robbiehood
robbiehood
Joined: Dec 7, 2009
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November 28th, 2013 at 4:36:19 PM permalink
Just a recap of the return trip to Las Vegas I made with my son, Iraqi Vet/Vegas Virgin last January. Overall, we had a great four day trip. My son primarily played craps, concentrating his play at the Golden Nugget. We stayed downtown at the ElCo with a generous promotion for two nights and then moved to the strip at my favorite MGM hotel for the last two nights. I played primarily at the ElCo, enjoying the classic Black Jack and video poker. I found the staff and management to be accommodating and friendly, especially the fine ladies working in the coffee shop. My only recommendation is to request a room on floor four or higher because strong waves of stale smoke will periodically waft through the room throughout the day and night. If you are a non-gambling tourist on a Trip Advisor Las Vegas hotel dust-bunny-safari, rent a room across the street in the Cabana Hotel.

The trip was marred, somewhat, from the beginning when our flight was canceled due to mechanical trouble. The airline put us up for a night in a decent airport hotel but I missed arriving in Las Vegas on time as planned. The delay seemed to compress the trip leaving me feeling harried and anxious for the remaining days. I have a choice of four airports to fly out of where I live. My home town airport can cost between $100-$150 more than an airport 60 miles away and $150-$250 more than an airport 180miles away. Shopping for tickets I booked two flights from the outlying airport to LV for less than $500. Flights from the hometown airport, on the same dates, would have cost $630 each or $475 each from the airport 60 miles from my town. My wife criticized me for driving an additional three hours to save over $700 in airfare. It didn’t seem too far to me. Anyway, we arrived in Las Vegas fourteen hours later than planned. This was the third time that my flight to Las Vegas was delayed or canceled in the thirty eight years that I’ve been flying to Sin City. Still, a +EV for flying; however, I’m feeling dismayed about the recent high prices of tickets to fly to LV, a -EV. I continue to patiently shop for reasonable, but far and few between, airfare sales.

My son , now a sergeant (Sarg) and continuing in graduate school has fallen hard for craps. Throughout his childhood and adolescence my wife and I had a hard time figuring out his intelligence level and could not assess whether or not he was a rock or a genius. Regarding his pattern of distorted thinking and affection towards craps, my emergent, prejudicious intellectual deficits lead me to believe that he is a savant rock. Practicing pain avoidance and mindfulness for most of my life, I find it unsettling to purposefully buy into the manic/depressive, masochistic, negative EV craps milieu. Anyway, I followed him around Downtown, all day long, while he played craps at various casinos, researching and identifying the casino in which he wanted to earn player status and call his home casino. He learned and practiced craps strategies and etiquette, (mostly from information found in the Wizard’s Craps guide) and played the pass line with odds while placing the six and eight on several tables. I endorsed his strategy to limit his exposure.

While he played Craps, I played the few FP video poker games I could find or walked around lamenting and fussing to myself about the degradation of blackjack Downtown. Old timers, please correct me if this is a false memory, but I believe that the 2:1 suited A/J blackjack bonus was available downtown as late as 1975, when I first played blackjack in LV. The high point of the day for me was sampling some of the brew pub beer at the Four Queens, talking with the Beer Tender and winning on the bar top VP games available for play. We walked back to the El Cortez, napped in our separate rooms for about ninety minutes and then walked to a highly rated Thai restaurant for dinner. Sarg rated the restaurant as a must-do-again experience. I wasn’t so enthusiastic. We ended the evening playing our separate games at the ElCo for several hours. The next morning, during a great breakfast in the coffee shop, Sarg noted that he was only down about $100 after approximately twelve hours of play, betting $5/10 pass line with odds and $12 6&8 place bets. I noted that I hit four fours on a DB game during early morning play and was closing in on breaking even. Sarg declared that he wanted to go back to the Golden Nugget, signup for a player’s card and play for comps and room discounts. After check-out we walked back to the Nugget where Sarg signed up for his card, played a few dollars through a slot machine and then meandered to an animated, boisterous Craps table.

Sarg bought in for $300, bet $10 pass line with 2x odds and placed $12 on the 6&8. I cautioned him that he may have to make a $25 pass line bet to be rated at the Nugget. I observed several players carefully setting the dice and methodically lofting the dice. One group of players in particular seemed to concentrate on setting the dice while for effect. This group, comprised of one women and two men, appeared to be meth skinny with deepwater tans. Their skin’s complexion and leathery texture looked like they may have misspent their youth on a fishing boat or a garbage scow. Their outcomes were not congruent to their stylized play or voiced positive expectations. Another single player on the table may have been using the field bet martingale system (guaranteed 80% win rate as posted on You Tube) by waiting until three non-field numbers were thrown in a row to place a field bet. Following the action for twenty minutes I had to walk around the Nugget to escape further exposure to the heightened, debilitating, manic/depressive energy present at this table.

Upon returning to the table, Sarg was up but hit a chop table plateau and was only holding his own against moody variance. I did notice that the deepwater tan, meth skinny group had been replaced by, or morphed into one very large man. This guy must have been 6’2” and an amalgamation of the Michelin man, the Pillsbury Dough Boy and Baby Huey because he encompassed the whole end of the table, sported a disproportionally small head and was dressed all in white with a Colonel Sanders black tie. This character triggered the next manic wave at the table when he introduced himself to everyone as Dick DeMere, announcing that he was the GREATEST Craps player of all time; mentioning more than once, in his cacophonic falsetto voice, that he was playing an infallible strategy. Dick never shut up. I couldn’t identify his accent. It sounded like a screeching combination of Long Island and East Texas. He had a comment, rant, diatribe about every play, system, strategy and player at the table. Illustratively, he bet green on the pass line with full odds and then bet multiples of $30 on the don’t come with full odds. When inclined, he announced, that he would place or buy green across the board and replace each winning bet with his don’t come bet with full odds. Dick was not inclined to bet across the board on this day, instead he made his pass line bet and one or two don’t come bets. Unfortunately for the table Dick hit, (what he called “Perfection”), by winning his pass line bet and then winning his two don’t come bets when the shooter threw a seven on the come out roll. Dick’s energy may have distorted my perception but he seemed to grow larger before my eyes with a purple and yellow aura emanating from around his immense body.

Dick criticized the field bet martingale player and then unmercifully taunted a player that he accused of using Mr. S’s five count system. However, Dick almost came to blows with a player that he accused of hedging bets. Coincidently, this other player was named Dick; and through two or three heated passes the two Dicks feverously pointed out the fallacies of each other’s strategies. Big Dick announced to the table that he could not countenance playing on the same table as a hedger. Little Dick and the rest of the table started to applaud and wished Big Dick good F’ing luck where ever he chose to play. Dick DeMere colored up and flipped the crew a green chip, apologizing to all for expressing his strong opinions about a game that he loves and studies. My son colored up soon after Big Dick quit the table ahead by almost $300.

Sarg and I drove to my favorite MGM hotel on the Strip, checked in and rested comfortably in a double queen room with a nice view of the Strip for a few hours. For the next couple of days we would walk down the strip and play at all the casinos that offered either a $10 craps table or a S17 six deck game. I did play rated at the home casino for several sessions but experienced high levels of ambivalence to continue to bet at high levels due to the perceived lack of incentive and recognition. I did enjoy reverting to my old style of hit and run play on some of the better games on the strip. The highlight of the Strip segment of this trip was seeing Daniel Tosh at the Mirage. Tosh was no-holds-barred politically incorrect hilarious. I would purchase another ticket to see him again.

Another beautiful women story.

Sarg and I traveled down to the MGM Hotel. I was seated at second base on a classic rules, six deck BJ table and he was off in crazed craps land playing a $10 minimum game. After playing a couple of hands, I looked up from the table and, from across the casino, caught the eye of a tall, beautiful redhead, who shimmered when she walked. From across the casino I could tell that she was at least six feet in height and moved with the same deliberate grace of a model. She was wearing an iridescent, pearlescent, soft white evening gown that seemed to float around her as she walked towards me. Walking up to the back of my chair, she said, in an eastern European accent: “I’m hungry, I go to the restaurant” and then immediately walked away from the table with a deliberate stride. I thought she was disoriented and possibly just getting home from an all-night party. Her hair was more orange than red, her eyes were green and bloodshot and, of all things, she had a light orange but prominent moustache. Play at the table stopped, with the two other players, the dealer and pit bosses watching this vision walk to and from the table. I could only raise my hands and plead ignorance.

Food poisoning.

I am pleased that the Wizard has recovered from his near death case of food poisoning. I’ve had two friends that almost died from food borne illness; one from hepatitis A, the other from botulism to be exact. Both of these men wished they had died when they were ill. None of them have recovered 100%. My friend Bob ate a bad clam from a boardwalk stand on the Jersey Shore and was hospitalized for nearly four weeks, continuing to suffer for the next year. When he began to recover he had lost 125 pounds. To this day he reports to have only recovered 75%, claiming constant fatigue, a metallic taste in his mouth and joint pain. My worst Las Vegas experience from a food borne illness occurred in August 2012. I was attending a conference and traveled with my wife. My wife and I had planned to stay over for a long weekend following the conclusion of the conference. After the conference closed we meet two other couples at a highly regarded buffet. Upon returning to the table with several small plates of appetizer type food, I ate one muscle from a mussel marinara dish and immediately started to gag. Think Devine’s great stunt from Pink Flamingos. Gagging in front of my boss, his wife, my wife and the other lovely couple, I had to either spit or swallow. I practically barfed in my napkin and launched myself towards the men’s room. I rinsed my mouth thoroughly in the men’s room and went on to enjoy the rest of the dining experience, like a good Roman should, albeit guarded and suspicious of any long simmering seafood dishes. Walking back to our hotel my wife announced her desire to go to Bouchon for diner the following evening and then tour the Erotic Heritage Museum. She also mentioned synchronizing certain in-room activities to drumbeats and volcano eruptions. YEA BABY! The thought of going to an Erotic Museum with my wife ignited several new fantasies and scenarios usually imagined by much younger men; However, early the next morning I woke up feeling nauseous, intestinally infirm with the additional pleasure of the runs. I spent the next two nights listening to fevered drum beats preceding volcano eruptions while flushing kaopectate down the bowl. My wife was pissed, leaving me to suffer alone in the room- degueulasse. Has anyone been to the Erotic Heritage Museum? Did you find it inspirational?

Craps Fever

Sarg took a trip in August with his fiancée and two other couples. My memories of playing in LV as a twenty something pinched a nerve of envy. He and his group had a great time. He played craps and some VP. His two frustrations came from a couple who got stuck on digital roulette and would not play any other game due to inventing a winning system and from feeling obligated to show his friends a good time. His best Craps experience came at the D. While watching Sarg play Craps his fiancée, a tall, corn fed, Midwestern blond of German decent was adopted by a demur Asian grandmother who was playing the Pass Line with full odds on two tables. This Asian Grandmother offered brief instruction to the fiancée and then left her a red chip to play. The dealers encouraged this gorgeous girl to play the chip on the pass line. Sarge’s fiancée was a Vegas Virgin so he doubled his pass line bet and cheered his fiancée on. She ended up rolling six points and two come out sevens before she sevened out. Sarge backed her pass line with full odds and estimated that he made an additional $120 backing her pass line bet with full odds.

Feeling my Las Vegas Jonez, patiently shopping for reasonable airfare, I found two tickets to LV from one of the airports sixty miles from my hometown airport. I bought the two tickets for less than the price of one ticket from my home airport. Sarge and I are flying on Black Friday for a five day/four night trip. Sarge has been hustling to finish a research project and as the turkey cooks he is in his office typing. Sarge has been pestering me to play craps with him during the trip. I have balked and declined up until this point. I agreed to risk one BJ buy in if he would show me how to set the dice without fumbling forever on the table. I also asked Sarge to demonstrate- just once- the possibility of influencing the outcome of the roll. We quickly setup a dining room craps table and began to practice setting and throwing the dice. I can now, at lease, set the dice using the Flying V, the Mini V and the Crossed Hard Ten. We recorded all outcomes and after an hour did not discover a significant trend that would indicate any influence at all. I questioned Sarge’s enthusiasm for practicing this superstition. My high school freshman son came to the table so we included him in on the fun and recorded the outcomes for an additional 60 minutes of play with three in the rotation. My adolescent son learned a set and threw a few times during his turn. My teenager bragged that he just invented a new dice set called Snake Eyes. On a roll, that ended the evening; he threw twenty six numbers in a roll. I now own his proven money making Snake Eyes set and strategy but can’t tell anybody what it is. I am looking forward to turning the tables on Las Vegas.

My only tourist plan for this trip is to drive to three or four off-Strip casinos that I never visited, which offer FP video poker. I may start at the Palms and at least hit the Alliant, maybe the M, Southpoint, Sam’s Town and some of the other Station Casinos. I will play rated, a few sessions of classic BJ, if the game still exists on the strip. I may self medicate to loosen inhibitions and play craps with my son. The bright side of the road to all.
Let down the curtain; The farce is over.
Tomspur
Tomspur
Joined: Jul 12, 2013
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November 28th, 2013 at 5:00:20 PM permalink
Great writing style you have.

Also, if you are in the M resort area, head over to Green Valley Ranch. They have some semi decent VP games, especially the 0.25c and $1 games close to the "Drop off" (I believe it is) bar close to to the high limit section.

Have a great time!
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” - Winston Churchill
robbiehood
robbiehood
Joined: Dec 7, 2009
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November 28th, 2013 at 5:06:09 PM permalink
Thanks. I read Teddy's review of the Green Valley and will put it on my list.
Let down the curtain; The farce is over.
tringlomane
tringlomane
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November 28th, 2013 at 7:13:07 PM permalink
Wow! Great read!

Good luck on your next trip! Keep an eye on "Sarge" though...he sounds one step away from a craps degen. :P
robbiehood
robbiehood
Joined: Dec 7, 2009
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:12:12 PM permalink
And he is a principle in an evidence based project. –but in denial about the nature, eventualities and probability problems with craps.
Let down the curtain; The farce is over.
Tomspur
Tomspur
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:16:16 PM permalink
Quote: robbiehood

And he is a principle in an evidence based project. –but in denial about the nature, eventualities and probability problems with craps.



One good thing is that he is trying to understand the game and its nuances. Many people just blindly throw money on the felt or follow dealers' advice.

He could be doing worse, seriously :)
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” - Winston Churchill
tringlomane
tringlomane
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:19:43 PM permalink
Quote: Tomspur

One good thing is that he is trying to understand the game and its nuances. Many people just blindly throw money on the felt or follow dealers' advice.

He could be doing worse, seriously :)



True...but I hope a wiser party convinces him before he feels the negative variance himself.
Tomspur
Tomspur
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:22:29 PM permalink
Quote: tringlomane

True...but I hope a wiser party convinces him before he feels the negative variance himself.



Sometimes, especially when we are young, there isn't much telling us anything about anything.

Best to let him do what makes him happy and hope he learns from the inevitable.
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” - Winston Churchill
speedycrap
speedycrap
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:28:20 PM permalink
Quote: Tomspur

Sometimes, especially when we are young, there isn't much telling us anything about anything.

Best to let him do what makes him happy and hope he learns from the inevitable.


I understand what you are saying. Like the old saying "Been there, done that"
That is life.
My daughter just told me to trust her and dont worry. I replied to her" I trust you but I am worried about you"
Tomspur
Tomspur
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November 28th, 2013 at 8:30:51 PM permalink
My daughter just told me to trust her and dont worry. I replied to her" I trust you but I am worried about you"



Trusting her and being worried about her are two completely independent concepts however I guess we cannot expect younger folks to completely understand that without the experiences that we have had.

Perhaps simply be worried from a reasonable distance :)
“There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.” - Winston Churchill

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