Thursday, August 23, 2007

Las Vegas Trip Report Days 2, 3, and 4

Okay, a few days later, a few hundred dollars poorer (we'll get to that in a few) here's the latest from hot, hot (107-degrees plus) Las Vegas, Nevada.

Monday Night: So, in Monday's report I was relaxing for a bit after checking into the Wynn. Monday night we explored the Strip some, foreshadowing the huge amount of walkin which was to come on Tuesday. We walked down to the new Planet Hollywood hotel and casino, which is next door to Bally's and the Paris and had dinner at the oft-praised Spice Market Buffet. The Planet Hollywood casino is relatively new, and replaced the old, and outdated Aladdin Casino, but they kept the famed buffet due to its popularity. Good move. Good food and even better deserts. I was really impressed with the casino too. Planet Hollywood, as opposed to most of the other casinos on the Strip, has a real modern feel to it. It's hip and has an edge, and it's clear they are trying to market themselves to the 21-29 demographic, and it works. Throughout the night, we also checked out a multitude of other hotels, including Bally's, the Paris, and the Mirage. Fun night, though exhausting since we didn't get back to the Wynn until close 11:00 Vegas time, or 2:00 Eastern, after waking up at 4:00 to get to the airport and board our flight.

Tuesday: Slept in Tuesday and we needed it to prepare for the day ahead. We started with a breakfast buffet at the Bellagio, which despite being only three or four bucks more than the one we eat at a day earlier at Treasure Island, was infinitely better. We then walked, and walked, and walked, down the strip hitting practically every casino on the Strip. We waked down to Monte Carlo (just fair), New York New York (very very cool), and then the Excalibur, Mirage, and Mandalay Bay. I really liked the inside of New York, New York and Mandalay Bay. Mandalay Bay seems like a great hotel, but it's so far being at the far end of the Strip. We then walked back to the Wynn on the other side of the Strip, starting at MGM to see the Lions they have there, and hitting casinos on the way back in. We must have walked three miles, easy, and it was over 105-degrees. The most exercise I've had, well, ever probably. The only saving grace was finding a 7-Eleven on the way back so at least I could cool down with a Slurpee. And as I've already written Slurpee machines are nowhere to be found here in the hottest part of the country. It's really mystifying.

While we did not gamble much at the casinos we stopped at during the day, I did stop off on the way home to play some "Blackjack Switch" (I'll explain more shortly) at a smaller casino on the Strip, Casino Royal. Lost $50. Putting me down $115 for the trip. The advantage of vacationing with your parents though is gambling money is really the only money I'm losing on this trip, so hard for me to complain.

Tuesday night, we hit up the Mirage buffet, which was great. Huge, good chicken noodle soup. Deserts were not good though. We then took a cab to downtown Las Vegas, otherwise known as "Freemont Street" where a lot of the old fashioned Vegas hotels are located (such as Binion's, which used to be known as the "Horseshoe" and was the genesis for the World Series of Poker). The cab driver was very nice heading down, and he railed against the NBA players who were in Vegas for the 2006 NBA All Star Game. According to him, the players and their entourages caused nothing but trouble while they were in Vegas, from theft, to skipping out on cab rides, to physically assaulting waitresses and other casino personnel. The NBA may want to come to Las Vegas, but Vegas (the cab driver was only one of a series of people who told us the same horrible stories) does not want the NBA.

Freemont Street was fun. My dad and I went to the Golden Nugget where we sat down at a Blackjack Switch table. Blackjack Switch is a variation on regular blackjack. You play two hands at a time, and you can swap the top two cards of your hands after they are dealt. Gives you a chance to get more doubles, splits, and good hands. In exchange, blackjack pays even money, and 22 is a push for the house. It makes you think more than regular blackjack and is fun to play. I played for almost three hours and won a grand total of $10 ($5 of which I tipped our dealer, Jenny, with, who really knew her stuff and made the game more fun to play). I may not have won much, but I had a blast playing.

My sister was the big winner on the night, winning $140 on a Jeopardy slot machine. I didn't even know they made a Jeopardy slot machine, which of course, I now want to buy for the condo I plan on buying once I graduate from law school in December. I've always planned to get a slot machine for my place, either to put in my living room or my second-bedroom which I plan on making into a gameroom, and have found some online for $800 or so. But, a Jeopardy machines would be really cool. Not only does it have a cool bonus game, but because I was voted "Most Likely to Appear on Jeopardy" back in high school, the machine has a personal attachment too. I know the company that makes most all slot machines, IGT, does not sell their "Wheel of Fortune" machines to anybody but casinos, but I'm going to look into trying to find a Jeopardy machine.

Wednesday: Wednesday was a family day, as we woke up near 6:30, and took a six hour drive to San Diego to visit my great grandmother, great aunt, and cousin. I had not seen my great grandmother since she moved out to California full time seven years ago (she used to take the train out to California every winter -- not a fan of flying, which maybe is where I get it from) so it was nice to spend some time with her, and my great aunt and cousin. After making the six hour drive home (it was a long, but beautiful drive through the mountains and desert) we stopped at the Rio for a few (where I bought a great World Series of Poker T-Shirt involving Mount Rushmore and the President's wearing poker paraphernalia. We then checked out Circus Circus (run down, but cool for all the carnival games you can play there), played some $3 blackjack, and called it a night.

Thursday: Started the morning with another buffet, this time at the Wynn, which was probably the best buffet we have had so far. Rivals the Bellagio breakfast buffet, and may beat it out slightly. Then had an easy day so far. Watched the Tigers lose to the Indians at the Wynn sportsbook, lost $100 at Casino Royale playing more "Blackjack Switch" (I'm not going back there this trip seeing as how I've lost $150 of the $205 I've lost in Vegas so far at that casino) then walked around a bit, looking for a Frozen Coke. Giving up, I grabbed a chocolate-oreo ice cream here at the Wynn's Sugar & Ice internet hotspot/cafe, and checked up on what I've missed in the world since I've been gone. Dinner tonight at the Mandalay Bay, then the Beatles' Cirque De Soleil show ("Love") tonight and probably some more gambling.

Overall, been a really fun trip so far. I've lost $200, but that's not too bad, and it's been fun casino-hopping. I love the Wynn too, and it's high end table limits ($15 is the cheapest blackjack tables here, even early in the day) have saved me some money, as I have not played a lot here in the hotel I'm staying at. Though, not playing, apparently, cost me a chance to play with LeBron James and Kobe Bryant, who according to a dealer here, were playing blackjack last night. Oh well. Maybe tonight.

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Anonymous said...

I wouldn't bet a dime on the Lions. Pistons would be ok.

Check out this list of things to do in Vegas...


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