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Las Vegas Trip Report: Degenerate Gambler Tries Dollar Video Poker

I am wide awake at the California hotel at 6:00 am this morning.  I shower and get dressed and walk over to The D to use my $10 dining voucher.  Fremont Street is empty except for me and the homeless.

early morning fremont street las vegas

I saw this sign which drove me nuts.  It is a huge pet peeve of mine when people spell “Fremont” as “Freemont.”  I even once saw someone spell it as “Freemount”.  Although I guess since prostitution is illegal in Las Vegas, all mounts should be free.  Yet whoever made this sign, must work on Freeeeeeeeeemont.  And here we are.


Oh hey, the coffee shop doesn’t open until 8:00.  Remember when these things used to be 24 hours?  I have to use my credit today as it will be expired when I return Downtown later this trip.  So I get some coffee from Dunkin Donuts and sit down at my favorite Supertimes Pay machine in all of Las Vegas, conveniently located right outside Dunkin Donuts.

This machine is my baby and I have not played her in a year.  When I was here briefly in September, she was always taken.  I am so glad to be reunited with her.  She isn’t doing too good. Her screen is shot and fuzzy.  Aw, poor baby.

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supertimes pay sevens

I turn $20 to $40 and then lose another $20 to even that out. I play some Keno and lose some more money because LOSER.  Finally it is 8:00 and I head back to The D to get breakfast.  I take the escalator upstairs and at the top is a woman sitting there breast feeding her kid.  In a casino.  Start ‘em off right I suppose.

Breakfast ended up costing me ten cents after my dining voucher / cleared out the remaining comps I have.  My relationship with The D is officially over.

I did stop and play some Sigma Derby.  There are twelve seats here.  Three on each long side, two on each short side. I had the entire game to myself until some man comes and sits right next to me on a short side.  Dude, the fucking game is empty.  No need to sit right fucking here.  So I bet the remaining 20 quarters I had on ONE combo that had 200 odds and lost it.  Oh well.

sigma derby

Back to California where I decide that since I am up for the trip, I am going to go for the $8128 dollar royal progressive.  That is insanely high, someone needs to hit it.  As I am playing, I am talking to the machine.  I am telling it that if it does not want to give me the $8128 royal, it can still give me any four of a kind.   Preferably Aces, but really, anything will do.  It gives me nothing.  But being the giving person I am, this does not stop me from continuing to give to it.  $300 later and I hate myself so much.

Back to the room to pack and get ready for my move to Sunset Station.  I will be there for two nights via MyVegas.  I booked before the one-per-person rule took effect.

I took the HDX bus, it took just under twenty minutes.  As a person who frequents lots of off strip places, I am always asked about renting a car.  I don’t even have a driver’s license.  The bus works.  You can take it should you chose to.  And if you do not want to, then hey, don’t!

BONUS: While I was standing at the bus stop, a homeless man was approaching, screaming very loudly.  It took a bit for me to realize I recognized the words he was screaming.  “Heaven and Hell” by Black Sabbath.  He was just not singing them anywhere near the tune.  Aw, I love Ronnie James Dio.

I got dropped off in front of Sunset Station and went to check in.  I got room 407.  I had to walk down a very looooooooooonnnnnng hallway to get there.  There is a parking lot right outside the elevator area.  Seems like that would be cool for people who drive.  Except you would still have to go all the way to the front desk.  Not sure why this hotel is designed like this.  Let’s put check in nowhere near the rooms.  Yes, that is a great blueprint, let me sign off on it!

The room is a room. There is nothing at all special about it.  The thermostat has seen better days and I have to push all the buttons multiple times to get them to work.  Other than that though, nothing. sunset station las vegas henderson room

sunset station henderson las vegas roomsunset station henderson las vegas bathroomsunset station henderson las vegas tub

sunset station las vegas room view

I go downstairs and gamble.  I am instantly horrified at how packed this place is.  It is hard to find any open machine and when you do, there are people surrounding it.  I had no idea this was such a happening place. I hate happening places.  Not enough to not gamble though so…

I played nickel Cleopatra Keno to balance out this morning’s dollar video poker loss.  I win nothing.

I went back to the room to take a nap.  This is where this day ends because I never woke back up.  Oops?

Gambling Day: – $500
Gambling Trip: + $880
Miscellaneous: (tip, coffee the $.10 The D breakfast!): $6.47
Comps used: The D breakfast
Freebies:  MyVegas room at Sunset Station

Today’s itinerary, really a joke at this point:

Sunday, December 27, 2015
Breakfast:  Fremont 7-10:30 free 250 points ACG
Check into Sunset Station
Dinner: Sunset Station, 4-9 free MyVegas
Jerry’s Nugget:New Member Rewards
50 points – $5 Comp
100 points – Jerry’s Nugget T-shirt
250 points – $20 Comp
500 points – $40 Gift Card
1,000 points – $100 Free Play on Slots and Video Poker
Downtown Grand 2x points promo
Gold Coast 30x slots (kiosk)
Orleans 30x pennies (kiosk)
Joker’s Wild 25x points on first 500 points,

Las Vegas Trip Report: Did Someone Order Aces?

Thursday, December 24, 2015

This morning I woke up at 4:00 am in my comfortable bed at the Orleans Hotel and Casino in beautiful Las Vegas.  I could not fall back asleep so I got dressed and went to gamble.  Obviously.

There is a Starbucks near Orleans but I do not know if it is open 24 hours so I settled for gas station coffee from Terribles next door.  Yes I know you can get coffee for free while playing.  No, I would rather not have to be at someone else’s mercy for coffee.

I wanted to play the nickel Keno machine I had won $940 on a year ago TODAY.  But it is taken.  Because it is 5:00 am so obviously that one machine would be taken.  So I settled for the Double Double Bonus video poker machine that had been kind to me last night.  She was kind once again.

straight flushquarter jacks video poker winquarter aces video poker win orleans

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I now had $350 and could not believe my good fortune.  I started to play all my favorite money suckers, including Ultimate X.

ultimate x video poker threes x 3

The more I kept telling myself to stop it, the more I kept going.  Finally I lost all my wins.  You fucking asshole.  I could use creative accounting and think “Oh hey, I only lost $80 because that is all I brought down” but…well there is no but. I only lost $80 SO THERE.

Breakfast was at the Orleans coffee shop.  My room offer came with $10 dining.   Everyone here was nice and friendly and all “Happy holidays!” and I was all “You asshole, why did you not stop gambling?!?!”

I was back in my room by 7:00 am and went back to bed.

I woke up at 11:11 (make a wish!) and went back out.   First stop was Hooters to use both the American Casino Guide and Las Vegas Advisor coupons for $10 free play each.  The Las Vegas Advisor coupon is straight $10 free play, American Casino Guide is play ten and get ten.  I got LVA loaded and went to play to get the ACG loaded.  I left the free play on my card and put $20 cash into Family Guy. I love this game and you cannot use free play on it.  This machine had been nice to me in the past, but that was not the case today.  I also noted that the “repeat bet” button is still broken, just as it was last year.  Great job, Hooters slot techs.

I put my $20 free play into Cleopatra Keno and got it up to $100.  I cashed out at $75.  I then realized I needed one more single for the bus and rather than break a $5 bill, I decided to put it in Cleopatra Keno and play one game at $1.  I got the bonus and won $22.  I cashed out at $79 to get singles.  Yes, cashing out at $22 would have also gotten me singles, but I AM GAMBLOR.

From here, I walked over to Ellis Island Brewery and Casino to use some more coupons.   I had one for $10 free play from American Casino Guide one for a chance to spin a wheel for $10-$100 free play from Las Vegas Advisor, and a “earn 200 points, get a free entree” coupon from American Casino Guide.

I sat down and played Double Double Bonus video poker. It took me $60 to get the 200 points for the free entree. $60 for $20 free play a $10 meal seems fair, no?

I asked my server if I could get anything on the menu.  They don’t have anything listed specifically as entrees.  She said that it came as a credit and she could see what they took off.  I ordered steak and eggs.  With a root beer, it came to $14.31 and the coupon took off $14, making my soda free as well.  She comped off the $.31 so the entire meal was basically free.  For $60 that is.

After eating, I lost another $40 on Cleopatra Keno because why wouldn’t I?

Next stop: Tuscany casino to use the $10 free play coupon in American Casino Guide.   I put it in a nickel Cleopatra Keno, hit “max bet” and it turns out max bet on here is 80 nickels.  Yeesh.   I hit five balls and won 500 credits ($25) but put that all back in because why wouldn’t I?  I also tried a Flinstones slot, which was terribly mean to me.  Then I left.

I took the bus to Gold Coast from here.  I have two coupons, one for play $10, get $10 free play from Las Vegas Advisor and one for a free buffet for earning 200 points, from American Casino Guide.

I sat down at a quarter Double Double Bonus video poker game where the cards were dealt way too fast and there was no way to change it.  I decided to stick it out and boy am I sure glad I did.  Last hand.

quarter twos gold coast

I still did not have 200 points so I put another twenty in and well….

quarter aces gold coast 1

I got my 200 points.  I went to the player’s card booth to get my buffet coupon (good through December 30) and my free play.  I went back to the same machine and OH HEY.

quarter aces gold coast 2

I feel like I was only in this casino for like fifteen minutes. And I won $500.  Minus what I put in, and then kept putting in (come on now, you know I did) I netted $400.

I took the free shuttle back to Orleans and stopped at the Player’s Club to use some coupons there.  I have play $10 get $10 from both Las Vegas Advisor and American Casino Guide.  I also have $5 free play from my offer.  I have to do them one at a time. The boothling offers I can come right back to him instead of getting back on the line, which is absurdly long.  I come back and only have to wait for him to finish the person he is currently helping.  Only it is not a person, it is a couple.  Because I guess when he said “next” they both went up instead of one person going up and then the other waiting their turn.  They were up there for so long, asking so many questions.  The female half was carrying an American Casino Guide book which annoyed me because you do not need to carry the book.  Fucking cut the coupons out.  I kept growing more and more impatient.  Finally I get the second coupon loaded and decide to save the third one for tomorrow.

As I am walking away, I am thinking about how much I do not like people.  Of course, this is perfect timing for me to spot some woman who is playing a machine, with her feet up on the chair next to her.  Not like on the bottom of the chair, but on the actual chair so that if anyone wanted to sit, they could not.  She was totally relaxing as if this were a chaise lounge. Did I mention she was not wearing shoes?  Because she wasn’t.  I guess she mistook the casino for her living room.  I lost it.  I gestured towards her fucking disgusting feet and told her “YOU ARE FUCKING DISGUSTING” and kept walking.  Then I decided to go back and take her photo, just to be a complete fucking dick.  But as I turned around, I saw her with her feet back under her own chair, where they belong.  She was in the middle of putting her shoes back on her feet.  WHICH IS WHERE THEY BELONG.  So I let it go.

I used my $15 free play in my now favorite Double Double Bonus video poker machine and got nothing.  I tried again to play the Keno machine I won $940 on a year ago TODAY and some dude was on it.   I played around a bit and then decided to go to my room.   The hallways here reek of weed.

I did some stuff like not really packed for a move tomorrow, wrote a blog post and then went back down to gamble.  I lost $80 and called it a night.  I was in bed by midnight.

Gambling Day: + 300
Gambling Trip: +380
Miscellaneous: (coffee, cigarettes, bus fare, tips and some more Diet Pepsi): $47.77
Comps used: Orleans hotel stay, $10 dining at Orleans with offer.  I also had a coupon sheet given to me at check in.  The only one I used was 10% off at Java Coast, which saved me $.31 on an iced coffee.

Today’s itinerary.  I did everything on it except go to Cosmopolitan.  I wish I would have done that.  I am going to miss all the Christmas stuff on the Strip since it will likely be gone by the time I get there.  Oh well.

Thursday, December 24, 2015
Breakfast: $10 credit mailer
Orleans ACG play $10 get $10
Orleans LVA play $10 get $10
Orleans $5 freeplay offer
Gold Coast $10 freeplay LVA
Gold Coast 200 points = free ACG
Ellis Island free 200 points ACG
Ellis Island play $10 spin wheel ACG
Ellis Island $10 free play LVA
Ellis Island 10x
Planet Hollywood / Rio 50 points = free buffet
Palms $25 freeplay with 5k points LVA
Palms $50 freeplay with 15k points ACG (or 2k slots)/strong>
Tuscany $10 free play ACG
Hooters play $10 get $10 ACG
Hooters $10 freeplay LVA
Cosmopolitan: Artomatic

Las Vegas Pre-Trip Report: Musings of a Degenerate Gambler

Here is something you should know about people who frequent Las Vegas: They all love to talk about how cheap a trip is, and how you will never find another city in the world where you can go and stay in beautiful hotels and eat fine dining, for even a fraction of the cost as Las Vegas.  Note that I said “they” and not “we”.  I used to be part of that group.  I used to love the idea of staying in a nice hotel that I was comped in, versus paying $150/night for some shitty motel in Anywhereelse USA.

But then something happened.  I started traveling outside the United States.  Guys, I have to tell you something.  The world outside of the United States is so much cheaper.  Sure there are lots of countries you can travel to where the cost is relatively the same, or even higher than travel in the States.  But then I went to Eastern Europe.  And China.  Suddenly, that “Wow, this is such a great bargain!” Las Vegas trip morphed into “Wow, for less than the cost of a two week trip to Vegas, I can spend six weeks in China!”

So I began vowing that every trip to Las Vegas would be my last.  But see, I didn’t tell anyone this, except for my cute little stuffed dog.  He doesn’t judge or hold me accountable for things I say, so I was free to break that vow at will.

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Then I started to tell other people.  I swore up and down that last year was my last trip to Las Vegas, as I was wanting to instead, focus on seeing the rest of the entire planet.

Well that didn’t exactly go as planned.

Last December, I took what I had planned on being my last big trip:  Good bye Las Vegas!  But I ended up leaving dissatisfied.  My trip was only nine days.  While most people love to chime in with “Nine days?  That’s too long!  I am ready to go home after five!,” I don’t really have those kinds of trips.  I have the kind of trips where I do things like visit casinos off Strip and live like a local.  I don’t drink, I don’t go nutso, I don’t do any of the things that make people wish to make it STOP ALREADY after a mere five days.

With only nine days, I felt like I did nothing but travel around and I didn’t really see or do anything.  I was armed with my new fancy camera and got to take zero pictures of the Strip, despite actually staying on it for five days.  I actually got annoyed with myself for having gone degenerate gambling on night one and then spent the rest of the trip frugal gambling instead of going to the ATM.  This should be a “score one for me!” item, but it left me without doing the thing I go to Vegas to do: GAMBLE.

So when I got home, I decided to do one more trip.  For Thanksgiving.  Airfare was only $303, which is the lowest I have paid in many years.  Booked and done.

Then my mind started doing that thing again.  Where whenever I fly to California, I end up checking flights home from Vegas, since I am already going to be on the West Coast.  I decided that fine, I could do this.  I could allow myself 37 hours in Las Vegas en route home from San Francisco.

Then I realized this was never going to end.  My Thanksgiving trip is only five nights.  If nine was not enough for me to get it out of my system, five were not going to be.  Nor were five + an additional 37 hours.  So I started booking a three week trip to Las Vegas, which I leave for on December 23.  That one will be the final one.  For real this time.

Since rebooking my airfare for November would cost more than the entire flight, I am keeping that trip.  And I indeed went to Las Vegas for 37 hours last weekend.  Up next will be that trip report.

Las Vegas Trip Report: My First Stay at Post-Fitzgeralds, Now Known As the D

Thursday, November 28, 2013 – Day Three of Eight, Part Two

[This is part four of a ten part trip report.  To start at the beginning, go here.]

This is my first stay at Fitzgeralds since they did a name change.  The new owners would like us to call it “The D”.  Yeah well I would like them to pick a name that is not stupid, and to also bring back the neon rainbow and pot of gold outside.  So it looks like neither of us are getting what we want.  Fitzgeralds it is!

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Fitzgeralds Las Vegas

Now that exact spot looks like this:

the d fitzgeralds

I have to say, upon walking in, I was impressed.  One huge thing was that they redid the floors.  There is now a solid walkway from the entrance to the registration desk.   No more rolling your bag on carpet (unless you enter from Fremont Street, which to be fair, is not the main hotel entrance)

I got room 2134.  I stood outside the door for a few seconds, really excited to see what was behind it.  I have stayed in this hotel 23947838247 times as Fitzgeralds.   I have seen pictures of the new rooms online and they look fantastic.   I am building anticipation as to what I will see behind that door.

Then I open the door.  And I am really surprised that I instantly hate this room.  The beds look great:

The D (that is a stupid name) bed, Las Vegas Nevada

But the rest of the room looks so weird.  It actually looks hollow and cold.  I am so confused.  Why does this room look so empty?

The D (STUPID NAME) Las Vegas, NevadaThen it hits me.  The super huge entertainment center thingy is gone.  This is what the rooms used to look like:


Without that big entertainment center, and with the walls now barren, it just looks so hollow.  I don’t like it.

You also used to be able to take pictures of your room view.  Now, if try, you get this:

wrapBecause of this:

Fitzgeralds The D wrap

The bath products are no longer that vanilla soap I used to overtip housekeeping for extra bars of.  They now have Bath and Body Works products.   Upgrade much?

The wall safes are also gone.  I discovered they do have safes inside  the new dressers though.  I never would have known this if I had not read the Hotel Information book.

I am staying here on an offer for three comped nights, plus $50 in free slot play and $25 dining credit.  First thing I do is go downstairs and play the $50 in an attempt to get bazillions.   It doesn’t work.  Not only do I not get bazillions, I don’t even get to play because my money goes too fast.

I am slot crazy right now.   You can’t stop me.  I will play every slot machine in this casino.   GET OUT OF MY WAY ALL OF YOU.

I decide to play $20 of my real money on an Epic Monopoly slot game.  If you have never played this before, allow me to explain.  There are four games.  If you get a wild symbol or a bonus symbol on the first main hand, it transfers over the the other hands.   There is also a feature where Mr. Monopoly randomly pops up and gives you either wilds, or multipliers.   If you get multipliers and any of them land on the first main reel, those are also transferred over to the next three.

So if let’s say, reel two gets a 2x multiplier, and reel one gets a 5x, you will now have a 7x on reel two because the 5x will transfer over.

I didn’t get any multpliers.  But I did have my boy Monopoly toss out four wilds, all on the first game.   So they tranferred to all three remaining games.  Oh I love you.


This win slows me down and I end up with $115 left for today.  Don’t forget I went nutso in the Bellagio this morning as well, so this is a huge deal!

I go to my room at 2:30 for a nap.   I can’t sleep.  At all.   I tried to log onto the internet, it’s not working.  I try reading a book.  Oh hey, this is working.  I am suddenly getting very sleeeeeeeeeep….zzzzzzzzzz.

I wake up a few hours later and go back out at 8:00.  First stop, the 24 hour Starbucks at the Golden Nugget.  I LOVE YOU 24 HOUR STARBUCKS AT THE GOLDEN NUGGET.   I try and get a Caramel Brulee Frappucino but they do not have any brulee.  This is unfortunate because my entire purpose of getting it was to find out once and for all what the hell “brulee” is.  I for sure have no idea. Instead I ordered a Green Tea Frappucino and watched the barista make it for me in a blender clearly marked “non-dairy”.  Sorry vegans.

Tonight I shall visit the Downtown Grand.  This used to be the Lady Luck hotel and casino.  The name “Downtown Grand” is not stupid in any way, so I am allowing it.

Downtown Grand Las Vegas

I signed up for a new player’s card.  New sign ups get anywhere from $3-1000 in free slot play.  I got $3. Naturally.

I played and lost on Monopoly.  Then I found what should have been the greatest find in all of life – Four Card CLEOPATRA KENO!  Oh my god!  I love this game and you are telling me I can play FOUR GAMES AT THE SAME TIME?  GAHHHHHHHHHH!

But alas, this game was not as happy to see me as I was to see it.  It would not give me any bonus, no matter how much I put into her.  Well fuck you then, I’m out of here.

On my way out, I passed one of those Rascal scooters with an adorable Shih Tzu sitting in the basket on the front, while her mommy played slots.  She ruled.  Her mommy, who brought a dog into a casino, I am not so sure about.  That poor baby was inhaling second hand smoke like a mother fucker.

I left here and went to Fremont to play my favorite Super Times Pay poker machines.  I love this game so much, and this particular bank is my favorite in all the world.

The woman next to me was playing five card quarters.  So at six quarters a hand she was playing $7.50 a pull.   I may not have noticed it, but she didn’t have any idea what she was doing. So she would continually ask the man she was with for help.  I wanted to scream.  He kept leaning over her shoulder to push the “deal” hand so the hands would go lightning fast after she drew.  By doing this, he is entering my personal space. At some point, she is dealt a straight and asks him what to do.  He tells her to hold it.  She asks “hold all the cards?”  OH MY GOD YOU ARE PLAYING $7.50 A HAND AND YOU DON’T KNOW TO HOLD ALL THE CARDS.  WHAT ARE YOU DOING.  PLEASE STOP.  OR AT LEAST, PLEASE STOP DOING THINGS THAT MAKE ME OVER HEAR WHAT YOU ARE DOING.  PLEASE I BEG YOU.

Finally I hit a low four of a kind with a kicker. If you do not play video poker, you do not know what I am talking about.  This is a hand worth 800 credits, or $40 if you are playing nickels like I am.  I cash out and head to Dunkin Donuts for iced coffee.

Then I go a bit nutso again.  But this time it’s okay because it is night time and I can lose the rest of my budget because it is night time.  So I do exactly that.

I won on NOTHING.  Sucks to be me!

After I am done with losing the last of today’s budget, it’s off to bed.   The time is midnight.  Good night.

OH YEAH WAIT HOLD ON A MINUTE.  I said I would be posting my itinerary daily to see if I followed it.  Here is what I had planned for today. The only thing I did was check into Fitzgeralds and use my $50 free play.  If I had bothered to look at my itinerary, I for sure would have went to the Gold Coast.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Breakfast: Gold Coast 8-3, free with 200 points LVA coupon
Gold Coast 11x points slots/6x points video poker
Ellis Island 3x points

Check into Fitzgeralds $50 free play/LVA coupon
El Cortez 2x points newsletter
El Cortez $10 free play LVA coupon
El Cortez ATM $30 free promo
Fitzgeralds $25 dining credit

Want to read more?   Here are parts five, sixseven, eight, nine and ten!


Tuesday, November 26, 2013 – Day One of Eight

Today is Las Vegas day!  I woke up and went to the bathroom, passing the microwave and noticed it was only a few minutes before my alarm was going to go off. So I shut it off blindly and went about getting ready for work, dyeing (dying?  I never know how to spell that) my grey roots, getting ready for VEGAS.  When I was all done, I turned on the television and only then realized that I was a full hour early.   The clock I had looked at was my microwave clock which I never changed when we changed the clocks back.  Son of a bitch.

Spent most of the day at work until I just got really bored and decided to leave early without telling anyone.  I am a model employee after all.   Good thing too because security at JFK was in-fucking-sane.  If I had stayed at work, I would have been really screwed.  As it was, I got through with just 10 minutes to spare.

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As we were waiting to board, an employee tried to check my bag for me.  He actually reached out to grab it away from me which put me in defensive mode. No.  He told me it was a full flight.  Yes, but I’m in the back so I board sooner so there will be room.  Then he tells me it won’t fit on the plane because it is too big.  I tell him it has been on eleventy billion flights and I have never had a problem with it fitting.   He then tells me I have to ask the guy at the end of the runway if it will fit.  IT WILL FIT.  What the fuck, get off me.

Guess what?  IT FIT.

I had an empty middle seat, which was evened out by me being surrounded by babies.  They were all over the fucking place.  Even the flight attendant commented on how many babies there were.

We did not have invdividual television.  The overhead movie projector nearest me was broken.   Both these things also happened to me when I flew home from Istanbul back in May.  It was okay though because the movie was Monsters, Inc.  Really Delta?  I know you pick movies based on flight direction.  But this is a flight to Vegas.  Grown up movies only please.

I can’t sleep on planes so flights are a horrible experience for me.  For some reason, I cannot even keep my eyes closed.  Whenever I try, I start to freak out a bit.  I don’t know why this is.  I can sleep on buses and trains, no problem.  It isn’t even uncommon for me to fall asleep on the train on the way to work and wake up in Queens after I miss my stop.  But planes?  No.

We arrive about 20 minutes early, score!  I take a shuttle to my hotel and for the first time ever in my life, I am the first drop off.  I am starting off my trip at Aria, two free nights via the Facebook My Vegas game.  The check in line isn’t all that long, but it is not moving.  Finally I am at the front and a new check-in-ling comes and starts playing with her computer. Some idiot behind me starts yelling at me to “GO”.  She isn’t open yet you moron.  I hate people.

Finally it is my turn.  I tell the check-in-ling I am here on a My Vegas comp and offer her the printed confirmation.  She tells me she just needs my Mlife card, credit card and ID.  I hand all three to her.   She plays around on the computer for a while and then finally tells me that she is going to be charging $626 to my credit card for the incidental hold ($130/night) and room cost.  Uh, no you aren’t.  I repeat “I AM HERE ON A MY VEGAS COMP, DO YOU WANT THE CONFIRMATION?”   She says “no” again and goes back to playing with the computer.  Finally I am checked in, have my keys and go.  With a quick stop to call my bank and check my bank account because I don’t trust her to have charged the correct amount.  She charged $260 for the incidental hold, that is correct.  Let’s go!

I am in room 11047.  Aria is a HUGE hotel.  My room is second to the last in the hallway.  It is a LONG hallway.  I mean LOOOOOONNNNNNNNNNNNNNNG hallway.  It also reeks of weed, which I personally find disgusting.

I open my room door and all at once the lights go on, the drapes start automatically opening and the television comes on.  I have now been awake for 22 hours and I am a combination of confused and scared.   For some reason, what crosses my mind with all this unexpected motion in the room, is that there is a dog in there.  What the hell.

My room is really fancy.  I am not a fancy gal.  Allow me to channel my inner Trip Advisor idiot review leaver type person.  The room is dark.  Even with every light on, I can’t see.  I am completely dehydrated, I try to drink a ton of water using the glasses in the room but they are oddly designed and keep slipping out of my hand (I am aware how ridiculous my complaints sound, trust me.)

The bed was really wonderful.

Aria Las Vegas bed

The tub/shower set up was a bit odd:

weirdo tub aria las vegas

Also while there was no shampoo in my room, which I am sure was just an oversight by Housekeeping, I did have a sewing kit with pre-threaded needles.  Fancy.  I would have preferred shampoo since I didn’t pack any.

sewing kit

Next morning room view:

aria room view

Now that I am all settled, it’s time to gamble!

I play a Buffalo slot machine.  The one next to me is broken and the bill acceptor has tape over it.  For some reason, people kept walking over, tried to play, couldn’t and then would turn to me and ask if I am winning.  Why do people do this?  I would never in my life walk up to a complete stranger in a casino and ask them if they are winning.  Yes, I have eleventy billion dollars on me.  Please follow me to my room and mug me.

My first $20 gets me $40, my second gets me $50.  I try a bunch of other slots because slots are for degenerate gamblers and I am a degenerate gambler.  My best session was on a new game called “Plants and Zombies”  Who comes up with these game ideas, I don’t know.  I cashed out with $100.  None of the ticket machines are working so I have to go to the actual cashier.  There is Super Times Pay over here!  I love Super Times Pay!  I play a bunch and lose $20.

Now I am done.  I stop at the café for a late dinner.  I ask if they do to-go orders.  They do, but they have to seat you for this.  I order and my food comes in a to-go box.

I am back in my room at 1:30.  I try and do my daily spin on My Vegas before bed.  It takes half an hour to load. My laptop type thingy HATES this game.

Want to read more?   Here are parts two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten!

How a Degenerate Gambler Plans a Trip to Las Vegas

Hello, my name is Jennifer and I am a degenerate gambler.

I have been to Las Vegas a bazillion times.  Because of this, I often have friends ask me for help when they are planning a trip.  You would think that I would be good with giving Las Vegas advice.  But I am not.  I actually feel mental anguish when I am asked.  Why is that, you ask?  Because I am a degenerate and degenerates do not know how to simply book a flight and hotel and go.

I was going to take you through a typical trip planning.  But I was having great difficulty breaking down how I typically plan a trip.  It is way too detailed, even for me.  So then I decided to stick to JUST how I booked this one specific trip that I am leaving for TODAY.  I figured it cut it down a bit since it is only an eight day trip, rather than 21 nights.

But as I got into typing that out, it was still way more detail than any non-degenerate gambler would want to read.  So now I will attempt to just talk about my completed plans.

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The first thing I did was book a flight.  I am going for Thanksgiving.  Flights are insanely high for Thanksgiving.  So the dates worked that I would have to fly home the Tuesday after Thanksgiving or else pay close to $300 more to come home any earlier.  Fine with me!

Once my flight is booked, it is time to book rooms.  I have a lot of comps at different hotels.   People always ask me how to get comped rooms.  The answer to this honestly  varies depending on who you ask.

The shortest possible answer is:  You are comped based on coin in.  If you have $1k coin in, that does not mean you put $1k cash into a machine.  If you gamble one dollar, and win one dollar, and bet that same dollar again, and win a dollar again, you now have run through $2 and you still have your dollar.

Most educated gamblers can tell  you exactly what you need to play in order to get comps.  This hotel = XXX through per day, that hotel = XXXXX through per day, etc.  I cannot and will not do this.  I do not keep track of my play.  This is considered a big error by educated gamblers.  But it works for me. I play what I want to and stop when I want to and then the comps follow.   I do not want to know that if I had just ran through one more $20, I would have made a comp list.   It’s the carrot dangling in front of your face.  Oh we know you lost your daily limit, but just $20 more will get  you a room.  Come on, dig into tomorrow’s budget today.  We know you want to.  NO.

I am a low roller.  My budget is $200/day total for everything.  It covers gambling, food, many iced coffee runs, transportation, everything.  I visit at least one spa per trip.  This also comes out of it, although i tend to just shave $10 off every day and pay for the spa that way, rather than cut $100 out of just that day.  Same with show tickets.  So on typical trips, with a massage and a show ticket, we are down to about $180-190/day to cover everything.  This action gets me enough offers to get me through a 3-week trip.

But back to this ONE trip I am taking TODAY!!!

I am arriving late on my first day.  My flight lands at 10:21 pm  I usually spend my first two nights comped at either Orleans or Gold Coast.   This time however, I changed it up a bit and now my first two nights will be at Aria.

Aria Las Vegas

Aria is a big fancy strip hotel/casino that I have never stayed at.  I would never pay for this room, and I would never be offered any comp here.  Comps here are reserved for people who gamble my entire trip’s budget on one hand of Black Jack.

Actually, let me give you some real numbers here:

At Aria, it takes $10 coin in to get one point on video poker.

100 points ($1000 run through on video poker) gets you $1 in comps AND $1 in free play.

To compare that to a downtown casino, I picked Fitzgeralds (now known as “The D” but I will not call it that since that name is stupid), since I will also be staying here this trip.  

Like Aria, at Fitzgeralds, it’s $10 coin in to get one point on video poker.  Sounds exactly the same, right?  WRONG!

At Fitzgeralds, for 100 points ( $1000 coin in on video poker) you get $1 cash back and $2 comps.

To make that crystal clear: For $1000 coin in at Aria, you get $1 comp and $1 free play.  For the same amount of coin in/points at Fitzgeralds you would get $2 comp and $1 cash back.  Twice the comps.  Cash back instead of free play.

Your comp dollars will get you a lot more at Fitzgeralds than Aria.  For a random example:  At Fitzgeralds, you can get a burger and fries for $10.  That same burger and fries will cost you $16 at Aria.  

So at half the comps and nearly double the price, your money will get you so much less if you play at a Strip property, than a downtown property.

That is even without understanding that downtown casinos have better pay outs.

Lower end hotels also going to send out future comp mailers to people who play far less than the people the fancy strip hotels send future offers out to.

But on this trip, I am indeed staying at Aria.  Why?  Because I am staying here for free via playing the My Vegas Facebook game.  This is a game associated with M Life properties (those would be Mandalay Bay, Luxor, Excalibur, MGM Grand, New York New York, Monte Carlo, Mirage, Aria, Bellagio and Circur Circus) that lets you earn real life comps for free play on Facebook.

Yes, there is a Facebook game that you play for absolutely free* that gives you real life rewards in Las Vegas.  No it is not a scam.  No, I am not a spokesperson for this game.

*You can also buy credits to play, but I do not see the point.

I had played for close to a year before redeeming anything so I have more than enough points to stay in a fancy strip hotel for free.  Even though I do not like the strip, I can’t pass up this chance.  I also do not like RESORT FEES.  Which you may or may not to pay even if you get the room for free through this game. The jury is out on whether or not the resort fees are mandatory.  It seems that you are supposed to be paying them, but plenty of people have reported that they were not charged.  So it’s a gamble and I am here to gamble so I will take my chances.

I booked two free nights via the game, but I booked them for my first two nights.  This way I am there on my first night, which is a short night since my flight does not arrive until around 10:00 pm.  Most people on vacation would probably not short themselves a stay in a fancy hotel.  Me however, I am there to gamble and I do not want to gamble in a casino where my money nets me half of what it would in a downtown casino.

Then for the next three nights, I am at Fitzgeralds. The Fitzgeralds offer is for 3 free nights, $50 free slot play and $25 in dining (there’s also some match plays in there, but I do not do table games)  As a bonus, there is also a coupon in the Las Vegas Advisor member rewards coupon book that gets you $5 in freeplay for every 50 points run up in a 24 hour period.  So you play however much you want to for 24 hours.  Then you  are given freeplay based on however much points you accumulated.  On my last trip, I did a heavy (for me) day here to take advantage of this.  I ended up with $35 in freeplay (which, on video poker, is 350 points, which is $3500 coin in)  How much did that $3500 coin in cost me?  Zero.  I played with a $100 bill.  I went up and down and up and down and up and down.  I probably hit $150 at my highest, but being a degenerate, I kept going.  Once I was far down, I had a good hit that brought me my original $100 back.  Time to cash out!    Then I played the $35 free play and left with $50 of that.

So to recap:

I budgeted $100 for a heavy day (again, for me) here.

I ended up leaving with my $100, plus an additional $50.  I also earned 350 points, which got me $3.50 in cash back and $7 in comps.  As an added bonus, my play here put me back on the Fitzgeralds radar, which I had dropped off.  Being back on got me an offer for three free nights with $50 slot play and $25 dining.  The mailers are sent out with two months on at a time and I can use it once per month.

Does this seem like too much math for you?  It does for me.  I actually had to ask for help to make sure my numbers were correct because my eyes start crossing when I have to keep track of my play.  So here is a little trick for you.   Downtown = good.  Strip = bad.

So now back to my planning of this trip that I am leaving for TODAY!

The last two nights, I had open for a bit.  I really struggled with this one.  I ended up double booking the Riviera and Orleans.  I love both of these places. Both sent me offers that were minimum two nights.  So I had to book two nights to get the rooms and the associated perks (which as a low roller, amount to $10 free slot play at each, and the Orleans also kicked in $10 in dining).  Most people would think it is the biggest waste of time to check in to get $10.   I think it would be so stupid to not check in and get the $10.  I would be visiting both of these places even if I were not staying at either, so why not take ten minutes to get ten dollars?

Now that the rooms are settled, it is time to work on the itinerary.  This is a crazy thing.  I spend so much time putting this together for each trip.  I figure out where I want to play on each day.  Some of this is based on point multiplier promotions.   These are really a big deal if you go in December.  The week before Christmas is the slowest time in Las Vegas.   A lot of places will offer big bonus point days to get you in their casino.   So if you play somewhere that is offering 5x points, that means that for every dollar you play, you get credit for $5.

My entire itinerary is created based absolutely not at all on things I want to do and see.  It’s created entirely as a guide to maximize comps and coupons.   This most likely sounds insane to anyone who has ever gone to Vegas for PAR-TAY!  But that is okay.  No one has to live their life like anyone else.

I read several Las Vegas websites every day.  I see when new promos are announced and collect tips and stuff.  Since I am gathering this knowledge over an extended period of time, it does not overwhelm me.  But it sure overwhelms someone who is fed it all at once.  Which is completely understandable.

Don’t have comps?  Want some?  It’s pretty easy.  Get yourself a copy of the American Casino Guide.   www.americancasinoguide.com (I am not in any way sponsored by them, I buy my book every year because it is way worth the money)

There are a lot of coupons in there for free play for new sign ups, which don’t apply to me.  There are also cool things like the downtown Boyd properties (these would be Main Street Station, Fremont and California) all have coupons for “play 250 points and get a free buffet”.  Simply go and run that amount through and eat free.  One point at Boyd properties = $1.  So 250 points = you run through $250.  You can easily do this with one $20 bill on video poker.  BONUS, you keep the points so you also have those comps (a whopping $.41).  MORE BONUS: Playing to get these points may very well earn you future comped nights.

Another great example of why degenerates use coupon books: Suncoast has a coupon in the American Casino Guide for 5x points.  You can get there on the WAX bus from downtown, in 20 minutes.  So for every dollar you run through a machine, you get credit for $5.

To put this into perspective:

Here, $1 coin in gets you 1 point on your card.
1000 points = $1 cash back or $1 free play OR you can use 600 points = $1 comp

So normally, for $600 coin in, you get $1 in comps.   With this coupon, you are earning 5x points.  So that $600 coin in gets you $5 comps.

So by running through $1000, here are the totals:
Aria = $1 free play and $1 comp

Fitzgeralds = $1 cash back and $2 comps

Suncoast with a 5x multiplier coupon = $5 cash back or $5 free play.  Or $8.33 in comps.

See that?

To put comp value back into “burger and fries” terms:

A comped burger and fries at Aria will take $16k coin in

At Fitzgeralds, it will take $5k coin in

At a Boyd property with a 5x multiplier coupon, it will take $1k in.

As a bonus, Suncoast is owned by Boyd Gaming.   They own the  Gold Coast, Orleans, Sams Town, Main Street Station, California, Fremont and Suncoast.  Any points you earn at any of these places, are all combined with each other so you have more comps you can use at any one place.  So you do not have to go all the way back to the Suncoast to use these points you accumulated.

I do the bulk of my downtown Boyd play at Fremont.  They have a 24 hour Dunkin Donuts AND nickel SuperTimes Pay, which is my absolute favorite video poker game ever.

Most people do not want to go all over Vegas to collect comps.  Who wants to be on VACATION using coupons??!  While Vegas is not in any way a typical vacation, I am definitely not suggesting that you start doing this.  I am only explaining how I do my own trips.

Here is an example of the craziest day of my itinerary.  This is what I like to call “free play day”.  I have one of these every trip.  I pick a day and spend it going all over playing free play.  I do not care if it is $5 or $10 or $50.  If I have it available, I will go wherever and play it.  I put it on a day where I am not doing any promotions like bonus point days.  I can’t see the point of going to a specific casino to run through only $5 free play when I would rather go there and play heavier on a day where I am collecting a point multiplier.

In theory, “free play day” is supposed to take place when I am mid-trip and should be used to run through and cash out.  So if I play $5 and build it up to $5 cash, I should cash out and run.  This does not often happen in reality though because I am a degenerate.

Yes, I color code my itineraries  Blue = meal, green = coupon/promotion, purple = thing to do (such as a show or spa treatment)

ACG = American Casino Guide coupon
LVA = Las Vegas Advisor “Member Rewards Book”
Mailer = From an offer I received based on my past play

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Breakfast: Main Street Station buffet – free with 250 points (ACG)
El Cortez $10 freeplay (ACG)
Binions $10 freeplay (LVA)
Four Queens $10 freeplay (LVA)
Las Vegas Club $10 freeplay ($5 ACG/$5 LVA)
Plaza $10 freeplay ($5 ACG/$5 LVA)
Fitzgeralds $50 freeplay – mailer

lunch: Fitzgeralds $25 dining credit mailer
Check into Riviera
Riviera $10 freeplay – mailer
Hooters $20 freeplay ($10 ACG/$10 LVA)
Orleans $5 freeplay mailer
Orleans $10 freeplay (LVA)
Gold Coast $10 free play (LVA)
Palms $40 free slot play coupon
Dinner: Orleans mailer $10 dining credit
Ellis Island $10 freeplay (ACG)

See?  What normal person would want to do all that traveling in one day, on public transportation, while on vacation?  That is the exactly my point.  If you have ever asked me for Las Vegas advice and did not feel like I was helpful, this is why.  Because I do this and I know you would not want to.  I do not know how to advise a normal person because I am not one.

My itineraries are basically a very well thought out plan on where to eat and play on specific days in order to maximize my comps.  Don’t get me wrong.  My trips are not scheduled as rigid as it may seem.  Lots of times, the itinerary goes right out the window the second I am in Vegas and see all the pretty lights and get instantly hypnotized by the pretty video poker machines.  There are times when I pull it out and look at it for the first time in days and see things like “Oh hey, I was at that place the other day and I forgot to use my coupon”

There are also days where I wake up and do actually look at my itinerary and think “I do not want to go there/do that today” so I don’t.  It’s that easy.

I have been writing Las Vegas trip reports for years.  This time, I am going to try something new.  I will post that day’s itinerary at the beginning of every day and we can see if I stuck to it or not.

Las Vegas Things That Are No More: Lady Luck Hotel and Casino

In honor of the Downtown Grand in Las Vegas opening TODAY,  I thought I would post the trip report from when I had a stay here back in June of 2005, when it was known as Lady Luck.  This hotel/casino was closed back in 2006, for what was supposed to be less than a year, for renovations.  At this time frame, everything in Las Vegas that was closed temporarily or imploded to build new, came to a screeching halt as the economy crashed.  Vegas lovers sat back and collectively cried at how depressed we were to watch our favorite places go away for no good reason.

Now, here we are in 2013 and while the property has been open for close to two weeks, the official grand opening is TODAY.  I cannot wait to see it in just two weeks.

But for now, let’s take a trip back in time, shall we?

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Friday, June 10, 2005

I woke up at the California hotel at 9:00 am and walked over to Main Street Station to play video poker.  This is my new addiction, can you tell?  I won and lost and won and lost and then hit some four of a kinds and ended up with $110.

Today I am checking into both the Riviera and the Lady Luck. The Riviera for some reason, sent me an offer for free nights, which included weekends. I had to book two nights. But see, while the Riviera is my favorite casino on the outside, I have stayed here before and I hate the rooms. So I don’t want to stay here at all. But it’s free, I don’t have room photos, and I get $25 food credit. So I kind of have to book it. But I cannot spend two nights here. So I figured I’d book it for Friday and Saturday and just stay elsewhere for one night. So that’s what I did.

I cabbed over to the Riviera, checked in and dropped off my luggage in the room. While checking in, the woman checking me in kept gushing over what a nice room I was getting. Such a nice room. Nice room. Did I mention how nice this room is? Okay, let’s go see this incredibly nice room.  #6337 in the Monaco tower. I walk in and ugh, I hate the room. It’s not even a bad room. I just really have this thing with hating the Riviera’s bathroom counters. Whenever I touch them, I feel like there are nails scraping on chalkboards. I also think I am the sole person who feels this way. But I cannot get over it.

[Editor’s note: Flash forward to the present time, I am now in love with the Riviera. Gone is the chalkboard feel of the bathroom counters.]

Riviera Las Vegas bedRiviera Las Vegas room

Room view:

Riviera Las Vegas room view Riviera Las Vegas room view

I love the way this looks:

Riviera Las Vegas

I go downstairs to eat at Kady’s Cafe. Then I start feeding my video poker craving. I win and win and win and win and win. Cashed out $210. The Riviera also has a promotion where you play $20 and get $10 free slot play. I use that $10 in a penny Uncle Sam and turn it into $25. This is looking good!

I head to the room, pack a duffle bag for my stay at the Lady Luck and head back downtown.

Lady Luck Las Vegas Lady Luck neon

I check in and get room 307 in the East Tower. The couple checking in next to me were there to celebrate their 24th wedding anniversary. The woman checking them in tried to tell them how to get to their room and the wife interrupted to very happily inform her that they have been here so many times that they know it like the backs of their hands. Both the wife and husband had the biggest smiles on their faces. I couldn’t help but smile myself. 24 years of marriage and celebrating it in “their” hotel in Las Vegas. It was just a very nice thing.

I get to my room. It seems decent with a refrigerator, some nice looking toiletries, including some facial soap that i tried and it really made my skin soft.

Lady Luck Las Vegas bed

Lady Luck tableLady Luck las vegas bathroom

Room view:

Lady Luck las vegas room view

I nap and get woken up by people in the hallway. I began to learn that in the Lady Luck you can hear the people in the hallway, the people next door and the people upstairs. I’m also not too sure what happened here, but as i was getting ready to go out, I suddenly smelled a very strong sulfur smell. It was overwhelming. Then I heard the toilet above me flush. I acted like this was not happening and just headed out. 

I hit Starbucks and went to the Plaza. i did okay on video poker, but didn’t really win anything. I visited a Phone Tag machine and I got a bonus for $51. After, I went over to the Las Vegas Club for a late dinner and lost $30 on my way to the Upper Deck restaurant.

After dinner, I went to the Four Queens for some mindless penny slots. I hit  $25 on a Twilight Zone game and $30 on an Easel Money game. After leaving here, I headed back to Lady Luck where I lost $15.

I got to the room and realized that the alarm clock is on the dresser across from the bed, not next to the bed. It’s also bolted to the dresser so I can’t move it.

alarm clock away from bed

I accidentally hit some button and the alarm starts flipping out. Now I can’t get the damn thing to turn off. I had to unplug it and reset it, This was just so freaking annoying. It was like 4:00 am and this was the last thing I wanted to be doing. In the end, it turned out I didn’t even need the alarm clock as the people in the room next door had theirs set and that woke me up. For all I know, it may have been revenge on me for having my alarm going off at 4:00 am. It was an accident, I swear!!!

Las Vegas Trip Report: We Stayed at the Westward Ho!

This is an old Las Vegas trip report that I am posting for the entertainment of Las Vegas addicts. While it was current at the time it was written, a lot of it is now completely outdated.  Much of what you read about may no longer exist.

Friday, March 29, 2003 – Day Nine of Nine

This morning, the alarm goes off at the exact nano second of the beginning of Billy Squier’s “Lonely is the Night.” Yes! This is a great way to start the day!!!

We get dressed and run out the door for our last day. Our first stop is the Riviera buffet. Saying it is not good would be an understatement. It is not as horrible as the Frontier buffet. But this is only because the Riviera had slightly edible donuts, whereas the Frontier had a grand total of zero edible items.

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After breakfast, we walk back to the Frontier with a stop at Walgreens.

We pack and get out of the Frontier. We are not ready to leave yet though since our flight isn’t until much later. So for our last hotel of the trip, we head to the Westward Ho where we have a room for our last day just in case we need it.

If you have ever wondered what a Westward Ho room looks like, here it is:

Westward Ho Las Vegas bedsWestward Ho, Las Vegas, deskWestward Ho, Las Vegas, dresserWestward Ho, Las Vegas bathroom

We hurry up and “unpack” (to us, this now means “open your suitcase, dig though it, get bored, forget what you are looking for, and run out the door”) and play slots for hours.

I get $50 on a Lobstermania, $40 on Risque Business.

We head over to the Rio to have lunch at the Carnival World buffet. It was SO good.

Once we are done eating – guess where we headed? Slots! My mother takes the Uncle Sam machine (that’s MY machine!) and I lose on everything around it.

Rio casino:

Rio, Las Vegas - Casino

We take a break to watch the Parade in the Sky show. We loved it.

Rio Las Vegas, Parade in the Sky Rio Las Vegas, Parade in the Sky Rio Las Vegas, Parade in the Sky Rio Las Vegas, Parade in the Sky Rio Las Vegas, Parade in the Sky

We were up on the second floor watching. There was a bar below us where the bartender would walk around pouring shots into people’s mouths. It was during this sight that I decided I MUST stay here on my next trip. It just looked like so much fun. If it wasn’t our last day, and we didn’t have mere hours left before going to the airport, I would have ran down there with my mouth wide open.

The parade ends and its our “last chance to gamble before leaving” so we run back to play slots. I play the new Price is Right. I LOVE this game. I win and win and win and win. I cash out with $95.

Back to the ‘Ho. I win $65 on a Frequent Flyer game. This is the second time I won on my last day with my mother. Apparently she is my “last day good luck charm”.

We took a cab to the airport (BOOOOOOOOOOOO) and got there 2.5 hours early.

At the airport, I put $5 into a “Little Green Men” slot and play for close to an hour on it. I cashed out solely because I wanted a cigarette. I was up $10. I moved to a smoking room with more slots and played a quarter game named “Triple Play” and won $75. Once I am full of nicotine, I move back outside the smoking lounge to play “Frog Prince” and turn $5 into $45. This is ridiculous, no one wins at the airport, right? Back to the smoking room for our absolute last cigarette before we land back in New York. I finish with a $75 win on my Triple Play machine again. Go me!

Now it’s time to go home. I was upset. But JetBlue’s wonderful Direct TV fixed that. The entire way home, VH1-Classic had “Metal Militia” on. Five straight hours of non-stop metal videos. I spent the entire flight with the sound up as loud as it would go, head banging, giving the metal horns to the tiny screen and mouthing every word. I couldn’t believe how wonderful this channel was

The flight was smooth until the last 15 minutes. Then it was very bumpy and I did the whole “You are going to die and it’s your own fault for being so stupid that you put your life in jeopardy and for what? To gamble?!?!?” self loathing thing. But we landed alive and I’m ready to go back.

[This trip was a Christmas present to my mother, who had Breast Cancer during this trip . She passed away three years later.  Going through these older reports and re-reading them has been very heavy to say the least.]

Las Vegas Trip Report: Staying at the Frontier (RIP)

This is an old Las Vegas trip report that I am posting for the entertainment of Las Vegas addicts. While it was current at the time it was written, a lot of it is now completely outdated.  Much of what you read about may no longer exist.

Thursday, March 28, 2003 – Day Eight of Nine

As always, we are awake early.  To the Frontier breakfast buffet we go. Don’t ever eat this buffet, it’s absolutely disgusting. DISGUSTING. The bacon has hard strings in it. The eggs are raw and cold. There is very little selection. It’s just disgusting. Absolutely disgusting. The real slap in the face is that it costs $8.95 for CRAP.

Worst buffet ever.

Out to the casino.

The Frontier has an ancient slot machine hanging out in its casino.

one armed bandit slot machine Frontier Las Vegas

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My mother encouraged me to try Piggy Bankin’, although I have tried it MANY times before and it never pays me. She played the game next to me, some Mermaid game. She won $180. Her biggest win ever.

We went to take a nap and I stopped at the gift shop to buy water to brush my teeth with. The water in the bathroom was frog water and I wanted to never taste it again.

Up and dressed by 4:00. We took a cab to The Hard Rock. I got my $10 free play using the Las Vegas Advisor coupon. We played quarters (I played a Jimi Hendrix game, my mother played a Jefferson Airplane game) and I lost my $10 but my mother won $59 and offered to treat for dinner.

We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe. We both had burgers. There was a table with young people, in their early twenties and they made me feel horribly old.

After eating, we took a cab to the Klondike so we could get my mother’s picture at the “Welcome to Las Vegas” sign, which is right across from it.

Klondike Hotel and Casino Las Vegas Welcome to Las Vegas Sign

I’m so happy we did this. We played in the Klondike. As always, I put money in a machine without realizing it was a penny machine. Of course it’s one of those “hand pay only” machines so I can’t get my money out easily. So I play and turn my $5 into $15. Big deal.

We take a cab from the Klondike to the MGM Grand, where we are going to see Elton John and Billy Joel.

Before the show, I win on Price Check and put it ALL back in. All of it. Thank god it’s time to go because that will be the only thing that stops me from giving my money away.

Elton John and Billy Joel. I hate Billy Joel. Why? Because I am originally from Long Island. Anyone who is from Long Island will tell you that you can find Billy Joel on any, and every, radio station, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week; 365 days a year (save for leap years, when you are treated to 366 days of Billy Joel). This has made me grown to hate this man.

The show starts about ten minutes late. Elton John and Billy Joel come out together and do some Elton songs together and one Billy song together. Then Billy Joel goes away (yay!) and Elton plays over an hour of his own stuff. Very great show.

Once he is done, he goes away and Billy Joel comes back (booooooooooo) and does his own stuff. He brought out his dentist for one song and the dentist sang it.

I will say that Billy Joel’s set was amazingly tolerable. Given my strong dislike of him, coupled with the fact that this show left me on 3 hours with no cigarette, I was still able to make it through it with no complaints. But my immature, stubborn side allows me to blame this on having not lived on Long Island for seven years. So in my mind, its more that I haven’t been forced to hear him everywhere I go, rather than him being a great performer.

We were in the last row and it was a real pain in the ass getting my mother up all those steps. The thought of getting her down with all the people rushing out was a nightmare. So we preempted that by leaving during the encore and beat out all the other people.

Once out, I hit the Family Feud quarter slots and FINALLY get the bonus. I won like 17 quarters. This is what I have been trying for?? Please.

Back to the Frontier. I won $45 on a Jackpot Party machine. I then put $9 into Megabucks and win $75. The slots at The Frontier were VERY good to us. They are the reason I’d go back there despite its inconvenient location.

We watched as some woman won $4000 on a Frontier themed dollar machine right next to the cashier. She seemed shocked. It wasn’t until they brought her cash that she seemed to finally let it sink in that she just won FOUR THOUSAND DOLLARS. I felt so happy for her. I also wished I was her.

Off to bed.

Las Vegas Trip Report: The Time We Saw Danny Gans (RIP)

This is an old Las Vegas trip report that I am posting for the entertainment of Las Vegas addicts. While it was current at the time it was written, a lot of it is now completely outdated.  Much of what you read about may no longer exist.

Wednesday, March 26, 2003 – Day Six of Nine

Today we wake up at the Barbary Coast. We walked over to the Aladdin to use my $20 food credit from the tournament yesterday to get breakfast. Oh wait! I don’t have the credit with me. Stupid. That’s okay, lets go to the Bellagio for breakfast! Of course, it’s excellent as always.

Continue reading

After eating, I played Price Check in the Bellagio, win nothing. Go back to Barbary Coast and get on a losing streak. I try Hotline again,  no bonus, no nothing. Elvira, Tabasco, Monster Match – all give me nothing. Time for a nap!

On our way back to our room, I got some pictures of the topiary going on outside of Ballys.

topiary pig butt, ballys las vegas, nevada Ballys Topiary

I am not sure if  this is a dragon or a unicorn?

is it a dragon?  ballys - las vegas, nevada topiary butt - Ballys, Las Vegas, Nevada Topiary Camel, Ballys - Las Vegas, Nevada

We wake up and take a cab to Wild Wild West. I have always wanted to see this casino, plus it’s close enough to In-N-Out Burger for my mother to walk. We play in Wild Wild West; I win a whopping $15.

Over to our first In-N-Out experience ever! We didn’t like it. I wanted to love it after reading about it for so long, but I just didn’t love it. As my mother said “It’s no Binions, that’s for sure!”

We take a cab to The Mirage since we are seeing Danny Gans tonight. Before we go in, I play and win $70 on a Price Check machine and put it ALL back. All of it!

My mother had wanted to see Danny Gans so I got us tickets. She loved the show. I did not like it. My mother tells me that if I were older I would like it because I probably just didn’t “get” half of the stuff he did. I think it was more that I don’t think anyone should be making this much money doing other people’s material. Either way, she loved it, I didn’t.

Lose some more money and go to bed.

[Editor’s note: Danny Gans died six years after I went to see him.  I was actually in Las Vegas when he died.  At that point, he had moved his show to Encore, which did not even exist when I saw him in 2003.]

rest in peace danny gans sign outside wynnrest in peace danny gans sign encore danny gans rip