Sigsev
Sigsev
Joined: Mar 6, 2015
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March 17th, 2015 at 7:07:26 PM permalink
Hey, I'm fairly new here, but just completed logging a recent trip and thought I'd take a crack at this. I'm a frequent Vegas visitor, mostly stay at MGM properties, but my girl and I decided to shake things up a bit and stay at the Palazzo. I had stayed there many years ago once but didn't get to play much on property as my other friends at the time were at the MGM Grand. I did remember I liked the Palazzo room quite a bit so since we were getting tired of the MGM properties we gave Palazzo a shot.

We arrived late Friday night and after settling in got our bankrolls together and went to hit the tables. My girl was sufficiently impressed with the room, I like their standard rooms better than any I have stayed at, including Wynn/Encore. One thing I noticed was their ambient scent which was very powerful last time I stayed there was not as noticeable this time. I was grateful for that since it took me three days last stay to get used to it.

Our first stop was Ultimate Texas Hold 'Em. I had recently taught this game to my girl and despite her having no poker experience she has caught on quickly. Its the only carny game in our repertoire but she has really taken a liking to it, as you'll see in this trip report. I have played quite a bit of poker in my day but I don't play much unless I'm by myself or with friends who are also poker players. Its not the most social activity you can do while on vacation. The Palazzo dealers were efficient but not very talkative. They didn't make errors but we did have an auto shuffler that showed a red light a lot. It slowed the game down to a crawl which is nice for the comp value. What was not nice for the comp value is their floor persons rating us lower than any other UTH table we've played at in Vegas. V/P does not count any Play bet action in the average, which is probably correct since you really only make that bet when you have an advantage, but every other property I have been at counts it. Anyway we play greens on the Ante and Blind bets which results in a $50 average at V/P. Most other places we have been rated between $75-$175 for the same play.

Played a little craps as well while checking the BJ options on the floor. Everything is 6:5 with a few double deck H17 tables that pay 3:2 and pitch cards but have $50 minimums. I decide to wait until morning to see what the minimums on those tables look like. After both gaming sessions I was up $90, so decent start.

In the morning we went for brunch at Bouchon Bistro, which is always recommended. We arrived a little after 9, my girl was worried we'd have to wait, but the bar was wide open so we sat down right away. Brunch was phenomenal, I'd highly recommend the hangar steak and eggs. A couple of bloody marys and the day was off to a great start! We hit the BJ tables at 10:30, but the minimum was still $50. Oh well, I am sufficiently bankrolled for this game for the short time period we're in town so we hit it anyway. I had a good session and was thankful that I brushed up on my H17 strategy on the plane. After an hour of play I ended up over 1k.

We played more UTH and I dropped 500 there, then more craps and down another 120. Craps has been killing us lately, but mostly we're just not enjoying it as much as we used to. Also the players at V/P tended to scream a LOT for some reason. I needed to be a lot drunker to appreciate that, I think.

Across the street to the Mirage we went, and to my favourite BJ table on the strip. We played for a half hour there only up $50, but had some good runs. I've found dealers at the Mirage are always friendly and efficient. I have a soft spot for the property since its the first I ever stayed at, and I do think its still nice. The renovations are a welcome sight, I'm sure it will be even better in the future. I did learn that the BJ there will soon be all 6:5 though on the main floor, and real BJ will be relegated to the high limit room. I probably should have played BJ there more before its gone, oh well.

We played even more UTH at Mirage, and had a great dealer who enjoyed describing his poker outings to Commerce in LA. I guess he enjoyed talking too much, because he made a couple errors reading his hand. He was a nice guy though, so I was sure to tip him plenty.

Back to Venetian since we had a reservation at Yardbird this evening. I've been looking forward to this since we booked the dinner before we left, which is rare for us, and it did not disappoint. We had fried frog's legs and the fried chicken (of course), and some cornbread. We also ordered a very nice Icky IPA and we paired that with a wonderful Angel's Envy bourbon. Our server looked at us funny but if you enjoy drinking, try the IPA/Bourbon combo. The bitterness of the IPA brings out all the caramel and vanilla notes in the bourbon, plus it gets you toasted pretty quickly.

Played a bit more BJ over at Venetian while waiting on a ride to Sapphire. My girl and I wanted to have a few drinks and watch some dancers for a bit. The BJ did not go well, down 425 in a half hour. The club was entertaining, after chatting with the guy up front he seated us at a nice table to the right of the stage. The usual types were around, the group of businessmen with the boss sitting at the head of the table whom all the girls would initially approach. The unbelievably drunk guy with a baseball cap who you just know is leaving every dollar there. The party bro who seems most interested in standing and pumping his fist in the air. And of course the super old creepy dude sitting with four stunning women directly behind us. At one point I left to go to the restroom and he said "How much for you to join my table", at which point she said "Nothing on Earth could make me join your table". She didn't tell me that until we left, I guess because I laughed so hard it might have pissed him off! We didn't get any dances, but did have fun flirting with our server who was easily the hottest girl in there. Why is that always the case?

Back at home base we played UTH and I finished up 800. Time for a nap!

Part 2 coming...
Sigsev
Sigsev
Joined: Mar 6, 2015
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March 17th, 2015 at 7:59:44 PM permalink
Next day I want to hit up Caesar's to spread some action there. We're pretty much capped out at the MGM properties and I'm willing to see what other places will offer us just in case we feel like something new. We sit at UTH and end up with a very friendly dealer. At one point the dealer pulls out a full house to beat the players remaining in the hand. I had folded already as had my girl. He looks at the first hand and says "Well you have a full house too, so I'll take this and this", he takes the Ante and Play bets, "And pay this and this", he pays the Trips and Blind bet. Now paying the trips is correct, as that bet does not depend on the outcome of the hand, but paying the Blind is incorrect, since it must win in order to be paid. Even more amazing, the floor supervisor is STANDING RIGHT THERE WATCHING THIS. I look at my girl and immediately put up a $5 Trips bet just to see if that's what messed him up. It took a little while, but sure enough a hand comes by where I have a straight and the dealer wins, but he pays my Blind anyway. Even with these errors, and other errors, I'm down huge at Caesar's. Things just didn't go well. We did generate a good amount of play though, and checking my TR account they've already put comped rooms on my account if we want them, so mission accomplished I suppose!

We stopped in at Olives at Bellagio for a bite too since we had plenty of Express Comps left from a previous trip. We always sit at the bar there and the bartenders are super friendly and they make excellent martinis.

We want to stop by a liquor store to buy some things that aren't available back home, so we walk up to Liquor World on Tropicana beside Hooters. We grabbed a couple bottles of Martinique rum, Clement VSOP and Depaz to be specific. On the way back we stop into MGM Grand to play some VP. They have a Quick Quads machine that I enjoy, but I'm a bit short after getting hammered at Caesar's so I play 3 lines with QQ. Unfortunately I don't get anywhere and drop another 400, that's kind of how the rest of the trip goes. Not even the remainder of my BJ play could save me!

After dropping off our liquor we stop by Grimaldi's Pizzeria in the Canal Shoppes for a bite. Ordered a small margherita and split it, and it was excellent. I'd have a tough time deciding between this and Pizza Rock as my favourite Vegas pizza, but I think Grimaldi's is ahead for now. I'll have to try them side by side or something.

Gambling is uneventful for the rest of the evening save that I lost at whatever I dared play. At some point I decide to stick $100 into a Heads Up Hold Em machine which lets you play limit hold 'em against an AI opponent. I'm dealt A7o in the SB and my opponent raises, so I 3bet and he calls. Flop is Q72, 2 diamonds. I bet, he raises, I call. Turn is a blank and goes check/call. River is the A diamonds. I bet, he raises me, and I'm like crap man, I call and he flips over Q6d for the flush. Yay! Cash out.

Last day and we're taking a red eye out so that leaves plenty of time for more fun. We played at home base a little more with no notable happenings. Before checking out we visited the host station to have them review our play and credit our account. V/P is pretty strange since they just have a counter where you request comps. The sign overhead says "Casino Credit", which led me to believe that this is where you deal with credit lines and markers etc. When we asked to speak to a host about our account that is where we were directed though. Sure enough the woman at the counter reviewed our account and gave us our credits. I find this odd because most casinos have plush rooms with comfortable chairs for you to sit in while this transaction is going on. They put a big show on and try to make you feel important and special for spending your money there, even if they don't really care and just want your $. Not at V/P though, its all business, all the time! The host gave me a $275 credit, and my girl a little less (she bets less at BJ than I do), which I'd put down as a little stingy.

We popped over to Treasure Island to do their new member promotion and play some 9/6 JoB. After taking a nice beating at the tables a VP machine seems like a welcome change of pace. Unfortunately the machines are close to the TI craps tables, which were full of screaming southerners. One woman was especially obnoxious and would scream almost every roll. It was hurting my ears and we were about 50 feet away from them with a wall between us! Eventually we just had to move father and find other machines to play. The new member promo wasn't too bad, I ended up with $85 in free play, a $60 comp to Gilley's, and a TI t-shirt. You needed 2500 points for the restaurant comp so I played more to get that since we wanted to eat something before we left. TI gives you 1 point for every $4.50 at VP so for $11,250 coin in my theoretical loss was $51.75. Unfortunately my actual loss was $400, but hey at least I have a t-shirt too.

I have never been to Gilley's, but do enjoy good BBQ. I'm not sure I'd call Gilley's "good", but the food was satisfactory and the service at the bar was prompt and friendly. There was a wait to sit on the strip side so we ended up at the bar next to the mechanical bull, which sadly wasn't operating this night. The line dancing was in full effect though, and there were plenty of participants. This is not my scene, but everyone was having fun and dancing and the DJ was doing a good job getting the crowd into it, so I could dig it. In fact I believe more people were dancing at Gilley's than I've seen at some of the clubs I've been to on the Strip. They were certainly having more fun than most of the people in the clubs. In the end we got a free meal and free beer and left for the airport happy.

Days later I received a call from a V/P player relations person giving me his contact info which was nice. I guess my action was noticed there, but I'm not sure we'll be back. Other than the overly strict comp system we just didn't have as much fun there as at other properties we've stayed at. We like to play where we stay and this may rule out V/P in the future for us. Its too bad, because I do still like their rooms.
Wulfgar1224
Wulfgar1224
Joined: May 19, 2014
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March 17th, 2015 at 8:18:49 PM permalink
That is a good trip report. I'm sorry to hear the Mirage is doing away with 3/2 blackjack on the casino floor. Personally, I refuse to play the 6/5 version even at the lower limit tables. That and the fast pace of the game are the two reason I don't play blackjack anymore. Mirage got rid of pai gow tiles this past fall as well. It makes me wonder if the casino is hurting a little bit. Like you, I have a soft spot for the Mirage since my buddies and I have spent so much time there watching hoops. I am a huge fan of their sportsbook.

I was curious about Sapphire though. Do you and your girl just take a cab over there? Was there a large cover to get into the place? I've never hit up Sapphire before so I was curious about stuff like that. I was a little turned off by how aggressive the girls at Spearmint Rhino were so hopefully Sapphire is a little more chill than that.

I've heard TI has some pretty good blackjack rules and isn't too bad of a place to play.
RogerKint
RogerKint
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March 17th, 2015 at 8:26:30 PM permalink
Great trip report. TI has a new member promo? I like where this is heading.
100% risk of ruin
Sigsev
Sigsev
Joined: Mar 6, 2015
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March 17th, 2015 at 8:48:02 PM permalink
Quote: Wulfgar1224

That is a good trip report. I'm sorry to hear the Mirage is doing away with 3/2 blackjack on the casino floor. Personally, I refuse to play the 6/5 version even at the lower limit tables. That and the fast pace of the game are the two reason I don't play blackjack anymore. Mirage got rid of pai gow tiles this past fall as well. It makes me wonder if the casino is hurting a little bit. Like you, I have a soft spot for the Mirage since my buddies and I have spent so much time there watching hoops. I am a huge fan of their sportsbook.

I was curious about Sapphire though. Do you and your girl just take a cab over there? Was there a large cover to get into the place? I've never hit up Sapphire before so I was curious about stuff like that. I was a little turned off by how aggressive the girls at Spearmint Rhino were so hopefully Sapphire is a little more chill than that.

I've heard TI has some pretty good blackjack rules and isn't too bad of a place to play.



Mirage sportbook is very nice. I was in town for March Madness last year and it was absolutely packed! Always seems to be good energy there. As for the BJ I think that's just the way things are going at MGM's lower/mid-tier properties. Monte Carlo did the same thing recently, and if people play them then why not offer them. Excalibur still offers 3:2 shoe games though if you look hard enough. I guess the downside is you have to play at Excalibur. Good BJ on the strip is getting tougher to find by the month.

We called Sapphire and reserved a limo time. The limo is "free", but I did give the driver $20. You can of course take a cab there too. My memories of taking cabs to strip clubs in Vegas often involve run arounds and a lot of cajoling by cabbies to go to this club or that club instead, preferably one where the cabbie gets a kickback. Instead of dealing with that I just called their limo service. We paid $20 at the door for both of us, I palmed a $20 for the bouncer who asked us where we wanted to sit. I said a table with a good view of the stage. He looked down at my hand and said no problem, just make sure you keep drinking. We were approached by a few girls, its always interesting who will approach a couple and who will just ignore us. Most girls were too businesslike and just came up with a "want a dance?" or "want to have fun?". I always say no to those right away. They might have tried harder if we weren't a couple, not sure. A couple of them tried talking which was nice, but ultimately noone who approached us was too interesting. The stage is large and has two levels, there's one upper stage and two smaller lower stages. They advertise themselves as the biggest strip club in Vegas and I don't see any reason to doubt them.

TI was fine really, I played there a long time ago when it was still owned by MGM. I hadn't been back since they changed hands hence why I got to do the new member promo. There was a good double deck BJ table in the high limit room which was completely empty of players. Couldn't find anything else worth it though, and that BJ table was right next to the screaming craps table. Not a good scene.
tringlomane
tringlomane
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March 17th, 2015 at 11:31:32 PM permalink
Good report! Hopefully the results will be better next time!

As for MGM, were you playing the full pay QQ for dollars? It's still there hopefully...
Sigsev
Sigsev
Joined: Mar 6, 2015
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March 18th, 2015 at 4:37:14 AM permalink
Yup it was 9/6 JoB with QQ 50 play machine for $1, in the high limit slots area. Glad it hasn't been downgraded yet too!
beachbumbabs
Administrator
beachbumbabs
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March 18th, 2015 at 9:14:31 AM permalink
Quote: Sigsev


Gambling is uneventful for the rest of the evening save that I lost at whatever I dared play. At some point I decide to stick $100 into a Heads Up Hold Em machine which lets you play limit hold 'em against an AI opponent. I'm dealt A7o in the SB and my opponent raises, so I 3bet and he calls. Flop is Q72, 2 diamonds. I bet, he raises, I call. Turn is a blank and goes check/call. River is the A diamonds. I bet, he raises me, and I'm like crap man, I call and he flips over Q6d for the flush. Yay! Cash out.



I'm missing something on this hand. Didn't your 2 pair lose to the flush? AA77 vs AQ762d? You're cheering what here, exactly? Or is it sarcasm reflecting your lousy run on anything you played?
If the House lost every hand, they wouldn't deal the game.
Sigsev
Sigsev
Joined: Mar 6, 2015
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March 18th, 2015 at 9:23:47 AM permalink
Yeah, I lost the hand, it was sarcasm. I was curious about the machine which is why I played a hand. I haven't done any research on it as yet but at Venetian they have a bunch mixed in with the slots on the main floor, and one in the high limit room. The machines on the main floor have a video screen above them with Phil Hellmuth mugging at you while you play, charming. I guess your opponent runs on some sort of AI code, it doesn't seem like it could be a predetermined outcome like a regular slot. You have options to check, raise, and fold just like a regular poker game. I seem to recall reading something about these machines but can't remember where. Of course I'm more curious as to whether they are beatable or not.
aceofspades
aceofspades
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March 19th, 2015 at 5:33:35 PM permalink
Good trip report - I like how you talked about all the different experiences you had, including comps :)

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