This was our first trip in about nine months -- since the birth of our baby. This was our
first trip away from her, and we probably should've picked a place where we could try to
catch up on sleep. But we picked Vegas instead, and glad we did!
We never like reading about plane flights, so suffice to say, we arrived -- 10 a.m. Tuesday.
We picked up our rental car and headed to Caesar's, knowing we'd be having lunch at Joe's
Stone Crab (a branch of the famous Miami eatery). We had about 30 minutes to kill before
the restaurant opened, but Caesar's has never been overly kind to us in terms of payouts.
But PB started playing the dollar slots anyway. He put $20 in a Double Diamond, cashed
it out at $12, and moved to another favorite, Five Times Pay. On the first $2 pull, he hit for
$1,500! A great way to start the trip. We got paid and headed to lunch at Joe's. Be sure to
try the Key Lime Pie for dessert -- you can even get half slices and order more than one.
We walked over to Bellagio -- one of our favorite casinos -- and played Keno, $1 and $5
slots. Didn't hit anything. Headed to the $10 blackjack, where the tables were packed. We
played a while before cashing in, just about $10 down each.
We headed to the Stardust to check in. We've stayed at many places on the strip (Bellagio,
Venetian, Four Seasons, Stardust) and off the strip (Palace Station, Hard Rock). Stardust is
a sentimental favorite, because DK's parents honeymooned there 43 years ago. We got a
good deal for 3 nights -- $45/comp/$45 -- but were disappointed that we couldn't check
in at 3 p.m. (hotel booked solid, with a blackjack tourney taking place). So we hung out at
the pool, though it was a little chilly and windy. Once we finally got a room (it was fine,
nothing fancy), we went and placed a bet on that night's NIT semifinal and played a little
Keno before going to dinner.
Now, we love going to Vegas to eat. We decided to splurge this trip, since it was our first
in many months. We had dinner at Fiamma Trattoria in the MGM Grand - fabulous! Played
the slots there - always a losing proposition for us at that casino. And, that tradition
continued. We headed back to the Dust for a few more slot pulls before turning in.
Up at 6 a.m., out the door at 7 a.m. for breakfast at Bouchon in the Venetian. But not
before hitting Stardust Keno pick 4 for a cool $176 win. Bouchon is in the new tower, the
Venezia. Very nice. Restaurant was great -- PB had quiche for breakfast and DK had
cinnamon oatmeal and a chocolate croissant. We needed the fortification, since we
planned to go down and lose money at the Venetian (and we did just that, on slots).
We then went over to Texas Station for some off-strip video poker, but it was dead over
there and nothing was paying off. From there we stopped off at Palace Station for some
Manhattan Clam Chowder at the Oyster Bar (top notch and a good buy). We both tanked
on roulette. Station Casinos really seem to have tightened up over the past couple of years
-- we even had 2 employees comment on how few and far between the payoffs are! Our
theory is that it has something to do with offsetting the cost of Station expansions at
Green Valley and Red Rock Canyon.
Then it was off to Bellagio to check out the Patisserie and chocolate fountains (love that
food!), and we split gelato to keep us going into the afternoon. Played Keno and hit the
dollar slots for a while with no payouts before heading over to the Luxor for a quick visit.
We hadn't been there in about four years and we hoped for some good luck. Checked out
the Keno hall, which was really dead, but we ended up winning $120 on 4 spot game in
about 20 minutes of play. Lost $20 at roulette before heading to MGM again for dinner at
Fiamma (yes, 2 nights in a row). Played Texas Tea and Wheel of Fortune without success.
Our last day, we had breakfast at the Grand Lux Cafe in the Venetian (we hit it every trip
-- big portions and good tasting), then headed to Green Valley Ranch. Nothing doing at
roulette, but we did hit a paultry $100 in the Fortunado $1 slots area. Played a little video
poker to pass the time before checking out the pool area and heading to Bellagio for lunch
Luck returned that afternoon, as we hit $300 at the 25-cent Lucky Wheel game. Back to
blackjack, where we managed to keep our shirts in spite of too many 12's and 13's to
count. No luck on the $1 or $5 slots. Headed to New York New York for a drink at Nine
Fine Irishmen (a little pricey, when you can get beer free on the floor). Hit $160 on the Five
Times Pay dollar slots, then another $50 at Wheel of Fortune. Dinner that night at Bouchon
(good desserts, casual service and not pretentous) before heading back to the Stardust. We
won on our NIT finals sportsbook bet, made probably $150 on the $1 slots and had fun
listening to an Elvis impersonator performing in the lounge. We suspect life as it is known
today at the Stardust is probably short-lived, with that end of the strip taking off with
Wynn and other development.
Left the next morning on the 6 a.m. - for the first time in many trips, finally going home
up, by about $1,200. Hopefully, we'll be back this fall!