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Sharkster's LV 2004 Trip Report

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by Sharkster, Sep 6, 2004.

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  1. Sharkster

    Sharkster Tourist

    May 4, 2004

    My Trip Report

    I arrived in Las Vegas 11:50 a.m. on Tuesday, August 31 and left town on 11:30 p.m. on Friday September 3. Air Canada got me here and got me home (i.e. Toronto) with no horrible delays, although the departure time was purposely delayed 15 minutes because the weather conditions would have had us arrive before 6:30 -- and this is a big no-no, according to our pilot, as it’s against the rules to arrive before 6:30. The flight was originally scheduled to land at 6:41 a.m.

    Air Canada served the same food on both flights. I found it interesting that a full meal would be served on my red eye flight, instead of a snack. (The flight is ~4 hours long.) On each flight I had a window seat, and the middle seat was empty both times. Why didn’t I or the people who had the aisle seat do anything with this extra space? A lost opportunity. One of the bane's of air travel evoked by many is the lack of space. Even more strange, I had crammed my carry-on bag under the seat in front of me both times instead of using the overhead bins; thereby reducing my own space all the more. This is tantamount to splitting tens in Black Jack, right? What was I thinking?

    I had booked three nights at the Orleans. I read a lot about the Orleans, and I am happy to report all the positive things written are indeed true. Check-in was a breeze, as only one other couple was ahead of me in the que. I had hoped that rooms would be available at this early hour, and I wasn’t disappointed. The entire 8th floor is a nonsmoking floor. Construction noise was not a factor.

    The room was spacious, clean and comfortable. I was in room 821 located half way down the longest corridor. My room faced the pool, dead center. The exterior architectural elements restricted the sight lines (Just as well. Every time I took a gander outside, I saw overweight middle aged men conked out on the loungers.) From what I saw, the pool area looks to be a step or two above the typical pool facilities at the other resorts. I didn’t spend any time at the pool, so my perspective is limited to what I saw from inside my room. The temperature was controlled by a wall mounted thermostat. I only had to adjust the room temperature once, and doing so was not difficult.

    The room was tastefully decorated using a color scheme similar to Treasure Island, and likely many other hotels: a pleasant mix of various shades of browns, yellows, browns. The carpet was green and white. The room had two Queen sized beds. The mattresses were firm. A large dresser lined the wall opposite the beds. Atop the dresser was a 24-inch Philips TV with a wireless web TV keyboard. The night table held a phone and clock radio. A desk and chair lined the exterior bathroom wall adjacent to the dresser. On the other side of the room opposite the washroom was a couch, chair and oval shaped coffee table. The bathroom was located on the exterior wall (most hotels I’ve staid at feature the washroom just as you enter the room.) with a small window set shoulder height you could open while showering in the morning to let out the steam. The washroom was spacious and included an open faced closet. An ironing board, and iron were stored out of the way in this space. A hair dryer was mounted on the wall next to the sink. Bottles of shampoo, conditioner, hand lotion, mouthwash, bubble bath and two types of bar soap were provided, as well as two drink glasses and an ice bucket. There was no in-room safe. There is a in-bathroom phone located conveniently next to the toilet.

    This was a basic room that I was able to reserve for $49 a night via their web-site. I was impressed with the room and will gladly recommend people stay at the Orleans.

    The Orleans may be off-Strip but it offers everything you need. The casino has a great selection of table games and slots. There are restaurants for all tastes, including Mexican, Italian, Irish (a pub), Japanese, etc. (including a steak house and a cafe). The buffet offers a wide selection of foods at reasonable prices. The Orleans also has a multiplex movie theater, a bowling alley, an arcade and an adjoining auditorium (Van Halen will be performing there in October.)

    Shuttle buses run from 9:30 to after midnight, going directly to either the Gold Coast (opposite the Palms and Rio) or the Barbary Coast (on the Strip opposite Ceasars Palace).

    And no, I do not work for the Orleans. You may count me as a satisfied customer. :)

    Before I get too far into this trip report, I want to announce that I came home with more money than I went there with: $500 more. This would make it the third Las Vegas trip in a row that I came home with more money than pocket lint.

    I had opened a safe deposit box at the cage. I was not comfortable leaving my bankroll and passport tucked between my underwear and socks in my room. There was a shortage of cage staff through out the course of my entire stay. They could have used 1 or 2 extra people back there. On Friday the line up for those wanting to cash their paychecks was always 30 people long for the duration of the day and afternoon.

    I had made no plans to be anywhere at any specific time. I was not expecting to spend as much time at the Orleans as I did. The favorable playing conditions were enticing: $2 craps, $5 BJ (both CSM and double-deck pitch), $45 Pai Gow Poker, $5 3 Card Poker; $0.50 roulette, and $5 Baccarat. The dealers were for the most part friendly and outgoing, although there were a few stone faced quiet types. Most of the cocktail waitresses were gravity defying gorgeous, and the others were simply yummy to behold. Drink service was quick and constant.

    Alas, my grand scheme to place a single dollar bet for coworkers, family and friends, netted zero winning numbers. Thirty tries and thirty losses. The next time I’ll place a dozen or so bets at one time to improve the odds of one of them winning. I just hope they believe me that none of their selections won. It’s not like they are out any money, as I chose to finance this pie in the sky scheme.

    On Tuesday I decided to spend a few hours at the Orleans before grabbing a shuttle for the Gold Coast, wanting to see the Palms and the Rio. Never did get that shuttle. I parked my butt at one black jack table and spent the next few hours being entertained by a BJ dealer named Shannon, and being plied with booze from the luscious Violet. She’s a dark haired beauty and friendly as all heck. She kept bringing drinks for all six players without asking, often before our drinks were half finished. And for those of us that were ordering different drinks (water, then maybe a beer, then maybe a Jack & Coke, etc.) she brought one of each so we had a choice! Impeccable service. Shannon, our dealer, said that Violet was married to the casino manager, or some other big wig at the Orleans. Violet loved her job, and I will go on record to say she was the best server I had the pleasure of ever meeting. The other CWs were only slightly less proficient than Violet. This bodes well for the Orleans, and its customers.

    Shannon was a talker. She was one reason why I decided to stay and play at the Orleans rather than visit the other joints in the area. In a short time me and every player at the table, all males, got the scoop on her breast reduction surgery, her wonky back (a la fused disc), her prowess on the basketball court, her thoughts on the use of pain killers, her work out routine (3 days on, 1 day off), her Italian dad and her Filipino stepfather. A fun person to listen to, as she had the scoop on the other dealers and CWs. It was only later did I realize that perhaps she was fibbing. She appeared to say things we wanted to hear, she had to control the conversation, keep it going, tie it in to the other bits of things the other players were able to say when she stopped long enough to take a breathe. I never saw her again for the remainder of my stay, but I did enjoy my time with her. Playing at a table with lively people, laughing and interacting in a positive manner is important. Otherwise gambling is work. And I came all this way to get away from work.

    I had been drinking Jack & Coke, with every third drink a bottle of water. The bottler of the water was called Niagara, in California. Thankfully the water was not from Lake Erie or Lake Ontario, the two bodies of water separated by Niagara Falls. That’s definitely water you don’t want to drink if left untreated. I went to sleep pondering, “How do they squeeze 12 ounces of water into those small bottles?â€

    I decided to call it quits at around midnight, I think. The drink was getting to my head and my bankroll was bruised (I had surrendered half of my allotted gambling money, about $200). I was prompted awake at 1:45 as my clock radio started to “burpâ€. Every minute or so it would emit a noise. I determined it was not the alarm clock (I had verified upon my arrival that the alarm was not activated. Few things are worst than being awoken in the middle of the night by a screaming alarm clock.) I whipped out my ear plugs and thumbed my nose in the general direction of the clock and promptly tried to go back to sleep. By 4 a.m. I was wide awake. I got dressed and went back down to the casino floor. A surprising number of people populated the table games. I had brought $100 with me, and one hour later I returned to my room with $200. I inserted my ear plugs and promptly spent the next two hours dreaming about sleeping and music.

    I dreamt that my favorite Las Vegas Classic rock station, 96.3 KKLC, had changed format (it was now Wednesday morning, September 1, so if a station was likely to change format that would be a good time). I was unsuccessful earlier that day in tuning in this station and had to settle on some Oldies station instead. So I was tossing and turning, perplexed by the notion that a radio station would cause me to lose sleep. That is, I vainly tried to go back to sleep. I crawled out of bed by 7:30 a.m. I didn’t feel tired although I knew I didn’t sleep that much. It would be like this for my entire stay. Maybe it was the excitement of being in Las Vegas. The three hour time zone change had little affect on me. I kept waiting for exhaustion to kick in some time during my stay in LV. It only hit me hard Saturday morning as I sat in my dining room back in Toronto reading the Saturday newspaper. (I made up for all of my lost sleep Saturday and Sunday.)

    Had to call maintenance Wednesday morning to have my toilet unplugged. The remnants of my last, let’s just say toilet party, were hanging around, and I desperately wanted to throw another party, to continue with the metaphor. Luckily a pleasant fellow came by and ironed out the kinks, so to speak. I say he was pleasant because he simply smiled and didn’t say anything about the wild party I had thrown. Again metaphorically speaking. I blame the previous room guest for plugging the damn thing.

    Wednesday was upon me, and I was moving like molasses in winter. I got the 9:30 shuttle bus to Barbary Coast and walked over to the Aladdin to enjoy the Spice Market buffet for $14. What better way to start the day with a big honking slab of prime sirloin, medium rare? I later walked through Paris and Balleys to access the Monorail. I would head up to the Las Vegas Hilton, my first visit. Alas, a small sign indicated the Monorail was out of service. I was upset that there was no notice posted earlier, say by the escalators a half mile back from whence I came. (During my cab ride to the airport on Friday, the driver said that a wheel had fallen off a car; hence, the Monorail was down for most of the week.)

    I eventually wondered up to the Treasure Island before hopping on the CAT. I exited the bus at the Riviera and walked along Riviera Rd to get to the LV Hilton. It was hot, 106F no clouds and a faint breeze. I love Las Vegas this time of year with the extreme temperatures. Walking without benefit of a hat or sun screen is nervy. Luckily I avoided getting burned. I must have drunk a gallon or two of water that day. (And maybe three liquor drinks the whole day. I’m not a booze hound.)

    I was expecting more from my visit to the Las Vegas Hilton. The property is in good shape. The main gaming floor with the table games is spacious. There were fewer 3 Card Poker tables than I expected. After walking around the interior, and visiting the Star Trek casino (how lame: 4 tables and maybe three players combined; And I’m still sporting a bruise on my arm from having walked into a metal railing extending out at some odd angle ... there are no straight lines in this casino so walking straight is a dangerous venture), I ended up at the only 3 Card Poker table open. I lost possibly $50 in my session. A player, who joined the game after I started, had hit the motherlode by winning 2 Straight Flush hands in a 5-hand period. Then he did the best move yet: he cashed out and left. My best hand was a flush.

    After a less than satisfied visit at the Hilton, I walked all the way back to the Barbary Coast with plenty of diversions through the casinos passed along the way. Buses never seemed to be around when I wanted one, and I wasn’t about to linger at a bus stop waiting for one. I stopped at the BC to witness Fat Elvis perform. What an incredible voice. Standing room only. He’s a big fella and he jumps back and forth between EP’s different musical periods, never setting into a rut. If you are an Elvis fan, you owe it to yourself to see FE in action.

    I returned to the Imperial Palace and enjoyed playing Black Jack at the Champagne Pit until after 8 p.m. This was my primary haunting ground last year when I last visited Las Vegas. People either love or hate the IP. there is no middle ground. I play here for three reasons: (1) the ideal gaming conditions (the betting limits, selection of games, and game rules, especially for Black Jack), (2) The gorgeous CWs and quick prompt service, (3) the dealers and the quirky players that this place draws. Yes, many of the dealers are stone faced automatons. There is one dealer named Gloria (from Minnesota) that is easily the best dealer I ever had the pleasure playing with. She is fun, easy-going, intelligent and a good story teller. And I seem to have an incredible amount of luck when I play at her table. She is a dealer at the Champagne Pit, typically the noon to 8 p.m. shift. I made good on 9 of 10 double downs. The only one I lost was “likely†due to my mentioning it; tempting fate and losing as consequence. Believe it or not, it’s simply coincidence. And each time I tipped her, I won the hand each time except maybe once -- the one time I made mention of it. Again, coincidence?

    Gloria is celebrating her 11th year in Las Vegas on the Labor Day weekend. If you should ever sit at her table, ask her about her neighbors, including Wayne Newton (the Wallaby story), Gladys Knight (her daughter’s “seeing a lady about a horse†story), and the IP owner’s wife. She has a few good anecdotes, one involving Bruce Willis being drunk at the Gold Nugget back when he was still married to Demi. And ask her about her prior career as a call service operator/dispatcher, responsible for sending those “private dancers†to a client’s hotel room. She’s a great spirit who will make your gaming session memorable.

    I would pop in to play at her table each of the remaining days of the week for maybe an hour or so before hiking off to see some other part of the Strip. I met some wonderful characters and regular joe types at the IP. And we all seem to meet at the IP over the course of the week at Gloria’s table.

    One minor anecdote of little consequence involving the IP: a bodacious CW named Jenna took a drink order. I was tired of Jack & Coke so I ordered a White Russian. She perked up, smiled warmly and left to get my drink. She came back promptly and handed me my drink and was so happy to tell me that I had ordered a White Russian drink from a real White Russian woman. And she kept reminding me each time I asked for another drink. I thought it best to ease up on the WRs when she started asking me how my drink was. When does a busy CW start caring about how a drink she gave you five minutes ago tastes like?

    Another fun dealer is Bronco Billy, who performs, er deals, at the Party Pit in Harrahs. Some may not get his brand of humor. Give it a chance. I think he is whack, in the best sense.

    I made it back to the Orleans by midnight. I’m not sure what I was doing between 8 p.m. and midnight. I decided to play some 3 Card Poker before calling it a night. The only table open was manned by Cuban dealers, and they were new to the game, unsure of the rules and the pay out schedule. One dealer named Hano elected this Chinese fellow sitting to my right as his teacher. A Chinese woman on the far right was his assistant. She said she wanted nothing to do with the part as she had just learned to play the game a few minutes before Hano subbed into the game. The teacher fellow was able to hit two 3 of a kinds in a four hand span. My best hand was a straight. I may have lost a few bucks, maybe won a few bucks. By 2 a.m. I was in my room struggling to fall asleep. It wasn’t the alcohol, as I was pretty sober. The first night jitters of being in Las Vegas carried over to the second night. While I didn’t sleep all that much, it would be the best of the three nights here. (There was no noise or light issues at fault. Whatever kept me up was in my head or gut.)

    Thursday started off bad and seemed to get worst. By 2 p.m. I was in the hole about $400. I was playing $10 Black Jack and while I was getting good cards, the dealers were getting better cards, and unleashing a steady stream of Black Jacks on the sorry asses of the players who had the tenacity to pull up a seat. Every time an Ace was the up card, a face card was underneath. And each time a face card was face up, an Ace surely lurked. Bad luck followed me from the Orleans to the Gold Coast to the Imperial Palace and back. Then by early evening things changed.

    I returned to my room to drop off a few things I didn’t need, like my sunglasses. I fidgeted with the radio and finally locked into the elusive 96.3 signal for KKLC. After I used the washroom Rush’s Spirit of Radio came on. My favorite band playing one of my favorite tunes. This bode will (or so I hoped).

    I ventured down to the casino floor to try my luck. It was up and down. Each gaming session lasted maybe 10 minutes. I left the table when the cards seem to go cold. I dodged between BJ, 3CP and Roulette. By 8 p.m. I decided to take a break from the table games. I would stay at the Orleans that night for the primary reason that my day’s bankroll was kaput. Rather than spend the evening in my room or walking the Strip, I dipped into Friday’s bankroll. I put $40 into a Video Poker machine. Worked it down to about $13 before I hit 4 Queens for a 250 quarter pay off. Eventually I cashed out $45 for a $5 profit. One of my few winning session up to that point in time. I ventured over to the Black Jack tables and put $50 into play. Lost most of it before retreating to the same Video Poker machine. The $45 pay out still registered on the machine. Perhaps I was the only player of this machine in the past hour? I pumped another $40 into the machine and tried to get it back to $40, hoping to cash out either even or a few buck up. Then it happened. No advanced warning. I was at $36.25, and was dealt a Royal Flush, hearts. The machine started counting it off. I was ecstatic. Here was my first RF with max coin played (I had once upon a time got a RF with 1 coin in play some 6 years earlier). I looked around and no one could care less. I hit the pay out button and snatched up the paper slip and hustled over to the Coin Change booth. I said to the attendant, “I think I got lucky.†And I gave her the slip worth $1,036.25. She smiled and said, “Oh, that’s nice.†I took that stack of bills and I headed straight to my room.

    I put all but $100 away and went back down to the casino floor. My luck had indeed come back. The next BJ session netted me double my buy in and later a 3CP session netted me a 3 of a kind. I cashed out up a couple of hundred bucks. I floated to my room around 2 a.m. with $350 in my pocket. When I am up I prefer to stay up rather than push my luck. Beside my gut was not feeling so good. I had munched on Tummy and drank a half dozen bottles of water over the past four hours.

    Alas, this would be the worst night sleep wise. I don’t think I got more than 5 minutes of sleep the entire night. My mind wouldn’t stop racing. My stomach was upset, and I was nauseous. I blame this on the dinner I had at the Orleans buffet at 6 p.m. -- some 8 hours earlier. While the food selection was good, I ate a burrito and some jumbaliya and something wasn’t right. I immediately stopped eating. That meal seemed to haunt me the rest of the evening and all of the night. I made a few visits to the bathroom throughout the night but nothing came up. I popped a few more Tummy and a couple of Pepto Bismal tablets. By 5 a.m. the worst was over. It seemed the anxiety had dissipated. At one time I was seriously considering venturing out to a pharmacy to get some Gravol or equivalent. The next time I go on vacation I will be well stocked with a good selection of OTC medications. The quantities and varieties I had was simply not adequate and a good vacation was potentially spoiled. (I only seem to need Tummy and other such fixes when I am away on vacation. Seldom does anything more than a mild headache strike when I am home.)

    My plane was not scheduled to depart until 11:15 Friday night. Check out was Friday noon. I would be without a room for close to 12 hours. Not feeling so hot I decided to call the Front Desk to request the room for another half day. I wanted a place to rest and keep my valuables safe for the remainder of my time here, and I didn’t want to chance nodding off sitting at a Video poker terminal or a couch in some lounge somewhere. Hitting that Royal Flush meant I would be going home with more money than I came here with, so I had no qualms extending my room for a half day at a cost of $49.

    I grabbed a Subway sub at the Orleans before heading to the Strip for one last BJ session at the IP. My last session at Gloria’s table cost me $60. I played Pai Gow poker for the first time. A small bankroll can last a long time at this game. My session netted me ~ $10. (Did I ever mention the Dealertainers at the IP? Somewhat talented individuals in the guise of Elvis, Rod Stewart, Reba. Little Richard and Dolly Parton have their own BJ pit. They take turns serenading the crowds and then deal BJ from noon until well into the night. The Dolly Parton wannabe had just returned having completed, according to Gloria, approx. $25,000 worth of plastic surgery. Her voice was in good form as was the rest of her. I think the real Dolly sports a bit more upstairs. I never ventured near the Dealertainer’s pit, and from my vantage point in the Champagne Pit, few other people played there.) Some loud mouth drunk (he kept yelling at the top of his lungs; because he had a lot of money in play, security and the pit put up with him) from Indiana had a stack of 36 black chips and 20 Green. He sat in the first base position at Gloria’s table Friday. He bet the max of $200 each hand (it was a min. $5 table). By the time I was out $60, he was down to 14 Black and 14 Green, and noticeably quieter.

    I headed back to the Orleans, took a two hour nap, packed and headed downstairs to check out/pay off my room bill in cash, stow my luggage with the Bell Captain for a couple of hours and have some dinner. I won $150 playing BJ, and took another stab at playing Pai Gow poker. I won another $10 minus the 5% commission. By 8:30 I was in a taxi headed for McCarran’s terminal 2. The place was a ghost town. I could have staid at the Orleans for another hour. But here I could have just as easily lost money and not won any, so I was better off at the airport. In the quiet and calm of the airport, I started to settle down. The urge to close my eyes and sleep became stronger with every passing minute. Would I be able to hang on and get settle on the plane before falling asleep? Just barely. I was awake maybe 1 hour for the entire flight, a first. So ended a decent vacation.

    - Winning the Royal Flush was a long time Fantasy. That $1,000 pay out was sweeter than sugar.

    - Playing BJ at the IP with Gloria.

    - The Guacamole at Don Miguel’s restaurant at the Orleans. I ate here 3 times over the course of my vacation (and I was seated by three different hosts at the same table each time!).

    - Playing Pai Gow with some nice people who helped me figure out the best way to play my hands.

    - My room at the Orleans was excellent, and a great value, too.

    - My being served by Violet at Orleans and Jenna at IP.

    - Never made it downtown.

    - Never made it to Luxor or Mandalay Bay.

    - I probably lost more at 3 Card Poker than I won out of the dozen or so sessions I played, (although I was close to breaking even).

    - Never got to ride the Monorail.

    I hope you enjoyed my report.

  2. YoungGun

    YoungGun VIP Whale

    Aug 4, 2003
    Southern California
    Nice trip report. I wish I had gotten a chance to gamble more at the Imperial Palace and I stayed there.
  3. dkbk

    dkbk High-Roller

    Jun 17, 2003
    Yardley, PA
    Trips to Las Vegas:

    Thanks for an interesting trip report. Fellow Rush fan here. Did you see the R30 tour at all?

    Good to see you had better luck at the tables than I did.
  4. JR Swift

    JR Swift VIP Whale

    May 15, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Another new Orleans "convert" I see. Had the same experience...didn't really expect to spend so much time there but never really felt like leaving. Maybe they put something in the water.
  5. dj5382000

    dj5382000 Guest

    Great report,
    I have two nights at the Orleans at the end of the month. Every report I read gets me more psyched for this stay.

    With all the good things I hear, I am thinking I may end up spending less time on the Strip.
  6. 39forevr

    39forevr Guest

    sharkster, that was a geat tr. I am headed to the Orleans in December and am glad to hear another positive report. Thank you for your time you pout into that report. Sounds like you had a wonderful trip.
  7. Sharkster

    Sharkster Tourist

    May 4, 2004
    Thanks for the kind words.

    I did the math a few days ago. This was my first Las Vegas vacation where it was essentially FREE. All bills were paid off and I had about $50 extra. Alas, I took $1,400 to the bank today to convert it to CDN funds and then deposit into my condo downpayment fund account. The damn banks made a killing in the conversion charges, about $46. It'll take me quit some time to recoup that in interest/investment fees. :)

    While I visited the larger resorts, I was not compelled to gamble at any of them, as the gaming conditions and the minimum table limits were off-putting. Places such as Orleans, Gold Caust, IP, even Casino Royale hold much appeal over the glitz and glamour found in Ceasars, Paris or Bellagio. But to each his own.

    It was a wonderful trip, the only downside (and its minor) is the upset stomach business. It put a damper on things, but then, it probably allowed me to keep sober and keep my wits about me; thus enabling me to come home with as much money as I did. So there is always an upside.

    (dkbk, I opted not to see the boys on this tour, but I did get my hands on a tour program. The song list was incredible. Maybe next tour I'll cath them live.)

    All the best everyone.

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