Check out my review of the M resort in the Hotel section of this site.  I hadn't stayed here in over 4 years, but I received a comp after a few hours of play from my 2015 fall trip.  I just realized I forgot to talk about the booze options in my review though so I will talk about them here...
You can enjoy Sierra Nevada Pale Ale in a bottle, or you can opt for their many craft beer options from the Bar, though I didn't try on this trip, I was able to get some unique beers on a previous trip (purple haze).  Drink Service was average in speed, depending on the time of day you are gambling.  If you partake in the buffet, you can get some nice craft beer, hard cider and wine options included in your buffet price.  If your sneaky you can even take that last glass of brew with you back out to the casino.
-Enjoy!
 
 
I had the opportunity to contribute my thoughts to one of this generation's finest up and coming Vegas blogger/podcasters site; Vegas Fanboy!  Checkout his newest article: Underrated Vegas where he has compiled opinions from some of the greatest vegas minds (and even me!) to share their thoughts on underrated vegas locations and activities.  A great read and a great podcast, be sure to check it out!
 
 
Take a minute to check out the newly updated Hotel Reviews I just posted that wrap up my October trip as well as my more recent December Trip.  You will find new reviews for Rio (Luxury Room), Fremont (Suite), and Cosmopolitan (Terrace Suite).  Enjoy!!
 
 
So, I have come back to Michigan after another great Vegas trip much wiser than before.  I learned a couple things this trip that will only help in making my future trips better.  You may learn a thing or too as well, although it's really common sense learned the hard way.

Never attending a VIMFP before, I decided to plan my fall vegas trip in this time slot and see what its all about.  My wife's brother wanted to come to vegas as well and I had the southwest miles to spring for it so he tagged along.  My wifes sister and brother-in-law also came out for the same time, and we had some tentative plans to meet up with my wifes brother who lives in Vegas Saturday night.  Not a big deal, I was coming with the intentions of merely observing the festivities and remain passive, taking it all in.  I really didn't plan to attend all of the VIMFP activities as this would cut into some prime gambling time, and of course meeting up with family.

Arriving Friday late already wiped my option of attending the ice breaker which would really be the best way to scope things out.  So..

LESSON NUMBER ONE: If attending VIMFP arrive the day before the festivities to ensure you can take part in the ice breaker.

We checked into the Fremont and actually ended up with the suite with out the upcharge that I was expecting but more on that experience later (when I write my hotel review).  We gambled at our favorite machines (Super TImes Pay) and I ventured out for some water a bit before midnight.  Im in line getting my 2 for $1 Dasani's when I here someone behind me... "I'm not really drunk, but my body is Druuuunk".  I thought to myself thats a pretty funny comment, gotta love vegas.  A minute later or so the girl with him reads the back of my shirt "Fivehundybymidnight... hey he's with us!"  I of course turn around and was introduced to Taylor from New Mexico!  Now unless you listen to the five hundy podcast that name means nothing, but he is a frequent caller and we talked for a couple minutes as I described my passive presence in the five hundy community.  I paid for my waters, wished them a great time and made my way back to Fremont.  I lingered a little at the area setup for the five hundog comeptition but with the rain that just occurred I wasn't sure that was going to take place.  I even saw the infamous chcukmonster out in front of the D, seems like a nice guy.

I contemplated checking it out, but my machine was calling me and I knew I needed to get a good night sleep to be up and ready for the Las Vegas Club tour, this was one event I was NOT going to skip.  Well as gambling goes I didn't end up crashing until 2am anyways, setting my alarm for 8 to hopefully nap a late checkout.  8am comes and am quickly told "No, our hotel is full, but we can hold your bags".  The untrusting person that I am, opted to load my crap back in backpack and strap it on my back.  The lack of a self parking lot at Fremont also didnt give me the option to throw it in the car, unless I wanted to wait for valet to summon my car just to throw a bag in it, then take it away again...

No biggy, I would let the wife sleep in, grab my bag in case the tour goes past check out and meet her in the casino when done.  Well the tour ended up having about 150 vegas fanatics flood the lower parking level of the Las Vegas Club as Derek began to speak.  If you listened to any of the other podcasts that have come out since VIMFP you already heard Derek's graciousness that turned a tour into a scavenger hunt for LVC oddities that we were able to keep! After I kicked myself for not emptying my backpack in the rental, I started scouring for goodies that can fill my pockets.  

What was cool about this group of people, is that it could have easily been someone finding something cool and hoarding it all for himself.  Instead, someone finds a drawer with a bunch of LVC poker chips and everyone grabs some so that we all get to take home some history.  What's this, someone found a closetful of LVC T-shirts, well take one pass it around, how cool is that!

I took a big LVC promo sign that looks pretty rough after folding it up into my bag, a few poker chips and a strange health certificate that expired in 2005 found on the 2nd floor, to put in my weird Vegas collection.  But this was truely an experience of a lifetime for a Vegas Addict like me to travel through the different levels of an abandoned casino.  An unbelievable thank you goes out to Derek Stevens for this, as a casino owner, he could have certainly deemed this to risky and cancelled the event when he saw the turnout, but instead carried on and let us embrace it!

After the event, I carried my huge LVC sign past Fremont security who gave me some odd stares and called valet to throw my loot in.  I did the tier match on my Plaza card to gain free parking so that is where I ditched my car after checking out.  We then ate at american coney for the second time in 12 hours, because we LOVE it.

I then saw it approaching 2pm and knew I needed to get my book from Dr. Dave and wanted to see as much of the main event as I could.  Well, I dragged my brother in law in with me, got my book signed from the amazing Dr. Dave and watched Chuckmonster motion as some open seats were available near the front.  He didn't object so I dragged him in.  Again, great friendly people throughout, introducing themselves, offering donuts, very nice environment.  

I was able to watch the vegas gang with special guest Derek Stevens talk and was all that I was able to catch for VIMFP.  This brings me to....

LESSON NUMBER TWO:  If you are planning to attend VIMFP, do that, and nothing else.  It is to difficult to juggle multiple activities especially with those who may have never listened to a podcast before.  If and when Vimfp comes around again, I want to make sure I devote myself to the events so that I can truly enjoy everything.

So, no I didn't even get to see the live Five Hundy broadcast, no concert and no after party, that will have to wait till next year.  Also, only staying one night downtown I missed the Sunday events completely.  I did go in with the understanding that my wife wasn't interested in these events as much as I was, I think I have a more ambitious itinerary than was possible.

All that being said I ended up having a great time, checked out a couple more hotels I never stayed at before.  Enjoyed some old favorites and oh yeah, this happened....

   
 
 

As my October trip approaches, my final casino offers for this time period have arrived and am left to make some final decisions.  As it stood, I booked a stay for the full duration of my trip at the Rio, as I am still being comped well through Total Rewards.  The Rio is the last Total Rewards joint in Vegas to have left 7/5 Bonus Poker at 25c.  Also they have 8/5 at the $1 level if I start to feel frisky.

This trip is different than most, as my wife and I will be flying in with her brother.  We will also be meeting my wife's sister and her husband out there.  My wife's other brother already lives in vegas.  I planned on booking all available comps to keep my options open as well as have a place to stay for my brother in law if he decides not to stay with his brother.  

I knew from the beginning, I wanted to stay my first night downtown, and was hoping with my increased BOYD play and staying at the DTG on the last trip I would have a couple comped options downtown.  Well my BOYD offers came first and only had the Gold Coast available to both me and the wife.  I booked those and figured being next to the Rio its 4 nights he can stay if he wants his own room.

Next we get our Downtown Grand offers.  Well, we didn't play as much here as we did MSS and Fremont, but since it was on my Wife's offer in April, we both played on her card hoping to get another comp.  Unfortunately we get a card in the mail that states rooms from $20/night.  Knowing that the Friday we fly in everywhere downtown is at least $100/night, I figured a discounted room is better than nothing, so I give a call to see the rate. 

"Im sorry it looks that date is blacked out for your offer".  Oh, you mean because its a Friday?  I'm sure thats the issue, of course the mailer doesn't state that.  So, for shits and giggles, I let her quote me her "best rate" for that night.  "It would be $119 for the room but we have a $19/night resort fee (when did that go up again?) and taxes bringing it to $153"  Wow, considering I can go to i4vegas.com and get a rate available to everyone for $18/night less, I passed on her generous offer.


 

I received 2 free nights at SLS for any nights in October so I booked that for Saturday and Sunday, mainly to check out the rooms, putting it in the middle of my stay lets me throw an overnight bay together, leaving the rest of my stuff at Rio if I decide to crash here.  But this still doesn't solve my downtown dilemma.  If I had to pay for 1 night somewhere, this wouldn't be the end of the world, but trying to stay true to the compedvegas name, I decided to venture out of my comfort zone.


I am the low maintenance type of gambler, I like to book my own rooms, I've only asked for a food comp once (playing $5 blackjack asked for a buffet comp at the Gold Coast and was shot down!) and have asked for $ off a hotel room at checkout a couple times but that has been my extent.  I look look for the best games, put through as much coin-in as my budget allows and then eagerly await the room offers in the mail to plan my next trip.  But this strategy didn't garner me a comped option for downtown so I had to put myself out there and try to contact a host.


I've tried this through email before, and have found this is the most ineffective means of getting things taken care of.  So, I picked up the phone and called the Fremont casino.  Now, I knew my play was the highest here from my April trip so figured it was my best bet.  Asked the front desk to transfer me to the Host on Duty and off I went.  A gravelly female voice sharply answered the phone, where I concisely stated my case: "I normally receive offers from the Gold Coast, I played a lot at the Fremont on my last trip and was hoping to get a comped room in October?  A short pause got my heart pumping, probably because I don't like to put myself out there, but I knew this was the only way.  She put me on hold to get her computer fired up, asked for my players card number, on hold for another minute or so, and then was asked, just the one night? I replied yes, gave her my date and one more short hold later she came back on the line.  "Can do 1 night, thats it".  Ok......so do I need a reservation number or anything?....Nope, just your last name, and that was it.  The whole experience, despite multiple holds took less than 5 minutes and I scored my free room!  At first I was put off by her quick, to the point responses, but later found it refreshing that she was able to look at my play and make a quick decision.


So, Fremont, Gold Coast, SLS and Rio with only 5 nights on the trip.  Hey, at least it will allow me to get a few more room reviews done!  I love the feeling after getting a room booked for Vegas.  It sends another level of anticipation and excitement.  This may be another reason I book so many damn rooms, I was able to get this feeling 4 different times!  Well, moral of the story, suck it up and just ask.   





 
 
As a native Michigander, at least 1 trip "up north" is in order to appreciate the great splendor that is the Michigan outdoors.  Well what better way to enjoy the outdoors that a quick stop to an indian casino on the way!

I have not stopped at the Standish, Michigan slots only casino in quite a few years, but we had about an hour to kill before meeting up with our camping partners for the week, so the wife and I split a hundy and tried our luck.  

I cannot believe how busy this casino is!  We arrived on a Monday afternoon about 1pm and the main parking lot was completely full, leaving us to park in the "overflow" parking lot which is a few football fields away from the front doors.  Of course its raining, so this is a nice start to our tribal experience.

The casino is about 30,000 s/f (think the size of the 4 queens casino without table games) and has a subway and a couple native american gift shops, not much to it.  But since its opening, it has kept its 9/6 jacks or better pay tables on video poker.  The cool thing here is it maintains this great paytable all the way down to the 5c level.  You can creep up to dollars of luck strikes you, or dwindle down to nickels when your left with only a few singles in your pocket (I was left with the latter).  

I hate super crowded casinos, so this was a put off from the start, and of course 2 machines together was not happening so we sat with, we will call her "Marge" between us.  Not a big deal this happens in Vegas to, you play it out until the the in-between leaves or another pair of seats together open up.  Well Marge's husband, lets call him "Ralph" must have run out of money pretty early.  Ralph chose to stand directly behind me and watch Marge play through the rest of her money.  Now nothing makes a crowded casino better than having someone creeping behind you as your try to play!  

Eventually Marge played through her last dollar and she took Ralph with her so I was able to slide over a seat.  My session of 25c of vp was bumped up to 50c once I doubled my $20 investment to $40.  Well that was the end of my streak, as it went downhill from there (was Ralph breathing down my neck good luck?). 

Nothing else to report here, I would never make a special trip to this casino, but if your on I-75 heading "up north" its an OK excursion to get your gambling fix.  

I still have 2 months before I get to hit the mana of gambling destinations, so I trip to the Detroit casinos is in my near future.  It's no Vegas, but when you need a snack to hold you over for dinner, you gotta do what you gotta do.
 
 
I first read about this on VegasMessageBoard.com where I find a LOT of great info.  I urge any vegas regular to create a username and lurk through the many topics on this message board.  

Here's the scoop:  The $500 minimum craps table in the high limit rooms of Wynn and Encore still off typical Strip 3X4X5X odds at craps, well big deal right?  The problem is ALL other tables are now ONLY 2X ODDS!  this is craziness!!

Let me give you the math to try and put this into perspective
CasinoInsider does a nice job of spelling out the true house edge on a passline bet with the odds bet factored in. 

Typical strip odds offer 3x4x5x odds, for simplicity we will compare 2x odds to 5x odds.

2X odds behind passline bet-  .61% house edge
5X odds behind passline bett- .32% house edge

So we are close to doubling the house edge when only allowing double odds!

Personally, if you can afford to take the full odds bet, travel downtown where you can find 10X odds at casinos like the D and Main Street Station.  What does 10X odds do to the house edge you ask?  Brings it down to a mere .18%!  That's an El Cortez Blackjack kind of house edge!
Let's hope this is not a trend to continue.  As much as I love a good gamble, nothing beats staying at a high end strip property.  But when properties start to diminish the odds on the games being offered, they make it a lot harder to justify a stay at their property.  
 
 
After a long web site Hiatus, I have finally posted my April review of my stay at the Downtown Grand.  Click over to my Hotel Section of this site to read all about it.  
 
 
So even though I bitched about the extended wait time at dollar this past trip, I was very happy with the money I saved booking the rental.  I wrote about the method I used on here last time using the totalrewards.com website.  Well, I decided to throw my October dates in and see what rates are looking like.  To my surprise that feature is gone.  I really feel like I've been bashing Total Rewards and CET lately, but they are making it easy for me to do so.  Previously the rate booked here included all taxes and fees which ended up saving $70-$80 for a 6 day rental.  But this is gone so I will update you with what I am experimenting with now.

Autoslash.com  Promises to keep track of your rental car reservations from other companies and send you an email when they find the rate has dropped.  Now I have tried this before and it did not work.  I think this time I will book multiple car levels to ensure it tracks all price drops.  Alamo is notorious for dropping the rate of the fullsize and above car rates below economy at times, which can work out to be a great deal.  But if autoslash is only watching my rental rate on an economy car, I will not be notified.  So I will give this a try and report back my results.  If anyone else has any rental car discounts or methods they use, please comment below, the good ones never seem to last long!


 
 
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New Content Coming Soon!

Came back into Michigan a couple days ago and as I prepare myself to get back into the swing of things, I will be taking some fond looks back at the trip we just finished.  My PVD (Post-Vegas Depression) has not been to bad this time around, but I think it has a lot to do with already having another trip on the books.  Over the next couple weeks I have a lot to write, a few podcasts in me and hopefully some tips that will add some value to your next trip out.  

If you haven't checked it out in a while, go over to the hotel section, I just posted a review of my stay at the Cromwell and updated a few of the older reviews with the recent gambling changes on the strip.  I still have a review to write up on my stay at the Downtown Grand which was a last minute change that we really enjoyed.

No royals this trip, and definitely gave my play to some different casinos so I'm curious to see if any different offers pop up.  

I feel like I accomplished a lot this trip and still have so much that I didn't do, so that will be added to the next one.  For now here are a few highlights of what I accomplished...

-First stay at the Cromwell
-First stay at Downtown Grand
-Feed the Sea Turtles Experience at Mandalay Bay Shark Reef Aquarium
-Saying Goodbye to the Riviera (and Peppermill, just in case)
-Golfing at Angel Park Golf Course
-Ate Dupars Pancakes


Still didn't do...
Valley of Fire
Cosmo Buffet
Mandalay Bay pool (still kicking myself)
Check out the Westgate

So stay tuned, hopefully I can be without Vegas till October...