Sunday, March 18th
March 18th and I check weather.com before leaving Des Moines, Iowa for Vegas and a conference for work. Of course, it is 20 degrees colder in Vegas compared to unseasonably warm Iowa. I arrive at the airport 2 hours before my 8:50 p.m. Allegiant Air flight only to discover that my flight is delayed. So I go through security and hunker down at the bar for a couple of Macallan 12 single malt scotches. Following a 1 ½ hour delay, I’m off for Vegas, arriving at 11:10 p.m. Vegas time. After getting my bags, I went out to catch a taxi. I warned the driver that one of my bags was heavy and he told me to lift my own bags into the trunk as he didn’t want to hurt his back. As we started to pull away he asked, “freeway or surface streets?” I thought that was a pretty good way to get someone unfamiliar with Vegas to approve going the long way through their own choice but I wasn’t buying it so surface streets it was. During the drive I was blessed to learn that the driver likes tilapia, has an 88 year old father, and that while his cab takes credit cards it results in an additional $3 charge that I could just add to his tip if I paid cash. So we arrived at the Bellagio, I paid cash, and I was glad to be rid of him.
I checked in at the Bellagio. My reservation for a King bed had turned into two Queen beds. No big deal. I was in the West Wing on the 25th floor overlooking the pool area could see the Cosmopolitan. Not a fountain/strip view but no complaints. I went downstairs for a bit but I was too tired to play poker or gamble beyond losing $20 playing video poker. I did discover that I had been upgraded to Pearl status on my M-Life card, for whatever that is worth. In any event, I went upstairs and unpacked (including setting up my iPod station for my new iPod which I had purchased after swimming with my old one at Atlantis in the Bahamas….which I purchased after swimming in the Bellagio pool a year or two ago) and went to bed at 3 a.m.
Results for the Day: Down $20
Results for the Trip: Down $20
Monday, March 19th
I slept until 9:50 a.m. and then headed downstairs to get coffee at Palio, a small coffee shop not far from the elevators. I then went back upstairs and checked work email and participated in two work-related conference calls. After that I did P90X CardioX and AbRipperX workouts in my room (I find I handle Vegas much better if I keep up my workouts while I’m there) and showered. I then took a taxi to Mandalay Bay for the conference (I was supposed to stay at Mandalay Bay since the conference was there but changed my reservations to Bellagio as I love the Bellagio and don’t really like staying on the south end of the strip). Following the conference, I took customers and co-workers to dinner at Aureole at Mandalay Bay. Had excellent Red Snapper to go with a very good 2008 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a Macallan 12. Nice restaurant with a very interesting wine retrieval system that is worth seeing.
I headed back to the Bellagio after dinner. It was late and I was tired so I just played video poker. I put in a $20 and hit what I thought was the 5 bet max bet button on a $0.25 machine. It was actually a 100 credit button and I had just bet the entire $20. Fortunately I hit a full house on the hand and netted $120. I decided it was time for bed.
Results for the Day: Up $120
Results for the Trip: Up $100
Tuesday, March 20th
Got up and did P90X Road Warrior work out. I then went to the conference for a morning and afternoon session. Following the conference meetings, I went to Caesars Palace and met some friends, one of whom I had worked with at my previous company for about 25 years. We ate at Central by Michel Richard. It is a relatively casual restaurant. We didn’t have reservations but it wasn’t crowded and it was quiet so we could have a good conversation. I had a good filet mignon and a Dewar’s on the rocks. I wouldn’t go out of my way for this restaurant but it was ok.
I did play video poker a few times during the day but didn’t do well. Just no real time for poker yet when I haven’t been full, tired, or had too many drinks. Vegas for work isn’t nearly as good as Vegas for fun.
Results for the Day: Down $130
Results for the Trip: Down $30
Wednesday, March 21
Got up and did P90X Fountain of Youth (Yoga) from the One on One series. Then I headed to the conference from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. I took customers and co-workers to dinner at Sinatra at the Encore. This is by far my favorite Vegas restaurant. I’ve never had a bad meal, I love the vibe (I’m a big Frank Sinatra fan and enjoy seeing his Oscar, Grammy, Emmy, and pictures plus hearing his music and seeing his old movies run on the TV behind the bar), and the bar in the restaurant is excellent. In particular, bartenders Vin and Monique do a great job. I’ve been there enough that they have actually started to remember me when I show up. For dinner I had the Lobster Risotto, a Macallan 12 scotch, and we shared a couple bottles of a nice Pinot Noir.
Following dinner and a shoe shine, I decided to walk back to the Bellagio, casino by casino. First I dumped $20 on video poker at the Wynn. As I walked back I noticed that the 70s/80s band that used to play every night at the Venetian had moved to a bar at the Palazzo where they used to have dueling pianos. Great band but I liked their old location/bar better. The bar they used to play in at the Venetian is closed and apparently undergoing some type of remodeling. I walked through/by the remodeling going on around IP and O’Sheas. Kind of a mess right now but most Harrah’s properties are in dire need of an update so I hope things work out. I thought the Jimmy Buffet-themed casino area at the Flamingo was a little weak. I did get an offer from a hooker as I walked but I sent her on to better things. After dropping $20 on video poker at the Flamingo my tour was done. Back at the Bellagio I checked out the new nightclub called Hyde, which replaced Fontana. I kind of liked Fontana. It had a nice bar around the outside and you could actually see into it. Hyde is another one of those “exclusive” nightclubs where you have no idea what it is like on the inside. In any event, I went in to check it out as it appeared to have a somewhat older crowd compared to a nightclub like The Bank. (I should note it is interesting to sit outside The Bank and watch all the women in tight little black dresses line up to go in. The women are typically far better dressed than the guys heading in.) I walked around Hyde and a group with a table/area overlooking the fountains asked me to join them. I don’t know who they were but they had an Executive Hostess. They were nice/fun and I enjoyed a scotch with them and then headed to bed.
Results for the Day: Down $40
Results for the Trip: Down $70
Thursday, March 22nd
The conference ended on Wednesday so it was time to relax and enjoy Vegas. I started my day with a workout in the fitness facility. Very nice place. Since I’m paying the $20/day resort fee, I was happy to take advantage of both the internet each day and now the fitness facility. I then headed to the Bellagio’s pool area. After lounging at the pool, I showered and headed to Café Bellagio where I treated myself to a half pound Angus burger. I then headed over to the sports book to observe the March Madness crowd. It was packed and loud. People were really into the Wisconsin game and the Badgers lost by one which really didn’t bother me as an Iowa grad and fan.
At long last I sat down at the poker tables at the Bellagio for a 3 and ½ hour session. I know many AVPers don’t like the Bellagio but I’ve never had a problem. It can be a little crowded and the management isn’t exactly extroverted but they’ve always gotten me seated and treated me decently. I also like their $1/$2 NLHE game with a $200 max buy in. It’s about my speed. I also enjoy seeing the players in Bobby’s Room, including Doyle several times. I finished up $8 and enjoyed diet coke, coffee, Bailey’s & coffee, and a Dewar’s on the rocks. A young guy at the table was doing his best to make time with a woman at the table…without success. It turns out she was Randi Barnes who is involved in movies. She wrote the screen adaptation for Dorothy of Oz which is coming out at some future date. I know that because the guy googled her while at the table, lol.
After poker I played breakeven video blackjack while having another Dewar’s on the rocks. I was also propositioned by two young and attractive hookers but declined. I then headed to Café Bellagio for a midnight Club Sandwich.
Results for the Day: Up $8
Results for the Trip: Down $62
Friday, March 23rd
I had my usual coffee and banana from Palio for breakfast. Then I did the P90X cardio workout in my room. From there I headed back to the pool to relax for a bit. After a shower I headed back to Café Bellagio for a late lunch, having the apple wood smoked bacon omelet. Following lunch, I checked out March Madness in the sports book again. From there I headed into the poker room for a two hour session, finishing down $20. Bobby’s Room was busy and Doyle was in attendance.
After poker I took a taxi to the Encore and headed to Sinatra where I sat at the bar. My man Vin was bartending. I watched an NCAA March Madness game while having Lasagna, a scotch, a Pinot Noir, and coffee. From there I headed to the Wynn poker room. I’d never played at the Wynn but had always wanted to give it a try. It is a very nice room and I like the location. I sat down at a new $1/$3 NLHE table and bought in for the $500 max. It turns out that I was the only one at the table that bought in for the max. This was somewhat surprising to me but not having played there before I didn’t really know what to expect. One of the players was a woman who had never played poker before…at least not live poker. She dropped $150 (might have been her total buy-in) her first hand playing 7/2 offsuit. It turns out she had paired her 7 and the flop so she stayed in. After losing, she laughed and got up and left. As you can imagine, we were sad to see her go. After 2 or 3 hours I left up $92. I had grabbed a scotch toward the end of my session and I took it with me for the walk back to the Bellagio.
Results for the Day: Up $72
Results for the Trip: Up $10
Saturday, March 24th
Repeated my coffee and banana breakfast at Palio. On my way up I saved the elevator for a couple of guys. We got to talking and I mentioned I’d been in Vegas for a week. The called me “the Lance Armstrong of Vegas”, lol, and were in awe that someone stayed in Vegas that long. After that I worked out in the fitness center, continuing to take advantage of that resort fee! I then headed to pool for my routine of lounging in the sun, reading my Kindle, and listening to my iPod for a couple of hours. I then had a sandwich and coffee from Palio.
After showering I walked to the Encore and eventually made my way to the poker room at the Wynn where I played for a couple of hours. While I finished up $85 for the session, I did lose $120+ dollars on one hand to a woman playing 4/9 suited and who hit her flush. And no, I didn’t put her on 4/9 suited, and yes, I bet in a manner that did not give her pot odds. Oh well!
Following poker I headed to the Encore and Sinatra where Vin and Monique were bartending. I had Frank’s favorite, spaghetti & clams (outstanding!). I also had a couple pinot noirs. A couple of wine guys from New Jersey (www.njwineclub.com according to the card they gave me) bought me another wine while we chatted. I also had a Macallan 12 while watching the original Oceans 11 on the TV behind the bar. After eating a played some breakeven video blackjack and then walked back to the Bellagio and headed to bed since I was flying out in the morning.
Results for the Day: Up $85
Results for the Trip: Up $95
I enjoyed the trip although I didn’t play nearly as much poker as I planned due to work (conference) and customer dinners. Also due to the weather being nice and enjoying a few hours by the pool. As always, I enjoyed the dining experience in Vegas. That’s one of my favorite things about my Vegas trips. I am glad I finally took the opportunity to play poker at the Wynn. Great room and really enjoyed it. Also glad to finally be in Vegas during March Madness, even if it was the second weekend vs. the first. Last but not least, always nice to be a winner for gambling/poker for the week!