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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 22, 2012

October Las Vegas G2E Trip!

After our last winning trip to Vegas I was excited to leave for G2E (Global Gaming Conference) not just to see the new slot machines and my friends that were attending but because I was hoping my lucky streak might still be with me. The start of the trip wasn't so lucky however when our plane couldn't leave San Jose due to President Obama arriving in Las Vegas. Once San Jose received the all clear we boarded but had to sit on the tarmac for 30 minutes or so both at San Jose and then on our arrival at McCarran due to all the planes backed up.
Once we were able to depart the plane I met my driver Maurice from Aria. Maurice was nice enough once we got to Aria to escort me into the hotel and past the registration crowds to the invited guest desk.
At the invited guest desk I explained that while I was only staying for one night and my offer said I only received a upgrade to a corner suite if staying 2 nights, I was NOIR and that should upgrade me automatically anyway if anything was available. My registration clerk had to make a couple phone calls about that for some reason but did get me a panoramic corner suite of the strip. My suite however was on a low floor so not quite as good a view as in the past, but I still love this suite and the Aria bed.
I had a view of Monte Carlo and the Aria pools from the main bathroom. If you want to see photos of the corner suite, I have plenty of them in past trip reports here on the blog.
Since I was moving to Wynn for 3 nights the next day, I didn't unpack much and quickly made my way to the casino and received my free play from the player's club desk. Hoping to get lucky on Lord of the Rings as I did last trip I played it first but only had a couple minor hits on it.
I tried some other slots but was just losing and it was starting to look like it would have been better if my plane was still stuck on the airport tarmac!
When 6pm came around, it was time to meet my friend Kathy (klevegas on vegasmessage board) for drinks at barMasa at the registration lobby. In the past Kathy and I have been in the same Bellagio slot tournaments and we always have a great time together.
Unfortunately I can't recall what drinks Kathy and I ordered but I remember we both enjoyed them and the snack of nuts and wasabi peas. Kathy was leaving that evening to return home but we had a nice catch up session before I met Terri (socalgirl) for dinner.
Terri and I decided to eat at American Fish because it's one of our favorite restaurants at Aria. So far service and food as always been great. I started with the Farmer's Salad with fried Camembert, hearts of palm, greens and heirloom melon, very tasty and fresh!
The knickerbrocker rum cocktail was delightful!
Both Terri and I had our favorite entree at American Fish which is the mustard marinated black cod (btw, black cod isn't really part of the cod family and I have no idea why they call it cod, LOL). I had asparagus as my side with it. The kitchen at American Fish is glad to substitute sides that come with other entrees on their menu if you prefer those over what normally comes with what you order. So far there has never been a surcharge for that request as with some restaurants.
For dessert Terri ordered the seasonal fruit and sorbet and it was delicious! I was sorry I didn't order that.
Above is a small dessert they serve everyone at the end of the meal.

My dessert was the mascarpone cheesecake with vanilla crust, blueberries and ice cream. It was really good but next time I would go with something lighter like Terri ordered.
After dinner Terri and I went downstairs to gamble and she started winning on $1 Da Vinci which I had lost on earlier and then we both went to the $5 dollar Top Dollar where I had won the 20k on last October only for me to finally get a bonus on it but it only paid $50! Worse bonus ever,  and I started to get bitter gambler syndrome and I had just arrived in Vegas!
I left Terri at the $1 and $5 slots and told her I was headed out to play the penny slots. On my way to the pennies I saw the only $1 Airplane slot left at Aria and couldn't resist playing it. Thank goodness I did because my luck started turning around with a couple quick hits for $387.00 and $252.00.
I had tried playing $5 Pink Diamond earlier which was a mistake because I quickly lost a couple hundred on it, but when I tried the dollar version I ran through about $50 before hitting a win of $600!
After Pink Diamonds I made my way to the penny slots to try the new Gone with the Wind and had some brief luck with it.
However after Gone with the Wind that $1 Airplane slot was calling my name and it didn't disappoint when it hit for $402.00!
Around this time Terri had to leave and we said goodbye for this trip as she wouldn't be attending G2E this year.
I like the Michael Jackson slots and play them each trip now.  I had a good hit for $269.60 before my bonuses dried up on it and I returned to the $1 slots.
$1 Pink Diamonds once again came though for $240.00
Yep, I couldn't stay away from airplane.
I played 2 different $5 Wheel of Fortunes at Aria and quickly got a spin on both but my biggest win was only for $200.
Earlier that evening I had played the $1 Top Dollar in the High Limit room for a bet of $9 a push and just lost. I went back to try $1 Da Vinci which was still a loser for me but the $1 Top Dollar started to give me some wins.
Since I was only staying one night and wanted points for a good future offer this turned out to be the slot to do it with as not only was it giving me enough wins to stay ahead it was racking up quite a bit of points.
It's not easy to rack of points these days on the slots at the M-Life hotel as so many of them are speciality slots which gain points at the rate of the VP machines.
A lot of photos of this Top Dollar slot because it was fun to get regular hits and not just come out ahead but for once this trip get about a hour or so play on one slot without ending up losing it back!
And the wins just kept coming until they didn't, LOL!
After Top Dollar I went back to pennies and played Superman. I have a feeling that this slot could be a lot of fun if the bonuses are active but I couldn't get any luck on it at Aria or later at Venetian.
I had to try some mega bucks just in case, but no progressive for me!
Clue is another slot that I have to play now each trip as I find the bonuses a lot of fun if I can get one!
Lord of the Rings has became a slot I can't stay away from, even though I didn't enjoy the original or 2nd version of it.
The verdict for me is still out on Gone with the Wind regarding if it will become a personal favorite or not but for now I'm enjoying it enough to keep trying it when I see it.
I seldom play Zeus II any longer but I had some brief luck on this 2 cent version at Aria.
Yep,  again I just couldn't stay away from the $1 Airplane slot.
I finished my gambling night at Aria with a couple wins on Gone with the Wind. As I went back to my suite and oh so comfortable bed, I had basically broken even, which given my earlier losses was fine with me as I had about 7 hours of play that was really fun.
Next morning I slept in and didn't have time to eat before checking out of Aria. When I arrived at Wynn I was dismayed to find long lines. The photo below was taken after I waited in line for 30 or so minutes and it wasn't as long as earlier. Also on the left where you can't see it were lines on the other side.
Once I was able to finally get to the front of the line I had a very nice clerk who was able to give me a room immediately, which was surprising given the crowds at check in and that it was only around noon.  My view from the suite of the strip and the Wynn Lake of Dreams was great.
I was starving at this point since I hadn't eaten anything and I wanted something quick so I went to the Wynn Buffet. Big Mistake!! What has happened to this buffet? It used to be one of the better buffets on the strip but no longer. At least I didn't have to worry about overeating during lunch as so little of the buffet was good or appealing.
The only thing I was really able to enjoy of the Wynn buffet was their desserts.
I was going over soon to Palazzo and Venetian to meet friends Shamus and Slotspert and their wives but first I had to test my luck at Wynn.  It didn't go well, even though I had a brief bit of luck on the $1 Cleopatra.
I had to try Electrifying Riches at Wynn because so many other friends love this slot, but my best hit of the trip was my first day when I won $82.00 on a $3.00 bet. After losing for about 90 minutes at Wynn it was time to walk over to Palazzo.
When I arrived at Palazzo I was so happy to see the large empty space where all the poker tables used to be. Now that Venetian's poker room has finished their renovations the poker tables have been removed from Palazzo and will be replaced by the time you are reading this with slots, as in years past!
I had some time before meeting up with friends so I headed to Venetian where I found the new Mummy slot that I had enjoyed trying at last year's G2E.
Playing it briefly I got the bonus but picked poorly and didn't win much.
These photos are to show you what one of the bonuses looks like but don't judge the slot by my poor picking because later I did win a lot more on it and it's fun!
Honestly I don't know why I find slots that have picking bonuses so much fun but I do, <sigh>.
While I was playing the new Mummy slot a lovely lady came by and introduce herself as someone who reads my blog. It was Liztoybz from TA and it was so much fun to meet her and also one of her sisters.
After meeting Liz I finished playing the Mummy slots and went to the Venetian high limit room where I lost on $1 DaVinci but had a win of $375.00 on $5 Double-Diamond Cheese.
It was now time to meet Shamus, Slotspert and their wives at Palazzo's Platinum lounge where we enjoyed some coffee and snacks. I had a terrific time meeting and chatting with these ladies, they are great fun! We then split up with Shamus, Slotspert and I going off for a bit of slot play while their wives went to look at the shoppes.
The three of us had a lot of fun pooling our money and playing the slots, especially Super Team where we won one of the progressives. We played quite a few of the new slots and came out a little ahead by the time we were to meet up at Palazzo's Grand Lux for dinner.
Grand Lux as always was reasonable priced with generous portions of tasty food. I loved my BBQ planked salmon and I was able to have them substitute asparagus for a $1 surcharge in replacement of the mashed potatoes.
I think Slotspert, Shamus and their wives mainly ordered a selection of appetizers, but I can't recall who had what at this point.
The crispy chicken wings sure looked good, I need to try those at Grand Lux on a future trip.
After dinner our group went their separate ways as Slotspert and his wife had tickets to see the American's Got Talent Show at Palazzo.
As I was walking back to gamble a bit more at Venetian I took a few shots of the Palazzo Waterfall Atrium.
My luck at Venetian wasn't great but I was holding my own thanks to some bonuses on Hangover.
I really love Hangover if you can get it during one of those times when the bonuses keep hitting every 3 or 4 pushes.
I also played quite a bit of Top Gun on and off since the max bet is $2 and you qualify for the WMS progressive while playing it which is now over 1 and half million. Later in the trip I had to stop playing it as the card reader was out of order for it.
Couldn't get any big hits tonight on Top Gun and the Fly By bonuses weren't' happening.
Above is the new Monopoly slot which I believe can be fun but even though I had a bonus that re-triggered twice, the hits I was lucky or unlucky enough to get were really low.
On my way out of Venetian I had to play a bit more on the Mummy slot and this time it paid out a bit better.
The new Wizard of Oz slot has a Monkey wild feature bonus that I suspect can pay a lot if one is lucky, but on this trip my pay outs were mainly low ones, though I did get some frequent bonuses to have fun with.
The main bonus on the new Wizard of Oz requires picking so it's hard to tell how high the bonus can pay since I couldn't seem to pick the right emeralds.
I finished up my evening at Palazzo with a decent flying monkey bonus for $240.00 and then I returned to Wynn where I played a lot of penny slots and just lost until I went to bed.
Next morning I slept in until around 10am then hurried and got ready for G2E, stopping for a coffee and danish at the Palazzo Platinum lounge before going to the Venetian convention center. I headed right to the WMS booth but Gene Simmons and another band member from KISS were there promoting the KISS slot machine and the crowds were huge so I left. I headed to IGT and was getting ready to play the new Sex in the City slot when I ran into Slotspert and Shamus!
Shamus and Slotspert have been lucky on the original Munsters slot so they were happy to see this new version. I thought it was interesting and will give it a try when it's out on the casino floor.
I missed the photo op with all the Oompa Loompa's but got a quick one with 2 of them while we were looking around the displays. I heard one of them say to the other that he had never had his photo taken so much.
Slotspert with the same two Oompa Loompa's.
Perhaps I will return to playing blackjack if my dealers were dressed like these guys!
One of the costume characters promoting the new Frankenstein slot.
I can't recall which slot company has this new fishing game that Slotspert is playing but the graphics are among the best I have seen.
A couple shots of the convention floor.
The Oompa Loompa who is handing out the lollipops at the WMS booth was the only one of the group that was in the original movie with Gene Wilder.
We ran into Slotspert and Shamus's wives right before lunch and they were having a fun time sampling their way through the food offerings that one of the companies had offered to some conventioneers.
I said goodbye to Slotspert, Shamus and their wives and headed out to meet Boots, Laurie and Manette for lunch at Venetian's Zeffirino's restaurant. Above is one of the views from our table.
Zeffirino's had a reasonably priced prix fix lunch with appetizer, entree and dessert that we all ordered. I think the price was around $29.95. All of us had the Caprese with mozzarella, tomato, basil and red bell peppers. It  was good and fresh!
Laurie, Manette and myself near our table at Zeffirno's.
My entree was chicken with cheese and asparagus and it was delicious.
Boots entree of beef tenderloin filet which I believe had Marsala wine and mushrooms, it looked great and she said it tasted that way too.
I believe Manette's entree was veal but not sure.
Laurie had one of their ravioli dishes but I'm not which one. I guess I better start taking some notes or do more tweets to refresh my memory when writing up my future trip reports!
All of us had a assortment of 3 small desserts that I thought were quite nice.
The ladies bathroom at Zeffirino's was stunning. I didn't get a photo of inside the stalls but they were quite ornate too with individual sinks. After our lunch we all went our separate ways as we were meeting up later for a high limit slot pull and dinner.
I decided not to return to the convention and did some gambling for real but couldn't get much going though I did have a couple nice hits on Lord of the Rings.
I ran into Shamus and Slotspert before the HL slot pull playing slots at Palazzo and I had some fun with them betting 40 cents on the Leprechaun slots. I finally had a bit of luck on a lucky pick bonus for $51.40!
Slotspert had organized a fun high limit slot pull for our group at the Venetian High Limit Lounge, thanks Slotspert! Below is a photo of me with RonB77 who is the sweetest guy and Coushattaslots (Slot Director of Coushatta Casino Resort) who is also very nice.
Group photo of Slotspert, Blueheart (so nice to finally meet Blueheart who I follow on Twitter), Laurie NHCris,Shamus, me, Coushattaslots, Mr and Mrs John 39 (who had just gotten married that day), Manette (Clemi) and RonB.
We had a great time during our high limit pull on the $5 Wheel of Fortune but never did get a spin. I'm sure next year though will be the year when our group wins big!
After the high limit pull Laurie, Manette, Boots, NHCris, Shamus, Slotspert, their wives and myself headed out to Caesar's Palace to try the new Bacchanal Buffet. What a fabulous buffet! Unfortunately I just read they raised their prices, but it's still worth it in my opinion if the quality stays the same. For more photos of the Buffet go to this link on my blog:
After dinner our group split up and went their separate ways and unfortunately that was the last time this trip that I would see Slotspert, Shamus and their wives but I hope to catch them next April in Vegas. 

Manette and I had plans to see our friend Thomas (lemonlime) who was in Vegas celebrating his 50th birthday with his family! We ran into him at Caesar's Palace cashier cage and were soon on our way with him and his wife to Wynn for drinks.
As always, we had a great time chatting and I really enjoyed meeting Thomas's wife for the first time, such a fun lady!
We had drinks at Parasol Up and the ladies enjoyed their specialty drink of the same name, while Thomas drank beer. After our drinks we watched Thomas play some BlackJack at Wynn and win before it was time for them to return to Caesar's Palace and Manette and I to play some slots.
Since all I was doing was losing at Wynn I said goodnight to Manette and headed over to Palazzo, taking a couple photos of Wynn's beautiful lobby/casino area since I wasn't able to take photos of any wins!
Once at Palazzo and Venetian I didn't win for the night but my losing slowed down quite a bit and I was able to get a lot of play and fun for my gambling dollars.
I went back to the the Monopoly game which I like but I still can't seem to get it to pay out much.
At Venetian I couldn't stay away from the Mummy slot and this time it paid out a decent bonus for $278.75.
After gambling at Venetian and Palazzo I headed back to Wynn to get some sleep.

Next morning I wanted to see a bit more of G2E so I headed out to the convention again only stopping briefly at the Platinum lounge to grab a coffee and danish.
Once at G2E I headed to the WMS booth and today was finally able to get some time on the new slots like the Monopoly above. Monopoly and the new Wizard of Oz slot below have a new large slant top which I found interesting.
Not sure if the quick photos I took do them justice but I love the graphics and the huge screen. According to what I've read from WMS these slots have a dual vertical 32' super high definition screen and they are calling this type of slots "gamefieldxD gaming platforms.
As far as game play I haven't been so enticed by a WOZ slot since the original was introduced so I'm really looking forward to when this new platform and WOZ games hits the casino floors.
The Nascar slots had a crowd but I think it was Shamus that told me that sports related slots aren't usually successful.
Sherlock Holmes was interesting and might end up being fun to play.
Around this time my friend Brian arrived in Vegas and I broke off from the convention to meet him at Venetian's Grand Lux for a quick lunch. After lunch we both headed to G2E and had some fun playing the new slots.
Both of us really liked the Willy Wonka slots. The music is fabulous and there seems to be potential for some big wins with this new slot!
I got a quick photo of the Lets Make a Deal slots before being told not to take photos. :) We played them briefly and there's a really funny zonk bonus that had me laughing but after you get used to it, I'm not sure it will hold interest, depends on the frequency of bonuses and pay outs I suppose.
I didn't play Judge Judy, just goes to show they will license almost anything today into a slot machine! Of course this TV show is popular so I'm sure it will have its fans.
 I haven't been thrilled with any of the new Sex in the City Slots since the original but the new community version of it did capture my interest.
Here's a couple photos of the community bonus screens.
I found it fun to play, we'll see in the future what the real pay outs are like.
Brian and I didn't stay that long at G2E, we wanted to go try our luck on Clue which had a puzzle that was about ready to be solved. However there was only one chair free at Palazzo's Clue game where usually most of them are available so I guess a lot of people keep their eye out and play when it's getting time to solve the puzzle. Brian did have some luck on Clue but one of the other players got the chance to solve it and won the big money.
I had a brief bit of luck with Goldfish.
A few wolves came out to play for a few minutes too.
Brian at the Grease slots. I really like these slots but they don't like me!
It was time for Brian and I to leave Venetian and we cabbed it to Cosmopolitan where he was staying to meet up for cocktails at Bond Bar with Boots, Laurie, Manette and NHCris.
I remembered a cocktail that wasn't on the menu that I found interesting from a past trip which had citroen vodka, peach puree, and coconut creme foam. We all ordered it and it was delicious.
It was at Bond Bar that we had the first meeting of the Exotic Cocktail Club and Boots had brought tats for all of us to wear.
Fun times, fantastic drinks and fabulous friends!
After our drinks Boots headed back to her Cosmopolitan suite to watch some of the first Presidential debate and the rest of us separated to go do a bit of gambling. Brian and I had a quest to find a bank of Clue slots that was close to getting the puzzle solved and we walked to Bellagio, Monte Carlo and finally Aria but didn't have any luck, though we played a few slots along the way. I left Brian at Aria where he was meeting a friend, to return to Cosmopolitan to meet up with Boots. I tried a short cut that Brian pointed out that was outside and it would have been one if I hadn't accidentally walked past the place I was to turn into Cosmopolitan and ended up on a side street where you aren't suppose to be walking and it was lacking a sidewalk! Eventually I hit the strip but there was no safe way from where I entered to get into Cosmo or to the sidewalk so I walked back and encountered another lost group of people making the same mistake!
Finally back at Cosmo I met up with Boots and as we were walking to Bellagio to have dinner at Sensi when I once again ran into Liz (Liztoybz from TA)! Liz was now staying at Cosmo and was having a lucky trip, winning on my favorite $1 Da Vinci Diamonds and even the high limit Sex in the City Slot. It was great to see her again and know that someone was having a good gambling trip!

Once seated at Sensi I ordered their version of a shrimp cocktail (above) and it was great, flavorful and spicy, just like I love.
Boots ordered the grilled Niman Ranch pork chop with herbs, broccoli raab and agro dolce. It looked delicious!
My entree was the spicy Diver Scallops with asian vegetables and it was wonderful. I would definitely order this again in the future.
For dessert I couldn't resist a favorite of mine at Sensi's their Chocolate Temptation. This is hazelnut and milk chocolate with praline and caramel ice cream. Yum!
Boots ordered the pear cocktail at Sensi which I tasted and thought was very good but my ginger cocktail with Sensi's homemade ginger ale was a standout. If you like ginger try this cocktail! After dinner Boots and I said goodbye and I look forward to our next Vegas meet up which is likely during Thanksgiving week.
I cabbed it back to Venetian from Bellagio where I had some luck on Grease for a change.
I also had a nice run of bonuses on the Hangover slots.
After my brief run of luck at Venetian I walked back to Wynn where all I could do was lose again and since I had a early morning flight it wasn't long before I headed back to my room to get some sleep.
It was around midnight when I entered my room to discover it quite hot and noticed the thermostat was not working or indicating any temperature. While I only had about 5 hours at this point before getting up for my flight it was too hot to sleep in there so I had registration move me. I requested that they move me to a room with the same view so that I could avoid any potential noise issues. So packing up, I went to my new room on the floor above but discovered it didn't have the same view after all. Oh well, I unpacked and got ready for bed and was just getting settled when I heard loud and clear the pounding bass from their nightclub!
Why I didn't hear that noise before getting undressed I don't know but I knew I couldn't get any sleep with it going on so I called down to registration again and they gave me a new room so I had to get dressed and pack up again. This time I had to meet security at my new room to let me in as they can only change your keycard to work in a new door once (without going down to registration to get a new one) before they have technical difficulties with it. When I got to the new room security wasn't waiting for me but fortunately there was a phone on a stand right outside my room and a quick phone call back to registration had a guard there quickly who let me into my room. This time I was in a Tower Suite which is basically the same room as what I had moved from but with nicer amenities and free water.
After all that moving I was exhausted and collapsed into bed for a few hours before having to get up and go to the airport. Regarding my moves, while it was disappointing to have my thermostat break and have to move those things happen, they did take care of it quickly for me by the move to a new room, it's just a shame that the person who moved me didn't understand or ignored the fact the new room had the nightclub noise, however that was taken care of quickly too once I called that problem in to them. If I hadn't had to get up early this wouldn't have been that big a deal since I normally go to bed late and sleep in late. Bottom line though is I felt Wynn employees did the best they could to take care of me.
The morning flight home was uneventful and I was home taking care of my household chores by 10:00am. :)  While this trip was most of the time a fail for gambling, it sure was a success as far as fun with friends. I had a blast with everyone and can't wait to see them again in our favorite city!

My next Vegas trip will be November 19th for 4 nights staying at THEHotel at Mandalay Bay. My family will be going with me and we're meeting my Mom and her friend there so we will spend Thanksgiving day together in Las Vegas. I also have some friends coming in that week that I'm hoping to get together with. If anyone reading this ends up in Vegas that week and comes across me please say hi!


  1. I love reading your reports. I always get great ideas for what restaurants to try on a future trip (and what to order from the menu!).

    I'm looking forward to trying out the Willy Wonka and new SATC slots on our next trip!

  2. Excellent trip report, as usual with all the detail and pictures! Did you have to pay for G2E admission or is it open to the public?

  3. Thanks Craps1.

    G2E is not open to the public, however it's possible to get some free passes from the companies that exhibit during the show. They usually mention them on their Facebook, Twitter or company webpage.

    Thanks Michael. Not sure when your next trip is but I believe Willy Wonka is due out next summer and I didn't hear when the new SATC slots would show up, hopefully soon though. Good luck on your next trip!

    1. Thanks for a wonderful blog with all the great pictures. It was a very interesting read loved it.

  4. Diana, it's always so much fun and joy to read your marvelous blogs and photos. I love every single one of your posts!

    Sorry that I couldn't meet you during your last trip, as I checked out Aria and left Vegas on October 2. I'll keep in touch with you. Hope that we will meet in our future trips.


  5. Thanks Shiny, I hope to meet you too on a future trip!

  6. I just found your youtube videos and now much fun reading about your trip. Those new slots look very interesting. I was also happy to see the Coushatta slots manager with you as I am in Texas and do most of my gaming at Coushatta in Louisiana. We go once a year to Vegas and are heading that way 12/6. Will subscribe to your videos and blogs. Keep up the entertaining work, it's a joy to read!

  7. Hi Brucette, so glad you like the videos and blog. I have a new trip report I'll be posting next week of our Thanksgiving trip.

    This was the second year I've met the Coushatta slots manager at G2E, he's a nice guy and sometimes posts on the slot fanatics and slot machine message boards.

    Safe travels, fun times and big wins to you on your December Las Vegas trip!

  8. I'm not sure if my comment posted -- but I said that I almost didn't recognize Brian in a tight t-shirt. ba-dum-bum. :-) I love the details of your trip! I love the Lord of the Rings as well -- but I am partial to the villain side of the game. :-)

  9. Hi Brent, sorry about that I moderate the comments due to the spam bots. :)

    I like the villain side of LOTR too, actually any side that will give me wins, LOL!