OK, So I’ve been wanting to do some course reviews for ages and seem to have the writing bug again so why not. Lets also get one thing straight, I’m not a pro by any stretch. Anything below 110 makes me happy, although with practice I need to be sub 100 80% of the time and as football is starting to take a back seat I need to push on with the sticks and balls.
My latest round was at Bali Hai in Vegas, just off the back of the Mandalay Bay near the Fabulous Las Vegas sign (visible through the trees on the back 9) . Not a usual venue for me but I had an invite from @Onechiquita and @VegasDWP while I was on vacation so time to step up my game. Unfortunately DWP couldn’t make it in the end due to back issues, so myself and Alysia soldiered on.
Prior to the game, we hit the driving range and although very short and netted , there was a pyramid of Callaway balls freely available in each bay to smash down the track, which is a nice touch.
At 7000 yrds its a long one, and I imagine in the heat a killer as it is all open with no shade. Stuffed in between Las Vegas Boulevard and the I15, you would think it’s pretty noisy but I found it very relaxing even with the planes from McCarran passing over regularly. Buggies are essential.
The 1st hole has a long gravel trap to the left for about 200 yrds and I found it easily with my tee shot. Not a great start.
Being in the desert, sand was plentiful, and I found many bunkers, but with a South Pacific theme to the course, I suppose more sand than usual is standard. But with the sand came water and there was plenty of that as well, as I discovered on the back 9 with 2 visits to the pond in front of the green.
The course itself despite being man made has a good undulation and sometime you are firing off into the unknown. It has the feel of a wider links course in places, but without the killer rough.
The clubs supplied were Callaway XR’s which didn’t feel too different to my Callaway Big Berthas. But the hybrids were fantastic and may be a future purchase.
Overall worth the $160 including club hire and buggy. We did try to scam local rates for me but that didn’t quite pan out due to their very on the ball identification policies !
16pts Stableford and 117 says i didn’t play well. With the exception of a few holes I thought I played OK. The course is huge. 3 of the 5 par 3’s are near 200 or over. The others are over water and round other hazards. There are a few +450 yrd par 4’s as well. So all in all I got what my golf deserved.
I’ll give the course 5/5 for location, and 3/5 for the actual course. Its a bit long in places and suits the better player.
Things have been pretty busy, so this is late, and forms part one of a 3 part travelogue, covering Vegas, Barcelona, and Versailles. Here we go.
On Saturday we travelled via Seattle, and enjoyed 2 on time flights and actually got to Vegas 30 mins early, which was nice as we were meeting my Brother In Law, who had come down from Canada for the week, for his first trip.
Quick dash to the rental lot to pick up my Dodge Charger (nice win) and we checked in, at what is now becoming our second home. Excalibur.
Warning: This post is pure poker. If you are looking for West Ham , Travel stuff and or photos, please click the links at the top of the page.
During our recent trips to Vegas , I have one day to play the Aria free from the distractions that being a tourist (am I still a tourist ?) brings. This means A) Have a good breakfast, B) No Drinking, C) Get your game head on.
This was my 4th attempt at this tournament, and was one that I had not cashed at yet. This is not too much of a surprise, as it normally has 130+ runners and is of a decent standard (146 this day), and if I’m honest is a bit of a step up from what I’m used to. And I don’t play many tournies these days, or much poker to be honest.
So bearing in mind points B and C (post A) I drove down to the Aria and was ready, with ticket for 12.45. Table 2 was my starting place, and was a nice spot out of the way on the upper level, in seat 1.
This did actually prove to be a bit of a pain as due to comfy seats, you tend to relax a bit and not being over endowed in the height department, I found I couldn’t really see if seats 9 and 10 (8 and 9?) had acted. This appeared to annoy my first dealer, and so I asked him if the players down the other end could push their cards out a bit and we could move on. On the 3rd request the players got the idea and life was great.
Because of the decent blind structure, you can ease into this game and bide your time. What became apparent was that the 3 guys to my left were regulars, and one of the 3, 3 bet me with nearly every raise I did. OK fine, we lock down and wait for premium hands. There was a guy at seat 6 or 7, who seem to go in with weird hands and sucked out a couple of times and then took a bit of a beating to get back to his opening stack. I had him targeted as someone I could win off of as he didn’t seem to like laying down. So I had chipped up to about 14k after a couple of small wins and looked down at QQ. This guy had raised the 50/100 blinds to about 500 and my 3 amigos had already folded and I was on the button. Nice. I reraised to about 2100. He insta went all in for about 6 k. I called and he turned over j9 unsuited. Thanks. The board blanked both of us and I am at 20k and change. This and the fact I wasn’t playing many hands got me a tight image, and I had 22k at the first break with an average of 12.
Post the break we got 2 ladies at our table. one was OK, and the other was noisy as hell. She had some interior design business in SF, and found out that one of the guys worked for google in SF ,and was just bugging him for leads and work. Then she started talking about cars. She had a BMW Mini. As does my wife. This was a fatal mistake for me to mention as she then went on this chatter about how rare they were. Really? I can look out of my front door and see 3 (not all ours !). And I’ve seen enough in the US to know they are not “that” rare. If she said she had a Hillman Hunter fair enough. Anyway as well as talking she liked to be involved in every hand and that suited me. She was also talking about meeting someone, so I smelled someone who wanted out. AK was enough when she pushed all in preflop, without really taking too much notice of her cards. She had AQ, and I win the race to go to 43k. Another interesting character joins the fray. A (I think) young Mexican guy (YMG), who when faced with a diamond diamond flop and a bet from his opponent, just grabbed a pile of chips and put out a crazy raise (about 12k into a 3k pot). He then said while collecting his chips “I never like someone trying to hit their flush, so I have to block”. I manage to chip up to the second break to about 53k with the tournament average being 19k. This was after knocking out a short stack with 10 10 to their AJ os. I got a 10, they got one jack. Better than the day before where my 3 10’s got unlocked by a straight !
Anyway, we then move table for the next session , and I end up again with our new friend YMG. I get a hand, suited connectors 9 10d, but I have a pile of chips, so I put out a min raise in a late position. He calls, and 2 of us see the flop. I have him covered about 2/1. The board whiffs massive for me, but there are 2 clubs out there and an Ace and a 10. So I have a mid pair, but there is a potential for a flush draw (if I had clubs). YMG checks, I put out a 3/4 pot bet. He instantly pops about 22k in 500’s on the table. That’s about pot *5. I have nearly 50k behind to his now 14k. Remembering his earlier statement I shove. This puts him over the edge. He starts figeting and telling me i don’t have a hand yet. Normally I adopt a completely neutral stance in this position, but just to get at him even more, I just stare at him with a huge smile on my face. After about 40 secs he bought my “I Have Aces, not a flush” look, and folded. He was gutted as hell, and I have 63k. Things are going well. YMG in a fit of pique went all in with crap and left the table shortly after. Who would do that? Push all your chips in with rubbish? Madness ! Hehe.
After all this good luck comes bad, and I got a little carried away, called a 5k opener with Jacks, and then 3 bet him 15 K over his 5k cbet post flop. He then went all in. The board was high and I had to fold. Silly boy but I made uncharted territory and the 3rd break with 30k. There were at this point 30 people left and the money began at 15. Time to work.
Basically, working meant making some serious all-ins after another table change. They didn’t know me, and I have a small stack, but not small enough to make rash calls against. Chip , chip chip up to about 40k. Another table change, another shove this time AJ into KQ. Hit the A to go to 83k. Happy Mrben. Its time to float to the cash. But the blinds are 2/4k with 500 Antes . There are over 1m chips in play, so I am actually below average. Not floating available ! It doesn’t take long to be at 58k but there are only 19 people left. A couple of very small stacks leave and we get to the bubble.
Now I have an admission to make here. Everybody was asked if they wanted to donate $10 to the bubble fund. I have no issues with this at all, but the question was “Does anyone have an issue with donating 10 bucks to the bubble fund ?” So I, correctly said No. Someone on the other table heard me say no and started a commotion to his dealer (I pieced this all together later). This meant no bubble payment. Our table complained a bit and eventually, they got out the vote cards. We got 8 yes’s as did the other table and off we go. But I’m sure I created that mess. Apologies !
Anyway I get moved again and make break 4 with about 26 k. I now have a cowboy to my right who has bundles of chips (5k chips ? Not on my stack sir) and the blinds are 3k/6k/500. I manage to bluff (literally) my way along until the min cashes have gone. There are 12 left and the next payment is 240 odd. not quite what I expected for being in this long but better than a poke with a sharp stick. I have to move again and we are at 4k 8k 1k and I have about 30k in chips. This table has the world and his dog of big stacks, so its go hard or go home. I went home about 5 minutes later when my K9 all in gets beat by 99. Boooooo.
So that took about 7 hours, to not even double my money. I believe someone else has a better Aria story from a couple of days later, but we are to to see it Rob
So once I got over the initial disappointment of my ROI, I actually realised that I can read people reasonably well, and can play real poker (again) and will be back for this one later in the year.
Work commitments mean this one is a little late, but is a 3 parter. This part will cover the main trip, the other two will cover my day at the Aria tournament and the final part will be a small write up of the SLS vs the Sahara.
Flights over on Xmas day were very agreeable as BA gave us a free upgrade to business, which is always a good start to any trip. Changing at Chicago was not quite as painful as we expected and AA delivered us to Vegas early evening. We went to pick up our car and I then understood why car hire prices had gone through the roof. The car park was practically empty. Vegas was going to be busy this year. But it was cold, and for Vegas I mean cold…..
One of the best things to do while in Vegas is get a car to get off the strip. I know the whole point of travelling all that way is to stay on the strip, but with the amount of trips we do, sometimes is nice to have a look around at where real people live, and more importantly eat. If you take a look at the my previous posts from this city, you will find a few foodie options off the strip.
As this trip was solo, nice dinners in fancy restaurants wasn’t really on the menu (ha), but good old fashioned, start the day well, breakfast was. So I decided yelp was my friend, and I picked out 2 of the top rated off strip venues for breakfast. The only criteria for me was that they had to be local joints.
First up for me was the Black Bear Diner on Tropicana. I didn’t know until i got there this was part of a smallish chain across 8 states, so not completely local, but 5 miles off the strip meant pretty much locals only. Taking a look at the menu, a lot caught my eye, however the Hungry Man Steak and Eggs looked favourite. Steak and Eggs was a new thing for me for brekkie, but hey I like both, so why not. Let me tell you this, I should of done this years ago. The Steak was perfect, the eggs just the right side of runny, and the hash was out of this world. The coffee and water kept coming and I left a happy man. Cept no wifi, which is a pain when in a restaurant on your own with nothing to do. Service was functional but no more. No chat, no smile. Hey, I have an East London accent, at least ask me if I’m from Australia like everybody else does in Vegas ! In short 14 bucks well spent, and I didn’t go hungry all day.
Two days later, I hit the road again based on the recommendations of other good breakfast hunters like myself and hit up Mr Mamas on S.Decatur. This was the real deal local cafe. Wedged between a gun shop and an aftermarket car wheel shop on a small strip mall, this place looked for all the world like a greasy spoon from home. Good start. As soon as i went in , I got talking to the manager while they cleared me a table (this was 08.15 on a Monday and the place was packed). Turns out his mother was English. So in order to be fair I order the Steak and Eggs breakfast and coffee. They had wi-fi, and really good staff who spoke to me while I was waiting, and made me feel at home. The family next door to me had french toast, and they were never going to finish the portion that came out, even if I got stuck in as well. Things were looking good.
My plate arrived and the first thing i noticed was the steak. A little smaller the the BBD, but still juicy. The eggs however were a little too oily , but edible ( 🙂 ). The hash was very standard. All in all, it was good but i think I had been spoiled by the BBD. But the staff and the atmosphere was so much better and I really wanted the food to be better as well.
So we have to go to the judges cards for the final decision.
In the red corner we have the Black Bear Diner.
A solid 9.5 / 10
In the blue , we have Mr Mamas.
A well deserved 9/10.
So this fight is won by a .5 decision to the new Breakfast Champion of Vegas – The Black Bear Diner.
But I believe Mr Mamas deserves a rematch as a minimum and will hopefully win the title.
One more point. AMERICANS please take notice.
This is bacon.
This is overcooked and full of fat.
So if you have any comments on somewhere else I should try let me know (or if you know why you flatly refuse to serve proper bacon).
Due to having some more time on my hands, I managed to organise a solo tour back to Vegas, to see if I could still play poker. I used to play online a lot, but that has died off over the years, and in order to play sometimes you need long sessions, which is not fair if you are travelling with someone else. So off I went last week.
Warning: This is full of poker content so maybe not for everyone. Feel free to move on.
Day 1 Wednesday. Landed from London, after a long old flight, as we had to come on a different approach to vegas to normal. This added about 30 mins to an already 10+ flight. First win of the day was picking up my car. My order for a focus, had turned into a Mustang. Result.
A quick 350 profit a the black tables, funded some shopping for MrsMrBen so i headed of to Caesars to pick up some bits and pieces. This was a fail, as they didn’t have what I (she) wanted .Never mind I got my first taste of In N Out of the way back. I will be back, put it that way. I also dropped in Planet Hollywood to see what they had in place for tournaments, but to be honest I was too tired so I headed back home but managed to book a $215 craps profit pre bedtime.
Day 2: Jet lag ensured i was up early ( I actually went for a run on the strip at 545am !), so while waiting for shops to open I managed to book a 420 profit on a craps table but put 100 back into the casino coffers via the BJ table. Shopping over, I played the 1pm at the Aria. It has been said before by many but this is the best run tournament in town bar none. I lasted out with average chips post the second break (my longest in this tournament). I then got a quick double with my AQ turning a full house against KK (in which he had hit a straight). AQ was going to become an important hand for me during the week. Anyway, soon after, I had QQ up against AK, and lost to a A on the river. Grrr. Out in about 30th (about 130 runners). Not bad but no money. For reference, the five 50 slice counter is very handy for the poker room during a break.
The rest of the day was spent throwing money away playing craps.
Day 3: This was the day of the weigh in for the Mayweather Molina fight and I fully intended to get over to the MGM. I played the Excalibur 9am crap shoot and bombed bady. I was over in the MGM in time for weigh in but, the Q was about 3 miles long so i sacked it off for the MGM poker room instead. Good move on my part as I made $579 profit (which to be fair covered some bad craps and BJ play earlier in the day). Bought in with 200. First hand was AA which i managed to knock out to a 70 buck profit. Great start. Later on I got back to back trips (8’s and 4’s), which took me up to about 460. The 8’s were the biggest of the two wins, and i really hollywooded it out to get the call on the river (huffa and puffs, dont really want to be in this hand looks, etc). This really pissed the other player off, but outside of nasty stares that’s as far as it went. I could of got him all in, as he had the case 8 to also have trips, but i had the better kicker, but to be honest i played the river badly, as i thought he had checked, so i bet 50, which it turned out was out of turn, so he just called rather than pushing which he was going to do. Never mind.
This sums up the luck i got in the session for me. I managed to win a $50 pot with AK, against nothing. The guy was just putting in 10s and 15s with air. Thanks bud. My last hand was a6d. The flop was 68K against 4 players with 15$ each in the pot (75). There was a check around to me and i left it (as someone must have the king). Up pops an A on the turn giving me a nice disguised 2 pair. I reraised a 15$ bet to 45, and got one caller. The river was a 2, and he bet 45. Thanks mate, another 200 in the pot..
Day 4 was back to MGM on fight day to see if the ATM was still open for business. Lucky for me it was. It was quiet for 45 minutes and then this happen. A guy to my right wanted to bet all the time, and was more interested in the boxing and drinking with his mate. My kind of player. Anyway i get dealt K10s, 4 players to the flop ($40). Flop is a6s and 8h. So far so good. I pop 20 UTG, and get 2 callers. The turn give me a lovely 3s for the nut flush. my 25 dollar opener gets re-raised by the gambler to 75. Flat call from me. He pushes his remaining 45 on the blank river. I call, and he has……………………nothing at all. Thx bud, ship it (just over $400).
Next up I get 89c. I open with $7, 3 callers. K83 rainbow flop. I push in a 20 continuation bet, 1 caller. 8 on the turn gives me trips (again).I check he bets 40. I call with a huff (this is standard pattern for 888 !). Blank river. I Hollywood a 35 dollar opener on the river . He buys the huff and pushes 105. I call he mucks. Thanks.
So i cash in $271 up for this session. But on the way to the cash office in the poker room from my table my Oakleys had fallen from my shorts. BOOO. I went back the table, and there was already a guy in my seat that I’m convinced had picked them up, but with no proof I have to move on. Bad beat.
That evening i managed to book another craps profit, which put me back ahead for the trip.
Some wise investment in a Texas Dice slot (!) pay for the Mandalay Bay 10am. This is the first time I’ve played in the room. The room itself is nice, with comfy chairs. There are 18 runners. One local that i can see, and some tourists. Good enough so far. BUT the room is a shambles, We start 2 hands before the other table (the other dealer didn’t even know where to put the button so he asked ours). The blind raises were not announced, so we were up another 3 hands prior to the other table. Anyway, post the break they posted the payout structure. Top 2. What ? When I play online even a 10 hander pays 3 spots. Joke. Especially for a low buy in tourist tournament. First out is the local, which means the dealer can get on with dealing rather than him chatting incessantly to the local about helping him move house the next day. So where did i end up. 3 of course with no bubble deal. My A10 all in beat by an AK from the chip leader. No issues there, he was a nice guy (as were most of the other players). I hope the running of the tournament was a one off, as currently I have no issues with not recommending this room to anyone. Might of had to do with all the dealers wanting on the one playing cash table, which had at least 3 stacks of over 2k (playing 1-2), after a long all night session.
I gamble it up rest if day. Not good. Booked a small win at the end of the day to start last day
I play the noon tournament at Caesars, also off the back (mostly) of a slots win. This could of not been anymore different from a professional perspective. The room is nice, although a bit sterile, but the staff are top draw. I was average just before the break (you start with 10k), but 2 consecutive allin ‘s with AK prior to the break got me to 16k. First hand afterwards was qq which i went against an all in on a less than Q rainbow flop, to get up to 38k and the chip lead. I should of then stepped away from any marginal hands then but if i’m honest i felt a bit indestructible. There was a young french guy at the table who was racking up chips with very marginal hands. We were first and second, with about 12 left. I got AQ suited, UTG I raised to 2.5k (blinds were 300-600 i think). French guy goes allin. My thoughts are if i go with him i have a chip lead by miles and will cash. Bearing in mind his previous wins, I call. He has AK unsuited and wins. I go down to hardly any chips, so i leave soon after. Did i do the right thing ? No. Would i do it again? Maybe.
I play the Excalibur 5pm. and last one hour until i go allin with a slight chip lead with AQ, and come up against AK as well. Now the blinds of this structure are so quick, that you have to shove to be able to play after the break. But if nothing else it will make me play better with AQ in the future !
As it was my last night, i hit the craps tables with my new craps buddy, Rob from somewhere America. We book wins in Excal, NY NY (twice) and Monte Carlo which negates our initial losses in the Excal from earlier, which brings me up for the trip including all the shopping and other expenses. So another profitable trips ends.
Home the next day, and I sleep all the way back to London. As its not poker related I have one more food based post, which i will put up tomorrow.
The dice of life had rolled and I (we) had some spare time on our hands, so we took ourselves off for an unscheduled trip to Vegas (not a lot of poker content, some near the end, sorry Rob !).
Getting a car on landing is the only way to do it now, makes life so easy. So I picked up my MKZ from the airport and we were on our way. By the way, for speed and ease, Avis > Hertz (based on sample of 2 !).
We were in our nice hosted room in no time and were straight back out for dinner. The venue was to be Max’s Filipino Food on Flamingo. Max’s. Fastish food, but the crispy Pata ? Well, we will be back, put it that way.
A couple of decent table wins and our beds were calling.
Day 2 started with breakfast at the world famous Peppermill. Make sure you have a large appetite before you go, you will need it. Yes its tacky and neon, with multi coloured sugar in the dispensers, but the food is just………..mmmmm. So a big breakfast needs a big walk, so it was off to the outlets for a stroll and shop. I managed to get back in time to catch West Ham Sunderland in the MGM sports book. Learned that a dollar tip doesn’t get you too far for a beer in here! SO 8 dollars down but 3 points up it was back home for a gamble up. Another decent night at the tables gave me 5 straights wins at my table visits. The weekend was going well, roll on the week. That night we ate at Rice and Co in the Luxor. This place for sushi, etc is well underrated. BUT, don’t sit at the back, the aircon will kill you. But they will prepare Cali Maki’s if asked (not on the menu) and have a foursquare special to take a little off the bill (always useful in this town !).
Then the crash happened at the tables but was controlled and I was still ahead !!
Thanks to myvegas the next days breakfast at the Mandalay Bay was free, and another large feed at the buffet We took a drive around town, bought some sneakers in Caesars and then took off to the Town Square Shops. This place is more locals based than tourists and to be fair, wasn’t really for me. Until i found the cheapest A&F in Vegas. This place was a revelation, and will be on this list now for many visits in the future (car allowing !). That afternoon, i smashed the craps table for a few hundred so was good to go for the evenings festivities in KGB Burger in Harrahs. Another freebie thanks to MrsBen and Total Rewards.
Next day was the ever impressive Aria buffet (free !) and a gamble up on the strip. The gamble up did not work out for either of us, so we scuttled off home early after taking in the Bellagio conservatory. No penguins as spring is in the air, but good all the same. When were in the Bellagio, we saw 2 girls who had, what I can only describe as Arse Implants. This was the first time I have seen this, and I was taken aback (no pun intended – no photos either. I had one but it was blurry, I will see if MrsBen has any).
Thursday was the first day without the car so it was back to me in the pit and MrsBen at the pool. I don’t know who was more surprised, when i met her out at the pool, clutching 900 in chips from a 100 buyin on a Blackjack Table. Anyway, all donations gratefully received.
Buca de Beppo for dinner, courtesy of our pit boss and a few beers in the evening was a good start to our weekend preparations. I say preparations, we actually didn’t do a lot, apart from pool and tables. I hit another heater on the craps table to ensure went went home well in profit, and MrsBen was no slouch on the slots either and made quite a few bob for herself. We had our last evening meal in Camelot Steak House, which was quality as usual (and free !).
We left on sunday, well ahead cash wise of where we were to begin with, and with full bellies ! I also got the see WHU vs Liverpool, but least said the better. Apart for the American Liverpool fan in his Gerrard shirt, who I swear had never seen a game of football (soccer) in his life. The glory hunters have started and they haven’t even won the damn league yet !
SO POKER !………….
I got to play in the 9am crapshoot at the Excal twice and the 10.30 variant at the Luxor once. I could give you tales of bad beats, etc, and you know what, I will.
1. Made the break and went out pushing A9 (the best hand in poker) into 2 random diamonds, who made the flush on a A93 flopped board.In the final table.
2. Luxor, tried a couple of moves, got no hands, and ended pushing a lucky draw to get out early, and succeeded !
3. And this annoyed me. I have made the break, just about to final table but i am low in chips and blinds are coming round fast. I have an M of about 2 (!), so i push Q3 clubs. Not a great hand but I’m in a bind. As my chips were low I get 4 callers. Great. Flop is Q35. Even better. This will put me on the final table and in about 6th place, so something to work with. One guys goes in heavy. Everyone drops out. The guy next to me offers his condolences. I say, with more than rye grin “I might be in here”. I turn over my Q3, and get to see raise guy turn over……………………..33. No Q for me so I’m out. But he was a nice guy who also had a chip and a chair earlier, and had turned it around the be chip leader. So fair play says I.
One strange thing in the last tournament was one guy I will call Texas Pete. This guy was drunk but communicative and seemed to have an understanding of life at this point in time. He re raised a pot early on to about 3K (you start with 4). He had 300 left. Another guy went all in and had him covered. He asked how many chips the guy had left. He asked about 8 times. He ummed, he arred, then folded ? LOL WAT? REALLY? You have taken 1/2 a blind interval, to Fxxxing Fold. REALLLLLLYYYY???
Little bit later than expected, but heres the 3rd consecutive NYE report from me in Vegas. First off, it was a lot warmer than last year, which was great. Looking at the states now, looks like we timed it well.
We flew from London in premium with Virgin, which was a great experience thats needs to be repeated. Good service, good food and a bit of space. Arriving in Vegas refreshed we picked up a 2013 Impala which we had for the first 4 days. This made a massive difference in getting about and visiting places we usually wouldn’t of bothered with and saved a fortune in Taxis. First point of note. In and out isn’t open Xmas day (or at leased the one between the strip and the Orleans isn’t !). That night was pretty quite outside a trip to Palms ( http://www.palms.com not in a rush to get back !)
After another good night kip we hit the sales at the North Outlet Centre where i got all my xmas pressies and Mrs Mrben got some nice goodies as well. The trip back was interesting, as the ramp on to the I15 was shut and we had to take a detour into the bits of vegas people don’t see on the Travel channel. Driving down streets where everyone is sitting on the kerb, and the people standing up are nearly all pushing shopping trolleys and you don’t know where you are, sharpens the senses somewhat.
Anyway we popped in to the Hardrock Hotel (http://www.hardrockhotel.com) on the way back and it looks good enough to visit again. The layout is good and the music was fantastic, just a shame it was empty. More of a summer venue from what i understand.
The following day, was the big day out, with a trip to the Hoover Dam. First time i’d been there, and it was amazing. We did the full tour, and it was worth every penny. We went 60 stories down(!) in a lift and through some rough hewn tunnels to see the turbine room which is just massive. One of the many intersting things regarding the Dam was the fact it straddles the state line between Arizona and Nevada which also has a one hour time difference, which must be a pain if you live on one side and work on the other, which you can get to in 10 minutes due to the recent addition of the memorial bridge which speeds up the crossing no end for the non tourists. I’ve tried to get the scale of both in the photos but they are just huge, trust me. Having spend all day there we had a quiet night but on the way home visited the Pinball hall of fame. Now this is my type of place. One massive room full of pinball tables and old school arcade games. We spent a great 2 hours and a whole $5 and had a great time. A must do on any gamers Vegas visit. A quick visit my first IHOP for pancakes and we headed off. That evening we visited the Orleans, which had been on my list of off strip casinos to visit for many years. This place is as good as most strip casinos and was very busy as they also (for now) host the Vegas Ice Hockey Team. We also went that evening to another first for me, The Boiling Crab Restaurant. The food was good, but that was not the most memorable part of the journey, if fact the journey itself was. The states and the UK drive on different sides of the road, and that usually isn’t an issue . Unless the sat nav tells you to turn left and see a gap in the reservation of the 8 lane road. And you go for it, and then see the 2 lanes you are in both have arrows on pointing in the opposite direction to my direction of travel. Anyway, death averted as nobody came the other way, and i sped off back to the right side of the road.
Next day we had to give the car back, so we visited one more place, post lunch at the ever impressive Lemongrass, the National Atomic testing museum. As you may know, Nevada played a big role in the development of the Nuclear Arms race and this place covered all the history really well, with real bombs, etc on display.
With the car back at the airport, the gambling and fun began. That evening I had a nice craps run and put $500 back in the kitty. Next day I undertook my one and only Poker session, at the MGM. met up with Rob who I knew from allvegaspoker and his great blog. This was very appropriate as I got broken twice when holding the dreaded pocket kings. These are a staple of his blog, take a look. Dinner was back in the Aria for Five 50, their new pizza place. Massive pizzas, massive taste, terrible service, 4/5.
We were expecting friends on the Sunday, but due to a no show we headed down the strip to the shops at Caesars. They have the worlds biggest quality watch shop, and how I got out of there without spending all my pension was a miracle.
Monday was a food day, with the buffet at Mandalay Bay for breakfast and Buppo Di Beppo for lunch. Full. Full stop !
Next up was NYE. Nice day in the Casino with a $750 small jackpot from a wheel of Fortune machine. Good start to 2014 ! NYE on the strip was probably our best ever with a great position for the fireworks. Not as busy as usual (335k people on the strip down from 350k!).
Home next day, and a well earned kip on the plane nearly all the way home. For the record, Mrs Mrben came home with a whole 8 bucks less than she went with. All the more for next time. Enjoy the photos !
The pinball hall of fame
The turbine room, Hoover Dam
The memorial bridge from our car
Its that time
The Dam from distance
Pancake time – IHOP
Found in the sky. Happy birthday Jon !
Nevada to the Left
Arizona to the Right
View from the room – Standard.
The bridge from the dam.
Paris in the winter
A steel from the WTC at the National Atomic Testing Museum
Its been a while and apologies but i haven’t been to any WHU games as I’ve either been away or they have. So i thought I’d take the chance to ensure that i get up to date with my travel photies.To kick off, we wil start with Vegas at Xmas and New year. We flew in on Xmas day and left on New years. I had a load of notes but have since swapped phones and therefore rather than half baked memories i’ll just throw up the photos.