A Successful Vegas Trip With My Bro (December 2012)

On Thursday night I returned to Missoula after spending the first half of the week down in Las Vegas. I had a wonderful time and I must say, it turned out to be one of the most (if not the most) successful trips I have had down there. How do I count success? Just by the fact that it was probably the least amount of money I have ever spent on a Vegas trip. When it came to gambling, I am pretty sure with everything added in, I actually came up ahead. Of course with all the entertainment and food we indulged in, it made me return home in the red a little but as I was saying it was not nearly as bad as usual. I would just like to briefly summarize my trip.

Glen and I had a great trip in Vegas with our friends, Brandon and Madison.

Glen and I had a great trip in Vegas with our friends, Brandon and Madison.

If you read my previous post, you knew that Glen (my brother) and I stayed in Bill’s Gambling Hall. I said from the onset that it would probably be one of the least glamorous hotels we would stay in and upon checking in my assumption was correct. I got off my shuttle and went to the registration desk. There was absolutely no line at the pint sized check in area. I got my room assignment….floor 1! In Vegas I had always stayed on some ridiculously high floor. Not this go around. I got on the elevator that was ten feet from the check in area and took the shaky one floor ride. The elevator doors opened and our hotel room was right there! Least strenuous trek to a Vegas hotel room ever! I was quite pleased at this because as I looked down the hallway it looked quite dark and scary. The room itself was outdated and weirdly shaped and the bathroom had strange stained glass in it. But we also got a flat screen television and the beds were very comfortable! The room definitely grew on us and it served as a great spot to hang out, listen to music, and gather ourselves before we hit the town. We will never see Bill’s again because it is closing in February but we would definitely stay there again.


Not a high roller room, but it did its purpose.

Not a high roller room, but it did its purpose.

My brother and I enjoyed the fantastic weather in Vegas. Especially on Monday and Tuesday the weather was sunny and warm and we pretty much basked in it! T-shirts and shorts were the norm. There was a café/bar right in the middle of the strip that overlooked everything that we enjoyed sitting at and people watching as all the Vegas foot traffic would pass us by. During the night the weather did get a little cool but it was a far cry from the harshness of Montana and Washington.

The weather was sunny most of the time we were in Vegas.

The weather was sunny most of the time we were in Vegas.

Glen and I spent a lot of time on the strip and in downtown Vegas but we also spent some of each day at a place called the Stage Door. The Stage Door is a lounge area specializing in cheap drinks, fifty cent hot dogs, and other cheap food. Located off the strip about two minutes from our hotel, Glen and I would walk down and enjoy ourselves with some of the Vegas locals. We made great friends with one of the workers, Brittany, and she treated us very well. With great music, interesting people, and a completely different take on Vegas, we enjoyed our time at Stage Door and have many fond memories.

Glen and I with Brittany

A really cool part of this trip was that we got to hang with a couple of Glen’s friends who live in Vegas, Brandon and Madison. Glen played baseball with Brandon at Walla Walla Community College and met Madison in the town as well. Brandon and Madison started dating and when Brandon moved back to Vegas after baseball was over, Madison went with him. Two different nights Brandon and Madison drove to the strip and hung out with us. We watched sports together at the Mandalay Bay, laughed out loud as we witnessed people trying to sing karaoke, hung out at the Stage Door, met an old rocker, and had an epic night in downtown Vegas. The couple treated us so well and gave us rides everywhere. Thank you so much Brandon and Madison, we had a great time with you guys!


The four of us! (From l-r: Brandon, Madison, me, and Glen).

The four of us! (From l-r: Brandon, Madison, me, and Glen).

There are a few highlights from this trip that I will always remember: 1. While we were down in Vegas, the NFR was going on. I have never seen so many cowboys in my life! They had definitely taken over the city. 2. Thanks to my brother’s amazing eye, we saw Jason Aldean up close and personal as he was playing Black Jack at one of the tables in Mandalay Bay. We watched him keep reaching for money and puffing on cigarettes. As other people started to notice it was him, he got up and left. 3. Glen and I had the opportunity to attend the American Country Awards (ACAs). It was a very special experience as we saw our favorite country superstars perform live. It was also my first ever awards show. I will blog about this exclusively in tomorrow’s post. 4. I cashed at a poker tournament!! In my life, I have never finished in the money at a real casino poker tournament. Glen and I played in one at Bill’s. In a field of about 30 players, I lasted until only four of us were left. After about 20 minutes of the four of us taking each other’s chips back and forth, we made a group decision to chop the pot (split up the prize pool four ways). I felt so accomplished! 5. We participated in a focus group! After eating lunch in Planet Hollywood, we were asked to participate in a focus group. We got paid $85 to watch a 40 minute show and then give our opinion about it. This was definitely something I have never done in Vegas and I will also write a post about it soon.

Can you spot Jason Aldean?!?!

Can you spot Jason Aldean?!?!


Luke Bryan performing at the ACA's to open the show!

Luke Bryan performing at the ACA’s to open the show!


I want to thank my brother, Brandon, and Madison for a great Vegas trip. Of course we have many other fond memories that won’t make it into this post but I think from what I did offer, you can tell that we had a good time. I already miss Vegas and want to go back. Who wants to go with Glen and I next time? Don’t Blink.

Reser Boys Annual December Vegas Vacation

If you start reading this post and ask yourself “Hey, haven’t I read this once before?” you might want to call up your doctor and ask for a psychological exam. I say this because chances are you have read a post similar to this one NOT JUST ONCE but several times. Yes, you guessed it, I am off to Las Vegas again.

I know I need to explore a little more but for me there is only one vacation spot and that spot is located in the desert of Nevada. Each year I take vacation for a few days in June and then for a few days in December and for both of those months I prefer to go to Las Vegas. Because I held true to my schedule in the summer, it was only proper to return to Vegas this December.

Funny story, this trip almost got off to a catastrophic start. I checked my flight itinerary several times and was convinced that my flight departed at 6:10 p.m. I planned my whole day around that departure time and at 3:30 p.m. while I was nowhere near my apartment I got a call from my friend Mike (and chauffeur to the airport) informing me that my flight was to take off at 5:15 p.m. After telling him a couple times that he was crazy I checked my itinerary on my phone and saw that he in fact was correct. I mistakenly kept referencing my arrival time in Vegas as my departure time from Missoula (I gain an hour because of a time zone change). I busted out of my office, hurried back home, packed like a mad man, and hopped in Mike’s car. We got to the airport in enough time for the original 5:15 p.m. departure but I quickly learned that my mad dash was a little in vain as the Allegiant worker announced that my flight was an hour delayed.

So that brings me to where I am at now. Sitting in the Missoula Airport waiting out my delay, I can’t wait to get to Vegas. I am ready to leave the snow covered landscape and icy roads of Missoula for the sunny skies and 60 degree weather of Las Vegas. Making this trip even better is that I get to spend it with my brother. This will be our third straight Vegas December trip together. The two of us always have a great time when we are together and it is amplified even more when we are in Las Vegas. In fact, we have so much fun that it doesn’t even matter that we are staying in one of the, how shall I put it, less upscale properties on the strip. This go-around, we will be staying in Bill’s Gambling Hall. How sad is Bill’s? Well, just two weeks ago, Harrah’s Properties announced the closure of the hotel in February. With closure imminent, who knows what shape it will be in when we get there. But we couldn’t care less, my brother and I love poker and Bill’s offers fun and affordable tournaments.

Besides poker what else do we expect to do? Relax. The atmosphere of Las Vegas is like no other and that is what draws my brother and I there twice a year. We have no set agenda, we just want to hang out and enjoy ourselves.

So while I am in the desert over the next few days I will not be posting to Don’t Blink. However, I will be back posting once I return. Have a great week everyone and get some Christmas shopping done! Don’t Blink.

Most Relaxing Vegas Trip Ever

You know, it seems like I have already done this blog post about six times before…wait, that is because I have! Oh yes, time for another Las Vegas trip recap. I know these trip summaries can get boring to most of my readers but the reason why I continue to report on my visits to Sin City is simply because each experience is different. As I have done in the past I will just point out a few overarching themes from my time in the desert but first some background.

I went to Vegas this past Sunday via Delta and as I compose this it is Wednesday night and I am on my return voyage to Missoula where I am currently sitting in the Salt Lake City airport on a brutal three hour layover. I once again stayed in my favorite property on the strip, the Flamingo. I can’t express what an enjoyable and relaxing time I had this go around. I traveled solo with my only excuse for going on the trip being that my friend, Erik, was down at the same time for a work conference. Basically, I just needed to satisfy my urge to get back down to my favorite vacation spot.

All and all, it was a very low key trip for me. I hung out at the pool and gambled…that is pretty much it. The weather was 100+ degrees each day, just how I like it. Poker tournaments and Blackjack kept me more than entertained. This trip I actually got some sleep too, even if my schedule was a little messed up. For the three days I was there, I hung out at the pool in the morning, gambled in the afternoon/early evening, slept from 11pm to 3am (you know, when the fun stuff happens in Vegas), and then gambled again from the early morning hours and transitioned right to the pool right when the gates opened at 8am. No clubs, no bottle service, no wild stories. So what if I was a loser this go around? I still had a great time.

So without further adieu, here are the three things I am taking from Summer Vegas Trip 2012:

1. So Much Respect For Teachers: I met three teachers over my three days in Vegas. You think that is odd? Well, I did too until they reminded me that it is of course summer and school is not in session. I met one guy  this morning my age from Atlanta, Georgia, who is a high school math teacher who also happens to coach football, wrestling, and track. After he found out about my occupation he could not stop talking about the Griz and watching the football team play on ESPN this past season. Playing Paigow while the luck was good for both of us, we found we had much in common despite living on other ends of the country.

I also met a middle school teacher on my shuttle to Vegas on Sunday. From Oregon, she also coached basketball. We talked from the shuttle all the way through the registration line about standardized testing.

Saving the best for last, I made a new friend from Minnesota, a second grade teacher who blogs just like me! Eric and myself met her and her group of friends at the pool. Shoutout to her friends: Wendy (not the fast food restaurant), Molly (she is small but don’t mess with her), and Nicole (Snookie-Pink Panther-Booty contest champ). We got to hang out a couple times throughout the trip and we had a blast as she played Blackjack for the first time! I respected her so much because of the unique classroom composition she has and the fact that she works a different job during the summer. Really cool girl.

Teachers are taken for granted. They are underpaid and underappreciated. I am glad that I became more aware of this over the past few days.

2. Best Blackjack Talk: I definitely did not leave Vegas on the plus side this trip. Interestingly enough, I have never made money in Vegas despite all the times I have gone. But what made my losing bearable was the awesome cast of characters I played with at pretty much every table I sat down at. I can’t even count all the funny, bizarre, and intriguing conversations I had with players and dealers alike this trip. You see, when you are in Vegas and you are playing the low limits that I play, everyone for the most part is relaxed.

There was never a dull moment at the tables no matter where I played, what game it was, or what time of the day it was. I played in three poker tournaments over my trip and all the people participating were champs as well. I just the love the opportunity to banter with people from all over the nation (and world) in a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

3. Economy Friendly/Tourist Friendly:  This time around, I noticed something a little different. It seemed like prices for everything from food to drinks to gambling limits to cabana rentals were much lower. I could find $5 tables at pretty much every casino I walked into. Maybe the reason was because it is late July and the city is entering its “slow” season but I was just pleasantly surprised. It is always nice when your buck goes that extra mile.

One thing that hasn’t changed and one of the reasons why I continue to return to Vegas time and time again is because of the great customer service I always receive. I think Vegas gets a reputation for being intimidating and snobby but that is hardly the case. Dealers, hotel clerks, vendors on the street, pool attendants, etc. always treat me like a king…and keep in mind, I am what you would call a “low-roller.” It is amazing what a simple $1 tip will do. I have nothing but compliments for the people who slave away in sweltering temperatures serving us clueless tourists day after day.


Usually when I come back from Vegas I am READY to come back. Not this time. It was just so relaxing and laid back over the past few days that I really would not have minded staying for a few more. But time to suck it up and get back to reality. Can’t wait for work tomorrow and the big news that is to come. Don’t Blink.