Saturday (1/13/07)

The drive to Vegas was uneventful and easy - left home at 11am and pulled into The District at Green Valley Ranch at 3:20pm. I went to Panera and had half a Panini sandwich with a bowl of soup. Both were good and it also came with a baguette.

For those of you that don't know, Panera offers free wi-fi so I also took advantage of that. I wanted to place a couple of wagers for the NBA games that evening but their firewall doesn't allow access to any gambling related websites.

After finishing my lunch, I drove to Fiesta Henderson and checked in. I love the fact that it only takes about 10 minutes between the time you park your car and get to your room. I was staying there on a mailer for 1 free night, $5 match play, $10 free slot play, and 3x points.

First stop was a blackjack table to use my POV $25 MP which I won. I lost my $5 MP and played for about a half-hour before cashing out even for that session.

The Eagles/Saints game was starting so I found a MG/MD upright next to the sports book bar and started playing $.25 8/5 BP. I usually like bartops but they were full, however I could see the televisions no problem from where I was sitting.

I put in $20 and held my own for quite a while including being dealt 3 aces three times and a couple full-houses. Then I was dealt 3 aces again and drew the fourth ace for a $100 win. Cashed out that ticket and put another $20 back into that machine and within minutes I was dealt a 4OAK and cashed that $70 ticket out also. Put a couple more $20s back in and just played casually while watching the game.

At half-time I went upstairs and tried the 3-play 9/6 JOB progressives next to the buffet. Dropped $60 without getting too much play so I went back to the sports book and played some 7/5 BP on the bartops. If you like good beer, their draft selection is excellent - Fat Tire, Gordon Biersch, Guinness, Widmer Heffeweisen, etc. I hit a few full-houses and got quite a bit of play for my $60.

The Eagles ended up covering the spread so that offset my losing bet on the Ravens earlier. My heart was with the Saints but my wallet was with PHI, so it worked out perfectly.

I played some more blackjack but lost back $100 fairly fast because I couldn't get any decent cards. It seemed like the dealer only busted once or twice for the 20 minutes I played. Not much you can do when that happens.

It was after 9pm and time to grab some dinner. I went to the Baja Beach Café and had the Feel Good Soup which was really tasty with the steamed wontons, noodles, chicken, spinach, and mushrooms - way too much to finish it all. It was $8 with an iced tea (paid with points).

I decided to play some triple-play $.05 BP and played over a half-hour on $20. This game is really fun but I couldn't hit any 4OAKs this session. That would be it for my first day.

Sunday (1/14/07)

Woke up and had the Deuces Wild breakfast for $2.99 at the Baja Beach Café. Total bill with coffee was about $5.50 - (paid with points). It will be a big improvement when the food court opens next fall because right now there aren't any options for a quick bite or cup of coffee.

Check-out was quick and easy then I headed over to Main Street Station to play VP at the Boars Head Bar and watch the Bears/Seahawks game. Jose, one of my favorite bartenders, mixed up some great Bloody Mary's while I was playing some $.25 JOB. Didn't hit much and was down $80 at half-time.

My session during the second half was a little better and I hit two 4OAKs - both scratch cards were for $2 (used as tips for bartenders). The amber ales really hit the spot. After the great finish to the playoff game I said farewell to Jose and left to check in at the California. Lost $30 total for about 3.5 hours of play. BTW, the free wi-fi at the players club wasn't working.

I was staying at the Cal on their 'Grand Beginnings' mailer - 2 rooms for 4 nights max, triple points, and $40 in food vouchers. I checked in around 2pm but the room wasn't ready so I had to come back later for the key. I went over to the players club and picked up the food vouchers.

Played some short pay 7/5 BP bartops and lost $20 while watching the first half of the Chargers/Patriots game. At halftime I grabbed a teriyaki beef bowl ($5 - used voucher) at the snack bar - the beef was pretty good but they didn't give you enough with the rice.

I went back to check-in for the room key, then to the garage to get my belongings. Watched the second half of the game while resting in the room. I had the Pats at +5 so I was quite happy with the outcome.

The room was pretty nice with newer carpet and appeared to be recently remodeled - overall better than Fiesta Henderson. However, the beds don't compare to the ones at MSS. They also only give you around 8 TV channels but that's not a big deal to me.

I headed out to Binions to sign up for their players club and use the POV coupon for $10 of free play. They gave me a key chain with a casino chip attached to it but the free play would take up to 72 hours to be activated. I'll probably use that on my next trip.

Walked up to El Cortez to use my POV coupon for $10 free play. While waiting in line at the players club, a little boy got yelled at by the boothie for playing with the raffle drum. This trip I noticed more kids than usual at the downtown properties. I wonder if they were locals going to the buffets or with ignorant parents staying there on vacation? Played some $.25 9/6 JOB for a while and left when the free play ran out.

Stopped at Golden Nugget to grab a Starbucks ($4) and walk through the casino. I love the feel of the place and their new lounges also looked great. However, the 6:5 blackjack and horrible VP paytables ruined it for me. They must think they are a strip property with those kind of games.

Went back to the California and played some $.25 8/5 BP and started out with a dealt flush on the very first hand. This particular machine (#1747) would end up treating me pretty well over the next couple of days. I played for a couple of hours and then was dealt a straight flush! It was about 9:30pm so I cashed out and went for dinner.

I went to the diner and sat at the counter next to a very nice gentlemen from Kauai. When dining on my solo trips I usually sit at the bar or counter. It's a great way to meet other people and have a nice conversation over your meal. I had the famous $6.99 prime rib special and iced tea ($9 - used voucher) but couldn't even finish the meal. I ended up giving the dessert to my new friend from Hawaii.

Played some more $.25 BP and had a 4OAK after a while before cashing out. Then I went to the upstairs casino and played the $.05 7/5 BP progressives and hit 4-aces for a small profit. Time to go to bed.

Monday (1/15/07)

Had French toast, bacon, and coffee for breakfast at the diner ($8 - used voucher). Went to the parking garage and nearly froze while going to my car. It was around 33F with some wind to make it even worse. On the news they were showing ruptured water lines at people's homes around Vegas because it was in the 20s at night.

I took Charleston all the way to Red Rock and used the self-parking. Stopped for gas on the way and used a $30 Visa rebate card from Cingular to fill up.

I had been to RR once last summer but didn't spend much time in the casino. My wife really likes this place so my plan was to sign up for the players club and give them some play in hopes of getting some rooms specials for our anniversary trip in July.

Red Rock is such a beautiful property and I enjoyed just walking around for a while and soaking everything in - good background music, interesting architecture/décor, nice restaurants, etc. I don't think I saw a cocktail waitress or restaurant hostess that was below a 7 - very impressive for a Monday morning. I still remember from August how good the 'talent' was around here on a Friday evening.

I signed up for the players club and received $10 in free play. I started with $100 and just wandered around the casino playing different VP machines. I played for a couple of hours and cashed out +$20 after hitting 4-aces on 8/5 BP. Also had a bloody mary but it wasn't as good as Jose's at MSS.

Now it was time to use my POV $5 MP coupon at SunCoast. It worked out perfectly - doubled down on my MP hand and was up $15. Then played a bit longer and cashed out +$25.

My SunCoast profit would be used to fund the POV $25 MP coupon at Rampart. My plan was to win the MP and keep playing $25 hands and pressing to try for a nice profit. So much for my great plan - I lost on a 17 to the dealer's 20. Since I was here, I decided to play some VP. The Round Bar (inside Rampart) is one of my favorite place to play bartops - great bartenders and full-pay machines. Had a couple Sam Adams and cashed ahead $40 after a half-hour.

Drove back to the California had lunch again at the snack bar (used voucher) and played VP the remainder of the afternoon. The highlight for this session was switching from $.25 8/5 BP to $.50 and hitting 4-aces for a $200 payout. This trip I really like playing BP because I hit 4-aces a few times and now prefer it over JOB.

I started to feel a cold coming on and went to the room to rest for a couple of hours. After that I went to my favorite VP machine but this time it wasn't treating my very nice. I lost $100 pretty quickly and stuck in another $100 and almost lost that but cashed out for $50.

Now it was around 7pm and I decided to play a little blackjack to kill some time before dinner. I bought in for only $40 because blackjack hasn't been that great to me that past few trips. I was never up more than $40 during the first hour but was enjoying the company of the other players at the table.

We got a new dealer at 8pm and I was back to my original $40 while the other players started to leave the table except for myself and one other guy - a restaurant valet from Honolulu. A third player bought in and the table instantly got hot. We started pressing our bets and my pile of chips was growing rapidly - also changing from red to green.

On one hand I had a blackjack with a $50 bet and the valet split his jacks - the other player and myself made eye contact and shook our heads. Of course the valet was given a queen and king for two winning hands. After the dealer busted we just started hollering and high-fiving each other - what a blast! I normally don't get too animated but we were having way too much fun.

Right after that the pit boss came over and switched out the cards. I reduced my bets to $10 for a while before trying once more to press and make some more money. I lost a couple of hands, while betting $25, and decided to cash out (+$380) before I gave it all back. Tipped the dealer $10 and then asked the pit boss for a meal comp. She gave me a $10 comp for the diner.

I went to the diner and had a club sandwich and an iced tea ($9 - used voucher) for dinner. The sandwich was very good and hit the spot after barely eating since breakfast. I finished up with the $.05 BP progressives and then called it a night to get some rest and hopefully avoid the cold that I could feel creeping in.

Tuesday (1/16/07)

Woke up feeling OK, but not great ,and had a quick breakfast in the diner. The coffee was mediocre this morning and the omelet had too much cheese ($8 - used comp). Check out was quick and I was on the road by 8:30am. I used Charleston to access I-15 to avoid the mess on the 95/15 interchange during rush hour. Traffic was slow until Tropicana but nothing like L.A. traffic. Stopped in Victorville for a Starbucks and was home at 1:00pm.

The best part of my trip was picking my son up at school later that afternoon and going to Chuck E Cheese for pizza and games. I love my Vegas trips but coming home to my family is even better. Thanks for taking the time to read my trip report and let me know if you have any questions.

Gambling: +$220
Food/Drinks: $13 (Panera and Starbucks)
Rooms: $0
Tips: around $40
Gas: $35 (at home before trip, used rebate card in Vegas)

Total for 3 day trip: +$132