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March Madness at the Trop

Discussion in 'Full Las Vegas Trip Reports' started by Rick1323, Mar 31, 2016.

  1. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    With over 200 trips in the books, there are still new things to try. This trip believe it or not was my first ever double booking. I know a lot of you do it nearly every trip, but for whatever reason, I had never done it. So we had 6 nights through our host at the Trop and 2 nights booked at Paris.

    The players are my wife and I and my sister A who is now in her mid 80s, but difficult to keep up with in Vegas. We used United this trip, even though I hate them for not giving me any type of benefit after 900K miles while traveling on business. This trip, they just happened to be the lowest fare, so we used them. But had they given me lifetime Premiere status, we would use them 3 or 4 times a year.

    They have pretty much eliminated all the seat back entertainment systems, so I read a book both ways. I don't carry a smart phone and refuse to lug along my laptop just to watch a movie on the plane.

    Arrival...............

    March 23rd is a great day to be in Vegas, it is my birthday which means my new lucky number is 68. Our host sent a Limo, which my wife has refused for as long as I can remember. But this went well and she didn't feel conspicuous while waiting for the luggage or arriving at the hotel. I may be able to talk her into it again next trip. Our host was waiting for us at check in and hugs were exchanged all around. I don't know what it is about hugging your host, I don't hug my older brother, but it seems hugging my host is expected. I should add we have had this same host for over 20 years now. We used him for years at CET properties, but he lost his job there a little over a year ago. We made one more trip to Harrah's while he was in limbo, but once he reached out to us and invited us to his new home at the Trop, I knew we would like it there.

    I'm going to do trip reports by sections, mostly because I don't keep notes nor do I carry a camera, and I will certainly get things out of order.

    Hotel

    Our host had arranged a 2 room suite, room 1602. The Trop is uniquely situated so that our room had windows facing North in the living room and South from our bedroom. We could see the Wynn and well past Mandalay Bay. There is always something going on since it seems there thousands staying on those 4 corners. Actually our host told us that between MGM, NYNY, Excalibur and the Trop, there are 20,000 people in those 4 hotels on any given night. My wife laughed since she was raised in a town about a quarter that size.

    The room at the Trop had been recently updated, so everything in the room was in great shape. They gave us more bottled water everyday than we could drink, so I assume it must be part of the resort fee, which we didn't pay on a comp. There was also a Fridge and a Keurig coffee maker. We leave the maid $5-10 a day, and that always results in plenty of coffee and bathroom products. So many in fact, I always have to off load some of them in my suitcase so my wife's doesn't exceed the 50 pound weight limit. But then I don't take like 5 or 6 pairs of shoes either.

    While we were unpacking, a fruit platter arrived along with 4 more bottle of water. I do drink a lot of water in Vegas, but I was beginning to think they were trying to drown me. Without asking the bellman, had gotten us some ice and was showing my wife around the room. Me? I was furiously unpacking so I could get down to the casino.

    On Thurs the 24th, we checked into Paris. We got the room keys, went up to the room to put the Do Not Disturb sign out, and got our free play. We didn't go back till Sat when it was time to check out. But the room had a great view of the Bellagio fountains, it was just very tired looking.

    I will continue with the gambling section in just a bit......
     
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  2. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    Gambling......

    We make 2 trips to Vegas a year. In the Spring it is always for the second round of the NCAAs and the Fall always coincides with the Breeders Cup horse races. I love casino gambling, but horses and sports gambling is a lifelong focus for me. I have visited most of the big horse track around the world and have been to more big sporting events than I can count or remember. A ton of business travel had some side benefits, and being able to indulge myself a bit was one of them.

    In any case this trip would focus on basketball. I have a few simple philosophies on betting college basketball. Find the hot conferences and pound those teams. My first take on any line is to look for strong teams getting points, and betting totals that look high. These games are played with a fervor and most games go under. Going into the first round, I thought the Big 10 and the Big 12 were going to be the strongest conferences, and I got my head handed to me! By the time we arrived in Vegas, it was apparent to me that the ACC was the conference to pound. That carried me over the long 4 days ahead.

    The manager of the sports book reserved great seats for us over the course of the tournament. He takes good care of me since I bet both sports and the horses, which book managers love. On the Thurs and Fri games, I made my largest bet on a 3 team round robin. Which is a 4 bet series consisting of 3 - 2 team parlays and a single 3 team parlay. Without boring you too much, I caught all 3 legs of this bet on the Thurs/Fri games, which simply meant that my week was made no matter how badly the rest of my bets went. I hit a second round robin over the weekend, but for a far lesser bet, but it still paid very well.

    I also was betting the horses for most of the day. At one time I had 3 different racing forms spread out and was betting 6 different tracks at the same time. My wife also loves betting the horses and on any kind of sporting event, so she was hanging in there with me. She sticks to a single track though. Once the afternoon rolled around and the basketball games started, I stuck to a few small horse bets and concentrated on the game. I am well traveled, well educated man, but put me in a casino and all my superstitions come out. If my team is doing well I won't change a thing around me. No movement of papers, I won't even order a drink for fear that a new glass on the table will throw off my karma.

    The 4 day weekend mostly went well. I didn't have to squeeze out many teams, so I was fairly "sane". Then on Sunday the Syracuse/Virginia game rolled around. I needed Syracuse for my last leg of my round robin and also on 2 other parlays. I also bet them fairly large on the money line, so even though they were getting 9 points, if they won outright I had a nice bonus coming my way.

    They fell behind by 15 points. They look horrible. I tried all the logical things I needed to do in order for them to mount a comeback. I moved my bankroll from my left front pocket to my right front pocket. I rotated my chair clockwise. That didn't work so I rotated it counter clockwise. I went out to smoke, and stopped watching for a couple of minutes. Nothing was working. Finally in the second half, I found the key.

    When I began to ignore the big screen TV and began watching the tiny monitor at my seat, they went into a press and mounted a comeback. I was keeping my head down, avoiding even a glimpse of the big screen, and it was working! They pulled inside of the point spread with 2 minutes left. I was going to have to concentrate if they were to pull off the upset. And concentrate I did....I shielded my eyes from the big screen and was drilled in on the tiny screen at my seat. When the game was over, I was expecting the entire team to come to my seat and thank me for my help. They didn't of course, but somehow I knew I was the key to the victory. Hey, stop with the judgement......I bet you do crazy shit too.

    I was fixated on Buffalo Gold all week. They have a bank of 6 and I was on one of them for hours everyday. I had some great hits, including 2 signers for over 2 grand each. I never converted all they symbols, but I came close 3 times, only needing one gold buffalo. My weakness this week was Wicked Winnings IV. I slid in hundred after hundred and the witch never wanted to give it up for me. Dumb ass that I am, I kept going back for more.

    Our double booking at Paris was for $400 in FP. We split it $200 each and played some slots. I'm not sure what my wife played but she turned her $200 into $300 cash, while I lost mine playing a Buffalo machine.

    Video Poker was spotty. I had some great runs on dollar Bonus poker, but I got killed on the carny versions like Ultimate X and Super Times Pay. My wife and sister had a quarter Royals which kept the family honor. For a while I was addicted to hundred play, but losing a quick $500 cured my addiction.

    I got no traction at all on table games. Black Jack has been cruel to me for about 5 years now. It is easy enough to find games with decent rules, it is impossible for me to find a game with decent cards. I made maybe 5 or 6 buy ins of $500 or so, and I don't remember cashing a single chip. I had a little luck at roulette one morning, when my number (25) came up twice in 4 spins. But other than that, tables were cold for me.

    Overall though it was a great trip gambling wise. We came home with more than we brought, and that is probably the first time we have done that in about 6 or 7 trips. I haven't had a basketball week like that in about 3 years and it felt great. Gambling is a unique rush and it is what keeps me coming back to Vegas.

    I will continue with Restaurants and a summary in a bit.....
     
    #2 Rick1323, Mar 31, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2016
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  3. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    Restaurants.......

    The day we arrive, we never want much to eat, so we took the short stroll down to Bobby's Burger Palace. It is now my favorite Vegas burger spot. The Blu cheeseburger is my fav.

    We made a trip down to Wynn to eat at Sinatra's since he was the poster on my sister's wall when she was a teenager. The food and the atmosphere are always top notch.

    We ate breakfast most mornings in the Trop coffee shop. It is an old fashioned coffee shop with a full menu, the only thing modern is 2016 Vegas prices. I throw money around in Vegas with total disregard, but paying $50-60 for breakfast for 2 people sticks in my craw. They do have a Cuban breakfast Sammy that I highly recommend. Pork tenderloin, shaved ham, bacon, fried eggs, and thick cut sourdough....you have to unhinge your jaw like a python to bite it.....delish!

    We again ate at both "formal" Trop restaurants.
    Bacio, the bone in veal chop done Parmesan style is very special. The Biscayne Steak house has a really good bone in Ribeye.

    Summary/ Odds and Ends

    The Bellagio conservatory is getting a little tired for us. This theme must be a combination of several others because I didn't see a single unique feature. I mean, it is still a spectacular sight, but it doesn't seem to be as unique as it used to be. On the other hand, no trip will ever be complete without seeing at least one fountain show. It is still the best tourist attraction I have ever seen anywhere.

    The pedestrian over passes are becoming like a trip through a war zone. Homeless beggars every 15 or 20 feet, hustlers running 3 card monty schemes, people selling everything imaginable from bottled water to "Rolex" watches. I just don't get it, run them the hell off of the bridges. It is too the point that I won't let my wife walk around by herself at night. Some consistent police presence would put a stop to all of it.

    March Madness has become just huge in Vegas. I can remember not so long ago that the sports books were pretty much deserted during these games except for a few hardcore college basketball fans. Now there are both men and women wearing team colors, big parties all over town and non stop lines at the betting windows.

    Vegas has changed a ton since my first trip in 1969. Those early trips were 90% Blackjack and 10% golf. There were no "sights", just desert.. But I did win, and I won often. I counted as did many back then. Counting wasn't well known except to a few insiders. As long as you didn't get crazy greedy, you could do it non stop over a 3 night junket and walk away most times a winner. But Vegas changed with the times, and so I changed with it. I no longer come expecting to win, but I still expect to have a good time. Most of the time having fun is going to cost me money, but it does anywhere you go on vacation. Only in Vegas can you have a great time and possibly get lucky.....as I did this trip. Thanks for reading......
     
  4. casinokid68

    casinokid68 Silver
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    fantastic report, and congrats on coming home a winner!!! I love to hang out in the sportsbook myself. Especially during NFL Sundays. Nothing like it!!!
     
  5. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    Yup, I love the NFL as well. During our fall trip, it is much the same routine, except with football replacing basketball!
     
  6. claired67

    claired67 Platinum
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    Sounds like you had a nice time. Does your sister like the Tropicana as much as you and your wife? I'm glad the switch continues to work out for you.

    I'll ignore your blasphemous comments about the Bellagio conservatory.

    Happy belated birthday!
     
  7. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    My sister loved it at the Trop. It has a good number of machines she likes, and she loved the coffee shop. She is coming back with us in the Fall. Thanks for the birthday wishes, I will even pretend to like this Conservatory display, just for you..........
     
  8. Evoni

    Evoni Palladium
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    Congrats Rick on not only a fun trip with your wife and sister but going home with more then you arrived with!

    Like Claire I will ignore your comment on the Bellagio Conservatory. ;)
     
  9. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    LOL....thanks. I will make sure to praise the conservatory next time....even if I hate it!
     
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  10. Evoni

    Evoni Palladium
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    LOL, well you you don't have to go that far. However, for a free attraction I'm always happy with it, if I can find a time when the crowds aren't annoying me.
     
  11. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    Actually we never miss it either. I am always amazed at the patience and talent it must take to make some of those things.
     
  12. MsBHavin

    MsBHavin Silver
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    Awesome report Rick! I wish you'd tried your freeplay at Paris in my lucky Wicked Winnings II machine.

    I don't know why we don't hear more about Bacio and Biscayne on the boards; I have always had excellent meals and wonderful service at both. Ken is always our server at Biscayne and he is a really fun guy. I really like the Beach Cafe at Trop too. Love the small breakfast and lunch "buffets" where everything is fresh. True it isn't a belly up to the trough buffet, but the quality is excellent. Not cheap but you get what you pay for.

    Were you in a Paradise suite this time? The ones I've stayed in have the windows on both corners. I noticed that when I stay comped in a suite, I get 6-8 bottles of water daily and it is Voss but when I stayed comped in a regular room once solo, I got smaller bottles labeled with the Trop logo but still 6-8 daily. I'll opt for the suites in future even if it is a solo trip.

    Those Paris rooms are very run down. I see no reason to stay again until they renovate.

    I loved your description of trying different things to help your team win. Not judging, I do funny things to change my luck too. Now you know what works! :) Congratulations on coming home a winner!!
     
  13. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    It must have been a Paradise suite because the windows were as you described. The living room looked right up the strip. You could even see the Wynn logo at night perfectly framed by the high roller. The bedroom windows looked south well past MB. And we did get gallons of Voss everyday!

    That is the best coffee shop I have been in for a long time. It has a full menu of just about anything from Chinese to steak. The breakfasts were all good and I did try the mini buffet and everything was fresh and good. One morning I must have been feeling Southern, because I got the chicken fried steak and was surprised to find a sirloin instead of the usual cube steak. It was over $20.....but when you get quality, you don't feel abused.....

    What I liked about Bacio and Biscayne is that as "house" restaurants, they try to take good care of customers. With most of the strip restaurants being leased, they have no connection to the client, other than a single meal. Everyone in these restaurants understands they are in the relationship business. As I have already said, the atmosphere is very much old school....and that is what will keep me coming back....
     
  14. Luckylinda

    Luckylinda Platinum
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    Thanks for the report. I am glad you joined here I have been a fan of your stories for a long time.
    The paradise tower is the one where the elevators are near the front entrance.

    The new slot club was planned to start today. Hope offers and restaurants don't get changed.
    Staying at the Tropicana is one of my favorites.
    I am glad your sister is still making the trip with you and your wife
     
  15. Rick1323

    Rick1323 Gold
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    Thanks Linda. Yes, that was the tower we were in. I got some info today on the new slot club, but was disappointed to hear it will not be linked with the M. I had just assumed that all properties across the country would be linked.

    There are 2 new restaurants planned. One is a Sports Bar that is going on the second floor near the sports book, not sure about the other one.....We got lucky with our host changing venues, or we may not have discovered how much we love this place............
     
  16. MsBHavin

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    I'm disappointed to hear the slot club won't be linked with M.
     
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  17. Luckylinda

    Luckylinda Platinum
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    I love going out the door and there is not a crowd of folks pushing by, easy parking, friendly staff, terrific valets.

    Hoping I can still get comped rooms and some offers
     
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  18. VegasChic

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    I agree it's a really nice change of pace! We went here to go to the Raiding the rock vault show and it had a fairly relaxed vibe without the crowds!

    Great report, and glad you were able to come home a winner!
     
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  19. klevegas

    klevegas Silver
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    Thanks for the great trip report! I also love sports betting and handicapping the races. My next trip is for Kentucky Derby weekend...still haven't picked my key horse(s) yet for this year but the next few weekends should help clear that up.

    I should try the Tropicana more...I went there several years ago for their $200.00 loss rebate and really enjoyed the property.

    Kathy
     
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  20. tringlomane

    tringlomane Theoretical Video Poker Addict
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    Nice report! I like the conservatory too, but it's a bit disappointing when you start to notice not much changes between the years if you show up in the same "season".

    And Trop not linked to Marquee Rewards??? That's the exact opposite thing I expected Penn Gaming to do. And given this webpage...I think they are planning to link them all. They say marquee rewards is coming to Trop sometime this month. M Resort has Marquee Rewards as well... We were able to use our St. Louis comps at M before for food, but we had to get a comp voucher for them.

    http://www.troplv.com/marqueerewards/
     
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