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October 16th, 2017 at 9:58:19 AM permalink
I was recently in Vegas for several days. I stayed at the Flamingo, in one of their standard "budget" rooms. I decided to not try the $20 sandwich trick since I was really only going to be in the room to sleep. The room itself was pretty nice, but the window view was of the giant blank side wall of the The Cromwell, so that was nothing to write home about. The bathroom was a disaster; it was in serious need of remodeling. I don't know why they didn't do it when they remodeled the actual rooms. I had enough Total Reward points to comp the whole stay, so that was nice. I ate at the Flamingo buffet once. The food was standard "meh" buffet food, so the $22 price tag is totally not worth it unless you take advantage of the unlimited bloody marys and mimosas (which I didn't because I was already battling a hangover).

Also thanks to Total Rewards, I had a free ride on the High Roller ferris wheel, but only in one of the non-drinking pods. It was kind of neat, but I don't know if it would have been worth it if I had to pay for it. The ride is about 30 minutes and you get some pretty good views, but honestly they're not THAT much better than any views you would get from one of the upper floors of the bigger hotels. If I were to do it again I would spring for the ticket which gets you free drinks, and just slam 2-3 glasses of booze to make the trip worth it. But even that ticket is like $40, so I don't know. I guess the High Roller is worth doing at least once in your life.

I mostly played Pai Gow Tiles, but not nearly as much as I wanted since I had some other non-gaming stuff to do. I stuck to Harrah's, and as always it was a great game. Super-friendly dealers, and the other players (older Asian men, sometimes women) were fun to play with. Table limits were $25-$3000 the times that I was there. I stuck to $25 the whole time except for once when I bet $50 which was fairly hair-raising (I won that bet).

I found the Tile table at Paris but decided not to play since I didn't have much time to do so at that moment. The minimum was $25 and the table was open but completely empty (about 1pm on a weekday). I also confirmed with Caesar's that their Tile table is still $100 minimum in the High Limit room, but is not open 24 hrs. I didn't play since I'm not up to that level yet.*

I also played some penny slots, but after about 10 minutes I just get bored of slots and want to do something else. Something that surprised me as being really fun was those electronic Roulette games they have now. Most have a $3-$5 minimum and if you spread your bets around you can make a little bit of money last a long time and milk it for drinks. I know double-zero Roulette is like flushing your money down the toilet but I've always thought it was fun so when I can play it for very low stakes I usually do. Oh, speaking of Roulette, The Cromwell has a $25 min. single zero wheel on their main floor, but it only opens at night. I swung by there at about 8pm and it still hadn't opened yet, so I didn't get a chance to play.

I ate dinner one night at the Blue Ribbon in the Cosmopolitan, and it was absolutely delicious. Highly recommended. Didn't see a Tile game there, but like the Linq they seem like they cater to a younger, hipper crowd so it doesn't surprise me. I wandered in and out of several other casinos but didn't play much other than the occasional slot-pull on a neat looking machine. Also took a trip Downtown. Sorry to offend any fans of Fremont Street but I thought it was just disgusting. I can see how it could be fun to some but it just wasn't my scene.

Overall it was another good time in Vegas, the hotel was comped, and I only lost about $40 bucks overall, gaming-wise.

*EDIT: Related side question, what kind of bankroll would I need to play $100 a hand Tiles for 4-6 hours a day for 2-3 days? Just in my own personal anecdotal experiences, bankroll requirements for Tiles seem to be much lower than a lot of other games, but I don't know...
Last edited by: TigerWu on Oct 16, 2017
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October 16th, 2017 at 11:11:32 AM permalink
I always find it so interesting that so many people go to Vegas and experience it in slightly different ways. I've never played Tiles, not that I wouldn't I just haven't invested any time in the game. Sounds like it wasn't all too bad of a trip though, comped room, -$40 in gambling (which I'm sure you got much more in drinks/entertainment out of it than that)! Thanks for sharing =).

Also, if you already play $25 per hand in tiles for 4-6 hours per day and want to play $100, I'd say think of your trips, biggest wins, losses, and averages... Then times them by 4 =P.

Std Dev of Pai Gow Tiles is .75 (according to the Wiz's FAQ's). Also Wiz's Pai Gow Tiles page says 30 hands per hour...

AvgBet = $100
5 hours of play (30 hands per hour) is 150 hands, over 3 days would be about 450 hands.
House edge pending your strategy is about 2% (again according to the Wiz's tiles page)

EV = (AvgBet*NumHands)*(HouseEdge)
EV = (100*450)*(-0.02) = -$900

OriginalSD = .75*AvgBet = $75
SD(x hands) = Sqrt(x) * OriginalSD
SD(450 hands) = Sqrt(450)*75 = ~$1600... 2SD = ~$3200

So with 95% confidence, you wouldn't bust if you took about $3k or a bit more to Vegas to play $100 min 4-6 hours per day for 3 days.
Playing it correctly means you've already won.
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October 16th, 2017 at 11:16:21 AM permalink
I posted before about the time two stunningly beautiful women walked through the Tropicana and all play stopped, after a reverent pause one dealer commented "Don't they know they are in the Tropicana". It seems as if its still the same. Rooms received decorative "patches'' rather than repairs; the upgrade was more style than substance. Emphasis was on youth and beauty and superficial changes

The unlimited fountain of bloody marys or mimosas is good to know about; it can make up for bland food.

If the table was empty at Paris, I'd have played. Pace is a bit faster but you get to sample the place. I would think a bored dealer would go out of his way to be patient.

That 100 dollar limit means you have to play for one fourth the time you normally would and hope Lady Variance is kind to you.

I've no idea of the math involved, and wouldn't understand it if I did, but with so many 'pushes' in Pai Gow tiles it seems its a very slow bleed on your wallet yet you get comped real nice.
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October 16th, 2017 at 12:12:49 PM permalink
I went to Vegas in July and also stayed at Flamingo. Our first room was garbage and super dirty, so I got it switched and the second room was better, but like you said the bathroom was still terrible (and dirty). I wouldn’t stay there again.

I played 30-40 hrs of $10/$15 Pai Gow Poker and came out +$500. At the $10/hand I consider the game +EV if I’m there to drink and relax.

Do you ever bank playing tiles?
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October 16th, 2017 at 12:53:25 PM permalink
Quote: gamerfreak

Do you ever bank playing tiles?

Yes, when I'm playing alone I bank as often as possible, which of course is every other hand. I also make sure to take my time setting up the tiles for delivery, and select a delivery style that is slightly more complex and will take a longer time to deal. Then when I'm setting my hand I won't just pick them up and look; rather I'll feel all the dots, set my hand blind, and THEN pick them up to double check before finalizing it. Sometime if I'm not sure of a hand I'll ask the dealer what the house way is, and this can lead to a minute or two discussion, especially if the dealer is a talker. All this time-wasting serves to slow down the game and help "eat into" the house edge, but I wouldn't do it if other players were at the table.

When other players are there, ESPECIALLY Asians (I'm white), you have to be careful when you bank because a lot of them are superstitious. Generally it's okay to bank after the dealer has had a huge win, otherwise the other players will either sit out the hand or try to talk you out of banking. Then everyone will go in together against the house, and the players' hand is usually divided up between two people to set. When the table is full of Asians, I usually just go along with whenever they decide to bank purely for etiquette reasons. If there's only one or two other people, I will ask them if they mind if I bank, but even then I won't do every other hand.
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