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Florida Gambler's July 05 TR - Repost (was archive # 15)

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PostPosted: Jan Sun 01, 2006 9:47 am    Post subject: Florida Gambler's July 05 TR - Repost (was archive # 15) Reply with quote

Just got back from Reno 5 hrs ago. Went up on Sunday 7/17 got to Eldorado hotel at about 4:30pm. Self park at the parking lot, You need to validate your parking ticket at the front desk or Bell capt desk . otherwise you have to pay for parking. Free with Validation, not true, had to pay $3 extra per day for resort fee.went to front desk to check in. desk agent told me I had an up grade to a Suite, I was suppose to get a room in the Deluxes tower. but ending up in the serria tower, This was a handicapped room, hope some one didn't really need it. The room was kind of old, needs new carpets, the wife said the toilet bowel was too high, feet didn't reach the floor, (handicapped bathroom). Asked my wife if she brought any $$, stated she will go to the ATM, heard that before. Both of us played slot machine, didn't really win much, but came home $100 short. Walked across the street to Harrahs, had to get my $7 cash bonus from cashier window. played more slots and left with $60, gave that to my wife, I am the ATM machine. Monday went shopping at Meadowwood mall. also went to Tuesday Morning store. Spend a little, wife saw something she had been looking for in the internet and QVC, said the price was right. so we bought it.
Dinner time, we wanted to eat at the prime rib restaurant at Eldorado hotel, but guess what, Restaurant closes on Monday and Tuesday. so we end up at the buffuet, had a $25 food credit from the hotel, Food okay, but really wanted Prime Rib. After dinner played more slots machine, everytime we hit a large credit, we would cash out. ended up with 5 cash voucher, I redeem them this morning before going home. total of $160. satisfied for this 3 day trip.
Be advised, anyone driving up to Reno on 80 from Sacramento, alot of road constructions, two lanes becomes one, traffic backed up and couple of cars were over heated. temperatures in the 90s and 100 in Reno.

What’s up everybody! I just got back from my 2 week long snowboarding and gambling trip to the Reno/Tahoe area and wanted to post my trip report. I had a blast (even though I lost my butt...both cheeks!)

I started out on my adventure from Orlando, Florida immediately following our annual surf trade show. My original flight itinerary was Orlando to Las Vegas to Reno. However, once I arrived in Las Vegas, I was greeted with a sign from America West Airlines saying that my flight had been cancelled due to fog and the snowstorm. Darn! Stuck in Vegas! What to do, what to do?

Well, I jumped on the phone and called the Gold Dust West in Reno to cancel the reservation that I had made with them that night. I was issued another flight for the next morning, so I gathered all my luggage and gear and then it was off to the Boulder Highway and Sam’s Town, the only area of LV I had any luck at during my last trip. I was a little bummed out, because I had to pay full rack rate as I had no reservations. My original plan was to go to Vegas after Reno and Tahoe were done, and I had booked directly on their website to get the $29 room deal. However, since it was a Saturday night I wound up paying almost $100 for the room. I won 500 nickels on a Double Diamond but that was about it for that night.

Next morning, I wake up to check if my replacement flight was a go, only to find out that it too had been cancelled. I was issued yet another flight for the next morning at 8 am. I called Harvey’s Tahoe to cancel my first night of reservations there. Fortunately they didn’t have any problems and were cancelling reservations without penalty same-day due to the storm. So it was rack rate at Sam’s Town all over again, only this time $59 so it wasn’t quite as bad. Day #2 wasn’t quite as bad, I won $175 on a penny Tabasco multiliner that afternoon thanks to the Country Store Bonus, but then took a stroll down the Boulder Highway to Arizona Charlies East (where I lost about half of it), followed by Boulder Station (where I lost the rest). I thought those casinos on the Boulder Highway were supposed to be much higher paying than those on the Strip?

Next morning, I woke up with a pounding headache from ten too many screwdrivers only to realize it was 10:30 am. Damn! Missed the second replacement flight! I called the Tahoe Casino Express shuttle at the Reno Airport to ensure that the roads were open and they said they were good to go. So it was back on the web to book yet another ticket! On the way out of Sam’s Town, the valet said, “So it’s back to reality, huh?” I said, “Nope, the party has just started, I’m off to Reno/Tahoe, if I ever get there!”

Once I got to Reno I jumped on the next bus to Stateline. Here’s where the madness really begins!

In Tahoe, the Horizon is my gambling place. They have the best cash and comps back and also the loosest slots/VP. It’s been proven. Last year I came out $800 ahead in craps on my January trip and won $400 on a $1 Top Dollar machine immediately followed by a $1600 win on $1 Double Ten Times Pay on my February trip, all within one hour, on my way out of town (worked out great that way, no chance to lose it when you’re going home!). Lots of people say the Horizon is a dumpy place, but they make up for it with their very loose machines. At the time I was making all the reservations, however, they couldn’t seem to get the nightly rate straight after applying all my points, so I decided to stay at Harvey’s, who offered me a $39 room rate with ZERO points on my Total Rewards card. I will be the first to tell you that I do not like Harrah’s and their capitalistic, drag-you-in-and-rip-you-off ways, but a deal is a deal. Or so I thought...

Checking in was a breeze, and they even gave me a free upgrade from a classic to a deluxe room in the Mountain Tower. I was really satisfied that I got everything I asked for, as they have written all over their website that room preferences can’t be guaranteed. “Great,” I thought. “Things are finally starting to normalize and I’m here.”

Two hours later I returned from going out and about to get some last minute items in preparation for the next ten days of snowboarding. I decided to go downstairs to check out the new Cabo Wabo Cantina and was paying my bill, I almost passed out when I was told that my debit card had been declined! So it’s back up to the room to call the bank. It turned out that Harvey’s had done what’s called an ATM pre-authorization on my account upon check in in the amount of $1195! Isn’t that righteous, considering that the cost of my stay for that week was only supposed to be $156! Back down at the ATM, I couldn’t get any money out because it was saying my account was in the red about $136. So I called the front desk and they were basically like, “Yeah, we did it, it’s a new policy we have here. But don’t worry, once you check out, we will deduct the actual cost of your stay and any pay per views, room service, etc. and will credit the rest back to your account within 5-7 days.” I was like, “Listen, you F*@*#$*ers just ruined my trip! I have $50 bucks in my pocket. I can’t even gamble or party or eat or do anything now!” I asked this guy about ten times why this “POLICY” wasn’t posted anywhere on their website, at the front desk, or anywhere in their hotel? He then put me through to the management, but the only thing I got was a stinking voicemail. HARRAH’S SUCKS, TELL EVERYBODY YOU KNOW!

Fortunately, I have my own snowboarding gear and got an excellent deal on a season pass to Heavenly early on, so the snowboarding was taken care of for my entire stay. I had never experienced such great riding conditions in my life. All the flight cancellations and hell I had been through were forgotten, but only while I was riding.

Next morning, I was getting ready to go ride again and went down to check out my bank situation. As if I hadn’t already been through enough, I found out that Sam’s Town basically did the same thing with yet another pre-authorization, only they were cool and only did it for double the cost of my stay, not ten times the cost like ole’ Harvey’s did. Upon calling them and explaining the situation, they were cool and did an immediate release. Jeez, what’s up with all these people? I can totally understand that every hotel has its own unique policies and procedures, but in my eye, they have absolutely no right whatsoever to do all that without letting you know about it! That totally puts them in the wrong!

Later on that evening I went to the Horizon to start my gambling. God bless the Horizon. Not even 5 minutes after I got there I had a $280 hit on a dollar Red White & Blue. After playing a little more, I noticed that this machine kept hitting 3 triple blue bars, $80 a hit. I even walked away from it for a while and kept coming back and getting another $80! Malfunction? One of those hidden over 100% payback machines? I didn’t know, I didn’t care, by the end of the night I walked outta there with $800! Finally my luck was starting to change!

So for the rest of the week, it was ride by day, gamble by night. On that Thursday I went down to rage at the front desk some more. I broke out all my reservations for the next week and told them I was cancelling. When asked why, I said, “Well, for starters, I’m not used to having my entire life savings being sucked outta my bank account without warning or reason for a lousy 4 night stay!” I narrowly missed being kicked out by security at that point, let’s just leave it at that!

FINALLY outta Harvey’s on Friday morning. I personally thanked them for such a great set up they have going on and for ruining my trip.

I hadn’t really made any plans for accomodations for the weekend, but it was Martin Luther King weekend and I was contemplating renting a car and driving to Mammoth to meet up with some friends to snowboard there, since my pass at Heavenly is only valid Monday-Friday. On Friday night I wound up at the El Dorado Motel which is right on Hwy. 50 and got a good rate of $59. Excellent super clean rooms, and good management. Tell everyone you know. Saturday night was unfortunately spent right behind the El Dorado at the Thunderbird. Still not a bad rate at $69 but the whole place stunk, total crackhouse, my legs got all cut up after finding millions of tiny glass shards in the sheets, never seen anything quite like it. I took pictures of this place wondering who or what had died in there!

Back at the Horizon on Saturday night, I found a row of $1 Wheel of Fortunes. People were buzzing up and down that someone had just won the progressive at Caesar’s earlier that night, on a quarter machine, it was about 1.5 million. This row of machines was going off. I saw this lady from Colorado hop on a 5 Times Pay and got a $1000 spin. Then ten minutes later her roommate jumps on that same machine and got $500. I started out with about $150 in the machine and was up down up down up down for 4 ½ hours I kid you not. I had never lasted that long on one machine, especially a progressive Wheel of Fortune, especially a $1 machine. I got a $480 hit from a Double Diamond and 2 yellow bars, plus what seemed to be an extraordinary amount of bonus spins. If only it could always be like that...

Then it was off to Mammoth on Sunday. First trip out there. I couldn’t get over how awesome the ride out there through the Sierras is. Took a whole roll of pics just of the mountains. Can you believe my friends had stayed at Harvey’s a week beforehand and went through the exact same thing I did? Once I heard that and re-capped my nightmare, I bent my Harrah’s Total Rewards card and swore off them forever!

I returned to Tahoe on Tuesday afternoon with no reservations anywhere, but after all those good hits at the Horizon, I decided to see if they had any rooms available. I was told right before I went to Mammoth that I had $186 comp dollars and also had a coupon in the mail for 5 times the normal cash back, so I wound up getting almost $50 in cash. I wasn’t thinking about it but rather than checking in through VIP services, I checked in with the front desk. I told them about the Harvey’s incident and they were more than happy to let me pay with cash. I was offered a pretty decent rate of $59 per night and once I entered the room I was waaaay impressed...they gave me a room with a view of the lake on the top floor of the Alpine tower! With a balcony and all! Just when I thought it couldn’t get any better the phone was ringing. It was VIP services. They said that I should’ve checked in with them before going to the front desk, and to always do that in the future. They applied most of my comp dollars towards my stay, then notified me that my rates for the three nites were getting adjusted to the VIP billboard rate, which went down from $59 to $29 per night! I was also told that I could set it up so any further comp dollars I received could be applied towards my stay as well. Bottom line: my stay here got totally comped, and I was given over $200 in cash back when I checked out. Absolute magic!

After my final day of riding on Friday, it was back on the bus to Reno to take advantage of my complimentary 2 night stay at the Sands Regency, courtesy of this board, and John. Thanks again John! They gave me a room with a balcony on the sixth floor of the Empress Tower. Now here unfortunately is where my luck started going bad...lost about $700 in 2 hours. Called it a night. The next morning, got up and lost the rest. Everything I had in my pocket with the exception of about $80. The Sands was a pretty cool place and they have this instant win contest going on where you swipe your player’s card and win a prize. I got to swipe it about ten times and got a total of $18 in EZ money for free slot play, a free T-shirt, and a $3.59 milkshake at Mel’s Diner. I saw a lady hit a royal flush on one of the video poker machines, this lady jumped up and started yelling, but to everyone’s dismay, she was only playing 1 hand, 1 credit, so she was only playing with a nickel and only got about $4. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again:


On Saturday evening I decided to take Alison’s advice and go check out the Peppermill. It was a pretty cool place. Unfortunately my bad luck followed me there and that last $80 went in about an hour. I had just enough for the cab ride back to the Sands.

On Sunday I found an internet terminal to get a ticket back to North Carolina, where my parents have been taking care of my dog since I left. Unfortunately there was nothing available until the next day, so that was one more night at the Sands. The staff was pretty cool and gave me an excellent rate of $29 for that third night. They even directed me to the Palace Jewelry & Loan Pawn shop around the corner where I had to bring my snowboard to get a loan. Got $50 bucks for it and wasn’t able to get it out.

On Monday morning I got up and decided to check out the Strip. I started out with about $25 in my pocket and the first place I hit was the Silver Legacy. 10 quarters on a Haywire. Went across the street to the Eldorado and got 8 more quarters on a Triple Play. Walked past Harrah’s and gave them the finger. Then went to the Cal-Neva. 5 nickels on a Double Diamond. Nothing at Fitzgeralds, The Nugget & The Golden Phoenix, although I had a blast at the Snoop Dogg show there Friday night. When all was said and done, I spent my last $5 at McDonald’s, walked past the Palace to say goodbye to my snowboard again, then jumped on the shuttle bus to the airport. DONE! HUNG! NADA! ZIP! ZILCH! ZERO!

Sorry if I’ve been too lengthy or bored any of you to death, this was too wild of a trip to leave anything out! At this very moment, all that $$ from Harvey’s is STILL not back in my bank account! 2 weeks later! I tried calling them earlier but got put on hold. At this point I can’t even hold my composure even thinking about, saying or reading the word HARRAH’S!

On Friday, I’m returning home to Florida. In a few weeks I’m taking some more time off and doing the whole thing over again...I had too much fun, and the Reno/Tahoe area kicks A$$!

Talk to you all soon, and best of luck (I NEED IT!),
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