The below report was originally posted on a message board with live updates, so the pace may seem a bit herky-jerky. The names have been removed to protect the guilty. It's very long, hope you enjoy it!
Ok, so this is my longest Vegas stay ever - 9 nights, flight & all hotels free, rental car for the entire stay, and I am raring to go!
I have been considering buying a smart phone or a netbook to use during my trips for at least a year, and 2 weeks ago finally decided on a Boost Mobile android. I rarely make cell phone calls when I'm not traveling, so I paid dearly for the phone up front (still over $100 less than an I-phone would have been), but Boost has a great prepaid plan that includes unlimited internet for $.35/ day (which they haven't even started charging me for yet - win #1). And after a week of learning....I LOVE this phone (I prefer to think of it as a "device"). The internet connection works decently even without WiFi, and it has WiFi capability too. It has a 5mp camera, video camera, and lots of cool free apps & games. I loaded it up with a notepad, photo apps, blackjack & VP simulators, sports news connections, 4 hours of mp3s, and I am ready to rock. As I drag myself kicking and screaming into the 21st century, I now have the POWER to post live updates, pics, and god knows what else during the trip (as long as the service works - yet to be tested in Vegas).
For those that don't know me, here's an introduction. I am a low roller, coupon user, and promotion chaser. I usually stay and play downtown, with visits to the Strip and off-Strip places. I stay and eat cheap (but well), play mainly $5+ blackjack & $.25 video poker, and occasionally my crack cocaine game Let It Ride. Sometimes my lady friend comes with, but this is a solo trip for me.
Flying out Wednesday afternoon, airport arrival Vegas time around 3 PM, then pick up rental. My busy hotel itinerary includes 4 nights at Casino Royale (split 2 each week), the weekend at El Cortez, and 4 nights at Four Queens. One night is double-booked near the end of the trip. I do want to use my extended stay to knock a few things off my "Never Done" list. I have two meets to attend, and possibly will be hooking up individually with some other folks.
In order to use up my old AT&T prepaid cell balance, I have subscribed to all the hotel text promos, so that will be a new experience for me. So far I've received a matchplay from Golden Gate and a free drink at Hard Rock as far as "usable" offers.
Anyways after a short flight delay we made it to Vegas more or less on time. Nice flight, not full, sat with an empty seat between us alongside a traveling salesman originally from TX, but now living in UT. The new "device" made the trip seem shorter, playing tunes and practicing VP & BJ along the way.
Had a scare when I tried to play Glenn Frey's "party Town" through the phone speaker after we landed. Crashed the phone, screen was black, it took pulling and replacing the battery to get it working again. Jeez.
Got the rental car, guy gave me a "upgrade" to a Cobalt. What was the Compact going to be, and god forbid what does the Economy grade come as? The A/C isn't working all that great so I'm considering trading it back in tomorrow if I have time.
So I stop at the Rebel on the corner of LVB for a 12-pack of Mil Best Ice and a couple quarts of Powerade, and we are off to the Orleans for a gift promo. Go to the club desk to check on the gift, it's a Salad shooter. No crap? No thanks. Gave the lady my printout for my $5 slot matchplay, and she says "Oh look - you already have $15 freeplay on your account (win #2). So $5 of my own money in .25 8/5 Bonus, and $20 freeplay nets me $17 cash. Next stop is the Palms for a swipe promo. Played .25 9/6 JOB, lost $4 and got....800 points. What is that like 80 cents? Well, such is the life of a promo chaser, lol.
Finally check in at CR, the only thing I really don't like (other than no good cheap gambling nearby) is all the rooms are nonsmoking. So this time I asked for a room close to the front, and got one (win #3). The players club coupons are all junk - progressive penny slot bonuses, but I do get $20 freeplay.
So I brought a sandwich on the plane, but never ate it, so that is my 1st Vegas meal, lol. My goal is to never pay more than $10 a meal, before taxes & tips, and eat decently. I had to rush over to Terribles for their Cruise A Week drawings. Got there, my card level has been demoted from silver to a lowly red card (sob). Oh well, they have pretty much decimated their 9/6 JOB offerings. I had been planning on hitting them up Sat for Double royals, but there's really not much of a selection at the dime level anymore. Played DD BJ and sat through the drawings. Weird guy at the BJ table, dealer said she thought he may have had a stroke, he was just a bit "off". He kept asking to cut the cards, and freaked if they missed him in the usual turn. Finally got too much for me, so I headed out to the Hard Rock after making $40.
Swipe promo at the HR, one swipe for every 150 points ($300 coin), up to $50 cash. Played .25 3-play 8/5 Bonus, got 2 swipes, won $10 freeplay and lost 60 bucks to do it. Used the freeplay on nickel VP and netted $9. Not as many foxes as you would expect, but it's not the weekend yet. I did see a pregnant 20-someting in a skin-tight knit mini dress with 4" wedgies. Not pretty.
Next stop is Jerry's Nugget for another swipe promo. Paradise is under construction yet again, it merges into single lanes a couple times between Flamingo & Sahara. The Strip is becoming a thorofare in comparison, heh. Lost $6 but won a free drink. Yowza, the swipe promos are taking their toll. But I stayed and played DD and won another $40, so all is not lost.
Next up Golden Gate, for the Crack The Code promo. Every $100 buy-in gets a chance at a big prize, or you can get freeplay/matchplay as a consolation. Bought in at the ONE shoe BJ game (all others were CSMs), and after a couple shoes left ahead around 50 bucks. Won a $10 matchplay, will use it later this week.
I didn't feel like hiking down to Gold Spike for the late night steak & eggs, so I decided on a Binion's burger, using up my left over less-than-$2 comps. Meal cost $4 plus tax & tip. Got the car, and decided I wanted to drink, so back to the CR I came, and here I sit.
Today was busy, but I expected and planned for it as such. Tomorrow is busy also, later in the trip the pace should slack off some. Looking forward to the meet at Garden Bar.
5 hours sleep, not too bad for Vegas. Got a late start as the room door got flaky, I guess it was out of juice. Ran around for a couple hours buying cigs and getting the Aug Coast Connection from the LVRJ, then hit Ellis Island for the over-50 2 PM drawing. Didn't win, so I headed over to Flamingo where I met up with friends from online. We ended up sitting together playing VP and talking, very enjoyable time we spent together. If anyone else showed up we didn't find them or they us, so at around 3:30 we went our separate ways. The girls were seeing a show, and I went back to Ellis Island to eat & lose the 5 PM drawing.
I decided on the BBQ as I had heard so many good things about it. I had about a 45 minute wait, so I sat on my favorite .05 7/5/2 Bonus machine, and hit quad 7s. This is something now off my "Never done" list, but I'm afraid I must give it a thumbs down. The chicken was way overcooked, dry, & hard. The ribs were ok, as were the sides, but the sauce was pretty bland. In retrospect I should have gone for the 2-4-1 Metro Pizza slices. I was really disappointed as I wanted to like the meal. $8.99 w/ $1 off senior coupon, plus tax & tip.
One update from yesterday, I was at Golden Gate and asked at the club booth about my 2 free shrimp cocktail coupons that expired on 6/30. I said something like "I don't suppose you could replace them or anything like that", half humorously. Before I could even pull them out of my stash, the lady in the booth says "Well I can only give you two". Score! (win #4)
Anyways, after Ellis, I hit up Terribles for their swipe promo. This time I actually got something useful, a $10 matchplay. So I sat at the DD table for a bit, and got on a hot streak. Left over $100 up, even though I lost the MP (I think I am like 0-6 at this point on matchplays). I don't think I have had a losing session on BJ yet this trip (knock wood).
Moving on to, of all places, the Riviera. They have a promo today & tomorrow where they have a drawing every hour Noon to 9 PM for $200 for 5 people. They alternate slot players and table players each hour. I missed the 7 PM drawing, but it gave me a chance to go to the slot club and verify the promo rules, and ask about some other stuff.
I found what may be a unique VP bank at Riviera. This bank has the full royal payout on 1 coin! (800 credits) Even at the nickel level! The nickel paytables suck, but they have 7/5/2 Bonus at the quarter level. So I'm betting one quarter at a time leading up to the 8 PM drawing, get a free beer, and don't hear anything announced over the speakers or anything. I'm actually doing ok, and cash out with the ten bucks I originally loaded in the machine. I stuck my card back in just for fun, and got this message on the screen: "You are a winner! Come to the Club before 8 PM on 8/27 to collect your $200 free slot play." Woo-woo!! I rock, baby!
Well the slot club at the Riv closes at 8, but I run by there to see if anyone's still working, but no dice. I'm sorta freaking out, as my mind is thinking TODAY is the 27th, but it's actually tomorrow (whew).
So I wander around a bit, think about going across the street, but decide to wait until after the 9 PM drawing. All the 6-deckers are $10 minimum, so I decide to pull up a seat at a $5 Let It Ride table. The Riv has a great way of doing the table drawings. They put the table names in a mini bingo basket ball kind of thingie, then pick one table for each winner. Then they see how many people are at the table, and draw for the actual winner. If you happen to be alone at the table, it's guaranteed to be yours!
Well lightning did not strike twice, but there were a couple of sweeties at the table having a great time, and the dealer, Franky from Queens, was a riot. I cashed a small profit, and decided to do the promos across the street.
Crossed over to Circus Circus, watched some idiots almost get run over crossing against the light (sigh), and stepped up to the Club booth to get my WinCards. The boothling says something unusual, though: "Do you want the 15 for 10 or 45 for 30? What?? It turns out they have added the 30-4-20 option also, AND THEY LET YOU DO BOTH. (win #5) Hell yeah, says I, do em all! Get the vouchers, head up the hallway to Market Express for the free funbook. Lady behind the counter says "you know, I'm in a good mood, so here's two"! (win #6)
Get the promo chips, and there's a seat open at the $3 6D BJ non-smoker, amazingly. Get in on a new shoe, and roll pretty good. Dealer tip coupon works, and I even won the funbook 15-4-10 matchplay (1-7 I think now). Right near the end of the shoe, and with a profit in hand, I shove all the promo chips (maybe $20) into the betting circle. I lose, and this may not have been my best move of the trip, as I could have milked those quite a ways into the next deal. Oh well, take a $5 chip to the craps table, and hit the field matchplay (2-8), and I'm out with like a $20 profit. Not a lot, but that's how the promo chaser life goes, heh.
There was only 1 craps table open, so I didn't want to push my luck with a 2nd MP, and with a profit in hand I decided to save the 2nd funbook for tomorrow, where I can hit & run in between Riv drawings.
Well at this point I feel like celebrating, and decide to head on back to CR so I can park the car & drink heavily. And I am.
Summary to date: Up over $300 for the trip so far NOT including the Riv $200, only used one of the $100 bills I brought along so far, and having a killer time. The Boost internet service rocks, it's not super fast but it works everywhere unlike WiFi.
Tomorrow is moving day, and it will be WONDERFUL to smoke in my hotel room again. No Business Center at El Co, so I will be back to using the phone to update, so it probably won't be quite as eloquent, lol.
Today has been pretty busy. I don't think I ever thought I would say this, but I spent most of the day at the Riviera.
Going back to last night, I made $17 out of my $20 freeplay at CR at the bar. Met a young lady from Niagra Falls who was enamored of my frugal ways, and wanted a crash course in doing Vegas cheap. This conversation was fueled by mucho alcohol, and I dropped the winnings back plus a bit more.
Today I checked out of CR, went to Terribles to do the free swipe, got some free points or something. Almost forgot to stop by Tuscany to run my $20 freeplay for Aug, netted $11.
Checked in to El Cortez, room not ready but assigned, so all is good. Next stop is the Riv. Got my freeplay loaded, there's a drawing every hour alternating between slots & tables. Stayed there all day, with only a quick run across the street to do matchplays (broke even).
I did win one of the table drawings! $200 in play then lose promo chips. Netted $110. Played the slot play a quarter at a time so it took all day. I did play some virtual BJ with some of it. Net $187.
Wow, what a trip so far. I almost feel like I should add a disclaimer like the Get Rich Quick infomercials "results are not typical".
Got another text promo from Golden Gate - $50 freeplay. Went by there to get it loaded, and pick up the $25 matchplay from the 1st text. Won the MP, will wait to run the freeplay when it's not so busy.
Finally got to my room, usual pavilion smoking room. Went out for some dinner, hit the Gold Spike expecting to order steak & eggs, but they were still serving prime rib, so I had that. Not bad, Cal & 777 are better, but it was a short walk. $5.99 + tax & tip.
Oh, earlier I ate at the new English pub at Riv, excellent burger, great price, 10% off for players club, around 7 bucks, includes fries. Nice atmosphere, big screen, good addition to the Strip dining options.
I still haven't lost a BJ session yet. Up 6 bills for the trip, and it feels like I have barely gotten started.
Here's a list of some of the promos received via text. Not including room offers.
Free drink Hard Rock, 2-4-1 drinks at Napoleons & Mcfaddens & O'sheas. Harrahs has food & show discounts incl Sterling buffet, Penn & Teller, Ballys steakhouse, Le Village buffet. Free admission to Wet Republic. Freeplay from GG, Terribles, Silver Nugget.
Day 4 already? Man time is flying!
Today got changed around due to the Andrew Dice Clay show cancellation, and I found myself wide awake after 4 hours of sleep. So I decided to do a North Vegas run.
1st stop is Cannery to do WinCards & a points promo. Lost $5 on WC, lost $40 to win $10 freeplay, net $9. Now this is more typical, lol.
Next is Lucky Club for $10 freeplay, and some BJ. As I was waiting at the freeway light I saw a billboard with a text promo for up to $100 freeplay. Turned out to be the Silver Nugget, which was my next destination.
Got $5 cash out of it, and didn't even have to play it out. Found cheap gas at the Rebel on the corner, and was supposed to get 2 cents off with BConnected card, but it didn't work.
Stopped at MSS for a cold microbrew, then back to GG. Hungry, so I head to the deli for a free shrimp cocktail and a sandwich. But Dupars took it over and decimated the sandwich menu. I settled for the shrimp for now, $0.
Went back to the room for a bit and a short nap. Called the Hilton about the show, but the guy didn't see me on the list. So, headed over a little early, seems I was in there for tomorrow. Got it straightened out, and wanted some food. Without a lot of time, I broke my $10 rule, and got a reuben at Paradise Cafe. Pretty good but they serve the thousand island dressing on the side, makes it quite messy. $10.75 + tax & tip. ADC was pretty funny, did just under an hour. Crude female from Philly opened up, she did about 20 min. Tiger Woods joke from Andrew - "I guess 18 holes wasn't enough".
Stopped by Terribles for my free swipe, got jack. Decided to head back downtown. Played some at the boars head bar at MSS, great bartenders Ronnie & Chris. Then some single deck at El Co, followed by VP.
Today I hit up Rampart for freeplay promo, lost $60 to get $20 freeplay, and cashed in $7 in points.
Oh, I got a late start as I had to trade in the rental because the low tire idiot light came on. Took the 215 all the way from the center to Summerlin for the 1st time.
Quick stop at Orleans for a swipe promo, and off to Mix for a TA meet.
On the way to Orleans I stopped at AZ Charlies on Decatur for steak & eggs. The steak was really good, 24 hour special $3.99.
Met up with some folks at Mix on top of The Hotel at Mandalay Bay. Great view, nice people.
Decided to head back downtown for the night. I missed out on a good promo at Palms due to the late start. Went to Fitz, was hungry again so I sat at Vue bar to play VP, and use my ACG 2-4-1 appetizer coupon. Got chicken fingers & buffalo wings, $6.95 + tax & tip. Hit mini prog for quads, lost it back, then hit quad aces.
Played a little BJ, but started to get sleepy so I went back to the room for the night.
Slow start to the day today, as the last part of the trip comes around there's less on the schedule.
Dropped off some profit at the bank before heading out to Orleans. Didn't win $500 in the promo, so I played a bit of blackjack and lost 2 more matchplays.
Next up is Gold Coast for old fogey day (50+ promos). Play 9/6 JOB, hit a boat & quads to make some money in addition to tickets for the drawing. Ate at TGI Fridays, $8.99 for chicken fried steak & eggs, used gift card from lady friend, net cost $0 incl tip. They also have all-day happy hour with most appetizers half off.
After lunch, lady friend wants me to run $20 through the machine for her. Play about 7 minutes, then BOOM quad 10s. I email her a pic & cash out. Put my own 20 in, 5 minutes later, BOOM quads for me too!
This would be the end of the winning for the day. Over the next few hours I dropped 2-1/2 buyins on DD BJ, and I'm back in the room licking my wounds. And drinking, heh.
Never fear, the adventure is nowhere near over. I'm still playing with house money, and have 4 more nights to rock!
Mon night the bleeding continued with another big loss at BJ & Let It Ride. But I did finally get 8 hours sleep.
Tues was fogeys day at Orleans, and I did pretty well there. Went to Ellis Island for their 50+ drawing, and had a pretty good meatball sandwich for lunch.
I had time to kill before the Orleans drawing, so I took an unplanned detour to the MGM, and lost a roll of quarters playing Sigma Derby.
Back to EI where I did't win another drawing, but I did hit quads playing nickel Bonus. From there it was on to Palms, where I met up with an online friend who treated me to dinner. After dinner we drank & played some VP where I showed how easy it is to hit quads, and another guy demonstrated how easy it is to get a royal when you only hold 2 cards. My friend did not find this amusing as he hit neither.
I took my leave and returned downtown where I could drink and not drive. Won a bit at the El Co, but gave it right back to 4Q. Still ahead for the trip, but way off the high point.
Wed was another fun day (aren't they all in Vegas?) which I started off by checking in at Casino Royale. BTW, yesterday's sandwich was $6.99. Just got the room keys as I am also still at 4Q.
Got $25 from my $20 freeplay at Tuscany, dropped by Terribles, ended up at Palace Station for fogey promos. Lost a $25 matchplay at Sahara, then went back to AZ Charlies for the steak & eggs, and won some on BJ.
Back to Terribles where I lost big playing BJ, then back downtown. Dropped $40 in the DDW at LVC, still no damn deuces.
Finally got to MSS where all but a few of the bartops were being worked on. I asked what they were doing, was told they were adding "double up". This seemed weird to me as my understanding is most machines have the function built in & it just needs to be turned on. So you may want to check the paytables if you go there.
Anyways, I sat at one of the working machines, & blew through $40 on JOB before I finished one beer. I got mad and switched to DDB. Within a couple minutes I hit quads w/ kicker. Later I played some $3 craps at 4Q and finally made some money on Let It Ride to finish the night.
Days 9 & 10 were pretty laid back. I checked out of the 4Q, filled up the rental with gas, and grabbed a coffee from a little place I found on 3rd St a block from the 4Q near the Bank Of America. Luca's Cafe serves Italian coffee, and specializes in baked goods & pizza. Run by an Argentine (Argentinian?) couple, the 16 oz coffee to go was less than 2 bucks. Strong and hot, just how I need it. http://lucascafendeli.com
I met up again with my friend, who was attempting to qualify for the craps "Golden Arm Of Fame" wall at the Cal. He had a good roll and made me some money, some of which I squandered on the next roller (me). He conveniently missed that fiasco in the rest room, heh. Since I was moving back to the Strip for my last night I offered him a ride, and he in turn offered me dinner again. No problem here, let me drop you off and stash the suitcases in the room. We met up later at Gold Coast for drinks, and had an early dinner.
We watched the college football games in the sportsbook, where I drank too much (I took the Harrahs shuttle from the Strip just in case). After losing a good parlay thanks to USC not covering the spread, I dropped a good amount in the 9/6 JOB 50-play penny machines in Palms. Disgusted, I caught the last shuttle to Ballys, and walked through the center Strip casinos on my way back to CR.
I did stop in Bills where nobody was playing the Lord Of The Rings machines. I played 40 cents a spin for about a half hour, eventually breaking even. I ran $20 freeplay into $16 cash at CR, and went to bed in Vegas for the last time of the trip.
Friday is going home day, boo hoo!
After checking out, I played LOTR at Harrahs to earn some points for the hourly drawings coming up at Paris. I started out at $2 a spin, got some power spins, then went back to .40 a spin. After a bunch of nothin, I jumped back up to $2 a spin, hit the Prancing Pony bonus, and cashed out $34 ahead, woo-woo!
Played some VP at Paris, but didn't win any drawings, and placed a football bet on the way to returning the rental car.
At the airport in plenty of time, and short security lines. A $4 Whopper kept the hunger pangs at bay for the flight. Slept some on the plane home, and crashed hard at home.
This trip was somewhat different from most of my previous ones, not only due to the length, but because I normally end up losing my blackjack profits playing video poker, not vice versa. I hit so many sets of quads on VP that I stopped keeping track. I never made it down to Boulder Highway, and thus missed out on some Eastside Cannery promos and a $20 matchplay for Sam's Town. I didn't spend a lot of time gambling downtown despite staying there 6 nights. It's still going to be my home base because there are so many options available without driving.
I didn't play any live poker this trip (again). I looked into a few rooms, but just wasn't in the right mood for it.
My new Boost android device worked great, in fact so well that I didn't even bother to try to find WiFi hotspots during the trip. Plus it gave me something to do while waiting in lines and for meals. The only trouble I had was at Mix - I posted a live update on TA, then lost the service. It picked up again fine at street level. The camera & camcorder aren't anything special, and it's difficult to hold steady without blocking the lens.
Borrowing from others' trip reports here are my Eff-yous and Kudos. Some places got both!
Eff-you to Casino Royale for lousy slot club coupons and no late-checkout option.
Eff-you to Alamo for charging me $8 for 2 gallons of gas on the car I had to replace.
Eff-you to Terribles for downgrading my club level and lousy swipe promo awards.
Eff-you to Ellis Island for lousy barbeque and no more double-deck BJ.
Eff-you to construction on Paradise and Flamingo Roads.
Eff-you to El Cortez for making the Tower rooms all non-smoking.
Eff-you to Fitzgeralds for $25 minimum on their double-deck BJ.
Eff-you to Four Queens for D10 rule on single-deck BJ.
Eff-you to Binions - where do I start?
Eff-you to Vegas Club for downgrading the jackpots on DDW VP machines.
Eff-you to the Golden Gate bartender who wouldn't give me an ice water to take my pills with.
Eff-you to Mix for a beer more expensive than most of my meals.
Eff-you to Palace Station and Cannery for $10 minimum double-deck BJ on weekday afternoons.
Kudos to Casino Royale & El Cortez for free room nights.
Kudos to Casino Royale for their free business center and decent VP paytables.
Kudos to the Alamo check-in guy who removed the gas charges from my bill.
Kudos to El Cortez for the best blackjack in town.
Kudos to the off-Strip places that offer $5 minimum double-deck BJ with DAS - Orleans, Gold Coast, Terribles, Lucky Club, Silver Nugget, Jerry's Nugget.
Kudos to Riviera for a great promotion, good new place to eat/drink, and great dealers & pit personnel. Who woulda thought?
Kudos to Ellis Island restaurant for letting me eat at the bar where I could smoke.
Kudos to MGM Grand for keeping the last Sigma Derby machine in Vegas maintained and available.
Kudos to places with a great view (Mix, Alize') and those with great "scenery" (Dennys, Hard Rock).
Kudos to Golden Gate for great SMS text promotions.
Kudos to California & Main Street Station for being friendly places to gamble.
Kudos to Ronnie & Chris, late-night bartenders at the Boar Bar at MSS.
Kudos to new friends from the various message boards.
Thanks for reading, everyone.