Joined: May 9, 2010
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May 3rd, 2014 at 1:23:38 PM permalink

0.1 I am neither a AP nor trying to do any AP things. As a matter of fact, I often (not always, though) play the games with big house edges, such as slot machines (including non-full-pay video pokers), carnival table games, etc. Of course, as a gambler, I also try to preserve (in order words, slow down losing) my bank roll while gambling (most of the time unsuccessfully).
If, in an unexpected lucky run, my bank roll even increases, that would be sweet. I wish for it, pray for it, but donít count on it.

0.2 My English, especially writing, is not what I am proud of. My excuse is that English was not my first language, not even the second. Please forgive me for my broken English.
I know it is painful to read other peopleís broken English (or any broken language).

0.3 For reference purpose, I tried to number each major event with a winning/losing/transaction.

Day 1

1.0 Monday afternoon, with 50 $100 bills in an envelop packed into my carry-on suitcase, a $20 bill with my driver license and one credit card in my wallet in my pocket, went to the airport.

1.1 Long term parking at the airport charges $8 (including tax) per day, I need 4 days. Total $32 will be changed to my credit card when I return. For simplicity, I counted it as todayís expense.

1.2 The flight was on time and landed at McCarran around 6pm. Air ticket cost me $316, also counted as todayís expense.

1.3 This was not my first Vegas trip, I knew my way out.
At terminal 1, outside the baggage claim hall, I directly went to airport shuttle area.
The first one I saw was Showtime so I chose it and paid $7.50 for an one-way ride to the Strip. (gave $20, got back one $10, two $1 and two quarters as change).

1.4 The shuttle waited about 5 minutes before hitting the road. There were total three people on the shuttle, an older couple in their 60s and myself. The shuttle first dropped them off at Harrahís and then arrived at the Mirage around 7pm. I tipped $2 to the driver. As far as I could tell, the couple at Harrahís didnít tip the driver.

Trip total so far: -$358 (rounded up to the dollar)

1.5 Check-in process was very fast, apparently it was not a busy time.
Mirage uses Wendy-style line at check-in, and only 3 or 4 people in front of me. I didnít bother to ask for upgrade, just gave my driver license and credit card.

I booked my stay as a package through a promoter/agent/junket/partner/whatever.
It includes 3 nights of room (the $25 resort fee also waived), $xx resort credit for food, and $200 free play on slot machines. The $xx amount was more than I could possibly eat per day, so I donít want to say how much it was. Basically, all the meals were included.
I would put down the cost of the package at $500 even though thatís not exactly how I paid or how much I paid.

Trip total so far: -$858

1.6 The check-in desk gave me 2 room keys/cards, then directed me to the Mlife desk for my $200 free play and also told me I could do that anytime later. So I decided to do it after dinner.

1.7 My room was on the 7th floor, with back view. At this low level, I guess the view is not important anyway. I could see the south side of the strip, such as Paris and PH.
I unpacked my suitcase, put my envelop (I checked, money still inside) into the safe and made sure it locked properly.

I am not sure if my room is that cheapest kind in the Mirage. I believe it is.
In my opinion it is no better than a typical Holiday-Inn Express room. The bath room is pretty small, no separate show and tub. Anyway, I donít care too much about the room or the things in the room, such as the mini-bar.

I read and replied a few emails on my iPhone and made a couple of phone calls just to tell people that I safely arrived. As my phone had unlimited data and I got decent signal, I didnít bother to connect to their WIFI, even thought it was included as I was told.

Then I went down for dinner. Itís just past 8pm now.

1.8 On my way to the Cravings, the buffet at the Mirage, I found a ATM/Ticket-Redemption machine. Put my $10 in and got 2 $5 out. Then I put one $5 in, and got five $1 notes. I knew I would need them later.

1.9 The line at the buffetís entrance was not too long, less than 5 people in front of me.
I could see the buffet was less than half full, no need to wait for seats. I like that.
I heard that at busy time at certain buffets on the strip, people have to wait in line for 2-3 hours to have diner. I would never ever do that in my life.

The price is $29.99+tax, I let it charge to the room. The lady asked if I was new to the buffet, I answered yes. She then told me ďunlimited wine and beer included,
just go to the bar inside the buffetĒ. I thought thatís a good value for the price. Regular restaurants would charge a hell lot for serving wine at dinner. Even at those places where you are allowed bring your own wine bottle to the table, they will charge you ridiculous un-cork fee. I know you can always drink wine or anything for free in the casino, but I only drink at dinner, not even lunch.

According to the sign, the buffet has total 11 stations (not counting the bar). As I am a picky eater (I am not picky on quality or taste, but on ingredients, thatís why I always prefer to eat at buffets), I browsed but didnít get any food from many stations. I only picked a few items I knew I could eat. Popular items, such as snow crabs legs, steaks, I never touch them. I remember they have Chinese, Italian, Mexican stations, as well as a carving station.

I went to the bar and got a glass of Merlot and tipped $1 to the bartender. Nothing special about the wine, I would say average California wine, but drinkable. When paired with the right food (thatís the advantage of buffet, right?), the wine tasted way above average.

After a few rounds of meats, veggies, fruits, and deserts and another glass of Merlot, I was stuffed and nearly drunk.
I put 2 $1 on the table for tip and left the buffet.

Trip total so far: -$862

1.10 My next stop was the Mlife desk, which also has Wendy-style line. There was only one person in front of me. I produced my ID and asked to print a card for me and also wanted to reset my pin #. After that I asked about my $200 free play. The lady told me itís on my card and I can use it on any machine except some progressive, such Megabucks. Too bad, I love Megabucks (more on that later).

1.11 Next 20-30 minutes, I walked around on the casino floor to check slots/vp machines.
There were several areas with video poker. I should say that all of the paytables are pretty bad. I didnít look at the high limit room because I didnít think my $200 free play could last too long on high denomination machines. Eventually I settled on a $1 DDB machine. I remember itís 9-5 not 9-6, I didnít see a 9-6. I put my $5 in, and started play on my free play. I didnít get any good hand, not even a straight. When $200 free play finished, I had $105 credits and cashed out. In other words, $200 free play turned into $100 cash. Thatís a 50% value, pretty low. Maybe I should have played penny slots instead. Oh Well.

Trip total so far: -$762

1.12 After cashing the $105 ticket at a redemption machine, I started looking for the table games. There were several pits on the floor. I noticed that most of the tables were empty or only a couple of players. Table minimum on the carnival games were generally $5. I didnít pay much attention to BJ as I was not in the mood to play BJ anyway. As it was premium time in the evening, so all tables were open, but not many players. I could imagine during daytime there were even less players in the casino. I wondered how could the casino make enough money to pay the electricity bill, let alone the salaries for the dealers.

I hesitated between an empty Let-It-Ride table and an empty Mississippi-Stud table and eventually sit at the Mississippi table. Changed my only $100 and started play $5 a hand.
The dealer was a very friendly 40 something gentleman. He asked my playerís card and I gave to him. I didnít expect the bit boss would rate my absolute minimum play and I also didnít need anything because my room and meals were all included as I mentioned. But I gave my Mlife card anyway. Whether the pit boss really put me in or not, I never be able to tell.

As it turned out that my choice of table was correct (I have to admit that I am a superstitious gambler). I won more hands than usual. Mississippi Stud is a game in which if you lose, you could lose dozens of hands without having a single winning hand; but if you win, you could win a lot. In less than an hour, probably just half an hour, I had over $400 dollar chips.
I kept playing a while and colored up $350. During my play, I believe I tipped the dealer a total about $15. Pretty much each winning hand, I tipped one dollar to the dealer.
During my play, I was the only player at the table.
I also ordered one orange juice from the cocktail waitress. The service is OK. Nothing good or bad.

This session I was up $250. I knew $250 was not a big win even for a flea like me.
But I was happy with the outcome.

Trip total so far: -$512

1.13 Itís almost midnight by now and I was already very tired. But I didnít want to just go to sleep yet. After all, I was in Vegas. Besides, I havenít really started gambling yet, remember my entire bank roll was still sitting in the safe.

I looked at the table game area one more time. Most games I could also play at my local casinos, with same or even better rules. There were a few new games here I didnít play before, such as Pai-Gow tile, Free Bet BJ, BJ Switch, big-six wheel. But I didnít feel like to try any of them.

I knew thereís one game which I could not play at home, and I definitely wanted to play it. That is Megabucks. It is not an exaggeration to say that hitting the Megabucks jackpot is every slot playerís dream. And I am no exception.
A little while ago, I couldnít use my free play on Megabucks machines, but now, I can do whatever I want with my own money, Yes!

(to be continued)
winning streaks come and go, losing streak never ends.
Joined: Mar 11, 2010
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May 3rd, 2014 at 1:53:18 PM permalink
That was a great read. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens next. Also, your english is much better than you seem to think. If you hadn't mentioned it, I'd have thought you were fluent/native but writing quickly.
"So as the clock ticked and the day passed, opportunity met preparation, and luck happened." - Maurice Clarett
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May 3rd, 2014 at 1:58:18 PM permalink
Good start! Thanks for sharing.
Joined: Oct 28, 2012
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May 3rd, 2014 at 2:04:27 PM permalink
When I worked International troubles at AT&T, I was always amazed at The Asian and Russians I worked with. Their grammar was
almost flawless, yet they would be so apologetic if they had to pause to think of a word or phrase. I go to Colorado Meas State and these college kids would not know a proper sentence if it bit them in the ass.
Shed not for her the bitter tear Nor give the heart to vain regret Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it Sparkles yet
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May 3rd, 2014 at 3:45:30 PM permalink
Thank you all for the encouragements!
I will keep writing and posting the rest of the story.
winning streaks come and go, losing streak never ends.
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May 3rd, 2014 at 7:17:23 PM permalink
just curious why so secretive about the cost of the junket and how much food money they gave you. You are telling us what type of change you get but leave out a detail that all of us would like to know.
Expect the worst and you will never be disappointed. I AM NOT PART OF GWAE RADIO SHOW
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May 3rd, 2014 at 8:56:44 PM permalink
Quote: pokerface

paid $7.50 for an one-way ride to the Strip. (gave $20, got back one $10, two $1 and two quarters as change).

Why did you feel the need to include the information in parentheses?
Joined: Oct 28, 2012
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May 3rd, 2014 at 9:28:20 PM permalink
I would have expected him to get 4 $3 bills and 2 quarters
Shed not for her the bitter tear Nor give the heart to vain regret Tis but the casket that lies here, The gem that filled it Sparkles yet
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May 4th, 2014 at 12:36:10 AM permalink
Quote: sodawater

Why did you feel the need to include the information in parentheses?

lol, excellent point...I bought a pizza today. It cost 5.29 after the coupon (I used my credit card and earned 1% back. I didn't get change because I didn't use cash. Then I gave the cashier 5 ones and asked for a 5 dollar bill. Since I did not have 6 ones, I left $0 for a tip). All in fun Pokerface, I read about English not being your first language...much respect, and you write better than most American high school graduates.
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May 4th, 2014 at 6:15:46 AM permalink
Quote: pokerface

1.0 Monday afternoon, with 50 $100 bills in an envelop packed into my carry-on suitcase, a $20 bill with my driver license and one credit card in my wallet in my pocket, went to the airport.

I wouldn't normally associate this amount of bankroll with a "low-roller" ! But I guess it also depends on how long you will be staying in Las Vegas, which you indicated would be 3 nights.

I'm looking forward to part 2. As far as low roller and low budget things are concerned, if you spend all your junket food money, I suggest trying the sirloin steak special at Ellis Island. That would be a long but do-able walk from the Mirage.
Like the castle in its corner In a medieval game; I foresee terrible trouble And I stay here just the same

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