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Joeman
Joeman
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:35:08 PM permalink
of Averages!

Warning: This is a long read and I have broken it up into several posts. TL/DR: Fun times in New Orleans. DDB porn. Chasing Diamond.

I just got back from a 3-day trip to New Orleans. This trip was the confluence of cheap air fares from Allegiant, and evidently the only weekend in 2016 we could get a comped room at Harrah's. On several fronts, it turned out to be a fabulous trip.

I'm typically a lowish-roller, and had bankroll of about $900 for this trip. The plan was to do some sight-seeing and spend a little time in the casino. Oh, and pick up my Platinum card! :)

Thursday:
“Oh, well, this would be one of those circumstances that people unfamiliar with the law of large numbers would call a coincidence.” – Sheldon Cooper, PhD


We head to the airport on Thursday evening, and as we are waiting in the TSA line at the airport, we run into some friends. We ask where they are going, and it turns out that we are all on the same flight! They are heading out on a cruise out of New Orleans on Saturday, and were staying in a hotel only 2 blocks from Harrah's. Since Mrs. Joeman and I had gotten a rental, we offered to drive them downtown. On the way, we made plans to do some sight-seeing the next day.

We dropped our friends at their hotel, and proceeded to Harrah's. When we check-in, we are given a river view room on the 25th (out of 26) floor, but as we walk in, we are hit with an overpowering cigarette smoke smell! This was a shock as the entire hotel is smoke-free. So, I go down to the lobby and ask for a different room. It takes a little while, but they find one for me on the 11th floor, that still has a river view. When we enter the room, we realize we were upgraded to a corner suite with a nice living/dining room, wet bar, and HUUUUGE bathroom! Props to Kenny and Amber at the front desk for all their help!

At this point, we are exhausted, so after a quick bite, we go off to bed.
Last edited by: Joeman on Aug 22, 2016
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:36:29 PM permalink
Friday Morning:
“I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages.” – Sgt. Bill Mauldin


We decided to start off early, and we caught the 7:15 ferry over to Algiers Point, just to take a stroll around the neighborhood, and to hopefully catch the 7:30 mass at the church there. Unfortunately, even though the sign out in front of the church said there was mass, we found all the doors to be locked. Oh, well. We explored the neighborhood a little more, and found a nice cafe for breakfast before heading back across the river.

If you get a chance on your next New Orleans visit, it is definitely worth the $2 ferry ride over to see Algiers Point. Is claims to be New Orleans' 2nd oldest neighborhood (behind the French Quarter, presumably), and has lovely old homes and quiet tree-lined streets.

So, after our little jaunt across the mighty Mississippi and back, we stop in at the casino. Once the Spring Tier Bonus hit my account last month, I made Platinum, but this was my first visit to a CET property since. I wanted my shiny new Platinum card!

I pick up the card at the TR desk, and then proceed to drop a quick hundred on VP. However, I was able to make it back and then some at the UTH table. After that, it was about time to meet our friends at the WWII museum.

The WWII Museum was excellent! The exhibits were great, but what was really moving was a movie called Beyond All Boundaries, narrated by Tom Hanks. It documented the major battles of the war in the context of the motivations of all sides in the war. Very well done, although it was very graphic and had some startling theatrical effects. It cost an extra $5 beyond the price of admission, but it was well worth it. I would highly recommend that everyone, with the exception of smaller children and those who are faint of heart, see it.

One of the quotes that stuck out to me in the movie was by infantryman/cartoonist/journalist Sgt. Bill Mauldin. He described the fortune of having survived many battles, while seeing so many of his fellow soldiers fall by saying, “I feel like a fugitive from the law of averages.” That quote struck me as quite pithy for its succinct comment on the tragedy of warfare. Though in completely different context, it seemed to apply to several aspects of our trip, as well.

After the museum, we headed to Mothers Restaurant, which I had always heard good things about, but had never visited. I'm happy to say that our experience pretty much lived up to the hype. Mrs. Joeman and I split a Po-Boy, which was quite tasty. And their bread pudding was possibly the best I have ever had.

After lunch, we visited the Insectarium, which was interesting. Now, unlike the WWII Museum movie, this would be a great place for little ones!

Afterwards, we wandered into the French Quarter. Since this was the first time in New Orleans for Mrs. Joeman, I figured she needed to see Bourbon Street at least once. I pretty much knew she wouldn't like Bourbon Street -- she has made it known to me that she does not particularly like crowded places that smell like urine and vomit. (Go figure!) But when I mentioned that our destination was Pat O'Brien's, she perked up a bit, having enjoyed the one in Orlando previously.

So, we proceeded to take our first (and most likely last) stroll together down Bourbon Street. As expected, she did not like it very much. And although I didn't mind it much, it doesn't hold the same mystique for me as it once did. In my 20's Bourbon Street was a kind of debauched Disneyland. These days, to borrow a line from Sgt. Roger Murtaugh, "I'm getting too old for this $#!+!"

When we finally make it to Pat O's, we are shown to a nice table on the patio in the shade, & under a fan -- a relaxing oasis away from the noise (and smells) of Bourbon Street. We peacefully sip our hurricanes as we plan out the rest of our day. Afterwards, we take a leisurely walk through some of the quieter streets in the Quarter to get back to the casino, and Mrs. Joeman gets to browse some of the mask and praline (we learned that it is pronounced "prah-leen," not "pray-leen") shops along the way.
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:42:21 PM permalink
Friday Evening:
“I have a two-part question. A: Are you kidding? And B: Seriously, are you freaking kidding me?” – Howard J. Wolowitz


So, we make it back to the casino, and I decide to play some $1 DDB. After about 20 minutes I drew quad aces, holding just A-K and getting the other three on the draw! A nice $800 hit!

Then, not 20 minutes later, I get dealt trip aces, and get this on the draw:

Woohoo! My first ever handpay!

We play just a little bit longer and then decide to cash out. Afterwards, we head up the room to regroup. I ask Mrs. Joeman if we need to take an Indecent Proposal picture with our winnings on the bed! ;) Instead, we stash our winnings in the safe, and head to dinner.

We got a recommendation from the front desk personnel that Deanie's back in the French Quarter was the place to go for seafood. So, we head that way, but when we get there, it is a 45 minute wait for a table. We end up walking a few blocks to a place I had eaten before called Felix's. I remember it being good, but I wasn't sure if it was still there. Not only was it still there, but it must have expanded since I was there last! After only a 5 minute wait, we got a table. Our food was good, but I was expecting bigger portions. (Not that I need more shrimp & oysters, but still...)

After dinner, we headed back to the casino. I'm thinking now that we up pretty big, it's time to increase our bets and swing for the fences! So, we wander into the high limit area, sit down at the $5 VP machine and feed it 3 hundred dollar bills. We do pretty well for a little while, hitting a couple of boats. Mrs. Joeman is not impressed; Ho-hum, another $225 payout! ;)

But then...

SHOZBOT!!!

We are giddy as we wait for the slot attendant to come over! When she does, we request a check for the winnings. Evidently it takes more effort to issue a check (or perhaps it was the amount), because it took them far longer to return than for my previous handpay. In the meantime, I blew through the leftover credits on the machine and even a few more bills as we waited. Finally, they return with the big check. We decided to call it a night.
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:43:32 PM permalink
Saturday Morning:
“You ride her until she bucks you or don't ride at all.” – Roy “Tin Cup” McAvoy


Saturday morning, I'm awake around 5, and can't get back to sleep. I'm still excited over the events of the night before. I try -- unsuccessfully –- to get myself ready without waking Mrs. Joeman, and head down to the casino for a few hours while she finishes sleeping.

First off, I've discovered that if you get up early and head to Harrah's New Orleans at 6 AM, you will most likely be the only one there who has actually slept the previous night and/or is sober! Though, most of the drunks I encountered that morning were well behaved. I first head to the High Limit room, which is actually drunk- (and people-) free.

I shove a couple of bills in the $5 VP machine and start doing pretty well. No quads, but enough smaller hands. I played for a while and ended up making a couple hundred. I get up and move over to a $5 slot to donk off a few bucks and BAM, a $400 hit! So, now I've got a voucher for $1,100, and as I walk toward the cage, I notice the $100 slots.

Well, since it appears that that horseshoe is still firmly wedged up my backside, why not try a $100 pull? I actually hit a cherry on that pull, but decided to play it off, and got squat on the next two. So I cash out the $1,000, and walk over to the tables to find a UTH game.

The only carny game open at that time was Mississippi Stud. So, I buy in for $200 and get up a few bucks pretty quickly. Then, with a $10 ante up, I get dealt 2-2. The dealer then proceeds to flip over 5... 5... 5! A full house for an $800 win! I play for a little longer, and cash out for an even $1,000!

Feeling invincible now, I head back to the High Limit room and try my luck at $25 VP for a hand. This produces nothing, so I go back to $5. Well, it seems my luck was running out as I proceed to lose pretty quickly. It's about time for me to head back to the hotel and check in on Mrs. Joeman, so I conclude my early morning session, still with a tidy profit.

Over coffee, we discuss what to do that day, and decide that since we had a car, why not do some exploring? Since I had some free play and meals waiting for me at the IP, we decide to head East toward Biloxi. Despite forecasts for rain the entire weekend, it is a nice sunny morning, and we have a very pleasant drive along the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

We get to the IP and head straight for my favorite spot -- Insomnia Bar -- where they have decent (for the area) VP, and excellent drink service. We burn through my free play and a few bucks of our own at the bar. I down a couple of whiskey & diet cokes. Mrs. Joeman starts off with coffee & Bailey's, then something catches her eye. She points to the other end of the bar and says, "Ooh, what's that?" I look up from my machine to where she is pointing. "A cocktail waitress," I reply, and go back to my game. Not amused, she get's the bartender's attention, "What's that drink? Is that a daiquiri? Can you bring me one?" So, she gets her daiquiri, and tries to forget how much of a smart alec her husband can be. ;)

Then we head to the buffet for lunch. Unfortunately, the IP buffet that day was a disappointment. Up until now, I thought their buffet was pretty good, but Saturday, most of what I had was (and I hate to use the 'B-' word) downright bad. I think they let a lot of the items sit out too long. Oh, well, sometimes you get what you pay for.

I made a pilgrimage to the full pay VP bank on the 2nd floor -- the only place on the coast that has quarter 9/6 JoB (though I played dollars) -- and donated a quick c-note. We then decided to head back to NOLA, not wanting to waste too much more time or money in Biloxi, because...
Last edited by: Joeman on Aug 22, 2016
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:44:58 PM permalink
Saturday Evening:
DIAD DOANOD (Diamond Over A Number Of Days)?


So on the drive over to Biloxi, I discussed the possibility of achieving Diamond with Mrs. Joeman. Before the trip I had about 6700 TC's, and with Friday's play, I had it up to around 7400. So, if I could get a 2600 TC day in, it would trigger the 5000 daily bonus, and I could get to Diamond. From my morning session, I had accumulated close to 500 credits already -- almost 1/5 of the way there.

Yeah, I know only a sucker plays for comps, but with a trip to Vegas upcoming later in the year, plus my current stay, there is substantial value in Diamond for the resort fees alone. I figured with my imperfect play, (Yeah, I know I should learn perfect strategy!) 9/6 DDB probably carries about a 2% edge, yielding an expected loss of about $420. Is that worth it for Diamond? For us, maybe, maybe not, but I figured that this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. With my typical bankroll, I'll probably never even sniff Diamond again. Besides, I came here to gamble, right?! :P

I easily convinced myself to go for it, but I wasn't sure if Mrs. Joeman would agree. To my surprise, she said I should do it! Since we still had the $10,000 check (Actually, due to state withholding, it was only $9,400. Screw you, Louisiana Dept. of Revenue!) from the big jackpot, she agreed that we could use the cash we had (which was about $3,000 then) to try for Diamond.

Well, when we get back to New Orleans, our $3,000 kitty looks more like $2,700 after our Biloxi visit. But still plenty to accumulate ~2100 TC's, right? So, I take $2,200 of it and head to the High Limit room. My plan (upon further review, this may not have been the best plan to accomplish my goal! ;) ) was to set aside the first $500 to run through the $25 VP and really swing for the fences. At 12.5 TC's/hand, I'll have Diamond in no time!

Well, I got the "no time" part right. I know $500 is only 4 hands, but still, it evaporated lightning quick. I then moved back to the $5 denom and fed it another $300. I treaded water for a bit, but ended up losing it all after a while. Realizing that the $2 level would be the better denomination (time vs. variance), I went and found a $2 game. I went on a pretty good run on an initial investment of $200, but when that ran out, I moved down to $1 VP and ran a few bills through.

At this point, I'm about 650 TC's away from reaching my goal with about $800 in my pocket and $500 up in the room. I needed a break from VP, so we headed over to the tables where I was hoping to play some UTH, but MS Stud was the only table with an open seat.

Taking a break from playing poker... to play poker. Again, in hindsight, not the most conducive for accumulating TC's. :)

My very first hand is 6-2, so into the muck it goes. Dealer then proceeds to flip up 2-6-6!! :P Over the next 4 hands, I pick up 3 small wins, and 1 push. I stay a little while longer and end up cashing out $25 to the good. Still no seat at UTH.

I decide to try my luck at the 4CP table, but I quickly run out of chips. I get up and take a short break, but afterwards, there is still no seat at UTH. I decide to play some 3CP, and Mrs. Joeman wants to join, too. So, we each pony up $100 and play for a little while, but soon that is gone. Now there is a seat open at the UTH table, but I'm done. I can't see risking any more money at the tables at this point.

I head back to VP and grind my remaining bills through. Up and down for a while, but only down in the end. I've run through all my pocket money. I'm about 360 TC's away from my goal, but I still have that last $500 in the room. Time for a respite. We go up to the room for a quick rest and to retrieve the last $500 of our bankroll (not counting the check, which we agreed that we will not cash until we get home).

We grab a light dinner, and discuss things. Diamond is still within our grasp, but there is a good possibility we will come up short. I'm thinking that if I can at least get to the 2500 mark for the day, I'll get the 5,000 daily bonus, and we can get the remaining 100 TC's on our next trip.

At some point towards the end of the previous grind, I realized that I really should be playing JoB instead of DDB for a lower variance. So with the first bill of my remaining $500, I sit at the $1 8/5 JoB machine and begin the final push.

Well, I'm happy to say, that horseshoe that had been lost for the past 12 hours has decided to revisit me. I quickly run it up to $200, and switch to the $2 denomination. Now, I'm really starting to get hit with the deck! I'm hitting my draws left and right. I hit a straight flush, and then a few minutes later, get dealt quad 3's! Three hands after that, I draw to another quad 3's!

I decide that if the machine is going to keep dealing me quads, I should switch back to DDB. The rush continues, and I do get another 4oak. I'm regularly checking my TC account on the machine, and when I finally cross the finish line, I cash out for $1,250!

In all, it ended up costing us about $750 from the point where we decided to go for Diamond until we got it. (Not counting the $300 in table losses). Not too far from my expectation, especially since I was playing 9/5 DDB and 8/5 JoB at the $1 and $2 levels.
Last edited by: Joeman on Aug 22, 2016
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
Joeman
Joeman
Joined: Feb 21, 2014
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August 22nd, 2016 at 6:46:19 PM permalink
Sunday:
So long, Platinum, we hardly knew ye – or so I thought.


I got up early Sunday morning and went downstairs to see if we could get a late checkout since our flight home didn't leave until 3:20. I was told the best they could do was 11:30. Not what we had hoped, but it gave us an extra 30 minutes. On the way back to the room, I popped into the business center to check on our flight, and my TR account.

I notice that the bonus had not yet been applied to my account. I look to see why, and then I see:
Quote: Total Rewards FAQ

Tier Credit bonuses will post to accounts within 4 days.

4 days? Crap!

I go back to the room and we get dressed and head over to St. Louis Cathedral for Sunday mass. After mass, we stop for breakfast and then head back to the hotel. Before going up to the room, we visit the Business Center to check in for our flight. I take another peek at my TR account, and there it is!!! Diamond at last!!!

So, we go up to the room, grab our bags, and check out. I'm expecting they will waive the $51 of resort fees. However, it doesn't work out that way. The front desk rep says that since the reservation was booked when I was Platinum, they can't get rid of the charges. They hinted that if I had my Diamond card, they might have some wiggle room.

Well, we're already checked out now, but I still want my Diamond card! So, I head over to the TR desk and talk to the rep there. Unfortunately, she explained that she couldn't print up my card because "it hasn't made it into the system." She can see that I have the required TC's, but my status has not been upgraded; something about this not being my "Home Property." Oh, well. If that's the worst thing to happen to me on this trip, I can't complain.

We stuck around to play the giant display 2-person slot machine at the casino entrance, and won a few bucks. Then, I finally got to play some UTH! :) I was down $40 about 20 minutes in, and they stopped the game for a deck change. I figured that was a good place to stop, and we headed back to VP to play some 5c Quick Quads. Mrs. Joeman did pretty well for herself, including hitting quad 3's WAK, and quad 2's WAK, and cashed out up $110. As we are walking out, we decide to run one last $100 through the $5 VP machine, and doubled it to $200 before cashing out.

We did some brief shopping in the French Quarter on the way out to the airport, and then it was home with about $1,700 in our pockets, plus the check for $9,400. +$10,200 for the trip! Woot!
"Dealer has 'rock'... Pay 'paper!'"
LuckyPhow
LuckyPhow
Joined: May 19, 2016
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August 22nd, 2016 at 7:46:06 PM permalink
Joe,

Absolutely awesome trip report! Great the way you divided it into multiple posts.

Ummm... Where do you buy/beg/borrow/steal your horseshoes?

Lucky (...needs a new pair of horseshoes!)
onenickelmiracle
onenickelmiracle
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August 22nd, 2016 at 8:21:59 PM permalink
I would have trouble sleeping for days after such a dream trip. NOLA is great. Bar rescue made a place famous for the resurrection drinks. Did you try one? Comes in a cool skull glass.
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Boz
Boz
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August 22nd, 2016 at 8:37:48 PM permalink
Quote: onenickelmiracle

I would have trouble sleeping for days after such a dream trip. NOLA is great. Bar rescue made a place famous for the resurrection drinks. Did you try one? Comes in a cool skull glass.



At the risk of going off topic, this was one of his few success stories. Visit "barrescueupdates.com" to see how many have closed. Yes it's not all Taffers fault, these were bad businessmen before and he can't change that, but the show is a scam. It's all about drama and staging, cheap changes to a bar won't fix core fundamental issues in the operation.

By the way, GREAT trip report Joeman, we don't get enough of these from regular members in my opinion.
HornHighYo11
HornHighYo11
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August 22nd, 2016 at 9:13:55 PM permalink
Great Read!
I wouldn't have the guts to play any High Limit slots. But I will equate it to the few times I've been at a $25 craps table.

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