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A Vegas weekend - James Darren, blackjack & tequila

Last edit: jimmybond on Saturday, 4th August 2012 9:49 pm
Last response by thebig747 10th August 6:47am

First trip report, definitely not first trip. :) I enjoy the anecdotal style ‘play by play’ when reading other people’s reports, so apologies if you like the ‘categorized’ approach as this one ballooned into an epic novel. Sorry to not follow the guidance on keeping it brief (sometimes I wish others wrote more!) Enjoy!

Summary: 3 days in Vegas with a buddy of mine on a recent weekend. Through a variety of promos and rates we moved around a bit, sharing a room at Mirage for first night, then I moved to Cosmopolitan for remaining 2 nights while he had second night at Mirage then to Flamingo for 3rd. Primary purpose of trip was relaxation, gambling, drinking and a James Darren concert. Low-end trip for dining given spouses not in tow (no prix fixe this time around!), typical ‘guy’ fare ranging from slice pizza to Todd English PUB. Gaming all over, from Mirage and Cosmopolitan to South Point and Ellis Island, nearly all blackjack.

- Arrived into new terminal, first time there – quite huge, bathrooms nice compared to old terminal, less slot clanging at gates.
- Caught taxi – heading to Mirage, told driver not to take tunnel – she protested that given where the new terminal is it would cost nearly as much with traffic to take Tropicana, and that we would have to take side roads to even get to Paradise. That was near-total BS – true that by the time you do a requisite big overpass loop back to heading northwest you have racked up a few bucks on the meter, but before getting to the tunnel we passed not one but two exits to Paradise. Meter at Mirage said $29 plus airport fee, sheepish cabbie (female) offered $25 flat instead so we took it. More than it should have been, but not totally gouged (and shame on us, we did approve it). Let this be a lesson, departing from the new terminal does NOT mean you can’t take Paradise easily, despite cabbie protestations!!!! Don't get suckered like us about the new road configuration leaving T1!
- Couldn’t check in at Mirage as too early, so had late breakfast/lunch at BB Kings – pulled pork sandwich, decent food for price and friendly server. Everything was fresh(ish) since we were first lunch order, surrounded by people eating pancakes.
- After, placed some sports bet then wandered south down Strip to get some photos for MLife social media promotion
- ended up at Monte Carlo with a fantastic dealer – Daravan – laighing, joking, smiling the whole time, just fun to play with. Friend got cleaned out, I was up a few hundred which felt good for a $10 table!
- wandered back through The Pub at Monte Carlo – had a good beer (Alaskan?), but food just so-so (Nachos, Calamari, etc.) would go back if specials offered and if more of a lively crowd, but not my fave.
- made our way back to Mirage to check in, and cashed in winning sports bets (a few baseball parlays paid off, I owe thanks for my buddy cutting me in for half despite my lack of sports acumen!)
- Showered etc. in room for night out. Mirage rooms continue to be sufficient but uninspiring – I would not be impressed paying $200 a night but for sub-$125 they are okay, and good location for property (and other than Fri/Sat you can get far better than that through MLife offers etc, so good value)
- met a former boss of my buddy’s at Mirage sports book and hung out drinking from sports bet drink tickets including some leftovers from a guy on his way out (very friendly server, drinks tasted suspiciously like generous doubles. Then off to Gilley’s next door at TI for more drinking. Not as full there as I would have expected for past midnight, friendly servers (lots of skin). A live band was there to start but soon enough they wrapped and a DJ took over with music videos, just like junior high all over. A fair number of people dancing, but again without the overall full crowd the joint wasn’t a full rocking party (especially for Saturday night!) I think cover was only $10? Good value compared to typical club cover, but you’d better like country music.
- I bailed at 3:30am, too tired from flying early morning and drinks all day, my roommate rolled in later past 6am having been to Venetian with a crowd and then to Casino Royale where he was so drunk he ended up playing BJ Switch (in multiple trips I have never seen him play any carnival games, talk about a signal you should cut yourself off!!!) along with some craps. Lost of course, though who knows how he was betting at that point.

- Woke up late morning, too late for my buddy to make wagers for us on early day baseball which is a shame since the combos he wanted to bet all proved good (oops) Lesson learned – set your alarm!
- Went downstairs anyways to make some wagers for late day games, hung out for a bit watching baseball there
- Neither of us super hungry, definitely hung over. I left with my bag to go check in for my Cosmopolitan room, with plans to meet up later.
- Check in at Cosmopolitan was fastest ever (though I never have arrived on a Sunday morning before!), friendly staff at desk as usual. Had a premium view room facing Bellagio fountains midway up Eastside tower (beside Strip). Love, love, love that location and room. Since the rooms were meant to be condos, they are insanely spacious (for 1 or 2 ppl, more than that would be cramped and glass door shower might make things awkward between friends!) Also the Eastside tower is so handy to access from the Strip since you can go from sidewalk to room in 3 minutes, no walking endlessly through the casino like you have to for most properties or for Cosmopolitan’s larger back tower
- Cosmo room well appointed as always, the hotel starting to show a bit of wear (shower door handle loose, shower faucet loose, third room I’ve had there where toilet runs, etc.) Makes me wonder if bank owners completed a few finishings on the cheap to get it open ASAP to start recouping the debt! However, as mentioned in previous fawning point, I still can’t help but like this room. If you can get it for a decent rate (casino promo etc.) it’s awesome; not sure I would pay $300+ like rack quoted most weekends, but $200 and under is great value I think. Watching fountain show at night from your balcony makes it all worthwhile, even from Bellagio lakeside view rooms you only have Paris in view, not like the accompanying long Strip vista from Cosmo balconies.
- Got showered and ready for night at Cosmo, went downstairs and had coffee at Va Bene. Insanely expensive, but delicious – on par with artisan baristas here at home for flavour etc. but $7.50 for a medium iced Hazelnut latte is too steep by any measure (mostly ice anyways!)
- Watched some people on a hot roll at craps in Cosmo – I will say one thing, their craps pit always has something going on, and usually seems quite lively – even one table, when rest of casino quiet.
- Met my friend and we hopped on the south express bus, heading to South Point for the James Darren concert at their showroom. Transferred at transit station to another bus, finally got there 45 minutes later. Not a quick commute!
- I was hoping for much more from South Point, since it is relatively new. But man, was it ever smoky! Not visibly in the air but you could feel it in your lungs and eyes. People watching was fantastic. Mixture of locals (I think?), tourists, and some high end asian lady gamblers with their own tables. Main (only) table pit decently large, with lots of games, $5/hand and up for shoe games. Had some $25/50 games too, and saw one high roller (for the joint) who was laying down $500 per hand and they had reserved the table for him. If you want the royal treatment and play $500/hand, South Point is your place.
- We played some blackjack there, $5-10 per hand, killing time before the show. Table was full of rubes hitting 15 against dealer 4 (good lord), but for $5/hand not worth making a fuss. Dealers friendly, though didn’t prompt a correction the aforementioned move!
- Concert was AWESOME. I loved it, my buddy had a good time too. My only complaint is it was too short, set was 60 minutes no intermission, and then it was all done. James Darren is a 60’s film star, but his latest claim to fame was as Vic Fontaine, holodeck rat pack singer on Star Trek DS9. I wanted to see an ‘old-style’ Vegas showroom act singing standards and wasn’t disappointed. His band was outstanding too – pianist and drummer travel with him so rest of boys must have been local, including a very tight brass section (band: trumpet/trombone/sax--flute/guitar/bass/drums/piano) Great set of standards, great music, and he knew how to work the crowd with patter including one adoring fan who kept interrupting the monologues calling out her love for him. If/when Darren is back, I would highly recommend checking it out, though if I was going back I’d arrive closer to show time rather than early since I didn’t enjoy the rest of the hotel all that much. That showroom is great too – not too huge (only a few hundred people?), we were fifth row from the stage for $45, a bargain in Vegas!
- We were planning to eat at South Point but nothing impressed (too ‘food court’), so then planned on taking bus back to Strip, only to discover we had missed the bus by 5 minutes and it only ran HOURLY on Sundays and weekdays. Not wanting to waste our night, we bit the bullet and hopped in a cab, though with light traffic we were at Monte Carlo for $25 fare. (I had expected more given how far away you feel at South Point!)
- We decided to hit our favourite casual restaurant for dinner, and off we went to Todd English PUB at Aria/Crystals. As always, we were not disappointed – their beer list is outstanding, food excellent (had shrimp, fried oysters, roast beef sliders and chicken pot pie). More importantly, the servers there know their stuff about beer and can make stellar recommendations off the list. Still my favourite casual place to grab a beer and food on the Strip.
- Following this, wandered up the Strip to Paris and sat down for some $10min shoe blackjack there. I actually love the ambience at Paris – the high ceilings make such a difference compared to claustrophobia at some joints, and I think it helps with the smoke too as it’s never too cloudy in there. Also the tables under those awnings are very well lit. Background ‘party’ music from the bar is either a live band or a decent DJ mix. Best was hearing them play Sweet Caroline, and having all corners of the casino chime in at the appropriate times with “bup, bup, baahhh” and “so good, so good…” A cameraderie of sorts!
- Our friendly asian dealer was good to me (barely) but my friend was cleaned out, so he headed home to the Mirage just past midnight. I continued at Paris for a half hour, cashed out down $40, and went back to my home base at Cosmopolitan.
- Sadly, Cosmopolitan STILL has not reversed having all double deck tables (outside high limit room) pay 6:5, which is appalling since they are $25min or higher at all times! Worse, there are always a half dozen dopes scattered throughout throwing their money away and justifying the switch to management. More to my taste, I found a $10 shoe game with decent rules (impressive as usually Cosmo more expensive than that at night), had a great couple of dealers. When I first started playing at Cosmo last year after it opened, I found the dealers to be very friendly but on the last couple trips I ended up with a couple with ice cold personalities that turned me right off. The dealers I had this time were a blast from the past in that they actually had emotions. One even threw out F-bombs which was great, he would be calling for a dealer bust card after I stayed… “come on, ten, ten, faaaaccck” after pulling a five card 21. I love that kind of spirit. Ended up playing there for a few hours, finally calling it quits because I figured my earlier-crashing buddy would want to get up and do something the next day. Should have stayed as I was on a roll, even had my best shoe ever pulling 20 after 21 after 20 after 21, amazing, no wonder the game can give you such a rush. Too bad it was when I was betting $10-20 and not on trips where my big cajones have me playing $25min tables, oh well.
- As an aside, chatting on the trip with some Cosmopolitan dealers they of course universally think the 6:5 payout on double deck tables is an absolute joke, but as I noted before so long as people keep playing them they will stay like that. Also, I asked one about the health of Cosmopolitan given the terrible financial results for the casino, specifically if dealers felt their tips pool was being affected by the apparent lack of play. This dealer told me that in fact the table games side is completely healthy, which is in part why the management felt they could juice a bit more out of those double deck tables from paying 6:5 (I had thought it was a desparate attempt to make up $$$, but this makes sense to me too). This dealer said the tips pool was fine and tables are healthy but it is the slots that are dragging everything down, since the hotel’s crowd being (in my words) young Marquee hipsters do not feel like playing slots, if they gamble it’ll be on the tables. True enough, slots were like a ghost town for most of my time on the floor there, and most visible promotional signage was all slots-related.

- got up, cleaned up, and got coffee at my old favourite on the Strip – a latte brewed by the nice girls at the outdoor Sugar Factory counter outside Paris, just south and around the corner from the Brasserie. Delicious, and $2 less than my Va Bene latte, though the girls tend to go to town on extra pumps of flavour syrup if you don’t indicate for less so be forewarned.
- Picked up my buddy at Mirage where he was checking out, we went back through Forum Shops acquiring a couple of requisite goodwill gifts for our ladies back home, then went to check him into Flamingo
- Flamingo staff very friendly on checkin, but room (FAB? The lower end one) left a lot to be desired – reminded me of a reno’d dorm room at college. Lack of fixtures, lack of charm, definitely worth its $55 rate and no more in my view. I was glad of the relative sophistication of my Cosmopolitan room awaiting me! But a bed is all my friend needed and apparently he slept well, which is surprising because given the look of the room I would have expected a horrible mattress. The best part is how after our trip he arrived home to a voicemail from the Flamingo offering him a comped upgrade to a mini-suite, but since they called his home, not cell, we had no idea (though why it wasn’t flagged to clerk upon check-in to offer the upgrade we’ll never know) Also small FYI – the clerk told us that if you use the self-checkin computers it automatically assigns you to the farthest room (i.e. long hike from the elevators), and on a poor floor usually too.
- Graffiti scratched into all Flamingo elevator screens was a nice touch, seriously Caesars can’t you give the staff a buffing cloth or something?
- Thought we’d check out the pool at Flamingo but ended up drinking at outdoor patio of Carlos and Charlies near it. Great time, felt like we were ‘down south’ in Mexico etc between the heat and the drinks and ambiance. Our server was a ‘flair’ bartender and was hugely entertaining (juggling full liquor bottles, etc.) We could do a $40 bucket of 5 beers or a $40 bucket of 5 beers plus 5 tequila shots, shockingly easy decision! Beers were cold and great (Dos Equis XX, fine for a hot day), but we didn’t realize the 5 free shots would be doubles – a lot of booze to shoot! But at least it was 100% agave (can’t remember brand) so not altogether low-shelf, and they went down easy enough since we found our way to ordering a second bucket round (though for full disclosure we shared some with others at the bar, trust me this was plenty of tequila to go around!)
- From there, we wandered off to Ellis Island behind Bally’s as we’d heard their house-brewed craft beer was good and ‘secret menu’ food was good and cheap. Let me say, this place was an eye-opener. No Strip glamour here, nothing more than a hole in the wall with a small casino and a couple restaurants. Craft beer was great (as a comped drink, delicious – Heffeweisen was excellent). The full slate of table games there consisted of a roulette wheel, one craps table, and two blackjack tables (all $5min). Arrived to find a wait for both the main and BBQ restaurants ($6.99 specials draw a crowd!), so ended up getting a couple $3 slices of pizza which were AWESOME (mind you, this is on a relatively empty stomach with a lot of booze, in that situation pizza can’t miss!) We then sat down at one of the two blackjack tables; my friend pulled a triple-7 21 which let him spin a big bonus wheel on the wall, could have won $500 cash but of course it landed on - what else – a free slice of pizza! Dealer was fastest I’ve seen in Vegas, and it hurt. Somehow for a $5min table I found myself boldly playing $10 on two hands at a time and getting killed, walked away down $400 which could have bought me something quite nicer than a pizza or $7 steak! That’s how the game goes though. That was also probably the most action that joint has seen in a while, most of the people joining our table were there to use $5 free-play stapled to their dinner receipt and walked after one hand.
- After getting another craft beer for the road, we wandered back to the Strip and to the Flamingo, where we again sat down for some blackjack - dealer somewhat surly but table okay (newbie to moderate players) ‘average’ casino atmosphere here, quite busy though (in fact as a rule all the low to mid end properties seemed far busier on this trip than the Cosmo/Bellagio etc.)
- Ended up leaving the Flamingo to wander, found ourselves at Margaritaville with a couple “Specials” (margarita) in hand, needless to say the night was rocking by this point! Shut that joint down, and ended up hanging nearby at the outdoor dance plaza between IP and Harrah’s until it too closed down at 4ish? Then it was back to Flamingo for some inebriated blackjack, surprisingly quite a number of people still kicking around at that hour. We had a hilarious table in that one player from Miami acted like royalty, with posse and cigar to boot. When he was cleaned out he stayed to smoke and provide color commentary (and ‘luck’) on our play, with posse dutifully lingering behind him. I finally called it a night after wandering the Flamingo for an open bathroom (the ones I used earlier in the day were locked, guess that’s the crowd they attract at night???). The Flamingo casino and lobby makes me think of a funhouse with all the mirrors and gold trim, not good to find your way around on a few beers shots and ‘Specials’! When I got back to the table my buddy was gone (also searching for the facilities apparently, maybe we should have asked for a map), but my chips were there being held by a new dealer. I peeled out, it was 5:30 by this point, to catch a couple hours sleep before the morning flight home.
- Security at airport took FOREVER for a Tuesday morning, not sure if it is new staff at the new terminal but allow 45min+ to clear security.
- Ended the trip having only paid cash for everything and was down on average under $200 per day including food, drinks, gambling, and wife’s present (flights excluded). Not bad for a good time! I’d like to think I would have ended trip up had we not ventured to Ellis Island, expensive pizza and beers (but tasty!)

A few overall thoughts:
- you get what you pay for with rooms – Flamingo low end FAB room definitely only worth $50 fair value, can’t believe they can get away with selling that for more; Mirage worth $100 fair value, Cosmopolitan balcony rooms worth $200 fair value in my opinion.
- we always have a good time gambling at Monte Carlo despite the low-end feel of the place, drinks service always fast too.
- Todd English PUB still my favourite ‘non-fancy’ restaurant, always good beer and food (and servers who know their beer!)
- bucket of beer plus shots at Carlos & Charlie’s is a potent special, but great to kick off a day/night!
- players still don’t tip dealers enough – confirmed with some dealers on this trip that they really do make most of their money on the tips, not on wages, so throw one out there for the dealers now and then! I’m appalled to see the level of betting and huge wins of some people without even a $1 toke back to (or played for) the dealer. Also interesting, all the dealers I played with this trip wanted to me to play the toke.
- the crowd you play can be tied to the tier of hotel – I never really noticed before this trip. For instance, Flamingo players and the $5 South Point players were really screwing up on a lot of hands (doubling poorly or not at all, hitting stiffs against dealer 4-5-6, etc.), whereas when I have played at Mirage, Bellagio, or Cosmopolitan I have rarely seen people misplay hands as profusely. Seems obvious to state but the higher minimums and ‘classier’ environments really do intimidate and drive off those who don’t feel comfortable with the game, I’ve just never seen it in action before! I much prefer to play with those who understand or even applaud why I’m hitting nearly all my soft 18’s, or even doubling 9 against dealer 2, though given that I was up at the ploppy tables, I can’t complain too much!
- my fav ‘secret’ table at Mirage (DD S17, $25min) was up at $50min for Sat/Sun even in the mornings so things must have been hopping at that casino, back to $25min for Monday. Love/hurt relationship with that table since I love the rules and love playing there (and only really serious players/gamblers sit down), but it never treats me well. Only looked from afar this time, next time will step up to the greens again.
- city still busy, even on a Sunday and Monday night, so things are crawling back (and all servers/dealers I spoke with said the same). Too many kids/strollers around, not to mention some kind of basketball tourney for kids was on while we were there – quite jarring to see hundreds of youngsters in jerseys roaming the Mirage casino floor!!!
- already can’t wait to go back, and am sure I will somehow find myself there before 2013, but will try to stay at Cosmo/Bellagio/Mirage, maybe Caesars or PH if I can get a deal. Having seen my buddy’s room, I would not settle for the FAB room at Flamingo whatsoever, not worth the deal – I’d rather stay up all night and shave in a random bathroom. On the other hand I wouldn’t pay full rack rate for my Cosmo room either, so something in the middle is where I hope to land.
- for what it’s worth, I find Total Rewards is way looser with comps than MLife. I only played at a TR property for one night last trip (before this one), $400 lost, and I had multiple free-night offers lined up that I could have used. Hoping the extra action from flamingo etc. this time around will juice that up even further. I also find the Cosmo program to be generous with the room offers given my prior level of play (green chip bettor back when double deck was 3:2!). I figure what I lack on size of bet I make up on frequency of visit, the algorithms obviously have me pegged as someone likely to return!

Thanks for reading!

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 donnymac66 responded on Sunday, 5th August 2012

Fun trip! I agree Caesars properties are looser with the comp rooms but I still prefer mlife rooms. How were the blackjack rules at Monte Carlo?

 jimmybond replied on Sunday, 5th August 2012

Rules at Monte Carlo were fair but not spectacular, but good enough for a casual day drinking and playing. The table we were at was my favorite one there, the low accessible table in middle of main pit - well lit, comfortable, and it doesn't hurt that I've been up both times playing there (the only 'lucky' thing I think I have in Vegas it seems!)

For the game itself, it was 8 deck shoe, $10min that day, 3:2, H17, double any card, DAS, split up to 4 times (but no RSA), surrender allowed. interestingly this is the first time I pushed the resplit rules, I ended up splitting 8's again and again and again, up to the point where I had 3 mediocre hands (including a crappy double) and started to play the 4th 8 when what do I draw but...another 8!!! sadly had to stand on that one as they resplit only up to 4 hands total, but my 16 carried the day as did all the rest since the dealer busted (all the sweeter since I think they had a fairly strong upcard). I think the edge for that particular game per WizardOfVegas is 0.57% so not stellar, but hard to do much better for $10min games anyways and I'd argue that given the fast and attentive drink service and friendly dealers it's a worthwhile stop as you roam the Strip (for casual easygoing play which is exactly what we were after, my friend is a red chip bettor so pretty much any double deck was out anyhow)

 donnymac66 replied on Sunday, 5th August 2012

So better rules than Caesars properties or Cosmo??

 jimmybond replied on Tuesday, 7th August 2012

Honestly I think the rules were basically the same. When you're in that red chip category of $10 min, you are looking at a 0.40-0.60% house edge regardless. Two trips ago I took the WizardOfVegas blackjack report and dumped it into Excel so I could narrow to Strip only, sort by house edge, and eliminate games with a higher minimum than I wanted. Basically, other than a few standout double deck games, you are left with a bunch of similar $10-15min shoe games all with those similar rules.

For me, I have (fortunately) always been able to find an open seat wherever I am, offering the minimum requirements for me which are:
- 3:2 payout
- Surrender offered (unless double deck, since hard to find on Strip)
- RSA, split non-aces multiple times
- double any 2 cards, DAS
- table minimum fitting my budget (or budget of my gaming buddies that trip, have to be social above all else!)

Rarer still is to find all the same but having dealer stand on soft 17, but it is out there.

by my sorting criteria with the aforementioned list, the best table on-strip for $25min or less is the double deck S17 table at Mirage I mentioned in the review, but having been hammered there multiple times and having won on casual $10min tables where dealer hits S17 I'm starting to lean more with my gut now, and best of all is if I can land a fun table with enough space to play with a friend because the social element (and great atmosphere/drinks) is worth losing a hair of a percentage to me.

 Akala responded on Sunday, 5th August 2012

good report! I am also in love with the cosmo balcony rooms. if the day is going poorly, there is always the option to just chill on the balcony. can't really do that in most rooms...I think I'm spoiled.

 brt374 responded on Monday, 6th August 2012

Great review! I, too, enjoy the detailed reviews. Having stayed in both a Cosmo balcony room (a suite, actually) and a Fab room, I made the decision to put my visiting parents--who think Vegas is a tourist trap, anyway--in a $25 Fab room in December (during the rodeo finals, when rates are usually higher). My back-up plan is that I got a Go room for myself 2 outta the 3 nights of their stay, so if I can sense they feel "cheated" by the Fab room, I'll let them have my Go room. (I guess my theory is that it's their first visit, and I know we won't be in the rooms much at all, between trekking out to the Dam, sight-seeing on the Strip and downtown, etc.) The Fab rooms, however, are exactly as you put it: not much more than a place to nap and shower. As someone who's spent 32 years waiting on my mom to get ready and waiting on my dad who's late everywhere he goes, I think the Flamingo fits the bill. There'll be no luxuriating in the room for them, as much as I hate to say it!

With that said, the balconies of the Cosmo rooms facing the fountains are well worth the price of admission. BTW, I used the self check-in at Flamingo, and was the only guest using the 4 or so kiosks while a line snaked out far past the queue lines of the front desk. (There was an older gentleman--a manager perhaps--trying to usher guests over to the kiosks. He told me people seemed scared of them, which was apparent.) I ended up with a high floor Fab room towards the end of the hall (but close to the so-called spa elevators), and I had a smashing view of the Bellagio fountains. And Cosmo (insert joke here).

 jinx73 responded on Monday, 6th August 2012

Very nice report, although I'll have to disagree with table players at properties like Mirage and others being better the Flamingo. I can assure you, I've had just as many bad strategy players at Mirage, MC, and Cosmo as I've had at any other property, regardless of table limits.

 jimmybond replied on Tuesday, 7th August 2012

true enough, just a casual observation that I don't even know that I really believe. in fact the best example of bad strategy rearing its head at nice establishments is all the people punishing themselves by playing the 6:5 $25+min double deck at Cosmopolitan!!!

Another fun character this trip was the guy with $40 in front of him betting $10min at Monte Carlo who would sit out a couple hands, watch the table all land a ton of face cards, and then jump in the next hand only to be sorely disappointed (and consequently hit a stiff against dealer 6 or less to see that 10 finally show up). even the dealer was rolling her eyes at the blatant reverse-counting (is that the right term?) but he was gone in short order as you'd expect.

 LAvegasphile responded on Monday, 6th August 2012

Nice report...but Todd English is your fav and you didn't mention the 7 second beer challenge?? Any 9 or 10 dollar beer is free if you can slam it in 7 seconds or less! I'm 8 for 8 and always make sure to hit that when I'm at City Center. Always glad to hear when people first discover Ellis Island! It's become a tradition with the many friends I shuttle to Vegas. Can't beat their Heff!
Totally agree with the idea of a nice room like Cosmo...nothing takes the sting out of a losing trip than coming back to a nice suite to unwind in...and while TR is of course looser, it's because most of their room inventory is shit. I'm Mlife all the way even if they are considerably tighter with the purse strings.

 jimmybond replied on Tuesday, 7th August 2012

True, the PUB challenge is worth mentioning though I have to say I have wussed out each time. Fan as I am of the freebie, I actually like to sip and savor the fine brews they have on tap (and to be blunt, I was still quite hungover this time around) This trip I tried one called Labyrinth, dark, robust and 13.5% alcohol --- loaded with flavor, not one you'd want to down in 7 seconds! I have to give the contest a go sometime for the sport though. Any suggestions for a 'sure winner' that's an easy drinker?

Agree that MLife inventory overall is nicer, and I'll be darned if Total Rewards free night promos promising all their Vegas properties aren't always mysteriously sold out for Caesars and PH, shoehorning me into Imperial Palace if I want to redeem...

 thebig747 responded on Friday, 10th August 2012

Great review, I really enjoyed it. Just wondering if you could expand on the Carnaval Court scene. Was thinking of stopping by there next time out and was curious how the crowd was? Thanks.