The last one and probably the longest one.
Thursday morning we woke up a little earlier than needed. We were checking out and of course had to be out by 11am, but decided to be up just a little earlier since we needed to head over to the Tix 4 Tonite place to get Penn and Teller tickets. We were down at the front desk a little after 10am in hopes that we could get comped something. I had charged a buffet to our room but hoped we could get some more. It took a little time to get someone that would make the call, and sure enough, just the buffet was comped. Our time at the roulette table was just not long enough, but we still were winners at the Aladdin which is what counts.
We left the bags at the bell desk and it was a quick walk to the Hawaiian market where the closest Tix 4 Tonite place is at. Now I have to say, without a shadow of a doubt, the VIP pass is a must. You get a $1 off but it does save time. That time can make a difference if there's a show you really want to see. Last thing you want is to be in line for an hour and reach the front to see your show sold out(which almost happened to us last time). So again, I highly recommend the VIP pass and you can find them anywhere on vegas forums. You always save time.....EXCEPT THIS TIME!
Here we are, in the VIP line, waiting for place to open up. Like always, there are people hoping to get the big Cirque de Soleil shows or Celine Dion, but opt out for Phantom of the Opera or something else. Doors opens up and immediately, the VIP line was shorter. Then after a few more people, the line seems to shut down. The TVs that have the shows, times and prices went blank and no one was moving. We were then told that the problem was with the servers and would only take a few minutes. Few minutes later, line started moving. Sure enough, ten minutes later, same thing happened. We were only three people away from the counter, and we saw how far behind we would have been without the VIP passes. The new thing at Tix 4 Tonite is the $2 voucher for discounted food. Some of the restraunts/buffets are available at a discount with these $2 vouchers. We decided to take two them for the Rio Carnival buffet which is rated well and we're going to be at the Rio anyways for the show. We reach the counter, tell the guy what we want and, you guessed it, the servers went down. He said it would be a few minutes, which ended up being about an hour. I didnt want to leave since we were right there and the closest other half price place with near the MGM Grand and we could be sure that we were going to get tickets. Everyone was upset and they tried to calm people down while other people slowly left. About half an hour into the wait, a tech guy came in, took out his laptop and started working. Apparently, all the Tix 4 Tonite places were down and no one was getting tickets. Not long after, another tech guy showed up and started working as well. They really had no idea what was going on and after all the talking, they found out that some other places were coming back up. Our choices at that time were to keep waiting in hopes that they'll be up and running, or give them a credit card and have them order tickets at the Fashion Mall location, only to pick them up later. Much to our annoyance, we decided to put our order in and go to the Fashion Mall.
With that, we made preparations to take the bus to the Fashion Mall. To cheer ourselves up, I suggested we order some smoothies at the ice cream shop right next door to Tix 4 Tonite. They make such great smoothies there and is a must stop for anyone buying tickets next door. After the pit stop, we took the bus to the Fashion Mall. Traffic wasnt that bad so we got there fairly quickly. The Tix 4 Tonite is right in the front part of the mall and it was just a matter of going into the VIP line, signing for and picking up the tickets. After all was said and one, it was after 2pm and we could finally get our bags at the Aladdin and head to the MGM Grand.
Bags in hand, we took a taxi to the Grand. Like always, I have my $20 ready when we check in. Unlike my last time at the Grand, I really couldnt get a look at the people working the desk and fine that one person with the shifty eyes. Instead, I was shown to a line by a person tending to the lines and this lady who was checking us in must not have had much experience with the $20 chick. I have her the credit card/ID with the $20 in the middle, with the hint about getting an upgrade. She was about to say something along the lines of "Well that's not..." which was quickly followed with "IS THIS FOR ME??" with the $20 shown for all to see. With a smile I said yes it was and since this is my buddy' s first time in Vegas, I would greatly appreciate any upgrade available. She was excited but said all she can do was give me a room with a view, and I asked for something near an elevator which she said wouldnt be a problem. My average is .750 with this strikeout at MGM Grand.
The room was average, slightly rennovated from what I remember of MGM rooms last year(maybe just a change of bedding). We settled for a bit and went for some more roulette to see if MGM Grand can help brighten our day a little. Oh and the MGM Grand, she was nice to us. Another nice run, hitting four of our numbers in a row, netted us a profit of $400(should have left earlier but decided to keep running). We felt very satisfied now, especially since the floor manager rejected us for being rated since we were only betting $12 a spin. We won our own comps thank you very much. After that, it was around 5pm and time to head to the Rio for the Penn & Teller show which started at 9pm
At the Rio, we stopped first at the box office to trade in our vouchers for actual tickets. We then tried to find the buffet which is a little confusing since there are two buffets in opposite sides of the casino. Of course, we went to the wrong one and showed up at the Village seafood buffet. We traveled back to the main lobby when we saw this huge guy with two blonds on his sides. As he walked by, I had just noticed that it was Penn! His hair was down so it's easy to not recognized him immediately. I stopped in my tracks and my buddy did as well. He couldnt believe that Penn was that freakin tall(6'6"). We thought it was cool and left it at that. Not long after, we walked right by Robin Leach, who we believe was on the way to catch Penn(or so we joked about it). Finally, we found the Canival buffet and lucky enough, there was no line. I can say this for the buffet, there is a nice variety. While the spice market buffet at the Aladdin has food from like the MIddle East, the carnival buffet has a lot more variety in the more conventional cuisines(chinese, italian, american, japanese). Quality-wise, it was still average, nothing to really rave about. Solid value for the $18.99 we paid(usually $23.99). We still had about an hour before the show so it was time to gamble. I voted for video poker and my buddy decided to just watch. After some ups and down, I hit four Queens and double my $40 investment.
At the show, we saw another "celebrity". Actually he's a poker pro by the name of Richard Brodie. For those that arent familiar with poker, you may know him as the guy who created the red underline in Microsoft Word when you misspell a word. That's right, he's freakin rich. We didnt bother asking him for an autograph(I'm not a fan of being that kind of fan anyways). Our seats were on the Mezzanine(french for crappy) but we were in the very front row that oversaw everyone below us. They had a sign in sheet on stage where everyone was invited to sign. There was a two man band playing some jazz tunes and the show began. Penn & Teller do like to mix it up which is good. They show you how they do some classic tricks, also they do some tricks with a political message with them, and other times they're just trying to be funny. Teller has a great routine of doing his own tricks, while being completely silent, and showing how great he is at sleight of hand. Penn does a whole routine showing how easy it is to "cold read" or "hot read" a person thus proving that psychics are, as their show is call, Bull****. The envelope came into play when it had an answer to a random joke that a person in the audience chose. Funny enough, the guy kept turning pages when Penn wasnt looking but it didnt matter, the answer was the same. Only drawbacks of the show was the usage of two very old tricks. One really isnt a trick, it's the whole fire eating act that Penn does with a beautiful lady. The other is the magic bullet trick which has done plenty of times. In the end, we both enjoyed the show and it was worth the money. Afterwards, the two were signing autographs and taking pictures, and I really wanted to ask their opinion on the whole digging up of Houdini to prove he died of natural causes and wasnt murdered. But I decided against it.
We took a taxi to the MGM Grand and feeling a little magical, we hit up roulette again. With that magic feeling, we went on a roll and won another $300. MGM was very good to us today. It was then time for some poker and it felt like being back at home. My first poker game was here at the MGM Grand two years ago and it felt good to come back. I decided that I was not playing no limit anymore, and signed up for a $1/2 no limit game, and also a $60 sit-n-go(aka one table tourney). When I sat at my table, I had aces with a few hands. My mind immediately went through the craziness that I've had with Aces, losing three times with them to much weaker hands that got better. This time around, I was not going play around and raised it preflop, then all in after the flop. I got someone to call and when he saw my aces, I knew I had him beat and he never caught up. It was a very nice pot which I lost a portion of it on my next hand when a guy hit a set of jacks on the river. Still I survived with aces which is good.
My name was called for the sit-n-go, and with the pot I had won, I was able to buy in and still had a little profit. I enjoy SNGs online and decided to try at least one live SNG. The problem with SNGs is that they only start you off with a 1000 in chips and if you lose a pot after raising, you've lost a fair amount of chips and will need to go all in. After a dozen hands or so, I did go all in with Ace King when I hit my King on the flop. I was called by another player who had King six, giving him two pair on the flop. I sucked out at got the ace knocking him out of the process. While he was complaining about the constant suckout, I had to wonder what he was doing with a raised pot with King six. Nevertheless, next hand I raise, one guy calls and I hit the King high straight with my King Queen. The other guy goes all in before me and I call. He has an Ace and 10, and I'm feeling pretty good. That was until two more clubs come on the turn and river giving him the flush and knocking me out. I get up and sign up for $1/2 no limit again.
I sat down at a real crazy table. Not that the play was crazy, it was actually solid play. But one guy with a lot of chips leaves almost right after I show up, and another player takes his seat. This must have been the magical seat because this guy was taking all the money. He was easily over $500 within an our of sitting at his new chair. It was the sickest thing I've seen and even with my warnings of not messing with him unless you have the best hand, people still did and they constantly loss. My poker was really on and I was bluffing at the right spots and playing the part of the aggressive guy making strange raises until someone called me and I had the better hand. I finally had won some money in poker(about $100) and left when my buddy had busted out. We decided to eat at the finest place that was still open at 3am*cough* McDonalds *cough* and call it a night.
It was midafternoon when we woke up and got ready for our last official night of Vegas. We tried the roulette table but our luck had run out there and we lost $100 each. Poker was our main game for the day and the decision was to play at Treasure Island. TI's poker room is fairly new, with nice comps($2 an hour, twice that of other places) and they have a set of rules designed for fun. We got on the Duece at the MGM Grand and our driver kept on just filling the bus with more and more people at every stop. There was a loud ringing noise that everyone heard but no one knew what it was. The driver mentioned that it was the weight warning and we were a few hundred pounds over what we should be. We finally made it to TI and squeezed our way out of the bus. At TI, the poker room is on the way to the monorail that goes to the Mirage, and it's a smaller room with a dozen tables. We signed up for a $1/3 no limit table and surprisingly, I was sitting right next to the guy that runs allvegaspoker.com. I figured it was him when he mentioned how he enjoyed the room and about a site that he run for poker. I introduced myself and we talked about the casinos, poker and so on. It was around this time that I realized I wasnt at the kiddy table. I bought in for $200 which is usually a lot, but the max is $500 and half the table had that much and were willing to bet large amounts. So I found myself down quite a bit and going all in with top pair. I was called by another player who had two pair and I had to suckout with a flush to win. Several hands later, I had Kings and called an all in bet, which was a huge bluff done by the other player leading to me doubling up. After a few more pots, I was at around $300 feeling good. I took a little break to talk to the webmaster of allvegaspoker.com(las vegas mike) who went to sit at another table with a player who goes to AVP as well. I decided to cash out and enter the 7pm tournament which my buddy did as well. This tournament was not that mcuh different than other tournaments and with my lack of cards, I was out after the first break. I played a little video poker and won some money after hiting 4 fours.
My buddy was knocked out about an hour after me, so it was time to head to Ceasars Palace to play the 11pm tourney. We took the monorail to the Mirage and walked to CP. At CP, we saw the new Pussycat Dolls tables which very hot ladies dealing blackjack, roulette and spinning the big wheel. As you may have guessed, it was nothing but guys at the table and almost all the seats were taken. In CP, there's a good pizza place in their pseudo food court. After watching the Rockets lose their lead like idiots and then winning the game regardless of how good Kobe was playing, we left for the poker room. To my amazement, there was a line of just hot girls. I figured that while the guys were playing poker, this is where all the girlfriends/wives were at. No where in Vegas have I seen so many attractive women by themselves that werent naked(although some were close). We signed up for the 11pm tourney and sat in the tournament area for about half an hour watching the sports highlights.
The tournament structure was a little better at CP in that you start with more chips and the blinds go up every thirty minutes. The better tournament is in the morning at 11am but beggars couldnt be choosers at this point. I had some ups and downs at the tournament, getting solid cards and making a mistake here and there. I lasted about an hour and a half before going broke. I left the poker room and sat down for some video poker. I played the nickel video poker and was hitting some nice hands and realized that I should try for some bigger machines. I find a batch of progressive jackpot quarter video poker machines and began a nice run. I hit four of kind on four different occasions taking my $20 to $300. When I decided to leave, I caught up with my buddy who was about to take the second break of the tournament. He was very low on chips and needed to make a stand before the blinds came around, he said he was waiting for a big hand, and I told him that may not come around. He sticked it out and eventually had a hand(king 10) but lost to a guy with an ace.
I cashed my ticket and we were off to the MGM Grand. We took a taxi from the Flamingo since the line for taxi at CP was so damn long. We tried roulette one more time before we went to bed and unfortunately, I pick the wrong table. Our table was cold and the table I originally wanted to play at was doing damn good. Not wanting to risk more money at that moment, we lost out $120 and went to bed. I called for a late checkout and we were told we could leave at 12pm. At around 11am we were on our way out of the room and off to check in our bags at the bell desk to enjoy our last hours of Vegas. With our flight being at 8pm, I figured we had a good five hours of gambling. The plan was to leave roulette for last so poker was up first. For the first time this trip, we were at the same no limit table. I started acquiring small pots here and there, then some slightly larger pots increasing my stack from $160 to $250. At this time, a new player joined and I figured he was trouble. Like clockwork, I get aces and raise, four people call, and on the flop comes three diamonds. This new guy raises, I reraise him and he calls. On the turn came nothing to help me out( I had the ace of diamonds so I needed another ace to have the best hand). At this spot, he bet $100 and I reluctantly folded. Slowly I rebuilt my stack and was in a spot where I had a set of fours and another player was betting into me. I let go of this one which my gut was saying to fold but my head said I could have won. These two hands were getting to me so when the new guy from earlier started raising, I went all in and he called. He had the set of 7s and I hate the flush draw which never came. It was a bad move on my part but was the result of my being on tilt.
I left the table for some video poker, like always. This time around, I wasnt getting as nice of hands as did the previous night. The result was me losing $20 which isnt bad since I was -$80 at one point. I caught up with my buddy who was winning a little in poker and gave him the look to leave. He played a few more hands and it was time for the last game of roulette. We sat at the table that was hot the night before and looking at the board, it had been hitting our numbers. We were hitting our numbers here and there, not nearly as good of a streak as the first night at the Grand. Luckily, we did profit $50 and decided to leave on a good note. We ate some chinese food at the Grand's food court and headed for the airport.
Airport check in was quick and easy. We made it to the gate and I decided to ask about how the flight to Texas were running since the state had bad weather all week. The lady said everything is running on time so we took our seats, watched the Florida vs Ohio game, and waited. When the plane got there, we all made our way in and began our trip back home. There was a strange vibe in the plane and I started hearing murmuring about a smell. I thought it was ridiculous since most planes smell, but still, people were complaining. The pilot then got on the box and said that we were being rerouted to Phoenix which was ten minutes away due to an electrical problem. To much groaning by everyone, our plane landed and we were given the old plastic boarding passes with numbers on them(before being computerized, you had to go to the gate to get a boarding pass with a number on it which corresponded to when you would board). This was very annoying since we were group A but sat more to the back in hopes of getting our own row, now were were the last ones to get on the new plane.
After getting our passes(91-92), we took our place in the C line and waited. Either someone left the plane without getting a pass or they had given out too many passes, which of course raised the flag of something fishy going on. I couldnt understand how this happened, so when we boarded, we had to gve our name to be checked off. To add to the annoyance, the plane was ready to go but we had to wait on the pilots to talk to the maitenence crew. All in all, our delay was a good two hours, which is much better than waiting in the airport for the rest of the morning, but did leave a bad taste in my mouth.
This trip was my most successful($600 profit), the longest(six days) and the most grueling(flight problems and the long first night). Still, it's Vegas and I will be coming back soon.