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Trip Report 12/21-24

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by VoteForLou, Dec 26, 2002.

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  1. VoteForLou

    VoteForLou Tourist

    Feb 14, 2002

    My Trip Report

    Trip Report 12/21-24

    My girlfriend and I drove from SoCal and made it to Vegas in a shade over 3 hours. I think the new 210 freeway shaved at least 20 minutes off the drive. I ran into some rain around the CA/Nevada border and even saw snow on the ground, luckily most people were driving safely.

    The night before we left I looked through my coupons and found 2 $10 match plays each for LV Hilton and Flamingo; 2 $5 match plays for Bally’s and 2 bet $10 win $15 coupons for the Tropicana that all expired at the end of the month.

    And it was COLD – I can honestly say I’ve never been in colder weather than the last few days in Vegas. I’m surprised people weren’t ice-skating on Lake Bellagio.


    We stayed at Treasure Island and were given a great south-facing view of the whole strip; it would have been better if we were up a few floors, but we were floor 14 (which is really floor 13). They were going to give me a Pirate Ship view but the only room available had a block on it. I have another trip booked for TI in late-March, so perhaps they think I’m a regular because the clerk kept trying to find a good room for me. The view we had was awesome; I could see some or all of nearly every property from the Venetian on the left to the Rio on the right, except for Luxor, Aladdin, and the MGM. But you could see Luxor’s light and MGM’s emerald lights illuminated the overcast sky the first night. And we had a great view of the Mirage Volcano and saw some of the Bellagio fountains.

    The room itself was a duplicate of the room I had at Mirage, only decorated with lighter colors. The bathroom smelled like burnt matches right when we got there, but that went away after I christened the toilet. I like the location of TI, you’re short walking distances from the cheaper north strip and trams of the south strip.

    Day 1

    After we got settled in the room and I bundled up, we walked to the Forum Shops to finish up Xmas shopping (Vegas must be the Beanie Baby capital of the world). We ate at The Cheesecake Factory and I had the Chipotle Chicken Pasta, which was overpriced and average. They butterfly the chicken breast to make it look they give you 2 breasts, but it’s only 1. I refuse to pay $8 for a piece of cake, so I still haven’t tried their cheesecake.

    After the Forum Shops we picked up my car and found a SavOn drug store on Sahara to buy some booze. I saw another Tacos Mexico in the shopping center, they’re everywhere in Vegas. I think I’ll stock up on liquor next time I go to Vegas considering the average price is about $3 less per bottle than in California. I got a 750ml. bottle of Captains, a 2-liter of coke and some Bass Ale – all for about $5 less than I would’ve paid at home.

    We made it back to the room iced down the beer and pounded about half of the bottle of Captains. At this point we stumbled down to the casino where I was up and down all night but lost $60 in an 8/5 JOB video poker machine. My pre-gambling age girlfriend broke even; she always does.

    Day 2

    Woke up about 8am, showered and went down the sportsbook to check the football odds. Saw the Chargers were 2.5 point underdogs to a Priest Holmes-less KC and put $60 on the Bolts hoping to reclaim my losses from the night before. The Angels were 4/1 to win the AL Pennant and 9/1 to win the Series, not bad.

    I had 2 $10 match plays, a 2-for-1 buffet, and 2-for-1 drink at the LV Hilton, so we drove over there for breakfast. The monorail is going in so they have the front of the place all torn up. I’m really not sure how beneficial the monorail will be as I heard it goes from the airport to the Hilton to the Sahara, but I probably heard wrong. We had the $12.99 champagne brunch buffet, which wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t eat there unless I had a coupon. The quality of the food was good, but the selection was pretty limited. This was my third time eating there and I still have no complaints, other than the “steak†which had good flavor, but had the consistency of shoe leather. After brunch we walked to the sportsbook to watch the start of the Chargers game and play some 9/6 JOB video poker. The Chargers go down 7-3 in the 1st, so I went to use my match plays. I lost on the first match play, and split 6’s against a dealer 4 on the other match play. The dealer busted, so I took my chips and ran.

    We got back to the room and watched more of the game, the Chiefs scored another touchdown so we decided to take a walk and use more of my matchplays. I found a $10 table with Charger fan for a dealer. I lost both matchplays and a few more hands then called it quits. We went over to Ballys to find a $5 table so I could use more matchplays but there were only $10 blackjack tables, and all the craps tables were full.

    We walked down to Aladdin to check out the prices for P.F. Changs and I wanted to see how bad the Bolts were losing now. To my surprise, they were winning 22-21 with about 8 minutes left and had the ball around midfield. Both the bet and the Chargers season were looking good. We stayed in the Aladdin sportsbook – which is a close second to NYNY at having the worst sportsbook on the strip. A bittersweet ending to the game as a bad spot and subsequent field goal put the Chiefs ahead for good as Reche Caldwell fumbled away the Chargers season. On the bright side the Chargers covered the spread and I won 60 bucks. At least I have the LA Kings to root for, especially with the Clippers and Lakers both playing like crap. Spring Training cannot come fast enough.

    I had a coupon for 3 hot dogs for $2.99 at Nathan’s, so we went over to NYNY and ate lunch. This coupon rules considering 1 hot dog at Nathan’s is $2.75. We took the MGM monorail to Bally’s and walked back to Treasure Island. After I cashed in my ticket at the sportsbook, rested and liquored up, we made our way to California Pizza Kitchen at the Mirage. We ate the spinach/artichoke/cheese dip for an appetizer and had the carne “estrada†pizza, which was good and a cheap bill for 2 people.

    After having too much alcohol, we took the CAT up to downtown and I bought my woman one of those alcoholic slurpees (no extra grain train). I got her a mix of red and blue – for what it’s worth, the bartender called that flavor “Atomic Sex.†Grain train or not I can’t stand those drinks, and the fact that it was 30 below outside didn’t help. Other than the people watching the spraypaint artist, downtown was deserted, probably because of the weather. About the only bright spot was the midget playing video poker, and the New Mexico football coaches I saw at the Golden Nugget. I looked around for that giant piece of gold for the third time and I still can’t find it. Does anyone know where it is?

    Back to TI for some more VP, and more losing – 99% payback, my ass. Since my girlfriend thinks she’ll get carded at the tables, we decided to try the wagerworks style blackjack machine. Nothing beats playing with other people at a table, but the machines are cool if you want to play $1 blackjack on the strip. Since I’ve learned basic strategy, I gave her my strategy card and we both doubled our $20 in very little time.

    Day 3

    We woke up around 8 or 9 again and walked up to the Peppermill and ate breakfast. The couple with 5 screaming kids at the table next to us made the meal below average. My parents took me to Vegas when I was 8 and said it was the worst vacation of their lives.

    I still had matchplays for Bally’s and Tropicana, so we walked to Bally’s. I found a spot at a craps table and used the first coupon, the shooter hit the point right away, and I tried to use the other coupon when the dealer told me only one coupon per day, even though it says nothing about any limit on the coupon. The shooter hit a few more points and I was up about $80 before I walked away – and of course I didn’t tip the dealer. Not only did the Bally’s craps dealers not let me use 2 matchplays, they were very quiet, only calling out the number rolled. I’ll never play there again.

    We took the tram over to MGM and walked to the Trop. I had 2 bet $10, win $15 coupons to use and quickly found a table after I got my free deck of cards. A hot Asian cocktail waitress spilled her tray of drinks right behind me and got beer all over the table and the dealer. The jerk that bumped into her just watched as she cleaned everything up. You think that would happen a lot in a casino with the way everyone is walking around or cheering at a craps table, but that was the first time I’ve seen it. I pulled a hit-and-run again winning both coupons, one by doubling down on a soft 17 with a dealer 4, and I split 7’s on the other hand and won both. I gave the dealer $5 and left.

    We hoofed it back to TI and took a well-deserved nap.

    I played the blackjack machine a few more times and every time I put in $20, I would cash out $30 or more; the only drawback is that the machine only lets you double down on 10 or 11.

    I wanted to try Border Grill at Mandalay Bay for dinner, so we made the walk with help from the Bellagio and Excalibur trams. We find the place only to see that the dinner prices are jacked-up and decide we’re not spending over $20 an entrée. I think the combination of the cold weather, alcohol, hunger, and too much walking had something to do with us ending up at the Excalibur buffet. You can tell by the cheddar cheese and Ritz crackers that this buffet was geared towards the Excalibur’s clientele. I made a salad that was pretty good, but the Mexican and Chinese food was horrible, and I didn’t want to try anything at the carving station. Altogether the buffet wasn’t that bad, but not worth the $12 price.

    Back to TI for more profit at the blackjack machine and more losing/breaking even at VP.

    Day 4

    We ate at the Peppermill again. I ordered the pancakes this time and made it about 60% through them. Next time I’m gonna finish the whole stack of pancakes in one sitting. We were full and all gambled out, so we left and made it home in about 3.5 hours.


    My next Vegas trip is scheduled for 3/31-4/3, but it looks like it will be moved back because the Angels open the season at home this year.

    I might be going to Laughlin next month. I’ve never been there, but I heard it’s full of bikers and whitetrash. Sounds fun.

    My first winning trip ever; next time I hope to pay for room, food, and shopping with my gambling winnings. If I stayed clear of the VP I would’ve won a lot more than I did.

    I noticed the single deck 6 to 5 has spread to pretty much every casino. Harrah’s had a ton of 6 to 5 tables and they were all full of people.

    They were converting all the machines at TI to paper ticket payout when we were there. I like the ease and cleanliness of the paper ticket, but for some reason I had the strong urge to put it into another machine when I was walking to get real money for the damn thing. I guess you don't think about that when you have a bucket full of quarters.

    I wanted to go to the Gambler’s General Store to get a craps felt, but we never made it, so I’ll have to get one next time or check for them on eBay.
  2. larryfromdk

    larryfromdk Guest

    I do not like the paper ticket payout on slots.I
    like to hear the coins fall.Just old fashioned i guess.I never stayed at ti and i guess i never will since other hotels seem to give better deals
  3. Dukie

    Dukie Tourist

    Nov 28, 2001
    Plainfield, Il USA
    I beleive the big golden nugget is next to there fancy restaurant on a upper floor. It was a couple of years ago when I saw it.
  4. Booger

    Booger Tourist

    Aug 18, 2002
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Sounds like a GREAT time!!It's always fun to
    make coupon runs.Never really have checked out
    those Blackjack machines before,gotta do that.
    Thanks for writing it up!!

  5. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

    Jan 25, 2002
    Southeast of Sin City
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    Hey Lou--

    The big ol' Golden Nugget is just off the casino, near the front desk--just up those 2 or 3 steps near the walkway that takes you back to the pool, Carson St Cafe, and the South Tower...

    I found it on accident, looking for a house phone.

    I believe it's actually between the front desk and the Sports Book.

  6. Lmadrid

    Lmadrid Tourist

    Feb 21, 2002
    Boston, MA but originally from San Antonio, TX
    I found the nugget when we were there in Nov. It was right by the entrance to a boutique on the first floor by the North Tower elevators....just down the hall that runs past the high limit area. It is kind of ambiguous...I wouldn't have seen it if I hadn't wanted to go into the boutique. :D
  7. 3cats

    3cats High-Roller

    Dec 29, 2002
    Las Vegas
    Trips to Las Vegas:
    We were at TI from 12/22-12/27. I couldn't beleive all the kids there and the amount of rude people too. We had a Tower Deluxe room on a cornor facing the pirate battle and the volcanos at mirage. Next time you go ask for a cornor room, and only deal with the casino hostess to book your room. She will get you the best room for the best price. We paid $39.00 per nite, for 4 nites and the 5th night free. averages out to 31.50 per nite for the week. The host also got us some great seats for "O" and Cheval. The only complaint I have about the TI is that their cocktail waitress's don't know where you are on the slot machines, they only bring drinks to the tables. Was disappointed not to find a $5 Black Jack table, but, they had Pia Gow all over the place and after 2 days there I could see why. I will never go out again during Xmas, or when Schools are on break, since Vegas then turns into disney land.
    On previous trips we have stayed at other hotels and nothing can compare to Bellagio, it is the best. and the worst we stayed at was MGM, but, the Monte Carlo is worth concidering as well, it is nice and not so many kids, but, their comps system really sucks.
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