Monday, December 14, 2009


I had a wonderful 2 day 1 night trip to Las Vegas this past weekend. In the past I have been consumed with gambling or on the other end of the spectrum have had family obligations while in town. This trip was more about me and I was looking forward to unstructured time as much as I was looking forward to gambling. I am usually pretty cheap on non-gaming expenses, but this time I ate, drank and only walked when I wanted to.

I touched down December 11th at about 8:00 AM local time and caught a shuttle to the Wynn. I was fortunate enough to manage an early check-in and was able to drop off my luggage and change into more comfortable clothes prior to heading off the strip for my first planned activity. I arrived with about 15 minutes to spare to catch the early bird rate at the daily $40 Gold Coast poker tournament.

While I was waiting, I played craps at a $5 table for minus $5 and made that money back playing video poker during my tournament breaks. I got pretty lucky with the cards. I had pocket aces twice and pocket queens once. I busted a gal with one of the aces and doubled through a guy with the queens. This allowed me to coast to a 3rd place finish which was supposed to pay $90. Considering a $10 tip and the $45 entry fee, I started the trip off up $35. Not bad for the first 2.5 hours in town.

I then headed to the Orleans for some Omaha poker. There was a reasonably long list so I had lunch at Subway. $7 for a 6” sub, chip and a drink is a cheap meal as far as I was concerned and I hadn’t eaten since my Clif bar in the morning. Instead of waiting around, I strolled up to the cinema and took in a showing of “The Blindside” which was actually a very moving story and a good remind of how fortunate I am. Heading back down to the tables, I was second up and got quickly seated into a game. I had a great 3 hour session and managed to cash out up $100 with some lucky flops and disciplined start card play.

I caught a cab back to the Wynn as it was approaching 10:00 PM. I slinked into the poker room and got a seat playing $4-8 Holdem. The players were atrocious, but I could not win any money. At one point I was stuck almost $80. I cashed out only in the down $20 and joined Simi for dinner. I had the turkey pretzel sandwich at the Wynn café. We chatted and headed back up to the room.

In the morning I awoke early and went for a jog along the strip. 40 degrees felt cool, but not cold. I went past City Center to about the Mandalay Bay in 20 minutes before turning around. I arrived back at the Wynn 21 minutes later, stretched and headed up to the room. After getting ready, Simi and I went downstairs for breakfast and then walked around the Fashion Show mall. She did some browsing, but I wasn’t interested in anything at all. I did poke my head into the Lladro store and was very impressed by the Dancing Shiva. Simi then headed to her conference and I headed to the Wynn pool.

There was one other guy swimming when I arrived. An eagle’s view of the Wynn pool is shaped like a barbell, with a channel between the two normal pool areas. This configuration allowed for 100 yards on continuous swimming before turning around. I wasn’t sure how it would feel to be in a pool heated to 85 degrees while it was 40 degrees outside. It turned out to be incredible. I swam about 1000 yards before jumping in the 102 degree hot tub and then heading upstairs.

I got dressed and decided to head back out on the strip. I bought some gifts for the girls and then headed to the Mirage to gamble. While waiting for a poker table, I played roulette with my new layout. I have always liked black 13 straight up and would take corner bets around 7. This time I added red 21 for Nisha’s birthday and black 24 for Diya’s birthday. On 4 spins, Diya’s birthday came up on the second spin and I caught a corner with black 10 which put me $50 to the good when my seat came up.

I was pretty much card dead and lost $35 playing $3-6 holdem, when I got Simi’s call saying that they were at Treasure Island. I walked over and met them at a Blackjack table. Passing the time I picked up $15 and then went in search of the poker room. This tiny room was only spreading $1-3 no limit holdem. I put my name on the list and had lunch at Pho. I had a vermicelli dish with fried eggrolls that was very good. I then proceeded to not win a hand for an hour while playing in the Treasure Island poker room. As it was getting to be after 5:30 PM, I walked quickly to the Wynn, packed and hustled downstairs to catch a cab to the airport.

I got there at about 6:30 PM for my 8:10 PM flight which was about as perfect as I could have timed it. Parking at the airport garage was very convenient as well although $18/day is pretty steep. Overall, I was up about $130 gambling, half of which went to the food and the other half going to cab fare around town. If I had stayed in one place I could have managed some food comps. Similarly I could have taken the bus everywhere. For being in town 36 hours, I was willing to afford myself some luxuries.

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