I grew up in a very religious family and didn't gamble at all in my 20s. About 2 years ago, I stopped being religious, started gambling, drinking, etc. 10% of my income that I used to pay to my church became my gambling budget. When I was a grad student, that was about $200 a month. I meticulously counted cards (KO) to sustain my bankroll at that time, but it was never really about making money. I mostly enjoy the statistical exercise of card counting and socializing with the dealers. I tip too much to make money anyway, so I break even usually. Now that I have a well paying job, my budget is a lot more than a couple of hundred dollars. I play any 6-deck with good penetration and RSA and DAS.
Back in August, I drove through Vegas and stayed at Golden Gate for one night. They don't have any countable BJ, so I only played on the CSM table for probably a $200 buy-in. To my surprise, they sent me a mailer for free 4 nights, $50 free play for table games, and $25 food credit for November and December each. The casino I usually go to is 3 hours away (gas money) with hotel rooms that are usually $85 and drinks are not free, so when I saw a Southwest flight (direct) to Vegas for $200 round-trip, I thought, 'Let's try this.' Here is my trip report
1. Have fun.
2. Get players cards from other casinos for potential future mailers for free rooms.
3. Don't lose more than 200 to 400 dollars. I'm going to 4 different casinos in Oklahoma and Missouri over the Thanksgiving break.
4:55 PM: Arrived at McCarran. To make things as cheap as possible, I decided to take the public bus (If the rentals are at the terminal, I would have done that, but by the time I take the shuttle to the rental and so forth, I figured it'd take about the same time). I knew the buses were in the Level Zero, but I wasn't quite sure where to buy the pass. I asked the info guy and he was clearly being unhelpful on purpose (Thank you taxi lobby). I couldn't find the pass vending machine in the terminal, so I figured I'd have to pay exact change to the driver. I bought a bottled water to make some change. $3. The vending machine is actually right by where the buses come. 24-hour pass: $8. The bus came in while I was buying the pass. Perfect. Off to Downtown
5:45 PM: There are some 6:00 PM NCAA basketball games that I wanted to bet on, so in my haste, I got off the bus one stop early, which was thankfully only 2 blocks. I went into the D, the first casino I saw to bet on games. "$10 on #xxx (Wisconsin -6) please." My first sports bet ever (Thank you Wizard for telling me how to make a bet." Then I caught a breath, then "Another $10 on parlay between (Wisconsin -6) and (Duke -5) please." I was told by my Florida grad friend that 3 of the UF players are suspended and it may be a blow out at Wisconsin home ("White players are starting" he texted).
Little after 6:00 PM: Checked in at Golden Gate. Asked the deskperson what he'd recommend at Du-Par's. French dip he said. Without going up to the room, headed straight to Du-Par's and ordered braised tri-tip steak. "With gravy?" "Sure." Big mistake. Their gravy is one of those thick gooey gravy that has a consistency of vomit (actually, vomit doesn't have that kind of consistency, but vomit was what I was thinking of when I was eating it). Well, it's free at least. I wasn't sure if I could charge the tip to my room as well (to be compted later by the food credit), so I left a $4 cash tip. Found out 10 seconds later that I could have used the food credit to tip. Oh well.
6:45-ish PM: Dropped off my stuff at the bare minimum room (The room is actually nice, though quite small. The bathroom is really where you see that it's an old hotel). Off to the casinos!
Plaza: Players' card is shared by Las Vegas Club. Some amount was rebateable for new signees, but it was for slots and I have to be there the next two days to redeem. 6-deck game was countable. The casino was pretty dead, but I did hear that the rooms are completely renovated, so I wanted to get some playing in. Played 3 or 4 shoes on a 6-deck. Up $150. Checked out the sports book. Wisconsin is leading by only few points. I panicked and got another ticket: Parlay between Kansas +6 and USC -6.
Fremont: Signed up for the Boyd players card. Got a deck of card, which I was about to promptly throw away, but realized that it's not hole punched. I do need a deck for my poker night with friends. 6-deck game is countable, but no double after split. They do have the Luck Ladies sidebet, which I like (first two cards 20 pays 4 to 1). Count became okay at the end of the second and third shoes, though I wasn't getting a 20 on the side bet. Up $150. Off to the next players' card. Two old ladies were sad to see me go.
Binion's: Signed up for the card, then remembered that they don't have a hotel there anymore. They did give me an coupon for a free ace with min bet $10. All their shoe games pay 6-to-5. Sat at a CSM table. Played a few hands and realized that the free ace is actually $10 MAX. Used it and got a BJ. Then, for the heck of it, bet $50 on one hand, won. Up $50.
Downtown Grand: Signed up for a players' card. Found out that the new casino is owned by an independent group. For some reason, I thought it was owned by MGM Grand (hence, incorrectly, Downtown GRAND), but no. Good for them. It's the nicest casino downtown I think. I'm sure people will disagree with me, but, solely based on the look of no ceiling and pipes and lines neatly painted in black, it has that hipster industrial-warehouse-turned-into-condo look. I think if their marketing people are good, they can get some young attractive women to hang out there. And you know old men with money go where young attractive women go. 6-deck game was countable. Up $100. Wisconsin is up by like 3 points, with 20 seconds left. My first two bets lose if they don't make it more than 6 points.
The D: All 6-to-5 tables. I understand that young women are dancing, but they do that at Golden Gate and Vegas Club too. Went up to the sports book. Wisconsin won by 6! First bet pushed. Second bet lost, Kansas just straight up beat Duke.
Golden Nugget: All 6-to-5 tables, which is a shame. I hear the hotel is nice here.
Golden Gate: I guess I should give them some action since they did give me a free room. BJs are not playable, either CSM or 8-decks with 50% penetration. I played the Ultimate Texas Hold'em. I was down about $200, when I came back with a vengeance with nothing better than trips. I kept winning the x4 play bets with 1 pair. This is where I wasn't sure whether the dealer was making a mistake. I got 2 $25 free bet chips (which look different from regular chips). At a BJ table, if I bet with a free bet chip and win, don't they give me the winning and then take away the free bet chip? I was playing $10 on ante, so when I had the x4 play, I bet my own $15 plus the $25 free bet chip. I'd win and get paid $40, but I kept the $25 free bet chip. The second dealer came in and did the same thing. I kept playing with those two chips for a while. Anyway, I was down $200, but made those back and $150 more.
I went back to Downtown Grand to give them more action. Made $70, and headed back to Golden Gate because I knew Fremont Street was going to be closed for the zipline construction. Crap, already closed. I had to walk on the next street over which I was told was sketchy, but I made it to Las Vegas Club. Las Vegas Club has a party pit with regular 6-deck game that is countable. I really enjoy playing there, which is probably why I didn't mind losing $200 there.
Golden Gate vs Las Vegas Club party pits comparison:
Golden Gate: The dealers there seem to really enjoy working there. Even the dealers who are not on the platforms dance and have fun. It's very tastefully done.
Las Vegas Club: The one who dances on the runway takes tips the way strippers take tips, which I found very degrading to those girls. It feels a little trashy when you see old men tucking ones into the girls' you know.
Kansas beat Duke and USC beat whoever they played in a blow out, so the third ticket won ($26 win)! Net $16 win for my sports betting. After I cashed out the ticket at Plaza, got McDonald’s there. $3 McDonald’s tasted better than the $20 vomit gravy at Du-Par’s (I'm still bitter about Du-Par's).
At this point, I think I was up about $600. It was about 1:30 AM and I probably should have gone to bed, but I wanted to hit one big at the UTH table. I promptly lost $240, and realized that I was the only one playing at any of the tables. "S***! I'm that guy!" I cashed out and went to sleep. Up just under $400 for the day.
I'll write about Day 2 tomorrow.
One issue. Are you sure the blackjack games @ D and Golden Nugget were 6-5? Both stores are in my regular rotation and both offer 3-2 blackjack, even at low limit ($5), unless they have both changed in the last 3 days. ???
As far as "non-negotiable" chips are concerned, you can use those until you lose them, they remain yours. The only stipulation is that you have to bet it, you cannot cash it out obviously.
Quite common in Vegas: all those Mormon girls dealing blackjack and most of them never had a deck of playing cards in their homes much less in their hands when they were growing up. See The Wizards tape on the Lowdown on Party Pits. I grew up in a house wherein there were sets of playing cards, I think called pinocle decks. An Oriental box with two decks of cards each the same backing. Of course most of the decks were defective but . . . I grew up knowing how to play the dummy at bridge .Quote: CrystalMath
I love how the story starts with your religious discipline giving way to bank roll accumulation.
DuPar's offers Au Jus or with Gravy. I think this has been in a few guidebooks already.
Binions: No Hotel. So what? You were there... sign up for a card. See what you get as a mailer. Some places don't have to offer you free rooms to be of some value.
Very nice report so far... keep going!!
Are you sure the blackjack games @ D and Golden Nugget were 6-5? Both stores are in my regular rotation and both offer 3-2 blackjack, even at low limit ($5), unless they have both changed in the last 3 days. ???
Interesting. I didn't play at Golden Nugget, Four Queens, and the D for one or more of the reasons: 6-5, CSM, or $10 min. Maybe you played during the day and they up the min in the evenings?