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Only a hour flight away from Las Vegas we visit frequently, sometimes once a month. I'll be sharing our trip reports, tips on making the most of your stay in Vegas, reviews of restaurants and shows we have seen, along with my thoughts related to our favorite place to get away from it all.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Venetian Wheel of Fortune Tournament May 2010

We had two tournament offers this month, the one at Bellagio called Slots in the City and what seems to be becoming a annual tournament at Venetian, the Wheel of Fortune tournament. While I love Bellagio's slot tournaments due to the beautiful buffet of food and open bars they have set up during the sessions, Venetian was offering $1000 free play up front to come in for the tournament and since that was also the 5th prize in this tournament the free play alone made me feel like I had a win.

Due to my husband's work schedule and the registration schedule of the tournament I went in a day earlier on May 20th then him, flying out of San Jose on Southwest. It was a morning flight, smooth and on time. After collecting my luggage I used my Grazie gold card to take the shuttle for free to Venetian. The wait for the shuttle to leave wasn't any longer then standing in line for a taxi out of the airport. Venetian is the shuttle's first stop so I was there quickly and check in went smooth or so I thought at the time. While both my husband and I are Grazie gold cards, I told both our host and the lady checking me in that I didn't need a view this trip. I just wanted a quiet room away from the late night Tao pool parties that can create a lot of noise into the wee hours no matter how high a floor you are on.

Socalgirl from the Blonde4ever board was also in this tournament and we had plans to meet up in the afternoon to register together so our slot sessions would be at the same time. Socalgirl had also introduced me to her host at Venetian and so highly recommended him I switched from the new one that had been assigned to me that I had yet to meet in person to her host. I was glad I took her recommendation when we discovered after my husband arrived that even though he couldn't get off work in time to register for the tournament, though we both qualified for it, our new host had arranged for Randy to also receive the $1000 free play up front.

After dropping off my luggage in the room and arranging to meet Socalgirl at tournament registration soon I tried my luck at a few slots at Palazzo. After losing $100 of the free play on Goldfish, I tried Wolf Run and had a decent win for $288.50.
Another Wolf Run win on same machine for $306.50. My hundred dollars of free play is now up to $822.45.

As I left Wolf Run to play some of my other favorite slots at Palazzo I saw that one third of the machines were blocked and turned off. Since my favorites were among them I tracked down a slot attendant to find out what was going on and was disappointed to learn that they were installing new carpeting and they wouldn't be turned on again until tomorrow afternoon.

Fortunately one of my favorite slots Kitty Glitter was not blocked off and I won $160.00 on it. I then discovered the new Top Dollar slots at Palazzo and had a $70 win on this new slot, but couldn't repeat it.

I continued trying various slots and had used about $500 of my free play up, but I was currently ahead by $1200.00. 

By then it was time to walk over to one of the Venetian ballrooms to meet Socalgirl and thankfully she was already in line as the line was huge! Fortunately it moved quickly and we were registered together for both sessions. 

Socalgirl and I were eating dinner together that evening at Wolfgang Puck's Cut restaurant at Palazzo, so we got busy using up our free play until dinner. 

Hit Wizard of Oz Yellow Brick Road Bonus for $165.20.

Played WMS Max Win for the first time.


Lost at $5 Wheel of Fortune Slot with Socalgirl but had a small win on a Gold Fish bonus.

Socalgirl and I had dinner at Wolfgang Puck's Cut restaurant at Palazzo one of my favorite steak houses in Las Vegas.

My spring salad with beets and fava beans was fabulous! The rest of the meal was the same as the last time I wrote about Cut, including for dessert their marvelous chocolate soufflé.

After dinner we played some more slots and Socalgirl is just a fun person to play with! After a couple hours Socalgirl who lives in Las Vegas left to go home and I continued to briefly play the slots. At the end of the free play I was about $1759.00 ahead but by the time I went to bed, I was $1100.00 ahead.

Next morning I hit the Venetian Gold Lounge for some pastries, and coffee and since I had 40 minutes before I needed to meet Socalgirl for our first of 2 slot sessions I of course hit a few slots. 

As I'm walking through Venetian I notice a new slot at least new to me by WMS, called Diamond Ring. I put in $100 and very  quickly hit a bonus for $806.00. Hmmm, could be I just discovered a new favorite machine!

It was time to hustle to the WOF tournament which was held in one of the ballrooms, where we played on Wheel of Fortune slots. While most tournaments have three sessions this one only had two due to the fact that there were over 1000 registrants for it. Prizes for this tournament though would only go to the top 100 places. During the tournament we also had the opportunity to audition for the Wheel of Fortune game show which would be taping at Venetian in July but both Socalgirl and I opted out of that.

Up until now my luck at Venetian tournaments has been lousy. This time Socalgirl seem to bring me luck even though she didn't do well herself. I had the highest score of my session so was quite happy but also knew that there were a dozen sessions going on that day to compete with.

After our slot session we met up with Socalgirl's sister who was visiting from California and we ate lunch at Grand Lux. I also got to meet my new host around this time and we had a nice chat in the Venetian Gold Lounge for about 30 minutes and I found him to be a nice guy.

I said goodbye to Socalgirl and her sister and hit the slots again. My winning streak continued, though of course there were also losses in between the wins. Since I was ahead I got a bit carried away and decided to try the $1 DaVinci Diamond slot at Palazzo. Fortunately I got lucky and won $570.00.

Decided to play Jaws which I normally don't do since I seldom hit a bonus and for the first time I hit the Jaws bonus where the sharks move around a board and when they both land on the same thing that's what you win. I was very surprised and happy when they landed on the Grand Progressive for a win of $1019.58!

Since husband was coming in that evening on a late flight I anticipated a late night of gambling so decided to go up to my suite at this point and take a nap. When I get to the room what do I hear but the boom boom boom of the bass coming from the pool area where they are starting up their party at 3pm and it's only going to continue to the wee hours of the morning. So much for my quiet room request. I call downstairs to registration and I'm on hold for 30 minutes. Finally giving up reaching them I decide to call my host to see if he knows what's going and it seems there's a celebrity party that Friday evening, Venetian is sold out and almost everyone is checking in at the moment. My host tells me not to worry he will get the room changed for me and to go ahead and pack up. A hour later my host is at my door with my new keycard and says he has already checked out the new suite for noise and helps me move over to my new room. I now have a new appreciation for using a host instead of marketing for my comp offers.

View from new room at Venetian
After unpacking and enjoying the quiet of my new room, I give Socalgirl a call and let her know what a great guy her host is and ask her what I can give him as a gift for his help. She tells me he likes a certain type of coffee bean sold at the Gelato restaurant next to Cut so I go over and buy him a bag to give him tomorrow when he will meet my husband.

After that I go to Woo's restaurant to see if I can get a late night dinner reservation for Randy and me and discover that even though we just ate there last month they have gone out of business! Disappointed I decide we'll just catch a quick bite when he arrives at Grand Lux.

It's after 8pm now and Randy's plane doesn't land for another hour so I return to my favorite Wolf Run at Palazzo which I won $200 and $300 on yesterday. Wolf Run decides to give me a bonus, I'm not to excited because usually the bonuses only pay me around $30.00 if I'm lucky. All of a sudden 3rd free spin I hit this, for a hand pay of $1238.00!

The 3rd spin screen that gave me the big Wolf Run hit.

My husband arrived soon after and I had managed not to give too much of my winnings back. We had a quick meal, played a few more slots with some losses and minor wins then went back to the room so he could unpack. Once we were settled Randy gave me some bad news about a family member and because I was very upset about it we went to bed early.

Waking up the next morning and still feeling bad about what was happening with a family member, my husband told me to just try to enjoy the rest of the trip as there was nothing to be done until we returned home and the person might not want our help anyway. 

We ate breakfast and I met Socalgirl for our second and last session of the WOF tournament. My session was not as good as my first one but Socalgirl did a lot better today plus she was great support for me not only in encouraging me during the session but regarding my family member when I told her what had happened.

After visiting a bit with Socalgirl we said goodbye to her because she had plans that evening to attend a Styx concert with her sister at Mandalay Bay.

Randy hadn't had much of a chance to play so he went of off to play Kitty Glitter and I went across the Palazzo casino to try my luck at Gold Fish. I was doing alright with some minor wins at Goldfish when Randy sent me a text he had hit the bonus in Kitty Glitter. I wished him luck and told him I was also on a Gold Fish bonus. After my bonus I sent a text back and asked what he got and he said he had re-triggered twice on it and it was still doing the free spins. I immediately cashed out and ran back to him to discover all the cats were wild and to see the final spins that resulted in a hand pay for $1589.00, our biggest win ever on KG. 

We played some more slots but I was starting to feel a bit sick so we went back to the room to change for dinner. We had invited a friend JaXprat from the las vegas trip advisor message board that we had met last year during our Thanksgiving trip to eat with us at the new E.B's Timpano Tavern at Venetian that had replaced David Burke's restaurant.

JaXprat was waiting for us outside of Timpano and we were quickly seated. The company was great and we enjoyed our dinner with JaXprat who was in Vegas to celebrate her wedding anniversary with husband but he wasn't arriving until the next day due to a business trip to Paris that he was returning from. Timpano's service was fine, but all three of us agreed that the meal wasn't that good. No need to describe the meal because Timpano's is already out of business as I'm writing about this.

After dinner we went our separate ways because Randy and I had front row tickets to Craig Ferguson's show at Venetian and it included a meet and greet afterwards. During our meal at the restaurant I started to feel cold even though my husband said it was not cold. As we were waiting for Ferguson's show to begin I started to freeze and really not feel good. However Craig is a terrific, funny performer and I enjoyed the show as did my husband. We had seen Craig at  San Jose Improv,  2 or 3 years before this and thought he was great, but he's better now and I recommend his show highly.

After the show those of us with the VIP tickets were told to wait there until everyone left and then we stood in line to get our photos taken with Craig and say hello. It was a good thing we were one of the first in line because I could barely make it back to our suite before collapsing and I spent the rest of the night chilling and feeling ill.

The next morning I felt good enough to join my husband at playing some slots and trying to eat something but everything was just becoming a blur as I tried to fight off what was the beginning of a nasty virus.

We ate brunch at Dos Carminos at Palazzo but I really couldn't eat much of it. Later I ended up having some soup in the Gold Lounge.

We were still ahead for the trip a couple grand, but I wasn't enjoying that winning feeling at this point with the bad news about our family member and feeling ill. I went back to the room to take it easy while Randy went to Canyon Ranch Spa at Palazzo for a massage. After resting a few hours I felt a lot better and could go ahead with our plans for our last evening in Vegas.

Before dinner that evening we played some more slots but were starting to lose, though I did get one good win on Witches Riches which was the first time I had played this slot.

Dinner tonight was a return to Aquanox as it had been a couple years since our last visit. Aquanox didn't disappoint, we had a secluded booth per our request and service was excellent. 

Above is the Atomic Shrimp Cocktail that Randy ordered with a seaweed garnish. Shrimp were fresh and he loved the spicy sauce.

He also had this butter and herb salad that he liked.

My crab and shrimp salad was delicious!

We both ordered the halibut with limoncello & haricot verts and it was fantastic. 

Randy's chocolate martini dessert. I forgot to take photo of mine which was like a chocolate soufflé w/ caramel shot glass.

Feeling a bit better after our wonderful dinner we walked over to the Palazzo to see the tournament results and discovered that out of a 1000 entries I had finally placed in the top 100 and was awarded a $100 free play.

After that we went and paid short visits to Treasure Island,NYNY, and Mandalay Bay and found out we should have stayed at Venetian and Palazzo as all we did was lose. Returning to Venetian we had a few more decent wins before deciding to retire early since I still wasn't feeling well.

Playing the 4 screen Lady Bug slot at Palazzo
Waking up the next morning I still wasn't feeling well so we ordered room service for breakfast.
I had a chef salad that was fine and Randy liked his eggs, bacon and potatoes. 

It was time to leave for the airport and this trip we were winners! Before we left for the airport I talked to our host and he comped our food off our bill, so that was a extra win.

It was really great coming home after a winning trip, but unfortunately the plane ride made my virus return worse then ever, and I was sick for about 3 weeks with it. As I'm posting this May trip in October as of this time the family member who was having problems is doing very good.


  1. I assume that you didn't win anything the tournament.

    We went to Woo in May on your reccomedation and loved it. Then it closed. There is a whole story about the family giving up their successful suburban location on the insistance of the Palazzo and then getting a terrible location.

    We met the owner and he seemed like avey nice man.

    Kitty glitter can be amazing if you retrigger after getting all of the diamonds.


  2. Dan, I'm not surprised you missed my tournament results since it was a very long trip report, but after the photo of Randy's chocolate martini dessert from Aquanox I mentioned coming in among the first 100 places and getting a $100 free play from the WOF tournament. This was my first win in any slot tournament other then the tourneys where they give you free play even if you come in at last place, though my luck continued in July when I came in at 15th place in the Aria Slot Tournament.

    I'm glad you were able to eat at Woo's before it closed, while we must have eaten there about 4 times over the past 3 years, we never got to meet the owner before it closed. It's really a shame what happened, I hope as the economy gets better they have a chance to open a new restaurant. Funny thing is no one yet has removed their website from the internet nor added a noticed to it that they closed.

    You can be sure we'll be playing Kitty Glitter again in about 2 days!


  3. Wow. Another great report. Thanks for adding it, and, as always, the beautiful food porn. One of my favorite things about Vegas is the crazy selection of fine dining. Wish I didn't have to hold out another two whole months!!!

  4. Evoni, your trip reports are amazing. You two sure know how to do Vegas. I hope to be like you someday with all the free offers and comps. You sure are living the dream! :-)

  5. Jennybean, I'm glad you are enjoying the trip reports. We've been very lucky the last year or so in Vegas, and it sure does help to live such a short plane flight away. :)