Wednesday, December 28, 2011

TR snippet Lucky club

I am sorry to have lost some of my Vegas notes from last trip, so I have to depend on my memory.

I thought I'd be taking a couple buses to use the free food voucher I had won here in the contest to review casinos.  But I met an old buddy from a long abandoned board who was playing in the Imperial Palace freeroll, and he offered to drive me out for a free meal.  It gave us time to catch up and seemed fun.
At the casino I just unraveled.  The ACG coupons are for new sign ups.  I was one.  He was one.  But I could not manage to keep them in my hand.  So I did not play the matchplay.  
I did go for the two free drinks, and since they were out of draft beer, they let me pick for a huge selection of bottled Mexican beer.  I had Modelo.  
I liked the Latino flavor of this casino.  I had thought it would be more like Longhorn, which is fine, or Bighorn which is pretty basic, but I liked this place.  Even though I could not seem to keep my mind working, I had a fine time.

They would not let me take inside photos, even though I explained I was doing a review.  At first, they said my voucher had expired, but I showed the book, explained the contest, told them I was writing it all up, and then the chef came out and was as acomodating as he could be.  As a result I am not quite sure if the food was the standard or a special for the guy with the notebook.

We asked if the free meals included appetizers and deserts.  Oh, yes they did, but we could not eat all the food that would have brought.  We shared some wonderful chicken wings, very well prepared and served as I asked, without being covered so the crisp was still there.  I was born and raised in Buffalo.
I had the mixed fajitas and was served enough to feed about four people.  
I have lost my notes and have forgotten what Bart had, perhaps a salad with grilled chicken. 
The food was great!
The chef said that there is a merger in the works where Opera and Lucky Club will have the same cards.

Bart played an assortment of things.  I played a slot that I really liked (also forgotten) with king kong or some large monkey in it.  I don't play slots.  This one I'd go back to play.  I can't really say why.

Everyone treated us kindly and we had a great day there at the Lucky Club.  
I'm going back when my mind is not dysfunctional.

Photos are here:

Here is a sense of the Latino flavor 

They have rooms.  I'd be tempted to stay a couple days if I had a car, but the deals are no better than downtown.

 Here is where we ate the fine food.

Afterward my buddy gave me a tour of North Vegas, taking me through some sketchy areas and showing me the sad neighborhoods, some dominated by gangs.
There had been some cool places in those neighborhoods including this place, now long gone

check these images:
Now it was a tough place.
In one section the highway had chopped the old neighborhood in half and protest was not productive.

There has been a good bit in the news of North Las Vegas perhaps being swallowed up by Las Vegas politically.

Nevada State Museum

This is on my Vegas list for my next visit.

Friday, December 16, 2011

TR Snippet: UNLV Campus walk, the desert, museum artifacts, art, and bull riding

I knew that it could not face intense and lengthy gambling if my small bankroll was to sustain me for 23 days.  I also knew that I hated leaving Vegas with so many interesting trips still on a list of things to do because all I seemed to do was play poker and drink.  And I noted that in my earlier trips I often lose when I play the first couple days, so I wondered if I needed time to adjust before playing and time to settle down.
Low limit live poker is about unconscious rhythm.  You can feel it, but not create it.
Wild Bill was not coming until a few days after I arrived.
So, I planned a good solo outing to see parts of Vegas I usually miss and that would not be interesting to Bill.

Leaving from downtown I started out in the morning on the Centennial Express, a bus that weaves about, crosses the strip at The Fashion Show Mall and then makes its way to the UNLV campus.  Part of its purpose is to provide students an easy bus route to class, so it runs more often on weekdays.  It was a weekday, but the bus was almost empty when I caught it.

To go South I caught it at Casino Center and Fremont, next to Binions.
I was dropped at the campus on Maryland.

Just two steps on campus and I was in a small desert garden and along my day's walk I saw others.  These are scattered all around the campus and planted with various desert flowers, trees, and cactus.  Even in October there was some color, and I found this a fine way to see a bit of the desert without a car.

The UNLV campus is huge.  It runs along Maryland from Flamingo to Tropicana. It makes for good walking, but it can be hard finding the right route.  Almost right away I bumped into a box office and they had maps of the campus.
I always find great pleasure in  any campus visit.  When I started college at SUNY Buffalo, I found the campus such a luxury compared to my home neighborhood, on the East Side of Buffalo.  In those days there was little danger on campuses and I thought of being on campus, even in the dark of night, as being on a wonderful island of peaceful calm compared to my neighborhood streets where certain guys hung on certain corners just looking for a brawl and an evening walk meant picking a path around trouble.
The whole university  experience pulled me out of my narrow neighborhood, and emersed me in centuries of new ideas.   And the joy of that opportunity to learn and know stays with me even in this older age.

So to be on campus here in Nevada, on a warm sunny day, in the midst of young people walking, biking and on skateboards felt just fine, and the icing on the cake was the pretty girls.
In my college years I did not have money for a modern skateboard, and it would have been useless most of the time at SUNY Buffalo, but they were just becoming popular and there was one long easy stretch of walkway to ride.
I took a drawer front from some old dresser and mounted the wheels from the skates I used as a kid and I rode it along that long pathway for a few Autumn weeks until one hard fall on my tailbone discouraged me.
In Nevada the skateboard is a common means of transportation.  I have a nephew who used his daily to commute to his job at Pizza Hut.
It is much faster than walking, fun, and easier to secure than a bike.

I headed toward the Barrick Museum.  I knew I wanted to see the museum both for the regular exhibits and also for a short run exhibit of banned comic books called Seduction of the Innocent.

The museum was less full than it usually is.  One whole section was being reworked with temporary paintings that reflected themes that fit into the Halloween season.
I think this mask collection is a permanent display, but it too fit well into Halloween.

I enjoyed the comic display.   It was interesting to see how far these books were from what I read as a kid and to wonder who was reading these.

They did not photograph very well, but here is a site with photos of the Omaha Cat comic.  Pretty wild and racy stuff.  

I don't want to take a chance on violating copyright, but click on any interesting cover and it will enlarge for a better view.  Included in the display  was some of the history of the banning 

I always like the old ceramics of a culture.  This display includes interesting pieces from various cultures in Central America.

 I love everything decorated with fish.  Fishing is such an old occupation and I feel connected to the centuries when I'm  out being an angler.
I loved this one.  


I had picked my day also to coincide with the Professional Bull Riders competition held in the Thomas Mack Center right on that campus.
Tickets were advertised for as little as $20, but I bought a bit better seat for $36, still a cheap price for such an event.  
I had a long wait, so I decided to go up to the Pinball Hall of Fame.  I walked out to Tropicana and took the bus.  On the way I saw the Crowne and Anchor English Pub
and remembered their great offer of  free lunch for video poker play.  

I was hungry, so in I went.

I recommend this spot, even though I went a bit on tilt and lost $100 in the short pay machines.  It surprises me that I want to go back, but I do.
The ambiance was just great.  Soft blues mixed with other music played.  The bar was populated but not crowded. The ambiance was delightful.
A very pretty and personable waitress explained the rules of the free lunch.  I was required to play 15 hits of max play quarters, thus putting at risk my $20 at least once.  For that I got lunch and a fine beer. I could not decide which beer to have and she actually gave me three tastes from the many tapped beers. I can't remember which I chose.  But I was amazed that she was so easy and friendly to a guy getting a free meal.  
Of course, that is the way to be, isn't it?  Jackie Gaughn knew that and he was right. Some of the newer "experts" don't know how to lure and keep a customer.  
If a frugal and disciplined gambler like me can be lulled into losing $100 on short pay Deuces, well the place is doing something right.  I ate lamb in a bread bowl and it was all delightful.  It is the best bread bowl I can remember having anywhere.  However, if I go again I won't keep chasing lost money.

I walked down to the Pinball Hall of Fame and soothed myself with games where I could only loose at most 75 cents a play.

 I did not do this, but I remember being so fascinated with these coins when I was a kid.

This is my favorite game.  I play it every time I visit.  I remember seeing these cartoons, even in high school when there was an evening show featuring Daffy Duck.

After busing back to the campus, I was still early for the bull riding, so I parked myself on a busy campus walkway where some students were selling baked goods, and a blood mobile collected blood donations and passing in front of me was a cross section of the students going from class to class.  It was fine to sit at a table in the warm sun and watch the parade of young folks, dressed in the most casual and in suits as well, walking, biking, riding skateboards, quiet and determined or in intellectual conversation.  
And did I mention the pretty girls?
From a vending machine I had a drink that cost half what the prices were in the tents and trucks of food set up for the Bull Riding event.  
One fine thing for me in touring a campus is there is always cold water from a fountain and always a nearby bathroom, even in the "desert" areas.  These things become increasingly important for me as I age.

I sat near the soon to open doors of the Mack Center and watched the audience stream in, many dressed in cowboy gear with hats and shirts and interesting belt buckles.

All around this event were huge Ford Trucks with Ford Built Tough plastered around.  It seems ironic since I remember FORD meaning "Found On the Road Dead" or "Fix Or Repair Daily."  I wonder if they are built better now.  It is a good way to change the image to attack the old stereotype.  
I also wonder if bull riders are loyal Ford guys.  My dairy farm raised buddy Dick and his family always bought and defended Ford vehicles.  My family was a Chevy family, so the banter was on often, and certainly always came up whenever we had nothing else to talk about, when the cows were in and milked, and we walked the couple miles of highway back to Lime Lake for roller skating.

When I got in to the Mack Center, I saw what looked like a very small area and huge screens.  I have not been to a bull riding event, so for a while I worried that I had come just to a televised bull riding with the actual bull riding to occur somewhere else.  The area did not look ready for bull riding.
And it wasn't ready just yet.

It was opening night, so there was a bit of ceremony.  Since I don't actually follow the celebrities of bull riding, this would mean nothing to me, and I'll probably skip it next time; however, I was amused and delighted that as well as putting the spotlight on old star riders of the bullring, they put it on old star bulls as well. Funny to see these bulls placidly standing in the spotlight and honored with applause from a crowd who remembered them.

Then there was an opening ceremony.  It included a military induction of new recruits and some returning Veterans  and some honorary speeches.  Generally, I don't much like these ceremonies.  I'd rather support the troops with additional resources so that returning Veterans don't have to wait a year to discuss issues of post traumatic stress at a VA hospital.  Or perhaps a jobs fair for returning Vets.  Or some added resources for rehabilitation of the wounded.  It is not such a feel good kind of Rah! Rah! exprience, but war is not football and these guys come back after all the hoopla with real physical and mental issues.
But this one I liked, I suppose because it was all Air Force and reminded me again of my youth.  Also, it was a real experience and not all oversentimentalized pathos .  
Young recruits took the oath right there on the bullring floor.

All through these activities was a fellow doing a clown act to make up for time to rearrange things in the arena.  It was the worst clown act I have ever seen.  He just winged it.  Even his jokes were stale.

And then the riding started. 

The arena was quickly transformed and two bull riding were areas set up across from one another so that there could be a few rides on one side followed by a few on the other.  
I am not much in favor of sports that hurt the players, but I really got into this bull riding.  
It was amazing!  
And the screens were helpful because at any time I could glance up for some detail.  Each ride goes very quickly.  We get a brief summary of the guys prior rides, current hopes  and past injuries as he wraps the rope just the way he wants it.  
Then the gate is opened and the rough ride is on.  I don't understand any of the techniques, but I can count the seconds the rider stays on. 
Riders came from the States but also from Canada, South America, Australia.  Each ride was very important.  This was the National Championships.   
I'll go again if I am in town on the days they ride, but I'll skip the first night and go on the nights when there is no ceremony and only riding.

In the dark coming out, I got twisted up and was unsure where to go, so I just followed some other audience members and when I emerged from the campus I was closest to the 108 bus.  I decided to take that to the BTC and switch to get downtown.  It was a bad decision because the scheduled bus had broken down, and I waited my longest wait of the Vegas trip, 40 minutes.  When I got on the bus, everyone was grumbling and complaining.  Some had been on the broke down bus and had to wait for this one and reboard.

I did not make it as far as the BTC.  At the Stratosphere there is a shared stop with the SDX and I decided to switch buses there.  It is a fine stop at night because Denny's is right there and so while I waited people could see my from the glass and were my street sense hackles to rise for any reason, the door to Denny's was steps away.  Very unlikely to have any difficulties there.  With me were folks from Denmark trying to understand the ticket machine.  
I waited a while.
But Denny's looked inviting and I really had not eaten much that day.
So I went in and had a fine late night breakfast.  The waiter was just great!  It did seem odd to eat in Denny's in Vegas, but there I was, so why not?  The meal was inexpensive as always, but over my $7 a day average for food expenses for the trip.

It was a fine day of travel.  It cost very little.  I had wanted to try this place, but I just can't do everything.  

Rincon Catracho  (my pick)  good food cheap
Latin american
4110 S Maryland Pkwy
Las Vegas, NV 89119
Neighborhoods: University, Eastside
(702) 699-9579

chorizo and eggs

However, it would have been cheaper than that meal at Crowne and Anchor. In my statistics I let $20 be the cost of the meal and the rest count as gambling losses. That seemed to reflect the accuracy of the lunch.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Boulder Highway Casino Crawl

A Boulder Highway crawl might start on the BHX,
off the bus at Arizona Charlie's, back on to stop at Boulder Station, back on to stop at Nellis Street for Sam's Town and a walk over to Eastside Cannery, back on to ride within a minute walk to Sunset Station. The BHX turns on Sunset and goes down to Sunset Station Casino.

After Sunset Station take the 212 which goes out Sunset and around in a large loop catching Joker's Wild just as it catches Boulder Highway again.

After Joker's Wild cross the street for the 402 and take it to Lake Mead Pkwy which is a shared stop with the HDX.  That HDX will then take you into Henderson for the casinos there.  

I have not done this yet but here are my notes.

Club Fortune Casino
725 South Racetrack Road
Henderson, NV 89015-8540
New HDX - to Boulder and Horizon.  Walk 7 minutes.
South Racetrack is the same as Horizon only on the left. Just walk up that street.  The poker room has a $3 RAKE but $2 more for promotions.
Evening may be the best as they give some snacks and there are specials.
Tournament where you beat the boss looks pretty cool.  It has bounties.

Club Fortune also has a deal that you buy a meal for $10 and get $10 in slot play.

As long as the crawl is done early enough (before about 11 pm) before the Boulder bus schedules change, you then have an easy and quick ride on the HDX back to downtown.
Later, it still is possible, but I have not done it and have not studied out the clear details of getting back from Henderson late at night.

Anyone with corrections or additional information or anecdotes on riding buses along Boulder, feel free to comment.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Summary of my thoughts on the El Cortez newest tricks

The El Cortez established a fee for booking more than 7 nights in a calendar month.  It is $25 a night.  Some report discounters charging $25 a night for the first 7 nights as well.
Some suggest that this is to keep the poor from getting such great deals from the El Cortez that they will come with no intention of gambling.  This is logical unless we look at the details.  Here is my answer to one person suggesting this is their motivation.

This has got to be the biggest urban myth in downtown Las Vegas.
Let's do just a bit of math to show how ridiculous the whole myth is.
What the EC refused me was 9 nights at an average of $34 a night in El Cabana rooms. Actually they let me have a confirmed booking for a few days before they told that they were refusing to "honor" my second reservation.
Now you tell me what you would do if you wanted a really long stay and did not need to be close to gambling. Would you pay $34 a night for a month at over a $1000 for a room with a diminished refrigerator, no laundy facilities, no kitchen, no separate bedroom, very little storage space, no wifi, no decent cable TV, or would you go rent some three bedroom place for less money with maybe a garage and certainly a laundry room. 
And if you were a local, you could easily commit for a year. Places will pay your first month's expenses for a lease.
Vegas is full of rental deals right now. It is a recession. You can get a lot for a grand a month.
Your figure of $600-$700 may match a lucky month in Vintage, but I doubt it could actually be found. At some point some Convention would drive up even those prices. And if they wanted those folks out, limit the 7 day rule only to Vintage.
Also I play poker with local old guys there and some of them are sometimes down and out and living on the edge from paycheck to paycheck. 
They don't rent at the El Cortez. 
If they are really low strapped, they grab a little hotel/motel just down the street. 
Like the Blue Angel. The rates are incredibly cheap.

Incidently, no poker play matters to the El Cortez. I suggested that perhaps playing some certain amount of poker per day might give a guy a pass on the $25 extra fee.
Well, they don't make enough on the poker they told me. 
Well, I'm not bargaining for a comped room here, I told them, just a wave on the added fee for a long stay.
Well, they'd talk it around and get back to me.
Yeah, like that is going to happen.

So, I made the mistake of running some of my cash through their less than the best machines in May, thinking I'd get a couple free nights and then I would just pay the price to stay in one place for most of my trip. 
And I could have stayed 14 days in a row. I changed my airfare so I could get 7 in October and 7 in November. The rule is just 7 in a calendar month.
"Well, yeah, technically you could do that," says the hotel manager with a tone of disappointment.

But by then the good rates at were gone and Gold Spike was offering a better deal and I was mad at the EC anyway. 
I'm glad I did that. 
The Spike seemed happy to have me even without my gambling, happy perhaps to get some money out of an empty hotel. Happy perhaps to have me spreading the word here. They had little cards that asked folks to spread the word. They know they have a good deal on rooms, but continue to be often underbooked.
So, were the nearly homeless looking for a room, they could easily look for a sale there. Nice heat pool. I did not see anyone swimming in their clothes while I was there. 

No, the El Cortez has two nice games they are playing now.
First, they are going to be the upscale new cool fun place downtown and attract the next generation of hip folks with money. They want them, but they want to get them in, get the cash, and get them out.

Second, there are folks who won't look at the math of what they charge but take those discounted rates Jimbo quoted because they are reasonable compared with Vegas strip rates they see and they are getting bombarded with just how young and cool and hip the whole area is becoming. These unsavy travelers are the same ones paying resort fees of $20 plus with no real amenities, or being surprised by them at checkout. Hopefully, enough talk about all these sad fees will get more people to the point where they can do the math.

Okay, I know the hotel is there to make money and blah, blah, blah,

But I am not there to give them my money, and I don't have to play their new game.

I get more offers from the Four Queens at my level of play. Those offers exceed mathematically even the El Cortez occasional free night offers where you pay $60 a night for the room and get it back in freeplay and food. This trip for $24 I got 7 nights, $120 in freeplay (which I cashed out for $260), $50 in food, 2 free breakfasts and a free slot tournament.

My role is to get the best deals I can for the least amount. To do that I need flexibility when I schedule, the ability to book and then change booking to catch freebies. 4 Queens freebies come very late in the booking game. A limit of 7 nights is not going to give me flexibility to book early 9 nights and shave it back when the freebies come. That is exactly what I did at the Gold Spike.

And the El Cortez wants me to go down the street. They want to get in the tourists with more money to put at risk, know it takes on average about 3 to 5 days to fleece them of the bankroll, and why would they want to accommodate anyone much after that. 

Meanwhile I got nervous that I only played through $5000 in my last Four Queens days, but the host said I'll keep getting mailers with that play. It would not get me direct comps, that would take more. 
And this host was perfectly upfront and clear. 
He even explained what I must do to add a few nights at Binions poker rate and not affect my daily gambling score at the Queens.
So, who would I like? The casino that takes time to take care of me, listens, and tells me what they can do or the one that waits until I have a confirmed booking and then decides not to honor it?

Also, compare this lame 7 night policy to the policy of the Stratosphere. They will book up to 28 nights in a row. 
Oh, maybe I should not have said that, all the undesirable long staying folks will flock there now that the word is out. Oh, what have I done!!

They have a $7.50 resort fee that includes free tower access for each person staying in the room. After 5 nights the fee is capped and is not charged for the rest of the stay. Yep, you can stay there, and go up to watch the sunrise with coffee every morning for 28 days and the last three weeks of those tower visits are absolutely free. 

Must be a different set of bean counters.

The Strat boys perhaps have not heard of the invasion of the nearly homeless, nor do they subscribe to 
Sheer 'em quick and put 'em out to pasture.
So, which casino of these three mentioned pisses me off?

The game EC played when Jackie was not a senile living legend but in charge was get 'em in on a deal and keep 'em happy and comfortable and maybe a little drunk, and then they would do what all gamblers do eventually, go on tilt and drop the bankroll. But the key was to keep presenting good will. Jackie was the absolute model of good will. A guy could come up, tell him he was out the bankroll and get a $20 bill to go off on his way. It worked then. It built an empire of casinos. 
But perhaps times have changed.

Except for the refrigerator, the Gold Spike meets my needs and tosses in wifi in the room and TCM on the tele, and this time at least a pool I could be in for almost two hours when air temps were in the 40's.
Oh, Jimbo, ask for their supersized ice bucket. They have them. Then you go to the back of the bar and get that filled with ice. I saved leftover fajita bits in that makeshift fridge one night and there was still ice and cold meat to nibble in the morning.

From the Gold Spike, if I want to play poker at the El Cortez, I just stumble over.
But here is what happened this past trip. I started to care less about poker at the EC too, even though I have never been treated badly there by any staff. I ended up at the Cracked Aces games at IP and Flamingo where play builds hours for a freeroll (one caught $140 and required just $5 dealer tip at buy-in) And I began to look more carefully for games on the strip where the softer games are anyway. At those games I ran into many of the guys who once played the El Cortez game. So I did not even lose community. 
And CET, at least over the past few years, gives me free rooms for poker play and cheap rates beyond the free rooms.
These games start well before anything is happening at EC.
I am thinking the times to play at EC are when I've gone to bed at 3-5 PM and am up after midnight fresh to face the guys up all night.
Fewer good players.

So, the El Cortez and I are both happy. They got rid of me to make way for the new upscale, money doesn't matter young crowd. And because I was looking other places, I found better deals. 

Now I bring this up just because I want to let those of you who are frugal travelers and trying to win at all the gambling games, including those that start with booking a deal, know the options. 
Having been going to the El Cortez since the days when my $1000 of VP play a day would get me mailed offers of 2 free rooms over 3 nights, and played poker with old Jackie for hours over the past couple decades, I had kind of built up that sense of a home casino and the Cabana rooms cinched that. they had me for as little as I am worth.
Then the fee dumped me out.
Now the Spike has me. I wish they had some decent gambling there.


I also suggest it is time to stop calling names to poor folks. Losers, fleas, nits, scum bags, low life etc are just not names people should need to suffer. So they have a bit less and don't live the lifestyle. So what. We don't call ethnic differences with derogatory names. Let's stop calling out the economic classes as well. They are poorer folks who don't gamble as much as rich tourists. I can see why they are not desirable casino hotel tenants. However, the idea that there are hordes of them beating on the doors of El Cortez hospitality is just a story being spread to keep the next economic level looking down at what they left, or where they might be going if the market crashes. 

The "get them in, fleece them, and toss them out" casinos would like to have a scapegoat so this cold calculating policy can be blamed on those bad poor people who take so much advantage of all the good, real American folks.

It is just the newest in bean counter strategy to get more of the money, faster.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Comparing 6 hotel room experiences

I’ll rank the rooms I tried this past trip in order of the best to the good.


Of the frugal and free rooms I choose, this one is always above the others in comfort and classiness.  Everything is always clean here and quiet.  Generally, I don’t bother with view but take a room that will make the elevator trips easy.
I oversold that I wanted quiet this time, because I ended up with a room so far from the elevator that I did not need any time on the treadmill, just a walk to my room and back.  I’ll not stress quiet so much next time.
I am not certain I will be putting this place in the mix.  My play is slight here and I get two free nights with food every six months.  The trip out and back from downtown is inconvenient and long. If I dropped this place, I’d save luggage on the bus, and the way downtown is shaping up, I don’t need these two free nights.
But the room was as nice as always.


I had my doubts about this place.  But it turns out to be where I will look for a sale my next trip.  Here are the details”

It really ties with the Orleans.  It is not as plush but the wifi in the room as well as a heated pool and TCM on the tele makes it a great choice.
Also, the location is easy for check in check out as it is around other hotels I would use.


I like these rooms. Everything is comfortable.  I like the television and the coffee pot.  I like the way they treat me when I check in and out and the way the maids are.  I like it that they comp three nights a month rather then two, and I am getting weekend nights comped.   I found out that I can extend my stay without pumping more money into the VP by taking Binions poker rate of $24 a night and I’ll try that for at least a couple days next trip.  Five in a row is very nice.
This trip for one weekend I was in the North Tower for the first time.  I’ll try to avoid that.  They said that they would put me in quiet, but I could hear faint street music.  It did not matter because I never slept during that time, but clearly the South Tower is better.  One advantage to dropping the Orleans is that from wherever I come downtown, I can walk over early and ask to wait for a South Tower room, and just go back for my luggage once the room I want has been cleaned.
Coming from the Orleans I showed up tired after luggage on buses and just wanted to get in any room.


I got a much better Pavillion room this trip. Perhaps that is because I asked if there was a room with a table for my computer. There was not, but it may have made a difference in where they put me. Or it may just have been the luck of the draw. New safes are installed here and there is a coffee maker.  I don't remember having either on my last trip.

The biggest issue here is that any noise in the walk around area outside the room is heard in the room. After an all nighter, I wanted a early morning nap, and it was impossible. The room cleaners’ carts sound like there is a little train running right outside the door and the workers or cleaners shout to one another because they are outside and that seems fine.
However, I think it will be fine if I sleep in the night time.  And if I use them at the end of my trip to also get the free ride to the airport, I’ll not need to worry. The last couple days of any trip I exhaust myself getting the last little bit out of Vegas and preparing myself to be sleepy on the airplane ride back, so I shorten it with sleep.
However, with the right rates at Gold Spike, I’d skip the El Cortez altogether next trip as well. The WAX is just as good a ride to the airport, can be taken any day and at later hours than the EC shuttle, and requires no tip.

To make up for a computer table, I opened the first two drawers in the phone cabinet next to the bed and pulled over this long padded bench. My computer rests easily on those shelves. Using the phone book and some other bits of things I propped up the Gideon's bible and it makes a fine mouse pad. So I can write comfortably.


Except for location, this Mardi Gras tower room comes in last. I did not want to pay for a renovated room, and I found the room pretty old looking and dull. Also, it just was not cleaned properly.  I found nail clippings on the poorly vacuumed rug.  
I cleaned up enough for me and requested no service the three nights I was there because I tend to spread out a lot with piles here and there, and I just don’t want anyone in the room, and I don’t feel like picking up for the maid. Solo I always have plenty of towels. I can make my own bed.
Well, this maid had just a touch of attitude about that. Seemed odd. I was saving her work. I did not like it. Usually I just practice a bit of my Spanish and make a call to housekeeping and put up my "Do Not Disturb" and it is seen as standard practice.
It may have been that I got tired of the “Do Not Disturb” sign slipping off the door handle and falling on the ground whenever I opened the door, so I stuck a bandaid on it to secure it to the door.  I liked that too because I knew if I got my room number mixed up, I could find the door with the bandaid.

In the end, on checkout I left and forgot a couple shirts, so I came back and the maid  was fine about letting me in again.  I had checked out, and my key did not work. So who knows.
In terms of location I love Harrah’s when it is cheap or free, so I’d go again, but this was not like the room I had in Mardi Gras Tower before.  I even had to move a round table over near the bed to hook up my computer as where the table was, the electric box had a plate over it.  
It did not matter, I carry two electrical splitters and an extention cord, but I expected better at Harrah’s.


Fine location and an okay room, but the beds are just as folks say.  I was too tired to care the first night, even to move to the other bed which was soft.  I laughed because I don’t think I have had a bed that hard since basic training in the Air Force. And then I feel asleep. 
The second night I slept on the soft version in the other bed.  However, these thin mattresses are very different from those of the Four Queens that are twice as thick and moving from Fitz to 4Q I really got a sense of the contrast.  If Fitz gives me a couple nights free, I’ll take a room with two queen beds and put the soft mattress on top of the hard one.
Location was great.  It is just a short walk across a narrow street to move luggage to the Four Queens.
I liked the little pool and would like it better in warm weather.  One day the sun took the icy feel off and I swam for a while.  Another day I put on my wetsuit and went in for a while, but the water was still pretty cold and I did not swim for the near two hours I swam at the Gold Spike.
So, here is a question to keep asking. Is that Gold Spike pool going to be heated now all the time?