Trip Report - Vegas
  • I enjoy reading these, so here is a rundown of my trip to Vegas this week for anyone interested.

    I stayed for two nights at the Rio and one at the Palms. Both hotels were crawling with rich California twentysomethings, the guys with spiky hair and the ladies with fake breasts. Sunday at the Rio was particularly busy with many people in town for the NCAA tournament. I put $20 on Kansas to beat U of the Pacific by 11, which was an ambitious spread, but they beat it. The payoff was $18.15, which was annoying, but it was my first win of the trip, so I didn't complain. Dinner in the All-American Grill at the Rio was good, but the food wasn't on par with the Monte Carlo Brewpub, one of my favorites on the Strip.

    That night we went downtown to my favorite casino to play at (certainly not stay at), The El Cortez. I was expecting to find $1 craps with 10x odds, which they have always offered. The minimum was actually $3, but that ended up being just fine because I won about $50. I then switched to their single deck games for $3 and did moderately well. The dealer was so brand new it was clear that she hadn't even been to a dealer school. But that's the reputation the El-Co happens to have. I also won $30 at slots, so I'd say they were good to me. At 5 am, headed to the Carson Street Cafe at Golden Nugget, which was much needed and delicious. A strange man who appeared to have Tourette's Syndrome was kicked out of the casino, and we later saw him wandering the street screaming profanities. What a town.

    The next day brought more profits thanks to the funbook at Casino Royale, which offers a $5 BJ matchplay and a 2-to-1 blackjack payout coupon. I used both and made a quick $50, then moved to craps and had a very good roll. We wandered the strip for a while, gawking at the rising tower of Wynn Las Vegas and the mysterious concrete columns in front of it. It looks like it will be one hell of a place when it opens in a year.

    That night we made it a point to visit all of the north Strip casinos I'd never seen. We cabbed it to Sahara, where they have completely done away with any low-limit games. I didn't find less than $5 craps or blackjack at this casino that used to pride themselves on $1 tables. Rather disappointed, we headed in the direction of Westward Ho, Riviera, Frontier, and Slots-A-Fun. The craps table at Slots-A-Fun is practically on the street and it stays very breezy. Another hot roll won me about $60. I was beginning to think I should up my bets to capitalize on this luck. That night we ate at the Grand Wok at MGM Grand, a good chinese/sushi spot in the back. We wandered around the Forum shops later.

    The next day, up about $200, I headed for $5 craps tables and $10 blackjack. This was not a great idea. My luck, of course, turned. I lost $100 in about 20 minutes playing $10 blackjack at Bellagio. My friend cashed in for a grand at $10 craps and was up $300, then down $400, and worked his way back to -$200. Things didn't improve when I played $5 craps and $10 blackjack at Flamingo, where I donated another hundo to casino improvement. Seems like not a lot of money to many, I'm sure, but I'm a student with a part-time job.

    I only started gambling a year ago upon turning 21, so I have never lost $300 in one night. I've been graced with very good luck until this point. It was an almost nauseaous feeling when I went to bed early that night. But those are the breaks, I know, and the most you can hope for is to have more good days than bad days.

    The next day did not improve. I went back to low-roller status, but lost $40 in $3 "mini-craps" at Boardwalk and more at random BJ tables on the strip. That night we enjoyed an amazing dinner at Piero's. The osso buco was to die for.

    Determined to win just once more before I left, I capitalized on an ice cold craps table at O'Shea's and put $10 on the don't pass with odds. I walked out up $12, feeling slightly better but still ready to get the hell out of dodge.

    As for the rooms: the Rio was a steal for $69 a night. We comfortably fit four people in the two queen beds, and the large bathroom with double sinks was great. We had a nice view of the strip from our high-floor standard suite.

    The Palms was less than I expected. The rooms were average sized with two double beds. Other than a large bathroom and very comfortable beds, the room was your average Westin/Sheraton, not the hip joint I expected. I think the rooms at Hard Rock probably blow this out of the water.

    The crowd at the Palms was amusingly diverse. The cheap buffet attracted local yokels, but the luxe clubs drew in the somber-looking waifs from So Cal. An MTV crew filmed their next reality series as we walked through the lobby to the small pool, where my eyes widened quite a few times.

    The highlights of my trip were gambling at the El Cortez (a true gamblers paradise with great craps odds and 3:2 single deck) and dinner at Piero's.
    No big celeb sightings, but my friends did see Nicolas Cage at GhostBar in the Palms and said he looked quite debonair in aviator glasses and all black. More exciting for me was spotting a Lamborghini Murcielago at Bellagio and a Rolls Royce Phantom at Venetian (the latter sells for $600k and was the most amazing car I've ever laid my eyes on.)

    I ended up down a few hundred, but I still can't wait to return. Lesson learned: just because you're having good luck at $5 tables, don't press your luck with $10 unless you can lose it all back without breaking a sweat. I enjoy being a low-roller and taking small profits, and while I would have loved to have made more money, I didn't exactly feel good walking out of Bellagio with nearly empty pockets.

    Thanks for reading! I'd love your comments and feedback.
  • I'll have to "live twice" just to have time to read your posts if you keep'em that long. Wow!
  • Great post livetwice, really enjoyed it. You've got a flair for writing. Hey, if BJ doesn't work out you can always apply to Casino City Times.

    All kidding aside, I think you described that very well.

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