Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 9:16:25 AM permalink
As I said, I'll break it up in subjects as I think them up. I won't make much reference to exact dates as in such long trips they tend to blur. And there will be many different posts to stitch along.

Gambling:

I played my usual very low stakes all the time. This consisted of VP, craps (bubble and table), PGP and two sessions of High Card Flush. I think I just about broke even.

For VP my choice is the Loose Deuces nickles machine at the Ditz. One can play a long time for very little money and odds are good of walking out ahead. First day I hit four deuces. Second day I hit four deuces again. That's $250 in total payoff, which isn't bad. But this year the machine wasn't in a very good mood. I played almost daily (the waitresses knew what I would order and merely confirmed my order rather than ask), buying in for $20-$30 and quitting either when busting or when I got tired. I rarely left better than even or $5 down, except for the two jackpots mentioned. One day my $20 went up in a flash. Another day I lasted over 2 hours on a $20 buy-in before quitting with $10 still in.

On the last day I bought in for $40. i stayed over 95 minutes, finally hitting the four deuces a third time with only $10 remaining. I kept playing until I was exhausted (it was nearing midnight), with $20 in the machine.

Right then I decided to waste a bit of money on the Sigma Derby. I scrounged 4 quarters from my purse and fed them to the old game. I bet two in the longest shot (104 to 1) and one each on the next longer shots. Guess what hit. Right,t he very long shot, for a payoff of $52. Not bad at all for a spur-of-the-moment bet.

I took 8 quarters and gave them to two girls who'd been loudly playing there while I played VP and had now busted out. I said "Here, take these eight quarters for good luck." They were surprised, but they smiled and thanked me. One was even more surprised I was leaving with the payoff. I explained one quits when one is ahead.

My luck wasn't as good in table craps. I got wiped out thrice at the MSS. My best sessions were at the 4 Queens and Downtown Grand, where I broke even. Next best one was at Casino Royale, where I lost only $20.

I did better at bubble craps. I had some wining sessions, a few times I left up a couple of dollars, and got wiped out only once. Of course I played for very low stakes, sometimes as low as $2 pass line and double odds. Still, the low stakes make me feel more comfortable making multiple come bets.

There were three big wins. At Binnions I scored $150 up after being down to under $15 (my usual buy-in was $40). I had a mildly good roll, hitting two points and a place bet on the six, but losing two come bets on seven out. The guy who rolled next had a long roll, hitting six points (four different ones) and hitting several of my come bets. Alas, I played at $3 with double odds (I'd have bet more on the odds, but most machines limit you to double).

At the Plaza I also left $150 up. Things here were different. I was holding my own, more or less, but hit my stride only when it was my turn to roll. I had one frustrating long roll where I hit craps and eleven a number of times, including two 12s, but little in the way of numbers. The rest of the players were happy,a s they were making lots of craps bets. I hit the point finally, then rolled a 6 on the come out.

I decided, unwisely, to lay a horn bet. After all, I reasoned, it was only one dollar and I was up. Well, the machine at the Plaza makes the horn bet $4. I didn't realize this until after bets were closed (I was busy setting up place and come bets and adding odds, too). Oh, well, I thought it was still only $4.

I rolled 11. Nice.

Rationally I should have quit making sucker bets. instead I increased it to $5 (why didn't it increase to $8 on its own when I upped the bet, I've no idea). I rolled a 3. I kept the bet at $5 and promptly rolled 12.

Then I said to myself "Self, we've had enough," and didn't renew the horn bet. I then sevened out and quit with a nice payoff.

At Harrah's I did better. I was up $40 from my buy-in with 8 as the point and one come bet waiting. I hit the 8. So the come moved to the 8. I rolled a 5 for the next come out, placed odds on the come and pass, and placed another come bet. I rolled an eight. Great! Another come bet moved to 8. Same bets, I rolled another 8. Same bets, yet another 8. Same bets, I rolled a nine. Same bets, I sevened out.

With the four consecutive 8s I was way up. Then I quit.

Those are the highlights.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 9:28:20 AM permalink
Travel:

Again I departed from Toluca. This time, though, instead of taking the Interjet shuttle to and from Santa Fe, I decided to take it to and from the Antara shopping mall in Polanco, because there is a taxi base there.

Well, for the first time in its short existence (est. 2005), Interjet let me down.

I had timed the shuttle to leave 3 hours before the flight. I calculated 40 minutes to the airport, giving me enough time then to eat lunch and take it easy til departure.

It was not to be. The shuttle left in time, but instead of heading to Toluca, it stopped at Santa Fe to pick up more passengers. had they just made a pickup, things would have been fine. Instead the shuttle stayed there nearly half an hour. Then we ran into some traffic, unusual for a Sunday afternoon, at the toll plaza. It was the last day of Easter, so I reasoned more people would be heading into Mex City than heading out. I was right. But this also meant of the broad line of booths, only two were handling outgoing traffic, ergo a rather long traffic jam developed there.

I arrived at the airport only 90 minutes before the flight. Deduct what time was taken up documenting my bags (a bit of a line), and given the posted boarding time, I had time enough to hastily eat a sandwich from a convenience store and grab a cigarette before going through security.

The flight was scheduled to leave at 3 pm. We boarded by 2:10, which seemed too early, but as it turned out the flight pushed off the gate at 2:45 pm. I've no idea how they get away with an early departure (the time posted means that's when the plane will push off the gate). We arrived early in Vegas, which was nice, as all I'd eaten that day was the convenience store excuse for a sandwich.

More to come.
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GWAE
GWAE
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May 10th, 2014 at 10:12:31 AM permalink
I assume everyone had checked in and boarded. I would be pissed if they left early and I missed it even though I was there in time.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 10:25:27 AM permalink
Gambling:

I got killed at PGP. My best session was after the WoVCon lunch, when I left up $1.25 at the Downtown Grand playing with RDW4POTUS and Konbu (I clearly shouldn't play without them). I got wiped out at my next session there, getting a 9-high Pai Gow on my last bet (and no PG insurance bet at the DG). I got wiped out at the Bellagio after eating a lunch buffet (more on that later). Then I lost badly at Binnion's on my last day (of course I kept betting a $5 bonus....)

High Card FLush still confuses me a bit. i keep feeling I'm playing PGP (plus I get great PGP hands there, which are of no help). When i get really into it, I enjoy it. But I did badly at a couple of sessions. I forget whether I was wiped out or left with some money. I forget even where I played. Once at the 4Q, but I can't recall where the other took place.

Back to the Loose Deuces at the Ditz, one has the Sigma Derby on the left and the sports book on the right. The Sigma players tend to get loud, yelling incessant encouragement to the plastic horses (not the jockeys). When a game is on at the sports book, there is some yelling at the players, too.

Curious that in both cases the subjects being yelled at can't hear them, and wouldn't do anything in response if they could hear :)

At the Sigma there were some memorable yells, though, mostly by women. Once a woman was so loud yet so joyful, too, that I thought the D should hire her for a commercial if they ever decide to promote the Sigma Derby on TV. She would yell things like "Come on Four! Move your ass!"

Another time an older woman, say in her early fifties, kept yelling "Push!" Since there are no ties in that game, I'm sure a Freudian would have had a field day taking to her :) Later on she changed her battle cry to "Push it!" I guess at some point she heard herself scream ;)

The day I decided to bet, one of the girls I gave some quarters to (read up thread) had been yelling loudly at the horses. Nothing memorable, but incredibly loud for such a young and small person, I thought.

While I'm usually bothered by loud noises, including yelling, I find, to my surprise, I rather enjoy how Sigma Derby players carry on loudly. It seems like a happy kind of game, perhaps because most people bet very little money and they get a lot of thrills and suspense in return. I would even pause on my VP to watch and listen sometimes. I may play a few more long shots next year.

I had a dinner buffet at the MGM once (more to come, don't eat there unless it's for free). From where I sat I could hear a Sigma Derby playing: a low-pitched rumble of simulated hooves and lots of yelling numbers and the word "move." But I never saw the actual machine.

I did look for the Lion's Share slot machine, just to look at it for minor historical sake. I didn't feed it a dollar, even. But I saw two people play it, and each felt compelled to tell me the story of the ever-due jackpot. I gave them both WoO/WoV cards.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 10:27:32 AM permalink
Quote: GWAE

I assume everyone had checked in and boarded. I would be pissed if they left early and I missed it even though I was there in time.



The flight was only about half full. But that's no unusual for the time of year and place of departure.

BTW arriving in Vegas, we disembarked to the hallway leading to immigration, but encountered a locked door barring the way. Someone walked back to the plane to tell the crew about it, and eventually an airport employee came to unlock it.
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kewlj
kewlj
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May 10th, 2014 at 10:29:06 AM permalink
Seems like you spent a lot of time downtown. Can I ask where you were staying?
Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 10:33:58 AM permalink
Quote: kewlj

Seems like you spent a lot of time downtown. Can I ask where you were staying?



Yes, you can ask.


;)

I stayed at the Golden Nugget. I'll have something to say about it. I prefer Downtown to the Strip. The gambling's better.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 11:19:22 AM permalink
Foodie:

I went to the Bellagio lunch buffet and the MGM dinner buffet courtesy of My Vegas. Let's tacklle them in order:

1) Bellagio's food is the best I've had in any buffet, and this includes the Bacchanal at Caesars*. Surprisingly their coffee is the best restaurant coffee I've had in Vegas so far. Though this was mid-week, they served something more akin to brunch than lunch. they had the usual breakfast meats, including mounds of bacon, also an omelet station, pancakes and waffles and fresh fruit, along with more regular lunch dishes (soup, beef, chicken, etc). The bacon was perfectly cooked: crisp but not hard. I took no notes nor made a point to remember what I ate (shrug). I'm like that sometimes.

The dining room is HUGE. I had a little trouble navigating it successfully. Service is good, especially as regards refills of coffee and soft drinks.

Desserts are very varied and served only in tiny portions. This is my preference, as it allows for variety over quantity (or variety and quantity). However they only have the usual soft-serve ice cream.

Now, while the food was very good, it wasn't that much better than MSS's or even The Fremont's. Certainly not better enough to justify the much higher price. I would eat there again for free, though I wouldn't care to pay for it.

2) MGM: Do not pay to eat there. The food is mediocre at best and the price is higher than the options mentioned above or Caesars buffet of buffets pass. The coffee is likewise mediocre restaurant coffee (same as everywhere else). There is good enough variety, but less than I expected for the price.

Desserts are also tiny, but less varied than at Bellagio (naturally). They were good, but not better than those at MSS. They have gelato, but curiously I saw no one available to serve it. That's bad for a high-class, large establishment. There is also the usual soft-serve.

Not only would I not pay to eat there, I wouldn't bother with a free buffet again (too much walking required).

On both hotels, though, I had no problem cashing in the My Vegas comps. You have to go to the M-Life desk first, though. but then they put it in your card in a few seconds and there was no problem accessing the buffet. They tell you to use the M-life line, even if your card level doesn't qualify. No problems with that, either.

While I encountered a short line at Bellagio, there was no line at all at the MGM. I can see why.

*I've yet to try Wynn, the Venetian (if any) and Mandalay Bay.
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GWAE
GWAE
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May 10th, 2014 at 11:34:54 AM permalink
goes to show that everyone is different. When I ate at the MGM buffet in 2010 I thought it was great. I am not much of a foodie though. I just like to eat. It was also free so that was great and made it better.

We also had a free buffet at the Wynn. So far that has been the best one I have ever had. They had dry aged meat, king crab legs that were cut in half, and wagu meatballs.

In August we plan on trying the Bellagio and Bacchanal.
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Nareed
Nareed
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May 10th, 2014 at 11:56:41 AM permalink
Quote: GWAE

goes to show that everyone is different. When I ate at the MGM buffet in 2010 I thought it was great.



Maybe the quality's declined since.

Quote:

In August we plan on trying the Bellagio and Bacchanal.



You can get a free buffet pas for lunch through My Vegas, and I think 2-for-1 for dinner for Bellagio.

The Bacchanal is pricey, but worth doing once for the experience. more than once if you really like it and can afford it.
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