This was my sixth trip to Utopia. This report is long and probably very boring!
I (P) flew out of Burlington mid-afternoon on Thursday and was to meet a buddy (Z) of mine for a World Series of Poker weekend. Both of our flights were delayed and caused us to miss some activities Thursday night.
So, upon arrival, I took the shuttle to Alamo/National to get the car. They are more off the beaten path than the rest of the rental companies, and the line took me at least 30 minutes to get through. After getting the car I headed for the In-n-Out on Maryland. Got a #1 and headed back to McCarran to pick up my buddy and then on to the Strat to check-in.
Here is what we thought of the Strat:
I liked it. Parking was pretty convenient, location was pretty good considering we were planning on being downtown a bit, coffee shop had decent late night/very early morning eats, and our Jacuzzi suite was comfortable. Z was not a fan of the neighborhood with all of its barred up windows. For the most part we had fun there although we didn't gamble, hit the pool, or eat many meals. You can't beat the prices. We stayed in the aformentioned suite for only $290 total for thurs, fri, sat!! When we checked out though, they were asking $229 for Sunday night standard room alone.
So, after checking, we got to the business of getting our 'cheap' buzz on so we could hit the club. We finally made our way to Light for our first time. While we waited in line, we noticed that there seemed to be a lot of locals there. Everyone seemed to know the gorillas manning the door, and they had no problem letting them cut right in front of us, even though we had $ in hand. Finally, after about 30 minutes and about 35 people cutting past us, we got in. I do have to give them credit however, when they finally let us in they comped our entry since we had to wait so long. Saved $20! Once inside, the place was pretty fun. It's a nice spot, but I'd venture to say it's more overrated than not. That's coming from a low-roller mind you. After blowing our nights bankroll, we headed back to the Strat to rest up for a day of poker.
On Friday we got to the Luxor in time to sign up for their noon poker tournament. Then we hit their pool. I like their pool alot. In general, I'm now a big fan of the Luxor. We both love the south end, and the Luxor had everything we wanted: poker, good location, nice pool with lot's of talented (read: good looking) ladies. After some much needed loafing at the pool, we hit the tourney. It was my second tourney ever and I placed 8, one out of the money. It was Z's first tourney and he won the damn thing. So that was a good start.
After the big win, we met up with a local buddy of mine at the Aladdin pool. This pool is OK, but not my favorite. The pool deck loses a lot sun by mid-afternoon, and there seem to be more families there than at other pools I've been to.
After our afternoon loafing session we headed over to China Town for some dinner. It's a funny area. Basically, China Town consists of a strip mall. We ate at a place called Kung Fu. We had our waiter 'bring us six of your best dishes' and he did just that. It was a little spicy for my tastes, but great food. I recommend china town for some pretty authentic oriental food.
At that point we met up with some other friends from SoCal and headed out on the town. We started at a local bar/dive on Maryland called Champagnes. This place is old school. You've got to be serious about getting a cheap buzz if you're to enjoy this place. We were lucky enough to hit it on Karaoke night, and there were some horrible singers, so we pounded our rounds and took off. Next we hit MGM, we like to go to the lounge across from Studio 54. It's a good atmosphere and the ladies like to roll over there after leaving 54. We had a few drinks there (my buddy spotted some guys from Burning Spear) and headed down the road. A local hot spot (very diverse crowd) is Tequila Joe's at IP. We spent a bit of time there before making our first pilgrimage to CH2. We were very dissapointed in this club. After being to some great strip joints in and around Montreal, I don't think anything in Vegas can compare. Our lowest moment of the trip occurred at this point. Both Z and I kept bowing our heads in a fight to stay awake. Now, something is wrong if you can't keep you eyes open at a strip club! Back to strat for much needed slumber.
On Saturday I made it to the noon poker tourney at the Luxor. Once again I made the last table, I finished 9th this time, two off the money. Met the boys at the pool afterwards and loafed all afternoon. At this point we made our war to CP to watch Phi/Tampa game 7. Everyone else enjoyed the buffet there while I found our seats. I like the sports book there and we won the game... but there are NO FREE DRINKS at the CP book!!!!! What's up with that? From what I've heard Bally's is one of the best, we'll definitely bet sports there next time.
Saturday night we went to the top of the Strat. We loved it! The view is great at night. You've got to do it at least once (once may be enough). We went on the slingshot and the new XScream. That one is scary. For those who don't know, they put you in the ride and then shoot you over the edge. If you're not staying in the Strat I recommend bringing a change of unds. Then our SoCal friends left and we spend Saturday night at RumJungle. We liked this place for the most part. We're both 26 and enjoyed the atmoshpere/excitement at the Mandalay on a Sat. night. RumJungle was good, a fun crowd. The drawback was that you couldn't have a drink on the dancefloor. We also got some funny looks from the door gorillas for drinking a 12 pack in line. This was where I lost my brand new Las Vegas coozy :(
Sunday morning we were back to our new favorite Luxor for poker. We both ended up as alternates due to our sleeping in, and had a hard time getting into the action. We both got outted quickly. Then headed to Baja Fresh for some lunch and to Bonanza (largest gift/crap shop in the world). Here we bought more coozies, poker chips, cards, green visors, etc. Then back to the pool for more loafing.
Then, the highlight of the trip, we heaed downtown for some World Series of Poker. We got there during dinner break so went over to the 777 Brewery in Main Street Station. Great meal and beer, I recommend it. Then back to the Horseshoe. The WSOP is a must-see for any poker player or fan. 2600 entrants this year, we were joking that they would have to hold it at Thomas and Mack next year, that may not be a joke after all. We saw some of the great players (Jesus, Harrington, Annie Duke, Tomer) and some celebs (Norm McDonald, Tobie Maguire). What an ecclectic crowd at the WSOP!!!
This marked the end of another awesome trip. My buddies flight on America Worst was cancelled and I'm still not sure if he made it home. I hope he's not fired!
Until next time, I hope I can stay away from the boards.