Trip Report, March 4-8, 2001

I did not carry my microcassette recorder on this trip, so I only will review the high spots. I arrived LAS about 2 p.m., stopped into Vacation Village, spun, won a buck, played the matchplays and my LVA coupon. I then headed out to Jean for my first night at the Gold Strike-a freebie mailed to me for joining their slot club.

Gold Strike now has a ?no-tell? comp policy, the absolute opposite of what it used to be. Got a hilarious response to my question, 'But how much coin-in does it take to earn one point?'

'There is no answer to that question. It cannot be determined.'

Good for a laugh, anyway. I did hit the Gold Strike Steak House, using the 50% off LVA coupon. Excellent skewered shrimp special, including soup (nice, RICH lobster bisque) and great sourdough bread, $20 including a $5 tip. Not bad. I also used 1 comp point the next morning for the breakfast special, which was fine. I checked out and got a bill for $0.00.

Headed downtown to check in to the El Cortez. My one-night room charge was $23 for a room up the stairs in the old hotel. Kinda shabby, but recently redone baths that are just fine. I headed out on a coupon run; my best hit was winning three out of four $25 matchplays from the coupon book for a quick profit of $125...three times the cost of the book.

I played $10 BJ for about an hour and half back at the El in hopes of getting a Roberta's comp. I was given a coffee shop (for one) instead, had the Porterhouse, which was pretty good, lousy blue cheese dressing. Both the El's restaurants have been remodeled and they both look 1000% better.

I also successfully played for a $100 jackpot on a slot in order to get a 'Season's Pass' or some such; they take your picture and I believe send a standing offer for three nights once every quarter, plus a comp to Roberta's. This is a huge deal if you don't mind staying at the El.

The help at the El was awful at the front desk, pleasant for slot and food and beverage, and indifferent at the tables and in the pit. I had fun tipping the change girls a buck every once in a while; you could tell it was a rare event atn the El.

Checked out and then over to the Golden Nugget for two nights. It was my birthday and I told them so at check-in; I netted Room 777, which was nothing special, but made me feel lucky anyway. Ate lunch at Boulder Station; they no longer offer a free lunch on your birthday, you get a free dessert and cheesy T-shirt instead. I would have passed had I known before I went that the free meal had been discontinued. Jean Scott's advice is good: before hitting a promotion, CALL FIRST.

It didn't help that I got killed at Boulder's VP after lunch. To add insult to injury, I then hit the Golden Gate and played the 2 for 1 BJ coupon for an hour. Only bet dimes (you are allowed to bet up to $25/hand) and it was a good thing: I finished down $200 and had only two blackjacks in about fifty hands.

I tried to get a free birthday dinner at Magnolia's, the coffee shop at the Four Queens - had read somewhere this was another standing promotion - but the best the slot club could do was a 2 for 1 entrée coupon. Being alone, I passed.

Saw two great shows: De La Guarda at the Rio and Blue Man Group at Luxor. Highly recommend both, with a slight edge to De La Guarda. Amazing, innovative theater unlike anything I've ever experienced, and a steal at $45. It won't be that cheap for very long - get there before they jack up the price.

Great trip. The travel portion was hard and I think I'll pay extra for nonstops next time. Thanks for reading all my slop...