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....

   
 
 
***Edited 11/13/14****
It was the Plaza that started the revitalization of downtown in my opinion.  They were the first to do a full blown remodel in a hotel that needed it.  Soon Derek Stevens bought Fitzgeralds and followed suit, and the downtown grand FINALLY was completed this year as well.  It was 3 years ago that I last stayed at the Plaza after this remodel and at that time they had 1 bank of 9/6 job next to the bar, that I gave a fair amount of play.  They added Hash House a Go-Go which drew me back into the Plaza at least for a visit each stop downtown because of this but I soon watched the good video poker disappear.  

Last year The Plaza/LV Club rolled out the new Royal Rewards players club that offered tier matching, royal flush bonuses etc... but no points on 9/6 jacks.  I toyed with the idea of doing the tier match just to have a fairly easy spot to park downtown but I held off as it wasn't enough to bring me back.  Then my wife received a GREAT offer from minimal slot play over a year ago.  3 free nights including a Friday or Saturday through the end of the year!  We ALMOST took this offer, I opted to stay on the strip instead and tried out the new Ballys room.  Then I started to see some postings on VPFREE2.com and they reported the royal flush bonuses went away.  It started to look like the Plaza was making a turn for the worst.  But.....The Plaza has gained my interest again, here's why:

This was all found on vpfree2.com on 9/27/14.

(2) Double Bonus Poker 10/7 Thats over 100% payback! ****As of 11/12, according to VPFREE2 these machines no longer offer points.

Here's even better news:

(34) Yes thats 34 machines that have 9/6 Jacks or Better, 9/6 Bonus Poker Deluxe, 8/5 Bonus Poker, 9/7 Double Bonus, and even 9/6 Double Double Bonus all in 25c, 50c and $1 denominations.

And the best news, besides those 34 machines those games are also all available at the Omaha Bar! (DDB only in 50c and $1)    


Don't know if I will be able to make it happen but if I make it out for a final trip this year, the Plaza went to the top of my list for downtown.  I've given downtown grand 2 days of decent play this year and have generated nothing at all, if Plaza can dish out offers on top of these great video poker changes, I may have new downtown home!
 
 
VPFREE2 brought me a new update this morning!  Check it out yourself for the full listing, but the 100 play potion is now gone, with a better low-limit selection in its place.  I will get to verify this myself in a little over a week so hopefully this option sticks around:

5c/10c/25c single line double double bonus (99.96%), Super Aces (99.94%) and APDW (basically not so ugly deuces with a slightly better payback on the straight flush (99.96%)!

It only shows 4 machines for these options so not sure how in demand these will be, but its a great option for the strip, and definitely worth checking out.

They have also posted so info on the players club to VPFREE2 similar to other casinos where they give you less points for premium video poker options.  $15 to a point, which I would consider these options to fall into that category.  
 
 
For video poker players, VPFREE2.com is an excellent resource for finding the best games in casinos across the country.  A great option of the site is to sign up for daily updates.  Each morning I will have an email of any updates in video poker that occurred in the past 24 hours.  This morning they posted video poker findings at SLS.  While a tweet here and there showed some of the not so great 7/5 bonus poker options that already flood the strip, I was hoping they would have some full pay options, and this what VPFREE2 has been reported so far....


*****Updated: Since these have all mainly changed here is a link to find the most updated info:

http://www.vpfree2.com/casino/sahara-hotel-casino


If you have a hard time making sense of the above here is a quick overview:
  • The % is the payback % of the game when playing perfectly
  • The initials refers to the game (ie: dw44 is deuces wild, the 44 refers to the full house and 4 of a kind both paying 4 coins)
  • The number in parentheses is how many machines at that denomination have been spotted
  • Any variation of the game is listed after the denomination, for example SP stands for spin poker, STP stands for super times pay etc.
  • Location, when listed this actually helps you find that particular machine in the casino which is the most valuable tool on this site.