Las Vegas Trip Report

December 20-25, 1998

Day Three - December 22, 1998

Ugh! Got up at 8:30am, showered and got dressed. I packed up a few things for checkout this morning. Checkout at Main Street Station is 11am. That fact, along with the lack of room service, are the only problems I have with this hotel/casino.

We went down to the slot club to see if we could get breakfast. We got comped for two people at the buffet. YAY!! Our first comped meal!

I personally would have been happy to pay the $10, but the line pass is excellent! There was a HUGE line for the breakfast buffet and we got to walk past them all. There was a big backup because there are far too many parties of 8-9 people in town for the holidays.

Dan had French toast with strawberries, scrambled eggs with ham, 2 danishes, pineapple, orange juice and coffee. I had some scrambled eggs, cantaloupe and a bagel with cream cheese and an apple juice.

Dan took some pictures of the buffet and Pullman Grille while I packed. We managed to check out just a little bit after 11am. Then we stopped in the gift shop where I bought Dan a new sweatshirt (Triple 7 Brewpub logo on it) and a pilsner glass.

We charged the $52.95 for 2 dinners, one breakfast (including spilled coffee!), phone calls and a movie to our new Visa Las Vegas card and moved on to the rest of our trip. We drove by the Moulin Rouge, which now has a big fence around it and a security gate for residents. What's that about? Anyway, we got terribly lost trying to find our way to the freeway, which upset me a LOT!

We managed to get to Sam's Town just after 12 noon. There wasn't a room ready for us, so we found a seat in the Atrium and waited. Dan bought us a couple of cokes and I worked on a stitching project I had while we listened to the Christmas Carols.

A little bit after 1pm, there still wasn't a room for us and I was bored from waiting. I convinced Dan to play some triple play nickel video poker with me. Dan got a straight flush right away and after two big four of a kinds on double bonus, I cashed out with just over 1000 coins. Right after I pushed "cash out" I saw the sign that says that all payouts over 1000 coins are hand pay. Oh well.

While I waited Dan went and got our room keys. We were in room 416. We were a little more than half way around the fourth floor, overlooking the whole atrium on the fourth floor. We called for our bags from the bell desk and they arrived within minutes. Dan didn't even have time to go to the bathroom before he was there with our bags. We put everything away just in time for the 2pm show to start. I took some pictures from our room. You really can hear the music and the coyote from the rooms, but the show stops early enough that it isn't a problem. I was surprised to see how many people watch from their rooms.

The 2pm show didn't have the lights and lasers… at least not that I could see. It was still impressive with the water, but not as nice as with the lights.

The room was your basic room, a little nicer décor than the room at Main Street Station. When you walk in the door, there is immediately a bathroom to one side (depending on the room location). Just past the bathroom door is a closet area with hangars and one of those folding racks for your luggage. Past that the room opens up with a desk/dresser, king-sized bed and a table and two chairs by the window overlooking the atrium. The room was decorated with some southwestern theme pictures and a southwestern style rug.

The bathroom is good sized and has a combination shower/tub. The toilet is one of those low flow water saving models. On the counter, by the toilet paper is a sticker that notifies guests of this water saving feature and one drawback. Apparently the toilets have a tendency to get clogged up if too much "toilet paper" is flushed. According to the sticker, if a clog of any kind occurs, we are instructed to turn off the water with the handle under the toilet instead of reflushing. Then we are to call housekeeping who will come right up and unclog it for us.

Dan asked if I had seen the sticker and I said that I had. He suggested that if such a clog occurred, we should call housekeeping and then be sure to be out of the room for at least 4 hours while it was fixed. I told him that I had assumed that if such a clog occurred, we would pack up all of our things and move down the street to Boulder Station on another LVA coupon. We agreed upon moving hotels as our "official plan".

*** Dan Writes *** In the science fiction novel Oath of Fealty, Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle describe self-contained communities that exist entirely inside massive buildings, insulating the privileged citizens inside from the decaying social fabric outside. Sam's Town is a prototype for such a community. Although the surrounding neighborhood is not scary, it is as dull as dirt. Just middle-class houses, the 95 freeway, Boulder Highway, a McDonalds and dry brown desert mountains stand nearby.

The fabled Las Vegas strip is visible a long distance to the west, like a distant mountain range of concrete and colored light.

Inside Sam's town is everything a vacationer might need, right down to a McDonald's and a faux outdoor atrium, where the weather is always a comfortable 68-74 degrees. The good rooms face the atrium providing an overhead view of the climate controlled landscape.

After getting settled and the 2pm show, we went downstairs to find a place to eat. I wanted to try the Mexican restaurant, but they were closed. We ended up at Mary's Diner for lunch. I had a huge club sandwich with fries and a coke. Dan had a massive Mushroom and Swiss cheeseburger with fries and a coke. The whole thing was $13.19 with a 2.25 tip. I paid cash because I forgot to give them the room charge before we ordered (apparently that's required at Sam's Town). Oh well.

We wandered around the casino a bit and I played the Monopoly nickel slots for awhile so Dan could run the left over half of my sandwich upstairs to the room. This slot machine is not at all like the one at Main Street Station. This one allows you to roll dice and build houses, etc. Very exciting even though I have no idea how to play. The lady next to me was doing very well… I wasn't doing as well. Dan played the machine next to me for awhile, but he got bored and went upstairs to write and check his email. I kept playing. I moved to $0.25 Video Poker and found myself down $100 fairly quickly. I decided I'd better do something about that quickly!

I moved to nickel triple play and put $20 in the machine. I didn't get much and was quickly at 25 credits left in the machine. I hit max coins, leaving me with 10 coins in. I told the machine that something had better happen quickly as this was it for me. I was dealt Jack of Spades, Ace of Spades, Queen of Spades, King of Spades, and Jack of Hearts. I started to hold the two Jacks out of habit and then held the four to the royal. I said to the lady next to me, "Here we go" and pushed "deal". I got my 10 of spades!! I finally hit my very first Royal Flush! It was too much fun. My heart started beating faster and I felt myself get warmer. The lady next to me cheered and someone else said, "Way to go!" I realized that 15 minutes earlier it would have been on a quarter machine and would be $1000. Oh well. It was still $200 and still a Royal Flush... and my first! I was so happy.

The change person and slot hosts were there immediately. They took my slot card out and wrote some stuff down. Then they asked if I'd hit at jackpot at Sam's Town this year. I said, "I've never hit a jackpot anywhere.. Ever!" and he laughed. He said he'd be right back with my money and a voucher for a jacket.

He came back with $202 (weird amount, I never could figure that part out) and a slip of paper he told me to take to the Town Hall (Slot Club). He then punched some stuff into the keypad by where you put your slot card. He told me that he had to stand there and watch me play the cards off. I put in 3 nickels I had in my pocket and hit deal. He thanked me and wished me luck. I was nearly dizzy when I held my cards on auto-pilot. I couldn't lose. I ended up turning those 3 nickels into 105 and cashed out to go tell Dan.

I went up to the room and Dan was watching CNN. I turned off the TV and he said, "How'd you do." I said, "You're going to kill me!" He sunk in his chair. "What did you do?"

"Well, I wasn't doing to well on Monopoly when you left…"


"And then I moved to quarter triple play and lost even more… I was down about $100…"

"Yes…" he sounded a bit resigned, it sounded like our first loss of the trip. He was trying to just listen and I could see him getting ready to tell me it was okay… that we'd been doing well up until this point and could afford a little loss. We'd just have to stick to our gambling budget for the rest of the trip. It was killing me not to tell him so I blurted the rest out in one burst of air.

"So I went back to the triple play nickel poker and put in $20 and I got it down to 25 credits and I was ready to quit and then I hit my first Royal F$^%ing Flush!!!" and I pulled the two hundred dollars out of my pocket.

Dan cheered and hugged me and made me tell him all about it. It was really fun. I was full of energy for the first time in our trip.

We went downstairs after sort of watching the 6pm show from the room. We went to the Emporium to get some postcards and stamps. That store is huge! I had no idea there was such a huge store in that casino. It had some very nice gift items, jeans, boots, jewelry, trinkets, art, etc. Anything you could want. They even had a huge selection of coffee beans!

I had wanted to send out postcards as Christmas Cards this year and thank you notes to the family who had sent gifts this year. We ended up with a big handful of cards and a few books of stamps. The checking out at the store was a problem. Apparently the employees of Sam's Town got a gift certificate because the place was crawling with employees with these cards. As far as I can tell there are only three registers in the place and only one of them (jewelry counter) had stamps. That made for sort of a long wait.

Once that was taken care of, I went to the Town Hall to get my jacket. I got upstairs and tried it on. The inside of the right sleeve was twisted funny, so back down I went to exchange it. Finally back to the room to write all those cards.

Dan went downstairs at 8pm to play blackjack and I tried to ignore the laser show outside to watch some 3rd Rock from the Sun on TV. I went downstairs to play and lost about $40.

*** Dan Writes *** I read the other day in Casino Player magazine that good and bad luck does exist, and that mathematicians call this statistical fluctuation. And statistical fluctuation was in effect tonight. At blackjack, I turned $60 into $100, and colored up to my first black chip. Sonya got her first Royal Flush in video poker. She was hand-paid $200. That was a nice pay, and more than offset the $100 she was down when she hit the royal.

I haven't done much photography in the past few years, and when I do it I seem to enjoy it. I took the tripod, camera and lenses out to attempt some cool timed exposures of the water & laser show here. It is really tough to set the exposure in this situation, so I just shot everything wide open at 1 second and hoped for the best.

I had arranged to meet Dan on the 2nd floor balcony during the 10pm show, but he was somewhere else. It turned out that he was on the second floor, but around the corner on the side of the building with a closer view of the waterfall area. I saw him right after the show and we sat to talk a little. I asked how he did at blackjack. He told me that he played for a long time and had fun, but that he left the table with only one chip. Now, there is a saying that you can't bullstuff a bull-stuffer… or something like that. My initial thought was that he had one red chip as he plays $5 BJ. But then from the gleam in his eye I knew that didn't happen. I said, "Is it a black chip?" and he pulled one from his pocket. HURRAY!!

Dan ran up to the room to get some more film for his camera and I sat down at some bizarre VP machine by the second floor restrooms. I can't tell you the name of it, but it's like the Odessy machines... with the big TV screen. And it automatically holds the cards for you. Sort of boring really, but I turned $20 into $57.50 in about 5 hands. That's more like it!

We took some pictures of the decorations downstairs and had an ice cream in the atrium. It was nice to just sit and chat a bit. We don't get much time to talk about nothing at home. Between working, cooking, doing the dishes, school, email and all the online groups we like to keep up with, we rarely even see each other, so quiet time together is much appreciated.

After our ice cream we played some slots and Video Poker and then went upstairs to bed. I was up about $130 from the whole trip. I think Dan is up about $75-80. Not too shabby considering we're more than halfway through.