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....

   
 
 
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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...
 
 
This has always been an interesting question I had when redeeming a comped room offer somewhere.  For example, if I play my ass off and get a comped room at the Cosmopolitan and during my stay, stiff them on gambling, how long before I quit receiving offers?  I have experienced this with the Orleans this past year.  I double booked not knowing where I was going to prefer staying and checked into both Flamingo and the Orleans.  Well never going back to Orleans I gave them 0 play.  Guess what no more free rooms.  Although Gold Coast where I simply have just not been to in a year, is still comping me 2 free nights.  But on a higher level, with more layers of marketing can you get away with this longer?

Sionow is a frequent message board poster on LasVegasAdvisor.com.  I have followed his extensive trip reports over the years including his most recent ones that was following his quest to get to the seven stars tier which is the highest level for total rewards.  Well he achieved it and this year he has decided he is bored with gambling and this will be his farewell tour!  I think I am going to find this one the most interesting because I know I will never have enough of a bankroll or desire to go after the seven stars status, I certainly am good at giving properties no play!  He only has a couple reports in so far, but his plan is to only redeem free play playing it once and cashing out.  He is limiting his gambling to live poker which doesn't do shit for comps but is a great low roller play.  He will also begin cashing in his large bank of total rewards credits and b connected comp dollars this year.

Here is a link to his first trip report: http://www.lasvegasadvisor.com/forum/messageview.cfm?catid=17&threadid=324715 I plan to follow this, especially with the uncertain future of Caesars entertainment.  Not that I think they will shut down but I think I would feel more comfortable building up a status with a property that is a bit more financially sound.  Anyways, I look forward to seeing how long he can go checking into his high level suites, watching his free pay per view movies and not gambling!!


 
 
Just came back from another great Vegas trip, letting my phone sync up to computer so all my pictures will be ready.  1 of my goals this trip was to get to diamond status in the total rewards program.  I started the year as Platinum as my total rewards credit card had given me this status.  Having my wife and I both play on my card we accumulated about 3000 tier credits after our March trip.  We came back in June and stayed all 4 nights at the Flamingo and managed to get the tier credits to 6400, Platinum achieved for next year.  With this amount all generated through video poker we were getting select chunks of nights free in the Flamingo GO rooms and the new Ballys rooms.  Since we stayed in the Flamingo GO room in June, we tried out the Jubilee room at Ballys for September.  Ill do a full report on this in a later post.  We stayed 3 nights here and I would need another 8600 points to get to Diamond.  I could actually do this by playing less if I took full advantage of the bonus tier credits they offer.

My plan was to set aside an extra 500 bucks above my daily gambling budget and dedicate to the 8/5 bonus poker $1 machines at the Rio in an effort to get to 2500 tier credits in 1 day.  Doing this would give me the 5000 bonus and make it a walk in the park to get the remaining credits I needed to hit 15,000.  Day 1 we arrived and I hit the RIO first thing.  We had lost power the night before our flight, had to get up at 3am and had a layover in Chicago so we were not fully rested when we began.  Needless to say after getting about 350 points we decided to get some food and check in to Ballys.  We ended up playing the night at Ballys and with both of us on the triple play quarter 7/5 bonus poker machines we got it up to 1000 points so we would at least get the 1000 point bonus for the first night.

I did leave out 1 important detail, after breaking even at the Rio and losing close to $400 at Ballys, my machine struck with the first Royal Flush of the trip!  I ended the day up almost $800!  This was a great start to our trip.  Waking up the next day still thinking about that diamond status, I talk the wife into hitting the RIO 1 more time.  This time I would take 700 bucks and have us both playing the $1 machine until we hit 2500 points.  We had already played quite a bit at Ballys in the morning and had 750 points as a head start.  I of course lost about $400 doing this, but I had that Royal as a booster so I decided to go for it.

I didn't look at the time but it was around 4 hours of play, maybe a little less, and we had both been up for a while but soon both of us had burned through 700 bucks and we still had 150 points to go.  I grudgingly dipped into tomorrow's gambling stash and handed 100 to my wife and put 100 in mine and we played on.  Busting out the calculator each time we felt we were close.  The wife managed to work her $100 from 20 bucks all the way back up to the starting $100, I had her stop there.  I played on with mine and luckily managed to do the same, keeping tomorrows bankroll in tact.  We trucked it up to the TR desk to verify we had earned 2500 points today.  I think we ended up at almost 2600 but it was better to be safe (My june trip I ended a day at 995 points and only got the 125 credit bonus, that was a bummer).  She said within 24 hours the bonus would post!  So I left with mixed feelings, losing $1100 that day chasing diamond status, was it worth it?

The rest of my CET gambling was uneventful, we finished the trip at 17,000 tier credits.  My only diamond experience so far had been cutting the line after the pool at Nosh for some BLT's.  This was very awkward as it was not a separate line but the sign stated to go to the register.  I got over it pretty quick though as I realized I could have been in that line for close to an hour.  I'm interested to see how my offers will change ( I know as with all offers it has more to do with how much you gambled and less to do with your level) I didn't check out a diamond lounge yet or take advantage of the free show tickets.  I don't know when Ill make it to vegas again, it will depend on my companion pass for Southwest airlines and how soon I can secure it.  

My last 2 nights I stayed at Bellagio after redeeming my any 2 free nights through the Hyatt credit card I signed up for.  I will also write up a full report on this experience in the hotel section.  So my final 2 days were spent playing on the mlife card.  I definitely did not give them a level of play where I would expect any free rooms.  I was able to redeem a few nice myvegas comps while booked at Bellagio including the free play, a breakfast buffet and a dinner buffet at Aria.  

Going into the last day I was about 900 bucks down for the trip, which would be the worst finish for me this year (which is still not bad, I have been very fortunate this year with royals, especially since before this year I had exactly 0 royals).  After the Aria buffet we played in the casino.  I hit the 8/6 bonus poker deluxe super times pay machine, sticking to 1 line at $1.50 a spin.  I was holding my own for a while and then it went south and I was down to about 36 bucks.  Lightening struck again and my second royal for the trip appeared!  I couldn't believe it, If I could determine how I would want my luck to play out it would be to duplicate this trip.  Start out with a jackpot on the first day and end your last night with another!  Came home a slight winner and stayed positive for the year so far, simply amazing!  So now I can absolutely say it was worth it chasing Diamond because I did not lose anything going for it.  But, it could have very easily been the opposite.  

I have quite a bit to write about and a ton of pictures from my trip so hopefully I can continue to keep this site updated.  If for nothing more than as a way to look back on my past trips.
 
 
The only thing more exciting than a Vegas Vacation, is the weeks leading up to one.  I am within 2 weeks of touching down in the desert and can not wait.  This trip I will be redeeming my 2 free nights to any Hyatt property  that I received on a credit card signup promotion.  I chose the Bellagio which will be my first stay there.  I also booked 4 nights at Bally's which one night will act only as an overlap for my hotel change.  I have a lot of things from my last trip that didn't happen so they are on my agenda this time around.  Visiting the container park, Valley of Fire and Bally's Sterling Brunch to name a few.  Can't Wait!