Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Low-Rolling in Vegas for Not Quite Free: Part 2


Woke up and exploited the Hyatt House Las Vegas's standard complimentary breakfast buffet:  fresh fruit, cottage cheese, yogurt, cereals, scrambled eggs, sausages, breads/bagels.  The bagels were pretty hard but everything else was fine.

The Hyatt House had an interesting mix of clientele.  Being a small airport hotel with breakfast and airport shuttle service, it didn't have the anything-and-everything of a Strip resort.  Guests largely consisted of Southwest employees overnighting between flights, but there was also a sizeable contingent of people in their early 20s who looked like they had just come from the gym and seem to spend a lot of time there generally.  A bunch of dudes were preening around at the breakfast buffet in nothing but shorts, muscles, and attitude.  (Actually their attitude was fine, other than their violation of the implied dress code.)  It seemed peculiar, until I realized we were across the street from the Hard Rock hotel.  They were most likely  going to spend their weekend at the Rehab pool party, but were too cheap or too late to get a room at the Hard Rock itself.

Joker's Wild

After breakfast, we decided to address our gambling fix.  Nancy plays one game and one game only: $1 craps.  There are not many dollar craps tables left in Nevada, or the world for that matter, but there is one in the nether regions of Henderson at the Joker's Wild.  This place is about 12 miles from our hotel but it felt like longer since we took Boulder Highway instead of the freeway.

We had to stop at an ATM and I was annoyed that the Nevada Credit Union charged me $2.50 to withdraw from my own credit union but after driving around for 15 minutes, I found myself in a clutch situation so I bent over and took it.

We were bracing ourselves for a sketchy place, but it was great.  Employees were terrific -everyone was really friendly.  So were the other customers.  Nancy started at the dice pit right away, while I registered for the slot club - one of the last ones of which I wasn't already a member.  The clerk spun the wheel and I got a $10 credit for the restaurant.

I sat down at a $3 21 table.  The Jokers' Wild has good rules: a blackjack pays 3:2, I believe the dealer hits soft 17, and you can double down on any 2 cards, on a hand-shuffled six-deck shoe.  It's a friendly game with really nice dealers.  Several of the dealers and croupiers seemed to be fairly new; I suspect this is where they put you if you apply to deal at a Boyd casino before you are promoted to Downtown, Sam's Town, or the Orleans.  (It's owned by Boyd but has a separate slot club.)

We both played for about an hour and took a break.  By then I was up about $20 and Nancy was up $5.  We decided to have lunch in the coffee shop.  Again, super-friendly employees and the lunch was perfectly enjoyable.  A chef's salad and a grilled cheese sandwich came to about $14, a price performer, but using our coupon (and subtracting the incremental tax) the total came to I think $2.87.  

After lunch, we decided we couldn't stop now, so we both went back to the dice table.  The dice pit is probably the best one I have seen since Casino Royale ended its $1 game.  This is a $1 minimum with 10x odds, so you can put $1 on the pass line and stack up behind it for as close to a fair game as you can find in Nevada.  The croupiers were learning and were also happy to explain the proper ratios to those of us who don't have it memorized.  

We played for another half hour or so and had a great time.  Nancy had a good roll making several points, and the stick woman, who apparently was brand new at the profession, was really hamming it up as if she were born to do it, referring several times to Nancy as the Lucky Lady to her Left.  We left the table up another $20 and moved on.


By mid-afternoon, Nancy wanted to do some resale shopping so I dropped her at the Buffalo Exchange and went back to the hotel.  Our room hadn't been made up so I made sure that the Front Desk was aware we were there.  Since we checked in right at the time of the daily audit, I thought it was possible that the day shift thought we were a no-show.

Nancy didn't find anything at Buffalo's and wanted to go to the outlet mall south of the Airport.  I picked her up, and we drove there.  While she shopped, I did some reading at McDonald's.

Returned to hotel.  Room had since been made up.  Napped.

I had purchased $20 credit at Goldstar.com for $10 via Amazon Local, in order to defray half of the $9 per person service charge on ostensibly comp tickets for The Broadway Rat Pack at the Four Queens, downtown.  So the 2 tickets cost $10, with $2 credit left over.


We were deciding what to do for the evening, and Nancy really wanted to go to the Bellagio buffet.  I didn't think we could make the show downtown without being rushed at the buffet.  We selected the show mainly due to its very low cost, and decided to forego the show so we wouldn't be constrained by schedule.  

We drove over to the Bellagio, parking as is our tradition at the Via del Nord valet, off Flamingo Rd, on the shops side of the hotel, where the lines are short.  We weren't afraid of a long line - since it was the two of us, we could bypass the line and walk up to the bar counter.  As it turned out, the line wasn't very long, considering it was 7:30 pm on a Saturday night on a holiday weekend.  We soon saw why: the buffet price was $48.99 per person.  We are big fans of the Bellagio buffet but that priced us out. It's a much better deal for non-holiday weekday lunch, at about $24. We walked across to the Paris instead.

Le Village Buffet at the Paris was $33 pp, or about $72 including taxes for the 2 of us, and there was no line when we arrived.  It was good but not as good as the Bellagio, but we left full and happy.  There was nothing particularly memorable, although the split crab legs were as good as the Bellagio's.  Other items were not.  I was somewhat disappointed by the extremely small selection of cheeses, and the nonexistent selection of liver pate' (which given my medical situation I shouldn't have indulged in anyway), at this ostensibly French buffet.   May I also note that, generally speaking, there is absolutely nothing French about a buffet beyond its spelling.  The service also seemed a little lacking; there were a lot of uncleared tables and it took a long time to get our beverages.  Other buffets, including less expensive ones such as the Orleans, seem to be run much more smoothly. (Could that be the Gallic influence?)

And, while on the subject, Paris Las Vegas is about as Parisian as French's mustard.  I'm a huge fan of both Paris, France, and Las Vegas.  Paris Las Vegas, perhaps not so much.  

1923 Bourbon and Burlesque

We proceeded to the Mandalay Bay, taking I-15 to avoid strip traffic, and parking in the self parking structure.  

I had read about 1923 on one of the various Vegas websites I tend to obsess over in the weeks leading up to a trip.  I was somewhat offput by its association with a B-list celebrity and feared throngs of misguided fans, but they were not there and you never would have known.  One of them provided a "password" which apparently defrays the cover charge of $20 per person.

We found it and said to the doorman, "I'm looking for a bootlegger", and he graciously welcomed us through a bookcase into what was a really nice lounge.  (That password won't necessarily work when you are there, so join their facebook page, etc for the lowdown.)  As soon as we found seats, the jazz band started up and played a great set for about an hour.  Then the shows started.  The band relocated to the front of the room and several showgirls did a series of Vaudeville-style burlesque dances.  They were very muscular, like contemporary Vegas dancers, rather than voluptuous burlesque dancers of the 1920s, but very entertaining.  There was also a blues singer who was sort of an emcee.  She was very funny.

Generally the lounge staff were very welcoming and we didn't feel a lot of pressure to spend a down payment while there.  We hung out about an hour and a half.

We headed back to the hotel for the evening.  Because when you get to middle age, that's what happens.

more to come.

Continue to Day 3
Summary of Money Spent
Go Back to Day 1

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please post as if your mother would read it.