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NYNY, Bellagio, UFC 222 2/28-3/4

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by AZ Night Owl, Mar 7, 2018.

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  1. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    My Trip Report

    Just got back from a trip to see UFC 222 in Vegas. For a little background, my wife and I have been going to a couple of fights a year in Vegas for the last 3 years or so. The last ones we went to were the 2 fights during International Fight Week in July 2017. The big change for me has been with what I haven’t done since the last trip. I guess I had a sort of midlife crisis last year, and I have been taking my health and my fitness a lot more seriously over the last six months or so, and have really dialed in on my diet and training. That means that I have been eating very clean, rarely taking diet “cheat days”. I also have not drank any alcohol since my last Vegas trip. My routine has been working, taking care of the kids, and BJJ training 4 nights a week. This trip was intended to be a well deserved rest from my routine, and the plan was to eat well and drink up before getting back to the grind.

    We booked the first 2 nights at New York New York on a myvegas comp. We booked the second two nights at Bellagio, since in our many trips to Vegas we had never stayed there. We just booked the cheapest run of the house room, but a few weeks before the trip they offered me a $70 a night upgrade to a Salone Suite, so we tried that. We also each used a full array of myvegas rewards to use on this tripped. In addition to the fight, we planned on seeing the show “Baz” on Thursday night, and checking out NGHTMRE at Hakkassan on Friday night. I also made reservations at Lago, Hells Kitchen, and Tender.
     
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  2. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    Wednesday

    We drove in for this trip, and arrived at about 4 pm. I did the online checkin at NYNY and we were up in our room in just a couple of minutes. The room was fairly nice, nothing spectacular, but nicely furnished and great for a free room (also a good value for the lower tier rates they normally charge at NYNY). Since we had barely eaten during the drive up, we headed over to Bellagio, where we each had a myvegas reward for a free buffet. Before the buffet, we hit up the Baccarat Bar to play some $1 VP for some super fancy comped drinks. We played for like 15-20 minutes, my wife cashed out even, and I cashed out +$60. The cocktail was strong, and I already felt buzzed from just the one drink.

    We then headed to our free buffet dinner. This turned out to be our only mediocre meal of the trip. I’m not a buffet person anyway, but this one was just remarkably underwhelming. Many of the hot items had been sitting out so long that they were cold. The prime rib was really fatty. Service was nonexistent. You get your own soft drinks there, and no server asked us the entire time if we needed drinks from the bar. There were a few good items, but overall I was not impressed. I’ve enjoyed Aria and Wynn buffets much more even when I was paying full price.

    After the buffet, we hit up the casino at Bellagio. I’m not a big fan of this casino. Table limits were high, so we stuck to slots. They didn’t even have my favorite slot (the Michael Jackson one) anymore. The slots just ate money with no playback. I also tried the “Fortune Cup”, the modern replacement for Sigma Derby. At $10 a bet, I pissed away $20 in like 1 minute. I won’t be trying that again.

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    We headed back to NYNY to try our luck there. On the way back we stopped at Mandarin Bar, but had to have our drink in the lobby since they were cleaning up a private event. At NYNY, my wife immediately hit $600 on a Wheel of Fortune Machine. We then used yet another myvegas award, this time for the Bar at Times Square. It was pretty lively but very crowded, After using our credit to get 3 rounds, we ent back to gambling. After trying a couple of slots with no success, I hit up the tables. I really enjoy playing the poker based carnival games. I’m fully aware that house edge is much more than blackjack craps, and baccarat, but I like the idea that you can make big wins on those games without having to really grind it out for hours. At first I tried High Card Flush, then UTH. I had some really wild swings on both but left even on them. I then played Three Card Poker, which was my lucky game for this trip. With some ups and downs, I ended up + $700 after about two hours. After that, I met back up with my wife at the center bar and played a little video poker. I immediately hit a quad on ddb! Unfortunately, that would be my only decent paying quad for the trip, as I was playing Bonus Poker on the other ones. Still, my wife stayed even after her initial hit, so we were up quite a bit for the first night!


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  3. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    Thursday

    I woke up fairly early, feeling a little hung over, but doing waaay better than I thought I would be after the first night of drinking in 8 months. My wife slept in and I just took a walk around and picked up a couple of cheap waffle breakfast sandwiches at Bruxie. Not bad for fast food. When my wife finally got up and got ready, we piddled around in the casino until lunchtime. For lunch we did Nine Fine Irishmen with the $35 myvegas voucher. It was my first time eating there and I was really impressed. We had the irish nachos appetizer which was great, and I had some curry chicken which was excellent too. The only problem was we ordered more food than we could eat. I would definitely recommend NFI, especially as a myvegas award.

    We then decided to go across the street to MGM Grand. The first bar we came to was level up, so we stopped there too play a little VP and drink. Level up uses those stupid drink tickets to get comp drinks. Even though we both put in $20 and were betting 5 credits, I received 0 drink tickets. Even though I was playing far faster, my wife got 2 tickets. The worst part of it is these are not like chandelier bar quality comp drinks. My wife got her free crappy drinks and we left. We were the only ones there, and dumb shit like their drink ticket system certainly won’t help turn things around. After leaving level up, we noticed a big crowd around a small stage right at the front of the casino floor. It was Brian Ortega on the stage! They were doing the UFC open workouts there, we saw Brian Ortega, Cyborg, and Sean O’Malley hit some pads a little and then give an interview. Cyborg is a pretty relentless self promoter her people were handing out stickers, and she was throwing dvds, t-shirts, and even her sweaty shirt, sweatpants, and socks out to the crowd (I told my wife I would have to pass on catching that stuff lol).


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    Brian "T-City" Ortega

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    "Sugar" Sean O'Malley

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    Cris "Cyborg" Justino

    After that was over, we had drinks at the Tap Sports Bar. We played a little in the casino without doing much. We then went to Whiskey Down for drinks. The bartender there was like a damn encyclopedia of Whiskey knowledge, and he gave us a rundown on all of the most expensive bottles they have there. He even brought out a bottle of Pappy Van Winkle so my wife and some other people could take pictures of it. After doing a round of some other fancy bourbon shots (unfortunately the Pappy Van Winkle was over our budget), we headed to Luxor for dinner at Tender. Of course, we were using yet another myvegas award.

    For dinner I got the “wagyu flat iron steak and prawns” special, and my wife had the wild game tasting menu. My wife’s entrée was excellent. The apps, sides, drinks and dessert were also superb. My prawns were great too. The “wagyu flatiron steak”… not so much. It was flavored well, but parts of it were very tough. I should have known, seeing as it was “American wagyu” beef. Like I said, the rest of the meal was superb. I would still strongly recommend Tender, but would suggest avoiding that particular entrée.

    After dinner, we took a Lyft to the Palazzo to see BAZ. The Palazzo casino is being extensively redone. Unfortunately, our old favorite there, the Lagunas Champagne Bar, is gone. We stopped by a new place called Rosina for preshow drinks. Their gimmick seems to be taking classic cocktails and fancying them up. They also charge really high prices for said fancy cocktails, ~$20-$22 per drink! The drinks were good though, and they even put my Mai Tai in a really cool skull glass.

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    And to make you forget about the exorbitant drink prices, they put the check inside a fancy little postcard.

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    After drinks we went to BAZ. I decided on BAZ because Cirque shows all bore the crap out of me (except MJ One). I got seats that were at a table right next to the stage. When I say next to the stage, I mean that the table touches the stage and before the show they warned us not to rest our arms on the actual stage. During parts of the show everything was happening right in front of us. I wasn’t sure if I would like it, but I really enjoyed the show and would highly recommend it. However, the theater was not very full, so I would think that it doesn’t have much time left unless they start selling more tickets. Go see it while you still can!

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    So after the show, we immediately went back to NYNY. We would have just continued hanging out at Venetian or maybe Carnival Court, but earlier my wife decided that she wanted to go to Hakkassan to see the headliner for that night. When we got back to the room, my wife decided she wanted to take a “quick nap” before getting ready. Uh-oh. So after it was clear that she was not getting back up to go anywhere, we made another change of plans and I decided just to gamble there at NYNY for the night.

    When I got downstairs at like 1130 or so, the casino was hopping. They had a DJ at the center bar, and it was packed with people who were dancing and having a good time. I played a little bartop VP without any big hits. Then I hit the tables for a bit. I tried UTH again, more big swings but ended up $20. Then I hit up 2 card poker. I had a great session there, I hit a straight flush w/ pairplus bet, ended up about $600 after a little bad run at the end. I then bought in for $200 at a craps table, got up to like $700, but unfortunately the alcohol took over and I started betting constant come bets, w/ full odds, and my luck turned. Fortunately, I left the table when I still had $230 left from my $200 buy in. So despite getting killed for a bit I was still up $30 even on the craps. I know the carnival poker games have a little bit of a high house edge, but I enjoy them because they give a decent chance of a big win without grinding it out, but you can play way longer than slots. However, the poor play by most on these games is just sad, for 3CP and HCF the optimal strategy is trivially easy to memorize, even UTH isn’t that difficult. The way most people play these games is so bad the casino makes an absolute killing.

    After I that made my way back to the center bar for more VP. By this time it was getting late and the crowds in the bar and casino were gone. I know Vegas is full of hookers, but it is definitely not my thing. I’m happily married, and even when I was young and single I have never messed around with that sort of thing. But holy crap, as soon as I sat down at that bar to play VP, a freaking army of hookers descended upon me, trying to make that last bit of money for the night. It reminded me of a giant horde of walkers off of the Walking Dead. Like every 1-2 minutes a new one (or two) would sit at the machine next to me asking if I wanted to party. I imagine that in my drunken state I was probably flashing too much money when I was getting tip money out of my wallet… whatever I was doing, every hooker in the place seemed to think I would be an easy mark. If you are reading this and that is your type of thing…. NYNY is the place to go apparently. I was so drunk and the interruptions were so constant it was actually messing up my vp play. I managed several quads in that session, but I was playing bonus poker so they weren’t for much, and I would put the money right back in the machine. I wrapped it up at around 6am, pretty hammered and just about even on VP, and still in possession of my table winnings from earlier.
     
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  4. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    MJ machines are getting incredibly difficult to find. At least to me.
     
  5. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    Friday

    Despite my late night, I was up about 9am and I didn’t feel too bad! While my wife was packing up, I stopped by the mlife desk to see if I can talk them into taking off any charges. They waived my resort fees and comped a little off the room charges to boot! Score! We drove to Bellagio and checked in to our room about noon. Our room was ready, but unfortunately we were unable to get a fountain view room. Despite the lack of a fountain view, I was actually really impressed by the room. We both liked it better than the Aria corner suite we stayed in last trip. There was a nice view of the beautiful pool area, and we could also see the strip and part of the fountains from the side windows.


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    By this point, I was starting to feel it a little from the night before, and I desperately needed to eat immediately. We quickly chose the Asian noodle place called “Noodles” right there at Bellagio. Before we even got our food, we raided the dim sum cart. Some of those dim sum items were better than ones we had in Chinatown in NYC, unfortunately they were pricier. I got this giant bowl of noodles with prawns, pork, curry, and chili. That was probably the best hangover meal I have ever had.

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    After that most excellent lunch, we headed to the CVS by Monte Carlo to get some supplies. On the way, we stopped at Chandelier Bar. Only the bottom level was open and they wouldn’t do the Verbena, however I got some other drink with flowers in it.

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    After stopping at CVS, we headed back to the Bellagio to the Baccarat Bar. I blew through $100 quick on dollar vp, so we decided to just sit on the couches and pay for drinks. I also smoked a nice Davidoff cigar I brought from home. I really enjoyed the Baccarat Bar, the drinks are great and there is a really classy vibe and lots of comfy couches and chairs to chill on.

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    We went back to our room to get ready for dinner at Lago. I was really impressed by Lago, everything about it was superb, including the food, service, and atmosphere. We were seated outside on the patio and saw several fountain shows. We’ve tried Julian Serrano Tapas, but this food was even a little better than that. Unfortunately I was killing those small plates way too fast to take any pictures of the food. I’m thinking that Lago may be the best meal that I have had in Vegas.


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    After dinner, we pregamed it a bit in our room then took a Lyft to MGM Grand. I tried my old standby, 3 card poker, but wasn’t feeling lucky so I tapped out pretty quickly. We stopped at Whiskey Down, but it isn’t as good there when all the machines are taken and you have to pay for the drinks there. We moved on to video poker at some random casino bar. Played for a bit, neither of us did much, but the bartender kept the drinks flowing. At about 1230 we headed to Hakkassan. The headliner was NGHTMRE, a dubstep style DJ/producer that I’m a big fan of. The guestlist line moved quick, and we got in there just in time. By the time we got drinks and got to the dancefloor, NGHTMRE started his set. Hakkassan was the only big club we hadn’t been to yet. The sound and lighting are really cool, on par with Omnia and XS. The bad thing about it is the layout, it gets super overcrowded. At first it was tolerable, but after a bit the dancefloor was just ridiculously packed. When we finally left the dancefloor to get drinks, we were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of space right near the bar, with a good view of everything and room to dance. The only drawback was the closeness to the bar meant plenty of money blown on overpriced drinks.
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    We left at about 430 or so and headed back. We stopped at some 24 hour snack place in Bellagio, and I desperately tried to hydrate so that I could get up early and hit the pool at Bellagio before the fight.
     
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  6. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    We couldn't find any, even at MGM grand and Cosmo. It sucks because it is one of the few slots that my wife and I both enjoy.
     
  7. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    gtg, I'll finish tomorrow or Friday.
     
  8. charlestfuller

    charlestfuller Low-Roller

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    Great posts. That did look like an ideal hangover meal haha
     
  9. bshowell

    bshowell VIP Whale

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    Your room at Bellagio looks super nice. Even though no full on fountain view, still not a bad view.
     
  10. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    Here's the wrap up:

    Saturday

    Despite the late night, I was able to get up by 930 or so. As much as I wanted to hit up the pool at Bellagio, when I checked outside it was far too cold to even attempt it. It is quite a beautiful pool area and real disappointing that I didn’t get to use it. We had 1:15 reservations at Hell’s Kitchen, nut my wife simply could not get up and get moving quickly. We weren’t able to get to Hell’s Kitchen until 1:45, and they were booked solid until Monday, so there was no changing it. Fortunately, we got seating at the bar and were able to try it out. The drinks were excellent, as they usually are at any Ramsay place. The drink I ordered had a little rolled up message on it. When I unrolled it, it turned out to be a little preprinted “motivational message” from Gordon, which I found amusing.


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    The food was excellent, we both had the Hell’s Kitchen burger. I really enjoyed it, it wasn’t as good as Lago, but it wasn’t nearly the price either. It was definitely worth a stop.

    After lunch, we started making our way from casino bar to casino bar towards T-Mobile arena for the fight. While my wife was getting ready in the morning, I had made some picks to bet on for the fight. The betting lines were absolute garbage for the fight, for example, Cyborg was -2200 for her fight. I figured the only way I could maybe make a little money was putting $100 on a 4 fight parlay bet. I picked Dodson, Arlovski, O’Malley, and Ortega, and if it won it would have paid like 750 according to the calculator I used. When I went to the Bellagio sports book on the way towards the fight, my wife threw a fit and reminded me how I have lost on every single bet I have made on UFC fights (and yes she was correct about it). I gave in and kept my $100. After a few drinks and some vp at Bellagio and Aria, we made it to T-Mobile for the fights.

    Our seats were decent, not the best we’ve had but still a pretty good view, about 8 rows up on the lower level. We arrived right before the Dodson-Munoz fight. Because the original main event fell through, he UFC discounted the tickets to fill seats, and the crowd was rather obnoxious. Despite that, the fights were great, with awesome performances from Alexander Hernandez, Sean O’Malley, Brian Ortega, and Cyborg. The frustrating thing was that, for the first time ever all my picks won, and my wife convinced me not to make the parlay bet. Oh well!


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    (first fight we saw, the arena actually filled up by the time the PPV card started)

    After the fight, we went to Aria to get dinner and gamble. We tried Lemongrass for drinks and a light dinner. We split a dim sum sampler along with some pineapple fried rice w/ prawns. It was all excellent , and my wife had some crazy awesome drink made with coconut milk and curry powder!


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    Chinese New Year display near Lemongrass.

    After dinner, we hit up the casino at Aria. We played various slots with not much happening except my $200 or so minor hit on one of those Buffalo machines. We moved on to Bellagio to try our luck there. We tried various slots with no success. I tried $50 plus my accumulated freeplay on a $5 3 reel type slot but nothing. At about midnight we called it a night.

    Highlights:

    Overall gambling: I only took out part of my budgeted bankroll for the trip, and never hit up the ATM once. The original plan was to charge food to the room on a rewards credit card for miles and then pay it off at the end of the month. I ended up paying almost all of those charges in cash when I checked out of Bellagio. Even after that, I still brought home most of the money I had come with. We had enough wins big and small to pay for most of our food and drinks for the trip, and we did a lot more gambling than usual. I think we got enough coin in and table play to get comp room offers for the lower tier MGM properties for the next trip. Since we go for the fights, rooms at Excalibur, NYNY, or Luxor suit us just fine because they are close to the arena. All in all, a big win in my book

    Lago – Outstanding, maybe the best meal I have had in vegas.

    The two Asian restaurants, Lemongrass and Noodles – Also outstanding, will be back on my next Vegas trip.

    BAZ - I wasn’t sure I would enjoy it, but I loved it, and so did my wife. Better than any Cirque show I have been to including MJ One.

    Hell’s Kitchen – Also excellent.

    Hakkassan – I was warned not to go there without getting bottle service, we found plenty of room by the bar and had a great time. The DJ set was great too.

    Bellagio room - I loved the room, only disappointment was not being able to use their beautiful pool area. The entire property is gorgeous. The only downside is that we may not be in the room enough to justify the expense, so it may be back to Excalibur or NYNY for next trip.

    Myvegas rewards – We used a bunch of them and that is part of the reason we were so far under budget this trip.

    NYNY room - This was a nice room for a comp. The casino is great except for the horde of hookers infesting it after about 4am.

    UFC fights: I always enjoy these as long as “Tyquil” Woodley isn’t fighting, despite the changes to the card the fights were awesome as usual.

    My health: Prior to this trip I had eaten clean and had no alcohol since July 2017. Despite a healthy amount of alcohol consumption I did not get sick at all. Weight gain was a modest 4 pounds and I am already back to normal now.

    Lowlights:

    Bellagio Buffet – Very mediocre, would have been pretty disappointed if I paid for it.

    Fortune cup (sigma derby replacement) – Lame. AT $10 a bet at Bellagio, nobody played for long

    No Michael Jackson machines – WTF MGM?

    Overall a great trip. We managed to get a lot of fun stuff and gambling squeezed into a short trip, and we didn't spend nearly as much as planned. Unfortunately I am back to the grind and I will be eating clean and not drinking until my next vacation, Hopefully I will be back for fight week in July and maybe a jiu-jitsu tournament in August.
     
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  11. AZ Night Owl

    AZ Night Owl Tourist

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    We both really enjoyed the room and the view. Only real disappointment was seeing that beautiful pool area when it was too cold to go there.
     
  12. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Great report! As for MJ machines, did you think about checking Mandalay Bay? If anyone should hold on to them the longest, it should be them.
     
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  13. vegasmacker

    vegasmacker Canadian Ambassador for Sully's Bar

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    great report, thanks for sharing
     
  14. theghost

    theghost Stuck at work, but should find a poker table

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    Awesome report.....thank you for sharing!
     
    Vegas in December!
  15. emmas

    emmas High-Roller

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    Enjoyed the report. Nice to pay for everything in cash and still have some left.
     
  16. nancyf

    nancyf Low-Roller

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    nice report - hope it wasn't a problem going back to clean eating and no alcohol after you returned home... enjoyed the pictures!
     
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