Long over due but since FTP has been launched I plan to do a TR for all my future visit’s to LV & of course any other poker holiday trips. So I decided I would try to backdated it w/6 previous visit’s starting w/2005 & working chronologically, so leave me to it & within next couple of months I will try to find time to write them all up. IMO these are must reads for any potential visitors to LV for great stories, tips, & advice on any & everything LV related. December 1st 2005 was my 21st Birthday & at 4:00am I headed to Manchester airport to check in for 7:00am to ensure early arrival for my 11:00am US Airways flight to LV via Philadelphia for my very 1st trip w/Jamie Hindes who was my best friend at the time, my Dad FTPer GT gave us a free taxi journey as we were both students & a little light in the pocket.
We arrived in Philadelphia after enduring the 8 hour flight & had to clear customs for our 1st point of entry into USA, which may appear straight forward but as Jamie wasn’t 21 & didn’t have a passport so was travelling on his older brother Daniel’s passport so when we noticed travellers up front were having finger prints taken alarm bells started ringing. However we had reached the point of no return & had to go ahead & chance it & as neither Jamie or Daniel had visited USA since the new digital finger print systems was put in place it meant Jamie wasn’t biometrically identified & cleared customs on this trip but it causes problems in the future for both & now Jamie must continue to visit USA soil as Daniel & vice versa, PMSL. Moving on after no delays in Philadelphia & a couple of quick pints during our 3hr lay over we boarded the LV flight already half cut after being drinking the entire journey since 4:00am. We finally arrived McCarran International Airport having being travelling 23hrs & still had another hour before collecting our luggage & checking into “Circus Circus” taking our total journey time to just over 1 whole day. Quick shower/change of clothes & we were ready to hit LV Blvd running at around 7:00pm PST which because of flying west across the Atlantic was still December 1st & still my 21st which is why I’m always proud to tell people I had a 32hr 21st birthday but neglect to mention I spent 24hrs of it travelling, LOL.
So it’s a Thursday evening & I ask the bell boy what’s the best place for 2 young guy’s 1st time in LV looking to have some good time’s in LV. He immediately recommends club Ra over at the “Luxor” & tells me he’s heading over after his shift around midnight, so I get his number & arrange to call him later in the evening & he’ll introduce us to some of his boys. He also suggested heading next door to “Circus Circus‘s” sister smaller casino “Slots A Fun” which TBH was a dive but I was told it was the only place on the strip that did $1 Buds & offered $0.50 BJ & it was the 1st place I gambled in LV so will always have a special place in my heart.
Anyway after going to the bar to buy our $1 Budweiser’s & settling at the $0.50 BJ table we begin to play a game which ensures we take a drink every time a BJ hand is dealt & take turns heading to the bar to pay for the $2 round until these older Cowboys sharing our same BJ table say WTF you keep going to the bar for son? I’m like well to get a drink (thinking obviously but not wanting to sound a cock so didn’t say that) it’s then I’m informed that whilst gaming anywhere in the state of Nevada that all drinks are complimentary, so I’m like GTFI & high five the Cowboy & begin to order vodka redbulls from the waitress at a very quick pace & give her a $1 tip which isn’t mandatory but kind of expected throughout LV.
After spending around an hour with these fantastic Cowboys who really made the pair of us feel right at home & drank us under the table they told us they were in town for the “SASS” convention over at “Riviera” which is an event to bring all Cowboys to LV & to showcase everything imaginable regarding shooting, they were part of the committee that organised everything & were kind enough to offer us free tickets which we politely declined as not our thing. It was these guys who I coined my now popular BJ phrase “Give Me An Ace With That Face” every time I’m dealt a picture as my 1st card in BJ, albeit I tend to exercise it a little bit more when I’m drunk but yea that’s who I stole it from. Around 8:00pm now & after winning approximately $50 each we decided best COA was to jump in a taxi & head for south strip & work our way back north casino hoping, so we jumped in a cab & headed for “Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino”.
So walking into “Mandalay Bay” you immediately notice the difference in class from the 2 previous casinos we have visited in LV as your greeted w/doorman that won’t let you touch the door & the décor is of the highest order. So we ask the doorman where he would recommend for a quick drink before hitting the tables & he suggested “minus5 ICE LOUNGE” which he aptly said is the coolest place in LV, LOL he wasn’t kidding & after paying a cover charge of $30 for entrance + additional warm clothing for your visit we sampled a couple of their vodka mixers at around $20 per a drink & quickly began to realize that the difference in class wasn’t only demonstrated in the 1st class décor but also in the expensive drinks, but cest la vie it’s my 1st time in LV & I’m here for a good time.
After around an hour & spending just shy of $90 in total we decided to head to the roulette in an attempted to recoup some of our losses which didn’t go to plan & after around 30 minutes on the roulette left having lost around another $50 each having watched agonizingly as it fell in red 12 twice when we had $5 each next door on black 29, sigh NVM & after this loss we quickly realized not to play roulette out there as it’s an American wheel w/00 green meaning their’s 38 numbers rather than 37 & the house edge is even bigger than European roulette. So after suffering our 1st gambling loss & “Mandalay Bay” taking us for $150 in total we hang about the roulette table until the waitress arrives & order 2 bottles of Bud each to drink on the go as we head over to “Luxor” & "Excalibur" using the moving walkways between the 3 casinos & without having to leave the building. Realizing were 2hrs early before the bellboy from “Circus Circus” finish shift we only have a brief look around “Luxor” as we know we’ll be back over later for next 45 minutes or so we just wondered around taking in all the sights & before we know it we’ve arrived at “Aladdin” which has since been refurbished & operates under the name “Planet Hollywood”.
We settled down to a bit of BJ & everything was going our way, I must have sat w/$100 & by midnight I had spun it up to around $400 & Jamie who had sat w/$50 was up to around $300. “Winner Winner Chicken Dinner” we all began to shout loudly whilst knuckling & high fiving each other every time the dealer went bust & the whole table was a winner. It was here we met Eddie from Washington DC who was an absolute 1st class bloke who was in town for the “Jermain Taylor vs. Bernard Hopkins II” fight over at “Mandalay Bay Events Centre” which IIRC was won by Jermain Taylor on points. Anyway around midnight & I ask Eddie if he want’s to head over club RA for a few beers & he say’s no but suggested “Spearmint Rhino” gentleman’s club to help enjoy some of the $$$ we’d just won at the tables, so we think WTF why not & he call’s his Limo driver (Who BTW is now also my Limo driver) & book’s us to be picked up from “Aladdin” valet in 30 minutes, Nice1.
We get taken to “Spearmint Rhino” free of charge but feeling generous I hand over a $10 tip after taking “Aladdin” for $300+ & head inside paying the $50 cover charge which included 1 drink, oh dear this could get expensive. So as predicted around 4:00am after several $70 dances & $70 rounds we left around $500ish lighter & Eddie called his driver to collect us & we headed over “Monte Carlo” to continue gambling on the tables, this journey however wasn’t complimentary & cost $40 between us & I’m later told it’s only complimentary to strip clubs because limo drivers are given a cut of the cover charge for bringing custom to the strip clubs, brothels, etc etc.
So as the drink began to impair my thinking by now I was doing like $100 BJ hands & once I even gave a $50 tip to the cocktail waitress because I was winning. I quickly realized this has got to stop & quit while I was breaking about even after an hour of play & decided a slow walk up the strip towards “Bellagio” was in order before I end up bankrupting myself. It’s a little before 6:00am when we arrive & despite now being drinking for approximately 36hrs & fuelled purely on redbull & adrenaline we still notice the “Bellagio” similar to “Mandalay Bay” is leagues above any other casino we have been in. Here we lower the stakes & play the “Bellagio” table minimum which is $5 a BJ hand & another successful run of upping my bets at the right time saw me in profit of $200+ after around 2 hours of play but unfortunately this only just covered what Jamie was losing which was around $120ish nonetheless $80 profit & by now we had swapped vodka redbulls & Bud’s in favour of tea so we begin to feel really tired. It was 8:00am & the croupier suggested “Bellagio Breakfast Buffet” for around $20ish per head so we headed over their for some much needed food.
The food was 1st class & unlike any buffet I have ever had in the UK. The selection was the finest cuisines from cultures all over the world, there really was something for everybody & the price included drinks from a hostess who couldn’t do enough for you & was available at the ring of a bell almost instantly so zero room for complaints & highly recommended. After eating it was gone 9:00am & we decided to head home to bed in order to recover & do it all over again after a good rest, we jumped in a cab & dropped Eddie off at “NYNY” where he was stopping & headed towards “Circus Circus”, upon arrival I calculated that I was $235 down for the whole evening which TBH I was over the moon w/but decided it would be rude not to have a little gamble in the casino I’m stopping in so around 9:45am sat down at the BJ w/$100 & by 10:30am I was leaving w/$210 & Jamie was betting the exact same box for the exact amount so he also made a nice little $110 extra before heading to bed which meant after 16hrs of gambling, drinking, bars, limousines, strip clubs, buffets etc etc on LV Blvd I was $125 down which w/1.6 $ to £ exchange rate at the time meant my whole 21st birthday night cost me around £75, MBN & this remains to this day not only my best ever night in LV but my best ever day/night of my life & wouldn‘t change my 21st for anything.
So after a 10+ hour sleep we finally awoke around 8:00pm & I headed downstairs to pick up some beers to go through whilst we got ready but after half an hour I returned empty handed as I appeared to be walking round the casino in circles, sigh NVM. So after jumping in the shower & putting on my best we headed out to the Blvd around 9:00pm in search of some food & were recommended the “Peppermill” which was between “Riviera” & “Wynn” which was approximately 20 minutes from our hotel so we set off on foot & found it pretty quickly. IDR what I ordered but IIRC Jamie ordered a “Chicken Fried Steak” which was advertised on the menu as CFS & when asked about it the waitress told him it was a steak so he ordered it having said on route that he really fancied a steak & needless to say was a little disappointed when a chicken arrived, LOL NVM.
We dined for around an hour & bought a couple of Buds to go as we wondered further south down the strip looking for some entertainment for the evening. We ended up in the Wynn & once again the décor was taken to a new class as 1 of the 1st things we noticed was the “Ferrari” showroom for their high rolling clients, absolute mind blowing & put’s into perspective the net worth of the Wynn’s clientele.
We then noticed a big queue beginning to form outside “Tryst” which is a nightclub in “Wynn” that is just down the corridor from “Ferrari” showroom & adjacent to the “Poker” room so figured that would be a good place to get started heavy on the drink so joined the back of the queue only to be told after waiting 45 minutes when we reached the front that we weren’t getting in as we had sports shoes (commonly known in UK as trainers) on, FML so now it’s nearly midnight & we still only had a couple of Buds & this night is taking a while to get going. So we think FFS let’s just get in the casino & have a few complimentary drinks before heading somewhere we can get in with our attire, so we searched the “Wynn” casino floor looking for a BJ table w/$5 minimum until told by pit boss that $25 is the minimum they offer at “Wynn”. So desperate now to get the night going we decided to put $100 each ($200 collectively) in & play a few $25 hand between us until we either double up or go broke thus effectively allowing us to play $12.50 per hand & still benefit from the complimentary drinks. So things begin well & after an hour were up to $350 & place another $25 bet & get dealt 88 vs. (D) 6 so of course opt to split them & get 83(11)/810(18) vs. (D) 6 so again of course double the 11 & to our disgust dealer pulls a A so were playing 83A(12)/810(18) vs. (D) 6 w/$75 on the table & when next 2 cards are pictures the dealer busts & we high five whilst collecting the $150 winnings coupled with the $275 already behind we walk off w/$425 winnings & have $112.50 each profit & 5 vodka redbulls from our gaming experience at “Wynn” WOOHOO this night is beginning to get a little better as we leave “Wynn” casino around 1:30am half cut & $100+ in profit.
As we leave we see a young American group of about 4 lads & 6 girls so ask where they heading & they tell us “Pure” over at “Caesars” is the only place on Friday night & they have space in their stretched H2 hummer if we want a ride, of course we oblige & when we offer some $$$ towards the fare they refuse. So anyway before joining the queue we ask security if we can get in with our footwear & they take a quick look & said yea fosho. Queue doesn’t take long but whilst in it I see famous WWE wrestler Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who of course queue jumps & no doubt headed straight in VIP area upon entry, by 2:15am were in & leave the American group as they head towards VIP area for bottle service & we hit it up on the DF (dance floor) looking for "The Rock" who we unfortunately don't find, sigh NVM anyway we don’t leave till closing at 6:00am having spent best part of $200 each including cover charge. So as leaving we notice next door a huge gold & red sign titled poker room so we think we’ll take a look in there but unlikely to be anything on at 6:00am, oh how wrong we were as there’s at least 6 tables running spreading $1-$3 through to $10-$20 NLH.
We both sign up to “Harrah’s Total Rewards” FFP card (Which to this day I haven’t cashed in any comps & currently have $700+ worth of points accumulated) as it’s mandatory to play in their card room & put our name on the $1-$3 waiting list. It’s not long before we get a seat & both sit w/$300 (100BB’s) & continue to enjoy the complimentary vodka redbull whilst at the table, IDR any hands of note but we stayed until the table broke around 9:00am in the morning & rather than joining another table decided to cash out & IIRC I cashed out $240 & Jamie after winning a couple of big pots towards the end had just north of $400. Overall wasn’t a bad 1st experience of “Caesars Palace” after spending 7 hours between their nightclub & poker room I was about $250 shy of what I came in with but giving the $100+ “Wynn” profit I still had plenty $$$ to continue partying & gaming. 9:00am we headed north to “Mirage” but not before detouring at “Denny’s” for some breakfast energy to keep us going.
We arrive at Mirage around 10:00am & after taking a look around grab a drink & sit & chill in the “Race & Sports Book” whilst we plan our best COA & place a few small $5 bets on some auto-racing & enjoy it on there 10,000 square feet big screen. Again LV demonstrating it does absolutely everything bigger & better than anywhere else in the world including it’s bookies, after a couple of drinks & a few small stakes winning & losing bets we left & headed off to their BJ tables to try our luck their & we had lots of it all bad as I sat w/$100 & no more than half an hour later was leaving having lost it, sigh NVM. So I’m now around $300 in the hole for today but not worrying as it’s now Saturday afternoon & I’m still effectively spending Friday’s $$$ so I’m all good but decided I had enough gambling & head back to the hotel to catch some sun.
Jamie CBA to sunbath & is tired so heads to bed around 1:00pm Saturday afternoon having had a slightly better Saturday than me & in profit on gambling but after drinks I think he’s around $150ish down for the night which isn’t bad for night out over their. I head to the pool, it was December & a lot of the pools were closed for the winter but “Circus Circus” pool was open & the weather was IMO good enough to chill round it all though it wasn’t baking. It was only populated by myself & an older man w/his child so I had a bit crack w/him but TBH IDR much of (if any) of the conversation, he was a really nice guy though. After couple of hours & it’s just gone 3:00pm I’m starting to feel my eye’s go after being drinking for 18hrs since 9:00pm the previous evening I decided it’s time for some rest ready for the evening & head to my room to bed.
So around 10:00pm & after 7hrs of tossing/turning & very disturbed sleep we wake up & get ready for Saturday night in LV, WOOHOO & getting ready was a little different this time as I opted for a 3 piece suit (waist coat & the works) just for cheese more than anything but I wanted to look the business. Unfortunately as you’ve probably already noticed by previous images we only had a disposable camera so I didn’t get very many photo’s which also explains why I’ve been using Google image search for majority of my previous images in this thread. Around 11:00pm we head out & jump in a cab to south strip & visit “MGM Grand” as we were told “Studio 54” down there was pretty good on Saturday night, when we arrive 1st thing we notice is the sheer size of MGM & the casino floor really is bigger than any other casino in LV (I believe at the time it was the biggest casino floor in the world but is now 2nd since the opening of Venetian, Macau). We arrive but find to our disappointment we’d missed the dinner at “Grand Buffet” by about an hour so headed over to the 24hr “Stage Deli” where I ordered a chicken sandwich & finished with the biggest most delicious slice of cheesecake ever, scrumptious.
So suitably fed & it’s gone midnight so we head over to “Studio 54” to get the night (morning I suppose) started & pleasantly surprised when the drinks are a reasonable $8-$12 each which compared to “Pure” over at “Caesars Palace” & particularly “Spearmint Rhino” is way cheaper, although the place wasn’t quite a vibrant it was still very plush & great crack. So the slightly cheaper drinks meant we probably had a few more than we’d had in the other places but by the time we left the total bill was still south of $200 between us so with a nice tip it came to exactly $100 each which was great.
So 4 hours later after several vodka redbulls playing all sorts of drinking games we roll out around 4:30am & head to the “Poker” room for some $1/$2 which we had noticed while we were eating at the “Stage Deli” as they are right next to each other as is the sports book which was convient as it was 12 noon over UK & there was some Sunday football on & we watched the “Charlton Athletic 2 - 5 Manchester City” game while playing poker which TBH I had forgotten what game it was until I looked it up in the “Premiership” archives but it was 4 years ago so I can be forgiven. We both sat w/$200 each & after over 15hrs of playing & continued drinking it was now 8:00pm the following evening we collectively cashed out approximately $700 which was $150 profit which isn’t a large amount by all means but after 15 hours of great crack & complementary drinks, well I’ve had worse nights.
So going on 22 hours now since we woke up & consider my previous nights sleep (or should I say day’s sleep) was a broken 1 I was absolutely dead on my feet. We headed off to MGM valet catching the free lion habitat that is showcased in the MGM as we passed which was pretty impressive. We finally arrived back to “Circus Circus” around 9:00pm Sunday evening & I headed straight for bed whilst Jamie opted to stay up a little longer for a few hands at BJ which I understand he lost as when he followed some time after me he seemed pissed off, D’OH.
I slept right through to 6:00am on Monday morning & decided to rise pretty early as apart from the inside of casinos, bars, & clubs I hadn’t seen much of LV, I asked Jamie if he was interested in getting up for some breakfast & doing a bit of sight seeing but he opted to stay in bed. I was showered & ready for about 7:00am & headed north to the “Stratosphere” as I heard the rides at the top were pretty impressive & I’ve always enjoyed adrenaline rushes. After grabbing some breakfast from the “Stratosphere Seasonal” buffet which as you can imagine was a far cry from the “Bellagio” buffet I had at the start of the trip but still good value for $$$ IMO I headed to the top of “Stratosphere” to ride the “Big Shot”, “X-Scream”, & “Insanity” however the “Big Shot” was closed due to high winds so I only rode the other 2 which were pretty fantastic & the view of LV Blvd is mind blowing (1 regret was I was their during the day & I could imagine the sight would be more impressive on the evening when all lit up, but I would get to see it in future trips so no big deal I suppose).
It was now 9:00am & as I was leaving through “Stratosphere” casino I see an advert for some free craps lesson’s at 9:00am so I’m like why not see if I can learn this game as on previous nights it appeared the most lively game in the casino. I was the only person who attended this complimentary craps lesson so got all the attention of the teacher who was a charming old guy who had been in LV for 30+ years & seen it all, over the next 45 minutes I learned the basic betting, odds, house edge, but as you can imagine still unsure but nonetheless I’d enough knowledge to give it a go. So I went over to an open table & shot w/$100 in front of me, I was just doing $5-$10 passline bets which after 1hr was all dried up so I decided to leave table having enjoyed my 2hr Craps experience but not prepared to invest another $100 for it to continue.
It was now 12 noon & I decided to walk south down the strip towards “Venetian” as I hadn’t yet been inside & was told it’s 1 of the top places…I went via “Circus Circus” to see if Jamie was up & fancied a bit of sight seeing but he was hung-over & said he was going to stay in bed until the evening, sigh NVM. When I arrived again you notice it’s in the same league as the “Wynn” & “Bellagio” w/1st class décor & service, I have a look around but after dropping a $100 over at “Stratosphere” I’m not in the mood for any gaming & have already eaten so happy when I see a sign that “Venetian” is home to “Madame Tussauds, LV” & having enjoyed “Madame Tussauds” in Blackpool I’m pretty sure like everything else in LV that they’ll do “Madame Tussauds” even better. I was in around an hour seeing wax figures & reading about a number of “Hollywood Stars“, “USA Sports Professionals”, “LV Legends”, “Music Stars”, “USA Presidents” including “Brad Pitt“, “Tiger Woods”, “Wayne Newton”, “George W. Bush” among many others.
It was mid afternoon now & I continued sightseeing & stumbled across “Stardust Resort & Casino” which at the time was opposite “Wynn” on the west side of the strip, it however became dated compared to the strip & closed it’s doors November 1st 2006 & was imploded on March 13th 2007 to make way for the $4 billion “Echelon Place” which was scheduled to open in 2010 but since the economic downfall in 2009 the project has been suspended for at least 3-5 years which is obviously disappointing for all tourists but cest la vie. Anyway enough of the history lesson basically I’m saying I was fortunate enough to visit the “Stardust” before it’s implosion & despite it not being as modern & up to date as the rest of LV Blvd it was no less impressive, in fact had more of an old “Mafia”/”Mob” run old LV style feel to it which is rare nowadays.
After looking around the “Stardust” & having a couple of beers at their bar which name evades me ATM it was around 5:00pm & I headed back to “Circus Circus” to get changed ready for the evening & collect Jamie. We chilled in the room for an hour having a couple of drinks whilst we got ready & headed out at 6:00pm for our 5th & final night in LV & took out all but $100 of our $$$ which after doing pretty good on previous nights was a total of just over $4000 & were ready to make some noise before we left this awesome city.
We weren’t planning on drinking heavily as we had to leave for LV McCarran Airport for our flight home at 6:30am & didn’t want to be hung-over for the 24hr our journey home so no bars/clubs were on the agenda but we were going to make up for it with gambling & lots of it. 1st however we were off for some food as I had an early 7:30am breakfast & since had a busy day so I was starving, we stayed at “Circus Circus” & went to the “Pizzeria” for freshly baked calzone pizza & a huge $1 chilli dog while we waited, very cheap & very delicious. Total bill was around $12 for 2 pizzas, 2 chilli dogs, 2 French fries, & unlimited refill Pepsi.
Although not our intention we never ended up leaving “Circus Circus” on our final day/night as we joined the poker room for their Mini Thanksgiving Weekend, which was an afternoon and evening $60 NLH MTT we both entered both of them. The card room was limited to three tournament tables, so both events only had 30 runners. We ran pretty well as I won the afternoon one outright for $1,200, then Jamie and I split the second tournament for $800 each. However that was easily lost on the table games & slots during breaks when we were doing $100 BJ hands & $5 slot spins but NVM it was our last night & $$$ was no object as long as we had fun be it losing/winning. So 4:00am & we decided to settle into some $1/$2 NLH cash for our final couple of hours before we sadly had to head for home, it was an entertaining table w/players & dealers all good crack & 1 hilarious incident where a mortal drunk Yank threatened to shoot the security guards needless to say he was asked to check out of the casino & told not to return, I understand he had a gaming dispute but from an outsider looking in it looked like he’d lost more than he could afford to & was trying to pull a fast 1 to get his $$$ back, PMSL UL GG M8.
So I left the table around 6:00am half hour earlier than Jamie to go pack as I hadn’t done it yet & he stayed for an extra 30 minutes. As we were leaving through casino at 6:30am w/luggage we had had about $600 left from our last night blow out bender & decided to put $500 of it on a roulette spin leaving $100 for food/drinks during our trip home, we spun it up to $1100 before eventually losing it all having said we would cash out at $2000 which would have been $1000 each, sigh would have been nice but went to LV to have a great time win or lose & that’s exactly what we did…VEGAS BABY.
We asked cab driver to go LV McCarran airport but via the world famous “Welcome To Fabulous Las Vegas Nevada” sign as we left & seen the less famous side “Drive Safely Come Back Soon” & I was thinking about those “Come Back Soon” words the whole journey home as I was so not ready to come home, as although I had no regrets there was so much I didn’t see;
Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino “Home of WSOP”
Fremont Street “Home of Golden Nugget & Binions Gambling Hall”
Palms Casino Resort “Featuring Playboy Club”
Hard Rock Hotel & Casino “Featuring Hard Rock Café”
To name just a select few of what I’d missed, so I was for sure coming back ASAP so look out for my “Las Vegas 2006 Trip Report” in the near future to see all my misdemeanours on that adventure. Having arrived in the UK around 11:00am FTPer GT picked us up from Manchester airport to make our final 3 hours north to Newcastle only to have the trip increased to 6 hours as after 90 minutes of driving I got a call from Manchester airport security saying my passport had been handed in & to come & collect it, D’OH FML. In a nutshell absolute fantastic mind blowing holiday & a 21st I will never ever forget, for anybody that hasn’t been & is planning I hope this gives you a good insight into what to expect.
VIVA LAS VEGAS
8 months ago