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Sunset Station / GVR - Trip Report (12/13/05 - 12/21/05)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cruiser, Dec 23, 2005.

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  1. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    My Trip Report

    Brenda and I returned from 8 days/nights in Las Vegas a few days ago staying at the Sunset Station Hotel & Casino the first three days/nights (12/13 - 12/15) before moving over to the Green Valley Ranch Resort, Casino & Spa for another five days/nights (12/16 - 12/20). This was our 11th trip to Vegas over the past four years, our second time staying at Sunset Station and the fourth time we've stayed at Green Valley Ranch (GVR). You can check out their websites at:


    This trip was to celebrate both our birthdays in December. We had received postcards from both Sunset Station and GVR. Sunset Station offered three free nights (three night maximum stay) which we combined with two reservations at GVR. The GVR postcard calendar offered a two night minimum, three night maximum stay per trip with a total of seven nights required between trips. We wanted to stay five nights at GVR so we were able to combine a free three night stay (from the postcard calendar offer) with a two night stay (Friday/Saturday) at their casino rate of $120 + tax for each of those two days. This gave us three free nights at Sunset Station (Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday), two reduced (casino) rate nights at GVR (Friday, Saturday), three additional free nights at GVR (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday), and checking out early Wednesday morning.

    As with our previous trips to Las Vegas, Brenda and I agreed that if we both got a Royal Flush (playing Deuces Wild video poker) on the same day, we would treat ourselves to massages when we got back to Austin.

    Day 1 (Tuesday, 12/13)

    We're up by 3:15 AM and leave the house by 4 AM for a 6 AM flight from Austin, Texas with a one stop layover in Phoenix. On the flight out we'll be flying America West for the first time. For our return flight, we'll be flying Continental Airlines. Our gate was close to where we like to grab a breakfast sandwich and they were open early enough to do just that. The flight left on time and we arrived in Phoenix a few minutes early. After a short layover, we take off once again for Las Vegas. We landed about 8:30 AM and stopped in an Ethel M Chocolates shop. For this trip, we dropped off our two dogs at a friend's home the day before and we wanted to pick up some chocolates to go with the gift certificates we got for him for watching our dogs. We were not going to kennel them.

    Next, we grab our luggage and head over to level 1 (I believe) to pick up the free shuttle to Sunset Station at 9:30. It was a little chilly but we managed. The shuttle was on time and we got to Sunset Station before 10. I tipped the driver and we headed to the check-in desk. We were able to check in right away, unpacked a few items and headed down to the casino floor.

    Before our last stay at Sunset Station six months ago, we had checked the number and location of their Optimum (full pay) Video Poker machines. At that time, there were ten upright machines near Keno and another eight machines near the oyster bar. Just before this trip, I checked again and was surprised to find the eight machines near the oyster bar had been removed. That only leaves 10 machines for us to choose from. We didn't think that would be a problem.

    By 10:10 AM, we're sitting side by side playing video poker (deuces wild). Besides the massages that we always say we'll treat ourselves to if we both get a Royal Flush on the same day, we decided to have a little contest between us. Whoever wins the most $ (or loses the least $) by the time we end our gambling at GVR, would pick out the restaurant and the loser pays. We were both looking forward to a nice steak dinner. We had already decided we would skip GVR's new upscale Hank's restaurant. We didn't want to pay those prices.

    Before long, a waitress comes by and we order our first drinks here at Sunset Station. I actually cut down my consumption of Bailey's this trip, limiting myself to two "Coffee and Bailey's" a day and no "Bailey's on the rocks". Instead, I drank lots of corona with lime and a few glasses of Merlot as each day wore on.

    The Jumbo Jackpot was somewhere over $135,000 at the time and it has to hit by $150,000 so we decided to split a Quizno sub and eat it while playing at our machines. Later, when we got hungry again, we grabbed another Quizno sub. Yes, we ate at the machines again. When the Jumbo Jackpot hits (all the Station Casinos and GVR are tied into the Jumbo Jackpot), anyone having their player's card (boarding pass) plugged in their machine at the time, each receive $50 in bonus credits. Brenda has never been playing at a machine when the Jumbo Jackpot hit, so she wanted to be there when this one hit. Brenda played until 7:30 PM and called it a night. I play on until 11:45 PM before heading to our room.

    Day 1 Gambling Summary (Sunset Station):

    Me - up $240 (15 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces')
    Wifey - even (7 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces')

    Day 2 (Wednesday, 12/14):

    We both wake up at 3:55 AM and we're out the door at 4:25 AM. We have breakfast at Sunset Cafe. By 5 AM, we're back at our machines. Once again, we decide to eat lunch at our machines. Wifey has chili and it's pizza for me. We play until 5 PM and head over to Capri Italian Restorante. It was very good. After dinner, we're back at our video poker machines at 5:50 PM. Brenda played until 6:45 PM while I stick it out until 9:30.

    Day 2 Gambling Summary (Sunset Station):

    Me - up $260 today (22 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), up $500 for the trip
    Wifey - down $430 today (14 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), down $430 for the trip

    Day 3 (Thursday, 12/15):

    Today, we're up at 3:55 AM and out the door at 4:35 AM for another breakfast at Sunset Cafe. This time, we ordered omelets but couldn't finish either one of them. These omelets were very good but they were huge. After breakfast, we're back at the machines at 5:15 AM.

    At 12:35 PM, I hit my Royal Flush!!!

    We both play quarter machines, max. (five) coins in per hand and the payout for a Royal Flush is $1000. I have no idea what we did for lunch but if we had lunch, we ate it at the machines. We stopped at 5 PM and hit the Salad Bar at Costa Del Sol. This was more than enough for a meal. At 5:50 PM, we're back to our video poker. Wifey plays until 6:50 PM while I finally call it a night at 9:50 PM. The last few hours, I've been playing very slowly. My brain was having trouble focusing on the task at hand.

    Day 3 Gambling Summary (Sunset Station):

    Me - up $450 today (16 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces', 1 'Royal Flush'), up $950 for the trip
    Wifey - down $470 today (8 'wild royals'), down $900 for the trip

    Day 4 (Friday, 12/16):

    Today, we're up 3:45 AM and we pack since sometime this morning, we'll be checking out at Sunset Station and heading over to Green Valley Ranch. After breakfast at Sunset Cafe, we head back to our machines for a bit more play before checking out. We play from 5:30 AM until 9 AM. Time to go. We go back to our room and I call the host that helped me when checking out at Sunset Station on our last trip. She's not in until later this afternoon and is off until Tuesday. I asked the host on duty if based on the amount of gambling we did at Sunset Station, if any of the room charges (just meals we charged to the room) could be taken off our bill. This host say no but that I should still talk to the host I had worked with before even if I've already checked out. Okay, I'll call her on Tuesday.

    We take our bags down to the lobby and check out. Time to head over to Green Valley Ranch (GVR). We took a taxi to GVR and arrived about 9:45 AM. We left the luggage with the bell folks and headed to the front desk for check-in. Out room isn't ready yet. Not a problem. We head straight for our Optimum Video Poker machines near Fatburger. We start playing our deuces wild at 10 AM. By 1:30 PM, I head to the front desk to see if our room is ready. It is. I head to the room and call down to the Bell Desk for our luggage. Nice room with a mountain view. I unpack a few things and head back to Wifey. I start playing again deuces wild again while Wifey checks out the room and unpacks.

    The Jumbo Jackpot is somewhere over $140,000 by this time. Remember it has to hit by $150,000. We decide to have a late lunch at the machines. I ordered from Panda Express while Wifey had pizza. At 6:40 PM, Wifey retires to our room. I played until I was too tired to play any longer (8:05 PM). I decided to play a little blackjack and played even for about 90 minutes. Time to head to our room.

    Day 4 Gambling Summary (Sunset Station):

    Me - down $20 today (2 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces'), up $930 for the trip
    Wifey - up $725 today (6 'wild royals', 3 'four deuces'), down $175 for the trip

    Day 4 Gambling Summary (GVR):

    Me - up $300 today (12 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), up $1,230 for the trip
    Wifey - down $150 today (10 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces'), down $325 for the trip

    Day 5 (Saturday, 12/17):

    Wifey is up at 3:15 AM and out the door at 3:40 AM. I sleep in until 6:15 AM and I'm out the door at 6:40. Grab Wifey and head to breakfast at Pancake House. I had the apple waffle and Wifey had the plan waffle. I was going to order the apple pancake but it takes so long to cook and I did sleep in this morning. I found that I liked the apple waffle just as much as the apple pancake. We're back to our machines at 7:10 AM.

    At 11:20 AM, Wifey hits her Royal Flush!!!

    Lunch is again at the machines. Wifey grabbed a Mandarin Bowl (Mandarin Chicken plus mixed vegetables) from Panda Express while I had pizza. For dinner, we had a huge bucket of popcorn which we ate at the machines and made quite a mess around our machines from the falling popcorn. Later in the evening, I had more pizza (at my machine). Wifey calls it a night at 7 PM and I played on. By 9 PM, I was playing very slowly. I was tired but wanted to keep playing a bit longer.

    At 10:20 PM, I hit my second Royal Flush!!!

    Do you know what this means??? Wifey and I both hit Royals on the same day. That means we get to treat ourselves to 90 minute massages when we get back home. I decide that's enough for tonight and call it a night at 10:30 PM.

    Day 5 Gambling Summary (GVR):

    Me - up $691.25 today (13 'wild royals', 1 'four deuces', 1 'royal flush'), up $1,921.25 for the trip
    Wifey - up $655 today (9 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces', 1 'royal flush'), up $330 for the trip

    Day 6 (Sunday, 12/18):

    We're up at 3:15 AM and out the door at 4:15. We hit the Grande Cafe for sandwiches and potato salad. We're back at our video poker machines at 4:45 AM. At 9:45 AM, the Jumbo Jackpot hits for $148,500+. We each get our $50 in bonus credits and play that down making a few dollars along the way. At 10:45 AM, we venture outside and stop at a little sandwich shop. Wifey ordered soup and I ordered a sandwich with chips. It's cold and rainy outside so we bring out lunch back inside and eat while at our machines. The soup was not good so Wifey grabbed a side salad to eat while at her machine.

    At 12:45 PM, Wifey hits her second Royal Flush!!!

    At 4:15 PM, we head over to Il Fornaio for dinner. Dinner and dessert were excellent. By 5:30 PM, we're back at our machines. Wifey calls it a night at 6 PM while I play until 6:40 PM. I am exhausted.

    Day 6 Gambling Summary (GVR):

    Me - down $100 today (16 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), up $1,821.25 for the trip
    Wifey - up $320 today (5 'wild royals', 1 'royal flush'), up $650 overall

    Day 7 (Monday, 12/19):

    Wifey is up at 3:15 AM and out the door at 3:45 AM. I go back to sleep. I meet Wifey at 6:30 for breakfast at the Pancake House. This time, I tried the blueberry waffle. It was pretty good but I should have ordered a side of toast to go with it. By 7 AM, we're both sitting by our machines. For lunch, we had chocolate milkshakes from Fatburger. They were very good. We play until 3:50 PM and head over to the "Feast Around the World Buffet". It opens for dinner at 4 PM. I used my boarding pass card (player card) points to pay for both buffets. I ate so much I thought I'd explode. Lucky for me, the ice cream found a few crevices to fall into. There was so much great food, I couldn't help overeating. Back to our machines at 5 PM. Wifey played another hour while I called it a night at 8 PM.

    Day 7 Gambling Summary (GVR):

    Me - down $600 today (14 'wild royals'), up $1,221.25 for the trip
    Wifey - down $700 today (6 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces'), down $50 for the trip

    Day 8 (Tuesday, 12/20):

    We're both up at 3:30 AM and out the door at 4:30 AM. We head to the Grand Cafe and had sandwiches again with potato salad. We're back at our machines at 5 AM. Sometime during the early afternoon, I decide to find someplace quiet and call the host at Sunset Station who I was not able to reach since checking out. She reviewed our account and said she could take $40 in food charges off our bill. Actually, she would credit us $40 on our credit card. This is excellent news.

    At 3:45 PM, we decide to stop and have an early dinner at Fado Irish Pub. We leave the machines and stop at the nearby rest rooms. I come out first and while waiting for Wifey, I see that a guy two seats down from where I was playing is moving to my machine. I didn't see this as a problem. Wifey comes out of the rest room and we head to Fado, a short distance away. Right after we sit down I realize I didn't cash out the $60 I still had in my machine. I race back to my machine and the guy sitting there says he doesn't know anything about any credits that I left in the machine. I told him I just left and forget to cash out $60. He just shrugged his shoulders. I did notice he had $53.75 in credits left on the machine. Hmmm... Sure looks like he playing with my $60 I left on the machine. Oh, well. It was my fault for not cashing out before I left the machine. Wifey reminded me that it could have been much worst and this guy or whoever took my $60 must have needed it more than I did. Well, that person will have to answer for their actions somewhere down the road.

    We had a nice meal at Fado but I was still fuming a bit even after dinner. We left Fado at 4:45 PM and both our machines that we've been playing lately were available so we sat down and played our deuces wild.

    At 4:55 PM, Wifey hits her third Royal Flush!!!

    Wifey has now pulled ahead of me in our little contest to see who picks the restaurant when we get back to Austin. Wifey plays until about 6:30 PM and ended up +$930.00 for the trip. At the point that Wifey decided she was done gambling at GVR, I was within $100 of her winnings for the trip. Of course, I had to keep playing. By 7:36 PM, I'm within $45 of Wifey's total winnings. By 7:47 PM, I'm only $30 away. At 12:50 AM, I finally decide to call it a night. No, I could not catch Wifey.

    Day 8 Gambling Summary (GVR):

    Me - down $470 today (20 'wild royals'), up $751.25 for the trip
    Wifey - up $980 today (11 'wild royals', 2 'four deuces', 1 'royal flush'), up $930 for the trip

    Day 9 (Wednesday, 12/21):

    We're up at 4 AM to pack and I call down to the Valet to have a cab take us to the airport at 5 AM. We check out but leave our account hanging until VIP Services could review it. When we got to the airport, we picked up sandwiches at a Starbucks and then headed to our gate. Not far from our gate were some quarter wheel of fortune slot machines. We usually toss in $20 apiece to play wheel of fortune at the airport at the end of our Las Vegas trips. Today was no different. Wifey gets a couple "wheel" spins and cashs out at $112 for a profit of $92. I also got a couple of "wheel" spins and cashed out at $33.50 for a profit of $13.50. Okay, we put another $10 in each. When I was down to $.50, I put another dollar in since we were playing max coins ($.75) a spin. We both used up those credits and for our little 'Wheel of Fortune' time, we're up $84.50. I guess that makes up for my "lost" $60 when I forgot to cash out my ticket on day 8.

    I called VIP Services at GVR a couple days after returning home to see if any additional charges might be taken off the bill. They were able to take $51 off our food charges. I then had them take off the rest of our food charges (less tips) for the 5 days/nights at GVR using our accummulated points. This was not a problem. She wasn't able to confirm the number of points remaining on our account but that's okay.

    In summary, we were very happy with the charges we ended up having to pay for this eight day/night trip to Sunset Station (3 nights) & GVR (5 nights) and we will definitely return in 2006.

    Total Gambling this Trip:

    Wifey/Hubby combined for 74,921 points = $149,842 cycled through the machines
    Total combined number of hands played = 119,873 @ $1.25 per hand
    Total hours played - ~218 hours (~27.25 hours per day @ ~ 550 hands per hour)
    Royal Flush (5) - average of 1 every 23,974 hands
    Four Deuces (25) - average of 1 every 4,795 hands
    Wild Royal (206) - average of 1 every 582 hands

    Total Winnings/Losses this Trip: +$1,681.25 after 8 days/nights

    Comps this Trip:

    Sunset Station - 3 nights comped plus $40 taken off our food charges
    GVR - 3 of 5 nights comped plus $51 taken off our food charges, and we used our accumulated points to further reduce our remaining food charges (less tips) at GVR by another ~$94.
  2. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Always an amazing marathon run at the machines. Glad to hear you came out to the good. Between Sunset and GVR as hotels, what are your thoughts?
  3. Jimbucc

    Jimbucc VIP Whale

    Apr 1, 2003
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    WOW. Nice accounting work. How much moola do you have to take with you to keep from risk of ruin. Also what pay schedules were you on for dueces wild?

    I get dizzy after 2 hours of VP. I don't know how you do it.
  4. vegasbound

    vegasbound VIP Whale

    Mar 3, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Wow, a lengthy stay with lots of play and you still managed to come ahead. Nice job! Enjoy those massages!
  5. ringding

    ringding Tourist

    Aug 11, 2002
    Great report.

    You can find out how many points are on your card by going to the Station/GVR web site and entering your card number. It'll show you your play per month as well as what offers and multipliers are available.
  6. DavidB

    DavidB Tourist

    Sep 19, 2000
    Henderson, NV USA
    I can certainly vouch for all that time they put in on "their" machines at GVR. Every time I dropped by over a period of several days, there they were at the machines.

    I joked about hooking them up to lines so that they could be fed intravenously while they played, but I see they made out just fine.
  7. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002
    Of the 11 trips Wifey and I have made to Las Vegas in the past four years, we stayed at the Tropicana for the first seven and the last four were spent between Sunset Station and Green Valley Ranch. Breaking it down by days, we're spent the first 33 days at the Tropicana and of the last 25 days in Vegas, 20 were spent at GVR while 5 were at Sunset Station.

    Sunset Station is so much nicer than the Tropicana and we will NEVER stay at the Trop ever again. The Trop is just too run down and they don't have many full pay deuces wild machines. I will also say that Sunset Station is not as nice as GVR. Let's see, how would I compare Sunset Station with GVR?

    One of the things that comes to mind is that at GVR, I've been lead to believe that it's a common practice to leave all accounts "hanging" at checkout until VIP Services can review the account to see if any charges can be taken off the final bill. To play it safe, when checking out at GVR, I always ask that the account be left "hanging" until VIP Services can review it. When I did that this past trip, the desk clerk was very nice and this didn't seem to be a problem. In fact, he said he would add a note to our account asking that VIP Services review the account. It didn't sound like this was a common practice. Maybe they've changed their policy and no longer automatically do this.

    Anyway, as I've done in the past, I called VIP Services two days after checking out to see if our gambling netted us any charges coming off our final bill. It did but apparently, our hanging account wasn't left hanging after all. The charges that would come off our bill according to VIP Services would be credited to our account which tells me they already closed out the account. I guess that's okay. On the other hand, leaving an account "handing" at Sunset Station is not an option (I asked at check-in). I was lead to believe that I would have to settle up with a host before checkout. Well, apparently, that's not totally true. On this past trip, I tried calling the host I dealt with in the past at Sunset Station just before checking out. Unfortunately, she wouldn't be in until later in the day and the "host on duty" wasn't able to reduce our food charges but I was told that I could talk to my regular host after checking out and she could still credit us some money back if she determined that we were due a reduction based on the amount of gambling we've done while staying at Sunset Station.

    So as long as you check with a host before checking out at Sunset Station and ask GVR to have VIP Services review your account upon checkout and then call them a couple days later, you should be able to get a reduction of charges if they decide you've gambled enough at their properties.

    The rooms at Sunset Station are nice enough although you won't have plush robes in your room nor will you have a coffee pot in your room as you would at GVR. There's also no room safe at Sunset Station which could be a pain in the butt. Yes, you could leave valuables/cash at the front desk but I prefer a room safe.

    For both properties, I left a nice note (and $5) each morning for housekeeping asking that they leave extra towels/soap/shampoo. This was never a problem. We saved up the extra soap & shampoo and Wifey took them to a food pantry she manages.

    In terms of restaurants, both properties have some excellent restaurants. We especially liked both Italian restaurants. We have not tried Sunset Station's Steakhouse restaurant but we will check it out when we return in 2006. We had decided not to spend the big bucks required for GVR's new Hanks Restaurant but we did enjoy eating at it's predecessor, the Bull Shrimp restaurant. During our stay at Sunset Station, they were still getting the buffet ready to open after a major renovation. It looked great from what we could see.

    I was a little disappointed to learn (just before our trip) that 8 of the 18 Optimum (full pay) Video Poker machines had disappeared from the Sunset Station casino floor. Luckily, we didn't have a problem grabbing two of the remaining 10 machines during the three days we stayed at Sunset Station.
    We also noticed that when we got to GVR, the screens on the video poker machines appeared to be slightly larger. That's a good thing. Also, we noticed that if you cash out a ticket at a video poker machine at Sunset Station for more than $1000, that same ticket can be put back into the machine while at GVR, the machines wouldn't accept a ticket with an amount over $1000.

    Although we've only stayed at Sunset Station a total of five nights, we really enjoyed the stay and will continue to split our time beween Sunset Station and GVR.

  8. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002
    I rather not say how much "moola" we take with us but we figure it should be enough for both of us to handle the up and down swings of deuces wild. As far as the pay schedules go, we play only "full pay" deuces wild and here's the pay schedule for one and five (maximum) coins on the quarter machines.

    .............................1 coin....5 coins
    Natural royal flush.......250........4000
    Four deuces...............200........1000
    Wild royal flush.............25.........125
    Straight flush.................9..........45
    Full house......................3..........15

  9. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002
    Yes, I understand how to check our point totals. When I mentioned that VIP Services couldn't confirm our remaining points after using them to further reduce our food charges, it was because it usually takes hours before the points actually come off the account. I did check again a couple hours after speaking to VIP Services and by then the points had been adjusted. I could still see how many points we accummulated during this recent trip as well as our current point total after the reduction to reduce our remaining food charges.

  10. doctor_al

    doctor_al VIP Whale

    Nov 25, 2002
    Twin Cities
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Thanks for the details, cruiser. :thumbsup:
  11. DebB

    DebB Low-Roller

    May 7, 2001
    You and your wife are endurance contest winners when it comes to vp. Really appreciate all your details in this and previous TRs. But eating food court meals at your machines?? That's relentless ;-)

    What was the service like at Sunset Station restaurants? And you mentioned having just a salad bar at Costa del Sol -- what kinds of items were offered there?

    Phooey on the guy who hijacked your machiine, or at least hijacked your balance; I've found players cards in machines myself, but never $$!

    90 min. massages sound swell! Best wishes.
  12. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    I can't remember everything Costa Del Sol had at the Salad Bar but between the wonderful soups, salad, and bread, there was more than enough for us to eat. On our previous trip to Sunset (back in June, 2005), we simply couldn't finish our meal at Costa Del Sol which is why we decided ahead of time to try just the salad bar.

    They had two soups as I recall - New England Clam Chowder and Manhattan Clam Chowder. We both had the New England and it was excellent but so filling. The salad fixings were very fresh and the plates are kept in a cold refrigerated box. Just lift the lid and grab a nice cold plate. I do remember the carrot sticks were nice and long and the tomatoes were cut into nice size chunks. There was seafood salad in addition to a shrimp salad - or were those little shrimp in a bowl by themselves. I can't remember. I think they had both a Caesar salad and lettuce by itself. Of course, there were other salad fixings but I can't remember what else they had.

    Dessert was not included with the salad bar but I was so full that I didn't have room for it anyway. As I recall now, I think we saw the dessert tray on the way to getting our salad and these desserts were huge. Please don't ask me what type of desserts. I just remember they looked so good I was hoping to have room for dessert but it wasn't meant to be.

    The service at Costa Del Sol was excellent as it was at Capri Italian Ristorante. The service at their 24 hour cafe was nothing to brag about. But hey, it's a cafe - similar to an all night diner. On our next trip in June 2006, we want to try their Sonoma Cellar Steakhouse.

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