Heading out to Vegas for my 40th birthday, last minute trip so it is just going to be me and my wife. I am a Vegas veteran, been going twice a year for 20 years. I have seen and done just about everything in Vegas, so for the last decade we go only for the basics: gambling, drinking, eating, relaxing and people watching. First trip in a long time with just my wife, we usually go with 2 other couples, but my wife managed to throw together a trip for my birthday and I was needing a Vegas fix.
Had a 7:50 A.M. flight out of OKC, I love this because we will get into Las Vegas at 8:00 A.M. and have an entire day. Got to the airport and on the plane with no hitch. A cold front came through Oklahoma the day before and the temp was around 20 degrees, so they had to de-ice the plane which lasted about 20 minutes. After de-icing the pilot announced that the toilet had frozen shut and we would be delayed while maintenance handled the situation, 20 minutes later it was fixed, but now we had to de-ice again. Finally after 1 hour we were off, smooth flight and arive in Las Vegas at 9:15. We flew into terminal 2 which I had never done before, this is the international terminal, so very few people spoke English. Got bags, no line for a taxi at this terminal and off to the hotel.
Like I said we don't go around much, so our trip included 2 cab rides, to and from the airport. On the way to our hotel we had an older gentleman, when we entered I said "Las Vegas Club, downtown and no tunnel". He giggled a little and proceeded to take the familiar backroad trek to downtown for a total of $20 with a $5 tip.
The worst part of our trip was the trip back to the airport. I was tired and made the huge mistake of not saying "no tunnel" to the return cabbie. He proceeded to take the tunnel and the meter ended up reading $37. I made several comments about this being a rip off route and gave him $36 to prove a point. He said not one word about the other dollar. I know it is only $12, but it rubs me wrong that it is a flat rip-off. They need to make that tunnel off limits to cabs, it is ALWAYS more expensive, yea they never stop driving but it seems like it is about 12 miles further as you loop WAAAAY around the city and airport.
We have been staying downtown now for about 10 years, and I plan on remaining downtown for many reasons I will get into later. We have stayed at the Las Vegas Club and Plaza most of these trips and have always enjoyed due to friendly workers, fair gaming, good food and good comps.
We arrived and did the $20 trip, the lady at the desk was very helpful, but said the boiler was down in the new tower and they had no hot water. She got us in the old tower and added a coffee pot and fridge to our room. She called us the next day to see if we wanted to change as they had fixed the problem, but we were settled and chose to stay.
Well, to the main point at hand about the Las Vegas Club/Plaza properties.....are they going out of business??? If not is seems as though they are. The Upper Deck Coffe Shop is closed, and it was very good and always packed.? The old sports book is now just dead space. The Center Stage changed to a sports bar and closed a couple months later. Why would you not utilize prime space in Las Vegas?? They have changed hands a couple times over the years, maybe they are scaling back to do it again, I just don't know. Having said that, they still treated us great and we enjoyed ourselves the entire time.
Gambling & Drinking
This is what it is all about for me, my wife, and the others we come to Las Vegas with. We arrive downtown and we never leave. Downtown has 10 or so casinos, as many sportsbooks, great coffee shops and snack bars, a couple of the best steak houses in all Vegas, and everything else we need to have a blast.
We will try just about any type of gambling, but we usually focus on Pai Gow, slots and video poker.
Started day one on the machines, messed around for a couple hours and was up about $100. It was noon somewhere by now, so we went to the bar for some beer and video poker. Not much luck, back down to even, but we always enjoy the Vegas Club bar. The bartenders are all friendly and they keep the drinks coming regardless of your level of play. Whether I was playing max video poker or penny keno, they always kept my glass full, in turn I tipped well and would recommend you do the same, these type bars are hard to find in Vegas these days.
After lunch, we settled in at the Pai Gow table at the Vegas Club for many hours. When it was all over, we were bothe down a couple hundred with no great hands to talk about. The dealers made the night fun, and the waitresses kept my wife full of Cape Cods and me full of multiple drinks. Off to bed at around 2:00
Friday started with a thundering head ache, breakfast and a 1 hour nap had me back in full form. We made our way to some other places to gamble. We hit the 4 queens, Golden Nugget, Binion's, Plaza and Golden Gate. Mainly hit slots and donated a couple hundred. Found the new (to us) Elvis machines and played for about 3 hours and winning a little.
Late afternoon we were back at the Vegas Club Pai Gow table and on the first hand my wife gets a Royal Flush with no joker for $500, this gets her ahead for the trip. We play late into the night and both finish ahead, but truth be told she gave me several hundred so I lost and she won about $800. Don't feel to bad for her, 9 times out of 10 it is the other way around. Off to bed around 4:00
Saturday, our last full day, I start at the sports book where I play a couple hundred on a few college basketball games. Mess around on machines for awhile and mix in a terrible blackjack session. Go 3-0 on the games, way to go Kansas State, Texas Tech and Cincinnati. Tech was actually playing my Sooners, but they were beat up and laying 8 pts, they win by 2 so I win money and my team gets a win!!
My wife has already settled into the Pai Gow table. I know it seems like we are not doing much, but when you log 10 hour sessions of Pai Gow, it does not leave much time for other things, and we are here to gamble!! She has another decent day finishing up several hundred, I just could not get it going at the Pai Gow table and give up early as she plays into the night. I throw some more away on slots and split some NBA basketball. I end up down about $300.
Sunday we only have 4 or 5 hours I win a little at video poker and throw away some on the Patriots, they win but do not cover against the Chargers. Brady had a bad game throwing 3 interceptions, 2 in the red zone, but they still cruise to a 9 point win, they were minus 14.
Breakfast at Magnolia's, good but not great, $5 with a players card. Magnolia's is really good for lunch, I recommend the Club and wing zings, ate them twice!!
Had a couple snacks at the Golden Gate snack bar. Hot dog and beer only $3. 99 cent shrimp cocktail, everyone should try them, not bad, like the cocktail sauce!
Great Moments Room
This is now the only place to eat at the Vegas Club. It is OK, but does not have much to choose from. They are trying to make this a dinner spot and the coffee shop, but it just does not work. We had several meals here due to comps, but ended up not using all our comps because the only thing on the menu that looked good to me was the burger and some salads. Don't want to eat a steak or prime rib for lunch. The wife ate here for dinner one night that she could not get me to eat and said the prime rib was pretty good.
Main Street Station Buffet
Had a 2 for 1 coupon, good variety, fair quality. It was actually breakfast, but I had mexican, chinese and Italian...only in Vegas!
We think the Brew Pub at Main Street is really good. Reasonable prices, great beer, and wonderful happy hour specials from 3-6.
Hugo's at 4 Queens
Did not make our reservation this trip, but if you want a nice meal this is the best downtown! You have to have the salad cart.
*We are going to forget the comps next trip and stay at 4 queens or Nugget and start building comps at a new place. I have to think that the end is near for Vegas Club/Plaza. That being said, they treated us great!!! Many comps, friendly dealers and great barkeeps, I think my favorite is named Frank, thanks for the drunk!
*Golden Nugget looks great! Shark tank and swimming pool are beautiful. It was 55 degrees for a high and there were people swimming, that is crazy!
*After all expenses my wife ended up about $300 and I lost about $600, overall not bad, I have certainly done worse!
*Played Pai Gow with a bunch of friendly people, made the table fun and most of them were there every night. One lady was a stripper from glitter gulch, but you would never have guessed it. One lady we played with was a dead ringer for Chris Farley, it was creepy, it she had cut her hair she could have fooled his mom. My wife had to tell me to quit staring.
*Had a bunch to drink, mainly beer but I also had vodka 7s, vodka collins and a couple frozen drinks from La Bayou. Wife mainly stuck with beer and cape cods, but also had a huge strawberry drink?
*Played a slot tourney for the first time at Main Street Station, did not do any good and will not do it again. 20 minutes of smacking a slot machine got a little boring.
*Speaking of Main Street Station, we enjoy the Brew Pub, but have decided not to gamble there. Does not feel like a good gambling environment for gambling. Odds on bonus at Pai Gow are terrible! Finally closed the deal for us when we went to the bar, it is a big beautiful bar and not one person was sitting at it. Put a twenty in and started playing video poker, ask for a beer and was told I had to pay because I was only playing 3 credits at a time. Well, there is no progressive and whether I play 3 or 5 credits, they are going to get my 60-100 bucks in about 3 beers. Well, I cashed out and went to the Vegas Club and gave them my....ended up being about $200. Just does not seem like good business to me???
*Suggestion...When you get downtown, go to the ABC store and get some beer, water, red bull or anything else for your fridge. I went through about 15 bottles of water. They are 2 for a buck and the machines in the hotel are 2 bucks each.
*Saw very few bums and no prostitutes. If you stay under the canopy downtown, you are very safe.
*Downtown is very noisy in the morning, loud trucks and dumpsters being emptied, hard to sleep in, but you don't go to Vegas to sleep.
*Don't eat at the Plaza, to many good things to eat downtown to waste a meal at any of those places.
*After 13 years of marriage it is easy to forget about the things that made you fall in love with your wife. It seems like when I go to Vegas with my wife it reminds me of how much we have in common and why we ended up together. We went to Las Vegas on our honeymoon and I still have as much fun going with her today!
I know I left a bunch out and was not very specific in my descriptions, but hopefully someone can get some good out of this. The flight home was great, landed 15 minutes early due to a tail wind.
We will be going out again for March Madness with my brother and best friend and the spouses and really look forward to it. I will work on my writing skills and hopefully try and remember some more funny or memorable moments and at least be more descriptive.