Mission146
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
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January 18th, 2014 at 11:16:56 PM permalink
Greetings!

That's right, I'm going to do a trip report on Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino, Racetrack, which is my, "Home," casino and is within fifty miles of where I live.

This whole thing basically started Wednesday night (technically, early a.m. Thursday) because I went to Wheeling Island to run some Free Play through and I happened to notice an advertisement that said an individual would get a free hotel room by earning 200 base points, in one day, on his/her Player's Club Card.

I recall thinking that it was a pretty cool promotion because I can always appreciate a promotion that is very straight up in its terms and player friendly. The expected loss on a slot machine in order to pursue 200 points, and assuming a 90% return, is $100 aside from the fact that you would get $2.00 back in comp dollars/free play as the points return .2% of money with no multiplier.

I didn't originally intend to go after it, though.

I happened upon a Video Keno Progressive which was in positive territory if the player were to hit 6/6, so I decided that I would be willing to spend up to $50 going after it, given that it would be a pretty nice hit. The game was Frost & Fire Keno, and I was down about $40 until I hit three Bonus Games in relatively quick succession which put me up about $30.

I also noticed I was at 200 points on that machine, so I called someone over (the computers can be wonky in the morning, sometimes) to make sure I had an employee witness the fact that I had 200 points just on that machine. We then went to the self-service promotional kiosk, and I was able to print out my voucher for the free room.

The free room was any night from Sunday-Thursday for the remainder of January OR first week of February, we used it on Thursday 1/16/2014. Initially, I had tried to sell it, but my best offer was $20, so my wife and I decided we would have a, "Date night," instead. Fortunately, for me, after her discovery of Video Poker in Las Vegas, it turns out that she actually likes gambling a little bit...she used to think she hated it, but all she ever tried was slots. The only slot machine she likes is Quick Hits, and she even says those are, "Just OK."

I had a bunch of stuff to do Thursday and had to go pick up my sister (who was baby-sitting), but I stopped at the casino with her to check into the room ahead of time. I had made my reservations over the phone for a Smoking King (my wife still smokes) and took my sister up to check out the room.

I want to give Wheeling Island some props for the rooms, and I'll post up some pictures, probably tomorrow or the next day, but their rooms there are actually the highlight of the casino. While it may lack a refrigerator, the King room was very spacious, had a desk with two chairs, an armchair, and was probably the size of a really good Limited Service hotel room. The bathroom may have been a little small, but the décor and fixtures were pretty nice. The only curious thing was an overhead drop panel (with a key lock) above the shower perhaps six inches by three inches and rectangular...must be a pipe access of some sort.

This was another room that was superficially excellent, prior to really looking it over I was raving about it to The Wizard via text. The air conditioner filter had not been cleaned out for a matter of weeks, or perhaps even a month, though the bathroom vent fan was clean. The top bed cover had some dark hair on it and also some little white specks of I don't know what, the top sheet also had a bit of hair on it, but the bottom sheet was fine. They could have probably gotten the vacuum a little further under the bed than they did, there were a couple scraps of paper on the far side of the bed under the window, and there was a little bit of dust on the outside of the HVAC unit itself.

The water pressure and temperature were both outstanding, at its hottest, the shower is unbearably hot which is a good thing.

Overall, I was originally inclined to give the room an 8/10 before taking a closer look. After that, I was still inclined to go 6.5/10, but I think that I am giving it a little too much credit just because I am surprised that a casino with such a crappy main floor would have decent rooms at all. Therefore, I am going to go 6/10...the cleanliness sub-score is 3/10.

My wife and I decided to try the buffet prior to doing anything else, and let me just say, the buffet is not what it used to be.

The total cost for a Thursday night dinner buffet was $36.10, and it may have been worth half of that, if I am in a really generous mood.

The selection was pretty good, overall, though really heavy on American and Italian, which you can get pretty much anywhere else in this area. There was an Oriental food section, but that was limited to perhaps six different items. I'm just going to break down what I had and say what I thought about it:

DINNER FOOD:

Grilled Chicken-Excellent, very juicy.
Grilled Steak-Dry, Bland, Unseasoned...and, no...it's not a steak that can, "Speak for itself."
Pot Roast-Very good, except not enough meat, or anything else, you really had to play with that ladle to get anything substantial, even when they brought a new pot out.
Prime Rib-TERRIBLE, SPOILED, RANCID, I didn't notice the discoloration before I took a bite. My wife saw something she thought she'd never see, me spit something into a napkin. She said, "It must have been really spoiled, half the time, you'd shrug and say something stupid like, 'have to die of something,' and eat it anyway!"
Grilled Sausage-Severely Overcooked, bland.
Spiral Ham-Somewhat Overcooked, bland.
Lobster Egg Roll-What lobster?
Vegetable Spring Roll-Acceptable, average.
Thai Chili Ribs-Perhaps the strangest thing I've ever had. They were just hot (spicy), but that's all they were. They somehow burnt my mouth, but did not taste like anything.
Shrimp Pasta Alfredo (Made to Order)-My wife had it, not me, but the shrimp were puny, the sauce was watery, and she said it sucked.

BEVERAGE:

Coffee, of course, it was surprisingly quite rich and bold. Also, they leave an entire metal coffee pot (four cups, I would guess) on the table, so you never have to worry about waiting. It was not a cheap pot as the coffee stayed piping hot (initially undrinkable, as it should be) for at least an hour. 9/10 on the coffee.

DESSERT:

The first thing that I should mention, and I don't know why, but they got rid of the chocolate fountain that everyone loved.

In any event, though, the desserts were still excellent. I had the Red Velvet Layer Cake, the Strawberry Cheesecake Cup, Tiramisu, a slice of Apple Pie, some kind of chocolate cake in a cup that I don't know what it was and something similar to a Pirouette, but triangular.

The Strawberry Cheesecake cup was also superb, extremely creamy and the Red Velvet layer cake was spectacular, terrific consistency.

Buffet Conclusion

Even with the excellent desserts and great coffee, the buffet isn't worth half of the price. The seating (in our case) was also pretty bad, a square table about the size of a café table with straight-back chairs with thin cushioning. The table is the worst part, though, except when the waitress is fast collecting plates because there is no comfortable way to have two beverages, a pot of coffee, two used plates and two new plates of food on the table at the same time. I actually made something of a habit of finding a vacant (but used and the people left) table upon which to set used plates when going up for more stuff.

If you've ever been to a Ponderosa, Bonanza, or American Steak Buffet, this is pretty much the same thing, except with terrific desserts. It's worth maybe $10/apiece, and even then, I'd only get it if I planned to load up on desserts. I would be surprised if I ever eat there again, with exception to eat being a discretionary comp, (I'd go in, drink coffee and eat desserts) and I would DEFINITELY not eat there again at any price (including free) if it did not have such great desserts and coffee.

Continued

My wife and I briefly returned to the room after dinner. Wheeling Island Hotel, Casino, Racetrack does not comp beverages when you are playing unless you are betting at least $5/spin in the High Limit Slots room or betting your first born child, in place of chips, on the Pass Line. For this reason, I strongly suggested we mix up a few SoCo and Cokes to take downstairs, but my wife wouldn't have it, so we had a few drinks in the room.

My wife and I went and played some Video Poker for awhile and came out a little bit ahead. There was a drawing for the Free Play Mega Spin at 7:00p.m., so we were mainly just playing to see if we would get chosen for that, but we did not.

After that drawing concluded, which took about a half hour because they had to also call people to replace the people who did not show up in the allotted ten minutes, we went back up to the room to play cards and do other stuff.

I went back down just before 9:00p.m. to see if either of us would get called for the Free Play Mega Spin. My wife stated that Video Poker is not as much fun when you aren't getting free drinks and that she doesn't want to lose any money and feel like she didn't get anything out of it, so she stayed in the room and told me to get her if she won.

Through circumstances that I am not at liberty to discuss, I already had 100+ points, despite the fact that I had gambled very little that day. Therefore, I decided to finish getting to 200 in order to get another hotel room...that's only kind of true...PM for details if you really must know. I finished $5.00 ahead and got the points.

Anyway, I played some JoB and got the other 100 points, when the Kiosk did not give me the option to print out my Voucher, I went to Player's Services to explain the situation. They stated that players could only redeem one such voucher per week and that they could not give me a voucher because they have to be really conservative with the room count as, technically, they theoretically have more vouchers out ALREADY for the time period than they have rooms available.

I explained that I got 200 points ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY to get the hotel voucher, but told them I'd be willing to settle for some Free Play...it ended up being $50 of it, and even I was not expecting that.

I ran through the Free Play on JoB (Return $43.75) and then I went to play some Craps.

My brief Craps session went extremely well! I proceeded to walk up to the table and was left of the woman who was shooting the dice, but one of the dealers informed me that I would have to bet something on this day if I wanted the dice right away, otherwise, they'd have to go around once. It was for this reason only that I Placed the Six (the point had already been established, forget what it was) and the woman hit the Six ($7 for me) then she hit it again (Press to $12, $1 hand-in) but then she sevened-out.

My turn!!!

I had an incredible roll as I established and made a Point of Five on three consecutive hands (overall) and on four consecutive hands if you ignore CO winners and losers. I had three CO winners against one CO loser, which I didn't pay for, because a gentleman at the end of the table (after my second five made) was making a crapload of money on my roll and was tipping me in the form of posting a $1 Crap Check on my behalf, so I came out ahead $2.00 on that!!!

I was playing only single odds, so I ultimately won $69, total, I believe it was, but I had tipped a total of about $10 including a $5 hand-in when I left the table, so ahead about $59, make it $57 because I tipped the cage $2.

I went back up to the room and hung out with my wife some more. My wife and I played some cards for awhile, and then she got hungry again (she had an even lower opinion of the buffet that I did, as evidenced by how little she ate) and the Deli at the Food Court was the only thing open, so that's where I went.

I believe it was $8.99, but I got my wife a Virginia Ham half sandwich (still HUGE) combo with the bowl of chili as it was the only soup at the time and I really couldn't think of what side my wife would actually want. In any event, my wife declared that the sandwich would be too big for her and told me to eat the chili, as well, so I told her just to eat the sandwich until she was done with it and I would polish off whatever was left.

In any event, the chili was nothing special, a bit more hardy than that at Wendy's, and perhaps just a little less bland (more spicy) but not worth significantly more than fast food chili. The sandwich, however, was excellent! The bread was fresh and very fluffy, and the Virginia Ham and Cheese were clearly high-quality and very fresh.

Honestly, I would recommend two people to go to the Food Court Deli and spend $8.99/apiece there before I would recommend going to the buffet for the same price, again, unless you are going to load up on desserts.

After dinner, my wife and I hung out in the room some more, and then she decided to go to bed, so I went back downstairs. I played Craps for about two hours, up an down, Table Minimum Pass Line only, not even taking Odds and ended up even. After that, I went and lost $10 on Video Poker. I drank a two beers at $3.50/each + $1.50 tip during this time.

It was still a nice Wednesday/Thursday, though, what was won was slightly in excess of what was spent/tipped/lost, perhaps $30-$40, total, so I'll take it.

Conclusion/Ranks

Room Amenities: 6/10
Room Cleanliness: 3/10
Staff Service: 9/10
Room Quality: 6/10
Check-In Process: 6/10

Buffet: 4/10 (2/10 if not for the dessert, dessert scores 9/10)

Food Court Deli: 7.5/10
Vultures can't be choosers.
onenickelmiracle
onenickelmiracle
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
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January 19th, 2014 at 12:17:21 AM permalink
The rooms I had been in years ago, but don't remember much besides them being nicely decorated with comfortable beds. Cleanliness I can't recall but think I'm less attentive to those details than you with it being your career.

The buffet was ok a few months ago to me with the only thing I didn't like being the Chinese. They did have nicer offerings than other places, but didn't have problems with spoiled food. I didn't take notes but do remember loving the desserts and not liking one piece of steak, but did like another. Neither was paid for and I think I'm more forgiving when not paying directly with cash. I ate on a Friday night and suspect it was busier without food sitting too long.

Did you complain about the prime rib being spoiled and if so, was there a response? Was it worked into the $50 free play comp? Nice score with it by the way.

Is it common for people to complain about vents dirty etc? Do they get sick from them? Health codes violations? Maybe you can do consultations for these hotels. Just an idea since you're so good at running a tight ship with yours obviously.
In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is the care taker. Hold my beer.
Mission146
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
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January 19th, 2014 at 12:30:24 AM permalink
Quote: onenickelmiracle

The rooms I had been in years ago, but don't remember much besides them being nicely decorated with comfortable beds. Cleanliness I can't recall but think I'm less attentive to those details than you with it being your career.



They are still nicely decorated and I found the bed to be very comfortable. The throw pillows are a strange choice because they are not ones with a removable cover, and are somewhat light, so when something gets on them, they are virtually unwashable. Ours had a red stain from something, but it was faded such that you could tell they tried to wash it.

I didn't complain about the buffet to anyone, thanks for the compliment on the score! I don't typically complain about food, especially not at buffets, there is enough there that is in good shape that it is a simple matter to get something else. People will vote with their feet, and judging from the crowd at the buffet on a Thursday night, most of them were voting, "Yes," anyway.

I appreciate the thought, but I would be very surprised if anyone hired me as a housekeeping consultant. That's mainly because my experience is as a manager at two different low-level franchise hotels that are both small compared to other places.

It's not very common for people to complain about dirty vents, but all of the dust that gets into the air can pose a problem for people with asthma and is often the cause of someone thinking that smoking has been going on in a non-smoking room when it has not. Furthermore, if anyone is experiencing any kind of cold or sinus related issue, then that can be exacerbated by dust that need not be in the air.

I'm not aware of the West Virginia health code because I have never managed a hotel in that State, but in the State of Ohio, the State Fire Marshal also effectively doubles as the health inspector for hotels for the State. There's also a County Health Inspector. The State Fire Marshal would definitely order that an air vent that is covered in dust be cleaned, although, I have never seen the Fire Marshal check an air conditioner filter. The County Health Inspector has only ever came around to make sure there is no evidence of smoking in indoor public areas, he doesn't seem to care about anything else.

As with any other hotel, mine has imperfections aplenty, some people just have different things that they tend to focus on. Of course, we wouldn't have some of the problems we do if I could get the kind of budget that I wanted for certain projects, but it is what it is.
Vultures can't be choosers.
EvenBob
EvenBob
Joined: Jul 18, 2010
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January 19th, 2014 at 1:45:16 AM permalink
Quote: Mission146



DINNER FOOD:

Grilled Chicken-Excellent, very juicy.
Grilled Steak-Dry, Bland, Unseasoned...and, no...it's not a steak that can, "Speak for itself."
Pot Roast-Very good, except not enough meat, or anything else, you really had to play with that ladle to get anything substantial, even when they brought a new pot out.
Prime Rib-TERRIBLE, SPOILED, RANCID, I didn't notice the discoloration before I took a bite. My wife saw something she thought she'd never see, me spit something into a napkin. She said, "It must have been really spoiled, half the time, you'd shrug and say something stupid like, 'have to die of something,' and eat it anyway!"
Grilled Sausage-Severely Overcooked, bland.
Spiral Ham-Somewhat Overcooked, bland.
Lobster Egg Roll-What lobster?
Vegetable Spring Roll-Acceptable, average.
Thai Chili Ribs-Perhaps the strangest thing I've ever had. They were just hot (spicy), but that's all they were. They somehow burnt my mouth, but did not taste like anything.
Shrimp Pasta Alfredo (Made to Order)-My wife had it, not me, but the shrimp were puny, the sauce was watery, and she said it



You really have to learn to do the walk thru
at a buffet. Just cut the line and walk in like
you paid and survey all the food. You can
tell if the meats are overcooked just by
looking at them. If it looks dried out, it's
over cooked. If there are lots of bean and
pasta dishes, avoid. Lots of pizza, avoid.
Lots of Mexican food, avoid. It's all
under seasoned and over cooked.

If you see stations where they cook food
to order, that's a good sign. Fried fish
and shrimp and other seafood is also a
good sign. Big variety in desserts is good.
Buffets like to play it safe by offering
overcooked everything and carbo heavy
dishes. Avoid those places.
"It's not enough to succeed, your friends must fail." Gore Vidal
Mission146
Mission146
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January 19th, 2014 at 2:23:54 AM permalink
It has some good and bad, then. I actually forgot that I tried a piece of fried cod and some fried shrimp, nothing really good or bad about either of those two things, there. My wife found the fried cod a bit, "Squishy," but I thought it was pretty normal. The dessert variety is good, there, except I wish they'd bring back the chocolate fountain.

They basically have all of your good signs, it's just that the food is not very good, except the desserts. One thing that I found strangely absent was any kind of a baked fish, usually a buffet has at least one kind of baked fish.

Main Street Station buffet did not have a lot of pizza, I think maybe only cheese and pepperoni...but there may have been one other...although I thought the pizza they did have was pretty good, by the standards of a buffet pizza.
Vultures can't be choosers.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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January 19th, 2014 at 3:39:06 AM permalink
Quote: Mission146

circumstances that I am not at liberty to discuss



I assume Paigowdan would not approve.

Quote: onenickelmiracle

the only thing I didn't like being the Chinese.



You have to get used to all the Asians in casinos, there's just a lot of Asian gamblers. Get over it.

j/k
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
onenickelmiracle
onenickelmiracle
Joined: Jan 26, 2012
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January 19th, 2014 at 4:17:12 AM permalink
Quote: odiousgambit

I assume Paigowdan would not approve.



You have to get used to all the Asians in casinos, there's just a lot of Asian gamblers. Get over it.

j/k

That.'s funny.
They must have put a must hit progressive on the moon to get them to go there.
In the land of the blind, the man with one eye is the care taker. Hold my beer.
odiousgambit
odiousgambit
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January 19th, 2014 at 4:17:43 AM permalink
Glad to see playing some more Craps. For one thing, I can't picture you doing anything that would upset PG-Dan, and I want you to stay on his good side. [g]

Quote: Mission146

but one of the dealers informed me that I would have to bet something on this day if I wanted the dice right away, otherwise, they'd have to go around once.



You mean the other players would complain that you got to shoot too soon? Never heard of that.

Quote:

It was for this reason only that I Placed the Six



If the puck is on you know you could make a Come bet instead?

Quote:

I had an incredible roll as I established and made a Point of Five on three consecutive hands (overall) and on four consecutive hands if you ignore CO winners and losers.



I think you are describing one hand. It's one hand until you 7-out, no matter rolling Craps or making your point.

Quote:

a gentleman at the end of the table (after my second five made) was making a crapload of money on my roll and was tipping me in the form of posting a $1 Crap Check on my behalf, so I came out ahead $2.00 on that!!!



He got excited because somebody made 2 points in a hand? Must have been a cold table till then!

Quote:

I was playing only single odds



I suggest moving up to 2X odds. You can stay there at 2X for the rest of your life, and not a peep out of me, but you gotta do 2x. For one thing, it's a pain to have to remember to throw an extra dollar to get paid right on points of 5 or 9 [if the line bet is $5 or $15 etc] and even if you do that it's a pain for everybody including the dealers.
the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
tringlomane
tringlomane
Joined: Aug 25, 2012
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January 19th, 2014 at 6:08:38 AM permalink
Crazy detail! And good job on getting more freeplay than the likely comp value of the room! Sounds like you played a decent amount of 6/5 JoB though. Reading that makes me sad and angry at the same time over their stupid laws. Did your wife try 94.82% deuces instead? lol

And what's the BS about selectively comping drinks? Either comp them or don't, imo. I'd much prefer the first option, but being from Missouri, I'm more familiar with the second.
Mission146
Mission146
Joined: May 15, 2012
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January 19th, 2014 at 7:58:30 AM permalink
Quote: tringlomane

Crazy detail! And good job on getting more freeplay than the likely comp value of the room! Sounds like you played a decent amount of 6/5 JoB though. Reading that makes me sad and angry at the same time over their stupid laws. Did your wife try 94.82% deuces instead? lol

And what's the BS about selectively comping drinks? Either comp them or don't, imo. I'd much prefer the first option, but being from Missouri, I'm more familiar with the second.



Thanks for the compliment!

The JoB is actually 9/5, believe it or not, I think they get away with it because of the auto-hold feature on the Spielo GTECH Pick N' Play machines. The way it works is the machine aiuto-holds based on highest probability of winning, not expected value, but the player can change the holds. For example, if you have:

Ks, Qs, Js, 10s, Jd

The machine will keep the Jacks in favor of the four-Royal because the probability of the Jacks being a winning hand is 100%.

The only problem is that the game kind of is difficult to get into a rhythm because you have to be careful that it doesn't hold something stupid. Some of the auto-holds are beyond stupid.

Anyway, I think the auto-hold, "Strategy," would put the player under 95% ER if they just did what the machine said, so I think that 's how they get away with the game. I could be wrong, and my mathematical ability is nowhere near sufficient to determine the ER on a, "Best probability to win the hand," strategy, so I don't know for sure.

Maybe the State of West Virginia has just never noticed, who knows?
Vultures can't be choosers.

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