My 14th trip to Vegas my wife’s 13th. Friends with us are Karla, Michelle, Judy, Steve and Cindy.
Sleep had been hard to come by as the excitement of Las Vegas loomed in our heads.
Up at 4:00 AM for a 7AM flight on Southwest out of Houston Hobby. The traffic to the airport was non-existent. Its about a 15 minute drive to the airport and I think we made it in 10. I was a little concerned because we only had a “B” boarding pass as we were out of pocket and could not score the much coveted “A” Pass the day before.
Once at the gate, we sat down and the world was in order with everyone calmly sitting and waiting to board. Suddenly, a guy and his wife arrived at the gate and strutted right up to the “B” boarding pass line. The nerve of some people! Well, it was on then and the order of the would had changed with a mad rush to stand in line. Fortunately we boarded about ten minutes later and we were right behind the spoiler and his wife so we got pretty good seats. The plane was on-time and despite some snoring from some fellow weary travelers it was un uneventful but sleepy flight.
Upon arrival in Vegas, the airport was not busy and we received our luggage right away. It was then off to the Dollar van which promptly deposited us to their lot. Upon talking to the Dollar attendant, I asked for an upgrade to a minivan since I had seven people who were gonna occupy the rental vehicle and we didn’t wanna squeeze em in like clowns in a circus car. I figured the upgrade would cost me at least a c-note and Steve and Cindy, who were flying in later that evening said they would pay the difference. The attendant then told me he’d let me have the van at no extra charge. Well, I then figured it must be some ones birthday, his or mine and in the spirit I slid him some grease, a twenty. Upon getting the twenty the attendant danced a small but tasteful jig and said “do you want a van or do you want a really nice van.” Being college educated, I opted for the really nice van. The attendant then hooked us up with a van that had leather, a DVD player and automatic doors. The Cadillac of minivans if you will.
Off we drove with a song in our heart and a smile on our face as a result of our good fortune. Total time from deplaning to driving away in the van was less than an hour and now it was on to the Flamingo. As we drove away, I told myself :NO TUNNEL. I argued for a bit but figured the tip would be better if I didn’t use the tunnel as I had a savvy traveler who obviously knew Las Vegas well.
Upon arrival at the Flamingo, we valet parked and went to try to check in. I didn’t have much hope for this as it was only 10:15 AM. We were however assigned a room and were gonna try the $20 trick but we were told the hotel was sold out for the holiday weekend. The clerk gave us a room overlooked the Bellagio Fountains.
We were a bit hungry so we went to Margaritaville for Lunch. We both had burgers and although it was good, it was not what I thought a $9 burger should be. The Margarita however was excellent.
Now I’ve read many of trip reports and a lot of them have been from video poker players just like me. I’ve even read about some of their exploits of one, two, or even three royal flushes in a single trip. Did I believe the stories of royals? Maybe, Did I want to choke them out right through the video monitor? Hell yes! I have been playing VP for over 5 years and the royal has always eluded me until this trip. Heck, after hearing my tale about this trip ya’ll VP players out there may harbor some bad thoughts about me and my wife as well.
Anyway, After lunch, I was playing Bonus Poker on a machine between check in and the poker room and I was down. about $40. Then things began to turn, I got a couple of quads, a straight flush, and a couple of boats within a few minutes of each other and suddenly I was up about $86. My wife the goes to check on the room again and I was thinking about cashing out when KQJ10 of spade is delt to me. I say a little VP prayer and Hallelujah, the Ace of spades appears. I have hit my first ever ROYAL. I nextel my wife and she says did you hit it and I told her that I indeed had. I cash out and admire that TITO slip ever so preciously. All is good.
Up to the room, #19054. Nice, Floor to ceiling windows with a view of the Bellagio Fountains.
Time for a nap as we were beat. My friend called and said there plane had been delayed in Houston and they wouldn’t be there till about 10:30 PM.
Dinner was at the Flamingo Buffet. We had a promotional coupon so instead of 32.99 for the both of us it was only $12.99. The buffet was good but not great and I’m glad we had the deep discount.
Steve and Cidy arrived and we played some at the Flamingo and even popped in to Caesars for awhile then heading to bed around 2AM.
Up and out of the room by 9:30 for the short drive to The Orleans. Now, I love the Orleans as they have good poker tournaments and an ample selection of video poker. Now our objective today was to eat breakfast at the buffet and play in the in the Noon Poker Tournament. Last year we had some success here as my wife made the final table and I missed it by 2. She ended up in the money which made for a happy girl. And guys, you know as well as I do that a happy girl (close your eyes kids) means more relations, which makes us guys happy.
The buffet was kind of bittersweet. I was happy that it was a brunch because I’m not too fond of breakfast food, but even the lunch type food was only fair. I have had much better here.
After breakfast we found out that today’s tournament was Omaha Hi/Lo. Well, I loath that game with a passion so I passed. My wife played and our friend Karla did too. I figured Karla was a sure bet to win as she always has the Ace/Duce. Anyway, they come find me a short time later with horrible tales of bad beats and lost fortunes. Well I was in VP hell with no wins so I was ready to move on.
We then drove out to Red Rock as Cindy wanted to see it. I played some DDVP and got a couple of quads and ended up about $5. My wife had scored some free buffets from a pit boss after loosing a small fortune playing Black Jack. This was going to be one expensive free meal but you gotta love her being do sexy and all. The food however was only fair and not near as good as our last trip to Green Valley Ranch.
Back to the Flamingo where I should have had my head examined for getting into a 2/4 Hold-Em game. About the third hand in I had pocket queens in late position and raised them. Flop was a rainbow with a bunch of small cards and I bet the max $2 and most called. The turn and river came with all small and no pairs. I saw the writing on the wall when raised after the river. A guy who stayed with 2-3 off-suit and had a straight. I saw several hands like this and cashed out. You cant win in that kind of game. With six or staying to the river, someone will get a straight or flush. No more low limit for me. Went to bed around 2AM.
Up at 9:00 AM and out of the room by 10. We walked to the Venetian where we ate Lunch at the Grand Lux Cafe. We try to eat here every trip and we weren’t disappointed. I had the Lemon Picatta Chicken and my wife had the Chicken Pot Pie. Both were very large portions and I was sorry not to have room for some of their famous cheesecake. $38.00 w/tip.
Perused some of the Video Poker Machines at the Venetian and found very poor pay tables like JOB 6/5 and 6/5 Bonus Poker. If you know VP then you know that pay tables like these just rapes the player. Shame on the Venetian. Even Harrah’s properties had better VP pay-tables. If it wasn’t for the Grand Lux Cafe I would have set my last foot in the Venetian.
We then went to Wynn and my wife asked about the 150 Point promotion for two free buffets, The gentleman asked to look at our card and told us that we needed 250 pts to earn the buffets. We played VP about an hour to earn the points and I was up about $125. Went back to get our buffets and a different guy told us we needed 500 points for the buffets. We argued our point and were denied. I asked to speak to a supervisor and was told he was helping another customer and would be with us soon. About 15 min later the guy said he would take care of us without the supervisor and credited us with the buffets. Not that they would have missed me but if I wouldn’t have gotten what I was promised I would have never set foot in the Wynn again.
On to the Riviera where we saw all kind of interesting people. The casino was sure getting dated and we played some old JOB machines that were kinda slow. The VP was good to us as I cashed out up $65 and my wife was up $80. I even had quad aces with a kicker but drat! it was a JOB machine so it only paid $31.25 instead of the $500 a DDBVP machine would have paid.
On to Circus Circus where I put a twenty in a Multi Denomination machine and after a few plays found out that one of the buttons was sticking and not holding the cards. So I cashed out only to find nickels spitting out. Ug! After three dollars of nickels the machine stopped and cried for a hopper fill. Twenty minutes I had a hopper fill and the rest of the nickels spit out. Well, I looked for a bucket and found none so I ended up with Carpel Tunnel jamming all those nickels back in the machine. The savvy nice lady next to me saw my frustration and told me if you cash out less than $10 you get nickels. Anything more gets a Ticket. What kind of crap is that! why not TITO all the time? Oh well, I think I’ve seen enough Circus Circus to last me a lifetime.
Next on to Slots of Fun, another interesting establishment with an abundance of interesting people. We sat down at an some OLD Bonus Poker machines and that is where I got my second Bonanza. I held a Jack of Spades and was delt the rest. Royal Flush Bliss. My second ever and two in three days. It was a had pay so I tipped a very grateful slot attendant $20.00. I was quite giddy when we left and I felt like dancing all the way down the strip. My wife and friends were GREEN with envy and probably felt like committing horrific acts on me.
On to the Stardust where the coma I was in continued as I was delt trip two’s playing Three Card Poker. I left that table up $210.
We then went to redeem our coveted buffet passes and partake in gluttony at the Wynn Buffet. The cost was normally $34.99 ea. and I know what your thinking, “Is that American dollars” and the answer is yes. The sad part is, the buffet was mediocre at best and not even as good as the Orleans or the Flamingo buffets. The only saving was the Alaskan King Crab Legs. These were plentiful and awesome and I ate at least $34.99 worth of them. The Crème Brulee’ was also notable despite a serving was about a tablespoons worth,
We then walked to the Mirage as I have always loved the vibe in that casino. When I got there I was quite disappointed. Gone were the thatched roofs over the pits. Gone was the south seas charm. Now they are trying to be the Wynn and I don’t think it works. I should have seen the signs, but the next thing I knew, I was down $200 playing DDBVP. I even made a bonehead move of putting a $70 ticket into what I thought was a 25 cent machine that was actually a $5 machine. I was out in three pushes of the button and was wondering why.
Finally back to the Flamingo where I played a Pinball slot and cashed out up $30. My wife was up about $50 as well and even had a cheering section when she hit the bonus round. Everyone decided to scoot to the Barbary Coast and I played some Three Card Poker There cashing out up $45. I noticed the lounge and day dreamed of the Big Elvis show still to come. On to bed about 3AM.
Up at 9:00 as it was moving day. My wife wanted to stay instead of moving to the Rio so we decided to see a casino host. The host looked at our account and tactfully told us you must be crazy. He did apply points to our room charges thus far making our balance -0-.
We drove to the Rio where I had 2 nights comped and upon check in tried to use the $20 to get an upgrade. We were offered a “Super Suite” for $150 a night. and since I was in a VP Coma we decided to take it. We boarded the elevator and had to use our room card to get to the top floor. We would use this little number throughout our stay to show the “common” guests that we were quite refined. We then went to the room on the 20th floor in the Implanada Tower and found it to be a 1200 square foot suite that was awesome. I think it was bigger than my first house. The bed was a pillow top and had those high count thread sheets that I cant afford to put on my bed at home. The shower was so big that you could clean a whole baseball team inside. The suite even had a refrigerator that you didn’t get charged if you moved something inside. Now we thought this was the greatest room ever until we saw a two story suite that they were cleaning next door.
We went down to the casino to wait on our friends who were shuttleing over. I found a DDB machine near the stage for the show in the sky. I was down about $120 when I hit four jacks. Things really turned two hands later when I was delt a Heart Royal for another grand. My third ever and my third for this trip. I know you VP players are really wanting to slap me now.
We then drove to the Sahara as there was a decent hold-em tourney that started at 7PM. We signed up and searched for some dinner. This unfortunately led to our worst meal of the trip, maybe of a lifetime. My wife and I ordered the Chicken Fried Steak (I know what you other Texans are thinking) and it was none too good. It also came with overcooked macaroni and cheese and instant mashed potatoes. I swear, Swanson serves a better meal out of a box. The one saving grace was we had a coupon for a free piece of cheese cake that was edible. The whole thing cost us $33.00 w/tip.
To make a long story short I finished 22 out of 121 in the hold-em tourney.
We then headed downtown and I told the group I wanted to find the Western. I never heard anything good about this motel/casino but needed to see what all the fuss the boys at Cheapo Vegas were talking about. Well we found it and we looked inside from the street and saw some things that made us avert our eyes and are unmentionable in this report. If you wanna see the homeless gamble then the Western might be the place for you. We then hightailed it back to the “regular” downtown where I had my clock cleaned at the Plaza playing DDBVP. My wife however did quite well and was quickly deciding there might be something to this Video Poker thing.
Up by 11 out by Noon. Played a little DDBVP at the Rio while waiting for our friends to shuttle over. We decided to eat at the Rio Buffet and it was excellent most notably my co-pilot said the desserts met with her approval.
On to the Palms where I played some 4/8 Hold-em and left up about $64 after three hours. Around 7PM They were having a premier of a National Lampoon movie with no stars that anyone knew. The was however, Lots of twentysomething girls from California with fake boobs. (not that I was looking honey) They were all dressed to the nines and thought their stuff didn’t stink.
It just keeps getting better as our next stop was the all new Hooters Casino. I thought I might score big here as I had had a dream about my dog chasing an owl. It was not to be and the rest of the group was pissed because they were not serving fried pickles as advertised. Thy have em here in Texas and they are quite tasty.
Now I have heard a lot of bad things about Hooters Casino, but I liked it. It was about a zillion times better than the old San Remo ever thought about being. The VP paytables we good too and the Hooters girls kinda helped.
Since we couldn’t score any pickles we went to our old standby, the Coffee Shop at the Mote Carlo. They have the best Maryland style crab cakes and they did not disappoint. The Rib eye was excellent as well. The tab was $60 w/tip.
My coma continued at the Monte Carlo as I hit 4 Aces w/kicker for $500. Once again the group was green with envy and probably plotting my demise. Can’t remember what we did the rest of the day but I’m sure it was awesome.
Up at 10:30 and we are saddened to be going home today. We checked out and drove to the Flamingo to meet our friends. Lunch was at the Flamingo Coffee Shop where I had a bad turkey sandwich and my wife had breakfast. The table did split some excellent Nachos as an appetizer.
We had a strange waitress who said good morning at the end of almost every sentence. For example: “How would you like those eggs? good morning.” or “I get you some more coffee, good morning. It was amusing in a strange way.
We walked over to the Barbary Coast to see Big Elvis and were distraught that Big E only performed Monday - Thursday. This is the 1st trip we have missed him in several years and were quite disappointed.
We then walked to Planet Aladdin where through all the construction, I was down about $60.00 on DDBVP when a quad put me even. I cashed out and ran to the exit. I really couldn’t tell that there were that many changes especially to the outside of the casino.
It was on to Paris where I heard allot of noise at a craps table and bought in for a hundred. Well, the next noise I herd was me crying as my c-note lasted about 15 minutes. There were also too well muscled young ladies that were leering at me for turning the table cold. Another run for the door and it was on to Bally’s.
Upon arriving at Bally’s my wife tells me that she wants to play some VP besides JOB. She is well familiar with the JOB strategy but a little unsure about the other games. Since my Royals, she has become hooked and wants a royal for her own. I find us a Bonus Poker progressive that’s almost $1200 for the royal and we began to play. I’m just telling my wife that I thought the machine was “mathematically” due, as I haven’t seen too many progressives make it that high. Just as I say this my wife starts screaming that she got the royal! We cheered with her and I looked at the payout and it was $1199.95. A short time later, a slot attendant came and asked my wife for her SSN number. I asked him why he needed it and he told me for the tax form. I told him hold on pardner, you don’t get a tax form unless the win is $1200.00 or more. The attendant told me that it was $1200. Now once again, I’m college educated and even though I took Intro to Algebra three times before passing it, I know that $1199.95 is a nickel short of $1200. He continued to argue the point with me and I asked to see a supervisor. When the supervisor came, low and behold he said “yep, 1199.95 is not $1200” and proceeded to count out the payout to my wife. Guess who got the tip? It sure wasn’t the slot attendant trying to take part of my wife’s first Royal and give it to the government who’d just blow it on some study about Camels or some other nonsense. The best part about this Royal was it was time to go to the airport and we wouldn’t be leaving any of it in Vegas.
A small stop was made at the Hard Rock for shopping and then we turned the car into Dollar w/o a hitch and boarded the shuttle. I wasn’t worried this time as we had the coveted “A” pass. The plane left a little late but was smooth and landing in Houston around 1AM.
My first Royal Flush
Two more Royals.
My Wife’s first Royal
Grand Lux Cafe
The suite at the Rio
Nascar Cafe (Yuck)
Missing Big Elvis
Missing Ellis Island
Low limit poker
Poor VP Paytables at The Venetian