Las Vegas – cheap slots and free drinks

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Not used to having a king size bed and a luxurious hotel room, we slept in for our first morning in Las Vegas and only got going around lunchtime. Vegas is more of a night-time place anyhow so we felt fully justified in doing so, not to mention paying for a hotel room we wanted to make full use of it. We went for a stroll down the Strip to check out a discount ticket place where we picked up some cut-price tickets for a brunch buffet at the Monte Carlo casino and a dinner buffet at the Planet Hollywood casino. We only had an hour or so before the Monte Carlo buffet ended so we crossed the road, bought our tickets and attacked the buffet. The amount of food on hand is staggering at these places. Considering this was a brunch buffet too, although they do state brunch to be any time from 10am to 3pm here. We had a variety of Mexican, American, Asian and European dishes; two plates each and desert. Full to the brim we staggered out onto the gaming floor and found a slot machine in our budget range (25c) where we played, didn’t win much but scored a ‘free’ drink off a cocktail waitress. If you’re gambling here they give you free drinks so the strategy is find a cheap machine, go slow and catch the eye of a waitress before you lose more than the drink is worth. This became a theme of our two days here.

View from hotel room

View from our hotel room, looking towards the Strip

Paris Casino

Inside the Paris casino, gaming floor

From the Monte Carlo we made our way into the Paris casino where the same strategy was adopted only this time our waitress was sporting even less clothes and more legs in the French fashion I guess. We also checked out the other famous casinos being the Bellagio (water fountain show outside the front) and Caesars Palace (fake open-air effect forum shopping experience inside the complex complete with Roman statues and fountains). In Las Vegas there is the new and the old in the way of casinos. We had just sampled the new(isn) so we then caught a bus up to the old strip – Fremont Street. The whole street here is an array of neon signs with casinos on every corner. We looked into a few before deciding on the Golden Nugget. It was here that Kirsty found ‘her machine’  – the Black Widow. This was lucky for a while where we scored a few drinks and won some money. In one spin she made about $10, big spenders I know! The sun was going down outside so we went out to see some more of the neon signs in all their glory and then went in the Four Queens casino where I became a member for a free pack of playing cards. It being my birthday month we also got a 2-1 voucher for the restaurant which turned out to be perfect timing as we were starting to get hungry and grumpy. Steak dinner out of the way, we wandered some more. There is definitely more flesh on display in Fremont than down on the Strip and that’s saying something. We caught our bus back and checked out the Cosmopolitan – one of the newer casinos on the Strip and noticeably smarter and more ‘in vogue’. Some table-top dancing girls as well. Then onwards to our casino/hotel (MGM Grand) followed by bed.

Fremont Street

One of the many casinos along Fremont Street

The Strip at night

Looking down the Strip at night

We woke on the second day in the knowledge that we had to tackle an all-you-can-eat dinner buffet and most likely a late night trawling the casino floors so in no particular hurry we got up and had breakfast. There are some older casinos further up the Strip that we hadn’t checked out on the first day so we caught the bus up to Circus Circus. Here they have live circus acts in a big-top style arena. A free version of Cirque de Soleil which we wanted to go to but the tickets were a little out of our price range ($100 plus). Walking back to the Strp through ‘Slots a Fun’ we found the ‘Black Widow’ machine again that had been kind to us and threw in a dollar only to get three back. Result. Clearly we are not high rollers here but you can still have fun on a shoestring budget! We then went through a few more casinos on the way back to our hotel to get ready for our evening of feasting and gambling. Stopping back at the Cirque de Soleil ticket office in the MGM Grand we managed to score some last-minute cheap decent tickets for ‘Ka’, an asian/steam-punk style circus performance. Beforehand though we had to knock over the buffet which we managed, two plates and desert again. There was even more food at this one and a range of cuisines – American, Mexican, middle-Eastern, Italian, Asian, seafood, salad, the list goes on.

Cirque De Soleil - Ka

Excitedly awaiting for Cirque de Soleil performance to start

Fingers Crossed in the Bellagio

Keep those fingers crossed…

We made it back to the MGM for our show and just in time. Once inside, we couldn’t get over the scale and the set-up of the theatre. The shows stay here for so long that the whole theatre is decked out with themed gangways and towers looming alongside and over the audience. There was a strict no camera policy here so no photos I’m afraid. It was astonishing to sit through with all the acrobatics and crazy stunts mixed in with martial arts, not to mention flying through the air over the heads of the audience. We were thrilled to have seen a show like this, especially in Vegas. After the show we ventured into some more casinos on the hunt for waitresses and free drinks who seem to get more elusive as the night goes on, especially around the cheap machines. After some searching, paying for drinks and false-starts with ‘one-drink’ waitresses, we found a waitress back at the MGM who was quick and keen to get us another so we stayed on a machine for a while enjoying ourselves betting 25c a go and not winning much but then not losing much also. Our night almost over, on the way back to our hotel room we bet $25 on ‘red’ on the Roulette table and promptly lost. Our only bet over $1 and it didn’t pay off. We feel like two days here is enough and are happy to be moving on to Yellowstone and back to nature.


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  1. Dad /

    Good to see you got away form sin city with your wallet IN-TACKED. Mum has STARTED her PERFORMANCES with OZ Opera However the practice is still going on (and on).

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