Saturday, February 21, 2009

Recent Stay at MGM Grand

MGM Grand served as our functional home base hotel - casino on the recent trip (Feb. 15th - 18th). This is where our daughter and her husband ( and our pistol granddaughter) were attending a photography trade show and competition (WPPI). They stayed in a strip-view Grand Tower room (comped) and the room amenities and comfort were superb. Housekeeping services were very accommodating of us and the granddaughter; they were very nice and completely thorough on daily room cleanup.

I was able to find some fairly decent blackjack games in terms of acceptable rule sets (though, at 10$ minimums they were all H17 but allowed late surrender option). I ended up in the black about 200.00 after all was said and done (won just shy of 60% of all sessions). I was able to locate a few apparent high payback slots near the high limit table games pit and made a few bucks there as well. I was able to obtain 6 comped buffets at the Grand Buffet with the gambling effort ; everyone spoke well above average regarding the buffets offerings. There were no lines at 12 noon on Wednesday..another plus.

I processed my check-in at the MGM Grand airport check-in facility at McCarran . Essentially everything I experienced there
was quite positive ; speedy, efficient, staff was informed of our reservation requests, and we obtained a specific comped room by phoning VIP services the day prior to arrival. I have nothing but good things to say about their airport check-in facility. Completely professional, no lines (partially due to luck, perhaps), and it all required less than 5 minutes. Shocking! (but true).
I rented a sedan through an MGM contracted shuttle service to transport part of the family and the lovely granddaughter on
to the hotel while I secured and picked up our rental van. All these elements ran smoothly.

Upon checkout , I utilized a courtesy VIP checkout partially because we were traveling with the infant. An extremely nice and professional female staff member adjusted all the comp numbers and checked us out in about 7 or 8 minutes. Again, a very positive experience.

The evening crowds at MGM were monstrous and voluminous (there was a bunch of em). I was admittedly a little surprised at the number of people at this and all the other hotels we patronized because of my constant reading of how crowd levels are less during this depressed economic era in Vegas. I had to perform assorted "duck and weave" maneuvers to avoid toe mashes and other typical crowd hazards. There were a lot of people in Vegas while we were there ; I assume that fact may be partially due to all the reduced rate / free room offers that have been rampant recently. I saw rampant activity within MGM at both the food courts and the upper tier eateries. The gaming tables and slots , however, only appeared moderately occupied relative to my last visit in October ; it was difficult to find a seat at a decent blackjack game last fall due to crowd numbers.

You've likely surmised by now that I highly recommend MGM Grand and it's overall offerings. I particularly noticed a heightened verbal accommodative pleasantness from the staff in all areas on this trip. They're trying to make patrons happy and want to return to their digs. We certainly will.


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Mostly Useless (and approximate) Las Vegas Facts

1. Number of Las Vegas citizens   500,000
2. Number of Clark County residents   1,500,000
3. Year first casino licensed   1931
4. Number of slot machines in Vegas   200,000
5. Number of annual Vegas visitors   40,000,000 (and dropping)
6. Number of licensed gambling entities   1700
7. Hours per day average visitor gambles   4
8. Annual state gaming revenue   9 billion (and dropping)
9. Average gambling budget per trip   560  (and dropping)
10. Mean price per acre in valley   161,000.00
11. Price per acre on the Strip   11,000,000.00
12. Number of  hotel rooms   137,000 +
13. Number of pillowcases washed at MGM daily   15,000
14. Number of doors at MGM  18,000 
15. Annual no. toilet paper rolls used at Bally's   1 million
16. Lucky The Clown marquee sign at Circus Circus has
      1232 fluorescent bulbs, 14,498 incandescent bulbs, and
      3/4 mile of neon tubing light  (no wonder they're replacing
17. In good times, Excalibur goes through over 44,000 
      Cornish game hens, 15 thousand pounds of hamburger
      meat, and 4200 pounds of prime rib monthly
18. Caesar's Palace has used 2 million plus maraschino 
      cherries, 11 thousand ounces of caviar, 2 million ounces
      of tomato juice, and close to 600 thousand ounces of
      vodka yearly (bloody mary winner?)
19. Mandalay Bay has 5,300 palm trees and their wave pool
      has a capacity of 1,640,270 gallons of water
20. Average nightly room rate  119.00 (and dropping)
21. Average number of Vegas weddings per day   300+
22. Number of golf courses  37
23. Miles of neon tubing on the Strip and Downtown  15,000
24. State's nationwide rank in gold production  1st
25. Cost of Nevada marriage license   35.00
26. Average cost of filing for divorce  450.00
27. Average length of stay for visitors    3.7 days
28. Number of hosted conventions annually  3750
29. The electric bill to operate the Luxor pyramid beam is
      approximately 55.00 per hour.
30. Las Vegas has 17 of the world's 20 largest hotels   


Just a cautionary tip when in Vegas.. there are active
pickpockets all over town. I experienced this first-hand
and came within 10 seconds of losing my cash stash last July
while visiting one of those upper end joints on the strip.

I was gambling significantly at a video poker machine, unabashedly slipping C-notes in them. Somebody had been
observing my wagering behavior. I was happily winning at the time and my cautionary tendencies regarding my bankroll
money went south and out the window.

A lady approached me from behind as I played and was all aglow with my run of good luck. She initiated a conversation about nothing and anything . I was concentrating on proper VP strategy and responding to her comments with a lot of "yeah-yeahs". I was fortunate enough to get ahead on the machine again and I cashed out. I had a satchel (I normally never gamble under those conditions) with me that had assorted trip stuff in it. The satchel presence and the relatively high denomination coin-in amount collectively screamed " please rob me!" I placed my wallet in the satchel along with the machine cash-out tickets and proceeded to reconnect with my family and head to our room.

I had developed a sense of cautionary unease as I mulled over the contact with the effusively talkative woman at the VP machine. My senses told me that something about that encounter was skewed, although at the time I didn't know what it was and I wasn't bleeding profusely..yet. My group then proceeded to meander through a very crowded slot machine aisle and some other 6th, 7th, or 8th sense that vaguely detected an impersonal yet succinct encroachment into my personal space kicked in. Instinctively, I immediately dug into the satchel to locate my wallet and it was gone. I then immediately turned around and backtracked about ten feet (a matter of maybe 3 seconds, tops) as my endogenous adrenaline kicked in. I'm not sure that my hair wasn't on fire briefly.

I then spotted my wallet (and life) in a woman's hand who was playing a slot machine. I walked straight at her and demanded it post-haste in a tone that screamed seriousness. I immediately grabbed the wallet and called for security. The woman claimed she picked it up off the floor and so did the man (her accomplice) behind her, both vowing that they were planning to remit it to the security desk. My svelte ass they were.

This team of thieves including the woman who was all goony-googoo at the VP machine were pros. I have to claim part of the blame for the openly careless manner I had displayed with my money. They were held by security and the eye-in-the-sky tapes were to be reviewed.

The good thing is I didn't lose a cent because my peripheral senses kicked in immediately and they didn't have time to bury the evidence ( perhaps they weren't the best of pros?). Take heed folks..these people are everywhere in Vegas. Know where your cash is at all times; take precautions to protect it, don't flaunt it around carelessly as I did, and if you sense something is awry while gambling trust your instincts.

Distractions from one member of a team of thieves is a common MO. Store your gambling session monies in a front pants pocket or in one of those god-awful front-loaded fanny packs (pride be damned). The lesson I learned here after several years of Vegas gambling experiences turned out to be one of the most valuable for me personally.