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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.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Fun at G2E

Socalgirl and I finally made it to G2E! After some danish and coffee at the Venetian Gold Lounge we made it to the shuttle area where there were tons of busses waiting along with lots of HP employees. I'm not sure where the HP employees were heading out too, but it wasn't long until the greyhound shuttle bus for G2E arrived and took us to the convention center.

The above photo was some of the entertainment playing outside of the main exhibit hall.

Registration was quick as there's no lines on the last day. When I asked about taking photos I was told to just check with each exhibiter. I found most of the slot companies to not mind photos taken with the Iphone, though one IGT employee was funny when she said to go ahead just do it when they aren't looking (wink wink).
All my photos of the various slots we tried at G23 are on my Twitter account, so sorry for the poor quality. The great photos will be found on the slot manufacturer's web sites and of course the ones the press took. What I will share is my personal impression of the new slots and their potential fun factor.

Overall impression from me as a player looking for fun and not thinking of the bottom line for the casino, is IGT's upcoming slots blow their competition out of the water. That's not to say that other companies don't have some fun slots coming soon to a casino floor near you, but that I personally can't wait to try my luck on the IGT slots I tried today.

Other exciting news from IGT was they are going to start releasing some of their older games to buy as apps for the Iphone and Ipad. Cleopatra is already available but in about a month Kitty Glitter will be available!

There are 2 new slots with the Alice in Wonderland theme. IGT has one and the other is made by Aristocrat. I thought IGT's video slot version was fantastic, I literally had to drag myself away from it. One feature I liked of the Jury Bonus, which is a free spin bonus, is if your spin gives you nada, the game awards you more free spins! There's a lot of bonuses in this game and for more details the latest issue of Strictly Slots had a good write up on it.  I'm suspecting I will like this one better then the Lord of the Ring slot by WMS.

IGT also has American Idol which is a community game. Normally I'm not big on that type of slot but I enjoyed the version of the community game I experienced where you pick a judge (Simon, Randy or Kara) and then they vote on a singer that appears. Depending on their vote, you can then enter another bonus game. The video version of it you play, is 5 screens and when the center screen flanked by 2 versions on each side hits the wilds (wilds are various judges) those wilds transfer from the center screen to the other 4 screens too. While I had a lot of fun trying this slot, it's possible that American Idol fans will be disappointed not to see Paula Abdul as one of the judges (at least I didn't spot her).

I was sitting next to a suit from a casino while playing American Idol and she made the comment to me when we were talking about the community bonus that we had just finished playing, that the slot was bit too busy for her. Turns out her opinion was the bonuses took too long and slowed down player betting. I almost replied back, yeah, heaven forbid I should lose my money slower and have fun with the bonus, but I kept that personal opinion  to myself. I suspect this is why the WMS slot Men in Black was removed a couple years ago from the casino floors as the one I liked had a bonus that could take a long time to play.

Other IGT slots were:

IGT has a new version of Sex in the City, where the bonuses and screens are different.  In this version there isn't a wheel that spins to land on a bonus.

Dark Knight Batman slot theme, I briefly played the joker version, and it seemed like it would be a hit with the super hero fans out there.

Ghostbusters, I was happy to see this slot, seemed funny and had great graphics.

New Star Wars slots called Droid Hunt. Normally I like the Star Wars slots but perhaps I'm getting bored with the theme because it didn't do much for me.

Dirty Dancing slot machine where the chair constantly seems to vibrate was okay.

Gozilla slot surprised me quite a bit with great 3D looking graphics and a fun bonus game.

The slot that is going to be a hit soon in the casinos is the "Hangover", based on the movie and the style is very similar to the original Sex in the City slot, other then it does not have the spinning wheel. There seems to be lots of bonuses and I enjoyed the couple I played. Since my husband won't play the Sex in the City slot with me, I'm thinking we have found a new one to enjoy together.

Aristocrat had a new Jaws slot, Devil of the Deep. A slot based on Mission Impossible that seemed to have potential and of course the already mentioned "Through the Looking Glass" Alice in Wonderland theme slot. Instead of being a video version of Alice in Wonderland like the IGT slot theirs is a 3D type reel slot. In addition they had Rockin Olives on display but that's already showing up in casinos as I played it yesterday at Venetian.

Bally slots just didn't appeal to me though the one named Cash Wizard might be interesting. They also had slots that seated two people together called "Meet me in the middle", which is two games, but only one person spins and you share credits.

WMS slots:

New Yahtzee slot, Attack from Mars, and a new Wizard of Oz big event slot, called the Great and Powerful Wizard of Oz. For more details on upcoming WMS slots go to player's life and read Shamus's reports on them and his experience at G2E.

While I'm a big fan normally of WMS slots, they just weren't impressing me today. Also, while the other slot companies had been very friendly to us, we had a young WMS employee walk over and tell me I couldn't take notes and would have to delete them. I was a bit surprised since all I was doing was listing the names of the slots on exhibit and I showed him that in my notes. However he insisted I stop taking notes so I did. Needless to say I didn't ask if I could take any Iphone photos since that was such a weird policy on the notes, especially since I'm sure some attendees had pens that could record voice notes and be transferred to a computer.

While walking past Aruze Gaming one of their employees asked us to participate in a slot tournament that would only take a couple minutes so Socalgirl, myself, and 4 others were contestants and Socalgirl won first place and I was second. We both received pink bags with gifts and while we were examining them to see what was different between the two of them the lady came up and give us each another bag so we ended up with both first and second prizes.
Aruze had a few slots I really liked, but the stand out was Cinderella. The bonus fun factor here was great, though I'm not sure how it plays if you don't hit bonuses. The main bonus contains a variety of other bonuses, among them prince charming and carriage races.

There was a lot going on at G2E that we didn't experience, but perhaps next year I'll go again and have more time. I was hoping to give more details on the slots, but lack of sleep, the inability to take photos other then with a iphone and being made nervous about taking notes by that WMS employee took it's toil on me.

After leaving G2E, Socalgirl and I returned to Venetian and ate lunch at First Food and Bar with our host who is always fun to chat with.

The chicken paillard I ordered was fantastic. Flattened chicken with goat cheese, figs and a pistachio peanut brittle was absolutely delicious and such a generous portion I couldn't finish half the chicken.  Service was excellent and I'm looking forward to returning to First Food and Bar where I will likely order the chicken paillard again as it was that good!
As we were leaving First Food the manager who had been very attentive in checking with us earlier to see if we were enjoying the food, introduced us to celebrity chef Sammy D (DeMarco) who owns First Food and also four other restaurants which are located in New York.
We made plans to meet our host tomorrow night at the Grazie VIP Gift Extravaganza and then Socalgirl and I went off to gamble. For me that meant a day of losing at everything. Penny slots, dollar slots, whatever, it didn't matter I would lose, though I had a brief flirtation with a Wolf Run Bonus for $150.00.  We then went over to Wynn where Socalgirl had some free play to use up and I lost a hundred there. Actually I had some luck on VP, or I would have lost more at Wynn.

I was ready to leave the strip and go to M Resort to see if my luck would change. I had $100 free play from M Resort along with my choice of a few gifts so I went with a wine tote this time. My monthly offer also had 2 free buffets with line passes. We weren't hungry yet so we headed to the tables where we play Crazy 4 Poker with, Socalgirl teaching me the game. It wasn't long until I lost a hundred so I went off to play slots while Socalgirl remained at the poker table.

I quickly found the Lord of the Ring (LOTR) slots, but they were full. If you are looking for them in the future they are not far from the Studio B, the M buffet, in a bank of machines that also has Ruby Slippers. I sat down at Ruby Slippers next to a LOTR slot hoping to get it when the player leaves. Ruby Slippers was not kind to me though I did get the bubbles/wilds a few times, they were only at 2X, never more then 2 of them and not even worth taking a photo op. The lady playing LOTR kept taking her player's card in and out of the machine and cashing out her TITO and them putting them back in, I guess for luck, so I kept thinking she was leaving but then she would stay. This went on for about 15 minutes so that when she did leave I wasn't quick enough and another man quickly claimed her spot. Fortunately he didn't play long so I finally got my seat at LOTR!
I was betting $1.20 a push and quickly hit this nice set of wilds and started thinking LOTR was going to be my lucky machine tonight.
I then received a power up that gives you between 1 to 5 wilds and had this nice hit. After that it was all downhill as I did get some play for my money but lost it all. After leaving LOTR, I tried Buffalo, which I had already tried at both Palazzo and Venetian but I can't seem to do anything but lose on. Onward to Kitty Glitter where I continue to lose.
On to the M Resort high limit room where they have one $5, WOF machine that has been lucky for me in the past and once more came through for me with a spin where I won $200. Tried the $1 slots of Top Dollar and Pinball then and no luck. Went over to the original GoldFish and sent a text to Socalgirl and asked if she was ready to eat. Started to lose at GoldFish, but fortunately Socalgirl was ready to eat so off we went to the buffet so I could use my free coupons and line passes. Socalgirl had both fun and wins at the Crazy4poker table, so it was nice of her to leave while winning so I could eat and take a break from my losing streak.
The M resort Studio B Buffet has a lot of selections and almost everything I tried last night and on past trips has been good. While I don't usually eat at buffets very often because I end up eating too much,  I can't seem to avoid them if they are free and if they give me a line pass so I don't have to wait in line. Out of all the buffets I have tried in the last few years on and off the strip, I prefer Wynn's, however the M resort is a close second place, with Bellagio coming in third.
Besides the usual buffet offerings that most often, the M has a lot of Asian specialties too. I'm also fond of their desserts, and the mini chocolate souffle is always worth a sample.
Since Socalgirl lives near M Resort, I was taking the M Shuttle back to Fashion Mall across from Wynn, so she didn't have to return to the strip that evening, just to drop me off. M Resort recently changed their shuttle schedule so it doesn't pick up and return as often so I had to wait until 10pm to catch it back. In the meantime, I once again went to LOTR, hoping to get lucky and have some fun.

I did have some fun and hit a couple bonuses. From my tweets you know I did alright when I selected the vegetable patch bonus where you pick veggies. My second bonus I tried Gandalf's fireworks and the spins didn't pay anything so I'm avoiding that bonus from now on. After LOTR, I just continued to lose and finally gave up on winning anything this trip at M resort.

After saying goodbye with Socalgirl, I waited about 30 minutes for the shuttle to discover I was the only one going back to the strip. The driver and I had a nice chat for the 20 minute ride and he told me the rumors going around that you can only ride their shuttle if you are staying at M Resort is false. In fact please ride their shuttle so they don't cut anymore of his hours!
Their was a group of people waiting at the shuttle stop which I was glad to see as it's a bit of a deserted area to the back side of the Fashion Mall. I quickly made it to the active part of the mall and crossed over the walkway to Wynn, taking this photo along the way.

Once back at Palazzo, I walked back the original Goldfish and made the mistake of playing it, then tried the $5 WOF and lost there. I was down to the last $100 of the amount of money I allowed myself for gambling that day so it was time to call it a night. As I started to walk to Venetian I went past my favorite penny Wolf Run the one that usually hits for us and also gave me a hand pay back in May. I put my last hundred in it and started to bet $4 a push, thinking I'll either win big or quickly be able to go back to the room and start writing my trip report. With around $50 left, my screen has a flood of wolves and penny slots for me are redeem for the day when a hand pay!

My mood is now a lot better, so after calling my husband to tell him to check out my tweets that I'm no longer the pitiful gambler that called him earlier from M Resort, I walk back to Venetian. On the way I stopped to play a few slots, but other then this nice hit on $5 Pinball, I started losing on everything again so ended up retiring at midnight and catching up on the message boards and my trip report.
It's now Friday and almost noon and I'm waiting to hear from Socalgirl about what time she will be coming over. The Grazie VIP party starts at 5pm and goes to 9pm so we'll likely see if we have any last minute luck and both winning and earning points.


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