Wednesday, December 18, 2019

So I Guess I'm a Slot Player Now? - Final

Wednesday morning we got up about 9:00 and got showered up and headed downstairs to enjoy a 2 for 1 brunch buffet at Aria.  I gotta say it was just okay.  The selection was not as varied as I expected and the food was only of slightly above average quality.  The highlights for me were the fresh pineapple juice and the gelato.  If I had paid $40 per person for it I would have been a little miffed.

We checked out and headed back over to Bally's. I got into the afternoon poker tournament in the Bally's poker room.  I never take notes when I play and it's been too long for me to remember actual hands.  I remember I made it past the first break.  I remember that at least 4 or 5 people reentered the tournament.  I remember I shoved a suited ace with a short stack at the end and ran into pocket queens.  That was about 2.5 ish hours of my afternoon. 

After the tournament I dropped $100 or so on a few random slots and some video poker, then I made another pit stop in the CVS next door to Bally's to get some more drinks and snacks.  I grabbed another short nap before getting cleaned up for dinner. We decided to try to find something to eat at Venetian before heading across the street for Cirque du Soleil's Love.  We requested a Lyft and the first ride it offered me was in a driverless car.  I declined and went with a traditional Lyft, but kind of wish I had tried the driverless option. 

At Venetian we checked how long it would take to get a table at Trattoria Reggiano in the Grand Canal Shoppes. We opted not to wait the 45 minutes they estimated since we had a show to catch. We wandered around a little and considered Yardbird, but nothing on the menu tripped my wife's fancy, so we went with an old standby at the Grand Lux Cafe.  I got the pasta carbonara and my wife branched out and got some kind of bourbon chicken dish.  I think she thought it was going to have a bourbon glaze, but I think the bourbon part of the name referred to bourbon street as it turned out to have some cajun spice to it.  We were both very happy with our choices.

We were going to order a Lyft to cross the street to Mirage since it was raining, but the rideshare pickup at Venetian was very hard to find and then very confusing once we did find it.  I pointed out that it didn't seem to be raining at the time, so we just walked across the street.  We found the theater and there was already a huge queue of people waiting to get into the show, so we joined them thinking they must be about to open the doors.  We wound up standing in that very hot and uncomfortable line for another 20 minutes at least. So pro tip....if you go to see Love don't bother showing up until about 10 minutes before the scheduled start time. 

The show was phenomenal.  Our tickets cost $185 even with a discount, but it was worth every single penny.  We were seated about halfway up in the lower section which turned out to be almost a perfect vantage point.  The show is so well crafted and flows seamlessly from one song to the next.  There was really only one lull near the end of the show when they showed an extended video of the Beatles performing a song. I think it was to allow all of the cast to change costumes.  Aside from that it was pretty much nonstop performances. 

I don't want to give away any of the surprises built into the show, but even if you aren't a huge Beatles fan you will enjoy it.  So many thrilling, touching, funny, entertaining parts that I wanted it to just keep going on and on.  I've always been too big of a cheapskate to spend the scratch to go see a Cirque show in the past.  I'm now trying to decide which to see next time I'm in Vegas.  I'll definitely budget for tickets to Mystere, KA, O, or maybe the new'ish Michael Jackson show One.  (I've heard Zumanity is awkward and uncomfortable, so I'm not really interested in that one.)

Our flight home left the next morning around 9 AM which meant a relatively early departure for the airport.  We got back to the hotel a little after midnight.  My wife went straight to bed, but I just couldn't picture myself going to bed without gambling a little more on my last night in town.  I headed down to the casino with an eye towards playing some kind of table game or poker, but I couldn't bring myself to play blackjack for $15 a hand with their crappy rules.  I almost jumped into a 3 card poker game, but reminded myself how bad the house edge on that is.  The poker room had a list, so I opted for some more slots.

There was nobody sitting at the Autumn Moon Dragon Link game near the poker room that had the maxed out $1,000 major jackpot all week.  I put in $100 and started playing $1 a spin at the 1 cent denomination. I pretty quickly got a hold and spin that paid about $80. I got one or two more bonuses and was approaching $300.  I told myself if I got above $300 I would switch to the 10 cent denomination so the mini and minor would go from $10 and $50 to $100 and $500. I can't remember too many details of how I got there but I wound up cashing out at just over $600 for a $500 profit.

I played a little while longer on a few other slots like the piggy bank lock it link and my other new favorite, Dancing Drums.  I wound up giving about $100 of my profit back and then headed to bed. 

My wife makes fun of me for it, but I use the notes feature on my phone to keep pretty fastidious notes of every penny I spend and all of my gambling wins and losses.  That way I can definitively say if I turned a profit or not for the trip.  After all was said and done I was up about $150 for the trip on gambling. If I had avoided the poker rooms altogether I would have been about $500 up for the trip  With food, drinks, snacks, show tickets, and transportation charges I wound up bringing home about two thirds of the money I had budgeted that I was willing to spend/lose.  So all in all a very fun and pretty successful trip from a gambling standpoint. 

I'm already planning the next trip for the week of Memorial Day in May.  This time it will be me and my two sons who will be making their very first trip to sin city.  I played just enough slots to earn some comped rooms from MLife at their bottom tier resorts so we will be sharing a room in the resort tower at Excalibur for just the cost of the resort fees.  I'm hoping if I give them some more play when we are there I might be able to get them to refund some of the resort fees too.


  1. never used the driverless Lyft because if u feel like its about to have an accident, what do u do? nothing? or frantically try to grab the wheel and move to safety

    1. I looked up a video on YouTube of somebody getting a driverless Lyft. I think it's a pilot program right now because the car had an actual person in the front passenger seat with a laptop computer. So it wasn't completely unmanned. I would assume they would intervene somehow if an accident was imminent.

  2. The last time my wife went with me to Las Vegas, we went to see Mystere. We both thought it was okay, but I'd have rather spent the money on something else. I've heard that O is over the top great, but it is the most expensive and you need to get tickets well ahead of time.

    It sounds like you did well at slots. I just haven't won much in the past few years. I tend to like the slots at Orleans best.

    My next trip is scheduled for Feb 9-14. Maybe I'll try the driveless Lyft then.

  3. Thanks for this series - very enjoyable read.