Vegas October 2012

10 months after our last Vegas adventure we return courtesy of Virgin Atlantic to what is becoming a regular annual (ish !) trip. Such as here, here and here

The usual routine for these trips is that Mrs Ben hits the pool, and MrBen hits the poker table. This was sort of the order of events, but I had to change stuff around as the poker events in our hotel seemed quite slow.

Weather was nice as always

Day one we got there quite late on, so i just made a quid hundred on the blackjack. Not a bad start. There was also the usual slot machine crawl, where you start with a 20, and try to build to 100 by hit and running bonuses. Mrs Ben nearly made this (after 3 hours), she was up to 80, but we had had a few drinks and it was time to retire.

Day 2, i set about my usual 9.00am poker comp. By this time i had hit the gym and had breakfast. Gotta love jetlag. Breakfast was in the ABX Burger ad Pancake house. The breakfast pancakes for £6 are amazing. Bombed the tourney early on, but made up for ir with another $150 on the Blackjack table. Lunch was at Lemongrass in the Aria, which is a chinese-thai modern type restaurant. Dim-sum. Oh My God. Get there early, we were towards the end of  the lunch session (which is Dim-sum time), and just grabbed what we could. We also had the mee-goreng, which was spiced to perfection. More details on their website here.

Lemongrass. Great Food in the Aria.

That evening I took  a bit of a kicking and was $250 down on the tables ans slots, but easy come and easy go, eh ?

Day 3 started with Breakfast at the Mandalay Bay buffet. As usual the fare was good in a nice setting. My 9.00am bombed again, when my KK was called allin pre flop by some clown with A9, who then hit a 9 on the turn and the river. Cheers, Nice hand. Always tomorrow i suppose. Having the hump i dropped 20 into an Alice in Wonderland machine and picked up a $120 Jackpot. Feel better now.

Thanks Alice !

I then retired to the pool with MrsBen. The pool at the Excalibur has been redesigned this year and is way better than before. In fact with 4 pools and at least 2 hot tubs/Jacuzzis, this place is severely underrated.

In the afternoon we tool a amble down the strip and headed towards Caesars Palace. We cut through all the usual suspects, Aria and Bellagio (quick +$35 slot win. Hehe).  Our destination at Caesars was the Cheesecake Factory. Now in the city full of restaurants why bother with a chain. Because its not in the UK, and its just great food. The portions are huge, so main course only thanks. We shared some enchiladas and the “Bellagio” pasta. Strange name bearing in mind the location ! Fantastic allround, and I managed not to buy anything next door in the super sized Nike Store.

The Little House in the Bellagio !
Cheesecake Factory
Entrance to Nike World – Caesars Palace


Day 5 started like 3 with my 99 hitting AA early on. Lucky this 9.00 am is only $30 !. As we had friends up from California  we rented out a Cabana by the pool for the day. Well worth the next to nothing we paid ! This made for a nice relaxing day.

Cabana Time !

The evening was spend on the road again, and we hit the Palazzo for dinner. We had heard good things about the Grand Lux. Well, heres my thing, don’t go there. The burger i had was very greasy (greasy is different from juicy !).  Mrs Bens ribs were dry, and the meat wouldn’t come off from the bone, and therefore was sent back. Chips were OK!. One other thing regarding the Ventian and Palazzo. They used to be quite refined, and a bit classy (for Vegas !). They now seem to have this rock vibe going on which suits Planet Hollywood, but I’m not sure about here. The Zebra Lounge gets a special mention. The band think they are playing Wembley and have a speaker stack to match. Far too loud.

On day 6 i changed venue for the morning poker comp. I went next door to the Luxor for their 10.30. This was a good move, and one I may make more permanent in future trips. Better organised, friendlier,and way more confortable. After getting away with a split pot, which i was well behind on. I managed to scrape 3rd for $134 (40 buyin). 3rd or maybe second was probably my best chance, as there was a lady who arrived at the final table with over half the total chips, and seemed to hit every hand. But i did my bit and took out 3 people on the final table. The rest of the day was by the pool, and chilling out.

The evening was a bit of an adventure for me as we went to Shibuya, a Japanese restaurant in the MGM. I’m not a Sushi fan, but i do like wagyu beef. I did try some Sushi as well, and I may be coming round (more on this below !). Not cheap but a fantastic meal and great vibe and service. More info here

Day 7  was spend mainly at the North Outlet Centre. This places never lets us down, and this day was no different, with bargains from Ralph Lauren, Burberry and Hugo Boss amongst others. My Jordan IV’s got some love from the market sellers. Our trip there was undertaken by Taxi, with a guy who seemed to no more about football than any American i have ever met. He was Mexican to be fair, but you get the drift. We discussed Booby Moore vs Pele, Leeds and Chelsea in the 70’s, and low centre of gravity being the reason for Maradona and Messi being better footballers than me.

That evening we found craps. The game not the tummy bug !. It took me about an hour to work out what was going on, but once we got going, we were flying and both made a tidy profit. Its also a great game for socialising, and just great fun. A few beers were had and great crack all round.

Out last full day started slowly after the night before but we tried the Public House in the Luxor for lunch. Great food, great price, shame it was showing  “Being Liverpool” on the main screen. Might visit one evening when its full on our next trip. Can be found here

We also had dinner in the Buca di Beppo Italian in the Excalibur. The food here is just WOW. I really love it. The portions are a little scary, but likea mamma used to maka. ! Find it here

Yum Pasta

The evening was more of the same, Craps and Blackjack.

We flew back the next day just in time , as the Storms were coming and flights were starting be cancelled all over the place.

So overall, another great trip. The Excalibur looked after us well again, many thanks to Yvonne our host as usual.

+ Lemongrass, Buca di Beppo, Cheesecake Factory

– Grand Lux, Venetian in general.

On our trip you could tell that Vegas is still deep in recession. I currently give the Tropicana about a year after a successful relaunch, that seems to be falling apart. Oh and the Mirage seems to be the number one hotel if you are looking for Hookers, or maybe it just seems that way ! Never used to be like that.

Roll on Xmas for the next visit.

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