Our trip started with a win as we got to Milwaukee Airport 2 ½ hours early (thanks to 'L''s impatience) on Friday, 3/19 and checked in to receive exit row seats in row 11. We went to the local airport bar and grill and had a quick lunch/snack and a few drinks and I watched a little March Madness. We were flying Frontier non-stop and we left on time and everything went well and we landed in Vegas at 6:50 PM. Shuttled to the rental car facility where we were picking up a Full Size rental from Hertz. I could not believe on a Friday night how dead the center was. We were given a 2009 Nissan Ultima and we went to locate our vehicle. Unfortunately the car would not start so back to the desk where we were given a 2010 Toyota Camry LE with 300 miles on it. The Camry started so off we went to the Orleans where we were staying for the next 2 nights. Check-in was fairly quick and we were given a standard room on the 14th floor. We unpacked a few clothes from the carry on and headed to the casino. I went to the bar by the poker tables and played BP at the quarter level while 'L' played the slots in and around the bar. After about 2 hours we were both a little hungry so we got a subway roast beef foot long and split it and then walked the casino floor. We ended up at the WOF circular game and played this for about 20 minutes with no real wins. I told 'L' we were not getting too good of drink service so I went to the Alligator bar and began playing BP again. 'L' had seen some Kitty Glitter and Da Vinci Diamonds machines earlier and headed for those. We both held our own until about 1:30 AM when we thought it would be a good idea to head to bed. I ended the night down $130. I never knew where 'L' stayed but I know she came home a winner as she never touched her traveler's checks she brought with her.
Saturday, 3/20 (Birthday) - For some reason I wake up at 5 AM and cannot get back to sleep so I head down to the Poker Bar and begin with my daily Bailey's & Coffee. I play for about 2 ½ hours and not really getting any 4OAK's but I do hit full houses and flushes to keep my bankroll from dwindling too bad. I stop at the coffee shop and pick up a cup for 'L' and then head back to the room and wait for her to get ready. This ritual will continue through the entire trip. 'L' wants to plan a nice dinner and she wants to go to the Eiffel Tower restaurant for my birthday. However, we decide to travel downtown this morning and go to MSS which is our favorite place to go for gambling and drinking and never get to Paris and the Eiffel Tower. I will be reminded of this the entire trip. After arriving at MSS I head to the Boars Head Bar to see if my favorite bartender, Brian, is there. However, I come to find out he is in Cali on vacation. Go figure. So I play some JoB VP while drinking some more Bailey's & Coffee. I like to put $20 in a machine and see if I catch some good cards. If I don?t then I move to another machine. However, if my machine is hitting then I will cash out when I double my buy-in and put in another $20. Today was not especially a good day at the bar as I had only 2 Bailey's and Coffee which cost about $60 and decided to try the other machines on the floor. I enjoy playing the Treasure Chest 25 cent VP machines but they were not good to me so I tried the BP progressive with no luck. We decide it is time to leave MSS and head over to the Cal where we play the WOZ. Glinda has been good to me in the past here as I have won over $100 from her but she was absent today, maybe on vacation as well. So our downtown trek continued and our next stop was Binion's. We usually just walk through here but 'L' saw some slots she wanted to try so I played some BJ and 3-Card with the virtual dealers. I cashed out $38 from my $20 buy-in and went to the cashier's cage to cash the ticket. Across from the cashier was a 5 times WOF machine and I put in a twenty. Half way through my buy-in I get 5 X, red 7, red 7 for 600 quarters. I hit the cash out and go find 'L' who has had enough Binions and we leave and head for 4 Queens. I always have to try the VP 25 cent progressive back by Magnolias as this is the first place I ever hit a Royal in Vegas. Lightning was not striking this day at 4 Queens so off we go again. I had told 'L' earlier that El Cortez had $3 BJ and she was willing to try that so we head down to the El. The table did have 2 seats available at the end so we sat down for some light hearted BJ. This table is 2 deck 3:2 for $3 which are great BJ rules. 'L' buys in for a whopping $20 and I double her buy-in for $40. We have a great dealer and the table is cheerful and pleasant. Drink service is fairly good and after 4 gin and tonics I tell 'L' we need to start heading back to MSS. 'L' cashes for +$32 and I cash with +$24. It is getting to be about 4:30 PM and I do not want to get caught in traffic on I-15 so we head back to Orleans. Unfortunately traffic is getting slow so I jump off at Sahara and take Industrial back to Tropicana and back to Orleans. We head up to the room and freshen up and then go to Prime Rib Loft for Birthday Dinner. 'L' has the Prime Rib and I have the Salmon. We had the shrimp cocktail for appetizers. The food was excellent. I think $72 with drinks and tip which I did not think was bad at all. After dinner we just stayed at the Orleans and I played VP and Let-it-Ride while 'L' played the slots. As we were walking around the casino floor we heard a band playing at the Main Bar. We stayed here and listened to some great 70's, 80's and 90's music til about midnight and then called it an evening. When I tallied everything up I was down only about $112.
Sunday, 3/21 (moving day) - Up at 4:45 AM and down to the bar for Bailey's and Coffee and some BP VP. I do not do good here and the coffee, even with the Bailey's in it is bitter so I head for the Alligator Bar. Drinks are much better and the VP seems to be better as well. I last until 8 AM and then get a Seattle's Best for 'L' and head to the room. She gets ready and we pack the few things we took out of the bags and check out. 'L' pays the Prime Rib Loft bill and we load up the Camry. Since I was unable to bring travelers checks we head to a Wells Fargo branch bank on the corner of Decatur and Flamingo. As we pull into the location the bank has been closed but the ATM is still operational. I pull up and there is a person with a back pack walking around the back of the car. 'L' is rather nervous but another vehicle pulls up so I do my business and withdraw some funds and we head out to Rio. It is only about 9:45 AM but I try and register at the Platinum check in area (I am still Platinum until 3/31). Angelo is very nice but states a Non-smoking King high floor room in the Masquerade Tower is not available and to check back at 1 PM. We decide to visit Gold Coast and walk across the street. JoB still are 9/6 at the bar here so I play some at the bar while 'L' plays WOZ, Jaws, Kitty Glitter, and Big Ben. Her favorite is Scatter Magic with the witches. We last til about 11:30 and decide to eat lunch at the Gold Coast Buffet. It has your basics and is not bad for $7.95/person and I use points to pay for our meals.. We finish lunch and head back to the Rio. Angelo is at lunch but he has reserved the room (#33016) for us. Up to the room we go and unpack our luggage. We have a view of South Vegas and City Center and Aria. We head back down to the casino floor, 'L' likes the Rio games but I don't because the VP pay tables are terrible to say the least. However, I am the good husband and we play Survivor, WOZ, Monopoly, and others. I do play the 50-play and 100-play penny VP games. This is the quickest way for me to obtain Tier credits and preserve my bankroll. I do have this hit on a 50-play penny machine.
'L' comes over to me while I am playing VP and shows me a ticket for $69 she got off of Survivor where she was playing only 30 cents a spin. Unbelievable, I am playing $2.50 a spin and only get $62.50. I tell 'L' I want to see if the Palms has Avatar playing as I wanted to see this film while we were in Vegas and it was not playing at the Orleans. We walked over to the Palms and saw that the same movies that were playing at the Orleans were playing at the Palms which did not include Avatar. We stayed only about an hour at the Palms as the drink service was nil and void. Back over to the Gold Coast and 'L' let me play some more VP at the bar while she walked around the casino playing at Jaws, Gold Fish, WOZ, and a few others. I could tell 'L' was not having a good time so we departed back to the Rio (we walked between Rio, GC, and Palms). I ended the night playing on the 100-pay penny VP machine and 'L' was in the Masquerade casino playing several penny and nickel machines. We called it a night at about midnight. I am down about $460 for the day. I think some of the loss came with me trying the $1 Pinball and $1 21 machines with no luck.
Monday, 3/22 - Yes, I am up at 5 AM again and head to the casino floor and mainly play the 50 and 100-play VP machines. At 8 AM I get a coffee for 'L' at the Java Hut. There must be a convention at the Rio because there are about 10 people in front of me and people continue to line up behind me. Their tags have GAMA on it which I do not know what it stands for. Oh well, I get her coffee and off to the room I go. My funds are down so I decide to head to the Wells Fargo ATM (no debit card fees) and then we decide that downtown would be nice today and 'L' wanted to play some more $3 BJ (Oh No, I have created a monster). Who would have thought we would be El Cortez gamblers. Anyway, we start at MSS and go to the buffet for breakfast. We really enjoy the omelet chef who has been there for years. He has somewhat of a French accent and makes a killer omelet. 'L' wants a spinach omelet but they don't have that so she settles in for a onion, pepper, mushroom, tomato, and salsa one. Me, just bacon and cheese. The meal is very filling and we paid for it with points on 'L''s card. I head to the bar for some VP and 'L' heads to the penny slots. I think she tries White Water this time. The VP is not working for me so I go to the Let-it-Ride Table. I like Let-it-Ride but I really like MSS's game as they have the three card bonus from $1 - $50. Most tables that carry this bonus bet start at $5. My typical bet is $5 on each Let-it-Ride space, $2 on three card bonus, and the $1 on the Bonus bet. I usually buy in for $100 and see how the table is. Today I am not catching any cards on Let-it-Ride or 3 Card. I am down $62 and decide this is my last bet so I place $5 on the 3 card instead of $2. I am dealt the K,Q,J of spades, automatic $200 win on 3 card. I hold my first bet to see the dealers first card and she turns the 6 diamonds. I drag my center bet and the last card is the 10 of spades. Oh what could have been if that 6 had only been the A of spades. Oh well, $200 is good and I cash out and head to find 'L' who I give $40 to. We now head to El Cortez of course going through Cal and Binions and playing some along the way. When we get to the El our $3 table is full 'L' proceeds to find a kitty glitter and I go to the Jaws game. No Luck on Jaws so I try WOZ. Glinda evidently does not stay at the El so I try the VP games in the back. I am playing the JW and Deuces nickel machines and not getting anything. I go to the bar (where there is no bartender) and try my luck on BP. Again nothing. I find 'L' and she is not having any luck so we walk towards the front and the table is still full. 'L' is upset at me in that we did not get here soon enough to get her a seat. We head back and 'L' decides it is shopping time so we walk through several of the downtown trinket stores. That was a waste of 2 hours of good Vegas gambling time never to get back. Whose birthday trip is this supposed to be for? Oh well, back to MSS and 'L' wants a black chip so we go to 777 Brew Pub and she orders the Black Chip and I get a Michelob Ultra. We order the spinach and crab dip appetizer. We tell the waitress we will see if we order something else afterwards. We don't and can't because we are full. That was the best dip we have ever had and the bill came to a whopping $13. 'L' wants to play cards so she wants to join me at Let-it-Ride. We both sit down and I buy in for $70 as I feel this won't take long and 'L' buys in for $40. I ask 'L' if she knows and remembers how to play and she states she does. We go through the first hand am I have squadoosh and 'L' is pulling her bets back as well. When they turn over her cards she has a pair of 10's in her hand for an automatic winner but she said she got confused because she thought she needed Jacks so she lost $10. I berate her a little which I should not have and will pay for this for the next 2 days, my bad. We continue playing and I continue to lose where 'L' ends up winning about $40 over her buy-in. It is now getting a little late and we head back to Rio where we walk across to GC and take advantage of the Young at Heart promotion. We get our points and play a little and then walk back to the Rio where we finish up our gambling for the night and it is about 1 AM. I have lost about $415 today.
Tuesday, 3/23 - Up at 4:30 AM but I tell myself I am not getting up so I stay in bed until 5:15 AM. I do my normal 100 play penny VP routine. I will say that drink service early in the morning at Rio is somewhat non-existent even the bar maid talks to the bartenders the whole time and does not come down on the floor to serve the customers. Don't know if that is an HET thing or personal problem. This morning I head back to Wells Fargo without 'L' for my early withdrawal and then come back and get her coffee at the Java Hut, again a long line of conventioneers are there. Up to the room and decide to head to M where 'L' has never been before. We take I-15 to the turn off for the M and get 'L' signed up for her new card. I think the new member gift was a t-shirt or $5 free play. 'L' took the free play and proceeded to lose it in short order. We play some more machines but with no big wins and no drink service. 'L' gets bored so we leave and head to Orleans where they are having their Young at Heart promotion today. As part of their promotion each person gets a matinee movie for $4, 2 for 1 buffet, and 5X points. We play a few games before it is time to see The Bounty Hunter. Cute movie but I wanted to see Avatar. After the movie we had the lunch buffet and the food was hot and overall good. Price was definitely right as I paid for the remainder of the bill with points. After lunch we played Star Wars, Jaws, White Water, and I played VP at the Poker bar in back. Today I was getting several 4OAK. I went to the Let-it-Ride table and played the Let-it-Ride bets and Bonus but not the $5 3 card bet. First 5 hands I had four 3 card winners but nothing on Let-it-Ride. So next hand comes I bet the 3 card bet and of course lose. I don't bet the 3 card bet and the next 2 hands come up 3 card winners. I bet the next two 3 card bets and lose. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr. I quit and drag myself to the VP game at the Alligator Bar. My luck with the 4OAK's continues as I hit two more. 'L' finds me and says she is losing money and she has a severe headache and thinks we need to head back to the Rio. It is 6:30 PM so I say fine and off we head. 'L' decides that her headache is just too painful that all she wants to do is go up to bed and I take her to the room. I get a cold compress fixed up for her and she lays down. I head back to GC as I want some good VP and I feel today is my day. I sit at the main bar; the smaller one does not have full pay games. I am playing for about 1 ½ hours and moving from game to game and settle in at machine #1587. I am up and down with my $20 when I am dealt K clubs, Q clubs, A clubs, J spades, J clubs. I discard the J of spades and this is what came up.
You want to scream and rejoice but you don't know anyone and with TITO no one ever knows. So I cash out and put in another $20 and play it down to $10 to see if I will get any more wins. Nope, we are done. I cash in my tickets and head back to the Rio and up to the room. 'L' is still there with TV on, lights out, and compress on her head. I tell her I came back to get into the vault which she thinks means I need to get more money. I tell her No, to put money in and show her my winnings. I give her $200 and place the rest in the vault. I tell her I am just going to gamble a little more and head back to the casino (Rio). I spend the rest of the night trying the 25 cent pinball and 21, as well as the Jackpot Party, Survivor, Let's Make A Deal, Top Dollar, and 50 & 100 Play VP. It is midnight before I know it and decide to head up to the room. I ended the day up $972 (I gave $200 to 'L' or I would have been up almost $1,200).
Wednesday, 3/24 - This is our strip day or so it is suppose to be. 'L' wants to have her crepes at the Paris buffet so that is where we will start out at. Of course I wake at 4:45 AM and go down to the casino to see if I can find someone who will serve me my Bailey's & Coffee. I am semi successful in that I have three before I head back to the room with 'L''s coffee. She gets ready and off to Paris we head. The Paris Buffet is pretty expensive but the food is fabulous as far as the crepes and omelets are concerned. We have the blueberry crepes with raspberry coating on top. I have hash browns and bacon along with coffee and orange juice. 'L' has red potatoes, fruit, and croissant with coffee and grapefruit juice. We paid with total rewards credits. We played the sit down circular two people on a bench WOF game at the front and did not win. So off we went to Planet Hollywood. 'L' did not have a card so I went back to the slot club with her and turned mine in for a new one and found out I had $14 in free play. I played it through a 3 Play nickel VP machine and turned the $14 into $11.25 real money and cashed out. Drink service was nonexistent at Planet Hollywood. In fact, I had to laugh as 'L' tracked down a cocktail waitress to come and serve us. We walked down to MGM and went in but only looked at the Lions. We came back out and 'L' decided to shop at the M&M store and Walgreens. Her sunglasses broke so she was on a mission to replace them which we were successful in finding at Walgreens. We walked back to Bills and then got our car and headed to Silverton. I heard there were $3 BJ tables for 50 and older people from 10 AM - 2 PM at Silverton. We tried to find these tables but were unsuccessful and played a few other games but left in short order. I knew Sam's Town had the Young at Heart promotion but we were meeting Rider and ekim at McFadden's at 4:30 PM so we headed back to the Rio. It is about 2:30 PM now and we went up to the room and cleaned up and then came back down and gambled a little. We got to McFadden's at about 4:15 PM and pulled a square table over to our round table. Unfortunately, Rider and ekim must have had other things going on and we all were unable to get together. Maybe another time. 'L' ended up ordering the shepherd's pie and I had the fish and chips. 'L' had a Guinness and I had an Ultra. The food was great. We stayed mainly by the Rio and went to the Palms and GC. The last time I had been to the Rio the Let-it-Ride table had been $5 but it never got below $10 the whole 5 days we were there and the GC does not have a Let-it-Ride table. We finally went to bed around midnight and I end the day down $238.
Thursday, 3/25 - This is another downtown day and BJ and Let-it-Ride time. I get up at 5:15 this morning and head to the casino floor. I was able to get 2 Bailey's & coffee's before heading back to the room with 'L''s coffee from Java Hut. She gets ready and we head downtown by way of Industrial since there is an accident on I-15. We have the breakfast buffet at MSS and omelets are the meal of the day for both of us. I head to the Boar's Head Bar and get two 4OAK's and 2 Bailey's and Coffee right off the bat. Of course I give 'L' the scratch cards. The machine slows down so I head to my Treasure Chest machines and try them. 'L' joins me and tries her hand at max coins. This is out of character for her but with $200 new dollars in her pocket I think she is getting a little adventurous. She does get a full house and cashes out right away. I play a little longer and get four 3's. My treasure chest is only 140 coins though. I think Kiddo said that she hit the $1,199 chest one time. Or maybe I am dreaming she said that. Anyway, the DDB Progressive is over $1,300 so I sit at this game and put in $20. Half way into my buy in and I get 4 Kings for 250 credits. Another scratch card for 'L'. Time to try Let-it-Ride. I buy in for $70 and lose $40 in short order so we are out of there. Back to El Cortez and on the way down Fremont we see big haulers turning down towards the Cortez. We ask one of the drivers what is going on and they say they have 300 vehicles that will be racing in the desert on Saturday and they are setting up to have exhibits and the vehicles for a show on Friday. We make it to El Cortez and guess what, the table is full We stay around playing some games and then check back and the table is still full. We head back down Fremont and 'L' does some more shopping and I go to the Fritz for some WOF and penny 5 times. We finally get back to MSS and it is about 3 PM so we decide to hit up 777 Brew Pub for the black chip and spinach & crab dip. While we are eating 'L' tells me we have not been to the Riviera or Slots-A-Fun. She knows that Slots use to have $3 Let-it-Ride and I think that is what she is hoping that they are still playing. We park in the clown (CC) parking lot and walk through CC. We do not stop until we get to Slots. There is only one BJ table that is open and the craps table up front is not even open. Of course the Let-it-Ride table is closed as well so over to Riv we go. 'L' does not have a card so we head back to the slot club and get a new card for her and me. Since it had been so long since she had been there and she use to be on my card which they do not allow anymore, they gave her a new sign up and it was a choice of slot play ($5) or a free show. She took the comedy club. We went to the box office and paid $8 fee for 2 tickets to the comedy club at 10 PM that night. It is only about 5 PM so we walk to Sahara and visit there. We then walk down to Stratosphere and visit a little there and then walk back to the Riv. We make it back at about 9 PM so we play a few games. While we are playing we see security place a person in handcuffs and hold him for the Las Vegas police. We hear he was going around and taking peoples TITO's from their machines. 9:30 PM comes and we head upstairs to the show. There were about 35 people who were at the show. Kind of depressing as we remember the showroom being packed to the gills and this being one of the better comedy clubs back in the day (don't ask me what day). The MC was just OK and the first comedian really struggled. He had been on the Funniest Comedian show 3 times and I could see why he didn't win. The last comedian was pretty decent and kept the audience entertained but I never got to the point where I was crying because I was laughing so hard. Oh well, for $8 it was alright. Back to the Rio and to bed at 12:30 AM. Ended the day up $280
Friday, 3/26 - Today we are to leave to go back to Wisconsin. Our flight leaves at 6 PM so we want to get to the airport by 4 PM. I am up at 5 AM again and head to my 100 play machines but I also play the $1 pinball (lose $40). I was hoping the Let-it-Ride would be at $5 but the table was not even open. I head back to the room with 'L''s coffee and we pack the bags and go and check out. The is only the tip for McFadden's on the bill that we owe cash for and I pay this and we leave and get the Camry and head downtown (someone wants to play BJ for the final time). We stop at MSS and I play at the bar for a little while losing about $10 but having 2 more Bailey's & Coffee. I decide to play Let-it-Ride and 'L' joins me. The cards are not good for either of us so we leave and head towards El Cortez. Fremont is filled with off road vehicles advertising Mickey Thompson's race in the desert. We meander through the vehicle s and booths and 'L' is deciding whether she should buy some more items for the grandkids. I think we have enough gifts and are probably going to have to pay overweight charges. Fortunately 'L' agrees that she has bought enough and we finally end up at El Cortez. We are able to get seats at the $3 table and buy in for our $40 and $20. 'L' goes through her money pretty fast and becomes discourage and leaves the table while I remain and play longer. 'L' comes back about an hour later and states she has had enough so I cash out +$27 and we head back to get the Camry. We stop one last time for her black chip and the spinach and crab dip at 777 Brew Pub. It is about 2 PM so I tell 'L' we will go to Silverton and play until we need to be at the rental return. For some reason traffic was heavy (duh it is Friday dummy) and we make it to Silverton at 2:45 PM. We play some penny slots not winning or losing and had a few drinks and finally leave at 4 PM and return the car. Check in and security were fast and we are sitting at our gate by 4:40 PM waiting for our flight. At about 5 PM there is an announcement that our flight is over booked and they are giving $400 vouchers and a night stay and transportation to and from airport to anyone giving up their seat. I talk to 'L' and she agrees that leaving Saturday morning is better than arriving at midnight Friday so I put our names in and there is another person behind us who also offers up his seat. I go back and sit down thinking we will be called to the desk letting us know that we would be taking a different flight on Saturday but no announcement comes so we get in line to board at 6:10 PM. The gate agent tears my stub and then looks at me and states that I gave up my seat and to sit down and he would get the arrangements made after the plane was all boarded. We finally got our vouchers and he was going to have us stay at the Hyatt which is a partner of theirs but they were completely full. He stated he could get us into Arizona Charlie's and we said No way. He finally told us to book a room and he would write a check to us so we booked Mandalay Bay for $181. We cabbed it over to Mandalay Bay by way of the tunnel. I asked the cabbie why he took the tunnel and he pointed to Mandalay Bay and I told him I knew where it was and he said to miss all the stops. This is the reason I don't take cabs and rent a car. The only bad part about changing flights is our checked luggage went on to Milwaukee (all out toiletries and clean clothes) while we remained in Vegas. We checked into our room #7124 and then trammed down to the Excalibur. I hate walking through this casino as it is not laid out well. We finally escaped the Ex and walked over the bridge to NYNY where we decided to have one of their great slices of pizza and a cold Coors. We left NYNY and headed down to Walgreens where we picked up some essentials and new shirts and then back to Mandalay Bay. 'L' had wanted to see the strip at night and during the entire trip we had not been able to until now. I think with the walking and the crowds she was not impressed and maybe being a little tired and still having a headache had something to do with it as well. Back at Mandalay Bay we decide to play some slots hoping to get drink service but it is very scarce and 'L' goes looking for a waitress and finally finds one. We play til about midnight and finally call it a night. I end up down $250.
Saturday, 3/27 - We wake up at 6:30 and go for breakfast at the café. We have the basic eggs, toast and juice and coffee and then hit the casino for about 30 minutes before catching a cab at 8:30 AM back to the airport. I will say the cab driver was much better going back and his charge was $12 as compared to the $18 charge the night before. The gate agent for Frontier on Friday had already printed out our tickets for Saturday and we only had carryon luggage so we went through security in no time (no full body search either time) and were at our gate at 9:15 AM for our 10:15 AM flight. This flight was over booked as well but we decided we needed to be home instead of getting two more $400 vouchers. Flight back was uneventful and I snoozed most of the way.
I only spent ¼ of my budget on tips, gambling, and incidentals which I thought was pretty good and I know 'L' did not spend any of her traveler's checks and still had cash left over. We can't wait to go back. I think we have grown tired of the strip as it does not provide us the entertainment and fun it used to. We will never stay in Mandalay Bay again as the bed was terrible. Neither of us got a good night's sleep. I really had a great time playing at the tables with 'L'.