have....I also read you're downtown grand hotel check in experience what an nightmare (not even the money, but just dealing with those stupid people) just call cr dit card company and dispute it!!!
     
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  16. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2016
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    Location:
    Northern WI
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    Laughing to myself at your rush to watch that abysmal Packer game.....
     
    Going to see Journey!
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  17. TomTWI

    TomTWI Custom Title

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
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    Location:
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    Trips to Las Vegas:
    55
    Just awful, this is why I don't gamble on sports I thought the Packers had a good defense going into the season. Couldn't have been more wrong.

    Great TR however!
     
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  18. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    Yeah, in hindsight. What I didn't post on Sunday is that I went 4-1 on sports bets. But I had so much on the Packers that I broke even on the day.
     
  19. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    I gave DTG a chance to debit the charge, and they did.

    But I feel a bit violated that I worked so hard to defend them for years, and now two times in a row I get a hassle (that eventually falls in my favor). There are so many options in Las Vegas... I gotta stop beating my head into that wall.

    However, if they come through with a comp for Super Bowl weekend...
     
  20. zenvegas

    zenvegas High-Roller

    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2012
    Messages:
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    Location:
    Toronto Canada
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    Loving this TR. Sounds like a great group to travel with.
     
    We begin again
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