Feb 25
by Don

Day One:

There were celebrations all over the place!

One of my favorite trips to Vegas every year is the one that we take with 44 and Goldie.  They are just great and honestly one of the few people who actually do Vegas in the same way that we do.  What I mean by that is they love great food, a little bit of gambling, and just general fun.  They are also people who can do their own thing as well, so it’s not like we have to be chained to the hip 24/7 either.  They are just easy to travel with and especially so in Vegas as we have all been coming here for more than 15 years.

This time around we are loosely celebrating Lori’s birthday as we get into town right after Valentine’s day (which also coincides with Chinese New Year) and are staying at the Palazzo.  They are staying next door at the Wynn so it makes it nice and easy to meet up.  

A little surf and turf, yum!

Because we fly in the morning, we get a full day on the books and not feel like we have to rage too hard that first night.  They did as well so we were able to meet up for drinks and dinner, which was wonderful as we were able to grab a table at Lakeside Seafood in the Wynn.  It’s a great get in that trying to get into SW next door is always a pain, and Lakeside is every bit as amazing.  

Day one ends with a little gambling and turning in around midnight as we have a ton of stuff for day 2.

Jun 15
by Don

So here is a little gem of a story that occurred during “the dark period” (so named for the period of time where I neglected this space) that was a lot of fun and ended in the most improbable of wins.

A group of us came out in September of 2015 for Goldie’s birthday extravaganza.  We hadn’t had a large group of couples come out at once for seemingly forever, so this was as good of an excuse to do so than any.  It was to be a long weekend of cabana time, dinners, and general revelry.  It was all of those things to be sure, but somewhere in the middle of all of that 44 and I snuck away and placed one singular The ticket sports bet.

Because we were in a larger group (4 couples) with various appetites for gambling, 44 and I decided to run down to the sports book at the Wynn and place a 6-team parlay bet.  Now if you are a frequent visitor to The Vegas Chronicles (and I know that you are not), you will undoubtedly know my feelings on betting parlay’s.  They are wildly unpredictable and have a juicy payout because they rarely hit.  2-3 teamers, sure.  But a 6-team? You are crazy.  For some reason, as we are standing up at the counter talking about the games we liked and why we liked them we somehow talked ourselves into 6 “winners”

Well we could have bet them all different ways, but to be “safe” (a ridiculous concept in betting I know) we should make the bet as a round robin.  This would mean that the ticket wouldn’t be a total loss if one of our teams didn’t win, but it would mean less of a payout than a more traditional parlay. (Here is a breakdown of how that works).

Well the next thing to do was to throw down some money. Somehow some way we settled on just under $4k.  Even in typing this, it sounds ridiculous.  But we did it.

The Total Pay OutNow the weekend progressed as you might imagine. Some had too much to drink (yours truly on Friday night) and others too much sun and drink (Goldie on Saturday) so it wasn’t until Sunday where everything and everyone was on the level. That meant that Saturday night was low key for a few of us, and the others went out on the town

At some point throughout Saturday, 44 and I had a half an eye on the games in the parlay. Once Florida won we all just relaxed and enjoyed the day. Goldie wanted to chill so the 4 of us went back to their suite and watched the last game of the night Mississippi State. The game was back and forth with some last second heroics we won. We won EVERY GAME! It was unreal. We were jumping up and down like children and just didn’t know what to do with ourselves. Eventually we gathered ourselves and went down to collect.

The Straight Cash



Jun 1
by Don

The same group of guys (more or less) who have been going out to Vegas with me every March, once again made the pilgrimage out to the desert to bet on copious amounts of college basketball.

We had to abandon one of our traditions as Lagasse’s has just gotten out of control with what they want to charge people to watch the games at their place.  Historically we have been willing to pay $200 per person for a food/drink min. throughout the day.  Doesn’t seem like a big deal to make happen, but that is really harder to do than you would think.  Well this year they wanted $300 per person, and well there are just too many other places in Vegas to watch and bet basketball.

We typically lockdown a place for the Thursday and Friday of the weekend and then play by ear for Saturday and Sunday as the group typically thins out as the weekend progresses.  No sense in obligating ourselves to a big viewing party spend every single day, and after hunkering down for two straight days, it’s nice to switch things up.

This year we hit Tap at MGM and BeerPark in front of Paris.  We have done Tap for a couple of years as they are still fairly reasonably priced ($125 per person), have decent food, and are next to MGM’s huge ass sportsbook.  It’s the perfect day 1 spot as it’s good enough for everyone to enjoy, but for those who come late or otherwise miss that first day of action, they aren’t missing out on something amazing.  It’s a solid choice.

Look at those smiling faces!

The Beerpark was something totally different as it was outdoors, which is a fairly foreign concept for anything Vegas.  Normally they want you cocooned deep in the belly of the casino without so much as a sense of the time of day.  However, the BeerPark was a welcome change from that as the weather was great and we had coverage from the ravages of the brutal sun. It’s themed as a backyard BBQ party as there are games, faux grass, solo style cups, and a lot of TV’s.  I believe we paid something like $125/$150 per person (can’t seem to remember off hand) but it was very much inline with expectations for the group.  The food choices were ok, but you have to temper you expectations in regards to food at a place like this when its core sponsor is Budweiser.  Sad but true. All in all a good place to watch the games as they had a small sportsbook right there, and you could still trek inside Paris’ normal book as well.

So depending on the size of your group, you might want to try out either of these options as I would rank them higher than what Planet Hollywood, Harrahs, or Cosmopolitan were doing.


May 16
by Don

Had dinner with a couple this past weekend and we got to talking about Vegas.  Now the wife has been to Vegas 3 times in her life and loves it, the husband has never been.  They were fascinated to learn that we have been so many times and over so many years and are not living out of a cardboard box!  I started explaining the why and how of it all and it reminded me how much fun it is to share with folks who are new to it all.  It also reminds me that I have neglected this space for entirely too long.

So, in an effort to resurrect this blog (like for the 3rd time it seems) I am going to start anew with new little tidbits and stories that have been piling up like junk mail during a vacation.  Now back to the dinner.

We covered the basics with them, but even the basics are a lot when you are starting from scratch.  So it made the most sense to talk about slot play, why it’s important, how to actually do it, and what to expect from it.  Now how I play slots is not sexy, can be infuriating at times, and seems odd to most, but it’s incredibly effect considering the total and complete randomness of slots in general.

I am not even sure that I have covered slots in the blog, honestly, it’s been years since I have thought about writing about anything really, but it’s worth a visit.  Here is how I approach slots:

  • Understand the basics.  This is to mean that you always play for max bet at the domination you are playing to trigger any and all bonus play, jackpots, or other bennies that the machine might pay out on.  If you don’t and hit something, oh man… I can’t even think about that possibility. Use your player’s card every time you sit down.  Don’t have your card on you? Don’t play.  You just need to always do this.
  • Play at least $1.  I know that’s not really an option for some folks, but I find that it’s at $1 denomination that everything happens in terms of getting truly rated by the casinos.  Which brings me to….
  • Redeem your comps.  Seems pretty straight forward, but honestly people forget to do this all the time.  Depending on where you are playing and staying you will be afforded different comps.  Slot play is the most rewarded kind of play that the casino will offer (mainly because it’s the most accurate accounting of your play) and especially on the day you check out, check with the hotel marketing (Red Card, Total Rewards, Grazie, etc.) to see what your play has earned you.  Many times they will take $$ off of your final bill and send you on your way.  If you have charged any food to your room or have had dinners on the property, those are the easiest charges to give back.  That’s always nice.
  • Find machines that give bonus play.  A crowd favorite has always been The Wheel of Fortune machines.  These are great because they offer a game within a game.  If you play max bet (see #1) and you hit the bonus wheel, you will get an additional spin for extra cash.  Plus a lot of them have different multipliers that make the normal play that much more lucrative.  I personally like any game where you are playing 5 lines at a time ($5 a pull) as the additional play for the value is better than playing a one payline max bet $3 machine (like MegaBucks).  For $2 more dollars you are getting 4 additional chances to hit something.  It’s a no brainer.A Big Win
  • Strict Money Management.  Here is where I lose people all the time.  I take any and all winnings the minute that they happen.  That means often I will spin one or two times and win a small amount.  I immediately cash out and go to a new machine.  There are several reasons for this, but the biggest reason is the dirty secret behind what runs Vegas.  It’s the willingness of people to push that button or pull that handle until they have no more money left.  Understanding this very base fact is paramount to safe guarding your bank roll and experiencing a positive outcome.  I look at it this way, if you saw a $20 bill on the ground, would you pick it up?  Of course, you would.  So why wouldn’t you do that same thing at a casino? The $20 is sitting in the slot machine that you just nestled into and on the first pull you won.  Cash out and go to the next machine.  There are thousands of slots in Vegas, you will have your fill of pushing that button or pulling that lever.
  • A Strap of $100's

Essentially, I look at slots as a means to incrementally build my bankroll as Lori is off playing Blackjack or vice versa.  You can certainly lose some or all of bankroll playing the slots, or any game in the casino for that matter, but this is a way to assure that you capture the winnings that are afforded to you and on occasion you are going to hit a jackpot like the one here. 😉


Jun 1
by Don

In truth, Vegas has always been there, it’s just been I who has been too busy with _______ to get back on here. It’s been more than a minute since I last posted anything really, but on the eve of yet another trip out to Vegas I felt compelled to do something.

Parlay's work sometimes.

Not a bad payout with 44 and Hollywood in the background

I have been to Vegas the requisite number of times over the years (which is 4-5 per if we are scoring at home) and most recently went back in March as I do annually for the first weekend of March Madness. It’s always a great time and honestly never gets old. We have upped our collective game over the last two years in terms of where we stay (Wynn/Encore) and where we bunker down for the first two days (Lagasse’s Stadium) and I honestly could not think of a better way to do it. It’s hard to come out that weekend with even a small group and not have a plan because Vegas has caught on to the March Madness hype and everyone now has a “party” set up where you have to reserve in advance with all different types of minimum spends required. Going there without a plan and advance reservations would be a nightmare because gone are the days where you could just wing it and go from place to place to watch and get your bets in.

So in going at the end of this month, we have a great plan of attack. Lori and I are posting up at Caesar’s for the first three days and then to the Wynn the last three. We are going to meet up with Goldie and 44 for the Wynn portion of the program and it promises to be epic. Goldie is responsible for the nighttime festivities as she has been out the Vegas a lot for work recently and has promised to scout out the best place for the four of us to hunker down for one crazy blow night of music, table service and awkward dancing (provided by 44 of course). This should rank fairly high on the ridiculous scale since we are basically the old folks at the club at this point so I am sure we will drink too much and hilarity will ensue.

If I can get more time I will put some more meat on this bone with later posts, but for now this quick hitter will have to do!

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