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Planet Hollywood April 27-30, California April 30-May 3

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by mjames1229, May 9, 2019.

  1. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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

    My Trip Report

    I am really frustrated with myself as far as the non-timeliness of this report... especially as it relates to the first day, which seems like eons ago. But life has been really busy (and my wife has been battling the Vegas Crud) so almost a week later is my first opportunity to start. My apologies, but try to pretend its current.

    My wife and I and an untold passel of friends depended on the valley for our go at the USBC Open Championships bowling tournament. The group that I helped to organize had 10 teams (50 guys/gals) and assorted spouses. In addition other groups of friends bowled the next day or so and were also in town at the same time. As detailed below, two of the best times of the whole trip included getting together with friends that weren't part of "our" group, and that I had previously hadn't planned on even seeing, much less spending time with. That's part of what makes Vegas so cool.

    Saturday, April 27 - This very first part is what makes this seem dated, but we were racing a late-April snowstorm out of town.

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    But it wasn't just to make sure the plane left... I had a lawn to cut! The grass was just stating to get long, and I couldn't imagine how bad it would look when I got back if I didn't get it done (especially with the potential of 8 inches of melted snow). So at the crack of 9:00 AM (the locally accepted time to start a lawn mower), I put on my winter coat, hat and gloves... and started mowing.

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    I never thought I'd type this, but I got the lawn mowed before the snowstorm arrived... which in hindsight wasn't an issue, as the storm moved south and nailed Chicago, leaving Milwaukee with just a touch more than a dusting.

    The James Taxi picked up a teammate and his girl and we headed off to the airport, and upon arriving at the gate ran into about a dozen friends and teammates. Because of the pending weather (that never arrived) we had gotten to the airport much earlier than I normally do for a mid-afternoon flight, and in doing so missed lunch. My wife sent me off for something healthy, and I managed to find a few chunks of diced cantaloupe for (gasp) $6.99.

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    My lovely wife, with her analog Kindle.

    The flight over was uneventful (the best kind of flight) and upon arrival, found that my son (who had taken a different flight) was still in McCarran as his inbound flight had been delayed. This caused a little heartburn, as I had promised one friend a ride to his hotel downtown (as we were staying at the Planet Hollywood) because we had expected my son to have taken themselves to their hotel. Instead the James Taxi loaded five people and lots and lots of bags into our rented Ford Escape, and first set sail to the Park MGM to drop off Aaron and his girl, before heading to the 4 Queens.

    Now, I could be frustrated about heading all the way downtown - and waiting for my buddy Pete to check in so we could take him back with us - but once I realized that it would give me time to gamble, well I guess I became OK with that.

    I found some random pinball-slot machine, and quickly hit bonuses on back-to-back spins to turn my $20 into $100. I cashed out, showed the TITO to my now-jealous wife, then headed to the first video poker machine I could find.

    And on my first hand...

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    That's a very, very nice way to start a trip. I pulled that TITO, shoved it under my now really-jealous wife's nose and sat at the slot machine next to hers. Another bonus later, I cashed out of the 4 Queens with a $310 profit in about 10 minutes work.

    Other than checking other people into their hotels, the first real order of business was to meet at Fogo De Chao as part of a group of 14 for dinner.

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    And as much as I liked the food, the experience left something to be desired. It was Restaurant Month and they offered a special portion for $39 that had everything except their premium offerings (ribs, filet mignon, etc). According to the flyer, up to 10 people in a party could use it, and many had wanted to. However the waiter really tried to dissuade the use of that, as there were "14 things you can't have... that will ruin your fun". In the end only three people had the $39 dinner, while the rest of us paid the full $56 menu price.

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    You can almost see where this is going, but the only premium meats we ever saw was the filet (and that came as we were getting full). We had kept asking for more variety (like the sausage and chicken) and the premium meats, but it seemed like only the Top Sirloin kept coming around. At one point, some of the people were going to complain but nobody wanted to start the trip on a down note so we just made do (and some - including me - didn't tip as much because of trying to be talked out of using the special menu then not actually bringing the premium cuts).

    My son's fiance, Stephanie, was making her first trip to Vegas, and somehow in addition to being the taxi driver, I became the entertainment director. So I after dinner, I took them to the only possible place to take a first-timer on their first night in Vegas.

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    The SkyBar at the Waldorf Astoria, of course.

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    My wife was getting tired, so after drinks and conversation, The James Taxi took my wife back to the Planet Hollywood as she was running on empty. But the rest of us Millennials were just getting started, so we set course for downtown to give Stephanie the yin and the yang of Las Vegas.

    We parked at the 4 Queens (my buddy gave me his parking permit) and we walked Fremont St. Unfortunately, Stephanie ran out of gas and didn't appreciate the kookiness of it all, but she did want to get in some cheap gambling so we headed over to Main Street Station (despite the changes that others feel, I am still a Boyd guy as I haven't seen any benefit reduction).

    We played a little blackjack (I won $80) and some video poker (I lost $80) when it was time to go. As I went to the cash out machine, my son decided to put $20 on the Don't Pass on the craps table, and lost it immediately with a 7 on the comeout.

    As we walked back through the 4 Queens, I passed a mostly-empty craps table. I was going to just place a $12 each on the 6 and 8, win, and show my son how easy it is. However, as I was waiting for the point to be established, the shooter said "Lay $200 behind". I thought that was a brilliant idea, and one that I hadn't done in years, so I took out $206 of my own and said to set that up for me, too.

    "What does 'Lay $200 behind' mean?"

    Good question. Thanks for asking.

    "Lay"ing means that you are betting that a 7 will come up before the number.
    • $40 behind the 4 means that a roll of 7 will win $20
    • $30 behind the 5 means a 7 will win $20
    • $30 behind the 6 means a 7 will win $25
    • $30 behind the 8 means a 7 will win $25
    • $30 behind the 9 means a 7 will win $20
    • $40 behind the 10 means a 7 will win $20
    • Plus $1 per number for vig
    What this means is that for the cost of $206, if the shooter throws a 7 on the comeout, you win $130. The best part is that the MOST you can lose is $40 if the shooter throws a 4 or 10 before you take everything down.

    With all that said, I saw my $200 behind (as well as the shooters) and I got all a-tingle. The shooter sets the dice, rolls them around the felt, then gently tossed them across the table and they landed smoothly in the corner, showing a 1 and a 6. WINNER!!!!

    I left my bets up, and the shooter shot a 6 so I lost that $30. I took all my bets down, and when all the vig was counted, I had a total win of $93. "That, my Son, is how you make an impulse craps bet".

    Because he's not the brightest bulb in the scoreboard, I spent the whole ride back to the Strip explaining it to him I still don't think he gets it.

    Evening came and morning followed, the first day.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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  2. MikeOPensacola

    MikeOPensacola VIP Whale

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    Great start to your TR. Looking forward to more.

    Seeing the pic of the tulips in front of your house brought back memories of growing up in Milwaukee. We also had a tulip bed and they were always a welcome sight after a long and crappy winter.

    :peace: :beer:
     
    Some kind of Winter Themed Palooza
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  3. Richard Alpert

    Richard Alpert LOST

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    Congrats on the mowing! :thumbsup:
    Still a couple of weeks away from that up here.

    Great start. I like the analog Kindle! :D

    RICHARD
     
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  4. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    Sunday, April 28 - One of the best parts of using the valet at Planet Hollywood is that you can access the north elevators without entering the casino, so when I got back to the hotel after gambling downtown, I could go right to bed and not be overly tempted to gamble. Doing so also netted me a reasonably good night sleep.

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    Good morning, Las Vegas!

    Remember The Matrix (as seen on Vegas Bright, as well as from our 2017 trip)? Of course we made one for this trip!

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    For years, I've heard on the Five Hundy show (as well as seen in various adverts) of numerous breakfast specials inside the Miracle Mile shops as the restaurants compete to justify a reason to be open in the morning. My wife and I looked at a number of menus and even though my wife is certainly not a seafood fan, she kept an open mind and found that Ocean One had the most interesting breakfast menu. So for our first breakfast on this trip, we headed into the mall to look for Ocean One.

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    See that podium on the lower left? As we came from the mall (from the right of the photo) the wood paneled walk way entering Ocean One and continuing into the left of the photo made it look like the entire area was Ocean One. So we walked to that podium and was given a seat. However, after ordering drinks and actually looking at the menu, we realized that we were instead at Oyster Bay Seafood. Well, it was too late to change since we had already had our drinks so we kind of looked at it like fate... we must have been destined to go to the wrong place.

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    You can see Ocean One over my wife's right shoulder.

    The inset of the menu offered a Steak and Eggs for $6.99, so we each ordered it.

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    I had suggested that they mail my eggs to starving children in Africa, and they must have done so as my plate was gloriously egg-free. I grabbed a steak knife and prepared to cut shoe leather, but you know what? That $7 steak was pretty good, actually... needed a little salt and pepper on the steak, but it far exceeded expectations.

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    That was an excellent breakfast for about $27 on the Las Vegas Strip. During breakfast, however, we had received word that the first event of the day at the Bowling Plaza was already delayed over an hour, and that there was a problem with the scoring interface. By 9:00 AM, we were told that our 7:00 PM squad wouldn't start until at least 8:30 PM.

    From there, it was a promised (and Matrixed) trip to the Conservatory at Bellagio.

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    When my wife and I took a brief stopover in Vegas for one night on our way back from Reno last year, I introduced her to the Silverton aquarium on a Monday morning at about 8:00 AM. She enjoyed it so much, it occupied the post-Bellagio space on the Matrix since it was created.

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    Unfortunately, 11:00 on a Sunday morning offers a different crowd than an early Monday morning. People were about 5 deep around the aquarium so sight lines were compromised, and they had a Mermaid in the tank. I thought the Mermaid was kinda cool, but my wife said it detracted from the fish. In addition, the tank offers a 360 walk-around, but on this day, half was closed for a Meals with the Mermaids event, so there wasn't an opportunity to thin the crowd. We didn't spend much time here on this day. Besides I had some internet streaming to watch.

    As I mentioned at in my Super Bowl trip report, I have been a season ticket holder of the Milwaukee Wave indoor soccer team for about 25 years. On this day, they were playing the Conference Finals game against the Baltimore Blast for the opportunity to make the Major Arena Soccer League Finals. The game started at Noon, and I needed to be where I could plug in and watch on-line. At halftime with the score tied 1-1, we had to leave because I had given a comp room to my buddy and I had to go to Hooters and check him in.

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    The only time I had ever been inside Hooters was once when I had a four-hour layover on my way home from Reno. Somehow, that got me a 3-day comp with a $20 food credit, some free play and two Gordie Brown tickets. I told my buddy (also my doubles partner the next day) that he can have the room, but I get lunch. After checking him in, we raced over to Steak and Shake and I put the game back on. The Wave scored a goal in the 4th quarter, then held off a furious rally to win the game 2-1. For the record, the MASL Finals were held in Milwaukee on May 5, and the Wave beat the Monterrey Flash 5-2 for the Wave's 7th championship in team history.

    The game ended just as we needed to leave to go to South Point for a team practice session, which was to be from 3:00 to 4:00. If our team shift wasn't going to be late, the original plan was to gamble and relax at South Point after the practice session, but before bowling. But by the time we had finished practicing, our start time had been bumped all the way to 9:30 PM. With about five free hours, I was all about going back to Planet Hollywood for a good nap. My wife decided to stay at South Point and play some bingo sessions.

    When she bored of bingo, she Ubered back to Planet Hollywood just as I woke up. I showered, shaved, dressed and we headed back to South Point.

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    From left, Glenn, Guzman, Chris, Creighton, and Our Hero.

    We finally hit the lanes at 9:48 PM, almost three hours late. However, they announced in the squad room that due to the delay, all bowlers that bowled any shift that Sunday would get a full free entry into next year's tournament in Reno. That's $185 that I don't have to shell out next month. That effectively makes this a free roll.

    And I rolled. Enough said. OK, one more thing... we shit the bed. I didn't bowl horrible, per se, but I had killed it the last two tournaments and I really disappointed myself on this day. That means just one thing as we were finishing up around 1:00 AM...

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    Yes. Yes we did. With Pity Shakes, too.

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    Didja notice that none of the bowlers looked particularly happy? I think the only reason Guzman is so happy is because he's buddying up with Dale's girl. But Dale was late to the party, so his loss, I guess.

    The total bill for 9 people - including tip - was under $60. I love that graveyard menu.

    Did you notice something about this particular day's activities? It started at 8:00 AM with breakfast, and ended at 2:30 AM when we got back to the hotel... and I didn't gamble much at all. Just for a little while at the Silverton and a sports bet on the Milwaukee Bucks (on the one playoff game they've lost in the two series). So after two days, I was still ahead in the Gambling Department.

    Early morning came and morning followed, the second day.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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  5. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
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    The pisser about Milwaukee springs is that the tulips always die after yet another late-April snowstorm. I've given up on taking pictures of the bright tulips surrounded by bright white snow. It makes for a beautiful photo, but when it happens seemingly every year, its no longer special.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
  6. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    I think I recall reading your trips to Reno and enjoyed them.

    I love you’re random lay $200 bet at craps and you trying to explain it to you son. I’ve never done it but thought the commission was 5% not a $1 per bet regardless of the bet size? Otherwise would say placing the 6 and to lose is the better bet, otherwise lay on the other numbers.

    Also love your excel matrix. I hope your Jerry’s Nugget bongo trio included craps at there old school dealer table full of all kinds of scoundrels.
     
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  7. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    I think it is 5%, but many places round down. So 5% of a $40 lay is $1.60, rounded down to $1.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
  8. gambo82

    gambo82 Tourist

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    On lay bets, you pay 5% commission on the win amount. 5% on $40 would be $2, but 5% on the $20 win is $1.

    This is a very interesting report. You sure get around, LOL.
     
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  9. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Good start so far! And congrats to the Wave!
     
    MyVegas lets us stay again? Okay!
    Thanks Wynn slot app! M's birthday in style!
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  10. kkinwi

    kkinwi VIP Whale

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    I was happy when that snow drifted your way....we STILL have snow in some of the ditches up here! Lovely report....carry on!
     
    Going to see Journey!
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  11. Johnzimbo

    Johnzimbo VIP Whale

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    Great job so far, looking forward to more bowling details. I bowled nationals a few times in Reno many moons ago, between that and the state tournament I realized my bowling skills do not travel well.
     
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  12. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

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    Ah duh, thanks for clarifying.
     
  13. Kobra2848

    Kobra2848 VIP Whale

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    Nice start to the report. That is one of the things we love about Planet Hollywood is that you can access both the towers from the lobby instead of dragging your suitcase through the casino. Unfortunately the best breakfast special in the mall ended when the cheeseburger place closed since their special included coffee.

    Mark
     
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  14. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    Sorry for missing a day... I had to chase the Brewers down to Wrigley yesterday...

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    To make sure the proper flag is displayed...

    Monday, April 29 - After getting back to the room around 3:00 AM, you'd think we'd sleep in a touch. I'd think that too, except, well... Vegas! We were out of the room by 9:00 AM, in part, frankly, to pay Mr. Caesar for the free room. Melissa did her part, but I mostly broke even on a couple of hours of slots and craps. Shortly after Noon we headed to lunch. When we pulled out of the Planet Hollywood parking structure, it looked a little cloudy. Before long it started raining.

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    Now if you've memorized my trip reports (and for as many times as I link them, I can't imagine that you haven't) but in three out of our last four trips, there has been significant rain. So to us, it wasn't a surprise. But to a town that gets about 472 dry days a year... I figure that my wife and I can eliminate drought conditions, all that is needed is paid plane ticket and a "gifted" marker.

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    However, brave the elements we did and arrived at Mr. Mama's for lunch. It was supposed to be breakfast, I didn't anticipate being out so late the night before. I had a grilled ham and cheese sandwich that was wonderful (but that I forgot to photograph), while my wife had some "nondescript grub" that she can't recall. I still really like this place, despite her memory.

    After that was onto the South Point Bowling Plaza to bowl in the Doubles/Singles events.

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    There are no bowling "action" photos because, frankly, I was 100% focused on bowling. That's code for "I can't believe I am not bowling better than this". For the 2017 tournament in Las Vegas, I averaged 206 and made a large pocketful of money. For comparison, for the nine games of this tournament I averaged only 186 (with 201 as my high game). I did make a couple hundred bucks in side pots and such, but there was no glory to be repeated. As I sit here typing this (two weeks after I bowled) I can think of a few things I would have done differently. However, I am out of plutonium and there are no lightning strikes planned, so I can't get that re-do I so desperately need.

    After a pity Birthday Cake milkshake (which had, sadly, become a tradition with our group) from Katie's Korner inside of South Point, we went back to the hotel for a quick change of clothes, then onto the next order of business... our Top Golf outing.

    The whole act of setting up a group for the golfing had been a four-month exercise in frustration. As I had mentioned, we had over 50 bowlers and spouses - as well as other bowlers not in our group that were bowling around the same dates as us - so when I had the idea of a Top Golf outing, it was hailed as a resoundingly good idea. So in January, I inquired about a large group which went to Event Coordinator who handles groups of 13 or more. She mentioned (among other things) requiring a $60 per person F&B minimum on top of the higher golf cost, and needing 50% down 90-days before the event. I had my hand out to the group for deposits and received exactly one.

    I called back in late-January, and they said groups of 7-12 would fall into the realm of a smaller group. The minimums were the same, but we'd only need the deposit 30-days before the event. By late-March, I only had six deposits. So when we got to the 7-day reservation window, I just reserved 2 bays, understanding they may not be adjacent, and whomever showed up will split the cost. With the reservation, you pay the posted price for golf and no F&B minimums (making the cost way, way less). However, they get you for a $50 per bay reservation fee. Fuckers got me for $100 just for the honor of reserving two bays.

    At that point, I was just happy to get the damn thing over with. So where I had (easily) 20 people interested in January, exactly 8 (and two watchers) showed up. So screw the rest. The 10 of us that were there resolved to have fun.

    Without too much detail about how the set-up goes, when we arrived, my son decided to jigger the system to make go first.

    I don't golf. I haven't picked-up a club in over 20 years (other than to threaten my ex-wife, but I've been to therapy since then) and now I get to be the crash test dummy.

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    I won't post the video of my swing.

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    But drinks were had...

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    And dinners ordered (deluxe nachos for my aunt and uncle).

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    Pulled pork sliders for me.

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    A turkey burger for my wife.

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    And a fun time had by all.

    Veterans get a 10% discount on the hourly rate of the golfing, and since we had two of them, both bays got the discount. The food was surprisingly good (I mean, really good) and for a non-golfer, I got my fix for another couple of years.

    My doubles partner, Guzman, had been bugging me about playing craps. He isn't much of a gambler (and he says roulette is his game) but last year when the national tournament was in Syracuse, we found a casino and played craps for a couple of hours. He had such a good time that he wanted to do it again this year. So despite some late nights, here was the James Taxi taking my wife, son, his girl and Guzman back to Main Street Station to get our gamble on.

    And in my first true gambling session of the trip, I got hammered. While waiting for a couple spots at the craps table, I dropped a C in the slot machines. When I was done with that, there were spots open and Guzman and I slid into position. I bought in for one hundred; then again, then again. That was a lightning fast $300, and I don't really play that aggressively... A nickel on the line with 3x odds, $34 inside, a nickel coming, then use the place bet wins to put the odds on the come bet. It just seemed like a point was set, every single number hit once, then the sevenout.

    Back in the James Taxi, first stop Park MGM, then Hooters, then back to Planet Hollywood to bed.

    Evening came and morning followed, the third day.
     
    Last edited: May 11, 2019
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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  15. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

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    Tuesday, April 30 - A big day of fun (except for Flamingo Time, sigh) started by packing and checking out of the Planet Hollywood, which, come to think of it, wasn't a lot of fun. Then again, neither was the 20-minute drive to the Park MGM to pick-up Aaron and Stephanie. I get that road work and closing lanes on the Strip for development is necessary, but does it have to occur on my vacation?

    But once we got there, we loaded up the kids and headed to breakfast at BabyStacks Cafe in Henderson. This has almost become a regular stop, if for no other reason than the variety of pancakes, each visit as good as the previous. Like my order this time from the list of Daily Specials... the Caramel De Leche pancakes. I would have photographed them (actually, I thought that I had, but... well... apparently not. But they were brown with whipped cream and caramel sauce) but I didn't want to ruin the mojo of a family breakfast. That didn't stop my dickhead son from memorializing this family time.

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    Why breakfast in Henderson? Because of Stop #2.

    At some point in my endless Las Vegas ramblings, I mentioned how cool it would be to throw axes as that could be considered something Very Las Vegas. However, I am pretty sure I mentioned downtown (which would have been Axehole). Lo and behold, on Christmas morning, I opened my stocking and found a gift certificate to Axe Monkeys. So, Henderson.

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    It was a lot of of fun, though frankly it would have been a little more fun if the axes were a little sharper. Being competitive, we made up games (keeping score, of course) and it was frustrating when the axes would bounce off of the log and fly all over the place. Because there was only one other group there at the time, I walked through the facility to find a nice, sharp ax. And in doing so, I dominated from that point forward. It's all about finding the advantage.

    An hour is the perfect amount of throwing, as it becomes redundant. Throw the ax, get the ax, win the game. I didn't need the youngin's crying now, did I?

    Last winter when planning this trip, Aaron mentioned that he wouldn't be bowling the tournament. I was a bit disappointed as he had bowled the tournament the last time it was in Vegas, but this time he wanted just a vacation with Stephanie. However, in my role as tour guide, it was my job to entertain her so this day was all mine (in part, starting with the amazing pancakes). So Stop #3 was practically across the street. And by street, I mean valley.

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    Although I didn't anticipate a lot of hiking or other desert fun, we decided to get some water bottles from some random Chevron station. While waiting for someone in the bathroom, I did one of those things that, well.. I just had to do. Play video poker at a gas station.

    And I won $5!!!!

    Now in fairness, had my wife not come out of the bathroom exclaiming "You can't even buy a bottle of water without gambling?!?!?!?"... Well, she's right, but I decided it was best to cash out at that point anyway.

    We pull into the Red Rock Canyon and pull up to the admission booth, fully ready to pay the $15 fee. The lady hands us the map, and of all the information on the map, my wife's eyes immediately spot this...

    upload_2019-5-12_21-10-29.png

    She had just had her disabled placard renewed and had her proof of disability with her, so after filling out a quick form, we were in like Flynn.

    We walked through the Visitor's Center and pretended to read some of the signs and displays, when I noticed a back door with exhibits outside, so I went a-wondering.

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    That's Max, one of the tortoises that are raised by the staff.

    We hopped back into the car and drove the scenic drive to the first stop (in the Calico area). We parked and started the standard photo taking.

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    So admittedly, I walked 100 ft or so down the path to get this photo. Knowing that I didn't tell anyone that I had wandered, I hustled back to the group... which was only my wife sitting on a park bench, enjoying the view.

    About 20 minutes later, Aaron and Stephanie came strolling back. Apparently one of those "Its my first time here and I don't want to miss it" moments.

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    We continued driving and made a couple of additional stops, but in reality, Red Rock Canyon led with their best and all other stops pale in comparison.

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    As the scenery became less exciting, I didn't stop at any of the stops the last few miles, and by the time we exited the park, both Aaron and Stephanie were asleep in the back seat as we drove to Stop #4... Hash House A Go-Go at the Plaza, which was another requested stop by the children.

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    I told them and told them about the portions, but they were still stunned when they saw them.

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    My Hand-Hammered Pork Tenderloin.

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    My wife's Chicken Sage Penne Pasta

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    Aaron's Instagramized Chicken and Waffles... Hot. (It was actually too hot for him, snicker, snicker).

    MIA - the photo of Stephanie's fried chicken dinner.

    After a quick stop at the California to check in, change clothes and put the leftovers in the fridge, it was off to Stop #5A and 5B.

    Stop #5A was to drop Melissa off at The Strat for MJ Live. She had a ticket for this two years ago, but that show was cancelled at the last minute. When she bought the ticket this time, she had a little extra money so she upgraded really well.

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    He doesn't look very much like Michael Jackson, but according to the video that she took, he can really dance. Doesn't sing too poorly, either.

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    While she was doing that, I was asked to find a dispensary. Apparently we were going to our show under the aid of some, um, dispensed product. Therefore Stop #5B was at the Essence, which was across the street from The STRAT .

    The experience matched what I had heard. You pass a bouncer into this cold, impersonal area leading to a window, not unlike a Western Union branch in a dicey neighborhood. They ran all three drivers licences, then buzzed us through a heavy door that closed behind us which made a sound like a title card from Law and Order. Once inside the store, we were about sixth in line. I have never smoked anything, so obviously I would get some sort of edible. Also not knowing anything about the pot, I was going to ask the dispenser which would be the best product or strain for an evening of entertainment. As I am working this out in my head, I hear "$26 for a brownie plus 22% tax? I don't need to get high that bad". I, like a good father, feigned "Are you sure? You were looking forward to it". He said that he was sure, so we walked out the exit door, which unceremoniously dumped us in a back alley. And this concludes the story of my first time in a Nevada dispensary.

    You might have thought "Wow, Mr, mjames1229. You've had quite the busy day and you're quite old. Isn't it time to rest?

    "Pshaw". I respond. There is Stop #6 to get to.

    I drop the kiddos off at the Park MGM so they can pack (they have an early flight) before they meet me for the show, and I park at Caesars valet. At this point it is about 7:00 PM, and our show is at 10:00. For years (and years, and years) I've come to Vegas on poker trips for tournaments, and when people tell me to play cash games, I usually decline because I've either just been knocked out of a tournament and am too frustrated to jump right back into a game, or else we are at a locals place and real poker players are there. Other times, I am with my wife and can't set aside 3-4 hours of her vacation to play cards. But today, I've got three hours to kill and I am all by myself. I size-up the poker options, and figure that the Flamingo would have the easiest game (tourists, you know) so I walk over there.

    I get there, check in, and I am about 10th on the list for 1/2 No Limit, so thinking that they may open a new table soon, I dump $100 in a nearby slot machine close enough to hear my name. After that (first) hundo is gone, I go back to see my name still 7th. I ask if they are thinking of opening another table, and the attendant says "If another dealer shows up". Hmmm.... Another lost Benjamin in another slot machine later, I am still 7th in line. Getting frustrated at myself (and at the happenstance of a good idea gone wrong), I dedicate myself to chasing those first two bills with two more. Needless to say, I was unsuccessful. Finally, only two short hours and $500 later, I schlump out of the Flamingo with my name still 4th on the list. However, I have a friend to meet and a show to get to... otherwise there might have been more chasing.

    I meet up with bowling teammate Glenn and we head back to Caesars, but as we walk out the front entrance of the Flamingo, we run into a half dozen (very drunk) members of our original bowling group. With the typical, slurry "Heeeyyyy, guyyyyssth... Whatryouuuuu doin tnite?" we soberly answer as best we can. (At this point, I need to take an aside to mention how I am one of those that absolutely despises buskers, and that I have given my ideas on how to eliminate them, and nobody listens. But when I encounter one, I don't make eye contact and keep walking. Now, back to my story).

    These two showgirl buskers hear the commotion and make a bee-line to this impromptu assemblage. Somehow, one of the tipsy fellows mentions that I am from Manchester, England and that this is my first time in America. I come up with some asinine accent, and before I realize what is going on...

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    Egads... I am part of the problem now. But the tip isn't coming out of my pocket (though someone paid the black one $20, which is about $25 too much, but I digress...) and at least I have a photo of that time the British Mjames1229 didn't look at an ass that was three feet from my face.

    There is only one show at Caesars Palace that a couple of old men and a couple of kids who want to get high would all want to see... Absinthe. Believe it or not, in 25 previous trips, this was my first time.

    I was told that the way the tent is set-up, there isn't a bad seat in the house. That may be true, but I didn't want the cheapest seats all they way back by the sound booth, and I didn't want to get picked on for being right up close, so we "settled" for the fifth row.

    20190430_233542.jpg

    By the time the show was over and we left the tent, it was around Midnight. I bid adieu to Aaron and Stephanie, who walked back to Park MGM and were leaving the next morning, and also to Glenn who was walking back to Planet Hollywood, where he had moved after a few days at South Point. While waiting at the valet for my car, I opened Facebook and saw that a group of friends who were not part of our 10-team group, but who were all from Milwaukee were at the Stage Door.

    "Wait", again, says you. "You haven't gotten any younger. Shouldn't you wind the evening down? Wasn't your night supposed to end with Absinthe?"

    "Pish-tosh. This is Vegas."

    So I headed over to the Stage Door (another place I've heard about over and over, but had never visited) to meet up with this group. Now in fairness, most of them bowl with me in my Monday league, but I've never really been part of their inner circle, so I wasn't sure how this would go.

    Turns out, I was 6 hours late to their party. Again, I was way to sober for the group of people I encountered. They tried to solve that, though, with a Green Tea, which is basically peach schnapps and Jameson...

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    Which the bartendress was making in bulk.

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    From left, Van, Chris (seated), Dean and Bryan. Van is a local Milwaukee celebrity as he's a DJ and does morning spots on the Saturday local news.

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    I don't know the kissing couple or the guy in the grey T-shirt, but the rest (from left) are Dan, Nick, Nick's wife, April and Chris again.

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    That's Adam. I knew him when he was a teenager. Boy's grown up...

    Besides the group being hammered and downing Green Tea like its, well, green tea, they are eating hot dogs at a rapid clip... one guy had said that he had had six of them.

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    Bryan (or maybe it was Nick) bought one for me. It was pretty good. Not necessarily six-in-a-night good, but then again, I hadn't been there for six hours.

    After about an hour, one Green Tea and a Miller Lite (driving, remember) the group was starting to slow down, so I started to make my exit strategy, saying that my hotel near Fremont St was a bit of a drive. And before I knew it, the James Taxi was transporting Van, Chris, Nick and April downtown. I made the lady ride shotgun, and for that act of chivalry, I got a long (and repeated at least three times) story on how I looked like her Uncle Rick who now lives in Texas, but he and her dad used to own a bowling pro shop in Omaha, and that I looked like her Uncle Rick in Texas. April was certainly nice enough, but it was like she was hitting on me, except with this weird Uncle Fantasy and with her husband in the back seat. Oh, to be a drunk...

    Once we got to Fremont (close to 2:00 AM) they were disappointed to see that "Fremont St" was closed for the night and was just filled with other random drunks doing random things randomly. I told them that if they wanted to continue the party, the bars are towards Fremont East so we headed that way (stopping at The D for a bathroom break). While they were in the bathroom, I hit a Buffalo for a $40 profit, and when they found me, they each had drinks in their hands. But did they think of grabbing one for their old, sober taxi driver? Sigh, no.

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    Van, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Nick and April.

    We walked to the El Cortez and back and had gotten to Neonopolis when I said something like "we've almost run out of bars" when Van saw a neon light that said Open Bowling. I thought to myself "Oh-oh, this can't be good".

    Turns out that the old Drink and Drag was now The Nerd. And The Nerd is now a seedy, disgusting shell of a corner bar. The cover charge (at 2:00 AM with about five people in the place) was one drink for men, and none for women, which was odd as this was certainly nothing close to a pick-up joint.

    In the photos of Drink and Drag, they had the bowling lanes looking like this...

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    All shiny and new and stuff.

    But what we found was this...
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    There were only two lanes actually operating. There was a group using one of the two. The rest had become repositories for junk. As a bowler, it was heartbreaking. The scoring units had been removed, too.

    When I went to the bar for a beer, Van walked to the other operating lane, picked up a random ball off of the rack and rolled it. Then he did it again. I told the bartender that he might want to turn the lane off if he didn't want drunks bowling. He said that bowling was free with the purchase of a drink.

    Well, that changed everything.

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    There were two problems. One, the ball return was jammed with two balls, so when someone rolled a ball, it billiarded one of the stuck balls out, so that there were always two stuck (and grinding that rubber belt something fierce). The other problem is that there hadn't been any oil put on the lanes since it had been Drink and Drag. Now everyone (except me) was plastered, and none of us had bowling shoes, and we were using any random ball we could find, but did that stop us?

    Nope. Bowlers at heart.

    We each threw a buck into the pot. First mark (either a strike or a spare) would win. Those balls and lanes were so abused that 30 minutes later, we were still competing for that pot. Finally Van broke through with a strike and won the pot. "One more time!" said all, as we all put another buck up.

    Van bowled first. Bowled a strike, then took the money and walked out. He must be the best bowler of all.

    I think The Nerd is supposed to be a place that caters to, well, nerds, as it has displays of stuff that only a nerd would love.

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    But mostly it was a run down, dark, disgusting dive that I am very comfortable in saying that I'm fine never returning to.

    That was about it for our group, and as we headed back to the California (where I parked my car for the night) while continually stating "I am not driving you guys back to South Point". While back under the canopy, Van spotted a pigeon walking. He said that if he touches it, everyone owes him another dollar. He crouched down, did a duck-walk, and almost got to the pigeon as it scooted away. Undaunted, Van continued, once again getting oh-so-close. Finally, Van looked like he was ready to pounce when the bird said "fuck this" and flew away.

    We tried to get that dollar each from Van, but apparently it was a one-way bet.

    Early morning came and morning followed, the fourth day.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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  16. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,233
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    Wednesday, May 1 - This day started with me waking up around 10:00 AM, after getting to bed around 3:00. I awoke to an empty room - assuming my wife was gambling - but found out that she has gone to the comfy chairs on the walkway between the California and the Main Street Station to read her book. I guess her gambling on this trip was as bad as mine.

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    Good morning, Las Vegas!

    The Matrix said that breakfast was to be at the Omelette House on Charleston, even though I am not an egg eater (and my wife can take them or leave them). My reasoning was that is where Jerry Seinfeld took Jerry Lewis in that episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, which was recorded shortly before Lewis' death.

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    But I had slept the morning away, and with another busy day ahead of us, we settled for breakfast at the Market Street Cafe. And settled was the appropriate description, as we had a very average breakfast. It was by far the most mediocre meal we've ever had there.

    The first real excursion of the day would be to stop at the Rio to get our Diamond tickets for that night. Being the first of the month, we hadn't seen May's show offerings, and we had our eye on two potential shows... Wayne Newton at Caesars, or (using a Hail Mary) of the return of The Greatest Piano Men. We figured that the Piano Men hadn't been extended as we hadn't seen any advertising for it, but when we got to the TR booth and saw the show list... and...

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    Dammit. Wayne was out. Double-dammit. Second time in two years (last year they were out of the Diamond seats for Wayne when we were there). Turns out that he had had back surgery a few weeks ago (without contacting me first, natch). So we decided on The Bronx Wanderers at The Linq.

    With that night's tickets in hand, we headed to the Springs Preserve for looking at more nature. This is another part of Las Vegas that makes you forget that you're in Vegas (except for when you spot the Stratosphere in the background). My wife, who is President of our local Bonsai association, is always interested in botanical gardens, so off we went.

    If you're looking at me for a review of all the purdy flowers and such, you got the wrong man, lady. But I gots pictures...

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    I recall lots of other things than cactus, but none was particularly interesting to photograph. That is, until we got to the Butterfly Habitat. Because who doesn't like butterflies?

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    They even had a handy photo guide so that we could see what real life photos we were looking at.

    We spent a couple hours at Spring Gardens and on our way out, my wife decided that she wanted to crack a geode.

    120 years ago, inmates were forced to crack rocks with hammers on a chain gang. In 2019, people pay $5 to do it.

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    That's what a post-cracked geode is all about.

    Though we were there a couple of hours, it was frankly a couple hours less than we had scheduled, so being cognizant of our horrible gambling losses this week, we decided to begin our Bingo Tour a day early, and we headed over to Suncoast for their 3:00 bingo game.

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    You know that shit is going sideways when I am voluntarily playing bingo in Las Vegas. Then again, I did play the tan packs...

    Bingo was non-winning, but with the Young at Heart 11x points on the day, we did decided to gamble a bit. New to me was the penny VP machines.

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    Isn't it a shame when the low end of the Royal Flush only pays $50? And before y'alls kvetch about the paytable, I was playing that bank because my wife wanted to play there... 5 credits at a time. I did manage to blow $100 there, and another $100 in random slots $20 at a time as I walked over to the promotions area so that I could be there when they called my name for the 4:00 PM drawing. The fact that they didn't call my name stung just a little bit more.

    Two years ago when we were in Vegas for the National bowling tournament, we had our first-ever "Date Night" at the former Nove Italiano at the Palms. Last year we dined at Hells Kitchen with our Diamond Celebration dinner. This year, we had put Hugo's Cellar on The Matrix for our dinner, but frankly, I didn't know when we'd use our Diamond Celebration, so we decided to make BLT Steak part of our special night. The only concession was that I didn't feel like driving back downtown to change clothes, so we looked more casual than we would have preferred.

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    I had been to BLT steak last September with my poker guys, and even for a big eater like me, the 20 oz Cowboy Ribeye was too much. On the other hand, I was concerned that the 8 oz filet (or the 6-ounce American Wagyu filet) wouldn't be enough. My wife solved that by indicating that she would order the NY Strip and if I were hungry, I could eat the rest of her steak.

    That was a sound strategy, especially as the waiter brought our gratis Duck Liver Mousse, charcuterie (hashtag DiamondLife) and popovers.

    Then the real food arrived.

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    I had the American Wagyu filet.

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    My wife had 3/4 of the New York Strip.

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    We had sides, too... some disgusting fungus, loaded mashed potatoes and creamed spinach.

    Though we weren't hungry, per se, it was Date Night, so we splurged on calories....

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    Banana Cream Pie for the Better Half.

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    I had the Meyer Lemon Cheesecake

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    These are possibly still in the fridge in the California room 1539.

    The balance of the bill was paid for with the Reward Credits that I had been, ahem, hoarding for the right time. And speaking of timing, we timed it just right to head over to The Linq for our show.

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    The Bronx Wanderers is a father/two son trio, where Dad was a record exec and his kids became musicians, so Dad decided to make a band and start touring and honoring musical styles from Dion and the Belmonts to The Four Seasons to Billy Joel and the Stray Cats. They even nailed Bohemian Rhapsody.

    Dad (Vinnie) has a pretty good singing voice but is effectively a statue when he's leading. But when his son Vin A. takes over (Bohemian Rhapsody, Rock This Town and Uptown Funk) the energy skyrockets.

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    If you go to see them in the Mat Franco Theater, most of the seating are on metal, high chairs (similar to bar stools). With my wife's knees, that was no bueno, so we were moved off the center aisle all the way to the corner where they had some "regular" chairs. I guess that for free, the seats were still pretty good. But if you have issues sitting in bar stools, you might want to make arrangements ahead of time or else spring for the couches in the first couple of rows.

    Because many people hit the Linq valet at the same time, my wife and I decided to sit down at the Lightning Link machines, and sadly I had my biggest hit of the crip, cashing out eventually with a $200 profit. Even more sadly, that money wouldn't stay in my pocket very long.

    Returning downtown to put the wife to bed, I decided to begin to pay Mr. Boyd for the lovely room... and pay and pay. I had established a Line of Credit prior to leaving home, but the first part of my trip had been break even or better, so I was hoping not to need to tap it (in part because I had never taken a marker before). However, it proved quite easily to get a marker for slots at the cashier, and (he says, sheepishly) also one for the craps table. My second consecutive brutal gambling session. In both cases... if it would have lasted quite awhile, I could have dealt with the losing money. But both Tuesday at the Flamingo and now at the Cal, it just went so fast... hundreds and hundreds of dollars without any entertainment value.

    Good thing I was quite entertained at the show.

    Evening came and morning followed, the fifth day.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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  17. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2013
    Messages:
    18,693
    Location:
    Missouri
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    21
    Doh, hope the gambling luck turns!
     
    MyVegas lets us stay again? Okay!
    Thanks Wynn slot app! M's birthday in style!
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  18. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,233
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    I have some definite thoughts about that in my epilogue in a couple of days.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
  19. NittyOne

    NittyOne Low-Roller

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2018
    Messages:
    456
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    8
    Darn the lacking of winning stinks, I’m hoping for a big rally. Thank you for mentioning the Omelet House, never heard of it but it’s definitely on my list now.
     
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  20. mjames1229

    mjames1229 # of visits includes only trips w/ hotel stays

    Joined:
    Mar 5, 2011
    Messages:
    2,233
    Location:
    Milwaukee, WI
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    26
    Thursday, May 2 - Got an early start on this day, but not necessarily due to the busy schedule. Rather, it was because my wife could not stop coughing.

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    Good morning, Las Vegas!

    She had bronchitis a few months ago, and had started feeling crappy Wednesday. Fearful of the Vegas Crud, she left a message with her doctor about refilling her prescription for the cough pill. Looking at how our day was going to lay out, we asked that the Rx be filled at the CVS on Sahara and Valley View, which was near our first stop of the day.

    I went into some detail on this bingo thread, but the genesis of the idea is the yearly Vegas poker trip I take with the guys each fall. Hearing stories of our trek from poker room to poker room, Melissa decided that she wanted her version of it... using bingo. So I looked up websites of the Vegas casinos offering bingo, charted what specials ($1K coveralls, double/triple pay games, etc) are at which properties at which time, and, well...

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    Where would I be without spreadsheets?

    Prior to leaving home, my wife and I had to decide among ourselves which was more important... $1000 guaranteed coveralls, or getting double or triple pays per game. We both kind of agreed that if we get the tan pack, multiple double or triple pay games would offer more chances of winning more money. The EV might be greater with a $1000 GTD game, but we both decided that many more chances for decent wins was more important than one potential big score. What really bites, though, is that none of the Stations casinos websites list specific information on any of their bingo games. There is a page of special promos for each month, but since we left home in April, the May specials were not yet on any of the sites, so for the most part, we avoided consideration of the Stations properties.

    That said, our first stop of the day was at Palace Station :p

    One reason for starting there was that a bowling friend was staying there, and she would be joining us for the bingo tour. Shirley (who is a member of multiple bowling Halls of Fame in Milwaukee and Wisconsin) was in town to bowl Nationals, but she isn't (much of) a gambler and was looking to kill a day. In talking to her before leaving on the trip, I mentioned our Bingo Run and she begged to come along. Since she was staying at Palace Station, the first game of the day was a no-brainer.

    Before bingo, was a decent breakfast at what was once the coffee-shop looking coffee shop, but is now the too-classy-for-breakfast Brass Fork. Breakfast was fine, though the service was slow, but we managed to get to the bingo hall in time for the 9:00 AM game.

    Bingo cost $3 for a blue 6-on, and other than the Stations-wide progressive game, that was the only game offered. I took two blue packs, so my total outlay (including the progressive) was $8. Each bingo was worth $50, of which we won none.

    After bingo, we had to stop at the Tropicana to pick up our show tickets for that night, then we headed to the 11:00 AM game at Gold Coast. My wife bought the tan 6-on, and when all of the bonus games were added, the total was $24. I was behind her in line, and I told the clerk that I wanted everything she got, but double. She said that for $48 (double what my wife paid) I could get the Manager's Special, which included a total of 78 cards on a computer, 12 of which were the tan ones that I wanted in the first place. I came back to the table and my wife was a jealous that I had 72 more cards for only $24 more.

    I had a few minutes before the bingo started, so...

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    The bingo session went on, and in about half the games, I was one number away... as a matter of fact, in one particular game I was one number away on five different cards. But, alas, there was no win.

    We stopped back at CVS to get the prescription, but it wasn't ready as the clinic had yet to call it in. We asked them to instead send it to a CVS on Decatur and Charleston, which would be near the next game at Arizona Charlie's.

    We arrived at the Arizona Charlie's bingo room in plenty of time for their 1:00 PM game. Remembering the better package we got from Gold Coast, my wife, Shirley and I all were going to ask the clerk for the best package. We went to three different lines (just for expediency). The result is that each of the three of us got vastly different packages for the same $25 or so. Speaking of Arizona Charlie's, I noticed that they had a small bar in the bingo room, and they offered free cocktails to bingo players. I had one, but then it occurred to me that I hadn't eaten in six hours, so I only had the one.

    After another winless session, we stopped at the CVS to pick up Melissa's prescription... which wasn't there. Turns out that it was ultimately submitted to the CVS near Palace Station. We didn't have time to go back across town, so my wife kept hacking (and fading) as we drove to the 3:00 PM game at the Rampart Casino.

    We got there early enough to sign up for the players card, which had an easy-to-meet play minimum for free play. So while Melissa and Shirley bought their bingo and got something to eat, I worked on getting my free play.

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    Well, it wasn't much, but I wanted to play some Quick Quads, or Fast Fours, or whatever brand this was.

    On the way to the bingo hall, I stopped past a hot dog cart for lunch then got in line for my buy in. I took a look at the options, and I got really confused. There were so many different options and specials and packages that I confused myself trying to figure out the best deal. So I just took two tan 6-ons and the extra games for $34. I probably didn't get the best deal, but then again, I knew I wouldn't win. And I was right. Nobody else did, either.

    As we left, I swept my card at the kiosk and had $25 of free play, so being in a hurry, I went to some random machine and bet MAX (about $3.60.spin). When the $25 was done, I had won about $2.50 in cash. The bloodening continued.

    When we got back to the car, my wife tapped out. We had been planning on hitting Jerry's Nugget for 5:00 (then the prime rib for dinner) but she asked me to take her back to the California so she could take a nap. Shirley was getting a little tired, too, and she had to bowl the tournament at 10:30 PM, so after dropping Melissa off, we decided to go back to Palace Station for the 5:00 PM game, and then she'd be back at her hotel so she could eat and nap before she had to leave. Before getting to the casino, I finally was able to get that damned Rx... but now my wife wouldn't take it until after I got back to the hotel. The good idea (of getting her some medicine) kinda didn't work out too well.

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    I had realized that I hadn't taken many photos, so I surprised Shirley with one.

    Like the morning game, all that was offered at the Palace Station's 5:00 PM game were $3 blue 6-ons and the Station-wide progressive game (of which I splurged and bought two). All games again were worth $50, and Shirley and I won all none of them. Five games in four casinos by three people, and not a penny was won by our group.

    After bingo ended, I gave Shirley a hug and sent her out of my way so I could get to work. I had spent $125 on bingo, and for the trip had lost almost 3/4 of my entire bankroll. The chase was on.

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    That was a hell of a draw. Had I known, I would have held the 2.

    Based on this 10/6 paytable, this was a very popular bank of machines. While I was playing, some little old lady (who proudly proclaimed that she allows herself $40 a day at this bank of machines) was chatting me up. She also knew and talked to every other player, and one of the other oldies wondered how I got on the machine. It's like this group of blue hairs have squatting rights to this bank. The lady next to me was very happy for me with the four pointies on the re-draw. Some of the other old ladies... not so much.

    I cashed out with a $100 profit, and after only losing half of that in the slots on the way out (confarnit...) I headed back downtown to wake up the wife. With the show scheduled to start at 9:30, we decided to hit the Triple-7 Brew Pub for dinner. And this is where I am continually amazed at some of the half-assed service at various segments of the downtown Boyd properties. We get there around 7:15, and there is a line of about 6 parties. But looking through the entrance, you could see plenty of tables. We assumed they just needed to be bussed and that the line would move pretty quickly.

    Wrong. The line never moved, and there was no hostess to be found. We waited a little while and a hostess moseyed over to take one group... walking past dirty, empty tables. When she sat that party, the hostess disappeared into the kitchen for minutes. At no time were those tables cleaned, and the hostess wasn't even man enough to stand in front of the line and offer faux-apologies. Hell, she really could have been cleaning the tables for that matter. So after watching the restaurant ignoring cleanliness and their potential customers for about 15 minutes, we decided to hustle over to the Market Street Cafe, in hopes that the line would move quickly.

    Delighted to report -- NO LINE!!! Woo! We were going to be able to eat!

    My wife had the Chicken Alfredo, which came with the salad bar. But not feeling well, she didn't want to eat that much. We asked the waiter if I could have her salad, and after originally saying no, he did that head-wave-thing.

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    In addition to a big salad, I had Royal Flusher's favorite, the Korean Short Ribs. Mmmmm... Rib-Tastic. Jimmy Poon's mouth must be watering.

    Although our waiter wasn't exactly a barrel of fun, him allowing me Melissa's salad bar earned him a little extra tip, and with that we were off to the Tropicana to see Purple Reign.

    A $55 Groupon(at Christmastime) got us $90 Preferred seating which was in the second row of permanent seats on the aisle.

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    The little trooper. This was the show she was most looking forward to, and she was doing all she could to hang in there.

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    Growing up in the '80s, I was always more of a MJ guy than a Prince guy, but I have to say that this was a really good show. He could sing and dance, and he kept the audience engaged. The Morris Day guy was pretty good, but the show dragged to a halt when Morris Day and his handler tried to do this lame Who's On First routine about a password being "What". After that, Apollonia (or was it Vanity?) did her one hit and it was back to Prince.

    One thing didn't make sense, though. Near the end, they did Darling Nikki. Though unexpected, it was past 10:30 PM in Las Vegas, so it wasn't out of line. But if you are going to do Darling Nikki, you are almost compelled to then also sing Erotic City, no?

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    Regardless of the dumb comedy routine and the glaring omission, this was really a well-produced show, and in my opinion the best of the shows that we had seen all week. But the night had dragged on too long for my beautiful bride, so we went back to the California and I put her to bed.

    You know what that means... Marker Time!!! (Can I get a "Woo"?)

    I headed for that Last Gamble (trademark pending) at Main Street Station. I had three goals; #1 to play some Pai Gow Poker, which I hadn't played all week, then #2 finally have a winning craps session (its a 95 - 98% game, I can't lose every time, right? I was due for a win), and #3 have some Black Chip Porters at the Boar's Head while collecting a string of scratchers.

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    All set-up. Time for a run.

    Yeah... all told, this was my third consecutive day with a loss of over $500, and it wasn't like I had these all-day gambling sessions. I played fucking bingo all day! But other then the first day and a half, Las Vegas treated me as her bitch. But yet I kept coming back.

    I had one more day to salvage something.

    Evening came and morning followed, the sixth day.
     
    10th Annual POKER trip!!!
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