Saturday, June 7, 2014

Paradise, Nevada Trip Report - Part 1

It's Saturday morning.  It's been a week since I returned from vacation.  I slept 12 hours last night.  I'm still not fully recovered.   Yes, it was that rough . . . I spent a full 8 days alternating between (a) pure awesomeness and (b) just hoping not to die.  I'm too old for this type of debauchery.   Seriously.


I left work around 3:00 Friday afternoon.  Destination -- the Sheraton Suites, Philadelphia Airport.   I decided to try and avoid the I-95 traffic through Charm City, so I headed out through New York Avenue to Route 50, over the Bay Bridge and north down the Eastern Shore.  It was a fantastic drive and a great way to kick off a week long adventure.   I rolled into Philly around 7:00, checked in, and grabbed a burger and a few beers while watching the Silly's game at the airport bar.  I hit the sack around 11:00.


The alarm went off at 4:30 am.  Game on.  I made the 2 mile trek to the airport and was at the gate well in time for the 7:00 flight to the desert.  5 hours later . . . Paradise, Nevada.

I was able to check into the MGM at 10:30 am with no wait.  The woman at reception was kind enough to remind me that I had lost my MLIFE Platinum and was relegated to Gold.  I promised to do my best to regain my former status.  But, in my head, I knew 200,000 points was not in the cards for 2014.  My goal was simply to re-up Gold Status with a mere 75,000 points.  After my trip to MGM in January, I was sitting on 26,000, so I had work to do.

After checking in, it was off to Michael Mina Pub for a cold miller lite and some lunch.  From there, I grinded some 100 hand VP for a few hours.  The machine was a total money suck.  I was down $400 or so within two hours.  After another $200 in losses on some single hand machines, I took a breather.    Words of wisdom from a wise man ran through my head: "a gambling addict is someone who repeatedly spends 100% of what he has til he is broke, in no way would any program ever consider me a gambling addict. i dont ever do this."  I am not an addict.  I decided to call it a day on the wagering.

I decided to head over to the Linq.  I love that place.  So, I made the slow walk north down the strip, stopping off at the PH for a beverage at the sports book bar . . . . and at Gustav's at Paris for a beverage.   I checked out the new Cromwell for the first time.  Interesting.  Pretty cool vibe.  Lots of dark colors.  Lots of tables.  Unrecognizable from the old Barbary Coast . . . and the slightly less old Bills.  The place was filled with young kids, likely coming down from the rooftop "Day Club" at the pool.  It looks like Caesars has found it's answer to the Cosmopolitan (or the Revel in AC).  A hip place, filled with lots of young partiers who spend a ton on bottle service and little money gambling.  I'm not sure why Caesars was trying to answer the question in the first place . . .  

I hit the Linq around 4:30 and grabbed a corona light draft at the outdoor bar at the new O'Sheas.  I love this spot.  Somewhere while on my 3rd or 4th corona, I whipped out the iPhone and decided to see whether or not there were tickets left to the Guns and Roses show later that evening at the Joint.  GA floor still available.  Bingo.  I bought a ticket right there at the bar.  And, with doors opening at 10:45, and showtime set for an hour later, I only had 6 hours or so to kill before heading over to the Hardrock.  Having decided to shut down the monkey mash for the day, that left my options limited.  Continue drinking?  Or continue drinking?  I decided to drink some more.  At Ruths' Chris.

The bar at Ruths' Chris is one of my favorite stops on the Strip.  The view is hard to beat, the service is great and the food is fantastic.  I rolled in around 6:00, started with some Franciscan Cabernet and seared Ahi, and moved on to a Filet (medium rare) and creamed spinach.

After dinner, it was off to the Hardrock.  Pre-party.  5 more beers later, it was show time.  And after an hour set from some opening act hair band, GNR (or, more accurately, Axl Rose) took the stage at around 1:00 am and for a played three hours.  Axl may be bloated as fuck, but he's still got the pipes:  


I got back to MGM around 4:30 am and passed out.  Day one in the books.


I woke up around 8:30 Sunday morning after a solid 4 hours sleep.  Jet lag sucks.  So does the morning after a 20 beer effort.   And the afternoon as well, for that matter.  I spent most of the day just hoping to live.  I drank water.  And coffee.  And tried to focus on some 100 VP.   Finally, at 4:00, I went back to Michael Mina and ordered a miller lite and the Tuna Poke.  Which was followed by some more sweet, sweet VP.  And then a few more beers at Lobby Bar.  And then another beer over sliders at the new Sports Pub at MGM during the Rangers game.  By 9:00, I felt pretty good.   And, by "pretty good," I mean, confident I'd live . . .  I had tickets for the GNR show again.  But, this time, it started an hour later -- 11:45.  I figure Axl isn't taking the stage to 1:30 am, the earliest.  Sadly, there was no way I was making it two nights in a row.  Instead, by 10:30, I was done for the night.  And down about a grand after two days.


Monday started off at the pool.  And then to the Burger Bar at NYNY for lunch and the first beverage of the day.  Afterwards, I decided to rack up some sweet, sweet Ceasar's tier points.  I landed in the desert with 14,300 points, and I knew I'd make Diamond at some point during the week.  I was hoping to hit it on my home turf in AC.  I was expecting a cake . . . balloons falling from the ceiling . . . showgirls dancing . . . maybe an appearance by Gary Loveman . . .   Nevertheless, I figured I'd play a bit at the Quad, Flamingo and Harrah's . . .  By 5:00, I was down another $500.

Around 9:00, I went over to Shibuya at MGM for dinner.  I had never been before.  Koi had always been my Vegas sushi joint.  But, I figured I'd branch out and try something new.  And from the Japanese beer, to the sashimi, to the rolls, to the kobe beef . . . dinner did not disappoint:

After dinner (which included three beers and a glass of sake), Monday evening got hazy.  I played some VP at the Whisky Bar . . . a strolled over to the Tropicana . . . and had a few beverages at Hooters.  And then walked back to MGM:

It was 4:00 am when my phone finally died.  And the sun was coming up when I finally got back to the room.  I'd provide more details of my evening . . . if I could . . .


Predictably, Tuesday sucked.  Like, badly.  I was too hungover to hit the pool.  I was too hungover to grind VP.  I sure as shit was too hungover to play the 1:00 PM at Aria as I had intended.  So I walked down the strip over to the mall at PH . . . fading the feeling of passing out . . . When I finally made it to the Miracle Mile, I stopped by the ABC store and picked up a Muscle Milk, which was about all I could eat.  Then I walked some more.  

I got back to MGM around 4:00 and decided to hit the pool.  After two hours floating around, I was back.  It was 6:30 and my day was basically just beginning.  I grabbed a cold beverage and wandered the MGM.  I was looking to head out of the gate slowly.   But how?  And then I saw it.  Wonderful.  Yet awful at the same time.    Who couldn't love it?  I had to play:

 An hour later, I was "down" 4 corona lights, and up $75 in cold hard cash.  The evening was afoot.

Around 8:00, I went back to Shibuya for dinner.  More Japanese beer, yellowtail sashimi, tiger rolls, and beef short ribs.  

Around 11:00, I went back to the Whiskey bar to grind some more VP.  This time, I asked for a wine menu.  They had the Stags Leap Artemis at $25 a glass.  I figured what the hell, and ordered a glass.     I was fully expecting to pay, and was shocked when the bartender comped it!  What?  Game on.  This might have been the first time ever bar top VP was going to be +EV.  I played two hours and had 5 glasses.  Fortunately I didn't need the comp drinks to be +EV, as I ended up grinding out a nice $150 profit.  Up $200+ for the day.  Down $1,300 for the trip.


  Wednesday was my last day in the desert.  I was up at 9:00, and went straight to the pool for a few laps around the lazy river.    Three hours later, it was time to gambooool.  I started out playing a few hours of break even VP at MGM.  Then, around 3:00, I walked over to the Monte Carlo.  I grabbed a beer at the bar, slipped a crisp hundred into the machine, and started to grind double double bonus.  After 50 minutes, I was down about $65.  And then it happened.  33733 for $100.  Then, THE VERY NEXT HAND:

Quads, back to back.  This time, Aces for $200.  Then, 10 hands later, same machine:

Quad 4's for another $100.  After a few more hands, the machine cooled off and I pulled out $300 profit.

I walked back to MGM and grabbed a miller lite at Centrifuge.  I slipped a crisp hundred into the machine and loaded up the double double bonus.  Within 10 minutes - BANG:

This time, Quad Aces with the sweet, sweet kicker for $500.  Up $800 in an hour -- officially a VP heater!

And the heater continued with two more quads over the next hour:

Greatest.  VP.  Heater.  Ever.

Up $1,100 on the day.  $200 from break even.  Just a few hours left in the desert.  I decided to go for it with a bet on the Rangers-Habs game.  The OVER 5 seemed like the play.  $220 to win $200.  I had the push by the end of the first period . . . and cashed the over shortly into the second.  As the game went into overtime, my only concern was being able to cash the ticket prior to heading for the airport.  And, as 9:00 approached, with minutes to spare, the Rangers cashed their ticket to the Cup finals, and I cashed my winner at the book.

I got to McCarran by 9:30, and flew through ticketing and security in minutes.  Flying first class has it's advantages. 

I found a seat at a bar in Terminal C, grabbed one last beer, and reflected on 5 days of flagrantly degenerate machine play.  I didn't touch a single card -- no poker or live black jack.  Just, sweet, sweet video poker.  I ultimately hit 69,500 tier points, falling just short of Gold Status (which will have to wait until the next trip).

I hopped on the plane for a timely takeoff at 10:50, grabbed a single malt (neat) while the common man boarded, and was asleep before the plane left the tarmac.  Next stop . . . AC



  1. Congrats on the great comeback. Now that's a heater, much like the ones my wife goes on. Everyone once in a blue moon it happens to me and man is it sweet.

  2. Gary Loveman mentioned in his blog that he ran into you on Monday night after things got sort of hazy for you... Entertaining as always Pete.

    The Common Man

  3. Nice comeback.

    Just in case you weren't aware, they do allow live poker in Vegas. There are poker rooms all over town. I know, I know, you'd rather play the VBJ and the VP. Keep grinding dem good machines.

    I was pretty sure that one night--Sunday?--I ran into you grinding one of those machines. But I see no mention of it in your post. So either that was one of the things you lost in one of your (many) drunken stupors....OR, I was hallucinating the whole thing. Or maybe it was someone who looked just like you.

    1. Sorry, I should have mentioned out encounter . . . Egomaniac!

      Yes, sadly, I had an embarrassing run-in with Rob. He caught me mashing a Sex in the City slot machine as he was on his way to, like, actually play poker . . . . I was ashamed.

    2. And I actually played live poker this weekend. Grinded 4 hours at the Chuck yesterday . . . made a sweet $15. Then played 4 hours today at MDL! and cashed for $290 profit.... $300 over 8 hours. I'll take it!

    3. Hey, the Sex in the City Machine could have been our little secret. I was prepared to take that with me to the grave.

      Egomaniac? Me? Seriously now. I mean, isn't it totally understandable that I would find it impossible to believe that, if you ran into me in Vegas, that wasn't the most important and exciting part of the trip? :)

      Glad you played some live poker. I was about to suggest you change the title of the blog to "The Video Poker Barrister."

  4. P3s GUIDE TO SUCCESSFUL GAMBLING. MASS bottles of beers and win dollas. when will u bitches learn. supersystems is soooooooooooo overrated. and muscle milk WTF IS THAT????????????

  5. also, fuck the PHILLIES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! they cost me a .50 cent parlay. fucking yankee carpetbaggers.LOL

  6. does shibuya have a dollar menu???????????? i dont see u having any fried twinkies/oreos????????? WTF.