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Hardly Working (thebucket live apr. 25-29) Sam's, Fremont, Mirage

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by thebucket, Apr 26, 2010.

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  1. Sierra

    Sierra Low-Roller

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    Wonderful, WONDERFUL trip report.

    Your perception of events, obvious playful attitude and writing skills make for one fun read!

    More please.
     
  2. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Thanks!

    Thanks for all the kind words of encouragement and general compliments, folks... It's always good to know that I'm providing entertainment as I go through the process of writing all this out.

    More to come soon.... Work to be attended to now, unfortunately. :(
     
  3. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    I know the manager!

    For anyone who gives a darn, I thought I'd post the official (it's nice to know that they're responsive to customer inquiries) response that I got to my e-mail regarding the $1 left on my bill:

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    (Unrelated first part of this e-mail omitted...)

    Also the $1.00 dollar phone charge is part of the overall $4.50 hotel guest fee charges, as a comp guest we wave all but the $1.00 charge. Our executive staff is always debating this charge but as yet it is the only fee charged to a room comp player.

    Anyway I hope I have enhanced your visit to Sam's Town and as I stated earlier I would enjoy a one on one visit from you on your next trip to Las Vegas.


    Thank You....


    JACK SCHNEIDER
    Director - Race/Sports/Keno
    Sam's Town LV


    ------------------------------------------------------------------------


    That was pretty cool to get as a response - I'm going to take him up on his invitation for a one-on-one visit next time I'm there, just to thank him for taking the time to address my concerns. Not only that, it's just kind of cool to ask for the departmental director by name at the race window... :D

    Or maybe I'm just kinda lame and easily entertained. Or really cool. I think I'll go with cool. And easily entertained. Cool and easily entertained. And acquainted with the Race/Sports Director. Yeah. That's the ticket. (Dang, I love puns)

    Ok, the pun bit was lame.

    More soon...
     
  4. EmptyPockets

    EmptyPockets Tourist

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    Very entertaining. Keep it coming.
     
  5. Nancyb54

    Nancyb54 Low-Roller

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    Great report so far! I know what you mean about the $1.00 phone charge. We are comped 2 rooms for 7 nights every June at Sam's for our annual girls' trip and always have to pay the $14. Everything else is covered. It's not that the $14 is going to break us, but it's the principle of the thing. But hey! Almost free is almost free!! :haha:

    Looking forward to reading the rest of your report. :)
     
  6. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    I finally made Fremont! (the master of timing strikes again)

    Well, it was a masterpeice of timing. Mr. Murphy and his law had kicked in so many times already where my own room arrangements were concerned that I shouldn't have been surprised.

    I got my co-worker settled in the fabulous Mirage suite, made my exit for a couple of hours, and went out front to collect New Leroy from valet. No sweat. It didn't even take a really long time for them to produce the car (I've had some reallllyyy long waits for valet at the big strip hotels before).

    Anyway, I got the car, and headed out onto LVB to get to Flamingo and zip over to Sam's for my luggage.

    Did I say 'zip'?

    The only thing about the entire exercise that could reasonably have the word 'zip' attached to it would be a description of the thing that holds my suitcase shut. That's a zip. The trip... well, it wasn't. See, master of timing that I am, I managed to leave Mirage at... yep, you guessed it... 5:10pm on a Monday.

    Traffic was really something else. Not so much on the strip itself (I think it gets worst at night), but once I was headed across town, I coudn't seem to get much of anywhere to save my life.

    Rather a lot later I pulled up at Sam's, self-parked (so as not to need to explain to anyone why I just wanted to leave my car out front for a second to get my bags, etc etc. I walked through the place, resisted the temptation to go dink around on a VP machine (I would have plenty of opportunity for that at Fremont), and went back out the front to the wave desk, where I collected both a wave and my luggage for a reasonable ($5) tip.

    I lugged my stuff back through the casino to the self-park garage (but the lugging was far better than it would have been if I had chosen to take it with me to go rent a car). Loaded it up, and zipped (yeah, right, 'zipped'... whaddevah...) up Boulder Highway to get downtown and check in.

    Once I fought my way through the traffic to the Fremont's garage entrance, it was like a breath of fresh air (yeah, I know... "Breath of fresh air" and "in a downtown casino" are kind of oxymoronic, but anyway).

    Fremont offers valet parking only. I don't think this has anything to do with hustling tips for the valet guys... I think that it has everything to do with the fact that from what I saw, the average Joe would probably run into like four concrete walls, five other cars, and quite possibly a giant origami rhinoceros or two trying to navigate it without professional help. My limited view of the valet guys piloting cars around it made me consider making a video of it and putting a "Professional Driver: Do not attempt" disclaimer on it. Those guys rock. And they took my car with a smile. That's when the REAL service began.

    More soon...
     
  7. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Checking in at Fremont

    The service at Fremont was every bit as fabulous as I had hoped it would be. At about a tenth of the price of the Mirage room (BConnected Ruby casino rate), it certainly didn't cost much in comparison, and of course the room wasn't a miniature palace like the Mirage room, but the service was significantly more personal, faster, and in general better. That's just one of the reasons I love the smaller downtown joints so much. That and the fact that a 20 year-old hotel downtown isn't 'old'. I love the history of the hotels and Vegas in general, and really enjoy in staying somewhere historic. Therefore, my choice of hotel was the Fremont, the tallest building in Nevada when it opened in 1956, as well the first high-rise hotel in town for a long time (the Riviera was tall, but not technically tall enough to be considered a 'skyscraper' at the time).

    I pulled into the garage, the entrance to which has a giant "PARKING" sign in neon over it, the interior ceiling of the valet area lined with blinky light bulbs. Yeah, I was downtown all right. And it felt great.

    The valet was there right away. He took my keys with a smile, and I didn't have to go looking for the bell desk. A bellman was there right behind the valet, asking if he could help me. What the heck, sure. I was good and tired of lugging my misc. crap around with me that day, and having him take care of it, though a bit silly since it was just one suitcase and my laptop case, was just what I needed. All I had to do was give the valet my keys (with $2, he seemed a bit surprised, I don't think they see a lot of up-front tipping there), pop the trunk for the bellman to get my stuff out, and followed him to the door into the hotel, which he opened for me with a smile. I strode in, relishing the first sight and sound of a downtown casino since I had arrived, and the bellman ushered me to an available clerk at the registration counter.

    The lady behind the desk was friendly, but no historian. She looked up my reservation, and before she got a room assigned to me I made my 'special request'. After confirming that my room was a king bed smoking room, I asked if there was any way she could put me on a high floor in the original building. This produced a mildly befuddled look from her, and she told me that all the rooms are in the same building. Technically, this seems accurate. However, I launched into the short version of how there was the original tower from 1956, then two additions (one off the back, one off the side) from years later. She was unfamiliar with this concept, so I put it in terms not dependant on a knowledge of the architecture and expansion of the hotel. Was there any way she could put me on a high floor, as close as possible to the Fremont canopy? If the room is close to the canopy, it's in the original structure. She nicely warned me that those aren't the most desirable rooms because of the noise. I knew that, and would trade any amount of audio inconvenience for the privilege of an original tower room, king, smoking. A bit of fiddling with the computer produced room 611, king, smoking, three rooms back from the very front of the building. Bingo! I thanked her warmly for her help.

    Once I had my key to 611 in hand, a part of the service at Fremont kicked in that I didn't expect but certainly appreciated. Usually (mostly at larger resorts), when one uses bell service to get one's bags inside, they get tagged, stored, then brought up to one's room when called down for. This can take like TWO HOURS (Mandalay Bay), so I generally avoid it. In the case of Fremont, however, the bellman stayed with me at the registration desk as I checked in, and led me to the elevators once I had my key, taking me the entire way from car to room with a smile. Now THAT was service. I passed him a five on his way out of my room, also impressed that he didn't really stand around waiting for a tip like bellpeople tend to do, but just headed out and I had to tell him to 'hang on a second' to get his tip to him. I should've written his name down to let the GM know how solid the service was... Wish I had. Oh, well.

    Finally in my room at Fremont, it was everything I had hoped it would be. Nice, fairly recently remodeled, but still definitely a vintage downtown room. The heat/air controls were antiquated, and the unit was over the entryway (not a self-contained unit in the outside wall like the newer-addition wing). The room was a bit small, the bathroom even more so. That said, it is a hotel room from the 1950s, and would have been normal-to-large sized for back then (standards have changed). Everything was clean and fucntional, except for the fact that two of the lightbulbs were unscrewed and the TV not plugged in. I thought about calling for maintenance, but as simple-to-fix as those issues were I felt like I would be being a bit of an ass calling for someone to screw in a lightbulb (somehow I have a feeling that there's a "How many tourists does it take to screw in a lightbulb" joke floating around the hotel maintenance departments somewhere). I screwed in my own lightbulbs (probably unscrewed by some guest who didn't get the whole turning-it-off-with-the-switch concept), opened up the shutters, and flung the window open.

    Or at least I TRIED to fling the window open. A metal bracket screwed to the slide stopped the dramatic gesture rather early on in the 'fling', leaving me with a four-inch opening for a window clearly capable of rendering a three foot square opening. Allrighty then. Standard sheet metal screws in the bracket, #2 phillips... Got a driver out of my bag (the screw kind, not the golf kind or the car kind, neither of which would have been all that helpful), relieved my window of its silly restriction, and flung it wide open. Much better. I could look right down on the ACE stop below. The noise of the traffic and the Fremont crowd floated in. Perfect. THIS is the life.

    I leaned out the window (I'm sure drunk people randomly falling out of the windows or suicidal people non-randomly falling out of the windows are the reason for the restriction on how far one is supposed to open it), breathed in the delicious downtown air, and smiled.

    This was to be my home for the next four days. Small, old-school, clean, comfortable, historic, and cheap as one can get in a high-rise, open-air, loud at night from the multimillion-watt sound system feet from my window, and just exactly what I was looking for.

    How many people had stood where I stood right then before me, I wondered. How many gamblers? Businesspeople? Con artists? Celebrities? Nobodies? Sinners? Saints? Winners? Losers? Cops? Robbers? The thing I love about a historic property is that the likelihood of 'all of the above' being a correct answer to that question is fairly high. And on that day, some dude who calls himself a coin bucket and takes that room over a penthouse suite at Mirage stood there, saw that same view, breathed in that same air.

    Smiling out at the neon visage of Binion's across the street, I called out my favorite movie-quote of all time, from Winston Zeddmore at the very end of Ghostbusters (he does this from the roof after defeating the marshmallow man)... "I LOVE THIS TOWN!!!"

    Some dude at the bus stop looked at me like I was nuts. Perceptive guy.

    Dangit. Time to run back downstairs and get the car to pick up my not-so-vintage-room-enjoying co-worker and head back downtown for dinner at Chart House (in the Golden Nugget). Oh, well. I'd have plenty of time later. Away I went, depositing my bankroll in a safe deposit box at the cage on my way out.

    More soon...
     
  8. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Grass-Roots Movement?

    Thanks for the compliment and for reading all this miscellany (to everyone reading)! As usual, it feels great to have an audience for my ramblings.

    Just an idea... If you have the notion to, you might want to drop a letter to the GM mentioning your thoughts (in a helpful manner rather than real critical works best in my experience) as an otherwise well satisfied guest who is annoyed by the $1/day phone charge thing. If they really do discuss this regularly at executive meetings like the race book director said, every bit of guest input like that will probably help to one day get it removed. I've always had the best luck on that sort of thing with real-paper letters. There's just something more personal about it and more attention-getting/memorable than e-mail in today's overly-electronic business world...

    In case you or anyone else wants to cast your vote to the top dude at Sam's to get the $1 fee done-away-with-old-school-Vegas-style, here's the proper destination:

    Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall Las Vegas
    Attn: Mike Garms, General Manager
    5111 Boulder Highway
    Las Vegas, NV 89122

    :thumbsup:
     
  9. mardaho

    mardaho Low-Roller

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    Did I miss it?

    How did you fare on the 100 Keno games??
     
  10. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Thanks for the compliment, and don't worry... This TR will be like the opposite of the Energizer bunny.

    The bunny keeps going and going and going...

    My TRs just keep coming and coming and coming...

    Unless I get banned for being utterly inane and quite silly. :confused2:

    Hopefully the silliness police here are too overworked over in "Misc Vegas Chat" to notice my little operation.

    :evillaugh:
     
  11. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    I won $4732500 on KENO!

    Sorry about the subject line... I couldn't resist.

    In all seriousness, my 2-spot $1 keno for 100 games did exactly what I intended it to do. Gave me a low-variance game to play with a high house edge, resulting in $82 worth of wins on my $100 wager, for an $18 loss which could easily have been a small gain. However, beyond the amusement of the wager itself, it served its purpose quite nicely from a ratings perspective.

    A decent sized wager ($100) on a high house edge game like keno keeps me from appearing to be an undesirable player of half-percent-house-edge-only games like blackjack and 9/6 JoB as far as the players club system is concerned. I always make a point of showing the casino some slot or keno play, since this rates well and should serve to categorize me as a desirable player to give some rooms/food/freeplay away to in the future. Though I have no way of testing the theory, I do believe that my offers are generally better than if I stayed away from things like keno. And I just enjoy always being in action no matter what I'm doing, one of the major advantages of playing large numbers of keno games for me. :)

    2 and 11, yeah!
     
  12. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Blog Link

    No sweat, my pleasure!

    For anyone who might not have found the blog (as long as this TR is getting, the first page is waaay back there, feel free to check it out (though be forewarned, it will make even less sense than the TR does):

    TheBucket's Blog for Interop Las Vegas 2010

    (lots of photos from my BlackBerry in the blog - you kind kind of match them up with the TR events if you want to)
     
  13. Sierra

    Sierra Low-Roller

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    "How many people had stood where I stood right then before me, I wondered. How many gamblers? Businesspeople? Con artists? Celebrities? Nobodies? Sinners? Saints? Winners? Losers? Cops? Robbers? The thing I love about a historic property is that the likelihood of 'all of the above' being a correct answer to that question is fairly high. And on that day, some dude who calls himself a coin bucket and takes that room over a penthouse suite at Mirage stood there, saw that same view, breathed in that same air."

    Perfect....
     
  14. Dewey089

    Dewey089 VIP Whale

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    Definitely cool stuff. And the photos on the blog were fun as well. You had a great time and you take us right along with you. Thanks. See you again one of these days.
     
  15. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Thanks, Dewey! I too hope that our paths shall once again cross.

    That said, I realize now that I left an important detail out of my trip report (it's been a couple of weeks, and my ability to accurately recall everything in chronological order is... umm... questionable).

    On Monday morning, right after I finally got the car, I did in fact hustle downtown, as I had a lunch appointment to meet none other than Mr. Dewey himself at the El Cortez for lunch (after which I went to check in at Mirage, just to place this correctly in the timeline).

    We met in the poker room, and adjourned to the cafe at El Cortez for rather a nice lunch. I met Dewey online (here and previously at LVA), and had benefited greatly from his sage advice on the topic of the city bus system in Las Vegas (check out the 'bus information' link in his signature - it's a great resource!).

    We sat, ate, and chatted about the CAT bus system, gambling, life, and a host of other topics for the better part of two hours. A most entertaining and informative luncheon it was, and the first of two meet-ups with members on this trip that went quite nicely (the second was on Thursday evening with DinarPoker, a very different but also most enjoyable meeting).

    Dewey imparted quite a bit of knowledge about the various message boards that I found quite useful. I am tempted to go create an account on one of the others to participate there as well, but so far have not out of fear that I might not have time to keep up with more than one at a time (I was previously a denizen of the LVA boards, but eventually left for this one).

    I really admire Dewey's work in maintaining great online resources for the Las Vegas traveller (or local for that matter), and it was a grand pleasure to meet him in person. My only regret is that I didn't have time to stay and play at El Cortez on this trip... Even though they have mysteriously tightened up their comps and quit sending me 3-night tower-room offers in the mail, I still really love the place for its vintage vibe and coin-dropping machines (as well as the best blackjack game downtown, which is also the best low-minimum game anywhere in town).

    Anyway, sorry for leaving that out of the trip report.

    More soon!
     
  16. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Cocktail! Hey! COCKTAIL! I NEED A DRINK! HEY YOU!

    Allrighty then... It's been far too long since I've update this TR, so here goes!

    (At this point in the TR (hey, I warned you it would be unnecessarily long) is on my second day in town, specifically Monday the 26th of April)

    After doing my drinking-in-the-atmosphere leaning out of my Fremont window, I took a few minutes to trim my beard, shave my non-bearded face, brush my teeth, and generally make myself presentable for a nice dinner engagement. Donning my suit coat (this would soon become a vital element of one of the funniest and most utterly inexcusable things I've done in Las Vegas), I headed down the elevator at Fremont to get the evening's events in order.

    It had been decided that I would take my co-worker downtown for dinner. My first thought was Binion's Ranch Steakhouse (our longtime favourite), but a discussion of seafood and the improvements over at the Golden Nugget had come up. Therefore, tonights plans were for Chart House at the GN. Strolling out of Fremont, I headed over to the Nugget to make my reservations in person.

    My suit-and-tie attire were a bit out of place downtown, but I do enjoy dressing up for the occasion (or no occasion), and I really, quite honestly, could give a rat's hind end less what anyone thinks of it. If Joe Blow feels his best in shorts and a T-shirt in the baccarat room at Caesars, I won't call him on it. By the same token, if I want to stroll around downtown in a suit and tie, screw anyone who has a problem with it (sorry... mini-rant over now).

    I strolled over to the GN, feeling like a million bucks. Walked in like I owned the joint (after the loss I took there a couple of years ago, I might as well own it... but I won't get into that right now). Walked past rows of slots, past the table games, back around the escalators to Gold Diggers, and back down the hallway to the new section where I was sure Chart House must be located.

    As I strode down the rows of slots past the escalators, I saw what was a somewhat common sight in Las Vegas. A lady, clearly rather inebriated, was hollering at a cocktail waitress halfway across the floor from her. Maybe not even in her section (though I'm sure this lady had no idea that servers had sections, etc). She leaned back from her money-sucking video slot machine, and hollered at the waitress. "HEY! YOU! I NEED A DRINK! COCKTAIL! WAITRESS! HEY! OVER HERE! I NEED A DRRRINK! HEY!". I proceeded to ignore her hollering, the #1 sure-fire way to insure that you DON'T get the attentions of a cocktail server on the floor. As I strolled by, however, her attentions focused on me.

    "HEY! Your cocktail waitress just IGNORED ME!!!"

    UM?

    Huh?

    Yeah, it took me a moment, just like the lady at the bus stop. But after a second or two, it dawned on me. Heheh... I'm wearing a black suit and a tie. I'm walking around like I own the place. She thinks I WORK HERE. Hehehehhhh.

    This time, I wasn't going to fess up to being a tourist.

    "Can I help you, ma'am?"

    Hehehhe..

    "That cocktail waitress just completely ignored me!"

    "Really? Did she come by and ask if she could get you a drink?"

    "No! She walked RIGHT BY ME (no she didn't) and completely IGNORED ME!!! (maybe that's because she was across the room and you were being an ass?)"

    I kept my thoughts to myself in a properly managerial manner.

    I looked quite stern and concerned.

    "I personally apologize for that, ma'am. I'll do everything in my power to make sure that doesn't happen again"

    With that, I stormed off in the general direction that the cocktail waitress had recently left in, trying to communicate with every step how wildly pissed I was that one of the GN's patrons had been so egregiously maligned and how I was going to rain holy hell down on whomever was responsible, with all the power of my lofty position behind me.

    As soon as a bank of machines was between me and the drink-hollering-drunk-lady, I made my stealthy way past her behind rows of machines (she was now refocused on her game, oblivious to my movements, satisfied that she has brought wrath down on her oh-so-inconsiderate waitress), and made my way over to the Chart House.

    Hey... I shouldn't feel bad for doing that, right? After all, I did precisely as I said I would. I did everything in my power to rectify her situation. That might be nothing at all, but that's pretty much what my power on the floor of the GN amounts to, so there you go. And I got to count one more person on my personal score of people-who-think-I-work-for-a-casino. :)

    I got over to the Chart House no problem. And found a great big reservations desk there. Wow. This place must be popular. Oops. When I made it up to the counter, I discovered that the reservation desk was for the hotel. A quick (and politely guided) jaunt up some stairs took me to the Chart house itself (with it quite-nice aquarium), where a couple of unreasonably hot hostesses greeted me and were happy to assist me with my 7:30 reservations.

    My task at hand complete, with the added amusement of having some lady probably hollering at her waitress about how management was going to give her hell over her awful (evidently good enough to get her really hammered anyway) drink service, I made my way out the back door of the GN, walked around so as to avoid needing to follow up with my drunken patron, and got back to Fremont to get the car. Time to head up to Mirage and pick up my coworker.

    More soon...
     
  17. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Back to Mirage

    It is, at this point in the saga, Monday evening the 26th of April.

    This bit will be short, as I need to get to bed soon. Hopefully I shall add more in the morrow.

    I got New Leroy out of Valet at Fremont (again marveling at the not-running-into-everything skills of the valet staff and tipping accordingly... I always tip $2 in and out of valet, which seems much more appreciated downtown than on the strip).

    I asked the valet guy what the best way was to get to Mirage this time of day. He said that the LVB traffic shouldn't be too bad yet (he was right) and suggested that I do that rather than take I-15. I did so, and did not regret my choice.

    I got back to Mirage with a minimum of delay, and valeted (is that even a word... oh, well) the car there, knowing that my coworker would be quite uninterested in any large amount of walking given our state of dress for the evening.

    I called ahead (while the room might be in my name and I carried an evidently totally-unnecessary key to operate the suite elevator, it was not 'my room', and I had no intention of walking in unannounced). I was invited to come on up, and to bring a Ketel One and tonic with me. I procured one at the lobby bar along with a Tanqueray and tonic for myself ($10 ish each, wow... I should've stuck a Benjamin in the machine and hit some bad VP for a few minutes in retrospect to try for a bar comp) and headed up.

    I was as impressed with the room upon my second arrival as I was with my first. Though 20-ish years old, Wynn didn't mess around with the penthouse rooms. It was fabulous. I walked in, engaged in a most pleasant bit of hanging out, critiquing various choices of outfitting for the evening, and finally being ready to get down to Chart House (fashionably late, but given the fact that it was a Monday, I figured accurately that there wouldn't be a need for reservations in the first place, much less an issue if people with reservations showed up late). We put the car back up at Fremont, and strolled over to the GN, to my relief unaccosted by the lady I so mercilessly BSed earlier. Up to Chart House we went, details to follow.

    More soon...
     
  18. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

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    Sam's Town is quick with the offers!

    Well, after the action I gave Sam's Town at the end of last month, they got with the program pretty quickly and sent an offer my way (I've never seen one from them before, so this has to be a result of my recent play).

    It's not amazing or anything, but it's exactly what I would put to good use, so I have no complaints.

    [​IMG]

    Woohoo! Next time that burrito at Willy and Jose's will be on the house!

    I'm definately going to be returning to Sam's on my next trip... As long as they keep this sort of offer rolling in. I love the place, and now it's free without having to go find a host!

    :D
     
  19. Sierra

    Sierra Low-Roller

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    55
    We like Sam's too; when we're getting beat up by the strip, whether by the crowds or poor pay tables, Sam's is a nice respite.

    I recently booked a couple of free nights on the B connected site for their ruby (low-end) card level at GC. Even though it's a holiday weekend, and I was looking to pay $78 for the combination of both nights, it came up comped? Before anyone wised up to the discrepancy, I booked it.
    Maybe like HET, the calendar rate and the actual booking may vary?
     
  20. thebucket

    thebucket VIP Whale

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2009
    Messages:
    1,666
    Location:
    Midwestern US
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    13
    Indeed Sam's does make a nice break from the strip (and downtown even). It's a whole different world out there, and a fun one. :)

    I'll have to try poking around on the ruby card rates online... Hopefully you're right that like HET one might find comp rooms where they aren't expected...

    Enjoy the GC - I really like that place as well. Sam's, GC, the Cal, and Fremont are officially my favorite Boyd properties, and potentially my favorite properties anywhere (though I may be a bit biased as a stockholder in BYD). Makes it feel a bit better when I take a beating at a table, knowing that in some really tiny way my loss serves to boost my own bottom line just a bit.
     
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