ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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June 30th, 2023 at 4:31:52 PM permalink
After giving Vegas a pass last year, it was time to make a return. I will split this up into separate posts in the thread for each day.

On Father's Day, I flew in on United from Columbus, where I was attending a gaming convention, via O'Hare. All of the O'Hare takeoffs and landings felt like Vegas landings - the wind was throwing the planes around. Anyway, I taxi in to the Planet Hollywood, where I have five nights paid for in full by the Caesars Rewards points I have racked up over the years on my CR Visa (it's a 1% return). The first thing I notice; the reports are true - the rooms no longer have film memorabilia in them. After unpacking, it's about 5:00, so first I head to the Walgreen's next door to get a 2L of soda, then across the Strip to the Cosmo for a pizza from Secret No Name Mystery Meat Whatever It's Called This Week Pizza, which I manage to get back to the hotel room reasonably hot. This competes with Pizza Rock for best pizza in Vegas, if you ask me.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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Joined: Jun 22, 2011
June 30th, 2023 at 4:44:04 PM permalink
Monday 6/26
I head off to the Palms, to see if the new owners have replaced their chips. Why, yes, I did take the bus, and yes, they did change the change the chips, although not by much; I think they just swapped the white and black on the old chips.

Then, back on the bus in the other direction, and a short walk to Virgin / Mohegan Sun to see if they are selling dice that I can add to my dice collection, and while I am waiting for the store to open, I drop $20 into a not particularly player-friendly DDB VP machine. Next, another short walk south, followed by a short bus ride to OYO. No luck finding dice at either location, but more on that later.
Hop the Deuce up to near the Convention Center, and lunch at Siegel's BagelMania, where I get my usual - a "triple decker" (slice of rye, a pile of pastrami, another slice of rye, a pile of corned beef, and a third slice of rye) - and then south to the Welcome to Las Vegas sign, which is near my next destination, the Pinball Hall of Fame. Most of the newer ($1 per game) machines are in operation, but the stories I have heard about the older ones are true; it seemed as if half of the pre-1980s games were moved to the back of the building and all turned off. Reportedly, the problem is, the building's owner, who also owns all of the machines, is very reluctant to have anyone else service them, and from the looks of things at the location, he doesn't have time to do it; while I was there, he went from breaking bills for customers to looking at problems to selling me a PHOF T-shirt.
Cut ahead a few hours to the highlight of the night; the Michael Jackson ONE Cirque show at the Mandalay Bay. It's good, especially with its two standouts - a silks aerialist who works with just one silk instead of two, and a dancer with only one leg who can bust his share of moves with his leg and two crutches - but it just seems that there's too much choreography and not enough of what makes a Cirque show special. If you're a Michael Jackson fan, it's worth it, but otherwise, I would see LOVE at the Mirage first if you had the choice. End the night with a $30 burger and fries - at Fatburger.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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June 30th, 2023 at 4:58:33 PM permalink
Tuesday 6/27
Start the day by going downtown. After a quick stop at Circa, where, yes, they are still checking IDs, I head over to Downtown Grand. I put $20 into a Double Bonus VP machine, playing Jacks or Better strategy, and get four 3s right away; by the time I was ready for lunch, my $20 was now $50. I have lunch at Freedom Beat (the hotel's main cafe); the Pot Roast Sandwich is good, and affordable by Vegas standards. After that, I go to the Mob Museum, where, in addition to the tour, I pick up a three-pack (50ml each) of the speakeasy's moonshine - in my case, regular, vanilla, and the new huckleberry flavors.

Then, an hour long bus ride into Henderson to get a chip from The Pass. I tried getting one back in 2021, but was told that the cage could not sell chips larger than $1, and the tables with the larger chips didn't open until 3:00. This time, pretty much right at 3:00, a table opens, and I try to buy a $5 chip - and the dealer calls over the pit boss, who authorizes it, then explains to me that, because so many people were taking $1 chips home, they stopped letting anybody buy single $1 chips, but a $5 was okay.
While I was waiting for the table to open, I played some 9/5 Jacks or Better, and the first deal was AKQJ of clubs. The deal comes up a 10...of hearts. I think that's my third time in the "46 club" (being dealt 4 to a Royal; there are 46 losing cards), and each one had a different result (flush, garbage, and now straight).
I then head back to the hotel, but run into some serious traffic northbound on the Strip between the MGM Grand and the Palazzo; one lane was closed, and it looked like one lane on Harmon was closed, causing a lot of cars to "block the box" by coming to a stop when trying to turn onto EB Harmon from SB Strip and come to a halt. Nevada should do what California does; the last time I looked, in California, blocking the box was the same level of violation as illegally using a carpool lane or parking in a handicapped spot. Not wanting to go too far, I grabbed a meatball sandwich from Earl of Sandwich and took it to my room.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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June 30th, 2023 at 5:16:41 PM permalink
Wednesday 6/28
Not too much to report, as I didn't go too far from the Strip after Tuesday.

I did do a "dice run" at Bonanza Gift Shop, which is pretty much the only place I found outside of hotel gift shops that sells them. I added three new Vegas casinos to the collection (OYO, Strat, and Horseshoe), plus a pair from Gold Strike in Jean, a white opaque pair from Cannery (I didn't think casinos would use white opaques, but they also had them from Harrah's and Linq), and a pair of the legendary Red Rock Blues.

It took me a while, but I finally found the Vegas Golden Knights store at T-Mobile Arena. It did not help matters any that the only sign that supposedly points to the store actually points in the opposite direction and makes it look like it's inside Park MGM now. After that, lunch at Top Round (an Arby's competitor) at NYNY - good, but expensive. Dinner was back at PH, at Gordon Ramsay Burger; a burger, fries, soft drink, and sticky toffee pudding ice cream sandwich ran me $60 (and you think that Five Guys overcharges). Seeing as how my hotel was free (well, free with CR points), I decided to "give back" to the hotel by actually gambling there, but I'm not about to touch 6-5 Jacks or Better, $25 Craps is a little out of my price range, and you know my stands on 6-5 Blackjack and roulette in general, much less Triple-Zero. Most of the slots are penny, which I don't really like, and most of the dollar slots require a $5 or higher play, but I did find a Top Dollar with a $3 play, and quickly hit $35 on a bonus; I cashed out $2 ahead, which is $22 up for the trip.
ThatDonGuy
ThatDonGuy
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Dietersmoothgrh
June 30th, 2023 at 5:25:05 PM permalink
Thursday 6/29
Not much to talk about here, other than what I ate.

Lunch was at the new Chicken Guy (as in Fieri) inside of Caesar's Palace - once I found it; it's not in the Forum Shops themselves, so the maps inside there were of no use, but in the hotel's "food hall" located just outside of the Shops, and most of the signs don't point out where it is located. In the end, it comes across as something trying to compete with Popeye's; the only thing that it really has going for it is the twenty or so different sauces. There was a series on Food Network where a number of contestants were competing to be the manager at a new location Guy would build near their hometown, which is how I heard of this place.

Dinner was at Battista's Hole in the Wall. It reminded me of an "old school" Italian restaurant where I grew up (my father sold the liquor that its bar used, and he was good friends with the owner). A dinner comes with soup or salad, a pasta side (unless you ordered pasta for dinner), garlic bread, a capuccino after the meal, and half-liter carafe of house wine (red or white). Unlike the rest of the strip, it doesn't charge and arm and a leg for it, either.
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