Thursday, June 5, 2014

Low-Rolling in Vegas for Not Quite Free - Part 3


An original photo, for a change:  our breakfast.

Breakfast at Harrie's

We forewent free breakfast and instead headed 3 minutes up Swenson to our other favorite restaurant in Las Vegas, Harrie's Bagelmania, located in a shopping strip on Twain Ave. that has seen better days.  Once inside, this place feels like old Miami Beach.  Correction, this is Broward County all the way.  You will be welcomed and the person sitting behind you (and it is always one particular person in a party of two or more) is talking so loudly you can hear his entire conversation whether you choose to or not. That, and their website doesn't even have its own domain name, looks like the owner did it herself in 1997 when someone said she needed to get herself a website, and features the disclaimer, "If you have any comments, suggestions or ideas please visit the restaurant."  I did, but I'm fairly certain it had no impact.

No matter. Should you ever decide to indulge in a whitefish salad sandwich on a rye bagel (around $12),  while catching up on who was whom at the synagogue fundraiser in the Las Vegas Israelite, this is where you want to be.  I did just that, while the Mrs. savored every last morsel of matzo brei on her plate. I was inadvertently first served tuna salad on a bagel, which itself was excellent, but I sent it back because it was not what I ordered.  Our waitress was surprised and somewhat incredulous, so I encouraged her to taste it, and she confirmed that it was indeed tuna.  She was very apologetic; it was an honest mistake that was graciously corrected so it was nothing to worry about, especially since this weekend was going as well as it was.

The whitefish salad, which came with a latke on the side, was sublime.  Brought leftovers back to the hotel fridge.  The total for this feast came to about $32, including tax and 2 coffees, plus tip.  Worth every dime and several more.

Thrift Shopping

We sallied forth to the west side of town, which seems less sketchy than the east side and is where we usually stay.  Nancy wanted to do some thrift shopping and I had some more work to do, so we headed over to Savers, a large and well-organized thrift shop on Decatur Blvd, with a Starbucks in the parking lot.  She shopped while I sat at Starbucks and worked.  Before we left, I stopped at Savers myself.  They had a 2-for-1 sale so I picked up 2 shirts for a total of $4.  I had lost a few pounds due to illness, so the shirts fit when I was in Vegas.  Ten days later, I've pretty much gained it back and they don't fit anymore.  Live but never learn.

On the way back to the hotel, we stopped at the Riviera Hotel to exchange my American Casino Guide coupon for 2 tickets to the Riviera Comedy Club.  This is my favorite coupon in the ACG and one we use every year.  It's a night out for free (aside from the cost of the coupon book itself, around $15), with absolutely no strings attached.

While at the Riviera, I used another ACG match play coupon at a 21 table.  I put down $10 in chips with the coupon.  (If I win, I get paid $20 instead of $10.)  But I lost.

Got back to the hotel and I was starving so I ate the rest of my whitefish salad sandwich.  We hung out at the hotel pool for a bit.  It's a basic two-star hotel pool, no lazy river or jacuzzi, but fine for a quick dip on a day that was much warmer (almost 100) than the previous day (upper 80s), and there was just one other family there (sunbathing, not swimming).  Nancy fell asleep on a lounge chair and I went back to the room.  I didn't realize I had locked her out until she banged on the hotel room door and awoke me from my own nap.

Palace Station Feast Buffet

We wanted to eat dinner somewhat close to the Riviera so we wouldn't be used another ACG coupon for dinner at the Palace Station buffet.  The buffet costs $14.99 a person for dinner on Sunday without a Boarding Pass (slot club) card, or $7.99 with a card.  With our 2-for-1 coupons and a boarding pass card, the total came to $8.64 for the two of us including tax.  Station casinos have reputations for good buffets, but this one was just ok.  Not bad but not great.  (I once had breakfast at the Texas Station which was just awful.)  

The highlight of the Palace Station buffet was the collard greens.  The fried chicken was mediocre, but not mediocre enough to stop me from a second piece.  You would probably do fine by sticking to the basics, such as roast turkey or roast beef from the carving station and green salad.

Comedy was very good.  The headliner actually went before the feature act, apparently because he had to catch a plane.  We liked the feature act, Shayma Tash, even better.


I wanted to check out the Container Park so we headed downtown after the show.  It was just closing as we got there so we only got to see it from the outside.  It looked cool, and I was really impressed with what they are doing with Downtown.  It used to be very seedy but it's really getting cleaned up, while preserving what history is left by restoring neon signs, upgrading the El Cortez, etc.  I've read a few articles about some of the  Downtown projects and it is really making a difference.  People seem to have a lot of community pride and involvement, which is in short supply anywhere, let alone Las Vegas.

It was clear after a few minutes that there are no longer any $2 craps tables Downtown.  I thought the Western - a formerly seedy joint that might be a good candidate - might have reopened, but it appears only the neon sign was restored as part of the Downtown Project.

I wanted to play Poker at the Golden Nugget, since (1) they still have a 2-4 hold'em table, (2) the ACG has a coupon for $10 in chips with a $50 buy-in, and (3) the last time I played there, the competition was mostly terrible and I cleaned up.

We walked over there and there was a bit of a wait for a seat.  I tried to get Nancy interested in video poker since it can be a slow grind.  I sat her down at a machine, put $5 in the slot, and showed her a few hands.  I may as well have been explaining it in Greek because she could not have been less interested.  She tol.d me not to worry and go ahead and play if I wanted to.  She is a keeper.

I bought in with $80 and played a hand I shouldn't have early on.  After that I resolved to play tight and strong.  I bluffed my way to a small pot when it was obvious nobody had cards, and won 2 other pretty decent-sized pots.  In one hand I held a nut straight while someone kept betting me.  After about an hour, I left with $130 net of tips.

I found Nancy hanging out at the pool, which is open for loitering but not swimming late at night.  We saw the shark tank and the slide that passes through it, and we noted that our son would love that.

I could have gone out for a late-night second dinner but Nancy wanted to get to bed.  So we headed back to the hotel and I had to comfort myself with some cashews from CVS.

went to bed.


The weekend was winding down.  While Nancy prepared herself in the morning, I went out to fill the car with gas and also stopped by Harrie's for a dozen bagels to bring home.  We ate 2 of them at the breakfast buffet since the Hyatt's bagels resembled a dog chew toy.

Returned the car, and flew home.  Will be back soon.

What we spent (Sun-Mon coming soon)
Go back to Part 1

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