Saturday, August 14, 2010

viva las vegas

Truthfully, there isn't all that much to talk about Vegas. We kept to sleeping, eating, gambling, and drinking almost the entire time.

I'll go ahead and try to summarize the days anyways.

Day 1
We leave our house at 6:20 AM, get to the airport before 7, and take off at 8. The flight was smooth, and we arrive in Vegas at 8:30 AM. Take a shuttle bus to the hotel, and eat and gamble until our rooms are ready.

We saw this guy waiting for our room key. 
No, not Travis. Look behind him. He's wearing something like this

Speaking of the rooms, they are nice. Here are some snapshots that don't do justice.

Entering our suite

Taking a right into our bathroom

Bathtub + shower to the right

Toilet + TV to the left

Back into the room, here is the king bed + flat screen

In the next area you have the desk + phone + view of the strip

And here's the couch

I thought one of the coolest parts was that the curtains and lights were controlled via remotes. As we leave, we can just click the "close drapes" button and hit the "All" lights button to turn off all the lights. Oh and they faded in and out, too, which is a nice touch.

The remainder of Day 1 was spent gambling away all my money in blackjack and craps, and eating. It should be noted that except for maybe a handful of occasions, the craps tables were very cold this entire trip. I'm talking about a continuous cycle of hitting a point, then rolling a seven-out. Losing $10 after $20 after $30 every few minutes.

We gambled a bit more, then went back upstairs, got into nicer clothes, and then hit up Switch, a cool restaurant inside Encore where the walls periodically "switch" (get it?!). Now by switching, I mean they had walls that raised up into the ceiling or came up from the ground, providing different combinations of ambiances, including no walls at all. It's kind of hard to explain, so if you didn't understand that, then check it out next time you're in Vegas. The food was very good, but I regret not getting a steak like the others; I got a red snapper plate which was good, but not as filling as a juicy steak.

After food, we continued our gambling binge. I went up the room earlier than everyone else because I was bummed out about my losses and my still-nagging cough. At the time, most everyone was up at least $100-200, so I wasn't thrilled being down $260.

Day 2
Those curtains sure do a great job of blocking out any light, because I slept until something absurd like 11-11:30 AM Vegas time. That would be 1-1:30 PM Austin time, and for those keeping track, the last time I slept until 1 or later was probably college. So much for keeping my sleep schedule remotely intact, right?

Ate some food, and let the gambling continue. More blackjack and craps. The morning was better to me, I think in the morning I was up around $60-100 for the day. I needed a break from the non-stop gambling, so I decided to hit the pool and the others joined me at various times. They had a European-style pool, in other words women can go topless. Naturally, that was my pool of choice. More important than having topless women everywhere (which there were practically none), the pool was 21+ and there were not little kids running around screaming like at the other pools. It had a more relaxing vibe.

For dinner tonight, we hit up another restaurant inside the Encore: Wazuzu. I don't think it was as good as Switch, but it was also cheaper and more casual, too. They served different asian food, including sushi rolls. I had miso soup, some yellow tail sushi, and their Wazuzu roll (snow crab roll topped with an eel fillet and eel sauce).

More gambling and time passed, then we went to Spearmint Rhino to hit our strip club quota for the trip. Not much to say about a strip club, as I'm sure you know what happens inside them. One thing I didn't quite understand was the cover charge situation. We had two options: 1) pay a $40 cover charge or 2) let their free limo pick us up, take us to the back entrance, and pay no cover. Why the hell would you not take the free limo?

The night ended after the club.

Day 3
Day 3 was the best day for me in terms of gambling, but I'm getting ahead of myself.

We woke up, ate some food, hung out a bit, and I hit the pool again. One piece of advice I have for those going to Vegas is to find ways of having fun or wasting time without spending money. There isn't much to do in Vegas that won't cost you, and you can only walk up and down the strip so much before you don't care anymore and your feet hurt. My sanctuary this trip was the pool; I just sit outside, read a bit, lounged in the pool a bit, and talked with whoever was out there with me (mostly Blake today).

After a couple hours in the pool, we did stuff I don't remember, then eventually head out to old Vegas on Freemont St, which had Golden Nugget, Freemont Casino, 4 Queens, and Binions. This is where I won at Vegas. We casino-hopped between those four casinos all night, playing mostly blackjack with some craps mixed in, and finally my luck turned around. I came up on top on almost every table we played, whether it was $10 or $200. By the end of the night, I was up close to $400. Break-even baby!

The reason I had made so much money was almost exclusively thanks to the "$5 Yo" bets I would randomly make on the craps tables. "Yo" is another term for eleven, and it's a 15:1 bet. If the next roll is 11, you win 15:1, and if it's not, you lose your money. Somehow I managed to bet at the right time three different times, and each time net me $70. I won $210 on 3 lucky $5 bets - imagine that.

While we were in old Vegas, we ate at Grotto in Golden Nugget which was a nice italian place. I had some sort of shrimp pasta plate, don't even remember anymore.

The intersection between the four Freemont St casinos.
They built an arched screen in between the casinos where they projected videos.

Day 4
Last day in Vegas, and we had to checkout by noon. I woke up around 10 and started packing then showered. Once we were all ready, we checked out of the hotel and took a taxicab to In-N-Out. It was busy as hell there, as you would expect In-N-Out to be at noon right by the strip. From there, we took a taxi to ARIA, and walked our way north all the way back to Encore, stopping at Bellagio and Caesar's Palace on the way. Since I couldn't help myself, I made some stupid roulette bets and also played a bit of craps, and ended up down about $150-200. Oh well, what fun is Vegas if you break even?

From the hotel we went to the airport, where we waited a very long time since our flight was delayed an hour.  Landed in Austin around 1 AM.  Goodbye, Vegas!