Trip Report - Las Vegas
This wasn't as much a work trip as it was a comp-blowing event with @lsappen. But, poker did happen.
Vegas with Total Rewards Diamond status is better. Better offers. No resort fees. Fast check-in. Shorter lines at the cages and TR desks. Diamond Lounges. When Horseshoe Cincinnati changed over to Jack, Caesar's upgraded many players from that location to Diamond status to draw their business to other locations. In my case, their marketing strategy worked well, and I'll be strategizing to keep this TR status.
We took advantage of a great offer for three free nights at Paris, including an Eiffel Tower / Strip / Bellagio fountain view (see above) room, and we took direct flights from Cincinnati, on Allegiant Air, for less than $290 a ticket with preferred seats and one carry-on bag.
The cab ride from the airport to the hotel was fine, but it was relatively expensive at $25 with tip. It's worth it to figure out where Lyft picks up (at the airport) since the return from Paris' North entrance (the typical orientation for Lyft and Uber rides in Vegas) was $12.50 or exactly half of the cab fare.
The "streets of Paris" were bustling at 6pm on Sunday. The check-in lines were long, but we were in and out of the dedicated Diamond/7 Stars host room in a matter of minutes.
The room was nice and pretty clean, always a pleasant surprise whether you're checking into a Motel 6 or The Ritz. But, at this relatively early hour, little time was spent there then we were off to the Diamond Lounge en route to Javier's at Aria. Unfortunately, Javier got us off to a slow start, but being able to pick up a 6-pack of Alaskan Icy Bay IPA at Walgreens on the walk back lifted our spirits (no pun intended)!
Much better luck was had dining at Paris. We became regulars at Le Cafe Coffee Express Bar which dramatically outperformed their Yelp reviews. I recommend them for pastries, parfaits, consistently good lattes and "street-side" seating.
Gordon Ramsay Steak was excellent and a great use of the Diamond Celebration Dinner ($100 food voucher). We ordered the bone-in rib-eye, halibut, a loaded baked potato and asparagus, and Lauren had a glass of wine. The wait staff was knowledgeable, friendly, attentive and careful with food allergies. My constructive criticism would be: the halibut was on the dry side. Of course, my halibut reference point is homemade and single-location restaurant dishes in Southeast Alaska prepped by folks who have been cooking the "steak of fish" all their lives. That's tough to match, even by the Master Chef himself.
Yong Kang Street was a favorite. Lauren couldn't resist the dim sum that the wait staff effectively peddled from carts wheeled through the dining area!
The sushi place next door was just okay, and they didn't accept Total Rewards. That's two strikes against. The Diamond Lounge at Paris was good for drinks, but it didn't offer much in the way of food. Caesar's was much better; we had a decent (complimentary) dinner there on Tuesday.
Some comp earning was done during our 18th to 21st stay. Lauren played some slots on my TR card, and I squeezed in three poker sessions. The first was at Planet Hollywood (ph) on Monday - I avoid working on travel days, especially on the front end of trips as it's a great way to get off to a bad start. I played just one hour of 1/2 NL around noon and made an even $100 profit. The hand ranges displayed by the table of tourists were highly profitable, and had this been a work trip I'd have played much longer. On Tuesday, I checked out the new poker room at Encore. It was the nicest, most comfortable poker experience that I've experienced, and I managed a $1 profit in 3 hours at 1/3 NL. The players outclassed those at ph, but there was definitely profit available in the game. That night, I played another <1 hour session at ph and earned $150 playing 1/2 NL. Most of my profit came when a player in the small blind with J7o called my $20 button raise vs several limpers. He floated (out of position) my $25 c-bet on the 885 flop then check/called my all in bet on the turn when a J came up. I had aces and they held on the river. You don't see action this good in the Midwest!
It was a fun trip, and I'm looking forward to going back (to work on my bankroll at ph) in the near future.