I just got back from another wonderful stay at Wynn filled with plenty of partying, good food, great people, and a total of seven hours of sleep. More after the jump...
UPDATE: Five Hundy's latest podcast including some trip highlights I don't remember...
Why is it that when I plan a modest trip in advance, it always explodes into something bigger as the date approaches?
My best friend had just graduated and I figured I�d take him to Vegas to celebrate. Having gone at least a dozen times myself since our last trip together in December �03, he was well overdue to tag along. The four-hour drive up proved to be a challenge as it took major strength on my part to keep from peeping the plans for the night.
As I cross the final valley into Las Vegas, I call my buddy who works the front desk at Wynn Tower Suites to give him the heads up on my arrival. He doesn�t answer, but it�s no problem. We pull into Tower Suites at around 12pm, my �06 Mazda amidst a Rolls-Royce Phantom and a couple different Bentleys where I�m expecting the valet to say, �Welcome to Wynn Tower Suites. How may I dispose of your pile of crap?� No such humor. I�m treated with the same respect as the guys with the hand-built, 10 cows killed for the interior, V-12 powered vehicles. I guess I can�t complain.
We walk into the Tower Suites lobby where the check-in is at least eight people deep. You hardly ever find a line there, but when you do, it�s probably because there are a bunch of guys checking in with no wife in site and they won�t stop hitting on all the cute girls behind the desk. Seriously, checking in should be a three-minute process no matter how gorgeous the receptionist. I luck out though; my buddy who works there walks into the lobby during his lunch break and sees me waiting, takes my credit card and tells us to relax in the lounge while he takes care of everything. He even made sure earlier that our rooms would be ready ahead of schedule. He heads up to the room with us, a Salon Suite with connecting Tower Suite (two bedrooms, three beds, and a parlor totaling 2600 square feet) and we catch up before his break is over. I try to tip, he denies, I insist, we�re all grateful, I love Wynn, life is good.
My best friend had no idea I had the Salon so he�s stoked. I also break the news to him that I�m throwing a party for about 15 tonight and in my suitcase is a 1.75mL bottle of Grey Goose, one bottle of champagne, a jar full of blue cheese stuffed olives, crackers, mini-toasts, and a small cooler filled with sour cream, smoked salmon, gouda, cheddar, and a 2 oz. jar of beluga caviar. I know, I know�a little extreme on the planning part, but through in-room catering I would have paid more for just two vegetable platters. Sorry, but I refuse to pay $400 for carrot sticks and ranch dressing.
I unpack and then give my friend a tour of the property complete with comedic shudders as we pass the �peasant elevators� (Resort side). [Most of you know I�m joking so don�t even start!] Hunter of ratevegas.com fame had come into town the night earlier and I run into him sitting with Scott of the Living in Las Vegas Podcast at the new B Bar. We joke around over a drink for a bit before my friend and I head out for a late lunch at Red 8.
This would be my second time eating here. I have the Mongolian beef while my friend has the sweet and sour chicken. Service is very slow to start, but picks up once the water is brought out. The entrees are excellent and we wind up sitting there for almost two hours chatting it up with Hunter who stops by before heading off to Bellagio for a behind the scenes tour. My friend in Tower Suites gets off for the day and stops by a few moments later. We head out and he shows me the new VIP lounge within the Tower Suites. Now, I thought Picasso�s Le Reve hanging behind the front desk of Resort check-in was impressive, but the self-portrait of Rembrandt that stands behind the check-in area in the new VIP lounge just floored me. They place it in such a way that it�s nearly impossible to see from outside the lounge, but you can catch a glimpse on your left if you�re walking towards Wing Lei. It�s worth a look if you�re in the area.
We head to the New Frontier where I want to hit and run for a chip before they implode the place. I buy in on a $10 pai gow table where the first hand I�m dealt is four kings, two queens, and another number I can�t remember. I jokingly ask the dealer what to do and she actually calls the pitboss over in amazement. I win, save my chip, head to the cage, and then it�s back to Wynn.
My cousin (not the same one of previous reports) and another friend arrive as well with luggage full of breads, chips, dip, humus, beer, tequila, and some amazing port. Any and all worries about running out of booze vanish as we toast over what will be two incredible nights.
While the other guys get situated, I go downstairs to Tableau to meet with Hunter as well as Tim and Michele Dressen of the Five Hundy By Midnight podcast. Not only is Tableau one of Wynn�s best spots for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, but now it�s also my favorite place to grab a drink as well.
Tim and Michele are a riot! We sit there for a couple of hours as the rest of my party comes down to join us. I�m having so much fun that I completely forget I need to prep the room with all the goodies before anyone shows up. We�re scheduled to start the party at 10pm and with a couple minutes left, I give my cousin and his friend the grand tour of Wynn before heading up to the room. Tim, Michele, and Hunter are outside the door waiting.
Of course, the party starts off a little shaky with me rushing around trying to get food on the table and drinks in everyone�s hands. A few people didn�t call me back and a couple others cancel so only two more come by for a grand total of nine. I�m a little bummed, but Grey Goose martinis and caviar make for an unbelievably good time no matter what the situation. After a few hours I am, without a doubt, the absolute drunkest I have ever been. I don�t remember anything other than doing �The Robot� for everyone while listening to New Order�s Blue Monday and Hunter calling the front desk telling them that I�m expecting a fax from the President of the United States. Maybe Tim�s next podcast or something on Hunter�s blog can shed some light on our shenanigans? One thing�s for sure though: I know it won�t be pretty. Keep your eyes and ears open.
I stop drinking because I know I�m on the verge of passing out completely. By around 2am, we all head down to the casino and I�m determined to play baccarat on the big table. The minimums are $300, but I promised myself I�d only play if they were $100. The personnel direct me to the mini-baccarat tables outside the high limit salon that were $100. No thanks. At those limits, I want to touch the cards myself, sit on the nicer chairs, deal with tuxedo-clad croupiers, and get the ridiculously good cocktail service. Oh well, maybe later in the trip.
Some of the girls in our group get the jones to check out Tryst. We part ways with Tim, Michele, and Hunter and head there. As we�re walking towards the entrance, Chris �Jesus� Ferguson is walking out with girls on both arms. I wonder if they find the 10-gallon hat, greasy hair, and scruffy beard attractive? Maybe it�s the money? Nah�
I don�t know how, but magically we�re in�no line, no cover, and no having to tip exorbitant amounts of money. The place isn�t dead, but it isn�t hopping like last time I was there. I couldn�t have asked for a more perfect ratio or crowd with plenty of room to dance, people watch, and ass-grab (wait� never mind). Tryst on Sunday nights is a great place to be.
We leave just before they close and walk our way to an empty mini-baccarat table on the main floor with a $300 minimum. The girls leave, my best friend goes to bed, and my cousin, his friend, and myself watch for a few moments. I tell the dealer we�ve never played and they drop the minimum to $25! The three of us take a seat immediately (Funny how in retrospect, $5 and $10 mini-baccarat tables can be found everywhere. Oh well.)
It�s an enjoyable game when you�re counting on streaks. A $100 player and his girlfriend sit next to me. After some time, the player gets up but leaves his chips and the pit reserves his spot. Some idiot takes the spot with three and four thousand dollar cash bets. I have a new respect for the pitboss as she scolds the guy telling him that the seat is reserved (and for a player betting 1/30 of what he is no less). The guy throws a hissy-fit saying things like, �I�ve got $250,000 sitting in your cage and enough comps to last me a lifetime!� 250K may be a lot of dough, but I�m willing to bet numbers like that don�t phase the baccarat pitbosses. Besides, with that kind of bankroll, are you just playing at the $25 table to impress us peons? The guy with the reserved seat comes back and says it�s okay. I chat with the egotistical jerk for a bit�
�What did they give you, a Fairway [villa]?� He responds, �Yeah, they always give me the best around here.� I chuckle and say, �Sorry man, but they�ve got villas quadruple the size of what they gave you.� It�s silent for a moment and then with a less condescending tone he responds, �Yeah� well� it�s only a room�� I�ll bet that silence was the sound of his ego shrinking to the same size as his nut sack. Don�t make false statements on Wynn trying to impress me. I�ll shoot you down every time no matter what you�ve got in the cage, especially when I�m drunk.
I�m up around $100 when we decide to leave around 5:30am and grab food at the Terrace Pointe Caf�. The sun�s coming up and the whole moment feels surreal as it�s completely bright outside by the time we�re done. Over food I jokingly throw out the idea that we should play more baccarat before heading to bed. The others take me seriously.
The big tables are still $300, but we sit at the same $25 mini-baccarat game. I win another $100 or so before we all call it a night� at 8am. Awesome.
My buddy in Tower Suites calls me at 11am: �Mr. E, this is Billy Bob Thorton!�
�Huh?! Billy Bob?!!� I�m sleepy, still drunk, and as gullible as they come. My buddy starts laughing. I don�t remember much of the phone conversation, but I do recall him making a joke about how he sees a 6am room charge for the coffee shop; sort of a running joke between us about no trip being complete without drunken pancakes in the middle of the night.
I know it�ll be a while before anyone else wakes up so I put that time to good use and spend half an hour under the rain shower. I freshen up some more and head out to the high limit salon�still $300 on the big table. I walk over to some slots instead and lose $40 by the time my friends call me. Last night we had earned two buffet comps so we split the cost four ways and lunch there. We go back to the room and grab our stuff to head down to the spa. I have no idea why, but we start sharing our own Confucius sayings in the crowded elevator. �Hard work rewards one later, but laziness rewards one now,� I say. The elevator chuckles and my cousin retaliates with, �He who sleeps with Itchy Rear awakens with Stinky Finger,� and the elevator explodes laughing.
We regain our energy at the spa ready for another night. It�s back up to the room for a few more drinks and to get ready for our 7pm dinner reservations at STACK restaurant.
At STACK I meet my friend who works Tower Suites along with his friend who is a host at The Mirage. Sorry I can�t give a detailed restaurant review since it�s hard to keep track of all orders for a party of six. We did order several appetizers including the hot rocks and a bottle of white wine. I have the sea bass over risotto which is superb and very rich. Service is top notch although I felt our waitress was a little too �rehearsed� for my liking. As she was telling us about the specials, I felt like she was reading q-cards. STACK is a very loud restaurant that�s great for a group of friends, but I don�t think I can recommend it for couples because of how loud it gets in there�you almost have to yell across the table. Six or seven appetizers, a bottle of wine, and six entr�es came out to well over $400 with tip, but I can�t remember exactly how much. I�d definitely go back again.
A thunderstorm begins brewing out north and we head over to MIX lounge to take in the view. Despite the patio being closed for safety reasons, the floor to ceiling windows give an incredible view. Imagine for a moment sitting 43 floors up overlooking the strip with lightning in the background. The storm slowly moves south towards us and MIX becomes a riot as the storm moves overhead with lightning striking no further than Excalibur. Think of the noise of a crowded craps table when the shooter is hot, multiply that by ten, and have everyone�s eyes glued to the view. The crowd would explode with each strike�quite a unique experience.
We head back to Wynn where my cousin and his friend hit the craps tables. I walk into the high limit salon again. You guessed it: the big table was $300. I realize that it�ll probably be this way tomorrow and if I ever get a chance this trip, it�s gotta� be now. Yes, this was definitely the influence of alcohol talking. I take a seat and buy in for a measly $600. My friend is standing behind me thinking what the hell�s gotten into me. I�m alone on the table and request a hand waiting for the banker to hit before I place a bet. Player comes up. The cocktail waitress is over in a flash, takes my drink order, and sets it on the table without me even knowing and consequently, without me tipping her. Another free hand is dealt and it�s player again. I ask for another hand and the banker gets a natural nine. It�s on. I place $300 and request the shoe. As the croupiers instruct me on the proper way of dealing, I�m thinking I�m about to have a heart attack. The dealer shows me the player�s total and then I�m looking at the banker�s cards face down under the shoe. I begin rubbing them together for a few moments before flipping them over. Banker wins! The next bet is $375 and my heart�s pounding. This is truly �scared money� I shouldn�t be betting right now. I flip the cards over and it�s another win for the banker! Next bet is $450 on banker. Tie. I repeat the same bet. Again, another tie. I luck out and the banker hits again! I�m pushing this streak as far as I can with a bet of $525. It comes up as player. Ouch. I color up in what was the most intense gambling session of my life up nearly $550 after commissions. I tip $35 to the croupiers who were all quite reserved but at the same time loads of fun to play with and patient with me as the newbie. I also leave $10 to the cocktail waitress and head out on cloud nine. I�m a baccarat addict and if anyone ever relates it to being as fun as a coin toss again, I�ll defend the game tooth and nail. The rituals involved make it the most intense of any game I�ve played and not just because of the higher limits, but the way the cards are handled.
We head up to the room to find my cousin and his friend lounging around. They�re wondering where I got the giant glass of wine and I just can�t rub the smirk off my face telling them about what had just happened. It sounds like they�re about to call it a night, but my best friend and I head down to play a bit more.
We take a seat on some 9/6 VP at the quarter level to just pass the time. I break even and we start to get hungry at around 4am so we head to Terrace Pointe again. The hostess recognizes me and says, �You�re back!� and my corny musician humor takes over: �No, I�m Beethoven!� Get it? Back� Bach� Okay, I�m stupid. We split some pancakes and call it a night.
The next morning I extend the check out time, pack my things and check out. We have an early lunch at the Country Club Grill where we all share the same entr�e: burger, fries, and a mimosa�only in Vegas.
Our last stop is Sugar and Ice for some coffee before we hit the road. The car�s brought up out of the valet and we head out. I made a Wynn convert out of everyone and we agree to do this again.
Here�s hoping for ten bankers in a row come November.