We drove up from San Diego December 26th for three nights comped at Ballys. Traffic was pretty bad on I-5 which probably added another two hours to the trip.
We were pretty undecided what total rewards property we were going to choose. I read all the reviews and was going to choose Paris until I learned we could get all three nights comped at Ballys. Once I made the reservations I asked what tower it was in. South tower and if I wanted the the North tower it wouldn't be comped. Well when we got there they had a tough time finding a non smoking room with two beds. They ended up giving me a room in the North tower in a "pet friendly" room. Well I checked out the room and it seemed fine.
In the past I have stayed at the Golden Nugget, Tropicana, Circus Circus (never again) and the Mirage. I found Ballys to be perfect for my needs and the location was great. I also liked that fact you can walk through the casino to go to the Paris casino.
The first night I was up $700 mostly through video poker and a little blackjack. I have to say one thing though. If you have a drinking problem skip AA and hang out at Ballys. You"ll stay sober unless you play up by the video bar. Drinks there kept coming one after the other while playing.
That first night I also played vp at Bill's gambling saloon. Smaller place that had a slushy video poker bar. Bartender was a friendly guy and we chatted for awhile as I played. Wish I would have got a slot card there.
The second night I got a late start and ended up downtown. I lost the whole $700 I had won and then some. All the bj tables were stone cold. There was an obnoxious jerk playing at my table at the Las Vegas club. He bought in for $800 at a five dollar table and was playing two hands of just ten dollars each. He was doing a running commentary during play and every time he lost he acted like it was his last dollar.
Downtown has changed too much for me. Seems like the places down there are trying to act like they are on the strip. Example: at the Paris they have girls on a stage dancing by the bj tables. It seemed to work there. Downtown at the Gold Gate and I think Binions they had girls dancing too. Didn't come off as well. Places were badly lit and to be polite, the girls had to many tattoos and well...looked liked they just walked off the street. Seems like things were not a whole lot cheaper ether then on the strip. Oh, seemed to be an abundance of hookers hanging around the video poker bars too. I hate saying this because downtown is were I used to stay most of the time but after this trip downtown isn't a option for me now.
My last day I walked the strip from Ballys to Mandalay Bay with my nephew. I was intrigued by a few places along the way I would like to check out later. At New York New York I saw a small video poker bar that over looked the casino below. I will play there next time.
I took him to the shark reef exhibit at Mandalay. It was pretty interesting and he enjoyed it. (He's nine).
We ate at the Orleans that night at big Al's oyster house. Prices were very reasonable and food was good. I proceeded to lose $250 playing video poker there but then found a machine that was hot and quickly won that money back and another couple of hundred. I have never seen so many video poker bars in a casino like that. There was a good selection of machines there.
Later that night I played a video poker machine at Paris for almost three hours on the same hundred dollars (50 cent machine) .
Later that night the only real late night eating option was the tequila bar and grill at Ballys . I wasn't too impressed with the food. I really miss the 24 hour coffee shops in the casinos that sold everything from a grilled sandwich to lobster or steak at anytime. Sometimes after gambling all night and the sun is soon to be up would be nice to get some steak and eggs to celebrate or to massage your loses. I noticed that PJ Clark's at Caesars has $1.00 raw oysters for happy hour, I think the hours are 3 to 6.
All and all I had a great time and had a net lose of about $700. Will stay at Ballys again. The casino was just the right size for me and easy to navigate.