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Friday, May 13, 2022

You Only Dine at YOLO Once

Day 12 part two and some things are coming clear to me about modern Vegas, and myself.

Bellagio still has an air of class and sophistication about it. I like that. Loud, raucous, high energy places have always exhausted me, and I've always seeked out quieter environments with good music to listen to.

Bellagio Petrossian Bar

Back in the 90s, we made eight or ten trips to Luxor, but found ourself playing a bank of Bonus Poker machines next to a two story waterfall, which was kind of underneath the escalators to the second level. Believe it or not, Luxor had class then, and we cherished what we called 'the quiet area'. It was an oasis where we could really relax, enjoy playing, and have fun.

The modern 12 story high 2,000 dB penny slots are creating a cacophony in most casinos that I find rattling. Mix all those different machine sounds together and you have a noise not unlike the grommet factory at Royal Canadian Veeblefetzer, where I nursed size 7 grommets out of their robot mother's wombs at the pace of 18,000 per hour.

You've seen them a million times, now make it a million and one times.

At Bellagio, I found some areas in the casino where I could poke away at video keno at a quarter a throw, relax, and enjoy the music they were playing, which was varied, and interesting.

And I found myself continuing with what would be the most enjoyable day of the entire trip. I'd ticked the boxes for the most part, kept up with the blog, and I finally felt myself relaxing.

Keeping the stakes down helped with this no doubt. The first $20 of video keno yielded nothing much, but took 20 minutes. So did the second. And the third. But I kept to my plan of keeping the bets down, going for a straight 5 out of 5 keno win. With one quarter bet, I could win $200. That would make a difference in my total losses for the trip, which stood at $1,610.

Another $20 went by and another and I started to wonder how long I could put up with this level of serenity. I mean, yeah, I hate the in-your-face bombastic blast of Fremont Street, but I'm not completely dead yet!

The video poker paytables at quarters are crap at Bellagio, just like most strip places, but I thought one little twenty wouldn't hurt too much. Besides, I was really enjoying my day. I felt a complete turnaround from the defeats of the day before.

Unfortunately, I didn't have a twenty handy. I had a hundy handy. Named Randy. A handy Randy hundy.

But I was in total Bellagio control, right? I'd be able to cash out at $80 if I was losing. Sure I would.

The machine I picked seemed happy, with lots of small wins. I went up for a while instead of straight down, as is typical. Imagine my shock when I landed a straight flush! From three!

I played on, keeping an eye on the meter, vowing not to blow it by angrily playing through Randy.

I held a couple of threes and punched the button and my eyes kind of couldn't make sense of what I'd hit. Somehow I thought it was a full house, but the credits were rolling up.

Finally, I'd gotten a decent hit on Double Double Bonus - 3s with kicker for $200. Oh yes!

And just like that, I'd won $200.

Including the keno ticket hit from the morning, I was up $138 on the day. Could I keep it rolling?!

It was just such a nice time, strolling through the casino, looking at different games, taking my time. I played some Quick Hit slot that took forever to eat a twenty, and then it never did. I cashed out with five bucks after half an hour of pounding away at the minimum bet of 30 cents a spin.

I did a bunch more video keno, but could never get it to hit that five out of five. I guess the supreme luck I have had on it on prior trip was just that - luck.

An old school BUFFFALLLLO!! machine gave me some good bonuses and I cashed out ahead on it at the end.

I suppose someone, somewhere has tried to get a drunken tattoo that says "INSERT THIS SIDE UP".

On my way out of the casino, I spied with my degenerate eye, something that was nickel 10-play video poker. I had to give it a go, right?

Sadly, my luck discontinue, and I did play the one quad I got into the ground, all except for 25 cents.

And in a wonderful act of serendipity, I plugged that last quarter of a buck into a nearby slot machine.

One spin. And I hit for 40 quarters. I smiled. I cashed out the ten bucks, and went on my way back to Planet Hollywood.

The trip was basically done, and I was finishing on a high note, something I would demolish with my stupid, stupid, choice for my last meal in Vegas.

Back to the room, where I had plenty of time to pack up, relax, take a nap, and look out the window.

I had to have the rental car back for 9:00 pm so I had to leave about 8:30 pm so I had to eat at about 7:45 pm or 8:00 pm.

I considered two or three places, all with lineups, and with the time crunch, ended up at Yolo's. What a fucking horrid experience. All the TVs in the place were blaring with a sports channel showing 90% ads. Nobody there eating was watching, or cared.

All four patrons ignoring the TV with rapt attention.

I'll try to keep this short. I complained and the manager did turn it down. I could take out my earplugs. 

Some ne'er do well uncaring dufus tossed my meal onto the table without a word. The waitress never checked on me because, probably, she knew it was horrible food.

Chicken enchilada with prepackaged rice and baby shit beans.

Nothing was remotely hot, there was barely any sauce on the enchiladas, and the refried beans looked like they'd been run through a Mexican toddler a couple of times.

I ate the obviously microwaved enchiladas because I had to - no time to go anywhere else, and I needed a meal pre-flight.

The waitress denied all culpability by giggling unconfrontationally at everything I threw at her while I paid the bill.

"That was horrendous, you didn't ask, but you probably know, right?"

Giggle giggle.

"Nothing was hot, there wasn't enough sauce - you probably get complaints all the time, am I right?"

Giggley giggle.

"Look over there at the refried beans, they look like baby shit. You know, phbbblllblblblblblblblbllb???"

Giggle giggle giggle.

"I want you to know, I'm on the red eye out of here tonight, and I want you to pray, pray for my soul, because if the plane crashes, that will have been my last meal on this planet."

Giggle giggle giggly giggle.

"Look, I'm serious, if I break up into flaming pieces tonight like the Beatles, I'm blaming it all on YOLO. Oh no!!!"


Finally, she said something. "You want manager?"

"No, I just want you to pray that someday I get to eat something better."

No wonder the place is called YOLO - you only live once, and life is too short to eat there.

And please don't comment and tweet about alllll the other great places I could have gone. It was just one of those badly planned things, and I should have known better. At least my sacrifice will warn others of the YOLO perils, which is what you get 12 hours later after eating here.

Carrying two and a half pounds of cold, shredded, chicken in my gut, a heavy heart, and all my belongings, I began the schlep through the Miracle Mile shops to the parking - and I somehow, got lost. I think I went down a wing, and then came back, and then instead of continuing around the loop, I retraced my steps and went around the long way. I rolled the pedometer on my watch over 99,999 steps, that's all I know.

Good God, am I that old or was I under the influence of baby shit???

I got the car dropped off. I made it to the terminal. I got my boarding pass. I even made it to the lounge in time for a drink.

As usual, I had to try hitting something on Triple Double Bonus at the airport. Most of the machines had been removed at the one end of T3, but I found some at the other end.

I played twenty bucks through and got nothing. And I played another twenty. This would be it for the trip, as I had to preserve my win on the day, if just for my own mental wellbeing.

It got down to my Lazarus hand, my last spin of the trip.

And I hit a quad.

Gambling was over. The trip was done.

But wait!!!!

There's more! More keno action on my 620 game ticket!

The red eye was as you'd expect. I managed some sleep and being in business class made it so much more civilized, kind of like being in the nicer part of the slave ship.

We were even served breakfast.

Required jiggly takeoff shot of the strip. So long, Vegas.

The YOLO waitress must have prayed hard, because I didn't die with a belly full of microwaved enchiladas.

Customs was a breeze in Toronto, and I found myself in Union Station with about two and a half hours to kill. I watched keno games, and wrote the previous blog post.

Sixteen men have been caster-ated in the food court chairs, but the media won't talk about it.

The rest is... the rest, and then I was home with the Quad Queen, and Chippy, who did a double take before lying down again.

Divana took her roulette loss hard.

"You'll make up the money to me, won't you Royal," she said when I gave her the news. Umm, no, no I won't. Sorry, Divana.

What a great return trip to Vegas! It wasn't triumphant in the winnings sense, but so many things went right. I got a $1000 royal (and an $80 royal). I had huge, ridic live keno wins. I spent time with a bunch of great people, met some new ones, left cards for lots of others, and kept costs reasonable. Huge, huge shoutout to Funkhouser, who saved me hundreds with his generosity.

Speaking of generosity, I got an absolute thrill with each and every coffee donation. Thank you for validating that my efforts here have value to you.

I spent $75 on the airfare and train fare. Encore cost $400 and Mandalay Bay $350 (less free play and resort credit, total $75). Car was $300. Food and tips was maybe $200.

The last day of gambling, I was up $70 on machine action, and up $40 on keno. I unfortunately did not get any more 5/5 hits.

That puts the stats as follows.

Last Day plus $110
Trip minus $1500. 

Vegas isn't quite the way it used to be pre-pandemic. The nickel and diming has escalated to loonie and toonie-ing. Machines seem tight. Downtown as I loved it is gone, it is now a victim of its own success as I, and like-minded people, start to think about moving out. Is Circa a good thing or is it pulling prices up across downtown?

I don't know but I saw big, big changes in room and food costs downtown.

One thing I dearly missed was long sessions of $5/$10 blackjack at downtown casinos, particularly the Cal and MSS. I never saw a limit under $15 at the Cal and it's just too high for this retiree. Many's the time I would spend 2-3 hours mostly flat betting, sometimes come out ahead, and if I could survive, get a meal comp out of it too.

I've done this a bunch of times at T.I. on their $10 game as well. I didn't check the table minimum this time around.

And I didn't throw the dice at all during the whole trip. What is Vegas without lowroller craps???

Continuing with the strip, I've now resolved that Luxor isn't worth staying at because the casino is like gambling in the NYC Port Authority bus terminal.

My once beloved Luxor retains almost nothing of what once made it special. The machines I played were dirty, there's no good VP, there are swaths of open, unused space. The high limit bar is closed (I didn't confirm). The music was loud, bombastic, pounding club/dance music, which isn't my taste. The chairs are old, worn out and uncomfortable, the restaurant selection is crappy. The Pyramid cafe closes at 2:00pm every day. I can't imagine what the 'plan' has been for this place, it's at sea with the stupid, thoughtless de-theming.

I've heard it referred to as a dorm, and that seems to fit the bill. A place for people to sleep, maybe party at, and enjoy Vegas elsewhere.

I'm going to aim to stay at places I really like, places I find a bit more refined and less hectic. Mandalay Bay would fit in there, as would Wynn/Encore, and Bellagio.

One nice change, even though the red-eye was hard on me... this is the first Vegas trip in every that I didn't have to go back to work upon my return home. I feel incredibly lucky to have made it this far in life, given my propensity for stepping on hidden rakes in the leaves. 

In closing, it seems that the Triumphant Return to Vegas gives me a feeling of victory over the pandemic. There is life on the other side for us survivors.

If you've enjoyed this trip report, if you've had a laugh, or a giggle, or will now simply be spared eating at YOLO, how about donating a coffee, or two, or ten? It'll bring the next trip report that much closer. Thank you.

A reminder of the wise words of Royal Flusher, who once said, and often reminds you of having said, "Where there are credits, there are hope."

Royal Flusher


    1. Great trip report as always. Your last stress free day (except for YOLO) and future hotel options sound wonderful.

      I switched to "comping myself", staying at decent room rates at places and locations I like. Gamble as much or as little as I want, not relying on comps, anything granted counted as a bonus, not an obligation. My trips are a lot less stressful. With the reduction of comps at Boyd, Caesars and elsewhere, you are not getting a good value for your gambling dollar at this point.

      Perhaps the economy will once again render Vegas and comps a value based proposition, but it hasn't been for the past three plus years, and it won't return until there is a big drop in demand. Still don't ever see a return to full pay video poker downtown, so they won't see a return of me at their machines.


      1. I could have just posted your comment, Jason, you summed it up beautifully.

    2. Can you expand on your Luxor comment??

      1. Sure, will add this to the blog post. Luxor retains almost nothing of what once made it special. The machines I played were dirty, there's no good VP, there are swaths of open, unused space. The high limit bar is closed (I didn't confirm). The music was loud, bombastic, pounding club/dance music, which isn't my taste. The chairs are old, worn out and uncomfortable, the restaurant selection is crappy. The Pyramid cafe closes at 2:00pm every day. I can't imagine what the 'plan' has been for this place, it's at sea with the stupid, thoughtless de-theming.

    3. As with all others, enjoy ur reports greatly. Wish you had a nice rebound. Sorry to read the continual decline. As we all do, it certainly happens a lot. Out of the gate quickly can be a sign of bad things ahead. Re: Bellagio, it is a great place to stay but enough play and comps will come. Been my headquarters for many years. Host there Anne Marie A. Is most helpful if that’s any help to you in future. Until the next trip, all the best to you and thanks for ride along. Now I need to find how you send you some “coffee” dinero. Thanks again.


    4. Vegas like any place else has to pay "a living wage" even for a floor sweeper. So prices have to go up to match that.
      No more local buffets, over priced snack bars, and crappy service should be Stations new Motto. Paying for parking Downtown what a joke. Paying to park at Outlet Mall crazy.
      And the city outside the hotels, is basically a hell hole.

    5. Excellent report as always...and you made the right call taking the redeye. We returned from Vegas last Friday night arriving at Pearson at 8pm. We were forced to sit in the plane for 2 hours at the gate and then spent 1.5 hours in the customs hall. I think next flight will be from Buffalo.

    6. Always fun reading your blog Flusher, as the saying goes sometimes you win sometimes you lose ;) was in Vegas last Sunday and sad to say the craps tables at OYO across from MGM had gone from 5 bucks to 10...but Monday morning at the Tropicana the craps table had a 5 dollar minimum :) lowest I've seen on the strip, Downtown Vegas or Reno.

    7. RF - I get that you miss a nice peaceful place to play some VP. Ever been to Aquarius in Laughlin? If you go all the way back to the right corner, past the Cove bar, there is a quiet VP area with big windows facing the Colorado River. There are fullpay bartop games installed in a ledge right below the windows so you can look up from your game anytime and enjoy a nice view. It's a happy place. Since you usually rent a car, might be worth a drive down there and you could probably play your way to a free night. Really enjoyed your trip report! -jm

    8. Still no update on the
      620 game ticket?

      1. I ended up plus $40 on the ticket. The text of the post was updated accordingly and here's the summary for you:

        The last day of gambling, I was up $70 on machine action, and up $40 on keno. I unfortunately did not get any more 5/5 hits.

        That puts the stats as follows.

        Last Day plus $110
        Trip minus $1500.

    9. A fantastic report and happy to see that both of you enjoyed the return to Vegas.

      Congratulations on your retirement.

    10. A fabulously entertaining report as always RF. I was in Vegas in April and heard you were in town but wouldn’t recognize you if I tripped over you. A $1500 loss over 12 days is almost a win. Hope you get back soon for a winning trip.
      Breanna VMB

    11. Sorry to hear the enchiladas, beans and rice were so bad.
      I used to go to the Casino's, hotels and gamble a bit but it's been years now since I've done that. I think the last time I went to a Casino was when my brother was in town.

    12. Nice trip report -- and finding out there are still a few bloggers around! Check out 😀


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