helpmespock
helpmespock
Joined: Mar 6, 2010
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March 23rd, 2014 at 11:25:55 AM permalink
I just got back from my annual Las Vegas trip. This year's trip was March 9th to the 13th.

We got good flights this time i.e.; no late night flights or red-eye return flights. Our first bit of bad luck happened on the way out of the airport parking lot. My wife fell on some black ice and hurt her arm pretty badly. It never bruised but we figured it was a very bad pull or strain on some muscles. She took Tylenol/Advil for the next two days straight to manage the pain, and it slowly got better each day we were in Las Vegas.

We flew out Sunday morning at 9:05 and unfortunately that was when we switched from standard time to daylight savings time so we lost an hour of sleep and were bleary-eyed as we had to head out to the airport by 6AM Eastern Daylight time. We landed in Las Vegas just after 11AM Las Vegas time and went to the car rental centre to pick up our car. This is where our first bit of luck hit.

They must have been short on cars that day, perhaps because of the NASCAR race, and tried hard to get me to upgrade to a convertible for an extra $20 per day. I'd only paid for a compact as it's just my wife and I so I refused their upgrade offer. They ended up having to give me the convertible anyway as that's all they had left. My wife was very pleased as she's always wanted to try one out.

Given that we couldn't check in until 3PM, we headed over to the MGM Grand to pick up our show tickets for David Copperfield. Unfortunately we couldn't pick them up because the box office is closed on Sunday. We checked out the Lion's Share slot machine, but it had a woman playing with $300+ in the machine and another couple waiting to play so we grabbed a pizza at Wolfgang Puck's Bar and Grill for lunch. We shared the Prosciutto, Kalamata Olives, Oven Dried Tomatoes, Basil Pesto, Goat Cheese pizza which was very good. A bit on the salty side, but not unexpected given the ingredients list.

After lunch we stopped by the Lion's Share again and this time there was no line-up with just one guy playing with all of $6 left. We put in $42 -- enough for 7 spins each -- and tried our luck. My wife and I both won $15 on any three bars, and we both let that ride so we each got 10 spins in. I'm sad to report the jackpot is still intact.

We then proceeded to the Wynn and checked in. The desk gave us a choice of strip-side or golf course side of the Wynn. We've had plenty of strip-side rooms so we opted for golf course side this time. Odd that every time I looked out of the window I never saw anyone playing during our four days there.
After checking in, we decided to walk the strip a little and gamble. Our first stop was Treasure Island and their $0.50 Jacks or better video poker. They have some 9/6 machines beside the slot club, but my wife likes a little volatility so she prefers the double up machines, but those machines were moved from their spot last year. It took some searching, but we found 9/6 Jacks or better with double up by the high limit room. We both bought in for $100 on the 9/6 Jacks or better with double up and I left with $40 and my wife left with $60 after about a half hour.

We then walked along the strip to the Bellagio where I looked for $10 blackjack and didn't find any. They have a pit of 6 deck CSM machines and they weren't open. The minimum on craps was $10 so we decided to grab supper at Noodles. My wife ordered the fixed price option and got the wonton soup to start, pan fried dumplings, and then a chicken chow mein. Figuring I could mooch off my wife, I just ordered a Dan Dan Mein noodle soup as my entree. The wonton soup base needed more ooomph, but my wife liked the wontons themselves. The pan fried dumplings were excellent as was her chicken chow mein. My Dan Dan Mein was good too, but was one of those increasing heat spicy meals that I sometimes find hard to finish.

After supper we wandered back down the strip and I got in a little craps at Casino Royale. It was a $5 minimum when I got there. I played pass line for a couple points and lost both times and then recovered slightly by playing don't pass. I left after about 30 minutes down $60.
We got back to the Wynn and I tried my hand at some $15 blackjack. I quickly washed out and walked away down $120. After that we decided to head to bed given my wife's arm even though it was only 8PM Las Vegas time.

First thing Monday Morning, I showered up and headed out to play craps at Casino Royale at 6AM. The minimums were again $5. The table was empty when I got there and trying to stay positive at the beginning of the trip I played pass line. I actually made 3 of 4 points starting out only losing on a point of 10. One of the dealers joked that I was the best shooter they'd had all night. I joked back by asking when their shift started knowing that they'd just started a few hours earlier. The table then turned and I then lost the next two points and switched to the dark side. Here I won 3 in a row, but with several 7/11's on the come out to cut into my winnings. After an hour and a half I managed a small win of $40.

Normally my wife and I eat at the Denny's beside Casino Royale for breakfast on the Monday, but it's been demolished. The craps dealers told me that it's being re-built so I guess we'll catch breakfast there next year. Instead I just grabbed some yogurt, fruit, milk, and a Danish at the Walgreens on the strip between the Palazzo/Venetian. They've re-done the Walgreens since I've been there and added a whole bunch of nice options. They now have sandwiches, fresh fruit salads, lettuce salads, frozen yogurt machines, sushi, an expanded wine, spirits, and beer offering, and a lot more. I ended up picking up breakfast each morning from the re-done Walgreens.

My wife and I decided we'd get our shopping done Monday as we planned to gamble at Red Rock casino in the afternoon and for the evening we had a dinner reservation at Marche Bacchus. Normally we hit the Fashion Show Mall across from the Wynn, the Premium Outlets in North Las Vegas, and sometimes we make it to the mall in the south of Las Vegas by the airport. However this time my wife resolved to try to get all the shopping done in one go. Her plan was to hit the Fashion Show mall and try to get everything there.

The Mall doesn't open until 10AM so we popped over to Treasure Island to try our luck at the $0.50 Jacks or better double up machines. First however I'm sad to report I got distracted by some $0.25 Deuces Wild progressive that we shouldn't have played as it paid 99.42% as they paid 10 on as straight flush and only 4 on a 4-of-a-kind. We lost $100 between us.

My wife was having trouble adjusting to the different strategy with Deuces Wild and having to reference the sheets we'd printed off of wizardofodds.com often. After that quick thrashing, my wife wanted to switch back to Jacks or better. My wife then went on an incredible run. She hit four 4-of-a-kinds in that session and I actually had some luck too, but not nearly as lucky as she was. The way my wife likes to play is that we each put $100 in the machine. If she can get between $15-40 above the $100 she prints a ticket and I give her another $100. We managed to print of a dozen tickets with small wins on them and left up $220 from Jacks or better, and slightly positive on the overall bankroll.

We headed over to the Fashion Show mall and went to Macy's where my wife found a couple dresses she liked as well as a couple pairs of pants and shirts for me and the boys. My daughter wanted Lululemon yoga stuff which is also at the mall which means we'd managed to cover all our bases in the one trip. We grabbed a quick bite for lunch at the mall and then got cleaned up and dressed for Red Rock casino and dinner at Marche Bacchus.
We took the top down on the convertible to drive to Red Rock. My wife enjoyed it, and suggested our next car should be a convertible. I countered that we live in Canada and the snow makes that kind of car impractical.

Once we got to Red Rock casino, we played the full pay Deuces Wild and didn't have much luck. Again my wife was still not getting her head around the different strategy and we eventually gave up. I was down $20 and my wife was down $40.

We had a dinner reservation for 6:30PM so we headed out a little early to pick a wine from the wine shop. We've eaten at Marche Bacchus before, but my wife was very excited to go this time. A few years back we had dinner at a restaurant at the Wynn called 'Stratta' and my wife had the best steak she's ever eaten at that restaurant. Alex Stratta is now the head chef at Marche Bacchus.

Browsing the wine shop, we found a lovely Merlot from California and then ordered the Charcuterie to share to go with our wine. My wife ordered that night's special which was a beef filet topped with crab and a hollandaise sauce for her entree. I ordered the beef tenderloin. Both were excellent. That Alex Stratta can sure cook beef. The dessert menu has changed under the new ownership so I tried tiramisu and my wife had an apple tart. I enjoyed my dessert, but my wife thought her dessert was just OK.

Early Tuesday morning I again walked down to Casino Royale, but this time the minimums were lowered to $3. I tried pass line again for a couple points and got nowhere so I switched to don't pass and also got nowhere. I continued switching back and forth but whatever I chose the dice went the opposite way. The dealers joked with me that I was zigging when I should be zagging. I washed out in 40 minutes losing $150 of my $200 buy-in.

I mentally prepared myself for a blood bath at the tables the rest of the day, but I was in for a surprise. After breakfast, I played some $15 blackjack at the Wynn while my wife chatted up the dealer. He was a nice slower dealer originally from Greece who joked with both of us as I played. I dislike fast dealers as they feel like they are toeing some corporate line to increase hands per hour. The play started out choppy with two or three losses in a row followed by a split/double or blackjack that got me back in it. Then I won several hands in a row and that got me to $150 above my $200 buy-in so I coloured up a happy gambler thankful that I'd recovered from the morning beating at the craps table.

Our next outing was to a wool shop in Las Vegas that my wife's been itching to get to. With spring and summer eventually coming, she was hoping to pick up some lighter yarns to knit during the summer from this shop. She found a number of yarns, and luckily it only took an hour and a half and it didn't cost me an arm and a leg.

In the afternoon we again wandered around the strip. We hit the TI $0.50 Jacks or better machines and my wife again managed to hit 3 four-of-a-kinds and we ended up with about $80 over our start and that meant that we were in slight positive territory for the trip. I also played about 20 hands of a double deck blackjack for $10 while at Treasure Island. It was 3 to 2 for blackjack, but no surrender. I'm sorry I didn't ask about re-split aces, or double on any two cards, or double after split however the dealer only dealt about one deck's worth of cards before re-shuffling. They didn't allow mid-deck entry either. I had a modest gain of about $20 from the blackjack.

We then wandered around the Venetian hotel shops as we wanted to look at a little art. We bought a Peter Lik photograph of Central Park on our trip to New York in the fall and Lik has a gallery in the Venetian as well. This time I was looking for a picture of Red Rock canyon, but they didn't have one hanging unfortunately. We also found a nice oil painting we liked in another gallery in the Venetian, but didn't end up buying it. We grabbed a quick burger for lunch from McDonalds between Harrah's and Casino Royale and given it was quite breezy Tuesday and 19C (66F) my wife decided she'd pick up a hoodie from Casino Royale. They were certainly doing a brisk business and while she fought the crowds I snuck over to the craps table. It was still at the $3 minimum and this time I started on the don'ts and stayed there. It seemed like a couple 7-outs followed by a point then a couple more 7-outs. In the 30 minutes I was there I made $60 before my wife found me. We were in solid positive territory now and the agreement with my wife was that she got to spend half the winnings if we were above water. Counting it out it was only $45, but she was happy.

We then headed over to the MGM Grand as we had 7PM tickets for David Copperfield. We got there about 6PM and quickly got the tickets so we sat down at a $10 blackjack table just across from the theatre. I bought in for $100 and over 45 minutes turned that into $235. It was quite a run winning 3 out of every 4 hands, but only 1 blackjack and no splits or doubles. A ton of dealer busts.

Our dealer was a long-time Las Vegas resident and said she saw the funniest thing she'd seen in her 30 years of dealing a couple weeks back. It wasn't busy at the tables so she was watching a gentleman across the aisle play a slot machine. He'd put in $20 then get a beer and promptly lose his $20. This repeated 6 times over an hour and the man was thoroughly drunk by this time. In frustration, he yells at the machine and goes over to the garbage can to throw out his last beer bottle and hurls it at the garbage can. The bottle just catches the edge of the garbage can to bounce back and brain the guy right between the eyes. Stunned the guy picks up the bottle and is yelling as he attempts to break the offending bottle against the garbage can. He gets in 3 or 4 whacks and the bottle just won't break and then security jumps him and hauls him off. Great story from the dealer. Great variance for me at the table and my wife is pleased as I give her her a $70 cut for being above water.

The David Copperfield show was wonderful. You've got to suspend your disbelief while watching, but if you can do that then Mr. Copperfield likes performing, and puts on a great show. The show starts with him appearing on a motorcycle suspended on stage and after the trick was finished a couple was let in late and he teased them following them across the stage giving them a synopsis of the trick he'd just done. His next trick was levitating and then making a gentleman disappear. The gentleman's sister had wanted to perform a trick with Mr. Copperfield, but had died of cancer last year. This trick was actually performed within the audience. Another trick was telling a story of how his grandfather had bought a couple license plates and played the lottery based on those license plates hoping to buy his dream car. Those license plates were locked up in a box and suspended above the stage before the show began. Copperfield then proceeded to pick random audience members and had them pick lottery numbers and then revealed that those numbers were his grandfather's license plate numbers. He then made his grandfather's dream car appear on stage with those license plates on. Another trick was popping balloons with his mind with the finale being popping a balloon that is blown up inside another balloon leaving the outer balloon intact. The penultimate trick was an elaborate affair involving an alien puppet that he said wasn't quite finished, but fun none the less. The final trick is making a number of the audience members disappear on stage. Overall we both enjoyed the show and would say the show was full value for the $120 per ticket that we paid. Certainly you could tell how he was doing certain tricks and it was clear his was wearing a rig under his shirt, but he's enough of a showman that if you suspend your disbelief it doesn't matter.

After the show we headed back to the Wynn and I splurged on $10 minimum craps ekeing out a modest win of $40 and sticking strictly to the pass line so as to risk less money.

Wednesday turned out to be the exact opposite of Tuesday much to my despair. I headed out for craps at Casino Royale at 6AM flush with my success from the previous day. The table was still at the $3 minimum and this time I decided to start on the pass and if that didn't work for the first two points then switch to don't pass and stay there. The best laid plans didn't work out however. There was one other gentleman there and he quickly had a 7-out before I got change and passed the dice to me. My first point was a 6 which I made in three rolls. I got brave on the next point of 4 and put out a bet on place 8. I managed to roll eight 8's alternating between taking the money and then pressing. I had a 7-out two rolls after that. Then I stayed conservative and only had a single pass line bet and won on a point of 8. I then went win one lose one on points of 5 and 9 twice and then lost two points in a row on 6 with $25 odds backing each time. I then switch over to the don't pass and promptly lost twice on points of 4 and 9, won on a point of 10, and then lost twice more on a 6 then an 8. I left down $50 from that session.

I then walked back to the Wynn and given it was still early I played some $15 blackjack thinking I needed a different game to change my luck. It wasn't meant to be as I sat down and promptly lost 3 hands in a row, then a blackjack, and then lost 3 more hands. It then went back and forth for four hands and then another string of 3 losses. I left down $120 after tipping the dealer.

I'm a New York Jets football fan so after breakfast I wandered into the sports book to place two bets. One was for the Jets to win the AFC Championship game and the other was to win the Super Bowl. When I checked a week and a half earlier on the line it was 75 to 1 for a NY Jets Super Bowl win, but the line had dropped to 50 to 1 by the time I made my bet. I got the AFC championship game at 22 to 1. I'm certainly not expecting to win, but it will make the season a little more exciting.

My wife decided she wanted to check out a boot store at the mall she'd spied on our first trip through so I headed over to Treasure Island to play video poker while she shopped. I made the mistake of playing that terrible $0.25 Deuces Wild progressive to the tune of $80 and washed out completely. I then switched to the double up Jacks or better machines and had equally bad luck to the tune of $100.

We then wandered up through to The LINQ to check out the High Roller. The LINQ area is a nice refresh for that section of the strip and one in two store fronts were filled with tenants. We also checked out the re-launched O'Shea's and the Quad's gambling. I didn't see any decent Jacks or better or Deuces Wild machines, the blackjack looked to be 6:5 with a $10 minimum. The craps was $5 minimum with x3-4-5 odds and all of those tables were busy. The High Roller wasn't operating unfortunately as we would have liked to ride, but there was a souvenir shop open with a lot of overpriced knick- knacks.
Eventually we found ourselves at the Bellagio where again the $10 CSM pit was closed. Further up I eventually found a $15 minimum 6 deck table that I bought in for $200 for. The play was very choppy, but thanks to a couple early blackjacks I got up about $30, but then a series of busts on my part and dealer hands turning 4,5, or 6 up into 20 or 21 washed me all the way down to $50. At that point, we decided that we'd be better off grabbing supper.

For Wednesday supper, we decided to try Lindo Michoacan. We'd heard about the restaurant a few years ago, but hadn't visited it yet. We got there at 7PM and the place was packed. Tons of families and parties of one sort or another. We both had one of their excellent Margaritas. We decided to share the Toreados con Queso and then for our main meal I had the Carnitas and my wife ordered Steak Picado. They also give you fresh tortilla chips with a spicy sauce as well as a bean dip. All the food was very good, but the entree portions were huge. My wife and I could have easily gotten by with sharing just the appetizer and one of the entrees. We'll certainly be going back to explore more of the menu on our next trip.

After supper, we decided to just hang around the Wynn. My wife wanted some mindless gambling so she did something she never does -- play a penny slot. We put $10 into a machine and then I went off to try my luck at blackjack. My luck was again stone cold and I gave up after losing 5 hands in a row. My wife however continued her good luck. She played enough to get a bonus game and her machine kept paying off. It was making a huge racket and other slot players kept coming by to see what all the noise was about. She managed to turn that $10 into $50. Too bad that didn't offset my losses.
Thursday we were flying out, but the flight wasn't until 12:15PM so we had some time. I tried my luck again at Casino Royale and again it was $3 minimum. I strictly bet don't pass and won on points of 4 and 10, but lost on 6 and 8 which meant I bled chips until I'd lost $150 and decided to call it quits. I detoured by the Jacks or better machines at Treasure Island on the way back to the Wynn and quickly lost another $100.

Packing up didn't take long and we still had an hour and a half before we should head out to the airport so I decided I'd try one last craps session and this time I ended up at Encore for $10 minimum. I was alone at the table and again started on don't pass and lost two quick points so I switched to pass line and lost on a 6 then an 8. Another $150 lost in short order.

After that final beating, we headed off to the airport to say goodbye to Las Vegas for another year. My wife thoroughly enjoyed herself on this trip and for the first time she said she wishes she had one more day to stay. She even suggested that we could come back in the summer. I, on the other hand, was ready to go home. The one great day where everything turned my way was enjoyable, but the beatings I took on all the other days had sapped my energy for Las Vegas. I'll be happy to return next March break to get away from winter and enjoy gambling again. Who knows too as two of my bets are still outstanding -- the New York Jets to win the AFC championship and then the Super Bowl. Go Jets!

--helpmespock
Nostron
Nostron
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March 24th, 2014 at 7:32:00 AM permalink
Nice report - we were there the same time as you - mostly hung out at Rio, Paris, Palms and Cosmo.
SOOPOO
SOOPOO
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March 24th, 2014 at 8:13:18 AM permalink
Quote: helpmespock

I just got back from my annual Las Vegas trip. --helpmespock



Your report is what a trip to Vegas is all about for most of us. You gambled, obviously hoping to win but no expectations thereof. You seemed to enjoy each and every different experience regardless of the vagaries of variance. Did Mr. and Mrs. 'helpmespock' ever make it to the Star Trek exhibition?
1BB
1BB
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March 24th, 2014 at 9:10:06 AM permalink
That was a very enjoyable read and I read every word. Reports like this are why I hang around here so thanks for writing it.

It was not classy of the car rental agent to try to con you into an upgrade under those circumstances. Good for you for turning it down and even better that you got it for free, which is what should have happened in the first place.

Did you go to Red Rock specifically to play or was it secondary to enjoying the ride and the scenery? Downtown was not mentioned. Time constraints or just not a fan?
Many people, especially ignorant people, want to punish you for speaking the truth. - Mahatma Ghandi
helpmespock
helpmespock
Joined: Mar 6, 2010
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March 24th, 2014 at 10:06:44 AM permalink
Quote: Nostron

Nice report - we were there the same time as you - mostly hung out at Rio, Paris, Palms and Cosmo.



Oh nice. If you're from the east like we are (Ontario, Canada) it was nice to just get away from the unrelenting winter we've had.

We've been through the Paris and Cosmo a couple times, but I wouldn't mind hearing your impressions of the Rio and Palms.

--helpmespock
helpmespock
helpmespock
Joined: Mar 6, 2010
  • Threads: 62
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March 24th, 2014 at 10:25:16 AM permalink
Quote: SOOPOO

Your report is what a trip to Vegas is all about for most of us. You gambled, obviously hoping to win but no expectations thereof. You seemed to enjoy each and every different experience regardless of the vagaries of variance. Did Mr. and Mrs. 'helpmespock' ever make it to the Star Trek exhibition?



Actually no strangely enough. While we're fans of the original series and next generation that's as far as it goes. We've never gone to a Star Trek convention or anything like that. I stole the line from "The Savage Curtain" for a different kind of username than was prevalent at the time I started on the internet.

It's also odd because we've often made it out to LVH to play their $0.25 9/6 Jacks or better video poker. TI had the $0.50 level and it was just across the street from us so it was easier than making a special trip although my wife did suggest it although we never followed through.

As for variance, I'm still waiting for the perfect trip. One where at the end of each day I'm even or ahead in my bankroll. It doesn't have to be huge heck I'd be happy with $40 ahead, but it will mean that I've won more than I've lost. I'm sure that's what most of us dream of when heading out on a trip to Las Vegas. I'm sure it will happen one of these trips and then I'll post about it here.

--helpmespock
helpmespock
helpmespock
Joined: Mar 6, 2010
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March 24th, 2014 at 10:54:35 AM permalink
Quote: 1BB

That was a very enjoyable read and I read every word. Reports like this are why I hang around here so thanks for writing it.

It was not classy of the car rental agent to try to con you into an upgrade under those circumstances. Good for you for turning it down and even better that you got it for free, which is what should have happened in the first place.

Did you go to Red Rock specifically to play or was it secondary to enjoying the ride and the scenery? Downtown was not mentioned. Time constraints or just not a fan?



I always use hotwire.com or carrentals.com to get the cheapest rate so I'm not surprised to see them try to squeeze out a few more dollars from me. It was Advantage by the way.

We specifically went to Red Rock because of the full pay Deuces Wild but the cognitive dissonance my wife was having on Deuces Wild vs. Jacks or better and the fact that we weren't having any luck meant that we knocked off early. Also we were having dinner at Marche Bacchus which is on the same side of the city. I asked her a couple times to practice Deuces Wild on videopoker.com before we left, but she never had time which didn't help.

We didn't get downtown. Our very first trip to Las Vegas was staying downtown at the Golden Nugget and my wife got the worst case of food poisoning she's ever had. She has negative associations with downtown ever since. We have been downtown a couple times since, but never since we started renting a car. I assume the parking is all OK and easy to use downtown? If so then we'll probably fit it in next trip. It seems to me the gambling is better downtown -- i.e.; better house edge for the gambler with lower minimums. I wouldn't mind checking out the 'D' place I keep seeing ads for.

If the parking downtown is like MGM Grand then I won't be going. 8-)
If the Lion's Share and the show we were going to see weren't at the MGM Grand then we wouldn't have gone there this trip.

--helpmespock
Nostron
Nostron
Joined: Jan 7, 2013
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March 25th, 2014 at 8:17:46 AM permalink
Quote: helpmespock

Oh nice. If you're from the east like we are (Ontario, Canada) it was nice to just get away from the unrelenting winter we've had.

We've been through the Paris and Cosmo a couple times, but I wouldn't mind hearing your impressions of the Rio and Palms.

--helpmespock



Dont have time to do as lengthy report as you did but I will hit some highlights.

Have never stayed at the Palms but have gone there for meals/gambling on two different saturday nights on two different trips. Once with 5 couples, once with 3 other guys on bachelor party. Had great meals at both the steakhouse (N9NE) and the Itlalion resuarant on the top floor whose name escapes me at the moment. Lots of eyecandy - seems to be a younger, hipper LA type of crowd. Had fun gambling both times here.

The Rio is a step down from Paris/PH on the CET chain but I have enjoyed both stays here. room is very big and clean. Thought the Voodoo steakhouse was a tad overrated but they also have an Italion place that I enjoyed. Love the cocktail waitress outfits!!! or lack thereof. enjoyed our gambling here - had a couple of nice craps runs as well as one monster blackjack run. Also had a very good massage this trip.

Sorry for any typos etc - typing on my phone.

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