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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.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Vegas Birthday's and Grazie Slot Tournament!

I wasn't planning on a August trip to Las Vegas (no really!),  but when my Mother was willing to spend her 80th birthday there it turned out to align with a Grazie slot tournament for 50k called Masquerade so I quickly signed up for the tournament and booked a room for Mom at Palazzo.

Earlier this summer I had told friends Laura and Yon that I wouldn't be going in August when they were there, but this turned out perfect because it turned out to be the same dates as my friends Gwen, Laura and Yon. Laura would also be celebrating her birthday in Vegas the same week as Mom and it would also give me an opportunity to celebrate ahead of time Gwen's birthday that would be later in the month. Okay, enough excuses for another Las Vegas trip so soon after the last?
My flight was a bit late out of San Jose and I had to wait a while for my luggage at McCarran but I was soon on my way to Palazzo's VIP lounge. For the first time this year when I arrived at the lounge there was a wait in line but I was taken care of quickly when it was my turn and ended up with a room on the 27th floor. At check in I also verified that my Mother would be in the room next to me with a connecting door. There's now a $20 extra charge for those who want suites that connect but it was waived for us.
Had the usual view of Treasure Island while I unpacked. I was in a hurry to get downstairs to meet up with Laura and Yon because they had bought us all matching T-Shirts that said Free Gwen in celebration of her upcoming life changes. Normally one doesn't want to celebrate the break up of a marriage but in this situation you have to know the other party involved to understand the celebration!
I met Laura and Yon in front of the Rock of Ages theatre where they gave me my T-Shirt (thanks for gifting me with that)  and I went to change while they called Gwen to tell her where we were. Gwen cracked up when she saw us, laughter was heard all the way in to the Venetian casino! After Gwen recovered from seeing her fan club, we went over to the Venetian Gold Lounge for a drink, some snacks and to catch up.
After refreshments we left Gwen and Yon to gamble while Laura drove me to the airport to pick up Mom.  However on the way to the Valet to get her car I had to stop for a photo op with one of the Carnevale characters.
Picking up Mom went off without a hitch thanks to Laura and we soon had her checked in and unpacking her luggage.  Laura is always so sweet to drive us around and help with luggage and stuff.

While Mom got unpacked I went to register for the tournament which was going to be held on the Palazzo slot floor near Grand Lux. I was stunned at registration that unlike past slot tournaments I had been in a couple years ago at V&P this one didn't give me a choice of times, instead I was given on all 3 days the early morning time of 9:30am! I'm not a morning person, who organized this tournament! Even when I lightly protested the time and asked for a later one they didn't tell me to come back in the morning and register then when of course the late registers would get the slot session times that are later in the day, instead they told me this was the only time they had left. <sigh>.
 It was close to dinner when Mom and I left her room but there was time to introduce her to Clue which she enjoyed playing.
Dinner that night was at Tao's one of my favorites and since there are so many past photos of our food there, I only took a photo of the tempura veggies we ordered as a appetizer. Okay, actually I forgot to take any more photos because we were having too much fun! All of us with the exception of Gwen ordered my favorite miso glazed sea bass while Gwen ordering her fave, the XO shrimp. For dessert we shared one of their delicious giant fortune cookies with chocolate and vanilla mousse and fresh fruit.
Group shot of us as we're leaving Tao.
After dinner we split up and went our separate ways gambling.

Mom isn't a gambler, but my Dad was before he died and from the 1960's on she had plenty of trips to Vegas and attended her share of new casino openings so while not a big fan of Las Vegas Mom has lots of Vegas stories. These days Mom likes to visit Las Vegas occasionally for the fine dining and shows and because she knows I'll likely be there. ;) However this trip, I think for the first time she started to enjoy the newer slots.

After dinner I was going to introduce Mom to the new Willy Wonka slot but it was busy so we walked back to Palazzo where instead I showed her the new Twilight Zone 3D Slots. I love this new slot and my favorite machine at Palazzo was giving me frequent bonuses. Above is a video where I got three bonuses on one spin on Twilight Zone! Unfortunately for Mom, she wasn't having much luck but did admit to the fun factor.
Mom was on east coast time so she went to bed early this evening, while I of course stayed up gambling a bit longer. I had to play my favorite $1 Quick Hits in the Palazzo High Limit room tonight and I was lucky enough to hit a bunch of bonuses. Unfortunately I kept just picking 7 spins so the bonuses were really low until I finally picked a bit better and got this bonus.

After my decent Quick Hits bonus I started having some losses so I went back to the penny slots. There was a group of people playing Clue and I took the last seat. I was excited to see that the puzzle was close to getting solved so I kept pumping money into it but couldn't hit the bonus. Surprisingly enough the people playing Clue got up, they must not have played before and didn't understand that the mystery progressive was going to hit. Right after they left I finally got the random bonus of the lights went out and thankfully instead of paying just money it took me into the bonus!
Here's the video of my bonus and big win on Clue!

 After that I was feeling like a winner again so went back to the $1 Quick Hits and hit for $750.00 on it.
I never last long on the $1 and above slots so went back to pennies and tried to repeat my success from July's trip with Super Monopoly money, but despite the decent hit below couldn't get the bonus.
I walked over to Venetian but just lost, though I did have a fun bonus on Top Gun. Here's the video.

I tried a lot more penny slots at Venetian after Top Gun but was losing more then winning and it was getting late so I went to bed. At the time I went to bed I was a bit ahead for the day and feeling good about that.

Next morning I went directly to the slot tournament for my first session. I ended up getting a good score, so was happy with that. However, comparing the Grazie tournaments to the ones at Bellagio and Aria where they have them in private ballrooms with a party atmosphere of open bars, food and music, I found the way they do the Grazie tournaments these days pretty boring. Okay so just hitting a slot button as fast as one can for 10 minutes isn't going to be that exciting for anyone, but if you have it set up like a party and have the sessions start at noon or later like Bellagio and Aria does, it makes for a much better time! Grazie did generously have bottles of water sitting outside the roped off slot tournament area for the participants. :)
Since I don't care for eating breakfast foods and Mom had already had a bite to eat at the Palazzo VIP lounge while waiting for me to get up (remember she is on east coast time and a early riser anyway), we played slots until Grand Lux at 11am changed over to their lunch menu.
While I did just average on Willy Wonka and other slots, Mom was having a big winning streak on Willy Wonka and was winning a few hundred dollars. Unfortunately I didn't get any photos of her wins as the machines aren't set up next to each other where you can see the other player's screen. Mom was having so much fun and so many nice hits we had to wait until 11:30am or so when the Wonka slot cooled down to eat. :)
In the meantime,  while waiting for Mom I played the slots above and below without much luck.
Right before we left for Grand Lux I went back to Willy Wonka and had one great Oompa Loompa Bonus!
After Mom's winning streak on Wonka cooled off and it was obvious to me the Oompa Loompa's were on break, we walked back to Palazzo to eat at Grand Lux.
Mom had the Manhattan chopped salad with shrimp and chicken and below I had the Sonoma Chicken with avocado, golden raisins, grilled chicken, corn, sweet dates, goat cheese, and other goodies.
After lunch Mom went off to play the penny slots and I went back to $1 Quick Hits.
$1 Quick Hits gave me some brief action but quickly turned to the dark side.
It was around this time I ran into David who reads my blog and who I have met and had some nice chats with in the past year or so at Palazzo and Venetian. David was also in Vegas to celebrate a relative's birthday! At the time I met him in the casino he was coming back from doing some shopping but mentioned that so far he was having a losing trip. David on previous trips this year had been doing well and that $1 Quick Hits that I'm fond of had been giving him some good jackpots on previous trips.  When we ran into each other the next day when I was again playing Super Monopoly money, he shared the good news that $1 Quick Hits had given him a great bonus win of over $3k. That slot loves David, wish I had a video of his win, I'm sure it was a fun one to watch!
I was starting one of my typical losing streaks that I have had this year so Mom and I decided to walk back to Venetian and try some slots there. On the walk, we saw the walking davines.
Mom played Miss Kitty first while I had some luck on 50 lions, but she gave up on it so I played it and hit the bonus, while she cheered me on. Below are the 2 bonuses I got, one on 50 lions and the other on Miss Kitty.

After Miss Kitty and 50 lions it was just lose lose lose so Mom and I were both glad when it was time for Laura's birthday dinner at Casa di Amore.
Sadly we didn't have our favorite waiter Brad that night, likely because I forgot to request him, but we did get a chance to chat and kid around with him a bit and the server we did have was very nice too.
My server recommended a great martini that while similar to a lemon drop but was made with grapefruit liquor and it was terrific, so I ordered two!
Our meal was good at Casa di Amore but unfortunately they did cook Yon's steak medium well instead of medium rare so it went back. It came out perfectly after returned but ruined the pace of the meal a bit.
Gwen had chicken caprese and said that so far it's her favorite entree at Casa.
For once I didn't order the scallops and went with the chicken piccata which I liked.
Mom ordered the scallops florentine, this is always good.
Our birthday gal Laura ordered and enjoyed the eggplant parm!
We had also mentioned it was my Mom's birthday week so they brought out 2 cannoli's with candles for Laura and Mom.
I went with Tiramisu for dessert and I believe Gwen had her fave Creme Bulee'.
After a fun dinner Laura drove Mom and I back to Palazzo as we had comped tickets to see David Spade that evening, while Gwen, Laura and Yon went to Caesar's Palace to see Gwen's favorite performer Matt Goss.
On the way to the theatre, lots of Carnevale performers out and about by the Palazzo waterfall area.
The David Spade show was funny!  He had 2 opening acts with one of them being Chris Farley's brother  Kevin and the other a young comedian by the name of Bobby Miyamoto. David himself was very funny and much more low keyed then I expected. Got to love the snark!
Mom went to bed very quickly after the show as it was late.
I continued to gamble for a bit but other then a few good hits, I mainly lost and now I was down for the trip so I went to bed hoping that the next day would see me a winner again.
Like the previous day Mom was up first and down at the Palazzo Platinum Lounge having coffee and a danish, while I managed to pull myself together at 8am! Unlike other slot tournaments I have been in this one had the same people always next to each other playing together at each session. Have I mentioned I really hate the way Grazie currently is running their tournaments? My second slot tournament score was on the low side. If I'm to have a chance at a prize the last one tomorrow better be a big score!
After the tournament Mom and I again go off to play slots until Grand Lux switches over to their lunch menu.
Had some fun again with Twilight Zone. Lost on Lord of the Rings, Michael Jackson, Wolf Run and the list goes on!
Mom had a streak again on Willy Wonka and come lunch time I couldn't drag her off the slot. LOL! I went over to Venetian's high limit room while waiting for her and while I hit a bonus on one of my favorite slots it really sucked. Also tried $5 Pinball and Top Dollar there without success.
Once I could get Mom away from the Willy Wonka slot, she left a winner again, we ate brunch at Venetian's Grand Lux where Mom had the egg white omelet below.
I went with a old favorite the Manhattan chopped salad with shrimp and chicken, yep the same salad Mom had the day before.
After lunch, it was back to Willy Wonka!
Here's a video of one of my Willy Wonka Bonuses. It was one of my better bonuses, but not as good as the bonuses Mom was getting. :)

I started losing on Willy Wonka so I left Mom playing there and went to the Venetian high limit room. I was happy to get a hit for $555.00 on $1 Quick Hits there and was feeling good thinking my luck was changing.
I went over to $1 Sun and Moon and hit a quick bonus, which even re-triggered but what a terrible pay out I had of only $58.00.
Decided to try a new $1 high limit slot and stupid me, instead of hitting what I thought was the button to bet $5, I hit max instead for a $250.00 bet (see photo above)!!!!  Of course it didn't hit and I was so upset with myself I just left.
I went back to Mom who is still winning at Wonka and told her my sad tale of woe about the $250 bet.
There was a open Willy Wonka slot so I took it and in a very grumpy frame of mind started playing it.
Fortunately it gave me some bonuses and I won back on Wonka what I had lost hitting the wrong button. It was during this time I was asked by security to stop filming my Wonka bonuses. This was a bit of a surprise because during my June and July trips I had filmed bonuses at Venetian and Palazzo openly in front of security, slot attendants and other employees and none of them seems bothered by it.
When our Wonka slots got cold, Mom and I walked back to Palazzo where we passed them setting up a private party at the waterfall area which I guess was to meet a basketball star.
At Palazzo I decided to try Fire Queen due to the great bonus I saw on youtube that Shamus won on it. Below is the result of my best bonus on it, lol!
My usual favorite slots refused to give me any wins so I returned to some old favorites and had a couple decent hits on Treasures of Troy!
I like the new Monopoly Prime Real Estate slot but I don't play it for long due to the low pay outs I've gotten on it so far.

Yes, I found myself back at the $1 Quick Hits at Palazzo.
I had a couple good hits on Quick Hits and was briefly holding my own this afternoon.
Several times a day the Carnevale performers would parade though the casino. We were just returning to our rooms to get ready for dinner when this group walked by us. Tonight was going to be busy, we were going to dinner with Terri, then to a show and at 10pm we had a High Limit Pull with some friends from the Slot Fanatic's Forum!
Terri was nice enough to pick us up and take us to Caesar's Palace for dinner at Gordon Ramsay's Pub and Grill. Mainly I had selected this restaurant due to its location across from the Colosseum theatre and
I was a bit nervous at trying it out because reviews on Yelp had a lot of complaints, but either we lucked out or they have corrected a lot of whatever issues they might have had after first opening.
The restaurant can be noisy so request a booth in the back like we did, or try to get seated against the wall in one of the smaller dining areas.
My server suggested this drink and it was yummy. It's called a Blue Sky cocktail but I can't recall what's in it.
I ate too many of these pretzel's due to the yummy mustard and cheese dips served with it.
Mom's heirloom salad was large enough to be a entree and very yummy.
My appetizer above of shrimp salad was delicious but also large enough to be a entree.  Terri had a chopped salad with chicken, apple and bacon, that she said was good.
Mom had the Scottish salmon and could only eat half of it, the portion was huge.
Tonight I went with the diver scallops and they were perfect. Someone said to me on Twitter that the plating didn't look great and I agree in the photos it doesn't look good, it was better in person.
We shared two desserts, the sticky toffee pudding and the chocolate trifle. Never in a million years would I have said I would like sticky toffee pudding but this was fabulous. Try it, you will like it! The chocolate trifle was also very good, Gordon obviously knows his desserts!
I would return to Gordon Ramsay's Pub and Grill, especially if seeing a show at the Colosseum. However, I would order differently and just get an appetizer and dessert. Or if I was in the mood for a entree I would skip a starter.
After dinner we said goodbye to Terri and Mom and I went across the casino to the Colosseum to see Celine Dion's show. Mom and I loved Celine! I had seen the previous show with my husband a few years ago, but liked this one even better. I have read a few reviews where folks felt the opposite, so I guess it's personal, but both of us thought it was worth every penny and it is pricey in the front center orchestra seating.
After Celine's show Mom and I had to hurry back to be on time for our Meet and High Limit Pull with my friend's from Slot Fanatics.
Above I finally got to meet Jason (jrp227 on slot fanatics) at our meet! Jason and I had just missed each other on some previous trips and it was exciting to meet him.  Unfortunately his partner Chris wasn't feeling well and had stayed in their hotel room so I'm looking forward to meeting him on a future trip.
The blurry photo above was taken by my Mom and is our group minus Mom.
The second group photo was taken by Jason. Most of our attendees for the Meet ended up being friends of Jason and they were a really fun group. In addition to Jason's friends we had Manette, myself, Lady Claire and my Mom.
Big thanks to Manette for organizing this meet for us and for Jason for handling the slot pull!
We had so much fun cheering during our slot pull. Lady Claire was our first spinner but we didn't have any wins on the $5 Triple Double Deluxe Cheese slot.
Twenty-Five dollars was the price of a share and we ended up with $700.00 plus a extra $100 that Jason threw in toward the end of the pull so the fun could continue.
I was recording our slot pull when a suit came over and asked me to stop, saying photos were okay but no videos. I explained that in the past we were allowed to film our HL pulls but he said since no one had cleared this in advance we couldn't do that. Okay, that's fine, we stopped recording, next time we'll get it cleared by whoever.
Earlier during our high limit slot pull we took a break to call over a cocktail server and most ordered a drink. We overtipped by quite a bit so it came as quite a surprise that when Manette went to place another drink order for the group carrying $40.00 in her hand to tip with in advance that some suit headed her off and told her that if we wanted anymore drinks we could order them outside at the casino bar. Seriously? We have never encountered that kind of treatment before at any of the casinos where we have had the HL pulls including Venetian in the past. Now if we hadn't overtipped the first time, or it wasn't obvious we were going to continue to do that I could see possibly them having a issue with us, but we're running hundreds of dollars through their slots and they can't comp a drink? This is a Saturday night when the casino is full of over served gamblers who are betting minimal amounts on penny slots? Not that I object to the casino serving free drinks to people betting 10 cents a push, but the attitude of this employee did not make any sense given what we were tipping and playing through the slots.

I  want to stress that while we were clapping and cheering at times to stay upbeat, never once was there any profanity or other behavior going on that could possible be objectionable in any way and could have contributed to the attitude we got from that Venetian employee.
After this our group continued to have fun with a couple hits, but we ultimately lost our money.
We did have one $5 Top Dollar bonus and we also got a row of bars on $25 Wheel of Fortune.
Originally after the high limit pull I was going to take everyone into the Gold Lounge for drinks. I had already talked to one of the servers working in there letting her know we would tip big and she was fine with it, actually more then fine with it. But after the way Manette was treated by the suit I felt that particular employee was waiting to kick us out of there so we didn't go, instead the group split up with everyone doing their own thing. By the way the employee in the back of this photo is not the one I'm talking about. I'm not sure who he was or what he might have been saying when I took that photo.
Brothers Ramy and Kaled were starving and asked me where a good place to eat was this time of night, so I suggested Venetian's Grand Lux restaurant which they loved. Manette, her daughter Emily and I joined them for a drink while they ate. Ramy hit it off with my Mom during the HL pull and was disappointed that she didn't join us for a drink but Mom was tired so she headed back to Palazzo to sleep. This trip was Kaled's first trip to Vegas and was to celebrate his 21st birthday! All of us had a good time chatting at Grand Lux and I hope to see both brothers again in Vegas sometime or since they don't live far from us in California perhaps here at home. :)
After Grand Lux the brothers headed out to a club, Manette and Emily back to Wynn and I ended up at Palazzo playing Clue. Yep, I was at Clue a lot this trip. I hear they are bringing out Clue 2 soon and I hope to see it at G2E this year.
I had some nice hits and bonuses on Clue but was soon headed to bed since I knew I had to get up early once again for the slot tournament.
Next morning I had my last slot tournament session and my worse score. Unlike the M-Life slot tournaments where everyone gets some sort of free play prize, even for last place, the Grazie slot tournaments only give out prizes to the first 100 placed players. The awards party was in a ballroom and I was told there would be food and an open bar at it, however since it was from 4 to 6pm and that's too early for me to eat dinner, I turned our tickets back in and we didn't attend, so I can't report how good the food or anything was at it. My final place in the tournament was 135 so no free play prize for me.

After my slot session Mom and I played a few slots but mainly lost on them. It's Sunday however so that must mean it's fancy brunch time! On Saturday Laura, Yon and Gwen had moved to M resort to stay for the next 2 nights, so Laura drove over to Palazzo this morning with Gwen to take the four of us  to Bellagio for the Jasmine Fountain Brunch, which is where we first met and ate with Laura and Yon last year! Yon wasn't up to brunch this morning so it was just us four ladies.
All the tables get a pretty plate of pastries, fruit kabobs and jellies. They also still serve the Peking duck table side.
Beef Thai salad on the left and a crab and on the right. I really loved the crab salad.
The Jasmine brunch has changed their set up again a bit, so I'm missing some of my favorite past dishes.
The food is still high quality, it's just some of the replacement entrees aren't my personal favorites.
Prime Rib has replaced the Filet Mignon Roast they used to have at the meat table.
The dessert room is still just as fabulous! Lots of goodies below to dip in chocolate fondue!
 The pastry chef is standing by the selection of delicious Gelato's.
Great selection of desserts, all made on the premises.
After brunch we played slots for a bit and Mom and Laura also went to the Bellagio conservatory. Gwen and Laura were having a bit of luck plus Laura was trying to make a new M-Life tier level so they continued to play at Bellagio while Mom and I decided it was such a pretty day we would walk back to Venetian. It was a lovely afternoon during our walk, but then 90 minutes later a storm hit and the only reason I knew about it was my Iphone weather alert went off about it!
Mom and I continued to play slots but I was just losing. Yep, that's my theme so far this year.
I had some minor hits but once again it was not a good gambling trip for me.
We went back and forth from Venetian to Palazzo but even Willy Wonka wasn't giving us any love any longer.
During our walk from Venetian to Palazzo to go to our dinner reservation we did stop to hear some of the entertainment which was 2 pianists, and a singer. For free it was great!

This was my first time eating at Table 10, but it won't be my last. I was tempted to try Table 10 to celebrate my Mom's birthday with her because they had this terrific offer of four courses for $45.00.
I believe this wonderful bargain has ended for the summer but I'll be watching for the next one because it was a terrific deal! Better yet our servers didn't make me feel like we were cheap for ordering off the special menu, and they encouraged us to use the 2 coupons from the Carnevale Booklet that gave us each a free glass of wine.
The first course choices were candied bacon, Dungeness crab with avocado, orange and palm hearts, beef carpaccio or Emeril's barbecued shrimp with rosemary biscuit.
Mom ordered the Dungeness crab above and really liked it. Very generous portion of crab too!
Below I had the BBQ Shrimp and then for my second course the artichoke salad.
As you tell from the photos while the price was a bargain, they were not scrimping on the portion sizes at all! The second course choices in addition to the artichoke salad I had was a boston lettuce salad that my Mom ate, but I neglected to photograph, pea tortellini with mushrooms and 3 cheeses and a spinach salad with garlic chips and grilled red onions.
Entree choices were Scallops with Marcona almonds, parsnips, grapes and capers which Mom ordered and loved. I had the petite filet mignon with spinach, Yukon potato puree and red wine sauce, and while I wouldn't say it was as good as the filets I have had at Carnevino or Cut, it was darn close! Plus the filet alone at either Cut or Carnevino would have been at least $45 or more, so as I keep mentioning this was quite the bargain! The entree choices we didn't order were roasted chicken with mole, corn and peppers, and roasted pork rack with Anson Mills grits and sweet garlic sauce.
The fourth course was to give us 4 choices of dessert but instead they brought out the dessert menu and told us we could select any dessert off it we wanted.
Mom went with the famous Emeril speciality, his Banana cream pie which is always a winner.
I branched out and had the Tiramisu with pistachio brittle. It was wonderful and even better then the one I had at Casa di Amore.
So like gambling wasn't bad enough after dinner we discovered that half the slots in the Palazzo casino had been taken off line in order to replace carpeting. This was strange because the hotel was sold out this Sunday and on Monday and it was packed.
At least Twilight Zone was still around but to my dismay it no longer wanted to give me any bonuses.
I continued to lose so finally Mom and I went to the Palazzo waterfall area to watch the Carnevale performers.
After the performers retired for the night, Mom and I went to the player's club desk where we found she had gambled enough to get $140 or so in free play.
While Mom was busy turning her free play into cash, I went back to Clue.
I had some brief fun but before we headed to our rooms to sleep, I had lost it all. Can anyone spare a cup of luck?
Mom had a early morning flight so I got up really early to say goodbye to her and she headed off to the airport to return to Ft. Lauderdale. Next time I'll see my Mom will be at Christmas, guess where we're spending it for the first time ever?
After saying goodbye to Mom I went back to sleep. This would be the only morning of this trip that I would get to sleep past 8am. Darn slot tournament! I had a late afternoon flight today but the fun wasn't over yet because I was meeting Manette, Emily, Gwen and Laura at Tableau for lunch.
What a great way to end my trip on a high note. We had a lot of fun at lunch, I love these ladies!

I also love the food at Tableau! Laura and I shared a special heirloom tomato salad with a veggie granita.
Laura and I were really on the same wave length for lunch as we both ordered the Sea Bass with parsley sauce, mushroom relish, and garlic chips.
Manette and Emily both ordered the soft shelled crab sandwich. They said it was good but they were surprised it was fried. I had a couple of their french fries, yummy!
Gwen went with breakfast with the late American breakfast with chicken sausage.
During our brunch I decided to have Palazzo cancel my limo to the airport and take up Laura on her offer to drive Gwen and I to the airport. While my flight was leaving about 50 minutes after Gwen's it was worth going a bit early to have more time together to chat. :)

Laura and Yon stayed in Vegas for a few more days after Gwen and I left,  but I recently heard they might be in Vegas around Christmas so I'm happy I'll see them again before the end of the year. Manette lives about a hour from me in California so we sometimes get together outside of Vegas and it looks like we will be seeing each other in early October in San Francisco with some other friends from the Slot Fanatic message board.

Despite another losing trip, I had a great time with Mom and everyone this trip. The next trip wasn't to be until around the end of September for the G2E (Global Gaming Expo) but somehow I ended up signing up for the Aria 300k Winner Takes All slot tournament and my husband Randy will be with me for that trip which starts September 5th.

I was disappointed with Grazie's 50k slot tournament, not the fact that I was a loser but that the fun factor wasn't there during the tournament for me. I've been to Aria slot tournaments in the past and I'm expecting that this one will make up for the lack of excitement I experienced at Palazzo, if nothing else at least they don't start their slot sessions until noon and they throw a good party during those sessions with open bars and food in a private ballroom instead of out on the slot floor. I'm also excited that there will be several friends from the slot fanatics and vegasmessageboard participating in this tournament, and if I'm not lucky enough to win I sure hope one of them does!


  1. What a great read Diana - enjoyed your TR as always. Best of luck at the Wynn!!!

  2. Great report Diana - what fun reliving our trip and my birthday. So glad we got to meet your mom - Yon and I both adore her. Can't wait to see you in December! :)
    Y & L

  3. I just love reading your reports. Even though I'm a low roller your posts and videos featuring the new machines makes me eager to try them all!

  4. Thanks DP. :) I'm actually not going to be staying at Wynn this month, however if I stop by to gamble there I appreciate the good luck luck wishes because I need all I can get at Wynn, unlike Gwen and Terri who win big there!

    Laura and Yon, looking forward to seeing you in December too!

    Michael, thanks so much! Good luck on your next trip. :)

  5. Excellent report! I LOVE reading your blog, I found it a few days before going to Vegas myself. Put me in the mood to gamble, for sure! Love your videos on YouTube as well!

  6. Thanks Rebecca, I'm glad you like the videos and blog. Best of luck on your trip, I'm sure you will have fun!

  7. I just can't tell you how much I enjoy reading your trip reports. I don't have the bankroll you do, but if I did, I would do it EXACTLY like you do!!! I live vicariously through you - don't change a thing!! I make notes of the new slots you play and really appreciate the restaurants you frequent. I love great food and I enjoy having lots of fun. Thank you so much for taking the time to document your adventures.

    1. Thanks, I'm very glad you enjoy my trip reports. Actually if I don't start having a winning trip or two soon, I won't have the bankroll I had either. ;) Good luck on your next trip!

  8. Hello Diana..Enjoyed your blog once again. I feel for youon that 250.00 mistake as I have hit max bet by mistake before too. I consider myself a Vegas foodie too so maybe I can tag along on one ur culinary excursions sometime!! Let me know how you did at the Aria tourney!!
    Mike aka 20cardmg on youtube

  9. Hello Diana..great blog once again!! I can feel for you on that 250.00 mistake as I have hit max bet in error too. I consider myself a Vegas foodie too so would love to tag along on one of your culinary excursions sometime. Let me know how you did at the Aria tourney!!
    Mike aka 20cardmg on Youtube

  10. Thanks Mike, glad you like the blog. :)

    I did dismal at the Aria tournament. Only about 28,000 points total while the winner had 50,000. :) I'll be writing it up in the next trip report with photos of the food they served us during the tournament sessions.

    I'll be writing up the brunch at Mozen Bistro at Mandarin Oriental too, great brunch as a foodie if you haven't been I think you would like it.

    Hope to meet you in Vegas someday. If you mainly play slots, you might want to check out the slot fanatic's message board.


    1. I just joined a couple weeks ago...Thanks!!!

    2. You're welcome and good luck on your next trip to the casino!

  11. I watch all of your videos on youtube and have recently started reading your blog. Your trips are FANTASTIC! I live vicariously through you! I live in South Carolina so it is more difficult for me to travel to Vegas often but I have been about 5 times so far. I am planning to go at the very end of October and it would be so fantastic to run into you. You seem like such a neat person. My only question for you the various resorts that you stay in comp your flight? How is that possible?

  12. Thanks, I'm glad you enjoy the youtube slot videos and the blog. I used to live in Charlottesville, VA so I understand how difficult it is to travel to Vegas from that part of the country. During the 8 years we lived in Virginia I think we went to Las Vegas twice. :)

    Unfortunately I'm not going the end of October but if you are going around Halloween it's pretty cool to see so many people in costumes.

    The only time I get comped for my airline fare is when Mandalay Bay or another M-Life property has a fly back voucher promotion. These are promotions that are good for airfare on your next trip, booked at the casino/hotel that issued it to you, however they have to be used within 120 days and you get more credit toward airline fare the earlier you use it, as the amount decreases after 30, 60, then 120 days. Since I'm only a hour flight away from Las Vegas even after the amount decreases it will usually pay the complete round trip airfare for me, but not necessarily for someone flying in from the east coast.

    For much higher level gamblers, they either have their air fare reimbursed or perhaps the host gives them extra free play credit worth the cost of their airfare.

    Good luck on your October trip!

    1. That is great to know! I certainly hope we have good luck. I hope your wish for luck turns into something good for us. My mom and I are by NO MEANS high dollar gamblers. We stick to the penny slots. I have to say I did pretty well last time. I doubled my money by the second day but then per usual I lost it all! :) But hey it was a lot of fun while it lasted. I know the odds of getting a handpay on a penny slot max bet are slim to none but I sure would love to do that one day! Thanks again and I look forward to seeing more videos and reading more of your blog!

  13. I had just as many hand pays in the past on penny slots as the dollar ones, so don't give up hope. One of my friends had a hand pay in July at Wynn on Wicked Winnings III betting a dollar. Hope you hit yours this next trip!

  14. One more your opinion are some casinos "tighter" than others. Do you think you have better luck at some versus others. The only reason I asked is because the last 3 or so times that we went we stayed in Mandalay Bay and I swear I don't think I won as much as I did at NYNY. My first 2 trips were at NYNY and I seemed to do better there. As many times as I have been out there I haven't gambled at Aria or Bellagio or Mirage. I am considering trying them out since my only reward card is Mlife and I have already reached gold this year.

  15. Thanks for taking the time to post. Great food photos as always! I'll need to try the sticky toffee pudding.

    With all the publicity you give the Venetian and Palazzo in your trip reports, you'd think they'd be only too happy to let you take a video and serve drinks to your Slot Fanatics group. Glad you still had fun.

    About the V/P, can you share any general information on how their host structure works? Do they have different hosts for slot players and table players, how many hosts do they have, how many players is each one typically assigned, how many levels of hosts do they have -- any information like that. I was recently contacted by a host. I guess I can ask her too.

    1. I don't think V&P know about my trip reports but in my opinion they should be serving anyone in the high limit room that is tipping and has given money to be played through their slots which they have done in the past. Not sure what was going on that night, hopefully it won't happen again.

      While I'm sure there is some cross over among Grazie hosts as far as slot and table players, I believe they also specialize.

      Not sure how many hosts they have or how many players are assigned. I know that some of them do go out and find players they want to represent so I'm assuming they can take on as many players as they want.

      There are levels of hosts there but I'm not sure how their job titles work. If you ask your host these questions I would be interested in what she answers.

      Good luck on your next trip!

  16. Hello Diana!
    Thanks for the shout-out on this TR. You provide great TR's always. Nice to chat with you briefly. I'm heading to Vegas the last week in Sep. Hope to see you in the near future. When is your next planned trip?


    1. David, always great to see you. We need to extend our chat to a drink and a chat in the future. :)

      My next trip is 9/23 to the 28th. Staying at Palazzo for first 3 nights for G2E, then last 2 nights at Cosmo. Going to see Craig Ferguson next Friday. Are you coming in next week?

      By the way next trip report should be released before I leave on Monday. :)

  17. Hi Diana!

    I arrive when you are scheduled to leave, on Sat the 28th. I'm coming in to celebrate my parents dual bays. We arrive Sat and leave Tue. I am sorry I will miss you.

    Getting together for a drink and a longer chat sounds great. I look forward to that in the near future! My next planned trip will be the holiday weekend in Nov.

    Take care and hope to see you soon.


  18. Hi David, that's too bad we'll miss each other. Perhaps we'l pass in the airport on Saturday. :)

    Good luck to you on your trip and Happy Birthdays to your parents!

    We'll miss each other in November as we're coming in the weekend before the holiday. If you end up in Vegas around Xmas let me know.


  19. Diana!
    Hilarious, I did a google search trying to find out how Palazzo does their slot tournaments and your post came up. And I relived the magical moments of our HL pull. One of my best memories in Vegas to date. I'm even in some of the pics lol. It would be great to see you soon, you and I seem to be in Vegas at similar times very often. I'm heading out to the tournament this MLK weekend. Look for my TR on Slot Fanatics.

    Lady Clare/Alicia

  20. Alicia, so good to hear from you on my blog! I'm hoping that Palazzo still has those daily slot tournaments and hasn't stopped them yet. I did get a email from Wynn and if you play there next trip they are having a daily slot tournament now. My next trip is February 8th for 4 nights so if you find yourself in Vegas then PM me on SF about it. Good luck this weekend, I will certainly read your TR!