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Trip Report 6/19 - 6/23 (it's a bit long)

Discussion in 'Vegas Trip Reports' started by cruiser, Jun 27, 2003.

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  1. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    My Trip Report

    Sorry it took so long but I've been busy at work and still not fully recovered from Vegas. It usually takes me a full day of recovery for every day I'm in Vegas. Since we were there for four days, I guess I need four days to recover. Today is day 4 of my recovery and I'm still very tired. Here's our trip report for our recent 4 night stay at the Tropicana, 6/19 - 6/23.

    Wednesday (6/18) - Day before trip:

    My doctor's appt. didn't go as well as expected so this was to be a non-alcoholic trip for me. I've been on Lipitor for about two years for my high triglycerides. A month ago, my liver enzymes were out of range again so the doctor had me stop taking lipitor and assuming after 30 days the enzymes are back to normal, I'd get a new drug. I timed the doctor's appt. to review this last blood test for the afternoon before my Vegas trip. Well, the liver enzyme levels were actually a bit further out of range so my doctor wanted me to take another blood test to rule out hepatitis and also wanted me to get a ultrasound of the chest area. On the way home that afternoon, I scheduled the ultrasound for 9am and planned to have the blood test around 7:30am.

    Thursday (6/19) - Day 1:

    Up by 6am and I didn't get much sleep. Who can sleep the night before a Vegas trip. Not me!!!Besides, I've got an appt. with a needle around 7:30 this morning for my latest blood test. Needle meets the arm right at 7:30 and I'm off to the site of my ultrasound. Got lost but I have time and finally find the place. Arrive a bit early and I'm on the table by 8:40 AM. So far, so good. After 5 minutes, I ask the technician if she's found anything interesting. 'Not yet', she tells me. 10 minutes later, she calls in another technician to 'have a look' - great, now what? They decide it's probably nothing... probing continues for another 15 minutes. She asks me to stick around until the radiologist looks at the film in case he wants a cat scan. What the heck is going on??? Hey, I'm heading to Vegas in a few hours. I don't have time for this. Well, after 30 minutes in the waiting room, I'm told I can leave. No cat scan for me. Yipee!!! Call the wifey and let her know I'm on my way home.

    Home by 10am, load up sparky, say goodbye to Spice (our long haired dachshund) and we're headed to the airport. We have a dog sitter from the neighborhood staying at our home with Spice in the evenings. Brenda drops me off at curbside and I unload our luggage and she's off to park sparky. I do the curbside check-in but run into a problem. We had bought one ticket and used a free ticket we just received in the mail from Southwest. The problem is the 'free ticket' expired in April. How can that be??? The agent was very nice and said to go to the ticket counter and they'd take care of it. Okay... wait for Brenda to return from parking the car. I explain the problem and we head to the ticket counter. We tried explaining that we never checked the expiration date of the ticket since we just received it. We really can't figure out what happened but our only choice was to buy one new ticket. Fine, we buy another ticket. At least they let us buy it for the same price as the first ticket. Okay, through security without a problem.

    We stop and grab a barbeque sandwich for lunch. We have a 1:45 flight to Phoenix but the plane doesn't show up until 1:40. We leave 30 minutes late. Arrive in Phoenix at 2:30. We check in at the gate for a 3:20 departure. Not today we don't - high winds in Vegas. All flights in and out are being delayed. Finally, leave Phoenix at 4:20 (an hour late) and arrive in Vegas at 5:05. Wow, they made up 15 minutes on a one hour flight. Cool! Okay, where's our limo driver? Head over to baggage claim. Grab our bags, but still no limo driver. Head outside to call my host since it's too noisy inside. My host has gone home for the day. Okay, call customer services and they connect me with VIP services. They find our limo driver and we're off to the Tropicana in a neat stretch Ford Excursion. Tip the driver, leave our bags with the bell cap guys, and head over to VIP services to check in.

    No problem checking in, grab a couple bottles of water and head for the elevators stopping briefly at the bell cap desk to let them know we're ready for our bags. Room 426 in the Paradise Tower. Very nice room with a king bed, nice bathroom, safe, small refrigerator, and we would find out later a great shower (lots of pressure and plenty of hot water). Wifey waits for the luggage to arrive while I head over to the Hawaiians room for registration. As I mentioned in our pre-trip report, we're comped into Tropicana's '$75,000 Rumble in the Jungle Slot Tournament'. At the Hawaiians room, we get to pick from 6 sessions. I picked session 2 which is Friday and Saturday at 9:30am and 1:30pm. We have four 15 minute sessions and the lowest of your four scores are dropped. We also received a gift of a Olympus camera and $25 cash. Head back to our room and the luggage is being brought in. Tip the bell cap guy and give wifey the $25 cash I just received as part of the welcome gift.

    Head down to the welcome dinner (6:30pm). It's buffet style and very good. After dinner we head back to the room and grab our smallest piece of luggage. It's got a pull out handle and wheels - perfect for a trip to Walgreens to pick up some drinks. We started walking and after a while, we both questioned whether or not we passed it. Maybe it's not Walgreens anymore. Ahhhh, there it is up ahead a bit further. We pick up a 12-pak of diet 7up and 3 6-paks of water. This turned out to be perfect for a four night stay. Head back to the room to drop the drinks off.

    While I'm filling our refrigerator, Brenda noticed she missed a phone call from Chandler (our 16 year old dog sitter). This is the first time Chandler is pet sitting with Spice. You have to understand we never board Spice so we always have a dog sitter to keep her company and give her attention. And yes, she's a bit spoiled. Well, we heard the message and it seems that Spice is not being nice at all to Chandler. She's been staying on our bed and anytime Chandler goes in and tries to get Spice to go outside to do her business, she growls at him. Spice would never bit anyone but at 11 years old, she can be quite stubborn. We have a screened in back porch with a doggie door and a ramp down to the back yard. So Brenda called Chandler back and let him know once again that Spice is just mad that we left her and to just ignore her and she'll eventually walk up to him for some pets.

    Time to head down to the casino about 8:30pm. Wifey plays her video poker (deuces wild) while I head to a blackjack table. Wifey plays till about midnight and is up slightly. She had four deuces once and three wild royals. I played for five hours at the same table and was up, down, even, up, then back to even. Since I can't drink this trip, I ordered black coffee while playing which might not have been such a good idea. Time to call it a night at 1:30AM. Back to the room and I find that Wifey was worried about me. Hey, we have cell phones. You could have called. We talk for 30 minutes, then lights out at 2am (that's 4am CST). Earlier this evening, our wine/fruit/cheese/nuts/crackers basket shows up in the room. For some reason, they only left one set of silverware and one wine glass. Granted I'm not drinking alcohol but they don't know that. I am really tired now. I set the alarm for 8am since wifey will probbaly be up and out before 8.

    Friday (6/20) - Day 2:

    Wifey is out the door at 6am. I get up shortly after that. I don't think I slept much at all. Could it have been at the coffee? Brenda calls me about 7am (for some reason she thought it was 8am) to ask if I can hear the noise in the background. I said it was very faint so Brenda tried calling our dog sitter, Chandler to see how he's doing with Spice. He says she still won't eat or drink and won't go outside but she's letting Chandler pet her. Hey, sounds like a breakthrough! We meet for the breakfast buffet at 7:30am in the Tiffany Showroom. Nice spread. I order a ham and cheese omelette. Very good. Coffee, orange juice, and some cut up fruit. After the buffet, I head to a blackjack table for an hour before my first slot tournament session. Wifey decided that I should play all four sessions. That's okay with me. I play for an hour and I'm up $1000. Good start to this trip. Time to head over to where the tournament is set up. The morning sessions run from 9am till noon and the after sessions run from 1pm till 4pm. We need to be there 15 minutes before our sessions start to pick a machine. In this tournament, there are 75 slot machines roped off. I picked machine# 57. Ready, set, go. 15 minutes later, I have 12,537 points. Hand is cramping. This is why wifey offered to let me play all four sessions.

    Head back to the blackjack tables. After two hours, I'm even for this session. Find wifey and check out the pool area. The blackjack tables haven't 'forced' me to spend some pool time yet but it's still early. Back to our room to sit and relax for 20 minutes before my next slot tournament session. For the afternoon session, I pick machine# 37. This time I hit for 12,641 points, giving me 25,178 after two sessions. This evening they'll post all the scores so we can see where we stand. Back to the blackjack tables for 2 hours before dinner. Got a bit of a butt kicking. Down $1000 this session, even overall.

    Back to the room to get ready for dinner. Wifey tells me I'm in 142th place out of roughly 416 entries. We have dinner reservations at Pietro's (6pm). We get there a little early but we have to wait till 6. They're booked till 10pm. I order the Gulf Shrimp Cocktail w/ harlequin sauces to start. We share this appetizer. Next, I have the Lobster Bisque and Brenda has the French Onion soup. For the main dish, I have the Sauteed Swordfish and Brenda has the Filet Mignon. For dessert, we each order ice cream. Dinner was very good and the ice cream was the best I've ever tasted. Our dinner lasted over 90 minutes but didn't seen that long. We will definitely come here on the next trip.

    Back to the casino by 7:45pm. Brenda calls it a night at midnight-ish. I play another 6+ hour session. I'm up $2000 this session and for the trip. Back to the room at 2am to give Brenda the good news. Wifey had 8 wild royals todays but is down slightly overall. I set the alarm for 8am.

    Saturday (6/21) - Day 3:

    Wifey is up and out the door by 5am. I'm awake, can't sleep. Finally get up at 7:00am and out the door by 7:30am. I head to the promotions desk to check our minutes played (they track all time in minutes, not hours and minutes). So far, I'm happy with the way our gambling is going. We head back to the Tiffany Showroom for another breakfast buffet. I order another omelette. After breaksfast, we head outside for another spin of the wheel - nothing. I walk around a bit until my morning session in the slot tournament. I pick machine# 4. I hit for 12,116. I think these three scores might be enough to win a cash prize ($25).

    After the morning session, I went shopping for wifey and daughter gifts. Wifey had showed me some earings she liked the day before so I picked these up and found a daughter gift too. Back to the blackjack tables for 2 hours. Would have been longer but they were kicking my butt again. Down $600 this session, up $1400 overall. Back to the room for more cash.

    Okay, time for my last slot tournament session. I pick machine# 4 again but I'm allowed to pick again. I pick machine# 25. I hit for 10,857, my lowest score so this is the one I drop. My top three scores total 37,294. I'll find out this evening at the awards dinner if I won any money. At best, I'll get $25. Back to blackjack but this time, I only last an hour. Drop another $1100. Still up slightly ($300) for the trip.

    I go look for wifey to let her know I'm going back to the room for a 2 hour nap before dinner. I am so tired. She's not at any of her machines. Head to the room. She was laying down for a little nap herself. She was ready to head back to the casino so I asked her to call me at 5:30 since I didn't trust myself to wake up with the alarm clock. I was so tired. Awards dinner starts at 6:30pm. I fall asleep and the phone wakes me up at 5pm. It's our host calling to say hello. I hadn't spoken to her yet this trip. She tells me we're doing great but I explain that although I had a good session last night, I got a serious butt kicking earlier today. She asks how dinner was last night at Pietro's and let's me know we have reservations at the Tuscany Italian Cafe at 6pm Sunday evening. She says she'll be on the door this evening so we'll see her when we arrive for dinner.

    Fall back asleep till the phone again wakes me. At first I think it's the damn alarm clock, then I finally realize it's my cell phone. My wife later tells me she let it ring and ring and ring until I finally picked up. She knew how tired I was. With all the coffee I've been drinking, I haven't slept very much but today I was dead tired. I stood in our wonderful shower for 30 minutes. Finally starting to wake up. Wifey comes back to the room to get ready for dinner. She leaves to play a little deuces wild before dinner and I meet her at 6:30pm and we head to the South Pacific Ballroom for our awards dinner.

    Brenda tells me that her friend's son-in-law hit four deuces three times and a natural royal flush for a total of $1750 within a very short time this afternoon. Timing is everything. Meet our host at the door. She's usually off on Fridays and Saturdays and today was Saturday so I wasn't sure we'd see her today. She tells us she'll be in the next day (Sunday) but then she's off on a vacation. Great for her but I had planned to call her first thing Morning morning to check on our bill. She says that's not necessary. We don't check out, just leave the room keys in the room when we leave. I ask about our limo to the airport because she never did tell us what time to meet the limo out front on Monday. She said she'd check and leave a voice message on our phone. I told her we had a few small charges on the room and would be eating at Calysos's in the morning. She said, don't worry, I'll take care of any charges on the room bill (except any tips of course). I then said we were going to buy tickets on Sunday for the comedy show. She said not to bother - she would have tickets waiting for us at the desk outside the comedy show. We thanked her and went in to find a couple seats.

    This was another buffer dinner. The food was great and the desserts even better. About 7pm, they announced the first 5 place finishers, starting with fifth place. Then they gave the point ranges for the other cash winners. Here's the breakdown:

    First Place $30,000
    Second Place $10,000
    Third Place $5,000
    Fourth Place $2,000
    Fifth Place $1,000
    6th - 25th Place $300
    26th - 75th Place $100
    76th - 250th Place $25

    I don't know my exact place of finish but I did win $25.

    Back to the casino after dinner. Played another 6 hour session of blackjack. Up $200 this session, up $500 overall. Back to the room around 2am. Wifey had gotten 2-3 hours of good sleep. Wifey had hit another 8 wild royals today but is still down slightly for the trip. We started talking about the possibility of getting some help with our airfare. Hmmmmm... maybe...

    Sunday (6/22) - Day 4:

    Wifey is out the door by 6am. I get up about 8am and find wifey at one of her machines. We head over to Calypsos's for a breakfast/lunch. I had breaksfast and Brenda had a cheeseburger. I ended my breakfast with vanilla ice cream. My stomach has been beat up pretty good with all the coffee I've been drinking and their ice cream is pretty good. Off to play some more blackjack. Played 1.5 hours and lost $1500. Okay, it's pool time. Find wifey and explain that I'm ready to hang out by the pool for awhile.

    We both grab our suits and head to the pool area. We hang out for an hour and I decide to go back to the room to lay down before dinner. Brenda wants to stay at the pool for a while longer. I head back but stop at the Legends Deli to grab a ice cream cone (only $.75 w/ coupon). Back to the room until dinner. I set the alarm clock for 5:30pm. Wifey comes back to shower and change, then heads back to the casino. I sleep for an hour and that's all. I'm laying there awake and decide to get up. I get ready for dinner but since it's not time for dinner yet, I head back to the blackjack tables. I play for 1.5 hours and I'm up $1000 this session, and even overall.

    Meet wifey for dinner at Tuscany. Dinner was okay but nothing like Pietro's or Savanna's Steakhouse. There was really too much food. We both ordered the Cocktail Di Gamberi (Shrimp Cocktail) and the Spaghettini w/ bolognese sauce. We split a dessert (toffee cheescake).

    After dinner, we had about about 30 minutes before we were to pick up our comedy show tickets. We stopped by the oxygen bar for some head clearing oxygen. I had 15 minutes worth while Brenda chose to do half the time on oxygen and the other half in the water massage bed. On to the comedy show. I usually give the guy that seats you $10 to get us better up front seats. The show was great as usual. I laughed so hard it hurt.

    After the show, it was back to the casino for the two of us. We had gone to the early show (8pm) so it was now about 9:30. I headed back to the room first to grab some water and back to the blackjack tables. Played about 6 hours which was a couple hours more that I should have. About 3:45am, I decided to call it a trip ( I was really tired) and was overall down a few hundred in blackjack. Wifey had hit the four deuces once and 6 wild royals today but was also down a few hundred for the trip.

    Monday (6/24) - Day 5:

    We're up by 6:30am to pack. I head down to the promotions desk to get our final numbers/minutes played. Then, I head over to VIP services to talk to the host on duty. Remember, my host decided to take a vacation before my trip was over. I told them I was looking for some help with our airfare based on the amount of gambling we had done. Our combined airfare came to roughly $550. The guy at the counter handed me the phone and the host I spoke to said she could offer me $250. Grrrrrrrrrrrr... You mean that's the best you could do??? They gave me the option of taking the $250 or walking over to a cage and asking them to make a copy of our itinerary showing what we paid for the tickets. They'll leave the copy for my host and when she returns from her vacation, she'll review our account and see what she can do to help with the airfare. Whatever portion she agrees to cover, she'll send us a check. I guess that's the best we can do. At the time, I was a little annoyed since I figured we gambled enough to get full airfare taken care of. Seems I was wrong...

    Head back to the room and grab our bags. Head outside with the bags. We're 20 minutes early for our limo but it's already here. We hop aboard and off we go to the airport. Tip the driver and do the curbside check-in. Head to security. Damn, everyone has to remove their shoes. Grrrrr... Okay, we're past security, head to our gate. Plane is on time, I fell asleep on the plane which is rare for me. We land on time in Austin. I head to baggage claim while Brenda goes for sparky. We head home stopping at Wendy's for dinner takeout. Home sweet home. Spice to excited to see us. We can't wait for our next trip which we think will be four nights the end of September. I'll talk to our host and set it up next week.

    BTW, in case anyone is wondering how much we gambled for those 4 nights (6/19 - 6/23), here's the numbers:

    Quarter machines: 1,579 minutes (26 hours, 19 minutes) {all FPDW}
    Blackjack: 2,061 minutes (34 hours, 21 minutes)

    After thoughts:

    1. I should have stopped played blackjack four hours earlier than I did.
    2. I plan to try the Sole at Pietro's on our next trip (late Sept?)
    3. I need to cut back on my blackjack betting, at a minimum cut back when the table goes cold.
    4. Regardless of how much we gamble, never assume it's enough to get airfare covered.
  2. HurricaneMikey

    HurricaneMikey A-List Buffoon

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

    Thanks for the great report. So it sounds like you did ALL of your gambling there at the the Trop, right? Man, I should start doing that--all my gambling at one place--somewhere other than Binions, cuz their rooms suck... I guess there's just too much I haven't seen.

    September is just 3 months away... [​IMG]

  3. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    Yeah, with the exception of our first trip to vegas last year where we gambled 30 minutes at the Barbary Coast and three hours at the Palms (all of this on video poker), all the rest of our gambling (four trips, 20 days total) have been at the Tropicana. I've pretty much kept to the blackjack table and Brenda plays her video poker. It's not that big of a casino and it has a homey feel to it, just like a neighborhood bar. Unfortunately, I'm not drinking right now and I'm not sure if I'll ever be given the ok to drink again. My last blood test came back negative for various types of hepatitus and the ultrsound came back okay. My doctor did say something about a fatty liver but didn't seem too concerned about that. I've got another blood test scheduled two weeks from tomorrow. Hopefully, my liver enzyme levels will start coming back into the normal range. If they don't, my doctor may give it a few more months before he sends me to a liver specialist.

    My host should be back from vacation by now so hopefully, I'll hear something this week about how much of our airfare she'll cover for our recent 4 night stay at the Tropicana. The good news is that we're probaby going back for another 4 night stay beginning on September 25.

  4. NEON

    NEON Tourist

    Mar 12, 2003
    Santa Fe
    Good trip report Cruiser!
    My wife likes the Tropicana too and so when we go to Vegas in a few days we plan to spend some gambling time there... What levels of betting were you averaging, just out of curiousity? $25/hand or more?
    Do you know if the Trop comps for less than $25 ave? I typically bet $5-15 a hand, (depending on the count). Also, does the trop have all 6 deck shoes or do they have some double or single decks?
    Good luck with the airfare and the host. maybe you can get her to pay upfront for your upcoming September tickets?
  5. cruiser

    cruiser High-Roller

    Feb 5, 2002

    My average bet was $85 for just over 34 hours which comes to just over 8.5 hours per day. My wife played just over 26 hours of video poker at max coins ($1.25) per spin which came to just over 6.5 hours per day. We have a joint winner's club account but have no idea how they calculate how much the video poker play is worth. Somehow, their computer factors that in for our overall rating.

    As far as the airfare is concerned, we'd have to gamble a heck of a lot more that we do to be guaranteed airfare. The best we could do is bring a copy of our itinerary showing what we paid and at the end of the trip, if we've gambled enough, they'll give some of it back. Hopefully, I'll find out this week how much of the $550 it cost us will come back to us as a check in the mail.

    I also want to reduce my average bet somewhat but will only play on a green chip table. For one thing, the rules are slightly better for the player and your less likely to have some knucklehead sit down and make some crazy a** moves like that guy that sat at third base at one of Mikey's tables.

    I have noticed that they do rate players at other tables ($5 and $10) but I have no idea what the comps are like if you play less than $25 a hand. It should be easy enough to just call up the Tropicana and ask to speak to the host on duty and let them know what you usually bet and how long you play per day and they should be able to give you an idea of the comps you can expect. It can't hurt to ask ahead of time. And certainly check with a host the night before checkout or the morning of checkout to see what they can do in terms of reducing your room charges at the end of the trip. But this must be done through a host, not the front desk.
  6. Fritz

    Fritz Guest

    Great trip report Cruiser. You always do an excellent job of detailing your trips, especially in the gambling department.
    I agree with you as far as playing only green chips. You definitely seem to encounter less crazy play. I also think the casino pays a lot more attention to your play than when you're playing at the red chip tables.
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